Why Do Muslims Write?
And Give Speeches?
(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?)
Writing and Speech Giving
Muslims have writers.
And Muslims have speakers. I like to call them Speech Givers.
Just like everyone else does -- all the non-Muslims of the world included.
I am guilty on both counts. Except that when it comes to speech giving, I am in cease-and-desist mode. I am in recovery.
Much to the chagrin and disappointment of some of those who love me. My wife, for example.
"You used to give such wonderful speeches," she never stops saying to me.
Why Do We Write and Give Speeches?
Maybe I did. But it has been a while ago.
And it has been a long walk back. It started when I started to ask myself: Why?
Why this speech? With this topic?
At this time? To this audience?
Who picked the topic? For what particular reason?
Who is listening? With what motives and intentions?
And what is likely to be the effect -- the outcome of what I am doing?
Slow and Painful Answers
Answers did not exactly leap out at me from every wall and window. They were slow in coming.
And quite painful and excruciating.
They followed Allah's pace in giving them. Not my own desperate need for having them.
Slaves, Not Servants
And that is how it is with Allah: he does things his way, not your way. He does not exactly follow your commands and behests and directives and instructions.
That is because he is Rabb -- Master. And we are nothing but his Abd (Ibaad) -- Slaves.
Slaves, mind you, not Servants, as Yusuf Ali translates the word Abd in his masterful English translation of the Qur'an.
Allah bless Yusuf Ali. What a wonderful translation he wrote. But he has trouble with the word "Slave."
He prefers the expression Servant.
Servants Work for Wages, Slaves Don't
Poor Yusuf Ali.
Slaves are wholly owned. And that is who we are: God made us; God owns us.
Servants come to you of their own choice. They use an ad or word of mouth to come to you.
And they generally have a contract of some kind. At least a verbal one.
At least an understanding of some sort.
And they work for wages, which they can negotiate.
And they are free to go when they wish. If they don't like the job, for example.
They can always go and find another employer.
Poor slaves! None of this for them.
They just do what they are told. And take what they are given. Till death doth them part from their Master. Or till the Master chooses to sell them off to someone else.
If people only understood this, how wonderful their lives will be!
Allah's Pace of Doing Things
As for Allah's pace of doing things, the closest English expression that comes to mind is: INSTANTANEOUS.
He wants something to happen. He says to that thing: Be!
And there it is.
That is how it is with Allah. All the time. Every time.
With regard to everything.
All Delay Is From Us, Not from Allah!
That means all the delay in "getting" things comes from us. All that time that it seems to take, it comes from the receiver-end -- us, not him.
For him, past, present, future, it is all the same.
He is Rabbul Aalameen.
He is the maker of these things: time, space, objects, events.
He is not a creature and prisoner of them. He is not bound and regulated by them -- as we are.
Muslim Writers and Speech Givers Beware!
Muslim writers write.
And Muslim speakers give speeches.
But here is one question -- or a whole lot of questions -- Muslim writers and speakers must constantly ask themselves.
As for non-Muslim writers and speakers, I don't know what they should do. Maybe they should be asking the same questions too.
But as for Muslim writers and speakers, here is what they should be worrying about -- all the time:
Why do we write or speak what we do?
What is the purpose behind what we speak and write?
What is the real motivation?
What is really driving our efforts?
What is it that we really hope or expect to gain from our writings and speeches?
Qur'an Is the Reason!
And here is why this question -- or this set of questions taken together -- is important: The Qur'an.
Qur'an is the reason why we must ask all these questions -- all the time.
The Qur'an does not allow us much wiggle room, as it were, when it comes to these things.
Or to anything else, when it comes to that.
The Qur'an tells us we are on candid camera, as it were, all the time.
The Qur'an warns us that every word we say -- or write I suppose -- will be taken down.
We will then be called upon to give a full accounting for each and every word that we ever uttered -- or wrote.
A full and satisfactory explanation.
Questions and Even More Questions
That means we need to have our explanations -- and answers -- ready for all the questions like the ones below:
Why did we say -- or write -- what we did?
And the way we said -- or wrote -- it?
Why did we choose the words we did?
Why did we adopt the tone we did?
Why did we prefer to go with the medium we did?
And why did we select the time and the place we did?
And why this particular audience -- as opposed to all the others?
And why this particular topic -- as opposed to all the other topics in the world?
Even More Questions
And there are even more questions where these came from:
Who sponsored the event in which we spoke?
Or the organ or portal or platform for which we wrote?
With what motives and purposes?
Where did the money come from?
Who is going to benefit from our efforts?
Who expects what kind of gain from this?
Questions, questions, questions. That is what the life of a Believer is: unending questions.
For, the Believers -- men and women both -- carry the burden of the world on their shoulders.
The least they should do is have a satisfactory explanation for what they do in this world.
The Qur'an Speaks
That is why I feel Muslim writers and speech-givers must come to terms with this reality of their situation. And they must discover within themselves the right answers for these questions.
The reason they must do so are the following Aayaat of the Qur'an -- among countless other reasons that there are:
1. Maa Yalfizu Min Qawulin Illaa Ladaihi Raqeebun 'Ateed (50:18).
"Not a word does he utter but in the presence of a most watchful, vigilant observer willing, able and ready to write down and record everything."
2. Wa Rusulunaa Ladaihim Yaktuboon (43:80).
"And our agents are right there with them writing down everything they are saying and doing."
Silence Is Not an Option
Nor is silence -- not speaking when and what and how we must -- an option for Muslims.
Or for people of conscience and commitment from any other faith background.
Nor is it an option not to write what we must -- and how and when.
So, Muslims, you can say, are really in a bind.
Loose writing and purposeless speaking is not an option for you. And speaking and writing to serve and advance your own personal ends and purposes, often to the detriment of others and the world in general, is not an option for you.
Nor, sadly, is silence an option for you, Muslims.
That means, Muslims, you have nowhere to run and hide -- from being Muslims.
And from doing your duty as Muslims.
In every place.
And in every situation and context.
What Is the Moral Then?
So, the moral is this:
- Muslims must always choose their words carefully, whether in writing or in speaking.
- Muslims must carefully sift and sort and develop the ideas and thoughts that inform and populate their written and spoken words and expressions.
- Muslims must always question and be skeptical of their motives and intentions. That means whether in writing or in speaking, Muslims must always proceed from the best of reasons.
What a Hadith!
The world does not have anything like the Hadith.
The world does not know what a Hadith is.
Here is just one Hadith -- so clearly and directly related to what we are talking about here -- that the world can curl up with for the rest of its natural life -- all the eons (billions of years) to come.
Allah's Prophet, Nabiy Karim, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said:
"Intentions drive and give meaning to actions."
Innamal A'amaalu Binniyyaat!
What the World Owes Islam -- and Muslims!
And Nabiy Karim, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
This Hadith is in Bukhari Sharif. And Hazrat Umar is the source of that most noble and glorious Hadith.
What a Hadith! What a source!
And what a book to cite that Hadith from: the Most Authentic Collection of Hadith by Bukhari -- al-Jaami' Al-Sahih.
If Islam -- and if Islam's noble Prophet, Nabiy Karim, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and if Muslims by extrapolation -- had given the world nothing beyond this one simple Hadith, with its three Golden initial words, the entire world will still be in their debt -- forever.
This is just a tiny little glimpse of what the world owes Islam -- and Muslims.
And Nabiy Karim, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Rahmatul Lil 'Aalameen!