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LifeSix Things You Can Do for Islam in 2013
Gear up for greatness with these goals for the new year. :
1. Remember that Allah gave us the Quran, the Sunnah, and our Brains
Throughout the Quran, Allah encourages us to think, wonder, consider, and imagine. He has even advised us that the successful people decide their affairs by putting their heads together: Ameruhum Shura Bainahum (Quran 42:38).
The Prophet, in his famous conversation with one of his appointees, also encouraged him to make use of his reasoned opinion:
The basics of our faith are clear in the Quran and Sunnah. Applying those basics in our personal and collective life with wisdom (Hikmah) is critical. Otherwise, we end up with Taliban-style interpretations that are void of wisdom and at times violate Islam. May Allah bless us with wisdom.
This year, let us commit to strive for the best of this world and the best of the hereafter with the full benefit of the Quran, the Sunnah, and our own God-given brains.
2. Embrace the power of planning
Allah has commanded us to think ahead and plan.
One day Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, "Why don't you tie down your camel?" The Bedouin answered, "I put my trust in Allah." The Prophet then said, "Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah" (Tirmidhi). We must therefore do our duty.
3. Embrace the power of thinking together (Shura)
Shura, or mutual consultation in all affairs, is part of the God-given guidelines for a successful lifestyle. Whether it's community affairs (42:38) or family issues (2:233), Shura is a blessing for all members of the Muslim community.
Shura helps us come up with better solutions and ideas because it provides us with a pool of options that would not exist if we simply made decisions on our own. There is blessing in Shura. It builds a family. It develops community as well, offering a platform for shared expertise for the cause of the common good.
Having a problem with your teenagers? Try Shura. God says in another context of conflict “to forgive them, Pray for their forgiveness and consult them in decision making” as a way of strengthening bonds. (Quran 3:159). Embrace Shura in your family and community in 2013. Here are Sound Vision’s guidelines for Shura in the family.
4. Fight Islamophobia
The year 2012 ended with a horrific case in New York of a Hindu man being pushed off a subway platform by a woman who said, “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.”
While it is easier to ignore Islamophobic comments made to our faces or brush off hate online directed at Muslims, it is clear that this approach is not reducing Islamophobia. Islamophobia is real. It is creating fear in the hearts of Muslims and their neighbors. Islamophobia is connected with war and terrorism. They are three evil triplets.
Islamophobia is hurting America. Fear, anger, and hate are rising in America. According to the FBI, 16.8 million Americans purchased guns in 2012 as compared to 2.5 million in 2009. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups are at an all-time high. As America goes through the Census-projected demographic changes in which minorities will become a majority, the existing majority is already showing a high level of anxiety. For this reason, it is likely that Islamophobia will continue to rise.
Raising stronger children with good communication skills, stronger family bonds, and a closer rapport with their Creator is going to be essential. At the same time, the Muslim community must allocate resources to fight Islamophobia by strengthening and working with institutions that fight hate in society. Children must also be aware of the phenomenon and should be trained to deal with it. Here are 14 ways you can fight Islamophobia.
5. Strengthen the fort (The family)
In your immediate family, sit down with your spouse and run a “marriage inventory” of the past year; do a “family inventory” with your kids. Reconnect with the family. Prayer brings love. Pray for a parent, sibling or relative you’ve been neglecting for the last few months or years; seek forgiveness and forgive. Strong individuals and strong families are what strengthen the Muslim community and empower us to face our ongoing challenges and difficulties.
If our homes have become hotels with spouses, parents, and children rarely spending time talking, praying, discussing, and eating together, this has to stop. Make this the year all of you truly connect as part of your higher commitment to Allah and the Muslim community.
Listen to your children. They will listen to you. Remember Allah. He will remember you. You take ten steps towards Him, He will take 100 steps toward you. You walk towards Him, He will run towards you. God is the greatest. He loves those who keep coming back to Him. He is the Merciful, the Mercy Giving.
6. Learn Sabr and Tawakkul, along with the remembrance of God in times of stress
“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, God is with the patient” (Quran 2:153). We are familiar with prayer through Dua and various forms of Salat. However, Sabr is a concept which is not always easy to practice.
Anything we strive for requires persistence, perseverance, endurance, and focused determination. That is Sabr in the Quranic terminology which occurs a little more in the Quran than the term Salat for prayers.
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