Factors such as where we live, the level of cultural diversity, the standard of education and needs of the local populace determine the way we see ourselves and the solutions we should seek to implement. However as Muslims should our primary concern be to tackle the ills of society and work on communal reform or work towards establishing more Islamic institutions which work to safeguard our Islamic tradition? The two are actually not mutually exclusive and it is this point that we want to try and highlight.
Being Muslim entails much more than simply being kind and nice to your fellow neighbours or being involved with your community. It also entails more than simply supporting your local Masjid. Being a Muslim means being multi-disciplined by its very nature. A Muslim is one who submits his will to the Will of God. Therefore a Muslim tries his utmost to do the things God loves and encourages them and to stay away from the things that God dislikes and discourage others from them. So everything that is related to Muslims should be the concern of a Muslim. Generally put, the Muslim wishes to act upon, preserve, safeguard and propagate Islam in any and all cases where he is able to.
Therefore when we call for political reform or challenge a miscarriage of justice or draconian policies, are we doing that for the sake of injustice to a particular people or are we doing that for the sake of God? When we start a new initiative that supports people in need, are we doing that to be helpful or because there is a gap in the market, or are we doing that because the religion enjoins it?
If everything we do, for it to be accepted, requires the intention and the methodology then one wonders – are we really being sincere? Are our actions according to the Sunnah and for the sake of Allah alone? It is for this reason that we need to assess what we are doing and more importantly why we are doing it. If setting up a charity will cater for a particular public concern then is it really warranted or could you pool your resources with another similar organisation to achieve the same effect – if indeed you are working for the sake of Allah?
When an organisation tries to encourage others to think along political lines and to consider the political ramifications of a particular policy – does it help to criticise organisations that are not working on the political sphere? When has your criticism of someone ever encouraged them to support your cause? If your Da’wah is to non-Muslims, then are those that work on ‘Da’wah to Muslims’ not worthy of your time and support? If we looked at it conclusively, don’t you each actually complement each other by working on two sides of the same coin?
There are many things that Muslims should take into consideration when volunteering their time and efforts with regards to Islamic organisations – be that ISOC’s, Masjids, welfare charities or community initiatives. Working with one organisation doesn’t mean you need to exclude others and just because someone doesn’t see the issues faced by Muslims the same as you it doesn’t mean they should be criticised for their point of view – especially if they have reasons for their priorities.