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In the Name of God بسم الله
HusseinAbbas

Islam, collective or individualist religion?

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Islam is holistic in the sense that it caters to both the individualistic and collectivist paradigm, for example addressing man in particular within the Quran, constantly telling one to ponder over the intrinsic and extrinsic signs. While ensuring that in order for one to reach the absolute individualistic truth man must cater to their collectivist group by paying the alms, etc.

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10 hours ago, HusseinAbbas said:

Is Islam more compatible with indivisualism or collectivsm? 

Thoughts and what is the proof?

It provides for both phases of a society. Individual is important more than the treasure of the world through whom a society would become holistic.

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14 hours ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Islam is holistic in the sense that it caters to both the individualistic and collectivist paradigm, for example addressing man in particular within the Quran, constantly telling one to ponder over the intrinsic and extrinsic signs. While ensuring that in order for one to reach the absolute individualistic truth man must cater to their collectivist group by paying the alms, etc.

In islam we are also encouraged to get rid of the nafs because none of this worldly life belongs to us and when we die, it will be an easy transition as we dont see things as belonging to us, this heavely goes against the individualist beleifs as they tell you that this thing or even your body is YOURS and you can do whatever you want as long as you dont hurt others with it, for example, but we know full well that these things are all given by Allah(stw).

In islam we also have Allah(stw) as you mentionned that tell the individual that they can change their destiny they have control of their actions, which also goes against some aspects of collectivsm.

Edited by HusseinAbbas

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Collective.

1. Islam was sent to reform the society and the Islamic teachings lay great emphasis on Akhlaq, keeping ties with family, rights of neighbours, taking care of orphans and widows. 

2. Even in ibadaats there is emphasis on kinship, family, following a community for eg more Sawab for Jamaat prayer, rewards for serving Iftaar to people in the community, zakat for taking care of the less fortunate etc

3. Amr bil Ma’roof NahiAnil Munkar is an obligatory act and all the nations that had been destroyed as a punishment from Allah met their fate only after they got corrupted as a society.

Development of nafs and divorcing the dunya are very desirable traits to achieve and definitely individualistic but they cannot be achieved if a person neglects the people around him. These are like sprinkles and icing on the top with the cupcake underneath being the social aspects of religion.

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Don't oversimplify things, because that leads to erroneous ideas.

1 hour ago, HusseinAbbas said:

In islam we are also encouraged to get rid of the nafs because none of this worldly life belongs to us and when we die, it will be an easy transition as we dont see things as belonging to us, this heavely goes against the individualist beleifs as they tell you that this thing or even your body is YOURS and you can do whatever you want as long as you dont hurt others with it, for example, but we know full well that these things are all given by Allah(stw).

In islam we also have Allah(stw) as you mentionned that tell the individual that they can change their destiny they have control of their actions, which also goes against some aspects of collectivsm.

You must define the terms before you have a discussion about them. You must justify your definitions (to yourself) and justify why other definitions are not fitting. You must be open to new ideas that will change the definitions. And you must not commit the fallacy of equivocation. 

 

To me there is nothing more individualistic than getting closer to Allah. The other types of individualism actually harm the self. And the one who is closest to Allah is most able to help the collective.

BTW in Islam you don't try to get rid of the nafs.

 

Unfortunately on SC you will often need to oversimplify posts, otherwise most people won't read them.

Edited by Muhammed Ali

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It would be helpful to first define what we mean by "individualism" and "collectivism"

In my understanding, individualism is the giving one's individual identity a higher value and priority over his/her group identity. Collectivism is vice versa, where the person's group identity is placed higher (and by that I mean deemed more important) than the person's individual identity. It's important to state that individualism doesn't mean that group identity doesn't exist, neither does collectivism mean that individual identity doesn't exist; it's simply a matter of prioritizing the two in relation to each other

I believe Allah sees us and judges us as individuals primarily rather than seeing us as simply a part of a group, so I believe Islam is individualistic. Again, it doesn't abolish the notion of group identity, and neither does the concept of individualism.

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The Quran addresses both individuals and groups in similar terms. In the worldly sense these seem mutually exclusive, but are comparable and reconciled in a divine sense. 

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As salaamun aleikum,

One point id like to make. Ultimately, we are slaves to Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and serving His creation in the manners mentioned above is wajib in some cases and mustahab in others. Leaving the wajib out as it is wajib, we must keep in mind not to lose ourselves/our own souls in the pursuit of helping others if while helping others, we end up compromising our own souls.

When our helping others becomes a way for the ego to flourish, it becomes a problem for our soul.

When helping/serving others at say the masjid, at the intentional exclusion of allowing others to partake in helping and hence not working together as a team, (control issues) this becomes a problem rather than a selfless act for Allahs(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sake.

When a person sacrifices the care of their own self or family to partake in some other altruistic pursuit, this becomes a problem

The key is to figure out what each of our individual responsibilities/duties are, and to do those duties first before going beyond and doing more. Not everyone is able to organize a donation drive and personally fly those donations to syria or some other hurting location...and this is ok. We do what we can within the situation Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has provided us with in life all while trying not to compromise our own soul and the rights other people have over us, such as our families.  Alot of times, people are driven to do more than what they can reasonably handle and this ends up actually being harmfull on the inside for the soul whereas it appears helpfull on the outside to them and to others.

At the end of our days on earth which is the beginning of our eternal life in akhira, all we will have is our deeds which will equal the quality/condition our soul is in. If all we have done is fool ourselves into believing all the help we offered, all the sadaqa we gave, all the numerous hours we spent away from our families in service to others was "good" when infact it was ego or otherwise selfishly driven, we will in all actuality have very little waiting for us. 

We have to be carefull not to neglect or hurt our own souls and make sure we have fulfilled our responsibilities and duties to those who are in our immediate charge first. Once this is accomplished, only then we can safely go beyond our wajib duties.

W/s

 

Edited by shia farm girl

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What makes it special about islam is that an individual can combine his religious life with the societal one, unlike other religions that make it almost impossible to be religious and an active member of society. Which is one of the reasons why non-muslims are mostly religiously inactive.

And recently Wilayat al Faqih has reinforced the concept of collectivism of Islam Shia.

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