What Gods and Ilaahs Do We All Worship?
Some Pointers about How We Do Our Work
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
(Like practically everything we write, this piece too is in need of revising, revisiting and editing)
Consolidation and Expansion
Those of us who think we are Working for Allah, we should not forget that our job always is twofold – among all the other billion ways and approaches and “folds” that matter in this regard.
For, our work is infinitely multifold – and it never stops at a point, and it never ends.
- Consolidation and strengthening of what we achieve up to a particular point in time.
- Expansion of work and inclusion of new people, areas and activities from wherever we can.
Both Local and Global
And our approach in all this should always be both local and global.
As Muslims, we should always be clear in our minds that in Islam nothing is too local or too global to merit or not to merit our attention – and our effort.
As the Qur'an says, Allah is:
Rabbus Samaawaati wal Ard.
The creation is all Allah's domain. And, therefore, as his Khaleefah or Representatives on earth, the entire creation of Allah is our lawful jurisdiction.
As Muslims, the buck stops with us – as it were.
Nothing Is Too Small
And at the same time, Allah also keeps tabs, as the Qur'an points out so clearly, on every atom of work that anyone does and delivers.
Wa Man Ya'mal Mithqaala Dharratin Sharran Yarahu!
Our Work Has Issues
We seem to have an issue so far as our work is concerned that we need to address in a serious way. Many people we train run and hide from visibility on e-mail, whatever their reasons.
And many of them seem to avoid taking initiative and personal responsibility in advancing Allah's work forward in an organized and disciplined way. This is what I have called elsewhere "Orphanizing Islam."
Leadership Role in “Orphanizing” Islam
Those in the leadership in Working for Allah should not accept this trend without an effort to address it. If they do, they too would become part of the "Orphanizing Islam" process.
And for anyone one of us that is a most terrible place to be.
Don’t Destroy Each Other’s Morale
If nothing else, it is totally destructive of the "morale" of others, what these people do, even though Muslims are not used to talking about "morale." But morale is a very real thing in human life.
And just because we all invoke the name of Islam in our work – Working for Allah as we call it – does not mean we are immune to the rise and fall of morale in our lives.
For, it is the nature of morale – call it Iman if you want – to go up and down.
There is a Hadith Sharif attributed to Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that says:
Al-Imanu Yazdaadu wa Yanqusu!
Iman (call it morale if you wish) rises and falls.
Iman goes up and down.
Iman increases and decreases.
These People Hurt the Work and Coworkers
So, when people run and hide, whatever their reasons, they hurt this work – Allah’s Work.
And they hurt their fellow-workers: this Community of Coworkers for Allah.
They need to realize that. And they need to take responsibility for what they are doing – or not doing.
Ibaadaat Are No Excuse for Running and Hiding
And all the Qur'an readings and Khatms – and all the Ibaadaat (plural) – behind which such people may hide and take refuge cannot be taken as substitutes for the real work – the work of Working for Allah. They are still runaways and fugitives.
Mincing words to shield such people, and appearing to minimize or condone their actions, and trying to spare their feelings as it were, jeopardizes the work – the Work of Allah.
Compromises Everybody and Their Work
It compromises the leadership. And makes us all participants and accomplices in what they do.
And, furthermore, it denies these people the opportunity to see the error of their ways and to repent and return to the fold as it were.
And it stops the work from growing and from finding new directions in which Allah wants to take it. And all the time, it makes the condition of these people worse.
Hiding in Islam from Islam
So, running and hiding in things like Qur'an reading, and in various Ibaadaat of their own choice, is no substitute for getting out in the field and Working for Allah.
From hustling for Allah as it were – and for Allah's Deen and for Allah's creation!
It is, as we pointed out a long time ago, hiding in Islam from Islam.
Cannot Rob a Bank to Do Charity Work
Otherwise, it is a bit like a robber holding up a bank and using that money to distribute Zakaat to the poor.
The Qur'an does not mince words – the same Qur'an these people think they are reading. Allah asks just what do they think they are doing?
And then Allah calls them Zaalim and warns that there is no way such people can find guidance. And there is no way they can have access to the right path.
Check this Aayat Kareemah below in Surah Tawubah – Aayah 19, Surah 9.
In fact, read all of Surah Tawubah. No Muslim – no human being – should be without reading Surah Tawubah.
And those Working for Allah should read it over and over and over.
Along with all the rest of the Qur'an.
Surah 9: Aayat 19!
So, here is Aayah 19 in Surah Tawubah (Surah 9) – but go check it out in the Qur'an:
A-Ja'altum Siqaayatal Haajji wa 'Imaaratal Masjidil Haraami
Ka Man Aamana Billahi wal Yawumil Aakhir
wa Jaahada Fee Sabeelillah?
Laa Yastawoona Indallahi!
Wallahu Laa Yahdil Qawumaz Zaalimeen!
The Three People Who Were Left Behind
In the same Surah (9) Tawubah, read also the story of the three individuals who were left behind: From Aayat 118 on to the end of the Surah.
Wa Alath Thalaathatil Laadheena Khullifoo…
Where Does Understanding Qur’an Fit into Any of This?
Is anyone asking where understanding of the Qur’an fits into all this?
Those who are doing the Khatm, any number of them, are they devoting any time and spending any effort in trying to learn the meaning of what they are reading?
In trying to read the translations of the Qur’an that is that may be available?
Is that not one of our most serious and urgent and pressing responsibilities?
This is not to belittle the readings per se. This is to remind all of us that the reading of the Arabic is merely the beginning – the prelude – and by no means the end.
Especially for non-native speakers of the Arabic language.
When It Comes to Qur’an,
Reading Means Understanding – Well, Also!
When it comes to the Qur’an, reading also means understanding the meaning of what you are reading. Even though reading, with or without understanding, carries its own rewards.
Those who know the Arabic language have a natural advantage in this regard. When they read Arabic, they understand what they are reading.
But those of us who do not know Arabic language, we have a double duty to do: we have to learn to read the Qur’an in original Arabic – and never in English or some other Transliteration.
And then no sooner do we get our reading right, we have to start paying attention to the meaning of what we are reading. For, the Qur’an came not only to be read, but also to be understood.
A Perspective on Reading the Qur’an
When no one knew how to read the Qur’an, we tried to teach them that. And by the Grace of God Almighty we were blessed with success in that effort.
But once people – let us call that a critical mass of some kind – have learned that component, should they not go to the next logical step forward and start exploring ways on how to begin understanding the meaning of what they are reading?
Or is that Rocket Science?
Go Back to the Drawing Board
Maybe the time has come for us to go back to the drawing board a bit. Which, of course, we must keep doing all the time.
In Islam, like in all really living and vibrant enterprises, retooling is an ongoing thing and not a dead cliché.
So, all the people we train, what do we do wrong in our training methods that the moment our recruits are able to fly, they desert the coop and we never see all too many of them again, unless powerful bonds of family, friendship and economic incentive and self-interest are invoked?
Should we all be asking: What Gods and Ilaahs We Worship?
Or should we all just pick up the Qur’an and read Aayat 24 of the same Surah At-Tawubah – and this time with translation:
Qul In Kaana Aabaa-ukum…