Why I Write:
Working for Allah Series -- Whatever the Number!
(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?)
This Safar 1438 -- coinciding with November 2016 -- I ask myself: Why Do I Write?
Of course, there are a lot of reasons why people write. And I am no exception.
Human beings, almost all of them, are quintessential creatures of Mixed Motives.
Maybe that is why the Hadith Sharif if so clear -- and so emphatic:
Innamal A'maalu Bin-Niyyaat!
"Your actions are worth only the intentions that lie behind them."
"The worth and value of your actions can only be determined
in the light and context of the motivations from which they arise,
and that, thereafter, drive and guide them."
So, fair question: Why Do I Write?
Here is one reason that I want to pinpoint and explain today. And that I want all those working with us to understand very clearly.
All those who are our colleagues and Co-Workers in this self-stated and self-appointed mission of Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It -- and Which One Does Not?
So, let me explain why I write.
Islam in our days is a stranger. Just like Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, predicted it would become.
Bada-al Islamu Ghareeban,
Wa Sa-Ya-oodu Kamaa Bada'!
"Islam began as a stranger.
And a day will come when it shall return to being a stranger."
We are living and experiencing that prophesy in our time today and in our own life. In our day-to-day encounters with the world -- and with each other.
And that means very few of us really understand what Islam is. And that includes what the Qur'an is and what the Hadith is.
And that, believe it or not, also includes understanding what our world really is like and how we should all live and act in that world using Islam and Qur'an and Hadith as our guides and our radar and our compass.
And if we don't understand any or all of this stuff, the point of so-called "practicing" any of it becomes moot.
No, I am not saying no one reads their Salaah properly. But do we really do it all right?
How many of us do our Rukoo' right? How many read their Surah Faatihah right?
How many of us can read our Qur'an right -- using the original Arabic script in the Mushaf, and without resorting to Transliteration, in English or some other foreign language, which I consider to be Haraam?
As a result, we need someone who will explain some of these things to us and provide clear and simple answers to some of the questions that we have raised above.
Especially, what does Islam mean at the present time and in the context of our Western Home?
Islam beyond Salaat and Siyaam?
Islam as politics and elections.
Islam as economics and finance.
And Islam as social relations -- with Muslims as well as non-Muslims, with friends as well as foes?
So the first and almost the entire work of our people -- all those who have come forward to be our Co-Workers for Allah -- is to read everything that is written.
Not skim it or glance at it, but read it very, very carefully, and often and multiple times.
And to retain it in their heads. And to revisit it as often as they can. And to bring it up in their discussion whenever they can. And as often as they can.
For, the mouth is often where the heart is. If we don't talk about it, we really are not connected to it. And it is not seething and surging and stirring and churning in our hearts.
At best it is a matter of formal and academic interest -- and not a personal and dynamic driving force and guiding light.
It is like Islam in some so-called Muslim countries, where some rich people may not have much to do with the Qur'an. But when their mothers and grandfathers die, they may pay the local Mullahs to come and read the Qur'an for them.
If they do, read and study our literature carefully I mean, they will learn -- these Co-Workers of ours, each and every one of them -- what Islam is and how it works.
If they don't, they will forever remain raw -- a kind of work in progress.
Strangers on the periphery of our work, making forays into it from time to time as the fancy takes them or a specific need seems to arise.
They will forever be in the experimental stages of work -- and their experience with our work will be more hit-and-run than steady and predictable and integral.
When we say we are committed to "Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It -- and Which One Does Not?," we are not saying we are Postal Carriers: Just pick up the mail and deliver it to addressees without ever knowing what is inside all those envelops that we haul and deliver.
We are not, like the Qur'an says, a bunch of donkeys hauling loads of books.
Mathalul Ladheena Hummilut Tawuraata,
Thumma Lam Yahmiloohaa,
Ka-Mathalil Himaari Yahmilu Asfaaraa!
Our job, first and foremost, is to learn Islam -- the Qur'an, the Hadith and the World -- and digest it all as fully and completely as we possibly can, and then to convey the same to other people.
And that means every man, woman and child in the world.
And do so through interpersonal contacts as well as using all the available media channels, both traditional and social.
And this includes distributing our literature, in all available forms, to everyone everywhere.
So, this is one reason I write: To make Islam accessible to our people, and to all others, in plain, simple English.
Just like the Qur'an was made available to us in plain, simple Arabic:
Bi-Lisaanin Arabiyyin Mubeen!
Without all the cliches. And without all the jargon.
And without all the archaic, dysfunctional expressions.
And without all the puzzles, and enigmas, and mazes, and conundrums, and booby traps so endemic to so much discourse in English language on Islam and topics Islamic -- including many of the English translations of the Qur'an, which are so woefully inadequate, so many of them, in so many ways.
And so completely misleading at least some of them.