Cooperation and division of labour

Tashreek-i masa‘i means joint effort, cooperation, uniting in labour and working together. Taqseem-i a’mal means division of labour, distribution of work and the specialization of everyone by giving thought to one subject and working on it. You can obtain great power and a lot of benefit by cooperating on any matter through means of cooperation and division of labour. By dividing the fields of study for everyone and uniting in work, many profitable results can be obtained in a short span of time.

What reason urges us to cooperation?

“The characteristic of truth is unity. The characteristic of merit is solidarity. The characteristic of cooperation is to lend a helping hand. The characteristic of religion is brotherhood. The characteristic of curbing the lower self and urging the spirit to perfection is the happiness in both worlds.” (The Risale-i Nur, Zulfiqar, p.42) These truths urges us to cooperation.

Cooperation and division of labour in social life

Cooperation is also a natural need and a means to reach perfection. Humans have various inclinations by birth. When they want something they ask the most distinguished ones. When they have a liking they are inclined to the most beautiful things. When they desire something they want the fanciest ones. They want to live a life with the best livelihood and honour befitting humanity.

As a result of these inclinations of humans, there is need for a large variety of occupations in order that they can easily obtain the necessary food, clothes and other needs as they wish. Since they do not have any knowledge of all of those occupations and they do not have the  power and time to do all of them, they are obliged to cooperate. In this way, each can exchange the fruits of their work and meet their needs. (Isharat’ul İjaz, p.132)

Everybody cannot be a teacher, a baker, a grocer, a doctor or a soldier at the same time, which are necessary for the existence of a society. For the maintenance of a society and for the individuals to meet their needs, there is need for others who have different professions. In order to meet those needs, people resort to cooperation and the division of duties among all the individuals.

Cooperation and the division of labour in family

Since she is weak by nature, she finds someone to guard her. “The authentic, intense relationship, love, and affection between man and woman do not arise only from the needs of worldly life. Yes, a woman is not only a companion to her husband in this worldly life; she is also a companion in eternal life.” (The 24th Flash)

As a consequence of woman’s being the manager in family life and at home, and her being the guard of her husband’s wealth, children and possessions, her most fundamental character is to show loyalty and give confidence to her husband. In return for this loyalty and confidence, a man is obliged to cooperate with his wife whose burden of livelihood he will maintain..

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard.” (The Qur’an, Nisa, 4:34)

Cooperation in the body

Man’s hand does not compete with his other hand, nor does his eye criticise the other, and his tongue does not object to his ears, and the heart does not see the deficiencies of the spirit. Rather, they each make up for the deficiencies of the other, and hide their shortcomings, assist one another with their needs, and help each other in their duties. The organs of the body do not try to hinder one another’s work out of competitiveness, nor do they try to outpace, or control the other, nor do they compel one another to break down in order to frustrate the other’s yearning to run by criticising the other and seeking out its shortcomings and errors. Rather, each assists the other to the best of its ability, in order to orientate the movements of each of them to the collective objective, such that they proceed unto their purpose of creation by means of true mutual support and agreement. If the cooperation and division of labour come to an end, the life of the human body would be extinguished, his spirit would flee, and his body would fall apart. (The 21st Flash)

Cooperation in business world

Today, especially in Europe, they attach great importance to regulation of work, division of labour and specialization. Directors of corporations, CEOs and foremen determine who will do which job at the beginning of work, thus helping the workers to develop an expertise in a certain direction. Today’s business world proves to us the secret of the success of a person who puts all of his work and effort toward the same subject and focuses his endeavour on a certain point.

When it comes to religious service, “This nation has always revered those working for the sake of spiritual reality and the Hereafter, and borne these [noble] feelings [of a desire to assist] them. With the intention of actually taking part in a certain way in their true sincerity and loyal services, members [of this nation] have respected them and aided them with material benefits of charity and gifts so that they do not waste their time occupied by the acquisition of material necessities.” (The 21st Flash)

With such a cooperation, the business world meets the needs of the people of knowledge (by being sponsors), thus helping them not to fail in their continual study of knowledge by busying themselves with worldly affairs. In this way, they get a share from the rewards that comes from studying knowledge.

The strength cooperation gives to the community

We can explain the power which cooperation and solidarity for the same purpose supply us as follows: Life is the result of oneness and unity. When unity is gone, spiritual life is gone too. If solidarity is disrupted, the peace of the community is gone as the following verse says: “Do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart.” (The Qur’an, Anfal, 8:46)

You know that should three people unite, they will make three, yet if they unite by the secret of number, and if by the secret of brotherhood, unity of purpose, and concordance of duty they are congruously aligned and stand shoulder to shoulder on one line, they acquire a value of one hundred and eleven. (The 21st Flash) If three or four servants of the truth like you act separately and without any division of labour, their power will equal to only three or four men. However, if they act with a true brotherhood, a solidarity by taking pride in the merit of one another, a secret of tafani (annihilation in one another) to the degree of becoming almost alike, four men possess the power of 400 men. (Barla Appendix, 124)

In order to get great wealth and power, having discovered this, people of the world, and even some politicians and important directors and boards of social life of humans have made the principle of joint possessions (i.e. economic cooperation) their guide and despite some misuse and harms, they have obtained great power and benefit.

Worldly benefit of cooperation

In order to secure that great power and get that huge benefit, the people of industry cooperate and unite their works. “Once, there were ten men making needles for sewing; each of them tried to make a needle himself, and the yield of that individual work and the fruit of that solitary manufacturing was just three needles a day. Thereafter, those ten men united in accordance with the principle of cooperation, such that one of them brought the metal, and another stoked the fire, while another bore a hole through the needles, and the fourth placed them in the fire, while the fifth sharpened them, and so on. Since each one of them occupied himself with a particular task involved in the making of the needle, and since the task that each of them took on was easy and simple, it did not waste time; each of them acquired an expertise, and thus completed their work in its production at speed. They then divided between themselves the fruits of the production that they had acquired as a result of cooperation and the division of labour. They found that each of them was due a share of three hundred needles in a single day, as opposed to three [before].” (The 21st Flash)

Benefits of cooperation for the Hereafter

Imam Bediuzzaman addressed us as follows in order to show the fruit of the works done with the principle of cooperation and division of labour: “O brothers of mine! Since the fruits yielded by such unity and concordance in [even] worldly matters and within concrete substances give rise to massive, immense benefits the like of this, you can draw your own conclusions about just what an immense profit the reflection of all rewards related to the Hereafter and illumination is – by Divine grace and without any need for partition or division – within the mirror of every individual, and each individual’s procurement of the reward obtained by all! The like of this immense profit should not be missed because of competitiveness and a lack of sincerity.” (The 21st Flash)

“In any case, were this principle of co-partnership in wealth to enter into activities related to the Hereafter, it would become the pivot of immense and harmless benefits without being sullied by damaging factors, for the secret of all the wealth is that it is owned by every individual that becomes a partner. For example, with the intention of partnership, were there to be four or five people one of whom brought the oil, another the wick, another the lamp, yet another the glass and the last the matches, thereby igniting the lamp, each would [in a sense] own a whole lamp, and were each of these partners to possess a great mirror on the wall, the lamp would become fully reflected into the mirror together with the room, without deficiency or partition.

Now, exactly in the same way, the truth that as a result of partnership by the secret of sincerity in the property of the Hereafter – and mutual support therein by the secret of brotherhood, and the cooperation therein by the secret of unity, the entire harvest and all of the light yielded by that partnership in activities will enter the book of good deeds of each and every one of the partners – is witnessed, and is an actuality amongst the people of spiritual reality, and constitutes the entailment of the expansiveness of mercy and the generosity of the Divine.” (The 21st Flash)

Benefit of cooperation and division of labour to the common people among the faithful

Cooperation, division of labour and solidarity do not only bring benefit to the people of faith, it also strengthens those who have weaker faith.

“The reason for the great importance I attach to your solidarity is not only because of its advantages for us and the Risale-i Nur, but for the mass of believers who are not within the sphere of critically verified belief, and are much in need of a point of support and a truth which a community unshaken by events finds certain. Since it is an authority, a guide, a proof, which is unfearing, unflinching, incorruptible, and undeceiving in the face of the currents of misguidance, one who sees your powerful solidarity forms the conviction that there is a truth that may be sacrificed for nothing, that does not bow before the people of misguidance, nor is it defeated; his morale and belief are strengthened, and he is saved from joining the worldly people and their vice.” (The Thirteenth Ray)

The principles like sincerity, brotherhood, solidarity, working together, being in unity, which are related to the deeds for the Hereafter, are also valid for our worldly affairs. And they are also a great source of power for those weak people who are in need of spiritual strength.

As a result:

Today, the business world, people and organizations that focus on their work with the principle of cooperation, are having good management through innovation. With an innovative approach, in order to increase their income and effectiveness, directors and CEOs of companies have taken into consideration the knowledge and skills of their staff, their moral and spiritual developments, their emotional states, their adaptation to social life and other matters, and these directors and CEOs have made cooperation the central principle of work life.

Just as they have many tasks to perform and a need for cooperation to complete those tasks at the national level, in international industry, economy, social, cultural and other fields, the business people, corporations and establishments strongly need cooperation with the spiritual field. Being protected from the harms of sins which rain on the people of faith and gaining rewards with good deeds depend on their cooperation with the people of faith and establishing ‘spiritual companies’. In this way, 40 thousand good deeds are done in a minute by 40 thousand people, like the angel with 40 thousand heads reciting dhikr (invocation).

Imam Bediuzzaman explains the way this spiritual company works as follows:

With the rule of cooperation of spirituality, which is a basic principle among the real and loyal students of Risale-i Nur, and the secret of sincere and pure solidarity, each truthful student fights against sin by their worship and repentance with not just one tongue, but as many tongues as the number of his brothers. Just as some angels remember Allah (do dhikr) with 40 thousand tongues, a sincere, real, pious student also worships through the tongues of his 40 thousand brothers; he attains salvation and become among the people of happiness inshaallah. To the degree of loyalty and service in the circle of Risale-i Nur, and piety and abstaining from grave sins, he attains that lofty and general worship. In order not to miss such a great gain, one has to work with piety, sincerity, and loyalty. (Kastamonu Appendix, 120)

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