Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology
Ikhlas and Taubah
The good news, however, is that it may be easier to do the preparatory work – the homework for this seminar – than you think. That is, if Allah wants it, and if we are willing and able to put ourselves in his hands to be blessed and guided by him.
All it takes is a mental realignment. If we want to call it spiritual, maybe we can. Using either expression, the object is a re-sharpening of focus. From a near-obsessive preoccupation with oneself – in the broadest sense: me; my family; my job; my car; my house; my group; my people; my land – to an outreach to Allah.
And it acts with lightning speed – in truth its speed is beyond the speed of light by a factor of infinity. Ask the Qur’an and it will tell you it is indeed so.
All we need to do is to turn to Allah and say to him – with our body, mind and soul:
“Oh Allah! Here I am, your slave, purely for your sake, ready and willing to work with your other slaves and my fellow believers and brothers and sisters in faith, whom I love as much as if not more than my own siblings.
Oh Allah! I am here, to learn as much as I can; to grow as best as I can; and serve as well as I can.
Oh Allah! I am doing this for my own benefit and for the benefit of the whole world. But above all Allah, I am doing this to please you.
Oh Allah! I know I cannot do this by myself.
Oh Allah! I can only succeed if you help me to succeed.
So, Allah! Please make this effort of mine entirely for your sake, and in your name, and grant me success beyond what I dare to expect.
Also Allah! Bless and guide and help those who made this experience possible for me and made available to me all the education, training, resources and tools I need.
For, everything I have is yours, Allah; and it is through your mercy and grace, Allah, that all good flows.
This is what we need to say to Allah. And we need to say it to him over and over again.
And say it not just with our mouths and tongues but also with our hearts and with every fiber in our body and mind. For, it is only such a perfect confluence of heart, body, mind and soul – don’t worry about terminology at this stage – that truly registers with Allah. Allah does not look at other stuff. You turn your heart away from him and he turns his face away from you.
Therefore, should we do this with all sincerity, humility and devotion, then Allah’s grace swoops upon us and scoops us up – and we have got it made. We are then instantly transformed from being a problem – to ourselves and to the world – from being a square peg in a round hole, to being a solution, to being perfect with the scheme of things in the universe. Our heart then pulsates in unison with the rhythm of the working of Allah’s creation.
We then become a solution to our own problems as well as to the problems of the world. We become a mercy to the worlds – even as our Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, was a mercy to the worlds (plural). In other words, we become Muslims in the true sense of that expression. We become truly faithful, loyal and dutiful slaves of Allah. We become those who truly and properly work for Allah.
Because that is what God Almighty wants of us: to be a solution to the problems of this world, not the least to our own problems. He does not want us to add to the problems of the world.
Allah, Almighty, wants us to manage his plantation earth – in his name and according to his laws and rules. And do so for the benefit of all the occupants of this lovely plantation, from humans and animals to plants and inanimate objects.
That is what it means to be Allah’s Khalifah – deputy; vicegerent; manager; representative – on earth. For that is who we are: Allah’s Khalifah on earth. We are Allah’s exalted workers on earth. And what a place of honor and dignity it is for a slave to be!
For that is also who we are, as I said right at the very outset: 'Abd – slaves! 'Abd for singular – slave; 'Ibad and 'Abeed for plural – slaves. We are Allah’s fully owned, controlled and operated slaves. No one else has any share in any of this.
La Sharika Lahu.
And then here is the rest: Wa Bi-dhalika Umirtu wa Ana Awwalul Muslimeen. Qur’an (6:163). That is the first thing we learn about being Muslims – that we are the slaves and he, Allah, is the master. We are his slaves. And as his slaves, that is what we are told to do.
Therefore, when we say those things to Allah – and mean them fully and completely – then instantly we become the recipients and instruments of Allah’s boundless mercy – for ourselves and for the entire world.
But if we cannot muster the sincerity of purpose to go with it, or if we bring a negative attitude to the situation based on whatever reason, then these words may be no more than a few colorless entries in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Devoid of human passion and sincerity, they may mean nothing; they may not accomplish much; and they may very well have an adverse effect on us – because of our mindless toying with so much voltage.
This is called Ikhlas – purifying the inner world of our motives and intentions. It is cleaning the cobwebs in the house of our hearts and souls. That is what civilized and serious hosts do when they invite some very special and important guests to their homes: They houseclean.
How can we expect Allah’s Rahmah and grace to enter and light up our heart when the inside of that house is thick and dark with soot and cobwebs? Ikhlas, therefore, is the all-important key to our relationship with Allah – and with the world of Allah. With it we can achieve a great deal; without it, we can accomplish nothing.
For if we want to have a relationship with Allah we need to have Ikhlas. It is with a good relationship with Allah that everything falls in place in this world. When we do not have a good relationship with Allah everything in this world begins to go wrong. This is a deep subject. I will leave it right here for the time being.
Therefore, when you come to the seminar, bring a little bit of Ikhlas with you; work on it before you come; tap into it right through your stay and participation in the seminar; and take it home with you when you leave the seminar.
May Allah bless me and you – and those we love – with the wealth of Ikhlas.
Then there is Taubah, and I don’t mean it necessarily in that order. Taubah is another important requirement for a successful relationship with Allah – and with his world including our fellow-human beings and our fellow-Muslims.
As humans we are steeped in sin – the world of omissions and commissions with regard to what Allah wants or does not want.
And our sins have a major impact on our lives – and on our environment.
Our sins are like bad cholesterol – they clog the arteries; cause damage to heart muscle; and produce death. That is what our sins do to our spiritual being. The effects begin to show in all kinds of ways, in all kinds of situations.
When this happens, a time comes when the ears are plugged; the eyes are shut and the heart is sealed up. When that happens no light can penetrate into us from any source. For, at that point, we are spiritually dead. The game is over for us. In a sense, our own individual Qiyamah has come and gone. And in a sense, our Jahannam has begun right here in this world.
But there is hope. Yes, there is hope for those of us who have wronged ourselves by wronging God; for those of us who have committed excesses against ourselves by committing excesses against the creation of God.
Ya Ibaadi-yalladheena Asrafu 'Ala Anfusihim,
La Taqnatu Mir Rahmatillah. Qur’an (39:53)
So long as we are not physically in the throes of death, there is still hope for us in this world. Part of the solution is to turn to Allah and repent from our sins; do so at once; and do so repeatedly. Repentance, provided it is genuine, cleanses our spiritual arteries and sets us up for a healthier life for the future.
So before the seminar what all of us – every one of us without exception – needs to do is to think of all the sins we have committed and repent from them – seriously and sincerely.
While this may sound terrible, the good news is that Allah loves to forgive people. That is what he loves to do – forgive sins. For that is who he is – The Most Forgiving One, The One Who Loves to Forgive. Provided, of course, people turn to him and seek forgiveness.
Innahu Huwal Ghafurur Raheem. Qur’an (39:53)
Purifying our spiritual system – trust me, it also cleanses the most physical and mundane part of your life – with Taubah will, Inshallah, greatly improve our chances of benefiting from an educational seminar on the topic of working for Allah – still and forever.
Therefore, make Taubah before you come to the seminar; and keep making Taubah while you are in the seminar. Remember Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, used to do it 70 times a day. And continue to make Taubah thereafter at every opportunity you get. Taubah – Istighfar – has its own world of blessings and power in human life that we cannot even begin to comprehend fully at this stage.
Would it help if I said that by being a perpetual seeker of Allah’s forgiveness, we become the object of Allah’s love? What more would anyone want?
May Allah grant you and me – and those we love – the privilege of being among those who make Istighfar with great abundance and frequency and whose sins Allah forgives.
END OF CHAPTER 14
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.