We are Muslims. And part of Islam is working with people — “Working with Others” that is.

“Cooperating with Others” is how the Qur’an puts it. The Qur’an says to Believers: “Cooperate!”

And this cooperation, as the Qur’an makes it clear, must always be in “Good Things.” And never in “Bad Things.”

That is (A) “Cooperate.”

And (B) “Cooperate Only in Good Things, and never in Bad Things.”

If the world today only followed this simple commandment by the Qur’an, what a beautiful, enjoyable, and nice place this world would be!

And what a perfect and unfailing recipe this Cooperation Commandment of the Qur’an is for peace in our own domestic lives; for peace and productivity in our various organizations and working groups; for peace and tranquility in our neighborhoods and communities; for peace and bliss in our societies and countries; and finally for peace throughout the world.

Are there any takers?

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How often has it happened to how many of us: We all end up saying, more often than not, more frequently than we should, how speechless we are! How overcome we are with life and its kaleidoscopic situations.

How we are short of words and expressions as it were. How we don’t know what to say, for example. That is, how we are short of the right thing to say.

I am sure this is true of most if not all of us.

But here is what I think: Why are we speechless to begin with, why are we short of words in God’s Universe?

All we need to do, at least those of us who say they believe in the Qur’an, is to turn to the Qur’an for answers – and for words to say: whenever we need to say them, whatever the occasion and whatever the context.

For, the Qur’an has words – and ideas – to fit all occasions.

Here are some clues as to what those words could be that people should be saying. Let us start with Alhamdu Lillah! There is no better or finer set of words for anyone to utter – in any context or situation, regardless of time or place.

Alhamdu Lillah! means “All Praise Is to God!” That means, among other things: “Thank You, God!”

And now what excuse or right context or situation do you need to say “Thank You!” to your maker, considering everything you have is from him, and everyone of those things — whether it is your hand, foot, tongue or eye — was given to you free?

So, next time you think you are speechless, or short of things to say, just say “Alhamdu Lillah!” and get on with your life. It will cover all situations and meet all your needs.

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Islam and Muslims have always had enemies. It is the nature of the thing: You do something good, something really noble and outstanding, and bad people will resist, oppose and fight you and fight what you are doing. That, as I said, is the nature of the beast.

But what is new is that the curve has jumped to unprecedented heights in more recent times. At least it would appear so. Because in every age, the assessment by the Good Guys of that period, like Nuh, Alaihis Salam, for example, was: Wa Makaroo Makran Kubbaara — meaning, in broad paraphrase of course: The enemies of truth and justice and goodness resorted to the worst and the most terrible and deadly kind of conspiracies and plotting and treachery.

So, the Testimony of Time — Wal ‘Asr, as the Qur’an puts it — is that apparently the Bad Guys always had a field day of lies, deceit and propaganda against the doers of Good and speakers of Truth.

So, the ongoing rampage of hate and prejudice against Islam and Muslims, and the barrage of the most vicious anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda around the world within our lifetime, are stunning to say the least. The question is has anyone ever considered the psychological and social impact of this unrelenting wave upon wave of hate and hostility on its targets: the Muslims.

What does all this negative characterizing and all this vicious name-calling do to Muslims as individuals and families, and as groups, communities and societies? To generation after generation after generation of them? The answer is simple and straightforward: damage — incalculable and unpredictable damage.

Psychological damage and social damage and every other kind of damage of the worst proportions you can think of.

The miracle is that in the midst of all this hate and hostility directed at them, Muslims and Islam not only survive but also continue to grow and multiply and spread — in their own way of course. This is no less than direct evidence — proof if you will — that Islam is from God and Muslims are God’s People, no matter how messed up they may appear to be in their head and in their behavior. And as People of Haqq — Keepers of Truth if you will — in this world, Muslims are inexorably and unstoppably on their way to Paradise!

So let me say what any decent and civilized person in the world should be saying:

“May God Almighty bless and guide and help the Muslims!
And may God Almighty forgive Muslims their sins!”

“And may God Almighty replace the hate in the hearts of the enemies of Islam and Muslims with genuine love and respect for Truth and Justice — and for Islam and Muslims!”

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Seeing Muslims in action — more of them, in more action in more of their old homelands, whatever that means — shows how tangential the connection often is between Islam and Muslims.

In many cases, many may say, if this is Islam, who wants it?

Except that Islam, in many instances, is not what Muslims do, but what Allah so clearly states in the Qur’an and Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, showed so completely and beautifully in action.

And the world is in more desperate need of that Islam today — the real Islam if you will — than it ever was!

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A former neighbor passed away. A couple of years ago. 

Got to learn about it only moments ago. 

Wonderful people, both husband and wife. And great neighbors. 

Good Christian people. 

Mid-fifties. That is how old or young Doug was when he died. That was his name: Douglas.

Death comes to all: Muslim and non-Muslim. Good people and bad people.

Here is what his obituary said — then, two years ago:

“In lieu of flowers, please be kind to everyone you encounter, 

forgive someone who has hurt you, 

beg forgiveness from someone you have hurt, 

or hug someone close and tell them you love them.”

What can Muslims learn from this? 

Does it remind them of anything someone may have taught them 1400 years ago: Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam?

And they may be a bit rusty on right now?

May God bless the survivors, keep them and be with them.

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What people need to understand is Islam and Islamic Work — Working for Allah that is — does not change. Or is it “do” not change?

Islam remains the same for ever and ever and ever. 

How can it be otherwise, when it is a reflection and manifestation in the real world of the infinite and timeless attributes of Allah?

That is true of Islamic work — Working for Allah — as well, in some very important ways.

But here is the difference. 

While Islam is directly from Allah (Good reason why it does not and cannot change, right?) Islamic Work (Working for Allah), on the other hand, is the application of Islam to human situations mediated by human beings and agencies in ever-changing space-time configurations.

This means those Working for Allah, or those engaged in Islamic Work as they say, must be constantly in touch with reality, and in tune with the changes taking place in the world, around them. 

And they must continually monitor their work and its effectiveness, and its usefulness in relation to the goals they set out to achieve. And introduce the changes they must in their methods and approaches, based on the results of their evaluation of their work.

In a sense, this is the essence of Islam: setting goals; specifying methods; mobilizing resources; monitoring progress; ongoing evaluation. 

Islam called it Ihtisaab. If Muslims by and large are oblivious of it or indifferent to it, who is to blame?

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I have said this before, and I am saying it again: Work in Islam is worship.

And it is Jihad.

That means those who are engaged in doing their daily duties — whatever work it is that they do — it is as if they are in Salaah.

They are face to face with Allah. And Allah is watching over them. And Allah is also watching their every move, and reading their every thought, and monitoring the minutest movements of their eyes.

And if they are waiting for work to arrive, it is as if they are in a mosque waiting for Salaah to begin. 

And in Islam those who wait for Salaah to start, their position is the same, and their reward is the same, as those who are actually engaged in the performance of the Salaah.

So, if they are pure and honest in their motives and intentions, and diligent and thorough and conscientious in the work that they do, their reward is Paradise and not merely worldly success in the work that they do.

That is how amazing this system of Islam is: You do your own work and you get Paradise in return for it, in addition to your own usual reward in this world, provided your intentions are good and your effort is the very best you could, make it.

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If you are a Muslim, you must always Play to Win

And win fair and square, following all the accepted rules and norms.

Not participating in the Game of Life is not an option for you, if you are a Muslim.

Nor can you, as a Muslim, cheat and deceive and cut corners.

Nor can you Play Life halfheartedly or haphazardly. You must always enter and Do Life with full gusto, vigor and interest.

And your object must always be to win. 

Of course, in every game, including the Game of Life, winning and losing comes directly from Allah, no matter how perfectly predictable or unpredictable a situation may be. But giving every moment, and every single Play of Life, your best is your obligation as a Muslim.

So, always bear this mind:

As a Muslim, you cannot sit on the sidelines when the Game of Life is being played all around you. 

Nor can you, as a Muslim, enter the Game of Life with an attitude of indifference and lethargy.

So, go Play Life with full vigor, and expect to win. What comes out at the end is not in your hands. 

Nothing ever was. And nothing ever will be. 

But don’t let that get to you. For, nothing is in anyone else’s hand either. And your opponents in the great big Game of Life are just as helpless as you are. For, nothing is in their hand, just as nothing is in your hand. 

Everything is in God’s hands. And it will always be.

And it is always he who decides who will win and who will lose. 

So, as a Muslim, you have absolutely nothing to lose. 

So, go play hard and Play to Win.

END

Allah bless those who are doing the rounds of universities, schools and markets talking to people about Islam.

And handing them literature on Islam.

These good folks should bear one simple point in mind: Consistency and persistence are key requirements of Islam.

The key features of Islam are not so much innovation and creativity, even though they are, as endurance and predictability. 

Islam is not a flash-in-the-pan operation. It is not a one-shot deal. Islam is a lifelong commitment and dedication to certain carefully considered values, beliefs, goals and practices.

So, the true test of the success of this new Operation Outreach is that people should say — after 50 years from today: 

“Where is the man — or was it a woman? — who used to stand under that tree and give out pamphlets on Islam?

Haven’t seen them in a while.

Are they all right, do you think?”

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Blessed are those who go to street corners and university and school campuses, and public and market places, and preach Islam to people and distribute Islamic literature.

For, they are doing God’s Work on earth.

They are Working for Allah.

They must rejoice in the knowledge that, no matter how strange this may sound, this is the beginning of Islam. In their life; and where they are.

Yet another one.

This is yet another beginning of the endless chain of the Message to Humanity from God Almighty.

The only test — did I say “only” test? — of these wonderful individuals and groups, male and female, will be how long they keep this up: Going out and hustling on the streets for Allah and preaching Islam.

And, also, how pure and true their motives and intentions are — and will be.

And, oh yes, also of course, how sweet and wonderful their demeanor is going to be and how absolutely charming and alluring their approach will be throughout. 

Allah says:

Wa Yadra-oona Bil-Hasanatis Sayyi-ah.

“They cope with Evil using Good.”

“They return Evil with Good.”

“They reward Evil with Good.”

I don’t to this day understand what that means — or how it works. But since Allah says it, I know it must be right. 

So, these people, hustling in the streets — universities, schools, markets and all kinds of other places — have their work cut out for them:

” When people are bad to them, they must be good to people.”

That alone is an experience worth having in life.

Everyone: Come on; take a chance; go out on the streets and try your hand at preaching Islam to people; you may even come to like it.

And who knows what kind of reward God Almighty may have in store for you, right here in this world, as well as in the next world.

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