Conferences and Speakers: A Partial Primer

Oct 16, 2004

We are used, in Europe and America, to look for a warranty to go with the products and services we buy. Islam cannot – and it does not – offer humanity less.

How naïve and simple-minded can the Muslims be that they think Islam came from Allah without a warranty! The fact is that Islam came with the best warranty that there is. Most manufacturer warranties are good for six months or for a year or two. Allah’s warranty for his Deen of Islam, and for things Islamic, as well as for his products and services in this world, is a lifetime – a lifetime that in cases may extend to an eternity.

The earth, the sun and the moon functioned for our forefathers and they will continue, if Allah wants, to function for our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren.

So, why should we in the name of God, offer to God and his people and his world anything but the best? And do so in the name of Islam, a most perfect system designed and put in place by God Almighty for the operation and management of his world – for the benefit of his creation?

As the Qur’an puts it:

Innaddeena Indallahil Islam.

Implication # one: Islam is the operating system of the universe, designed and selected to be so by Allah – the maker and master of the worlds.

Implication # two: Therefore, no other system can or will work successfully and optimally in this world.

Wa Manyyabtaghi Ghairal Islami Deenan Fa 
Lanyyuqbala Minhu.

La Tayammamul Khabeetha Minhu Tunfiqoon.

So on to programs and conferences and speakers, Muslims! But where do we begin? How about at the beginning? I like to begin at the beginning. It helps.

And what could be a more beautiful beginning than the one with which Imam Bukhari (May Allah shower his mercy upon him) began his epochal compilation of Hadith.

Imam here means a great scholar who excels among his peers and who, additionally, has made a significant contribution to Islamic learning, education and culture – over and above most other scholars of his time. In this sense, the term is used in Islamic culture exclusively to refer to a great leader, distinguished over and above most other great leaders by scholarship and service to Islam and Muslims.

Imam is one of the highest titles Muslims used to confer on their very best scholars. It is not to be confused with the more recent use of this term for those who have a paid or voluntary position as prayer leaders in a mosque or community. Some examples of such great scholars in Islamic history include Imam Ahmad, Imam Ghazzali and Imam Abu Hanifah.

Muslims in the West these days have cheapened and trivialized this glorious Islamic title and tradition by loosely applying the title Imam to individuals who are paid or volunteer prayer leaders in local mosques and communities.

I mentioned Hadith. But I cannot help wondering what do we really know about Hadith? How many of us even understand Hadith for what it really is, and what its real role is in human affairs and in the running of this world.

I have been thinking about Hadith for quite some time. And will address it at some time in the future, as Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, makes it possible. But let us right now talk about that particular Hadith from Sahih Bukhari.

Innamal A’amaalu Binniyyaat!

What a Hadith this is, and what a wonder! What a marvel indeed! And what an amazing model for thought, research and action, to help guide human beings navigating the turbulent and murky waters of life! Did anyone say psychology? This single, small, sweet and wonderful Hadith may have invented the gamut of modern theories and models in the psychology of human action and motivation.

Innamal A’amaalu Binniyyaat!

Paraphrase:

Actions are from intentions!

That means your actions depend on your intentions! So, on to Niyyah, Muslims!

What could be a better beginning? Or a better end for that matter, if you ask me, than to begin with the question of human motivation.

2. Purity of Intention: Where it all Begins

That means, if you do everything in your power to keep your motives and intentions pure, and clean, Allah will bless your effort – and make it grow and bear fruit. You will get the fruit right here in this world or in the next world. Never leave out the next world in your calculations.

That means if your motives are pure, there will be Barakat in what you are doing and a great deal of good will come out of. But how? How do we get our intentions and motives to be pure and unadulterated, being the kind of imperfect and flawed humans that all of us are?

Here is a test or recipe, if you will, for a pure – and to the extent humanly possible – perfect Niyyah:

Do it – whatever it is that you are doing – for no other reason or purpose than to seek Allah’s pleasure, love, mercy and grace.

That means, go beyond the lure of money, power, position, prestige, name, fame and blind group loyalty – things that are so powerful in the lives of so many of us – and do things only to please Allah, your maker, owner and master. But at the same time, don’t reduce this most sublime concept of pursuing the goal of divine grace and Allah’s pleasure to some kind of an exotic pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo or use it as a ticket to excuse yourself from accountability in this world – before your fellow human beings, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.

Here is a three-point process that can help you to get a fuller and a socially and Islamically healthier perspective on this:

  1. Do the Right Thing.

  2. Do it Right.

  3. Do it for the Right Reasons.

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