Q. What happens if I don’t work for Allah?
A. Terrible things happen when you don’t work for Allah. It is bad news for all: for you as well as for the world. You and the world both go to hell – no matter how you interpret it. Literally or figuratively – but that is about the long and short of the story: hell and damnation, right here in this life as well as in the next life, life after death. A miserable life for you – and thereafter you become responsible for all the bad things that happen in the world.
Do you realize that your God has you under surveillance all the time? Do you understand that all kinds of recording devices are documenting every moment of your life on earth in the greatest of detail? And these include your own body parts – your own eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet and everything else?
On the Day of Judgment you will be called upon to account for every one of those moments that you were given on earth. How did you spend that time? How did you use the resources that were placed at your disposal – including your own body parts, for example? Doing whose work? Who did you work for when you lived and walked on Allah’s earth, breathed Allah’s oxygen, drank Allah’s water and ate Allah’s food?
There will be a trial in which your own body parts will testify against you. They will provide clear and detailed evidence about what you did or did not do with them in this world, about how you used and abused them. So no matter how much you may think you have a choice whether to work or not to work for Allah, in reality you don’t have much of a choice.
Q. Why is the world the way it is?
A. Because you are the way you are. That is how simple it is to answer that question. The world is the way it is because you don’t care. Because you have not lifted a finger to change it and make it better. Because you have accepted it the way it is.
Also, the world is the way it is because you have been working for the enemy – your own baser self and selfish ends, your own personal inclinations and propensities, your own Nafs. You have taken your own Hawa as your God, as your Ilah.
That means you pretty much do what your own heart desires and what your mind tells you to do. And you don’t really care about the world or about what Allah wants you to do. That is why the world is the way it is.
The world is also the way it is because you also work for your other enemy: Shaitan – the devil and his offspring – and because you let them run your life. Both of these are your natural enemies – your Nafs and your Hawa on the one hand and Shaitan on the other hand – and you spend all your efforts, energies and resources working for them, instead of working for Allah – instead of working to make this world better for all; and instead of trying to save people from their own meaner selves and from the devil and his offspring.
So, you are the reason the world is the way it is.
Q. What happens when I work for Allah?
A. This is what happens: You fill your own life – and you fill the lives of those around you and you fill Allah’s world – with Allah’s blessings. When you work for Allah, you change your own life. And, hopefully, you change the lives of those around you.
And you also change the world, no matter by how little. You fill them all with the blessings, mercy and love of Allah – Allah, who is your true owner and master, and who is also the true owner and master of the world.
From now on, what you need to bear in mind is one simple fact: When you work for Allah, so long as you live, you are Allah’s working warrior and his angel of mercy and love to the entire world, even if all you do is polish shoes in a street corner for a living.
When you die, you die a martyr, even if death comes to you in a hospital bed or as a homeless person under a bridge – so long as you are working for Allah.
Therefore, when you work for Allah, you are continually surrounded by Allah’s angels when you live; when you die, the angels pluck your soul and carry it to the highest abode in paradise with the greatest respect and fanfare, leaving behind a trail of perfume and light that fill the world.
What a glorious life, and what a glorious death, wouldn’t you say?
Q. Does working for Allah mean some sort of outreach effort? Is that what you have in mind?
A. It is both “out”reach and “in”reach. It is reaching out to others as well as reaching in, at the same time, to your own inner self. It is a difficult and unending struggle, as Iqbal puts it, to be continually in touch with your own inner self as well as with the external world with a view to improve both. No struggle could be harder or last longer.
It is this persistent and paramount struggle to be good in one’s own personal life and to do good in the world that is at the heart of what Islam calls Jihad. And it is this glorious, noble and divine concept of Jihad that the world has of late turned into anathema and packed with so much negative connotation – due in part to the foolishness, naiveté, inarticulation and helplessness of some if its own adherents and due also, in part, to the machinations and evil intentions of some of its enemies.
For at the most basic level, Jihad is the very stuff of human life. In fact, it is just another name for life. For Jihad, ultimately, is a human being’s struggle for a better life, both here in this world as well as in the next world. It is a human being’s struggle to find self as well as to find God – and do so by following a path of compassion and service to humanity.
Q. Do I work for Allah with Muslims or with non-Muslims?
A. You work with both. Begin where you are, and you will soon run into both of them, Muslims as well as non-Muslims. I myself would like to see Muslims give serious attention to non-Muslims in the Western world, especially the well to do and the well educated among them.
It makes me extremely unhappy that Muslims in the West focus such little attention on middle-class White non-Muslims, who constitute the bulk of the population in U.K., Europe and the United States. Don’t we as neighbors owe our neighbors anything at all?
Q. What do I do then – when I run into them, that is? What is the next step?
A. I will tell you exactly what it is. Nothing could be easier. That is how beautiful this system of life is that we refer to by the name of Islam. Working for Allah is simply another name for following Islam the way it was meant to be.
Working for Allah – Islam, that is – is so amazingly simple, so logical, so self-evident and so self-moving that every step you take in its path leads you automatically to the next step.
Therefore, your job when you work for Allah is to take people – whether Muslim or non-Muslim – where you find them, and in the condition and situation you find them, and help them to move forward a step or two in their quest to find Allah – one small step at a time.
Every step you take along this path will lead you to a new step that must be taken. Every person you meet and work with will open the way for you to meet and work with someone else.
The basic idea is, you make the effort, and Allah then will guide your steps along his path. You will be amazed how it all comes together before you even realize what is happening.
Q. What place should I choose for launching my working for Allah effort? I mean, where do I start? Should I do it at home, at work, in my street, in my neighborhood, in my community, or should I go far away to a place where no one knows me and then do my preaching to people there?
A. The answer is, all of the above. The idea is, do what you feel most comfortable doing. Start at that point then raise the level of difficulty incrementally as you go along. That means begin your work from a place you are most comfortable in.
Don’t worry what or where other people want you to do your work for Allah. You do it where you are most comfortable and how you know to do it.
Do all your research; gather and analyse all data and evidence you can; and use sound logic and reasoning. For all this is Islam. It is all part of what is called Hikmah in the language of Islam.
Then allow your intuition to have its say. Let your gut kick in with its two-cents’ worth. Then start your work from a site or venue or scene or situation that you think is the most logical, most promising and most indicated by your evidence, reasoning and intuition.
But, as you go along, keep learning and growing and raising the bar continually. Keep exploring and testing new ideas, possibilities and approaches to do Allah’s work.
That is the most important thing in your effort to work for Allah. And that is what Islam is all about.
Q. Is working for Allah all about preaching then?
A. It is about preaching and a lot more. It is about practicing what you preach. It is about going beyond words and actually doing things. It is about holding your peace and remaining silent, where silence would produce the best results. It is about showing the world in practice what it really means to be a slave of Allah in everyday life.
Above all, working for Allah is about commonsense. That is what the way of the Rasul of Allah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, was all about: commonsense.
So, you speak where speech will be the best. You hold your peace and stay quiet where to do that will be the best. And you act where action will be the best. You do what commonsense would suggest you should do.
In addition to this, working for Allah means reading the Qur’an and working hard to understand it; it is studying the Sunnah and the Hadith and working hard to fit your life into their mold; and it is working hard to seek knowledge however and from wherever you can.
That means working for Allah is loving and helping your neighbors, fellow-believers, fellow-workers and fellow-humans in every way you can.
It is fighting poverty, disease, hunger, ignorance, injustice, tyranny, corruption and cruelty no matter what their source and no matter what their target. And it is fighting for equality, dignity, liberty, fairness, compassion, respect, due process and social justice for all human beings and for all of Allah’s creation.
Working for Allah, thus, is patching a pothole in front of a neighbor’s house. It is removing a nail or a rock from the road so it will not cause a problem to anyone. It is helping an elderly person to carry the groceries to the car or to the house and helping that person to cross the street. And it is keeping the neighborhood and the city or the village or the town and the society clean and safe – for all.
At the lowest end of the scale, working for Allah is greeting people with a warm smile and treating them with respect, kindness and compassion. At the highest level, it is being prepared to sacrifice one’s own life in the pursuit of a better, nobler, safer, more dignified and more blessed life for others – both in this world and in the next world.
Other than that, working for Allah means being scrupulously honest in one’s dealings with others in both word and deed.
Working for Allah also is being a good parent, child, sibling, relative, neighbor, worker, supervisor, friend and human being.
Working for Allah is the care you show, the pain you suffer, the trouble you go through and the effort you undertake to help individuals to grow and change so that they will be able to recognize their true owner and master and will want to come forward and work for him.
Working for Allah is doing everything in your power, both as individuals and groups, to make Allah’s world a better place for all of Allah’s creation.
Working for Allah is also organizing and exercising leadership to produce deep and far-reaching social change, and to transform society and its economic, political, cultural, educational and other institutions, and the entire world, in keeping with the will, pleasure, laws and requirements of Allah, the true and only maker, owner and master of the world and all that there is in the world.
And doing so for no other reason or purpose whatsoever than to please him. And realizing, after every effort you are fortunate to make, how inadequate and wanting your effort has been compared to what is expected and required. And, as a result, after every good thing you manage to do, throwing yourself before Allah in abject humility and, with tears flowing, and in utter trepidation, begging his forgiveness for your paltry and flawed efforts and tainted motives.
In short, working for Allah is the expressway to reach Allah and his mercy. It is simply another name for being a Muslim, the way you are truly supposed to be, embracing all aspects of Islam, covering all aspects of life, and embracing them with all your heart. Even more fundamentally, working for Allah means to be a true and self-aware human being in a complete sense of that term.
So, in the final analysis, working for Allah means doing all that Allah want you to do as a human being and as a Muslim and doing it all the way he wants it done. This includes the following:
- Accepting Allah as your only true lord, master and owner and yourself as Allah’s slave.
- Accepting Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, as your teacher, leader and model.
- Accepting the Qur’an as your guide and inspiration in everything.
- Accepting the Sunnah of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and the Hadith as the basis of your actions and beliefs.
- Doing your best to carry out all that is required of you in the Qur’an and Hadith in your own life.
- Working diligently to establish the Deen of Allah on earth, as the Qur’an and the Hadith want you to do as a Muslim and as Allah’s loyal and dutiful slave.
- Doing all this with utmost love, gentleness, kindness, charity, compassion and sweetness toward everyone.
- And, above all, doing it all for no other reason than a purely unselfish love for God and his creation.
If you reject these things, then you are not working for Allah. That means you have in effect decided not to be a Muslim in any truly meaningful sense of that expression.
That is what working for Allah means. And that is what being a Muslim means.
Also, that is what that simple formula means – the one every Muslim recites so effortlessly and so often: La Ilaha Illa Allah. These are the four words that changed the world. And now you know exactly why and how they did that.
© 2010 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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