GUIDELINES FOR ISLAMIC WORKERS
Abul A'la Maududi
We are about to disperse after four days of Convention. We have completed the task that we intended to do in this Convention. In our special session we have also reviewed our previous work, to a certain extent. Now, before we leave, I would like to have a few words with you—members and associates all—and give the necessary instructions needed to carry on Iqamat al-Din (establishment of Islamic way of life) properly, in the future .
(Attachment with Allah)
The first and foremost instruction, always given by all the Prophets, the rightly-guided caliphs and the pious among the Ummah (Muslim Community) to their companions had been to inculcate fear of Allah, implant His love in one's heart and to promote attachment with Allah. Hence following their footsteps, I also have chosen it as the first advice to the workers and in future I will continue to do so whenever I get a chance, for it deserves a preferential and priority treatment.
Belief in Allah is the most important over all other articles of faith. Hence association of heart with Allah should have priority in prayers. Fear of Allah should have priority in morals and soliciting the pleasure of Allah should have priority in all personal dealings. In short, the proper orientation of our entire life is to be based on the desire to win the pleasure of Allah and this should have priority over all other motives, efforts and endeavours. Particularly this hard task of ours, for which we stand as an Islamic Jama'ah (organised group) and a Movement, can only thrive on the motivating force of our attachment with Allah. It will be strong or weak in proportion to our attachment with Allah.
It is an admitted fact that whatever task a man stands for, be it worldly or heavenly, the main force behind has been the purpose for which one has risen, and zeal can only engender when he has deep interest and enthusiasm towards achieving that aim. A self-seeker cannot succeed without being selfish. Intensity in love for self leads him to the service of his self with the eagerness of the same strength. A man working for his children, by being devoted to their love, sacrifices his own pleasures and comforts for the welfare of his children, and sometimes stakes not only his worldly gains but even the benefits of the Akhirah (Hereafter), so that they may prosper to the utmost. A man working for his nation or country is a captive of its love and because of this love he endures monetary losses, as well as hardships of detentions and jails. He works hard day and night and sometimes even sacrifices his life for the freedom, defence and supremacy of his nation or state.
Now, if we are struggling to establish the Islamic way of life, not for our own selfish ends; neither for any motive of family interests nor any national or state interest but only with sincere desire to please our Creator, Allah Almighty alone, and if we have engaged ourselves in this work only because we are convinced that this is His work, you can certainly realise that this work cannot be advanced unless and until our attachment with Allah is real, strong and deep. Zeal for this work develops only when all our inclinations are concentrated in the endeavours for propagating the Word of Allah. For all those who have joined hands in this work, it is not enough that they might be connected with "Allah also", but that their connection should be with "Allah only". In other words, it should not be 'a' connection but 'the' only real and true connection. We should always be vigilant and conscious that our attachment with Allah does sot decrease but always increase and gets deeper and deeper with time.
Attachment with Allah is the main guiding spirit of oar mission. Praise be to Allah, no member of our Jama'ah is unmindful of this fact and ignorant about its significance. Yet many are often not clear as to what does the term Ta'alluq Billah exactly mean, what is the method of inculcating and promoting it, and how to find out whether one really has any connection with Allah or not and if one has, then to what degree. I have often felt that lack of knowledge and under-standing in this respect leaves people in wilderness, knowing not where do they stand and where are they to go and how much distance have they yet to cover. Consequently some of the workers get lost in vague ideals and some get inclined towards ways and methods that never lead them to their destination. Some find difficulty in differentiating between closely related and far-related things—and someone is just astounded.
I shall not, therefore, only confine myself to advice about Ta'alluq Billah but also, try to present clear cut answers to the said questions, to the best of my knowledge.
The Meaning of Ta'alluq Billah
Its meaning according to the Qur'an are that a person should live and die for Allah, and his worship and sacrifices should also be meant for Him alone.
Surely my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah the Cherisher of the worlds. (An'am: 162)
He should worship Allah with full devotion and subject his life exclusively to unqualified submission to Allah. The Qur'an says:
They had been ordered nothing but that they should worship Allah with sincere devotion and being true in faith to Him. (Bayinah: 5)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has, on different occasions, explained this relationship in such clear terms that there is no ambiguity left in its meaning and purpose. It is explicitly clear from his statements that the nature of this relationship is nothing but—
To fear Allah in all matters—open or secret— (Bayhaqi)
And to rely on the might of Allah rather than one's own resources. (Bayhaqi)
He should be ready to face the anger of men to solicit the pleasure of Allah, and never prepared for the vice versa. And when this attachment with Allah rises to the extent that all love, enmity, giving and withholding by a person is for the sake of Allah alone, and with no other motive behind, it means that he has attained perfection in his attachment with Allah. The Prophet (p) said:
Whoever loved for Allah, and hated for Allah gave for Allah and withheld for Allah, is the person who has perfected his faith. (Bukhari)
Now look into the meanings of the Qunut which you recite every night. Every word of it points towards the connection you should have with Allah. Just ponder over its words and see for yourself the promise you make with Allah about the kinds of connections you should have with Him.
O Allah, we seek Your help and crave for pardon from You We believe wholly in You and solely depend upon You, (so) we praise You in the best words, we are thankful to You, and not ungrateful to You, (Hence) we abandon and reject (leave) all those who transgress Your Commands. O Allah, we worship You alone, offer prayers for Your sake, bow down to You and all our endeavours and efforts are meant to lead us towards You. We are hopeful of mercy from You and are afraid of Your punishment. Undoubtedly Your punishment is to fall on the rejecters.
This attachment with Allah is also clearly reflected in the special Du'a (Supplication) of the Prophet (p) which he used to recite at the time of Tahajjud. He used to say:
O Allah, I have bowed down to you, declared my faith in You, placed my reliance in You, always took recourse to You, fought for You and placed my case before You.
How to Increase Ta'alluq Billah ?
The above mentioned is the correct interpretation of this study time and again to retain it in your attachment that a firm believer should have with Allah. Now let us consider the method of acquiring and increasing it. The only method of acquiring it is to believe in Allah and accept Him the One with no partner, as the Provider, the Deity and the Master of his own self as well as of the whole Universe, and to accept all the attributes, the rights and the privileges of divinity as reserved for Allah alone, and thus cleaning one's heart from all possible effects of polytheism (Shirk). When this is achieved, connection with Allah is duly established.
Now the strengthening of this relationship with Allah is that you are His vicegerent, custodian factors. One is of thinking and understanding and the other is to practice.
First you are required to fully grasp and understand your relationship with Allah by nature as well as logically incumbent upon you in practical life with the help of the Qur'an and the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet (p). The correct perception, discernment and appreciation of this relationship is only possible through deep and intensive study of the Qur'an and Hadith and by repetition of this study time and again to retain it in your mind. Consequently whatever aspects of your relationship with Allah dawn upon you, ponder over them and look into yourself as to how much are you meeting the demands of that relationship and where and to what extent are you failing. Your attachment with Allah will increase in proportion to your self assessment and understanding of your required role.
For example, your first and foremost relation with Allah is that of a worshipper with the worshipped. Your other of and responsible for innumerable trusts (Amanat). Your third relationship with Allah is that you have executed a sale deed by declaring your faith and conviction in Him and through this Contract you have bartered your life and property to Him and He has purchased it in consideration of paradise for you in return. Your fourth relationship with Allah is that you stand responsible to Him. You are not accountable to Him only for your acts and deeds that are open and visible but also a record is being maintained concerning your intentions and aspirations. In short, these and many other relations exist between you and Allah. Hence the strengthening or weakness of your relationship with Allah depends upon proper understanding, realisation and fulfilment of the demands of these relationships. Your relation with Allah will grow weaker and weaker if you do not care for the demands of this relationship and will get deeper and stronger if you are duly conscious of and attentive to its demands.
But this conceptual method can neither be fruitful nor maintained for long unless it is strengthened and reinforced through practical means. And that practical method is the unqualified obedience of the command of Allah and all out efforts to perform these tasks which please Allah. True obedience to Allah's commands means total compliance—open as well as secret— not unwillingly but with full eagerness and zeal, without any worldly aim and solely to please Allah. At the same time, abstain openly, as well as in secret, from all activities forbidden by Allah, with full abhorrence and deep contempt and fearless of any worldly loss, save the fear of the wrath of Allah only. This conduct in life will raise you high up to the position of Taqwa (abstention from the displeasure of Allah). Further when you engage yourself in spreading all that pleases Allah and suppressing and eliminating all that displeases Allah, you do not hesitate in sacrificing any thing including your life, money, time, efforts and intellect for this purpose. Moreover you do not boast of any of your such sacrifices, nor do you consider it any favour to anyone. Instead you regard your biggest sacrifice short of the due right of your Creator. Then this is the attitude that elevates you to the position of Ihsan (beauteous submission to the will of Allah).
Means of Growing Ta'alluq Billah
In reality it is not so easy to develop such attitude. It is an uphill task which requires a lot of energy. This energy can be generated with the help of the following four things.
1) Salah (Prayers): You should offer not only the obligatory prayers (Fard), but also the Sunnah (additional prayers) offered punctually by the Prophet (p) and the Nafl (supererogatory prayers) as many as easily possible. But make it a point that you offer the Nafl indoors and in secrecy, so that your personal attachment with Allah might increase, and sincerity of purpose develop in you. Show of Nafl or Tahajjud prayers gives way to hypocrisy and self-importance which is detrimental to sincere belief. Same is the case with other Nafl deeds which are diminished by show and publicity.
(2) Dhikr-Allah (Remembrance of Allah): Remembrance of Allah is a continuous process throughout the life in all circumstances. The best and most appropriate way to remember Allah is the one the Prophet (p) practised himself, taught to his companions, and not the techniques invented or borrowed from others by the sufis in the later period. Try to learn by heart, as many Du'as as possible, taught by the Prophet (p), fully grasp their meanings and recite them off and on keeping the meanings present in your mind. It is very effective in maintaining your attention and devotion to Allah.
(3) Sawm (Fasting): Apart from the obligatory fasting of the month of Ramadan, observe some Nafl fasts also. The easiest and most practical way is to fast for three days every month with a determination to attain the same degree of Taqwa during these three days which is the real purpose behind fasting according to the Qur'an.
(4) Infaq-fi-Sabilillah (Spending in the way of Allah): This spending, Fard as well as Nafl to the extent of one's means, should be continuously done. But one thing should always be kept in mind. The real worth is not of the quantity of what you spend but of the spirit of sacrifice for the sake of Allah. A penny from a poor man by cutting his food expenses is much more precious before Allah than the thousands spent by a millionaire that amount to only one-tenth or one-twentieth of his expenses on luxuries. You should also realise the importance attached to Sadaqah (spending in the way of Allah), which is described by Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the best means of purifying one self. you can yourself experience the effects of Sadaqah. Suppose you commit a wrong unintentionally. When you realise it you repent (Tawbah) and beg His pardon. Then again the same thing happens. This time you add some Sadaqah to your repentance. You shall yourself feel the difference it makes. You shall note that the repentance followed by Sadaqah makes you purer and stronger to resist the vily inclinations.
This is the pure and simple method of getting closer to Allah, taught to us by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. If you follow this method, you can increase your attachment with Allah, without adopting the typical sufic techniques and methods, and leading a normal life at home with your family and carrying on all your worldly activities as usual.
Measure of Ta'alluq Billah:
Now comes the question of assessing the extent and degree of relationship with Allah and that how can we know of any increase or decrease in this attachment. Let me tell you that you need not wait for any revelation in dreams, any divine inspiration, any supernatural power or heavenly light in dark solitary cells. The measure has already been provided by Allah in every man's heart. You can judge it awake and in full day light. Recount your lifelong activities, efforts and desires. Check yourself as to how far you are honouring the commitment you have made by declaring your belief and conviction in Allah. Are you true to Allah in the discharge of trusts and responsibilities or flouting the trust? What proportion of your time, efforts, ability and property is devoted to the cause of Allah and what is reserved for other activities. Compare the degree of your annoyance, grief and uneasiness when your own personal interests and passions are hit, as against your feelings and reaction when Allah's authority and commandments are flouted. You can thus test your attachment with Allah in so many ways and find out daily whether your attachment with Allah is on the increase or decrease. Do not bother about the sufic technicalities of Basharat (glad tidings), Karamat (excellence), Kashf (inspiration) and Tajalliat (divine lights). In fact there is no awareness (Kashf) greater than the awareness of the oneness of Allah in this world of deceptions and fallacies. No excellence (Karamat) is higher than to stand firm in the face of apprehensions created and temptations offered by Satan and his followers. There is no better perception of Allah's lights than to witness the truth in the groping darkness of infidelity (Kufr), impiety (Fisq) and perdition (Dalalat) all around. The greatest possible Basharat that a believer may get is through his staunch belief in Allah and steadfastness in His way.
Surely those who said that Allah is our Provider and then they stuck to this declaration, Allah sends His angels to them who say "Do not be afraid, nor be grieved, but be delighted to hear the happy news of being awarded the Paradise as promised to you. (Ha-Mim: 30)
Preference of the Akhirah (Hereafter)
My second advice to you after Ta'alluq Billah is to give preference to Hereafter over this world, in each and every matter. In every affair of this life, your aim should be to attain success and blessing in the life Hereafter. The Qur'an tells us that our eternal abode is the Hereafter; we are in this world only temporarily, to be examined as to who of us are going to prove their competency of winning the eternal life of Paradise, by acting properly within the limits imposed by Allah—of course within the limits of our resources, our authority, time stipulated to us, and opportunities afforded by Him. We are here being tested not for our achievements in industry, commerce, agriculture or statecraft, nor for the splendid buildings and roads we construct, nor even for the extent of our success in establishing a grand culture. But the real test pertains to the ex-tent of our ability to perform our duties as Allah's vicegerent in respect of the trusts placed in us, and whether we lead our life as an outlaw and a rebel or as an obedient and law-abiding person? Whether we comply with the will of Allah on His earth or the will of our own self or of other claimants to divinity other than Allah? Whether we are trying to adorn and administer Allah's world according to His standard or trying to corrupt and destroy it? And whether we struggle and fight the Satanic forces for the sake of Allah or meekly lay down our arms and surrender to those forces? The first test of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them) in the Paradise was just the same. Hence all persons selected for the eternal inhabitation of Paradise from the entire humanity shall have to pass this test. Thus the real criterion of determining success or failure does not lie in considering the status of the individual at the time of trial i.e., whether the individual's merit was tested as a king or by putting his head on the executioner's block. Also whether that individual was given a vast kingdom or he had to undergo the trial in his humble cottage. These temporary phases of success or failure in the mortal life are no proof of success or failure in the life Hereafter. The true success which should be our goal is that irrespective of the position we hold in this world and with whatever bounty we have been put to trial, we should prove ourselves obedient servants of Allah and followers of His Wishes in order that we may achieve that position in the Hereafter which is reserved for the faithful servants of Allah.
This is the reality. It is not enough to understand or accept it only once—but great effort is needed to refresh it time and again. Otherwise, there is always a possibility that, in spite of our not being a nonbeliever, we might step into the shoes of those who work for worldly gains forgetting the Hereafter. This happens because the Hereafter is imperceptible and it is evident only after death. In this world we can perceive its good or bad results only through intellect. On the contrary, this world is an easily perceptible thing, offering its sweet and sour tastes every now and then, and its achievements and failures are always there to deceive us. The loss of Hereafter may only give us a little pricking in our conscience if it at all exists. Whereas the loss of this world is felt by us physically. Our family, our relatives, acquaintances, friends and the people in general all not only feel it but also make it felt. Similarly the accomplishment of the Hereafter provides a little comfort and satisfaction to the conscience only if heedlessness has not deadened it. But the prosperity in this world serves as a pleasure for our whole existence. We feel it with all our senses and every one around us shares this feeling. Hence it is really very difficult to translate the faith in Hereafter into practice and base the whole out look and working of day to day life upon this faith, although it may not look so difficult to accept it as a faith and belief. It might be easy to say that world is a trifle, but to face and reject the worldly attractions and refuse to concede to the worldly desires is not at all an easy job. It can only be possible after a great struggle and can be retained with persistent efforts.
Means to Develop Concern for Akhirah
You might ask me as to what is the method to acquire this quality and what are its requirements? I would again say there are two methods, reflective and practical.
The reflective method is that you should not be contented only after declaring 'I believe in Hereafter' rather make it a habit to study the Qur'an fully grasping its spirit and meaning. This method of studying the Qur'an will gradually develop such a conviction in Hereafter as if you have seen it with your own eyes. There is not perhaps a single page in the Qur'an where the Hereafter is not mentioned in one way or the other. At places you will find the Hereafter portrayed in such a detail as if an eye witness account is being reported. At many places in the Qur'an, life in Hereafter is projected in such an exquisite manner that the-reader feels himself present as an observer. Only if the camouflage of this world is removed, one can witness with his own eyes whatever is being narrated in the Qur'an Hence continuous study of the Qur'an with full comprehension can gradually raise one to a position where the concern for the Hereafter gets complete hold of his mind, and he begins to feel actually at all times that he is to prepare himself in this temporary worldly life for his permanent abode of life after death.
This attitude and perspective gets stronger by the study of the Hadith wherein details about life after death are often described just like eye-witness accounts. This reminds us of the fact how the conviction and firm belief in the Hereafter dominated the lives of the Prophet (p) and his companions.
This conviction in Hereafter is further strengthened by visits to graveyards which should be made solely to achieve the purpose of remembering ones own end as advised by the Prophet (p). One should remember while living in this world of desires and passions that a day will come when he will also depart from this world like his predecessors. However one should be careful that those tombs and shrines will not serve any purpose which the wayward people claim to be the centres where every wish is granted and all problems are resolved. Instead you should visit she graveyards of the common men or the grand mausoleums of monarchs deprived of the pomp and show of body-guards and aide de-camps to make the people observe the formalities in the presence of such monarchs.
Now let us take the practical method. While living in this world and taking part in the affairs of your community, friends, acquaintances, your city, country or in the matters of your own efforts. Outside help can only be acquired by profession or finances you often find yourself at the crossroads. Belief in the life Hereafter calls you towards one way while material gains and interests press you to go the other way. Try your level best to proceed on the way mentioned first. If you nave chosen the other way because of any weakness or unawareness retrace your steps as soon as you realise the mistake, unmindful of how far have you gone the wrong way. Look unto yourself and try to find out how often did the worldly interests and attractions succeed in getting you absorbed in it and how many times did you succeed in avoiding detraction from the right path, and consideration for the life Hereafter dominated over you. This assessment of your own self shall tell you exactly how much your concern for the life Hereafter has increased and to what extent you are required to make up the deficiency. Whatever deficiency you feel, try hard to make it up keeping away from the companionship of materialists and by developing friendship with the pious people who prefer the gains of the life Hereafter over this world. But remember, there is no way yet known to develop or discard any quality in you without your own efforts or potentials.
Avoid Takabbur (Arrogance)
My third advice to you is that you should not feel proud of the improvements you have made in your person and in your collective morality. You should not, individually or as a Jama'ah and Movement, fall into the fallacy that you have achieved perfection and that you have reached your goal and there is no room left for any further improvement in your practical life and that no more target to be achieved. Often I and the other responsible persons of the Jema'ah are faced with a teasing problem. Some people have been trying to belittle the position of the Jama'ah and, in fact, of the Islamic Movement, which is real purpose of the Jama'ah. They label it as a political party working for the same goal that of the other political organizations. Piety and purity as well as spiritualism is no where traceable in it. It utterly lacks attachment with Allah and concern for Hereafter; its leadership has no link with any school of sufism and have got no grooming, in any sufic centre of piety and excellence in spiritualism. Hence there is no chance for its associates to get such grooming. The idea behind this campaign is to spread dissatisfaction among the workers of the Jama'ah so that they might recapitulate to the same old religious centres that consider any partial service to Islam umder the over all patronage of Kufr (infidelity) as a great achievement and those who can never even imagine to establish Islam as a complete and comprehensive code of life. They have labelled every such attempt as an anti-religious move with all the eloquence at their command. They have always opposed any move to establish Islam as a dominant force in the society against infidelity and impiety (Fisq) by painting all such attempts as purely mundane and motivated by material ambitions and worldly gains.
Under these circumistances we are constrained to explain the real difference between the concept of piety put forward by the sufic spiritualism and the concept of Islamic piety and purity. We have to explain what is real Taqwa (fear of Allah) and Ihsan (excellence in submission to Allah) as desired in Islam and how it differs with the Taqwa and Ihsan which is taught by the so called authorities on peity and religiosity. Simultaneously we have also to explain in detail the technique and methods of reform and training adopted by the Islamic Movement and its consequences, so that anybody sincere to Islam and having a correct and unadulterated concept of Islamic order may easily know that once convinced and impressed by the revolutionary message of Islam one automatically undergoes a great change in his outlook and concepts. This conviction develops true piety, fear of Allah and excellence in submission to His Will. Such a sort of sincerity and conviction is altogether missing in the stereotype sufic methods of training of piety and excellence not only in the trainees but in their teachers and guides as well.
We have to explain all this because of the unjust and unfair attitude of our critics. We do not mean to defend ourselves. but we feel this explanation necessary in the interest of the Islamic Movement. We seek the protection of Allah against any vanity or pride about our own selves by the above exposition or any misconception that we have perfected ourselves. Allah forbid, such a misconception and deceitful pride may deprive us of all that we have achieved so far.
To avoid this mishap I would like you to fully understand the following three points and never forget them:
My first point is that perfection knows no limits and its point of excellence is out of our sight. You go on climbing up and never consider any point as the highest one. In fact you are never perfect. The moment one considers himself perfect, his strife for the better and consequently his development stops, and decline begins. Never forget that a continuous struggle is needed for not only reaching a height but also for keeping yourself there. The moment you stop striving upward the downward pull starts working. The wise never look down to assess their achievement but look up to know how much is left unattained, and how far is their target.
My next point is that the standard of humanity set by Islam is so high that it starts from where the other isms and ideologies conclude their excellence and perfection. It is not at all an utopic ideal. It reflects in the practical life of the Prophets as well as in the lives of the devoted companions of the Prophe Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the pious among the Ummah. Always keep that standard in mind. It will save you from misapprehension of having attained perfection. It will make you realise your own lowliness as well as present before you new heights to achieve. Even after a lifelong struggle you will feel that many a heights are yet unattained. Never feel proud of your health while patients around you are breathing their last every moment. Look at the monuments of morality and piety of the past, whom you are replacing in the fight against evil. A true believer is he who always keeps in mind those who are richer in Islamic knowledge and deeds so that the thirst for accumulating this wealth does not die out. As regards material wealth, he always compares, himself with the poorer and thanks Allah for what He has given him, satisfying his thirst with whatever he has got.
My third point is that the qualities actually acquired by us so far appear impressive only because deterioration has debased us and our society a lot. The little light provided in the pitch darkness has earned prominence, otherwise it is a fact that we lack a lot in our personal lives when we assess ourselves on the criterion and the minimum requirements of faith in Islam. Hence confession of our shortcomings should not be a formality. It must result in a thorough purging of all of our faults and vices that we find and locate in our own personal life.
Attend to your kith and kin
I would also advise you to pay special attention towards reforming your kith and kin. The Qur'an says:
Save yourselves and your kith and kin from Fire. (Tahrim: 6)
You are very much particular about the food and clothing of your families. But you should be much more particular to save them from the fuel of Hell. Try your best for the betterment of their life Hereafter and put them on the way to Paradise. If any one of them goes astray, in spite of your efforts, you shall not be held responsible for it. The point is that you should in no way be involved in his failure in the Hereafter. I often receive complaints that workers of the Jama 'ah do not pay much attention to the betterment and reform of their own family as they do for others. These complaints may be true in some cases, and may be exaggerated in some other. It is not possible for me to investigate the case of every individual. So I give a word of general advice. All of us should not only have a longing and desire but sincerely strive to put our near and dear ones on the path to peace and salvation to get real consolation.
I advise to all workers of the Jama'ah to take interest in each others lives and strive for the betterment of not only their own children but the children of their fellow workers too. Often a child is not influenced by his father but is greatly impressed by his father's friends.
Mutual Islah (Betterment)
I also advise you not only to strive for the betterment and reformation of your own self and your families but also for the betterment of your fellow workers. Those who have joined hands to work as an Islamic Jama'ah for the sake of Allah and to establish His authority and supremacy in the world needs to cooperate and co-ordinate with each other. They must know that they cannot attain their high ideal without getting strong in their collective morals and group discipline. This understanding should result in mutual help and co-operation in their moral improvement and betterment and proceeding in the way of Allah. This is the only way of collective purification (Tazkiyah) in Islam. If you find me going off the track, hurry up to bring me back on the track and if I find you slipping or staggering I should lend you a helping hand. If there is dust on my sleeve you blow it away and if I find a stain on your robe I clean it. Convey to me whatever you feel better for me and in my best interest and I should convey to you whatever I feel necessary for your betterment. We know that we flourish in our worldly life through our mutual transactions. The same is true in our moral and spiritual life and we profit and flourish as an Islamic Jama'ah in this sphere as well when we cooperate and supplement each other morally and spiritually.
The correct method of reformation is to wait and see and avoid any hasty action whenever you find anything wrong in your fellow worker or any complaint crops up against him. First try to understand the situation and then contact the person concerned and talk to him directly in confidence about the complaint without even mentioning the matter before anybody else or anywhere in the absence of the person concerned. The later is simple back-biting which is very much abhorred in Islam.
Collective lhtisab (Criticism)
Mutual criticism is also a fruitful way of collective reform. Bring to the notice of your fellow workers their faults and shortcomings in a very polite and sincere manner. But be careful as it may prove disastrous if the etiquettes of sincere criticism are not duly observed. The etiquettes of fair criticism are as under:
1. Critiscism should not be made every time and everywhere.
2. Before criticising anybody first examine your own heart considering Allah as a witness whether you are criticising out of sincerity and for the well being or it is motivated due to personal impulse. In the case of the former, the criticism is indeed fully justified otherwise you should hold your tongue and try to get rid of this impurity from your personality.
3. Your words and manner of criticism should make everyone feel that you really want reform and betterment.
4. Be sure that your complaint is based on real and hard facts before criticizing anybody. Baseless criticism without getting sure of its facts is a sin and create disorder.
5. The person who is criticised should give a calm hearing to the complaint, then ponder over it without any prejudice. He should concede to the truth plainly and counter the wrong with impassive reasoning. To get annoyed on criticism shows arrogance and vanity.
6. The criticism, and its rebuttal should not prolong and turn into a permanent altercation. Discussion is worth while till both the viewpoints are duly elaborated but if the matter is not settled, postpone discussion and let both of them reconsider the whole matter coolly and separately.
The criticism within such limits is not only helpful but also necessary to set right our social life. No Islamic Jama'ah can keep itself on right direction without such constructive criticism Nobody in the Jama'ah should be above criticism. I regard it indispensable for the stability of the Islamic Movement and I am sure that the day this healthy criticism is stopped, the Movement would succumb to various ills resulting in its destruction. That is why I had always been convening a special meeting after the general meeting of the Jama'ah ever since its inception, to critically assess the whole work of the organization and its structure. In such special meetings I offer myself first for criticism, so that any objection or complaint against me or my performance should be brought openly before all without any hesitation. Either the criticism will correct me, or my explanation will clear the misunderstanding of the critic as well as all those whose thinking are identical.
Sama'a and Ta'at
(Obedience and Discipline)
One more fact that I consider necessary to bring to your notice is lack of discipline and submission. There is no doubt that we look very disciplined people when compared with other organisations. But when we look at the standard set by Islam, and also considering, the difficult task before us, we really find our discipline far below the mark.
You are fully aware that you are very few in number with still fewer resources at your command in the field. The task before you is to change, in its form and spirit, the whole system of life based on impiety and ignorance, a system which is a thousand times stronger and resourceful. Compare yourself in number or resources you are no match to it. There is nothing with you to bank upon for achieving success in this struggle except moral superiority and strict discipline. You can succeed in your great mission only when you establish your moral credibility and demonstrate such a discipline and organisation that you may be able to show your strength any moment and at any place with full confidence.
In an Islamic Jama'ah striving for the establishment of the Islamic way of life, obedience to the lawful commands of the Jama'ah authorities is in fact in submission to Allah and the Prophet (p). Whosoever contributes his time and energy to this mission for Allah's sake only, and who submits to the authority of his Jama'ah Chief (Amir or Nazim) in order to serve the cause of Allah, obeys Allah and the Prophet (p). The greater the attachment to Allah and the Prophet (p), the stronger is the spirit of obedience in him. Similarly the lesser the attachment the weaker is the spirit of obedience. Which sacrifice can be more valuable than that offered by you while obeying a person who has otherwise no authority over you, but you have accepted him as your Chief only to work for the sake of Allah, and you carry out his orders without any grudge like a loyal subordinate, even though his orders may sometimes go against your wishes and interest. As this sacrifice is for the cause of Allah, its reward also is very great with Allah. On the other hand, if anyone refuses to accept subordinate position, and regards this subordination below his dignity, or feels hurt when ordered to do a thing and shows uneasiness or hesitation in complying with the orders that go against his own wishes or interests, practically proves that he has not yet surrendered to Allah and his own self still dominates his thoughts and actions.
Advice to the Local Heads (Nazims):
Here I deem it necessary to say a word of advice to the organisational heads at various levels along with my above advice to the workers that they too should learn techniques of leadership. Anybody who is entrusted with any responsibility in the Jama'ah and who, by virtue of his responsibility, exercises any authority over others, is not supposed to assert himself unduly upon others and relish his authority as being superior to others. He should behave politely and courteously with his co-workers. He should take utmost care that any misbehaviour on his part might not create any disobedience or contentiousness in any of the workers. He must differentiate in his dealings and behaviour between the young and the old, the weak and the strong, and the well to do and the poor. He should have full knowledge of every individual's circumstances and should deal with everyone according to his position and circumstances and with due regard and leniency. He should imbibe such an spirit in his workers that they take the advice or appeal from their Chief as order and implement it with the same spirit. It would really be considered as lack of discipline if the appeal from the Chief brings no response and he is compelled to issue order. Orders are only given to mercenaries. Those who have voluntarily joined hands to work for the cause of Allah, do not need any orders from a person who is their Chief by their own choice. They only need a hint that they can serve their mission anywhere and they go ahead with it. The moment this spirit is generated among the workers and their leaders you will find no trace of any heart burning or ill-will.
Devotion and Sacrifice
My last advice is that all those who stand for this mission and movement should develop in themselves a trend to spend for the cause of Allah and give this cause preference over their own material Interests and pursuits. Try to cultivate such a deep attachment with this mission that may not let you rest till you spend every bit of your energy and resources for this cause.
Dedicate not only your person but your purse and finances too for the cause of Allah. Never forget that Allah has His right not only on you and your being but on your time and your money as well. Allah and the Prophet (p) has prescribed the minimum limit but for maximum there is no limit. It is for you to decide and assess as to what extent should you spend in the way of Allah to satisfy yourself that you have paid the due. None can judge it better than yourself. The best judge is your own conviction and conscience. I need not say any more than that you learn a lesson from those who have no faith in Allah or Hereafter and, yet they make such a great sacrifices for their fake ideals. We the believers in Allah and Hereafter should feel ashamed of ourselves.
I also find most of the workers lacking in the level of interest and devotion needed for the establishment of Islamic order. No doubt some of us do work with utmost zeal for which we should feel happy about and I pray for them from the core of my heart But most of the workers lack the required devotion. Only a few of us feel as a believer should feel upset on the rampant vices, wretchedness and helplessness of those who profess belief in the Allah Almighty. This state of affairs should cause at least as much worry and despair as you feel when your child is sick or your house is in danger of being under fire. Here too, it is very difficult for anyone to fix any limit or extent to which this despair and worry must go and the keenness one must show. It is again for individual to decide himself at the call of his own conscience as to what extent should he strive to satisfy himself that, as one who believes in the ultimate reality, has fulfilled his duty. Yet for the sake of contrast it is enough to cast a glance on the endeavours of those striving for the establishment of their fake and false ideals and staking all that they have at their command.
Advice to Women
Much of what I have already said is common to both men and women. Now, I will say something exclusively for the women who are in any way attached with the Islamic Movement.
The first and foremost requirement for you is to acquire as much knowledge of Islam as possible. Study not only the Qur'an but also Hadith and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) with full understanding. Limit not yourselves only to the basic knowledge of Islam and requirements of faith (Iman) but try to know Islamic injunctions regarding your personal life, family life, and general social living. One of the main causes of un-Islamic customs and practices becoming common in Muslim families is the ignorance of our women folk about the teaching of Islam and Islamic injunctions.
Next thing for you to do is to try to mould your practical life, your morals and your character as well as the life and atmosphere at your home according to your knowledge of Islam. Muslim woman must be so firm and strict that she should stick to what she considers right despite the opposition and hurdle from her family or other relatives. She should not concede to anything wrong under any sort of pressure. No doubt, the parents, the husband and other elders of the family deserve obedience, respect and regard and they must never be treated with insubordination and arrogance, but the rights and will of Allah and His Prophet (p) reign supreme. Whosoever presses you to adopt the path of disobedience to Allah and His Prophet (p) flatly refuse to obey, be he your father or your husband Never bow to anyone in this respect. Rely on Allah and bravely face the worst of the consequences, even if it leads to the destruction of your worldly life. The stronger your determination to adhere to Islam, the better shall be its effect on your family environments by the grace of Allah. You shall, thus, get a golden opportunity to reform your homes. On the contrary, if you yield to unwarranted and anti-Islamic demands, your own personal life will be deprived of the blessings of Islam, and you will set a bad example of weakness in faith and morals for the people around you.
Your third responsibility is to give priority to your near and dear ones in the matter of reform and improvement in Islamic way of life Those of our sisters, whom Allah has gifted with children, are in fact appearing for a test in which if they fail, no other success can compensate this failure. Their own children deserve their best attention. It is their prime responsibility to train their children well in Islam and with its etiquettes. Married ladies also have the responsibility of keeping their husbands on the right path and to assist them in remaining steadfast in their march if they are already on the right path. A daughter can also convey the truth to her parents observing due respect and regard for them. The least she can manage to do is to offer them Islamic books to read.
Fourthly, spend as much time as you can spare from your household duties to convey the knowledge of Islam to the women folk around you. Impart education to young girls and uneducated elderly women . Provide useful Islamic literature to ladies who are literate. Arrange women gatherings and explain the taching of Islam to them. If you cannot speak in public, just read out relevant and useful extracts from literature to them. In short, try your level best, using all possible ways and means to eliminate ignorance and illiteracy in the ladies around you.