5 Things You Can Do For Yourself, Islam and Your Country in 2016 | SoundVision.com

5 Things You Can Do For Yourself, Islam and Your Country in 2016

Free people control their time and money. Slaves control neither. Let’s take charge of ourselves by planning for lives because there is a purpose for our existence beyond the mundane routines of earning and consuming.

God wants us to live a thoughtful life, full of hope, working for the future of this world and the hereafter.

“O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sendeth on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do” (Quran 59:18).

Below are some ideas that can help jump-start your own thinking and planning process.

1. Increase your time for yourself

Our prayers are not only an expression of our desires but also of our goals. The Most common dua Muslims make is

Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (Quran 2:201).

Considering that we are asking God for the best of both worlds we must plan for this as well.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Did I plan for the last year?
  • Have I learned anything new in skills and knowledge since last year?
  • Am I making more money than last year?
  • Am I satisfied with my contribution to society?
  • Do I have more friends today?
  • Am I a better Muslim, better neighbor and better citizen today than last year?
  • Are my deeds leading me on the right path to Jannah?

Things to incorporate into your plan:

Learn communication skills. Communication skills are a key ingredient in a harmonious family life, a successful career and for dawa work.

    • Sign up for writing and speech classes.
    • Have your Masjid start classes on interpersonal communication, writing, speech and accent improvement.
    • Check out your local library or community college for free or low-cost classes and seminars or request them to start one.
    • With the help of your librarian, a mentor or an Internet search, develop a reading list on communication skills.
    • Read, read and read some more instead of watching TV.
    • Write letters to the editor, editorials, and commentaries.
    • If you are a student, no matter what your major, take some courses in writing, public speaking, journalism, audio/video or multimedia production, etc.
    • Consider switching your major to journalism, broadcasting, creative writing or at least make these programs your minor.
    • Organize your family to write a book together.
    • Have a monthly family circle in which creative writing is shared or a presentation is made.
    • Lean the art of television production by using your digital camera and computer.
  • Learn leadership skills. This includes learning how to manage our time as well as managerial skills. Muslims, whether it’s in our personal lives, mosques and Islamic centers or in our youth groups, are in dire need of these skills. The need to lead our communities so that we become better contributors to society and can better defend our rights has never been so important.
  • Strengthen Your Family: Muslim marriages are at risk. Today, about 34 percent of Muslim marriages in North America end in divorce. So if you’re thinking of getting married, learn marriage skills from the resources available. If you’re already married, sit down with your spouse today and honestly discuss the state of your marriage as well as how it can be improved.
  • Develop a reading list for 2016. Pick an area in which you want to volunteer time for.

Dua: Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (Quran 2:201)

2. Connect with your neighbors

Like us, our neighbors spend more time with the television than with other people. TV exaggerates. TV distorts. TV preaches bad news about you, which fuels Islamophobia.

But when neighbors meet each other, they see each other’s humanity. Remember that it was many neighbors of good conscience who stood with Muslims after 9/11.

What kind of relationship do you have with your neighbors? Consider this Hadith: Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, once said, "Gabriel kept insisting about the kind treatment of neighbors to the extent that I thought he would assign a share of one’s inheritance to neighbors" (Bukhari and Muslim).

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time do I give to relating to my neighbors?
  • Do my neighbors know Muslims are more peaceful than their neighbors?
  • Does my neighbor feel comfortable enough towards me to ask any question?
  • Have I invited neighbors to my home lately?
  • Do your neighbors know you are Muslim?
  • When was the last time you read the Prophet’s sayings about neighbors?
  • When was the last time your Masjid had an open house for neighbors?

What to incorporate into your plan:

  • Throw a block party.
  • Organize a neighborhood program whether about neighborhood watch, climate change, or poverty
  • Take part in local elections
  • Send special dishes to your neighbors with a recipe and ingredient list
  • Make your lawn and garden a joy for neighbors to watch
  • Invite neighbors to family occasions planned for this year

Dua: Oh Allah! Open our hearts towards our neighbors and open their hearts towards us.

3. Work to save America

We, as citizens, cannot remain silent when for the third time in a row our president has signed into a law indefinite detention of its citizens without due process of law. Our government spies on its own citizens with no restrains. We fund killing democracy abroad. We cannot economically grow when we become an unwelcoming nation. Citizens must become citizens. We must liberate ourselves from the fear industry and restore our constitution.

America is at risk today. Our ideals, our liberties, and our constitution need a new movement.
America is not just important for Americans. America, as a world leader and the host of the UN, the World Bank, and the IMF, is important for all of humanity.

As hate, fear and anger is rising in our country, we must rise with love.

Consider this:

We can no longer afford to be absent citizens. We must invest our time and our money in strengthening our country by participating in our political process: developing relationships with our elected representatives, seeking office or supporting the right candidates, developing alliances and coalitions with others and through financial contributions. While doing that we must carry our young with us. Unfortunately younger Muslims are less likely to vote according to Gallup than their parents. There are several Muslim groups in America who actively seek through their sermons and publications to disfranchise American Muslim by belittling our neighbors of other faiths, by calling elections haram, by dressing foreign, by calling friendship with our neighbors haram etc. We need to defeat their argument and win them over.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I a better citizen today than I was last year?
  • Am I a better bridge-builder than I was last year?
  • Have I volunteered to make my community and my country stronger?
  • Have I taken a stand for justice?
  • Have I related to Americans of other backgrounds and faiths?

What to incorporate into your plan:

  • Run for public office
  • Volunteer for the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Resist the dehumanization of America. This is what warmongers do. Since we know that dehumanization of Muslims is resulting in criminal behavior, we should be the first ones to stand up fighting when articles, emails and some leaders dehumanize America and our neighbors
  • Study and communicate with an American think-tank
  • Develop a personal relationship with an opinion maker
  • Join a civil rights organization
  • Join an interfaith, labor, or peace network
  • Work on bringing Muslims together at the city level. Ask the Muslim leadership if Muslims have a common agenda and why are we not working with each other.

Dua: Oh Allah! Help us become better citizens. Help us make America a better citizen of the global village. Keep us and our neighbors safe and liberate us from the fear of unknown. Help us deal with our enemy justly.

4. Increase your time for Islam

Jannah isn’t free. We must work for it while making dua for Allah’s Mercy to enter this beautiful place of eternal rest and tranquility. The time to work is now. Not tomorrow. Not the Next Life.

Most children in America are growing up without the benefit of Juma khutba. Most children when they grow up don't come back to masjids. Who will run our masjids when we are gone?

If you and your family are a dynamic part of your community, we trust Allah that we will succeed in our faith and achieve an ever lasting life.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How much time have I volunteered for Islam? How does it compare with the time I spend watching TV?
  • Is my family a part of the Muslim community?
  • Are women in my family learning to be leaders and a communicators?
  • Are Muslims working together in my city?
  • What do I know about Islamophbia and other forms of prejudice in society?
  • Is my Masjid a part of any social, justice, peace, or interfaith coalition?
  • Is my faith connecting me to the cause of the poor and the oppressed?

Things to incorporate into your plan:

  • Take a vacation for Islam. Devote one or two weeks working for an Islamic cause of your choice.
  • Volunteer to organize an open house at your mosque.
  • Become an agent of Muslim unity. We can do a lot better for Islam and America if Muslim organizations can work together as a federation putting their resources to work for the common agenda.
  • Ask your Masjid leadership what they are doing for Muslim unity.
  • Meet, call, and write to Muslim leaders you know and ask what they are doing to bring Muslims together.
  • Volunteer in soup kitchens or homeless shelters run by other groups.
  • See what Islamic books and audio-visual material your library has available and what it can order.
  • Attend a local interfaith, labor or peace and justice network. Showing up sometimes is half of the work.

Duas: “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Your grace. Verily You are the Giver of bounties without measure” (Quran 3:8).

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him used to pray: "I seek refuge in You, O Allah, from knowledge that does not benefit and from a heart which does not fear".

5. Give sisters their space

I know a number of Muslim sisters who are very conscientious Muslims and practice Islam thoroughly. However, they no longer go to the Masjid. Islam needs Muslim women and Muslims need sisters willing to devote their time and skills to our faith.

We will always need good books, articles and literature about women in Islam. But we also need solid examples of Muslim sisters actively involved in healthy Muslim communities where their full participation helps our communities grow on the balanced path of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Questions to ask:

  • Does the space for sisters in your Masjid resemble sisters’ space in the Prophet’s Mosque?
  • Do sisters have equal access to the Imam and the Masjid library?
  • Do mothers have a lounge available to them?
  • Are sisters a part of the leadership in the community?
  • Are women in my family able to spare time for Islam?
  • What can I do to facilitate sisters’ participation in community life?

Things to incorporate into your plan:

  • Learn how to run your family based on the Shura model
  • Develop a sisters’ leadership caucus in your city. If sisters don’t do this, it won’t happen.
  • If the Masjid leadership is elected yearly, then issue an annual report card on the Masjid from a sisters’ perspective.
  • Make sure your community newsletter/newspaper reflects sisters’ aspirations. In my experience, sisters are generally better writers and designers. Get them involved.
  • If you’re the only cook in the family, get everyone else involved in learning how to cook and take care of the home.
  • If you are not married, narrate or write down your worldview of marriage. Make sure the potential spouse you are considering knows about your views. Insist on both of you taking premarital classes.
  • Establish social service organizations in your communities. Sisters’ leadership is emerging from this sector.
  • Talk to the Imam about giving woman-focused Khutbas.

Dua: Ya Allah! Help us understand that Islam is not just for men. Ya Allah help us reason with Muslim brothers and sisters who disagree with our position of giving proper space to women in Masjids. Ya Allah, help our community establish justice for all, men and women.


One of the most certain things about life is its uncertainty.

We came into this world alone and we will leave it alone. Whatever we do, it is only for our benefit. In our graves what will count will not be how well off we were in this world. It will be our good deeds.

Your good deeds demand your time and your money. With your planning and budget, this world can be better while ensuring a good life in the Hereafter.

May He bless our plans and intentions.

© Sound Vision Foundation

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