Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology
Still Working for Allah -
Grace from Above and a Promise of Help from Allah
All this is wonderful – all that I have said thus far – and, hopefully, quite a bit of it is valid, Inshallah. But we have not yet zeroed in on the one element that is the most important one of all in working for Allah: grace from above.
It is true God has given us free will. So he says. And so, as a result, we believe. He has given us – poor, foolish us! – the powers of choice and of making decisions. It is also true he has given us the powers of reasoning and understanding. There is considerable evidence of that.
There is also no denying the fact that some of us have spent a lifetime looking, searching, agonizing and examining alternatives – until finally we decided that working for Allah was the answer. We could have been doing so many different things, but – instead, or in addition to, or at the same time, we are doing this – working for Allah that is.
Consider this, we could have merely been lawyers, doctors, professors, carpenters and bricklayers; butchers, bakers and candlestick makers; taxicab drivers, ship captains and airplane pilots; wives, husbands, children, neighbors and friends; citizens and community and social workers; and all that human beings generally are. And that is all we would have been. But now we are all that and more. We are now, in addition to all these things, those who still work for Allah. We are now those who are – in addition to everything I said above – still working for Allah.
But correct that. Did I say “in addition to”? I was just trying to explain something. Otherwise, working for Allah is not “in addition to”; it is not “in lieu of”; it is not “over and above”; it is not “instead of”; it is the same thing as all of the things I have listed above – and everything else that human beings do in this world. It covers everything that people do in the pursuit of their personal, private, public, social, political, economic and cultural aims, objectives and agendas in life – provided it is lawful and peaceful; provided it is Halal and permissible in Islam; provided it is meant to help and serve humanity; provided it is based on the Qur’an; provided it fits the model of life exemplified by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam; and provided it is undertaken purely for the sake of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Here is a model of this concept in the Qur’an – going back thousands of years. It is from the life of that great man and Rasul, Allah’s friend, Ibrahim, Alaihissalam – the man the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims all hold in such great esteem. Here is what Ibrahim Alaihissalam says, as Allah himself quotes him in the Qur’an:
Inna Salaati wa Nusukee Wa Mah-yaaya wa
Mamaatee Lillahi Rabbil 'Aalameen.
La Shareeka Lah, Wa Bi-Dhaalika Umirtu
Wa Ana Awwalul Muslimeen (Surah Al-An’aam).
Without a doubt, my worship, my prayer, my
sacrifice, my life and my death are all for
Allah, the master of the worlds!
He has no partners or associates. This is what
I have been commanded to do. And I am the
first to submit (6:162,163).
So, this is what working for Allah comes down to in the final analysis – a single-minded focus on doing Allah’s work on Allah’s earth, even as we go about pursuing our own worldly objectives. A pat on the back at this stage would be perfectly in order. But that is where we should leave it – a gentle and quick pat on the back. Then – very speedily – we need to move on to a different question: How did this come about – how did it happen that we decided to or ended up working for Allah?
There are all kinds of things that may be said in answer. For one thing, we were fortunate to have good Muslim parents – so did the son of Nuh, Alaihissalam. And so do tens of millions of other Muslims around the world. We are in fact quite smart – that is why we are still working for Allah. But so perhaps are all those tens of thousands of people in vaunted portals of smartness and learning such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell and Stanford.
Missing in all this is one simple thing: The real reason why you and I may be working for Allah – that is, consciously and voluntarily – is because Allah himself showered us with his grace and mercy. It was his mercy that beckoned to us and chose faulty, flawed and unworthy individuals and groups such as ourselves to carry his torch in modern times, in newer surroundings. It is due to the grace of God Almighty and his grace alone that you and I are today in this business of working for Allah. There is no other reason for it.
Let us beg him that he will not take that grace and that mercy away from us:
Rabbana La Tuzigh Quloobana, Ba’da Idh
Hadaitana, Wa Hab Lana Mil-Ladunka
Rahmah Innaka Antal Wahhaab (Surah
Our master! Do not let our hearts go astray
after you gave us guidance and bestow upon
us mercy from you …(3:8)
So, it is not us, it is him. It is not our smarts; it is his grace and mercy. It is not our parents and teachers and schools, but it is our master himself whose mercy and grace overtook us. This, therefore, is not the time for us to be proud and arrogant; it is the time for us to be humble and grateful. It is not the occasion for us to be contemptuous of those who may be different – those who may not be doing what we are doing, thinking what we are thinking or speaking our language – it is the occasion for us to realize that but for the grace of God, we could have been in any of those places where the others are. And for those who still don’t get it, Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, says (in paraphrase):
Human heart is between Allah’s two fingers.
He changes and turns it as he pleases.
As a result, if we had any sense or understanding, every time we looked at ourselves we would be terrified at the prospect that Allah may at any time change our heart – and we could end up as perfect fools. We would therefore look at others and think maybe that person is better than me. For I don’t know who that person is or what he does. I don’t know what simple good he may have done, or his parents may have done (Read the story of Musa, Alaihissalam, in Surah Al-Kahf, 18: 82) – unknown to the world – on account of which Allah may have decided to forgive his sins and send him to paradise, or bestow upon him the treasures of this world.
If we truly understood the nature of this world, and the role of Islam in it, and our own role as human beings and as Muslims, and if we possessed any understanding of how Allah works in his world, we would look at every non-Muslim and see a potential Muslim – as someone who is but a hair’s breadth away from paradise, for, all he has to do is embrace Islam by saying the four words of La Ilaha Illa Allah! We would at the same time look at ourselves and see – Ma’adhallah! – a potential Kaafir or Fasiq or Zindeeq or Munafiq or Murtadd – a person in grave peril of being lost and damned and thrown into hellfire.
If we did not live in constant fear of Nifaq – fear of being considered a hypocrite by Allah; someone whose heart is not really attuned to Iman; someone whose actions belie his professions of faith – then there is something seriously wrong with our Iman. Allah’s Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, made it plain that a person may live his whole life like a Muslim, but then at the end die the death of a Kaafir, and vice versa. This Islam is nothing if not plain and clear-cut. Allah and his Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did not leave much to our imagination. Allah and his Rasul made everything plain and simple and clear for the meanest intelligence to see and grasp.
Kaafir is a person who, after repeatedly having been presented the message of Islam and the invitation to accept it, knowingly, willfully, deliberately, persistently, wickedly, maliciously and contemptuously rejects it. Fasiq is one who is given to a life of sin and transgression. Zindeeq is one who has knowingly and willfully gone out of the fold and who persists in defying Allah’s commands. Murtadd is one who rejects faith after being a part of it.
So if you are still and really working for Allah, there can be no room for arrogance, conceit, complacency in your heart or in your life or in your behavior or in your attitude. This is the golden key to successfully working for Allah – over and above everything else.
Now read Aayah 17 of Surah Al-Hujuraat, 49:
Yamunnoona 'Alaika An Aslamoo. Qul La
Tamunnoo 'Alayya Islamakum. Balillahu
Yamunnu 'Alaikum An Hadaakum Lil Iman …
They consider it a favor to you that they
embraced Islam. Say to them, you did not do
me any favor. On the contrary, it was Allah
who did you a great favor by guiding you to
Iman. It is he who put faith in your hearts
That is really the long and short of the story of working for Allah. Let us now, therefore, start the scramble to the gate of his mercy – wherever it may be and however it may be reached. All else is an exercise in futility.
That gate is being held open for us. And there is a call that has gone out to those who believe saying that Allah is looking for people to help him. He is ready to make apostles of believers who help him as he did with those who helped Jesus, son of Mary, may Allah bless them both.
Ya Ayyuhalladheena Aamanoo Koonu Ansarallah! . . ..
O those who believe! Become Allah’s helpers …
The way Jesus, son of Mary, said to his friends
and companions: Who among you would be my
helpers in the journey to Allah? The companions
said, we will be Allah’s helpers… (61:14).
And in response Allah offers us a very fair, equitable and generous deal: his help to us for our help to him. Listen to him in the Qur’an:
In Tansurullaha Yansurkum (Surah Muhammad).
If you help him, he will help you (47:7).
What better deal, Muslim or non-Muslim, want from God – or from anyone else: Your help for my help?
END OF CHAPTER 44
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.