[Chapter 2] Preparation

Dec 21, 2010

Chapter 2
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology


For anything worthwhile in life, preparation is a must, wouldn’t you say? Generally it is would you agree?

Well then, that is how it is in this seminar as well. We are likely to derive maximum benefit from this educational seminar and leadership training camp, call it what you will, only if we come fully prepared, would you say? My name for the seminar is Still Working for Allah – I don’t know what else to call it. So far as I am concerned it is the only show in town – except that it is not a show; it is real. For, Islam to me is a real thing. According to Allah, it is the only real thing. It will become clearer what I mean by this as we go along.

If, in our attitude and approach to this seminar – or with regard to anything in general – we are indifferent, unwilling or slothful, or if we are arrogant, conceited, close-minded or bigoted, we can only expect outcomes that parallel those very input characteristics: weak motivation; sloppy knowledge gain; negative attitudes and altogether disgruntled and unhappy campers.

This global verity is summarized by the computer acronym GIGO: Garbage in, Garbage out. Meaning, what you put in is generally what you get out. The computer people might have thought they invented it, but that is Allah’s law.

This is true of life in general. It is true of Islam in particular. And it is true of this seminar as well. In all these areas, our returns are likely to match or be commensurate with our own input – input of motivation, effort and resources. Given those prerequisites, it is Allah’s mercy that determines final results.

Paraphrase from the Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam:

Motivations are central to human actions.

Paraphrase from the Aayah from the Qur’an Laisa Lil Insani Illa Ma Sa’a (53:39)

Human beings will get only what they strive for.

So before we enter the seminar room, let us ask ourselves some rather serious questions:

  1. Are we prepared? Are we ready to go? Are we really –
    1. Physically prepared?
    2. Psychologically prepared?
    3. Spiritually prepared?
  2. Have we done the groundwork needed to derive maximum benefit from this seminar?
  3. How exactly are we prepared? What kind of preparation have we made? What kind of prior work have we done?

If the answer is “Yes, I have done what I needed to do – all, most or much of it – and I am ready to go,” let us enter in peace and security as the Qur’an says: Udkhuluha Bi Salamin Amineen. (15:46)

In that event, wonderful things are in store for us, Inshallah!

From that point on, the blanket of Allah’s blessings would envelop us. Every step or breath we take thereafter is rewarded seven to 700 times – and to some over and beyond any known scale.

If, on the other hand, the answer comes back saying maybe we need a bit more time, then let us do precisely that. Let us pause and tell ourselves: “All right, let me stop right here and get organized a little bit.”

Then let us ask ourselves two rather important questions:

  1. Why am I here? What do I want out of this seminar? What do I want to learn from these people?
  2. What am I prepared to do to turn this into a profitable experience for me – and for others? What kind of contribution am I ready and willing to make to the success of this seminar?

For in Islam, our salvation, in the broadest sense, is tied to our attitudes and actions with regard to others – in fact, with regard to the entire creation of Allah. These are generally referred to in Islamic culture as Huququl ‘Ibad. It is a compendium of what we owe others – and how we relate to and deal with others. These are the social, moral, civic, economic, political and environmental – in the broadest sense of the expression environment – commitments, obligations and responsibilities we have toward the rest of Allah’s creation – Khalq. It is the price for the privilege of living in Allah’s world.

What most Muslims don’t understand is that Huququl ‘Ibad – their social relations and dealings with others – is what will send them to Jannah or Jahannam on the Day of Judgment – provided of course one has a basic understanding of and commitment to Allah as one’s maker and true master. There are no convenient caves for Muslims to run and hide from their highly extensive and inclusive social obligations.

For, Allah’s world – all of it – is our neighborhood. It is our extended family. Every one of its denizens – human and nonhuman – is our neighbor. And we are, before Allah and before others in this world, responsible for our neighborhood – and for our family. As a result, what Allah does to us on the Day of Judgment will depend in large part on what we do to our neighbors in this world – and to the members of our family.

That is Islam in a nutshell – call it social Islam if you will.

In other words, let us get our act together, as the saying goes, before we enter the building and take our seat in the seminar room – and leave the rest to Allah. Let us do our part right; leave the rest to Allah.

As if it is only the rest that we need to leave to Allah; as if we can handle all else by ourselves. But that is a different question for a different time and place.

But that is us, humans, including us, Muslims. That is who we are and that is, alas, how we seem to operate much of the time: going through life as if we were the ones running the show; as if we were the ones – along with our family, friends, leaders and all the others – who controlled and ran all or parts of Allah’s world.

Before we attend the seminar – both you and I – I want to draw our attention to some serious issues that have to do with this preparation I am talking about. They include topics like Ikhlas, Taubah, Dhikr and some other similar things. We need to make – both you and I – a serious commitment to these things even as we prepare to attend the seminar, and even as we go through the seminar.

The success or failure of the seminar – and our own personal success or failure – may very well hang in the balance with them.

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.

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