Still Working For Allah
Some Frequently Asked Questions
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
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Here now are some questions about Still Working for Allah that may be in the minds of many people. I have tried to answer them in as simple and direct a manner as I could. You can see how the twin-theme of continuity and change runs through them all.
Q. Why the word “Still”? Why are you saying “Still” Working for Allah? Should we, for some reason, not have been working for Allah?
A. I do it for a number of reasons. I do it in part to draw attention to all that has happened in the world – and in the lives of Muslims – since September 11, 2001. The Muslim world is in tatters; Muslim morale everywhere is at an all-time low; and the Muslims are in retreat on almost all fronts in the West. This may demoralize Muslims and discourage them from working for Allah.
It is time to let Muslims know that working for Allah is an ongoing and never-ending process. It never stops. If it did, the world will come to a standstill. The world may change all it wants, but a Muslim’s commitment to work for Allah never changes.
There is also a time and cultural element involved in why I use the word “Still.” The Muslim nation is 1400 years old. That is a long time for someone to be working for Allah or to be doing just about anything else.
In this long march of history, people often tend to forget who they are or what they ought to be doing – or how. As a result, not all Muslims today have an equally clear idea of what it is to be working for Allah; nor do they all have an equal commitment to it.
Therefore, it strikes me as important that we make this clear to all of us: What does it really mean to be a Muslim in every age and place? What does it mean to be working for Allah in Place-x at Time-t? For, we often talk about these things but not always make the meaning of what we say clear to others. I thought it was time to do it.
So, what I am saying here is that it may be 1400 years since we showed up on this earth as an Ummah – as a designated nation of self-styled and self-conscious slaves of Allah. Our job in this world was to work for Allah. And we did precisely that. And in doing so, in all modesty and with all possible humility, we changed the face of Allah’s world.
We replaced human bondage with liberty; tyranny with freedom; widespread human degradation with universal human dignity; universal female suffering and deprivation with equal male-female partnership in the struggle of life; and ignorance and slavery of the mind with knowledge and enlightenment.
We abolished the law and custom of primogeniture and made women partners with men in the process of inheritance.
We also replaced the world’s glamorization of and fascination with falsehood with a powerful passion for truth; drunken waywardness with sobriety and responsibility; and human fascination with the worship of a multitude of false gods with devotion to one God.
We also made marriage the way of the divine for all humans and introduced divorce as the last resort for exit out of a marriage that had broken beyond a reasonable hope for repair.
We taught the world tolerance and respect for other people’s faiths, customs, rights and dignity.
We made the leaders of other faiths and cultures full and equal partners in our own system of thought and belief. We made care, compassion and responsible conduct toward even animal and plant life a central part of our faith and culture.
We mandated smiling at our fellow-humans as a requirement of one’s devotion to God.
We did all this – much of this we ourselves have forgotten. But then it has been such a long time – 1400 years. Are we still plodding along? Are we still making the right noises and going through the right motions of working for Allah, old and tired, and hunted, harassed, hounded as we are, and buffeted as we are by the winds and forces of change around us?
I believe we still are, Mashallah! And the clearer we make this to others, the more people will be joining us in working for their master – God Almighty. Yes, still working for Allah – and it is a great feeling – Alhamdulillah.
What do we want in return? Not a thing!
All we want is for Allah’s slaves to recognize their true master and to work for him. We have no agenda of any kind beyond that. We crave neither power nor glory. We seek neither land nor wealth. We are after neither recognition nor reward.
We ask nothing of anyone except to say: Please go to your God and master and work for him. Please do, before it is too late, before his wrath overtakes you.
I also do it (use the word Still I mean) to let people – all people – realize that whether they are Muslims or not, whether they know it or not, and whether they are good workers for Allah or not, they are all still working for Allah.
People work for Allah in many ways – often, each in his or her own way. And Allah’s mercy is open and available to all of them – based on their motives and intentions, the methods they choose, and how well they perform their duties.
They are all Allah’s workers – Allah’s slaves – all human beings are, and all of Allah’s creation is. They all work for Allah – they do Allah’s bidding.
The fact is that to be born in this world – whether as a human being or as a worm – is to be a slave of Allah. And that is what slaves do: They all work for their master. That is the purpose of their existence.
Therefore, people may be ignorant or stubborn or arrogant or in denial all they want, the basic reality is that they are all still working for Allah. That is how Allah made this world – to work for him.
And in that world pretty much everyone works for Allah – some willingly; some not so willingly; some do it right, while some others make a mess of it. But they all work for Allah. The universe knows no other way.
That is why I put that word “Still” there – Still Working for Allah – to indicate that neither time, nor place nor circumstance is a reason for anyone not to work for Allah.
Q. All right, who should work for Allah?
A. You, of course. Who else?
Q. Who else should work for Allah?
A. Whoever else you can convince, persuade and influence through your efforts to work for Allah.
Q. Is that all it takes to work for Allah: me, myself?
A. Yes, that is all it takes. You – a team of one, an Ummat or a nation of one – are in the centre of the mission to work for Allah. That is the lofty status conferred upon you by your creator. Each one of you as an individual is the core of that work. That is where it all begins. That is the most important beginning – you and yourself.
The rest follows. It unfolds as you go. The road rises to meet you thereafter, if you work for Allah right, and if you stay the course.
If necessary, be a nation of one – Ibrahim, Alaihissalam, was. Become the beacon that beckons and guides humanity to a better way.
Q. Then what happens?
A. Then you start adding people to your original team of one. The Ummat grows. You do this by going on a recruiting mission as it were. You beg, plead, explain, argue and make your case – trying to make the case of Allah, for the sake of Allah, with the people of Allah. That is what I call your case, even though in reality it is Allah’s case you are making … and even though in reality you are little more than an errand boy – or girl – for Allah.
And you do so using the most beautiful and sublime of means. The finest words ever uttered. The nicest approach ever used. You thus win over minds and captivate hearts.
Soon, you have doubled yourself – now you are two, instead of one. Then you have a larger team. You have a group now. You have a Jama’at. The Ummat has grown and multiplied. This has been a most natural evolution and progression in your effort to work for Allah and, in the process, build a team that would work with you in this noble venture.
Q. How do you do that – go on a recruiting mission as you put it?
A. Simple. You do that by sharing with other people your ideas; your understanding; your love for Allah and for his creation; and your passion for making this world a better place for all. It is contagious. It catches on.
Q. What does working for Allah really mean if you are a regular, ordinary human being like most of us are?
A. Here is what it means: If you are an average human being, you should know that God made you to work for him.
You must know that the whole universe works for Allah, because it is designed and programmed to do so automatically. But as humans, we have been given a degree of choice. As humans we need to bend and direct that choice to work for Allah.
From this point of view, working for Allah means making a conscious choice and commitment to do so.
Q. What else? Could you elaborate on what you just said?
A. Yes. Stated differently, working for Allah – for all people – consists of two things:
One, doing your best to establish the Deen of Allah in your and your family’s life.
Two, doing your best to establish the Deen of Allah in the world.