Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology
Goals, Aims and Objectives for a Course
on Working for Allah
Let us now set some clear goals and objectives for ourselves in this seminar and camp. You notice I am calling this variably a seminar, a camp and now both. To me a camp is structured toward directing the activities of campers in a certain direction. To some degree – a lesser degree – that is one of my goals.
A seminar to me carries a broader implication of debate and discussion. It is geared more toward opening people’s minds and making them think and ask questions. That remains my primary objective. For that to me is where the meaning of human life truly lies; that is where Islam begins; and that is one of our weaknesses in the Muslim communities. So, this gathering is to me a little bit of a camp and a lot of seminar – but it is both.
What are our goals? Why are we gathered here today – around this watering hole so to speak? And I include in this those of us at the delivery side of the program as well as those of us at the receiving end of it. We are one crowd, one group, one team and one people. We are one Ummah, but beyond clichés and in the real sense of that awesome expression.
That means we are one body whose sorrows and pains are one and whose joys and rejoicings are one; whose triumphs and successes are one and whose defeats and failures are one. If we learn nothing else from this camp-seminar, I would go home a fairly satisfied man. In fact, if we learn this lesson, there may not be much else left for us to learn. Life thereafter will be, as they say, smooth sailing. In fact, it is a great blessing that Allah confers on those he pleases.
Often, Muslims do not set clear goals for their activities and programs. Islam, on the other hand, is all about goal setting and targeting. It is about cost benefit analysis. It is about marshaling resources and forecasting outcomes. This is part of the culture change I would like to see happen among Muslims around the world, not the least among Muslims in the societies of the Golden Triangle of Islam in the West.
So, other than developing a sense of closeness and solidarity with one another, what are some of our other goals? Let me list some here. We will try to study and understand as many of them as our time will permit. We will also try to achieve as many of them as we can. What we cannot study now, we will study later. What we cannot achieve now, we will try to achieve later. Inshallah! Things are in his hands. He will do what pleases him. May he do what is best for us – and for his world! And may he be pleased with us.
a) Understanding – Fahm. Understanding is key to Islam. One of our goals, therefore, should be to make a serious and concerted effort to further our understanding of the following:
- The meaning of working for Allah: What does it really mean?
- The reason for working for Allah: Why should I work for Allah?
- Some tools and techniques of working for Allah: How do I do it?
- Some impediments to working for Allah: What is holding us back?
b) To develop a fairly clear answer to the following questions:
Should I or should I not work for Allah? If yes, why?
If not, why not?
c) To meet and get to know other Muslims and develop a positive, respectful, sincere and cooperative relationship with them based on our love for Allah and his Deen and based on the sheer joy of being with fellow-believers and fellow-humans.
d) To spend a couple of days in an environment of mutual respect, love and cooperation with a group of other Muslims.
e) To make a positive contribution to the learning and growth of others and to the overall success of the camp-seminar.
f) To actively help to create an environment of positive energy, enthusiasm, respect and learning for all.
g) To understand better the meaning, implications, aspects and dimensions of leadership, following, organization, Islamic work, activities and projects.
h) To understand better the difference between an organization and an overall movement in relation to working for Allah.
i) To understand better how to play an active and leadership role in working for Allah.
j) To develop a greater sensitivity to the need for setting rational and practical priorities in working for Allah.
k) To learn to analyze and understand the environment, society and the world in relation to working for Allah.
1) To understand more clearly the role of reason and common sense in human life and in working for Allah.
m) To set and observe the highest standards of cleanliness, organization, courtesy, cooperation, respect and service throughout.
n) To develop a somewhat clearer and deeper understanding of what Islam is and what it means to be a Muslim.
o) To appreciate the need to make the Dhikr of Allah a central part of our daily life and activities.
p) To make Dua a key aspect of our daily life and activities.
q) To make Istighfar an important part of our daily routine.
r) To make Taubah a basic goal of our life.
s) To make attainment of Taqwa a major goal of our life.
t) To make Ihsan the standard in all our activities.
u) To develop a clearer understanding of the Deen of Islam as a whole.
v) To work to develop a certain level of commitment to work for Allah.
w) To develop a clearer understanding of the nature of the world, the society, the community, the neighborhood and the environment in which we live and work for Allah.
x) To develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the incredible beauty and wonders of the Qur’an, the Hadith and of the Deen of Islam as a whole.
y) Te celebrate the joy of being Muslims together.
z) To realize the need for developing a greater love for Allah and his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
aa) To develop a greater respect, regard, appreciation and love for Qur’an, Hadith and Sunnah.
bb) To wonder aloud about what possible role science, reason, common sense, logic, evidence and such other standard tools of human life play in working for Allah?
cc) To take note of the wonderful contributions made by Qur’an, Hadith and Muslims to world civilization and culture.
dd) To develop an appreciation of the extent to which good and noble human and divine values and practices are shared among world cultures and peoples – Muslim as well as non-Muslim.
ee) To identify some of our weaknesses and mistakes as Muslims and consider ways of setting them right.
ff) To develop a clear sense of direction, focus and priorities for our work for Allah including the need for us to reach out to the so-called middle classes in the West, not the least the White populations.
gg) To return as better Muslims than we entered – better informed; with clearer understanding of Islam as well as our work for Allah; and with greater determination to turn a new leaf in our adherence to Allah’s commands.
hh) To return as better human beings than we entered – with a clearer understanding of what we owe other humans in our midst and with a greater commitment to do our duty in this regard.
ii) To better understand that Islam is about human dealings and that unless our speech and conduct become truly characterized by honesty, integrity, consideration, compassion and solicitude for our fellow humans – both Muslim and non-Muslim – we have missed the boat on Islam, no matter how much we pray and fast.
jj) To return more deserving of Allah’s mercy, love, compassion, grace and forgiveness than we entered – not that we ever deserve anything he gives us.
These are some of the goals I want us to work to achieve. The fact that there are so many of them should not discourage us. They are all reducible to four simple words – or syllables – or La Ilaha Illa Allah. All I have done is worked out some of the details.
Wa Ma Taufiqi Illa Billah Alaihi Tawakkaltu wa Ilaihi Uneeb.
END OF CHAPTER 12
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology
© 2003 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.