Islamic Studies

Bridging the Divides – A mission waiting for a generation

By Hazem S’aid

Assalamu Alaykum

At the beginning of the eighth century, people lived in different parts of the world. Each area had its own characteristics, talents and skills. They had aspirations and dreams. Every part of the world had its own characteristics and values. However, a common feature among all of them was the large distance from their Creator. This resulted in the spread of injustices and lack of freedom in almost all areas. Rulers and powerful families gave themselves the right to do what they please. The situation was deteriorating that the values of justice, equality and freedom were almost lost and its source was almost forgotten. The Lord of Mercy selected a man to carry His message to all people. His message brought a reminder of the meaning of life, equality, justice, freedom, researching, exploring, and development. A message to guide the people as they enter the eighth century and for those who come after.

The gap was huge and filling it required a lot of work and was very difficult to envision. In some instances, it required eradication of some practices completely. For instance, killing infant girls had to come to an end. A whole generation had to step forward to embrace the message and move their communities and their people to follow its guidance. It was a movement to bridge a divide carried by a generation that was selected and that lived up to the mission.
The transformation that had to take place was comprehensive and involved. It required enormous trust in the leadership exemplified by the Prophet, peace be upon him. A trust that the source of the message was true and that the understanding and implementation was correct. It required intense cooperation, dedication and sacrifice to bring the guidance of the message to the hearts of the people and to make the proper implementation to bridge the divides. Allah, High and Exalted, praised that generation. He praised them as a group and He praised many of them individually. He praised people that were known and He praised others who were not known. They were coined the best generation. They were best generation not only because of the magnitude of the challenge they faced but also because of how they stood up to it. They fully dedicated and committed themselves to the mission of their generation. Their dedication was complete and comprehensive. They transformed not only their tribes or their society, they transformed the whole world. They introduced something different, something valuable and something original for those who came after them.
The world has been moving throughout time and every generation makes a contribution. There are generations that moved the world forward and there are generations that moved it backward. Every generation faces some challenges. Sometimes big and sometimes small. Sometimes with longer lasting impact and sometimes with shorter impact. There are moments in history where a change may happen.
At the beginning of the twenty first century, the divide and the gap our world is experiencing is large and severe. There is an East/West divide, racial divide, cultural divide & religious divide. There is an economical divide; technological divide; & educational divide. There is a gap between science and religion. There is a gap between development and environment. There is a gap between business success and workers success. There is a gap between downtown and uptown. There is a gap between immigrants and indigenous. There is a gap between young and old. There is a gap between races, gender and ethnicity. There is incomplete justice. Freedom is not yet for all. Equality is selective and is not yet common.
Our world, our country and our community entered the twenty first century with divisions and gaps in almost all walks of life and with increasing voices that find in this divide its future and welfare. What our community, our country and our world suffer from today is a divide in all aspects of life.
As the generation who lived at the beginning of the eighth century and inherited a major divide, our generation enters the 21st century inheriting a major divide as well. The generation in the eighth century received a message from the Creator. A message to guide, develop and empower. They responded fully and committed to its movement fully. They were able to serve the world the best service ever. They brought it together. They ended the racial divide. They ended the economical divide. They ended most if not all the injustices. They instilled real equality, freedom and justice. They turned the world in the right direction and delivered to their children a better tomorrow.
Our community, our country and our world today is on the look for a similar generation. A generation that has what it takes. A generation that has a message and is willing to dedicate to it fully. A generation that is committed to the hard work that is needed. There is a need for a bridge generation, Generation B.
Bringing about any positive change requires a group of people to come together with firm believe in their mission, complete dedication to their message and full patience on doing what is needed. It requires wise and strong leadership, committed and untied teams and hard work day and night.
Building bridges requires a movement.
We come together as MAS members and MAS Youth workers aspired to create a movement that will become strong with our dedication, commitment and hard work. With its strength, we will be able to steer our world in the right direction. With its strength, we will be able to build all the needed bridges and fill all existing gaps.
Building bridges and filling gaps automatically changes the landscape. Furthermore, the wider the divide, the more the change in the landscape will be. Building a bridge between two lands separated by a small canal may result in insignificant change in the landscape. However, building a bridge over a bay area requires significant change in the landscape. It may change the nature of the land, introduce new landscapes and sometimes remove some. Bridging an economical divide in a community produces a different community than the one during the divide. Bridging a technological divide in a neighborhood results in new behaviors, new cultures and sometimes different attitudes. If the bridge is correct and on solid foundations and with correct guidance, the new landscape is usually much better than the old one.
At the beginning of any project to bridge any divide, there are always voices that fear the change and that call for the divide to remain. Some are benefiting from the divide and some became used and accustomed to the divide. They do not want a change to happen. They do not believe there could be a better way than the one they used to have.
When a land is divided either because of an earthquake or the work of people, you need new soil to fill the gap. If the gap is large, it may require adding new slaps and pouring large amount of soil. As a result, the land comes together as one piece. However, that one piece is different but stronger than ever before.
Bridging the divide brings something new and different but better than ever before. The hard work of the eighth century generation changed the landscape of Arabia. However, the new landscape was better and stronger.
Likewise, this generation, at the beginning of the twenty first century, need to work very hard to address the current divides. This generation is entering a historic moment (or may have already entered it) to close the gaps and bridge the divides. It can capture it as the eighth century generation did or it can miss it or leave it for someone else to win the prize.
The purpose of our movement is to lead our generation to fill the gaps and bridge the divides. We come together equipped with the original message of Islam pure from its original sources: the Qur’an and the authentic life of the prophet, peace be upon him. We come together equipped with rich human history filled with experiences and many lessons to learn. We come together equipped with a deep love for our Creator and our fellow human beings. We come together with full trust in our leadership, full dedication to our movement and full humility and love to one another.
We come together as MAS members and MAS Youth workers to submit to our God and say to Him: You created us and we are Your servants, we submit to You, we commit to You, we humble ourselves for You, we dedicate ourselves to You, we are ready to sacrifice our time for You, we are ready to sacrifice our money for You, we are ready to give You all what we have and all what we can. We believe in You, our Lord. We believe in You. We are willing to do what it takes to chart a better course for our community, our country and our world.
And we are willing to take the heat for it. We know that there will be heat from inside and outside. We are not special. It happened to all the previous generations who did what we want to do.
And it is a competition and we are in it to win, with the will of Allah.
It is a tough competition and it is one that requires hard work and sense of urgency. It is a tough competition because the prize is very valuable. It is a competition on who will understand the most, who will sacrifice the most, who will commit the most, who will be the most conscious of God and who will be the most patient. It is a competition for attaining the pleasure of God. That is the prize and that is the reward. Truly, it is the best of rewards
The pleasure of God. The best prize and the best reward. For it, let the workers work. For it, let the teams compete. For it, let the movement begin.
A movement of a generation that will, with the will of Allah, bridge the divides and fill the gaps. A MAS movement for Generation B*.
* B for bridge

Hazem Sa’id is Present of MAS YOUTH.

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  • […] 8th century CE, I thought this guy on the left looked a littled worried, but he's not the one …Bridging the Divides A mission waiting for a generation …At the beginning of the eighth century, people lived in different parts of the world. … A message […]

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