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A Perspective on Islamic Projects and Activities

DR.PASHA | March 11, 2006 | Section: Articles | 980 reads


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A Perspective on Islamic
Projects and Activities

Dr. Pasha

 

Different Kinds of Muslims

There shouldn’t be, but there are – many different kinds of Muslims. That is the nature of human life. And that is what happens to Islam when it leaves its heavenly abode in the divinely preserved and protected “tablet” of Lauh Mahfuz, as the Qur’an class it, and mixes with the earthly lives of ordinary humans.

Even though there is a most miraculously unified core of beliefs and behaviors that binds Muslims in one single Ummat or Millat or nation throughout the globe and throughout history, in practical everyday life Muslims remain a polyglot people with different views and different attitudes and ways of doing things.

As a result, different Muslims react to practical Islamic projects and in different ways.

Muslims Who Don’t Know Islam

There are those among Muslims that you can call “traditional Muslims” because of their adherence to the old and know ways of believing and doing things.

(a) Among them there are people who don’t really know much about Islam – and know it. That is, these people are aware of their lack of knowledge and understanding of Islam.

(1) Out of them, there are those who don’t care – and don’t want to learn.

Such people are not likely to be involved in practical Islamic efforts, projects and activities that may come their way. Even though no human being should ever be written off as a total loss, still for all practical purposes, they are a lost cause.

(2) And then there are those among them who do care – and want to learn.

These are the people who may want to get involved in various Islamic projects and activities – both to contribute and to learn. They are likely to provide a lot of bodies to the Islamic effort.

(b) Those “traditional” Muslims who don’t know or understand Islam very well – but think they do.

This is a group that may still want to get involved in various Islamic projects and activities. But this group will be able to benefit from these projects and or be useful to them only if it is willing to take a deep breath, realize that there are holes in their knowledge and understanding of Islam and are willing to learn and to retool.

Muslims Who Know Islam in Theory

(c) Those “traditional” Muslims who know Islam “in theory” – but don’t know it in practice, beyond what people call the usual “rituals” of Islam such as Salaah and Siyaam.

They don’t know or understand Islam as a matter of everyday living – covering the entire gamut of life.

Most Muslims fall in this category. Most practical projects are for them.

Practical Islamic projects should aim at showing them how Islam is actually a practical way of living – a Deen – that came down from Allah and how Islam is not what people call a “religion” – made up by human beings.

Non-Muslim Involvement in Islamic Activities

Non-Muslims who are here out of curiosity – to see how Islam could possibly connect with clean and safe neighborhood and environment.

This program is also respectful of their presence and curiosity.

Those Muslims and non-Muslims who are here merely to lend support to the local community’s effort at clean up, regeneration and development.

This program bids them a warm welcome and appreciates their support.

Those leaders, activists and workers in the community – both Muslim and non-Muslim – who are here as part of their routine involvement with the affairs of the community.

This program rejoices at their presence and involvement.

Islam – a Deen, not a Religion

Islam is a Deen from Allah. It is not a religion.

Islam is a complete set of instructions and models and methods on how people should their daily lives – as individuals; with their families; in their neighborhoods; in their communities; at the workplace; on their playgrounds; in their societies; and in the world at large.

That is why when you refer to Islam as “Religion” you are missing out on what it really is.

Islam Is about Relationships

Islam is about life. As a Deen, Islam teaches people about life – what it is and how to live it. And it is all about relationships in one’s life.

With God

Islam teaches that, more than anything else, life is about relationships.

And at the core of all possible relationships is the one with one’s creator, God Almighty.

When your relationship with God works well, everything else works well.

When this relationship goes bad, all other relationships go sour.

Then comes the relationship with people – at the top of which is the relationship of oneself with oneself.

Failure of most human beings to understand themselves as people lies at the root of their inability to live life to the fullest – and in the best possible way – the way life should be lived.

With People (with God’s Creation)

With oneself; with one’s family; with one’s friends and acquaintances; with one’s neighbors; with one’s relatives; and with chance encounters and total strangers.

Islam provides an integrated and not a fragmented view of reality.

From God to humans, to animals to plants to all animate and inanimate objects – those we know and those we don’t.

Eemaan Bilghaib is one of Islam’s first requirements. It means believing in a world that lies beyond the ability of our senses to fathom.

One Continuum – One Family

According to Islam, The whole universe is interconnected. In spite of its enormous diversity and range, it has one source, one origin, one destiny.

It is a continuum.

One family – under God.

Life in all its forms and manifestations is Umamun Amthaalikum – people and nations just like you.

Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji-‘oon.

From God do we all come and unto God shall we all return.

One Overarching Principle

This is an overarching principle that informs, organizes and guides our view of reality.

In such an integrated and cohesive universe, there are no strangers, no natural foes to be wiped out from the face of this earth.

Instead, each one here is on duty in a different capacity, all working for the same master – just doing different things.

As humans, we were created to manage this menagerie – this amazing diversity of existence. We were the custodians of the earthly domain: its caretakers and guardian angels.

All of human, animal and plant life was our jurisdiction.

The environment was our baby. Our sacred trust.

Common Responsibility

Every dying dog, murdered seal, over-hunted whale and ravaged rain forest was our concern – as was every hungry child, abused woman, jobless man and a human being in the grip of illness or adversity.

The world – and everything in it – was our common responsibility.

To be Muslim was to be able to understand the dynamics of these relationships – and then to play one’s role in moving them forward.

Theologizing and Clericizing Islam

Instead, we theologized and clericized Islam. Islam became a “religion” – like all the other religions in the world.

A divine system that was sent by God to manage the affairs of this world in an optimum, divinely guided way, became part of the problem which it was sent down to solve.

And Muslims became fugitives on the run from God’s justice.

Muslims turned their back on Islam, and God turned away from them.

They became the have-beens and have-nots of history. And the whole world turned against them.

And so did Allah.

Because they turned his Deen upside down. They reduced it to a “religion.”

Life: an Integrated Unit – So is Islam

Life is an integrated unit. All compartmentalization is based on convenience and division of labor. Reality is one.

That is the beginning of Tauheed in Islam – the idea of oneness: of God and of creation.

We need to understand that Islam provides an integrated and not a fragmented view of life.

That is why good Muslims can jump over trash and walk to Masjid – because they do not see the continuity of life as an integrated unit.

They fail to understand that if we cannot be good Muslims on our streets, then it is difficult for us to be good Muslims in our mosques.

That is why we ignore the cries of pain of young men and women in distress or on drugs and hold prayer vigils in mosques.

Solution

Start over.

Relearn Islam as a complete Deen….

And set about mending our ways…

As much as you can, get involved with the local Muslim community.

In whatever way you can, get involved with the local non-Muslims community.

Make the place you live a place worth living….

Show the pride of ownership of the earth that God gifted you.

Act like you are Allah’s managers on earth.

Be responsible for everyone and everything – from the nearest to the farthest neighbor. From the closest relative to the one who is a total stranger and only related to you through the common drop of Adam’s blood.

Learn to care for them; learn to be accountable for them; work for them; sacrifice and suffer for them.

Learn to treat all of the universe as one integrated unit.

You will then know what it is to be a Muslim.

For, that is what Islam is all about!

END

© 2006 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

 

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