Community Islamic Character

Do Not Ask What Islam Can Do for You, but What You Can Do…

By Aslan Uddin

I’m sure that many would also be feeling sad to spend their last term with those who are about to finish higher education. However I also see their leaving as an excellent opportunity to implement their knowledge and skills in positive ways for the Muslim community as Imam Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy upon him) said “Knowledge is not what one has memorized. Knowledge is what benefits.”

There are two ways in which they can advance us, either through normal contributions(like Muslim researchers, thinkers, scientists etc do currently) or through large contributions. The latter needs more elucidation and can be by starting new initiatives and organisations, establishing foundations, such as by starting Muslim peer review journals, helping Muslim universities to become world class, contributing to justice in Muslim countries and propagating new paradigms (like Islamic economics, science) and solutions to problems that have recently arisen or still haven’t been solved. Take the good that you have learnt from the current society and use it to further advance us. As for the bad from society, find alternatives or solutions to them. This is how Europe reached its enlightenment. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said “The people most beloved to Allah are those most beneficial to others” (Tabarani).

Sacrifices must be made, whether small or large, and they all count. The advancement of our own Muslim community lies on our own shoulders. The whole is greater than the sum of all parts.

There is much that can be achieved, even in serving humanity through medical breakthroughs. It is our leader, Muhammad (pbuh) who gave us hope when he said “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment”(Bukhari). So take this as your certainty and help humanity for Allah Most High.

Nevertheless such advancement can be hastened by changing what is within us, so adopt excellent standards and manners. There is a large moral void that has to be filled (e.g avoiding obscene language, lying, backbiting etc) in this society and it can really help project a good image of Muslims if we adopt our Islamic values (i.e. pure tongues) as it will make us stand out in a positive manner. Show mercy to people and kindness without necessarily expecting people to reward you. We can reach far if we adopt the high ethical standards of Islam, and the reward is great.

It takes only one person to change an entire people for the positive, it has happened before and can happen again. Either that person will come from our generation or we must facilitate for such a person by laying the foundations for the future. Coordination and cohesiveness is important in all of this, and so is the need for working for the benefit of Islam.

Ask not what Islam can do for you, but what you can do for Islam. Soon more people will catch up to such positive initiatives and the pace will quicken and the path made easier insha’Allah. Allah Most High said in the Noble Qur’an “And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” (29:69)

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  • Salam,

    JazakAllah khair for the post.
    I'd like to add a suggestion, what seems like a great idea is if we have Muslim scholars who then study deeply a science, say biology or psychology and thereby create a symbiosis between those fields and Islam, and use them for the benefit of Muslims.
    For example, it would really help the Muslims intellectually if we have Muslim scholars who are well qualified in evolutionary theory.
    It would be easier for Muslim scholars to study and graduate in a science degree since Islamic training really helps make the secular studies easier.
    Wa Salam

  • Jezak Allahu khayran for the excellent reminder, subhanAllah especially about our behavior and how it will effect the way those around us will see Islam.

    Once in a college class there was a sister who wore hijab who was so, so rude to one of the students in the class, she was rude, acted arrogantly, and then said it's just the way people in her age group act. The student's response was “no, that's the way rude people act.” I tried to talk to the sister and she was like, “that girl who has a pea brain” or something insane like that. may Allah protect us from arrogance.

    Later that semester, I drove too fast in the parking lot and the same non Muslim student saw me drive by. She was very upset that I had driven fast and told me off before walking away angrily.

    ALHAMDULLILAH Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala blessed me big time and helped me think fast. I ran to a nearby Jamba Juice, got a gift card and met her later and apologized to her, and I told her that this is not from Islam for us to act rudely, to drive crazily…that it was from my own faults and I would not want her to judge Islam for my wrong actions.

    Alhamdullilah, first she was surprised, and second, she was really grateful that I had made the gesture. She told me, in light of 2 bad experiences with two women who wear hijab, that she started thinking- “Maybe they really are the way the media portrays them.”

    Just two bad incidents and a generally open minded woman was ready to think that Islam might actually be as horrible as the media makes it seem.

    We take small issues about our character for granted and think that others do not see them as that big of a deal. We carry Islam when we walk subhanAllah. this is a huge responsibility. Let's take it seriously and make that small effort to show the people that this deen has an amazing standard of morals. Holding the door a little longer, smiling a little wider, PARKING CORRECTLY …in the end, all these little things play into a much wider picture. may Allah give us tawfeeq.

  • Benefitting others is such a broad statement and that is the beauty of our religion. The statements of worship and purpose of life is very comprehensive and can include many different things. As Sh. Suhaib Webb said all of us have different talent and we should use that talent to perform good for others. I am planning to benefit others. I cannot have a job working for Microsoft, AT&T, or other companies and come back home with just a paycheck. I want impact people's lives, enlighten others, educate myself. That is my main goal in life and should be for all Muslims.

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