Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it! Ash-Shams (91) Verses7-10
The first action a Muslim must take to reform our society is a serious OUTlook towards one's own INNERself. Indeed, looking from within puts our daily external affairs in the proper perspective and channels our behavior towards the correct Divine teachings.
Allah states in the Qur'an in Surah Ar-Ra'd (13) verse 11: "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)"
There are numerous dimensions for this verse, among them is the importance of having sincere intentions in every act we perform, in addition to adhering to the proper commandments of Allah. One without the other is an incomplete act and is guaranteed to put a roadblock towards an effective reform of any society. For example, donating to a charity with the intention of showing off is as condemned of an act as sincerely choosing to helping an orphan child by giving him money generated from stealing.
Putting this into perspective, we can understand why the Islamic value system uses different benchmarks to measure success, effectiveness, and development when compared with any secular system. Therefore, economic growth, better education, reduced unemployment, and low deficit (among thousands of other indices of a society's overall performance), all become negatively perceived in an Islamic paradigm if they are achieved by arrogant people who seek prosperity for its own sake and not for Allah's sake. Pushing this argument more, it is no surprise that even apparent tragedies like the war in the Balkan was viewed by the Bosnian Muslims as the biggest blessings that happened to that society because it changed the people from within bringing them closer to Allah and taking them away from the material life.
May Allah make us among those who reflect upon and apply the teachings from Allah. May Allah purify our hearts, clean our intentions, and make us the best Ummah fto the entire humanity. Ameen
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