A young boy once asked me while in a Masjid: why do we recite Surah al-Fatiha so many times? He made me think. We do recite it quite often. As we take short breaks fives time a day from our busy lives, school, job, or put the TV on mute or that video game, we connect with our Creator Who asks us to do that. We think of Him, Lord of the Universe, the Merciful, the Mercy-giving. We talk to Him in our prayers: we worship none but You and it is You we ask for everything. We then beg Him, please guide us to the right path.
In each short break we ask Him to guide us to the right path. To the right path. To the right path.... We keep asking Him.
We make decisions all day long and therefore we ask Him to guide us in each short break we take for prayer.
And at the end of our short prayer breaks we also ask Him to give us the best of this world and the best of everlasting life.
When we ask anything from Him, He expects us to strive for it.
So if we ask for the best of this world, we have to work on it. If we ask Him for the best of the both worlds, as we do, we have to strive to achieve that. Plan for everything you pray for.
The new Islamic year 1433 has already begun and 2012 is also just around the corner. It is an ideal time to be planning for the future.
You may have many ideas about the future: for yourself, for your family, for your children, your job, your community, and your country. Too many things and too little time! That is where setting goals and priorities come in. If we don't control our own time and our own money, time and money will control us. We will be like slaves. Our wishes, our Duas will not come true.
A follower of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, we must strive for excellence, as he has asked us to do.
So let’s plan. If you have never developed a personal plan and a personal budget, Google for some guidance. Or read an excellent set of articles about it right here at SoundVision.
Allah has given us the Quran, his example (Sunnah), and our brains. Meet as a family circle this weekend with a pen and a paper (or your iPad). Think together in Shura about where you are in this world and where you want to go. Think of where you stand in terms of your Deen (faith) and what you want to achieve in 2012. Think about where your community is and how you want to contribute to it. Consider where your country is going and how you can help.
You know yourself better than anyone else, so I will not dwell further on it. However, I have some suggestions to offer when you start thinking and developing ideas about what you intend to do for our community and our country, which you may want to incorporate in your plan.
1. Develop a Personal Plan to Fight Islamophobia:
Islamophobia is no longer just hateful talk on radio and television talk shows. Hate is now dictating laws at federal and state levels. Forty-nine anti-Sharia bills are being discussed in 25 states.
Do you know what Islamophobia is? Does your family and do your children know this monster and do they know how to deal with hate? Do people in your school and workplace know how strong and pervasive this hate is? Do they equate it with other forms of hate? How many resources is your Masjid allocating to fight Islamophobia? How much of your personal time and money is being allocated to meet the number one challenge the Muslim community is facing in America?
Dear friends, the time is now for us to allocate a substantial amount of time and money for this fight. It is required for your survival in America and for your children's future. It is as important as a donation to a Masjid. We must not allow hate speech to dictate laws.
2. Make Our Community Stronger:
Repeated Gallup polls have found that Muslim women in America have better gender equity in terms of wealth with Muslim men than any other community, Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant. However, most of the questions Americans ask today of the Muslim community deal with the status of women in Islam or violence. And no one can answer that question better than Muslim women. Sisters: could you please speak up with your writings, speech, and leadership? Could you plan in 2012 to join a Toastmaster’s Club? More Muslim women write in America than Muslim men do. But could you please do it more often and more for the mainstream media? Can this reflect in the personal plans of both, the sisters to speak up, and for brothers to give room and space to them in our institutions?
3. Devote More Time to Raise Stronger Children:
Just last week, I saw the photo of young David Osama Haddad in Chicago newspapers whose face was severely bruised and who suffered a traumatic brain injury because of the beating he got at school. He is not alone. According to Columbia University survey, seven percent of all Muslim children get beaten up in public schools. About one-third try to hide their faith and Muslim name. You know your children better. How can you help them become stronger in faith and build skills to deal with hate and bullying? Can you increase the time and money allocated for the future of your children?
When you are done your planning, assist others in the family who might need your help developing their plans. Everyone in the family must have a plan, including the young ones.
Once these plans are finalized, do visit them every three months or so to review, evaluate, or make changes as needed. This should constitute a regular agenda item in your monthly or weekly family Shura meetings.
Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2012_with_stones_at_the_beach.jpg