Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Mission for Men

Sons are specially treasured in Muslim cultures throughout the world despite the fact that our dear Prophet (SWAS) has promised Paradise to those who raise daughters properly. As a result sons are often excessively pampered and spoilt as compared to their sisters. Even in practicing Muslim families, sons are expected to exclusively focus of high academic achievement and professional advancement. Efforts are usually made in their childhood so that they read the Quran at least once, memorize some portions of it, learn to perform the salaat and other rituals. For many, their religious education stops at that point. For the rest of their lives they will pursue the often singular goal of being a good provider. For this they get special privileges. Resources are spent on them liberally and almost all behavior, habits and demands are accepted from them if they can fulfill their mission in life. Even if the son never studies the comprehensive definition of tauheed, as long as he has good degrees, it is all that matters for most.

The resulting prototype of typical men Muslim societies are producing are severely deficient in their understanding and practice of the inner dimensions of their faith which is essential in their taking their rightful place as ameers of the family, leaders in their communities, witnesses to the Truth to mankind and Allah’s (SWT) vice-regents on Earth. The Ummah will never truly reform and fulfill its role without re-establishing the true mission for its men.

The ideal that men should strive for is becoming the insaan al kaamil (exemplary complete human) as demonstrated by the Prophet (SWAS) and his Companions (RA). They should be prepared for multi-faceted responsibilities that they need to properly fulfill in a balanced and exemplary lifestyle. The overall goal which will help them achieve everything is worshiping Allah (SWT) – in the comprehensive meaning that worship entails. The pursuance of knowledge is one important goal which should last a lifetime and should not stop at the first good job offer. The intention of acquiring knowledge should be to understand oneself, the world, to provide a service, to leave a legacy, to constantly improve and develop oneself, to fulfill all one’s responsibilities, to discover spiritual truths, to establish the best way of living, to provide meaning in life, to acquire wisdom and sharpen intuition, to become close to Allah (SWT), etc. A person who is enthusiastic about such goals will not have trouble discovering a stable vocation in line with his abilities which he can use to earn halal provision. Thus he will never be dependent on other than Allah (SWT), in sha Allah. But if the goal of education becomes just self-perpetuation, as it is these days, he will keep pursuing the accursed and elusive goal of making enough money for the rest of his life. The money he will make will never be blessed and seem enough for him.

Realize, my brothers, that the amount of your rizq (provision) has been pre-ordained, even before you were born.  Allah (SWT) did not bring you to this world so that you keep running after the dunya, rather if you trust Him, submit to Him and try to establish His deen in your life, the dunya and all its treasures will rush to you. You will have no desire for them and you will use them to fulfill all your multi-faceted responsibilities. You will not only be blessed by physical wealth, but you will enjoy many intangible spiritual blessings like faith, satisfaction, health, protection, wisdom, love, intellect, patience, humility, happiness, prestige, self-worth, proper resource/time management, work-life balance, etc.

You might be saying to yourself that you have heard all this before - it is all religious talk that people use to distract others. So let me try to put in comprehensive words some of the mysterious ways Allah (SWT) opens up the blessings for His slaves. Someone who has devoted himself to Allah (SWT) will depend only on Him, he will strive to be independent of people. By constantly worshipping and relying on Allah (SWT) one gets a clarity of vision and inner understanding by using his faculties the way they were created to be used. Without taking influence from any created individual, one gets direct inspiration from Allah (SWT) through contemplation in the framework that comes with constantly reciting and studying His Scripture – the Quran. Such insights are original. This is the guidance we ask for in every salaat. A heart and mind free from sin, will be receptive to such inspiration when it comes. Thus one should constantly be asking forgiveness for one’s shortcomings. If one lives according to the Prophetic lifestyle, one will be in the perfect state of mind to optimally use such guidance. Equipped with such wisdom and insights one can penetrate secrets which others can’t easily. If directed to work, one will achieve original accomplishments and excel in his work. He will be respected and loved by his colleagues. His vision will enable him to analyze situations deeply in their proper contexts and come up with unique solutions that are good for everyone (win-win). He will be adding value and become an irreplaceable resource for his employer. Muslim scientists of the past achieved great heights by implementing these techniques which directly come from implementing the deen. If you focus on excelling in the service you provide, the money will automatically come to you and it will be sufficient for you. But if you focus on earning more by taking unethical decisions and shortcuts everyone else seems to be taking, you will lose your inner perception and end up in an accursed never-ending rat race all your life. You will be hated by your colleagues until you end up retiring as a cantankerous old man unable to contribute to society and dependent on the state pension.

This spiritual training cannot be developed by haphazardly implementing external forms of Islamic rituals and memorizing some Arabic verses without understanding. A systematic program of spiritual education in formal courses is essential throughout the lives of Muslim men. Its importance is more than the efforts they exert on acquiring worldly knowledge these days. Time management is essential to meet all goals and that comes with implementing the Sunnah in our lives. Muslim men should wean themselves from the idea that if they successfully earn good money, they have done their job and can treat themselves with senseless amusements. Rather, their goals are multi-faceted and their time should be filled in carrying out various responsibilities. Muslim men should exert prolonged efforts to study Arabic – a key resource to understand the Islamic sources. They should take out time from their daily schedule to study the tafsir of the Quran in formal courses. They must learn to properly understand and recite the Quran with tajweed so that its Arabic recital penetrates their hearts and mind with inspiration. The concepts of Islamic Aqeedah should be clear in their heads so that they can base their thought process on it.

Our mission in life is not to excel in the game this materialistic world is playing by joining their race to self-destruction, but rather to provide a better alternative that will help humanity realize its true potential and destiny. We do this by humbly but confidently rising above others by practically demonstrating in the gamut of benefits that implementing the deen brings to an individual, his family, his community and his society. Systematic life-long daily efforts are needed by men to acquire and implement Islamic knowledge in their lives. This can only be practically achieved by implementing the Sunnah lifestyle in its external and internal forms. This is the mission for which men must be raised for.

And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. (Al Hajj 22:78)