The Meaning of Cooperation
Ta`awun linguistically: is aiding one another and collaborating in accomplishing matters. Ista`ana fulanun fulanan wa bihi (so-and-so sought aid in so-and-so and sought it from him), meaning he asked him for help. al-Mu`awin (one who delivers aid, helper): is the one who is diligent in his help for others, or excessive in it.  Mukhtar al-Sihah, al-Razi (p. 222); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (13/298); Taj al-`Arus, al-Zabidi (35/431); al-Mu`jam al-Wasit (2/638).
Ta`awun technically: is helping each other in truth, seeking Allah’s reward.  Mawsu`at al-Akhlaq, Khalid Kharraz (p. 441). Commandments of Cooperation and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness, and do not cooperate in sin and aggression. Be mindful of Allah. Surely, Allah is severe in punishment.” al-Ma’idah: 2.
❖ He, exalted, also says: “Hold fast to Allah’s rope all together; do not split into factions. Remember Allah’s favour to you: you were enemies and then He brought your hearts together and you became brothers by His grace.” Al `Imran: 103.
❖ The Prophet ﷺ said: “The believer is to the believer like a building - each part makes firm the other.”  Reported by al-Bukhari (481) and Muslim (2585) from the narration of Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, Allah be pleased with him.
❖ Ibn `Umar, Allah be pleased with them both, narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor forsake him. Whoever fulfills the need of his brother, Allah will fulfill his need. Whoever relieves a Muslim from a calamity, Allah relieves him from one of the calamities of the Day of Recompense. Whoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults on the Day of Recompense.”  Reported by al-Bukhari (2442) and this is his wording, and also Muslim (2580).
Quotes from the Scholars on Cooperation
❖ Ibn Taymiyyah said: “The life of Adam’s offspring and their residing in this worldly life is not complete without them aiding one another through it in speech - reports and otherwise - as well as action…”  al-Fatawa al-Kubra, Ibn Taymiyyah (6/364).
❖ Abu al-Hasan al-`Amri: “Cooperating towards righteousness incites agreement, and agreement incites establishing results and love among each other.”  al-Basa’ir wa al-Dhakha’ir, Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi (9/148). Categories of Cooperation
Cooperation towards righteousness and piety, like fighting for the sake of Allah, establishing penal laws, and fulfilling rights and giving it to those who deserve it. This is from what Allah and His Messenger commanded. Cooperation towards sin and transgression, like aiding one another to spill innocent blood, or forcefully taking undeserved wealth, or striking those who do not deserve it, and the like of that. This is what is prohibited by Allah and His Messenger.  al-Siyasah al-Shar`iyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah (p. 40). Benefits of Cooperation
Each person benefiting from the expertise of the other and their experiences in various fields. Showing strength and cohesion. Increases sincerity in working. Helps time management and efficiency in exertion. It is a fruit of sound Islamic brotherhood. Uplifting oppression from whoever it befalls. Facilitates confronting danger which one may find himself in. Ease in accomplishing large tasks and projects which a single person is unable to complete alone. Harms of Cooperating towards Sin and Transgression
Flips the order in society and helps to corrupt covenants. It opens the doors of evil, destroying pillars of truth thence allowing for the spread of falsehood. It highlights the lowliness and baseness of the one who commits it. It is a perfect proof for weak faith and lack of principles. It results in an evil end and a painful punishment. If society is moral, the one who undertakes it is isolated and rebuked. It facilitates transgression and oppression from the ruler. If it is wholly established in society, then it is a reason for its destruction. Rights are lost, and those who do not deserve a thing end up having it and vice versa.  Nadrat al-Na`im, authored by a number of researchers (9/4209). Forms of Cooperation
Cooperation in order to: Prepare militarily. Repel oppression. Be firm upon truth and holding steadfast to it. Call properly to Allah. Free the enslaved from their slavery. Marry the unmarried. Seek sacred knowledge and gain understanding therein. Relieve calamities of those in difficulties, and fulfilling the needs of the needy. Barriers to Acquiring Cooperation
Tribalism and clannishness. Following one’s doubts and false worries that this cooperation will benefit some as opposed to others. Selfishness, and not loving good for others. Individuals not taking part due to their being busy. Competition among individuals. Love of self, and love of appearance, uniqueness, and other egotistical pursuits. Envy of others. Having bad opinions of others. Means to Acquiring Cooperation  al-Ra’id Durus fi Tarbiyah wa al-Da`wah, Mazin al-Farih (1/223-225), with adaptation.
Getting to know one another. Muslims knowing the rights of other Muslims over them. Anticipating Allah’s reward. Developing the spirit of teamwork. Understanding the reality of the present. Purifying the self from its spiritual ailments. Sincerity. Mixing with others well. Examples of Cooperation from the Life of the Prophets and Messengers, Peace Be Upon Them, and the Companions
❖ When Ibrahim, peace be upon him, was commanded to build the Ka`bah, he stood to fulfill the commandment of his Lord and said to his son: “Isma`il, Allah has given me an order.” Isma`il said: “Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.” Ibrahim asked: “Will you help me?” Isma`il said: “I will help you.” Ibrahim said: “Allah has ordered me to build a house here,” pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.” Then, they raised the foundations of the House. Isma`il brought the stones and Ibrahim was building. When the walls became high, Isma`il brought this stone and put it for Ibrahim who stood over it and carried on building, while Isma`il was handing him the stones. Both of them were saying: “Our Lord, accept from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” al-Baqarah: 127. Then, both of them went on building and going round the Ka`bah saying: “Our Lord, accept from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” al-Baqarah: 127.  Reported by al-Bukhari (3364) from the narration of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, Allah be pleased with them both.
❖ al-Bara’ ibn `Azib, Allah be pleased with them both, said: “The Prophet ﷺ was carrying and moving earth on the day of the Trench until his abdomen was fully covered with dust. He would say: “By Allah, without Allah we would not have been guided, neither would we have given in charity, nor would we have prayed. So, descend tranquility upon us, and make our feet firm if we meet the enemy. The enemy has rebelled against us, and if they intend affliction, then we refuse to lose or flee, but will withstand them.” He ﷺ would raise his voice with the last word, saying: “Abayna! Abayna! (we refuse).”  Reported by al-Bukhari (4104) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1803).
❖ Anas ibn Malik, Allah be pleased with him, described a scene of cooperation among the Companions and their aiding one another in digging the Trench. He said: “The Emigrants and the Supporters started digging the trench around Madinah carrying the earth on their backs and saying: “We are those who have given a pledge to Muhammad, of Islam as long as we live.” The Prophet ﷺ kept on replying: “Allah, there is no good except the good of the Hereafter; so confer Your Blessings on the Supporters and the Emigrants."  Reported by al-Bukhari (2835) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1805).
❖ The Companions, Allah be pleased with them, cooperating in building the Mosque of the Prophet ﷺ.  Reported by al-Bukhari (428) and Muslim (524). Advice in Cooperation
❖ It is narrated that Aktham ibn Safiyy called his children when he was on his deathbed. He asked for arrows wrapped in a piece of string. He asked each of them to break them. No one could. He then undid it and told them to break it. They easily did so. He then said: “Be united, so that he who seeks to harm you from breaking you is foiled just as you were foiled.”  Sayd al-Afkar, Husayn Mahdi (2/135). Adages, Proverbs, Poetry in Cooperation
❖ “When a wrong is done, is when family comes to aid.” This is said to incite consolement and cooperation.
❖ “Does the falcon fly except with two wings?!” This is said to incite cooperation and agreement.
❖ “With both palms do the hands clap.” This is struck as an example for two persons aiding each other to accomplish a matter.
❖ “The virtue of farmers is cooperating in labour. The virtue of businessmen is cooperating in wealth. The virtue of kings is cooperating in opinions and politics. The virtue of scholars is cooperating in wisdom.”
❖ The poet says:
“But for collaboration among the people no soul would
be honoured, nor would land be adorned with buildings.”
❖ Shawqi said:
“Cooperation is a lofty strength -
It builds men and innovates things.”