This Feedback Thing:
How To Evaluate a So-Called Islamic Program?
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time.
Trying to Take the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And Which One Does Not?)
Many ghosts haunt Muslim thinking. This Feedback Thing is one of them. And it must be buried with all possible speed and dispatch, especially when it concerns my speeches and writings.
When someone gives a "speech" explaining Islam to people, or trying to put a little bit of fear of God in Muslim hearts, some people may want to do an Evaluation: How Did the Speaker Do?
Modern Commerce and Industry build Feedback of some kind into their operations using surveys and other measuring instruments.
That is because they presumably want to be able to provide their "Customers" greater "Satisfaction" with their products and services. And make the experience of their visitors and patrons a happier one.
And thereby, they expect to increase sales and maximize their own profit.
Politicians use that same logic, and methods, for pretty much the same purposes: ultimately tempt people to come to them, and vote for them, by appearing to give them more of what they "want."
And this ghost of Feedback also may attack Muslim thinking, especially as Muslims mindlessly follow whatever the rest of the world does -- in particular the Western World. And it must be buried whenever and wherever it makes its appearance: this Feedback Thinking, especially when it comes to my programs.
Islam is not giving people what they want. Certainly I do not work with that goal in mind. Not in my so-called Islamic Work. Not in my University Work.
And I have devoted a fairly long Lifetime to both: University Teaching and this So-called Islamic Work. And I do what I do after careful research, analysis, thought and deliberation.
So, I tell my University Students, if you don't like my class, go find a Better-Looking One. But if you decide to stay, these are the rules. Follow them to the letter.
And when I give them something in writing, I write on top of it: Read every word, every punctuation mark and every typo.
No, I do not ask my university students how I am doing. And what do you think of my teaching?
So, they sit, and sulk for a few days, then settle down, and laugh and cry. And their lives change. For many of them. Anything less is not acceptable to me.
As for Islam, it is inviting people to come to things they may not even like very much in the first place, like giving up wine, women, gambling, senseless gossip, lying, cheating, and the blind pursuit of power and money.
Islam is telling people to do these and a whole bunch of other equally unpalatable things like they must spend all their money and energy and time in trying to change the world for the better, so much so that they must even give up their life, if need be, for the noble cause and purpose of trying to make God's World a better place for all of God's Creation.
So, at the end of a program or speech geared toward that goal we want to ask people: What do you think?
How is that going to work, people, how is that going to work?
You are going to hear things like: He made me depressed; his tone was too harsh; he didn't give me much to go on with. And even: I couldn't figure out what he was talking about.
There, people, that is your Evaluation Data, in advance.
So, instead of asking people how I did, what we need to ask people is things like these:
Why did they attend our program and our speeches in the first place? What was their motivation? What was on their mind?
Did they understand any of what was being said?
What did they learn from the program? How did they benefit? How have their views about Allah and Islam changed in any way?
Are they now ready to shoulder their primary individual and collective responsibility of Taking the Qur'an to every home and heart that needs it?
And are they now willing to devote all their money, time and energy to work to change Allah's world and make it better for Allah's Creation? For, that is what Islam is all about.
Are they, after hearing this speech, and after attending this program, even willing to lay down their lives to build a better world and to make justice and truth and human equality prevail everywhere, for all people, Muslim as well as non-Muslim?
Will they now become full-time Workers for Allah, starting from today, as every Muslim male and female is supposed to be?
In a word, are they willing to work with us to change the world?
These are some of the questions we need to be asking all those who come in contact with us and all those who attend our programs or listen to our speeches or read our writings. That is how we educate them.
And it was for this purpose, and for this purpose alone, that we do what we do, the way we do it.
And this is how we Identify, Recruit and Train new people to Work for Allah.
The day you convert to Islam, from being either a Non or Accidental-Legacy Muslim, get on a desperate tear to get all the knowledge about Islam and about the world that you can possibly get. And start changing your life systematically and methodically to fit the knowledge that Allah gives you:
Changing your attitude and your behavior in the light of the
teachings and mandate that Islam gives us in every aspect of our life.
The moment you start doing that, consider it the First Day of your life in Islam.