[Chapter 41] Working for Allah: Building a Better World

Dec 23, 2010

Chapter 41
Still Working for Allah in the West: Theory and Methodology

Working for Allah: Building a Better World

These are words I have used going back I don’t know for how long – trying to make the world of Allah a better place for all. I have also addressed this theme in a number of speeches including a number of Jum’ah Khutbahs in Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States.

No, I am not the inventor of the better-world expression in the English language. But I have a feeling I am probably among the first to plug that concept from a Muslim platform in the Western Hemisphere and to ground it firmly in the core teachings of Islam.

I have not the slightest doubt that this is a theme that will gain wide and rapid currency among Muslims, Inshallah. From that point of view, September 11 has proved to be a good thing for the Iman of many Muslims, especially in the United States – as well as for their common sense and intelligence. I wrote a book – in what some think is verse – that centers around the theme of Muslims working to make this world a better place for all of Allah’s creation. The book lays out a step-by-step approach for doing it. The title of the book is Reach Out Muslims!

I began work on it in early 1990s; distributed it in the form of a brochure in mosques and churches in the city of Madison, in the state of Wisconsin, and in New York State; finished the manuscript in book form in 1998; and revised it for publication in 1999. I am still looking for resources to publish it in book form. It is neither easy nor inexpensive, getting a book published, especially when it doesn’t look or sound like a lot of other books we know.

But the idea has caught on – part of the interesting fallout from the tragedy of September 11, I should say. The Better-World theme is now an approach that a lot of people want to adopt – Alhamdulillah. It was advertised as the theme of a major Muslim convention in Chicago in December 2002.

Here are some lines from the brochure Reach Out Muslims! written and distributed, to the best of my recollection, in 1995-1996:


“Reach out to non-Muslims!

Humanity is one extended family.

Under one merciful, beneficent God.

Spring from one common parentage.

Equally children of Adam, one and all.

So, Muslims, somehow,

Reach out to all.”


“So, Muslims!

Reach out!

To yourself.

To God.

To Qur’an.

To Hadith.

To fellow Muslims.

To non-Muslims.

To the entire world.

And make this world a better place,

For all.


Leave this world a little better than you found it.

No matter by how little.

For, in the ultimate analysis,

That is what it means to be a Muslim:


A source of peace and prosperity,

Joy and happiness,

Well-being of the body, mind and soul,

And all-round success,

To one and all.

Right here,

In this world,

And in the hereafter,

The next world.”


Some Muslims also used, Allah bless them, the theme Rediscovering Prophet Muhammad for one of their publications.

It was the title of a major speech I had given in New York in the beginning of the 1990s. It was called “Rediscovering the Rasul, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.” The “rediscovering” approach has also been a running theme of my treatment of the Sirah ever since.

It would be nice – and there will be lots of Barakah in it – if Muslims gave proper credit to those who have been talking about some of these ideas and working on them for decades. And if they sought and received permission – Ijazah or Idhn – for using these words, ideas and messages. That is the way of Islam. That also is the way of this world – copyright laws, intellectual property laws and all that sort of stuff.

Like so many good things in this world, we invented some of these ideas and practices. Of course, it was Allah Almighty who taught and gave them to us. In doing this, we made the world of Allah a better, safer and more just and equitable place – for all. But with the march of time, we have now become strangers to some of them. How hard could it be to relearn some of these lessons? As Iqbal says: Sabaq phir parh … Learn once again the lesson of … The key expression is once again.

But the question remains, what does it mean to build a better world? Now that a lot of people seem to want to talk about building a better world, it is not enough just to talk about it. We need to provide a clear picture of the kind of world we want to build – the future world that we think would be a better place than the present world, the one we have today. And therein lies the true test of the use of the concept Better World. Who is supposed to provide the answer to that question? Who has a proper understanding of such an answer? Who has a clear vision of such a world? This requires a solid grasp of the theory as well as the method of working for Allah.

In other words, what is a better world – the future world we are talking about? This is a question of theory. How do you build such a better world? That is a question of methodology. How does Islam fit into all this? Now that is a question that combines both theory and methodology.

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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