Before, and as, we do anything, we must ask: Why? Why are we doing it? We want to get a degree, but Why? We want to take a job, but Why? We want to travel,...
There is a Hadith in Bukhari Sharif. It is Hadith Number One. And it goes like this: Innamal A'maalu Binniyyah! And it is, like every other Hadith of Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, the most beautiful thing...
We work for Allah, even when we think we are working for ourselves. For, there really is no such thing as doing Work for God Almighty and then doing some other kind of Work for Ourselves -- in our...
If you ask why is the world the way it is, one answer would be: Because the Muslims are the way they are! For, in many ways, how the Muslims are, that is how the...
When Muslims meet, as they should, they talk.
And they talk and talk and talk some more.
Little do they realize that they will answer to God Almighty for every word they utter.
And meetings are good. For meetings, done right, could be vehicles for debate and decision making. For civilized give and take.
Qur'an calls it Shura!
And then someone randomly says something. And we all follow the leader.
It scares me no end that we will answer for every word we utter -- and fail to utter. Answer to God that is.
So, I suggest, we consider the following three things before and during every meeting:
One, what do we want to do, accomplish that is?
Two, how do we plan to do it -- using what tools, techniques and resources?
Three, why do we want to do it -- what are our motivations and our reasons for wanting to do it?
For, often, they are the difference, our reasons and intentions are, between Good and Bad.
Between Right and Wrong.
Between Ma'roof and Munkar.
Between Haqq and Baatil.
And between Islam and Kufr.
That is how serious some of these things are.
Muslims have writers.
And Muslims have speakers. I like to call them Speech Givers.
Just like everyone else does -- all the non-Muslims of the world included.
I am guilty on both counts. Except that when it comes to speech giving, I am in cease-and-desist mode. I am in recovery.
Much to the chagrin and disappointment of some of those who love me. My wife, for example.
"You used to give such wonderful speeches," she never stops saying to me. [...]
Allah's path is clear -- and straight. And that path is the path of the Qur'an. It is the Qur'an. Allah did not put any crookedness in it. [...]
In Islam, actions matter. So do the intentions that drive them.
There is a beautiful Hadith that puts this in perspective.
Hadith means the words of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that history has documented as faithfully, accurately and thoroughly as it is possible for history and humanity to do it.
And, if you ask me, all Hadith are beautiful, as they have to be, if they are the words of a chosen human being – Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – inspired and guided by God Almighty.
In the meantime, don’t mind my using the expression Hadith as both singular and plural at the same time.
So, the Hadith I am referring to goes like this in the original Arabic:
“Innamal A’amaalu Binniyyaat!”
I have spent decades trying to find the right English translation for it. I continue to have difficulty, to this day.
Maybe someday, should God Almighty so will and decree it, the right set of words would come along and fall in place.
Right now, I am content with saying that the Hadith underscores the organic – natural and inseparable – interrelationship between our actions and our intentions.
Just think for a moment. How much of a better world our world would be, in every way, if all of us – each one of us – paid as close attention to our intentions as we, hopefully, pay to our actions.
And, of course, our actions, both private and public, should always be the best in every way that we can possibly make them.
For, that is Islam – in a nutshell, as they say.
Here is a simple point I submit to Muslims for their kind consideration: Please, please, carefully examine your motives with regard to everything you do.
That is, whenever you set out to do something -- anything, whether it is small or big -- ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and why you chose to do it the way you do.
You will be amazed at the difference this makes.