AA to everyone,
In a recent exchange of ideas with Dr. Shabbir, he said 'tools are indispensible'. Please bear with me if this reads like a school essay, but I have come to believe it with a lot conviction. A simple idea implemented with conviction is better than a brilliant idea unimplemented.
Allah, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, gave the best tool of all times, the holy Quran. And he gave us the faculty of thought & an able body along with the constant stream of rizq. We have been commanded to follow His command (establish salat) & establish zaqat. A lot of people think that establishing a quranic society will first require a Islamic state. But Allah showed us otherwise, with the exemplary example of the prophet (SAW) (also in the example of Pakistan, which was created with this aim but ended being something else). In a beautiful narrative by Dr. Waqas Ahmed in "Embracing Islam- The Journey Begins", he has described the intense heat of the hostile desert in Arabia, which made him realize why Allah chose the Arabs for his last revelation. The lofty mission of establishing the rule of Allah wasn't a piece of cake. The prophet (SAW) had to strive against some of the most hostile people in a hostile geography to spread the divine message. And what did he get in the initial years? Humiliation, mockery & threats. But efforts were slowly paying off. He was gathering companions, although very few in numbers. But did he give up when people were laughing at him & insulting him? He strove for 13 long years before the hijrah. What learnings does this hold for us - Great achievements come with great sacrifice. Persist & you will be successful. Just like you understood, many others will understand too. Wrong belief must be 'amended', not insulted. Provide food for thought because reason prevails. Act with a sense of urgency but realize that there is a turn around time between action and results. But you always get results.
The result of this striving is well known. The team which prophet (SAW) made has no parallel. Once the goal (establish deen) was set, the team was ready (trained to train, trained to strive), the followers began to grow in numbers, resources started mobilizing and the rest is history. Deen was established as prescribed by the Quran in the next 10 years. But the beginning was done by one single man, and he did not wait for someone to set up a separate state. In fact, at that point of time, even the message was not completely received. Quran was being revealed in parts. Holistic understanding came to the people later. And the Quranic state was established in the same place where people had vehemently opposed it in the first instance.
Here's my point: We are much better placed than the sahaba were. If we want to communicate, we don't necessarily need to move out of our comfortable homes. We have the phone and the keyboard. We probably cannot comprehend the hardship faced by our prophet (SAW), walking on foot or riding a camel in 48 deg. celcius. We can move fast in the jet age. We have the complete Quran from day 1. And all of us here in this forum are part of a big team. In short, Allah has granted us much efficiency of means and time. The big picture is so very much within our grasp. The question is 'how'?
The Quran is both- the training content and the training manual. Consider Surah Muzammil. It beautifully conveys how to train yourself & your team. Such a clear message with such economy of words:
73:2 Stay vigilant even by night, and never fall short on it -
73:3 Half of it, or a little less.
73:4 Or, you shall increase it whenever warranted. And convey the
Qur’an in a calm distinctive manner, stage by stage.
73:5 We are charging you with a substantial declaration (a lofty mission).
73:6 Certainly, the vigil of the night impresses the minds most strongly,
and the speech is most upright.
73:7 By day you are engaged in continued strife.
73:10 Endure with patience whatever people may say, and leave them
73:19 This Qur’an is a reminder, a giver of eminence. So, whoever wills,
let him set out on a way to his Lord.
73:20 Most certainly, (O Messenger!) Your Lord is fully Aware that you
stay up working two thirds of the night, one half of it, or one third of it,
together with some of your companions. But God has designed the night
and the day, and He knows that you and your companions will not even
keep count of your vigil. So He turns to you in kindness. Recite to them
as much of the Qur’an that you may do with ease. He knows that in time
some of you may be ill, and others have to travel seeking God’s bounty.
And others who will have to fight in the cause of God. Therefore, recite
and convey as much of the Qur’an as may be easy for all. You have to
establish the Divine System and set up the Just Economic Order. And
lend to God a goodly loan. Whatever good you send forth for your own
‘self’ you will find with God, better and more excellent in reward. And
seek the protection of forgiveness of God for imperfections. Certainly,
God is Forgiving, Merciful.
A reflection on 73:6 is important. Many of us may have experienced that any study in the night gets absorbed by the mind better. You can get fully immersed in the subject and gain a very clear insight during the night as compared to the day. The thinking faculty is more open to suggestion & inspiration. Coming from the Creator Himself, this need not be more emphasized. What is clear in this surah is that constant study, reflection and sharing of derived knowledge is imperative to ensure constancy of purpose and unwavering determination. My learning from this is that the 'how' part lies in (pls don't mind the managerial tone):
- Having clear understanding of Quran
- Clear idea of the deliverables
- Creating a team (common thread to be the urge to establish deen. Team includes self)
- Strengthen the team with daily interventions (vigil of the night in 73:6)
- Start a practice of implementation on deliverables (within boundaries set in the Quran)
- Build momentum, by Allah's grace.
Can anyone then stop us?
Why I am sharing my seemingly sketchy idea here is because I feel we can do it in our lifetime. A single flower or a single plant does not make a garden. When many flowers bloom on many different plants, the totality would be a beautiful garden. If each locality, town or city has a similar movement simultaneously, results will be more than visible. People practicing deen make a society practicing deen. In the context of the picture that I have tried to describe here, I made a simple plan (again, during a night of vigil) for my town in India. Am presenting it here for suggestions. One step at a time, the law of cause & effect yields appropriate results.
Implementing the Holy Quran
1. Call a meeting of educated & sensible youth. Purpose is to draw their attention to the true message of Quran. A selection of verses to be made which may help in drawing their interest towards further learning.
2. Give them the understanding of oft repeated relevant verses. Especially the duty towards humanity, salaat, zaqat & sadaqat. Highlight the extent of meaning of the words. (Zaqat is a just system of economic balance. Sadaqat is charity, the recipients of which are defined in the Quran)
3. The purpose of daily existence is to work towards attaining Allah’s pleasure (razaa) through service. Are we doing that? Explain the verses which talk about retribution in case of failure to practice the commands.
4. Ramdzan is the month to start practicing this which becomes a habit for the entire year.
5. Deen is not just rituals. It is a religious-socio-political system aiming at equality and peace. Our maqsad is to establish it. Deen can only be established if every person practices it in daily life. To start with, some people with understanding & resources (however meagre) need to create examples for others to follow. If we wait for someone else to start, ‘that someone’ is also waiting for someone else to start. In the waiting game, the prescribed time for us (life) we be over and we will be empty handed. Resources are provided by Allah through some means (zaria) for the same. We need to understand this very clearly.
6. Since zaqat & sadaqat are clearly defined in Quran, start by contributions from self & commit further contributions. Commitment is key for further ongoing efforts.
7. Explain the consequences of not implementing the laws of Allah & his Wisdom.
8. Start the implementation by arriving at consensus that we need to be of benefit to our immediate society and humanity in general.
9. Conclude on what can be done immediately and what actions should be done to start without further delay.
10. First point can be cleanliness drive at two places- One, in and around the masjid for the benefit of congregation and to set an example. People in neighbouring shops & establishments can be enrolled for this ongoing activity (if not immediately, maybe at a later stage). Second, do the same thing in an around our residences.
11. Make a database of all people visiting the masjid. Take their names, addresses, tel. nos., no. of people in family, occupation, whether they have ration card, driving licence & their blood group. Identify the needy ones from this group and others in the community, who are eligible for giving charity.
12. Enrol a doctor for free medical check-up of families. Use charity for medicines & treatment apart from other social activites.
13. Start a class for understanding the Holy Quran and come out with a method of measuring what students have learnt. In this way, the true message will start spreading.
14. Identify other areas of future activities and list down resources required.
15. Make a presentation covering all the above points and share it with people who can contribute resources & support to establish the divine system.
16. Share future plans
a. like establishing a school where free education is imparted to the needy and fees (equal to expenses) are taken from others. It would include education of prescribed curriculum, teaching to read (& most importantly) understand the Holy Quran. All people from society can participate.
b. Tree plantations for benefit of society. Can start from masjid & residences and later involving housing societies.
c. Food collection system for feeding the needy & poor.
d. Starting orphanages, old age homes & homes for supportless widows.
17. Pray for success on this journey of become true muslims.
18. Meet everyday at a convenient time, preferably night, to understand the Quran, the true source of guidance & inspiration. (Surah Muzammil)
This is what I have started to practice recently. I invite brothers and sisters to provide their feedback and suggestions on how we can have a scalable, widely implementable, time bound action plan so that we may die with the satisfaction of a life well utilized.
May we all walk on the true path.