You want proof of some of what I am saying here – trying to make Islam sound as if it is part of American and Western corporate culture? Here it is. Here is the proof, right out of the Qur’an. Here are two principles that are derived directly from two relevant Aayaat of the Qur’an:
- Principle One: It is almost a direct paraphrase of the Aayah 2:267: Don’t go looking for the worst things to spend.
Naturally, the reference is to your treasures and possessions – things that you have and own; things that you are in a position to spend; things with which you can reach out to people; things with which you can make a difference in people’s lives; things – qualities, commodities and assets – with which you can make a positive contribution to this world; things with which you can enhance the quality of life for the people of this world; efforts you can make toward the advancement of good (Ma’ruf) on earth. The list is endless – if only Muslims would look outside the boxes in which they have locked themselves. One clear meaning, therefore, is this: Always make your best effort and always try to set the highest standards no matter what you are doing.
La Tayammamul Khabitha Minhu Tunfiqun – don’t go looking for the worst things to spend (Al-Baqarah). (2:267)
- Principle Two: It is almost a direct paraphrase of the Aayah 3:92: You will not make the grade until you spend from what you love most.
One clear meaning: Always put your best foot forward in everything you do.
Lan Tanaalul Birra Hatta Tunfiqu Mimma Tuhibboon (Aal 'Imran).
So, the option of indifference, drudgery, perfunctoriness and sloppy work has been taken away from the Muslims. And it is Allah himself who has done so. The idea is, if we are the slaves – this will come later – of the finest master and creator, then we better behave and conduct ourselves as the finest workers – slaves – in the world.
Fa-Tabaarakallahu Ahsanul Khaliqeen (23:14).
Blessed be the most beautiful creator!
It is also what Islam (in the sense of Muslims’ day-to-day practice) ought to have been, and in most cases was – for the past 1400 years, all over the world.
That is why Islam rose as quickly and dominated the world as widely as it did: Because Islam offered the world the best alternative in everything – providing not just theory but actual, practical demonstration of it in everyday life. When Muslims compromised those standards, Allah compromised their fate in this world. That is Allah’s invariable law in his creation – and what a noble, right, just and fair law it is, from the kindest and most just of all masters.
I wish I could quote here in detail a letter that Aurangzeb Alamgir, one of the last great Mughal emperors of India, wrote to one of his teachers lamenting the lack of standards in Muslim education – in the 18th century. The original letter is in Farsi and it makes instructive reading. It is an eye-opener for us today.
Wa In 'Uttum, Udnaa, says the Qur’an (17:8). Implication: Were we the Muslims to continue doing that, Allah will continue doing the same thing to us. Although the Aayah has a special focus, as it was originally directed at transgressors among Jews, its implications are general.
The point is there is no mystery about Islam; Islam is as clear as daylight. What we need – what we often don’t have – is a clear understanding of it. And that is all I seek, aspire or endeavor to do: to enhance Muslim understanding on things, questions and issues Islamic, especially in the context of the times and place and culture in which we live in the West today – we of the Western Wing of the Muslim Ummah that have made the West our home.
END OF CHAPTER 1
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology
© 2003 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.