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the meaning of society according to reality

The society:

 Many different definitions have been provided for the meaning of the society despite the fact that it is a reality that can be sensed. There are some who have taken a superficial or shallow view and have stated: ‘The society is (merely) a collection of individuals’. And there are those who say: ‘They are a group of people who are united in their hopes and sorrows’. Others say: ‘It is a political unity united by a single political system’ whilst others have said: ‘They are a group who have unified to accomplish shared aims or objectives’. Some have said that: ‘It is a group of people with a single culture and a feeling of unity to preserve their existence’. Irrespective of the above, as long as the subject being studied (i.e. the society) is a sensed reality and it is possible to intellectually perceive and comprehend it and to pass a correct judgment upon it, then it is necessary for us to define the meaning of the society and understand it according to its true reality so that treating it becomes easier.

 It is from the well known obvious matters that the human being is a social being. He does not live alone and indeed it is not possible for him to live alone. Rather he only lives in a collective (group) or in groupings whether these are large or small. Every human continuously strives to fulfil his needs, satisfy his hungers (urges) and satisfy his desires or wants. The means of satisfaction or fulfilment are mostly found in the possession of others or amongst others. For this reason it is inevitable for any group or collection of people to have relationships that arise amongst them which enable the individuals to fulfil their needs, satisfy their hungers (urges) and satisfy their desires or wishes. To accomplish this then it is necessary for an agreement to exist amongst them upon specific thoughts upon the basis of which these relationships are governed, in addition to concepts that define the conduct of these groupings, as well as a specific manner to protect and safeguard the joint interests existing between them. It is also an obvious matter that the people possess a collective sentiment or feeling of glee and pleasure towards that which is in agreement with what they have agreed upon in terms of thoughts and concepts that regulate and organise their lives and affairs. On the other hand they will feel a collective sentiment or feeling of anger, hate and abhorrence towards that which opposes those thoughts and concepts that they have agreed upon. For instance there could be a village or locality in which joy and happiness overflows when one of them implements a matter that they have agreed upon related to the satisfaction of the procreation urge i.e. marriage. So when one of the young men from the village or locality gets married to a girl from the village or locality they are happy with this and the sentiments of happiness and joy are manifested amongst them. However if the people of the village or locality hear about an individual from amongst them who has gone outside of what they have agreed upon in respect to this relationship, where he has had relations with a girl in a manner that opposes what they have agreed upon, like the committal of Zinaa (fornication) for example, then the feelings of hate and anger encompasses the people of the village or locality collectively. They condemn what that individual has done in respect to his contravention of that which they have agreed upon in terms of their customs and traditions and as a result they may throw him out or even kill him.

 And when the group of people agree to regulate the exchange of goods and items in a specific manner like buying and selling, bartering or exchanging and they make effort to arrange and organise this relationship in a manner that they have agreed upon. Then after this one of them engages in this relationship in a manner that contravenes the manner they have agreed upon to attain his need, like if he steels, loots or commits fraud, then the people will scorn him or ostracize him whilst the collective feelings and sentiments of anger and hatred will be dominant against him.

 The same applies to every relationship from amongst the relationships that they have agreed upon and with every conduct or behaviour of theirs. So acting in agreement to their customs pleases them whilst contravening and opposing these customs angers them.

 This is because the presence of permanent relationships is inevitable within the collective group in which the permanent relationships form the basis of the society’s formation and where the permanent relationships are organised and regulated by the general custom (‘Urf ‘Aamm) i.e. by a unity of the thoughts and feelings and a unity of the concepts and sensations. As such the ‘Urf Al-‘Aamm (general custom) i.e. the thoughts and sensations, represents the fundamental pillar upon which the society is built upon. And it is from the obvious well known matters that the human is a social being and not a robot and as such he has the potential and susceptibility to go outside what the society has agreed upon. Therefore the human is a body consisting of drives (Dawaafi’) and sensations (Ahaasees) that generate continuous hungers (urges) and he goes forth in life to satisfy them. It is possible for one of these hungers or urges to dominate so that he goes forth to satisfy it without giving consideration to or observing what the collective has agreed upon. It is for this reason that the collective (group of people living together) agree upon a specific manner and to specific thoughts and concepts that treat the like of these situations and occurrences and regulate the conduct of the individuals. This is from one angle and from another angle there are general or public burdens associated to the joint collective interests that do not fall to the individual’s caretaking despite his interests being attached to them. This is like the management of roads, health entitlement, education, security and shared natural resources amongst other matters or areas. Therefore it is necessary for the collective to agree also upon a method of sorts by which the caretaking of the affairs of the people is accomplished and their internal and external security is achieved and realised. For this reason it is essential to choose someone to take responsibility on behalf of the collective to undertake the implementation of what the collective has agreed upon.

 From the above: We can be absolutely certain that the society (Mujtama’) is formed from a group or collective from amongst the people who have permanent relationships existing between them based upon unified thoughts and concepts that lead to common emotions or sentiments. These relationships are regulated by a system that (in turn) regulates the conduct of the individuals and takes care of the affairs of the collective, resolves their disputes, dispels the rivalries and prevents the violations. This means that the society is made up of a collection from the people who have a general (public) custom that they embrace and a system that regulates it. By this we have defined the reality that we want to treat i.e. we have defined the society and its components.

 This is the reality of the society and these are the bases or fundamentals upon which the society is established and formed. It is the measure of its soundness or corruption, its decline or elevation, its revival or stumbling, its stagnation or vitality and its unity or fragmentation. This is because its unity is manifested in accordance to the extent of the agreement of the system with the custom and by the extent of the commitment and abiding of the people to the public or general custom, norms and traditions that they have inherited in addition to their Imaan (belief) in them and their awareness in respect to them.

 As a result of this understanding it has become easy to specify and recognise the deep-rooted and chronic diseases that have afflicted our society easy to know and understand the symptoms of the diseases. Due to this, it has become easy to be aware of the successful treatment for them and their comprehensive cure.

 However due to the lack of clarity of this picture and lack of knowledge and understanding of the components of the society and the bases or fundamentals it is established upon, the society continues to spiral into the depths of the abyss and the efforts of those working to change it are not capable of reviving it or even in the very least halt its decline. This is despite the full comprehension of everyone and their consensus upon the fact that the society is suffering from toxic and chronic diseases. This is because they were mistaken in respect to locating the disease and they were unable to diagnose the diseases that that were present within the society or their causes i.e. they were not able to identify the bacterium that had entered its body. As such they began to attempt to treat it with incorrect treatments, that in some cases focused upon some of the manifestations and symptoms that arose from the disease but did not deal with and treat the disease itself. They attempted to focus an argument in the minds of the people and make that the illness and that it was necessary to spend money and exert efforts to remove it.

 This argument states that our woes and the problems that we are suffering from are poverty, illiteracy and disease. They then directed the focus towards treating these diseases or rather we should say symptoms. So they called for increased productivity, capital development amongst other economic plans and as a result they drowned the countries in debt. This was to build dams, canals, channels, extend roads and shipping and airports amongst other things, in addition to building factories, buying machinery and petroleum production factories all of which we can see around us wherever we are and wherever we may live. Despite this the society remained spiralling in the abyss of decline.

 They stated that illiteracy or ignorance (Jahl) was a disease and so they prepared all that they were able to of strength and declared war upon it. So they went after those in every village, beginning from the nursery level progressing through all stages of education until university and higher certificates of education and they even targeted those who were older in age and had missed something along the education train. So they launched a war to wipe out illiteracy until illiteracy disappeared in some regions or virtually disappeared and until the percentage of graduates and post-graduates certificate holders became much greater than those existing in the revived and progressive nations. They were so abundant and above the needs of these lands that many of these certificate holders were forced to make Hijrah (emigrate) and search for other places to go to.

 So what was the result of this and did the decline end? The result was the emigration of many of the minds and certificate holders and a huge increase in employees filling the departments and administrations leading to thousands upon thousands of these certificate holders sweating in front of the doors of these departments searching for a job or an opportunity for work that will enable them to have a dignified life. This is from one angle and from another, the states were forced to attempt to absorb some of them, not to fill a vacancy or gap because the departments were already full and saturated, but rather this was an attempt to absorb and conceal the greatest possible number from amongst these people. This therefore led to the spending of money and wasting it and to overburden the state budget with spending that had no end to it. These are some of the results that are not absent from the eyes of anyone who wants to look into the matter.

 The same scenario that happened with the war against poverty and illiteracy also happened in regards to the war against disease. So no town exists except that it contains a number of clinics and hospitals and there are no villages that do not have a clinic or small hospital. Despite this, thousands of certificate holders in medicine of all levels whether these were general practitioners or specialists in every part of the body, remained without work or a small clinic in which they could practise their profession or display their skills or in the very least earn enough to provide for themselves and their families. At the same time their colleagues from amongst the pharmacists would have to wait for years for their turn to obtain permission to open a store where they can sell their goods (i.e. medicines). So was the society revived and were all of these efforts combined able to halt the decline and even in the very least?

 This was the direction of the drive and campaign they undertook and these were the results that they led to. So we did not gain anything new and we did not elevate a single thing within our societies. These results were inevitable and that was due to the error in understanding the true malady and illness that had caused the decline of the society from the level that is fitting for it. Our situation did not increase in anything but badness in terms of all of the results that we have obtained. So the increases in wealth and economic development led to a marvelling and boastfulness in respect to the extreme riches the few began to possess and it led to the building of luxurious buildings, the acquisition of luxury cars, in addition to the search for the most recent products from Paris or Chicago, whilst everyone else suffered the plight of extreme poverty and painful grief.

 So in summary:

 (The direction of) fighting Jahl (Ignorance/illiteracy): This led to the scrambling of people to attain higher certifications, to marvel at them and to sweat before those who were in positions of authority in order to obtain a job that would secure their futures as they say in addition to the overburdening of the state budget for the purpose of creating jobs that held no benefit. Additionally it led to the migration of many of the certificate holders to lands that could secure a living for them.

 (The direction of) fighting disease: This led to students seeking to attain certificates that would qualify them to become a doctor or pharmacist so that they could then open premises in which they could sell their products. In Jordan alone this led to more than 700,000 doctors waiting their turn to be given positions whilst a similar number or double that were waiting for their trade licences and this figure will multiply and multiply as more and more students will graduate in the coming years. They spend their time putting on their suits or resorting to contacts in higher places to secure employment. And even more dangerous than this is the misleading of the young people and people in general away from the true comprehension of the disease that the society is really suffering from and away from understanding its causes, in the case where they have been able to generate a public opinion upon their false and deceiving statements, which has led the young people and general masses to affirm and believe these deceitful statements (i.e. that the problem of the society is poverty, illiteracy and disease).

 And there are those who have erred in their understanding of the composition of the society and its components and they undertake a process of reforming and correcting the society based upon their incorrect understanding of the society’s composition and its components. So they have believed (or it has been said to them) that the society is composed of individuals, it is a collection of individuals and its reform will take place by reforming the individual, whilst its corruption would occur due to the corruption of the individual. So they rushed forward upon this path, attempting to reform the individual in order to reform the society as a result. However in doing so they missed two important matters.

 Firstly: The society is not a collection of individuals and it is not merely a collection of people. Rather the society is how we have previously explained it. It is a collection of people who have permanent relationships between them that are established upon a general (or public) custom (‘Urf ‘Aamm) which is taken care of by a system (or regime). The corruption of the collective grouping or its reform rests upon the correcting of the general (or public) custom in addition to the system or regime just as its corruption rests upon this premise. And we have clarified this matter previously.

 Secondly: The importance of understanding the composition and makeup of the individual and comparing it to the composition of the society, so that the difference between them can be made clear and the correct method or path can manifest. So when we discuss the composition of the individual and reforming him, we only mean by that; everything that relates to him himself and the fulfilment of his personal requirements. The individual is a sensed reality that we are capable of understanding clearly in its true reality and what it is composed of. Based upon this it is possible to make a comparison between its components and composition and the composition of the society. So the individual is a human being who proceeds according to his thoughts and concepts about life and as such the origin in regards to him is the intellectual basis or principle from which his concepts emanate and his thoughts are built upon. This is his Aqeedah. So the first component of the individual’s makeup is his Aqeedah which is the person’s belief in his Rabb which leads to the relationship between the servant and his master which is the second component (i.e. through Ibaadah). Then it is necessary for him to have praiseworthy noble characteristics that he is characterised by in his life. This refers to the Akhlaaq (morals) and it is the third component of his makeup (that which relates to himself). This individual also has a relationship with others in order for him to attain in his needs, satisfy his urges and desires and as such there must be something that specifies and restricts the manner that he interacts with others. This refers to the Mu’aamalaat (societal transactions and relations) and this is the fourth component of the individual’s composition and makeup.

 Based on this we say: The components of the individual are the Aqeedah, the ‘Ibaadah (acts of worship), the Akhlaaq (morals) and the Mu’aamalaat (societal transactions). As for the components of the society then as we have explained they are the matters that make the collective grouping a society from which a distinguished entity is built. Therefore it is the permanent (constant) relationships between them and the ‘Urf ‘Aamm (Common custom) that regulates these relationships and acts as the guard of their unity, which represent the components of the society’s makeup and its composition. So the wellbeing and correction of the individual or its corruption rests upon its components which are the Aqeedah, ‘Ibaadah, Akhlaaq and Mu’aamalaat whilst the wellbeing and correction of the society or its corruption rests upon its components rests upon his concepts and his thoughts and what arises from these thoughts and concepts in terms of sentiments of anger and contentment and in terms of the system that this society has chosen to undertake the caretaking of its affairs and safeguard its unity. In summary the components of the society are the thoughts (Afkaar), the sentiments (Mashaa’ir) and the system (Nizhaam) that emanates from these thoughts. So based on this do the components of the individual and the components of the society resemble one another?

 Based on this incorrect understanding the efforts that were spent towards reforming the society by way of reforming the individual were wasted efforts. It will never lead to anything other than an increase in the numbers of those who commit themselves to this methodology and who proceed along its path. It should not be argued that it is a long path (i.e. to be patient for its results). This should not be said but rather it should be said that: It is a path that will absolutely never lead to the reformation of the society and its correction because it is not the path that can achieve that, whether in the short-run or long-run. It does not consider the components of the society or what it is built upon and it does not take into account that which has made a collection of people a collective grouping (Jamaa’ah).

 For example the very pinnacle and greatest heights that the individual can reach in terms of correction is for him to commit to and abide by the personal obligations that he has been obliged with, in addition to that which is above the personal obligations in terms of the Sunnan, Nawaafil and recommended acts, and for him to keep away from the Muharramaat (prohibited matters) and what is less than them in terms of the Makroohaat (disliked matters). This is in the case where all of this emanates from a pure Aqeedah upon Imaan (belief) in Allah, His angels, books, Messengers and the Day of Judgment which is established by way of the mind with full comprehension and by clear proof. This is in respect to the Aqeedah and in respect to the ‘Ibaadah, he performs the obligatory prayers in the Masjid at its earliest time and he precedes and follows these prayers with the set Sunnah prayers in addition to not missing the night prayers and Tahajjud. He also fasts in Ramadhaan, follows this with the six fasts of Shawaal and performs the fast of Dawood (as) throughout the year (i.e. every other day) and he finds it impossible to miss the fasts in the middle of the month. He also spends his money to the point where none remains for the Zakaah and he performs ‘Umrah and Hajj every year. He memorizes the Qur’aan Al-Majeed, excels in Tajweed and is continual in his recitation. And in addition to keeping good relations with his relatives and kin and his saying of Salaam to those he knows and does not know, you will see him possessing the courteous Akhlaaq (morals), being true to his covenant, trustworthy, honest, strong in body and the furthest of the people from the Muharramaat (prohibited matters). He does not pay attention to the filthy matters, he does not eat onions and garlic on the day of Jum’ah or when he visits the Masaajid and the gatherings. He does not go ahead to fulfil a need or satisfy an urge until he has sought the Hukm Shar’i (Islamic legal ruling) for it and his measure is the Halaal and the Haraam. Therefore after all of this, is there a reformation of correctness or uprightness that is greater than all of this in relation to his affairs? If we were then to suppose that a great number from the Ummah (Moslems Society) and the people were to reach this condition and this level of Taqwaa and uprightness, then would it be correct to say that the society has become upright or has been corrected whilst the systems and laws remain as they are? I say: If the condition of the people reached to this level then Islam would not be considered to be present in the reality of life and four-fifths would remain suspended and out of use. And it is this (four-fifths) that relates to the affairs of the collective grouping, the caring for the affairs of the individuals, the implementation of the thought, the security of the society, its protection and the carrying of the Islamic Da’wah (Islamic Propagation) to the world, because these are what represent the components of the society.

 In regards to this issue there are four areas that will be discussed in the following section.
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