Assalamu Aleikum brothers.
Marginalisation was never a new problem for human society, but has always been a perennial one.
One whose effects were even felt within the first truly Muslim community.
Today our Nation suffers no less from those effects. For there are masajid around this country where people are exhorted to attend and give towards, as a religious obligation, but where in the end they still feel like they do not belong.
No wonder we find disillusioned Muslims looking for another way, moving away from our communities and into the rural areas of England.
Distancing themselves from their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.
This is nothing less than a reverse Hijra.
And yet the fault lies not with them.
The favour that Allah t’ala blessed humanity with, was the creation of an inclusive Muslim society which can be felt through the accessibility of each arkaan (religious rule) to each and every one of us.
On the Hajj and in the Haram there is no exclusivity for the rich or the powerful.
So much so that you witness many errors in those rules that it makes you smile, especially when you remember the Hadith ...
“A man said “Allah is my servant and I am his Lord” and Allah smiled”
This because in his eagerness for the religion the man made a mistake, and so Allah smiled in appreciation of his eagerness. Then how can we not love the people who in their eagerness for the religion, err. They are neither mean, nor uneducated, but most loved.
Islam came to perfect society.
And the Messenger (saw) was sent to perfect morals.
And whilst his answer to marginalisation within nascent Medina might rightly be thought miraculous, it should still prove a benchmark for us all the same.
A disunited, inward-looking, constantly warring Arab Nation, he united with the mission to tell those that did not know.
A tribal society where protection was gained through allegiance to one of the tribal chiefs, he changed so that any and all resident of Medina could extend protection and it would be incumbent on them all. And that as a precursor to a lawful and right-led society.
A divided city he united with a truly amazing brotherhood the likes of which has never been repeated.
Where he paired together in brotherhood each emigrant with each free resident of Yathrib (the before name for Medina).
Whilst the emigrants were the obvious beneficiaries, having lost everything in their flight from Quraishi oppression, the residents to Medina no less benefited. For they gained a title- the helpers- became united and in being asked to give, knew that they belonged.
And whilst some of them gave their homes, still others half of their wealth, and still others even offered to divorce their wives so that their new found brothers might have family ... the prophets instruction to wish for your brother that which you wish for yourself puts no such obligation on us today.
A brotherhood that banished marginalisation, made a society of equals, and a religion that is fully accessible to everyone.
This ideal can and should still provide a benchmark for us, today, in helping us to forge a way to remove the feelings of marginalisation, and un-belonging, that mar our communities.
When a person moves close to you, or another becomes a new Muslim, or another advances in age and is in need of help and support, or another feels alone- our imams should invoke the brotherhood of the Messenger, in the simple things like inviting them to share a regular meal together, always being readily available to give sincere advice and help, and in the giving of unbidden gifts.
A monthly reminder to be there for your brother, and a simple ask if there are any that need the brotherly help of one that is paired to them.
Then we can say that we are trying our best to live our lives in the Prophetic way, where no one is left behind and all feel cared for.
That is the brotherhood of Islam.