Assalamu’alaikum warahmarullahi wa barakatuh.
When my dear friend’s message on my phone reminding me to come up with an article for MSoc blog came to mind, I immediately thought of sharing some words of Prof. Tariq Ramadhan on ‘In the Footstep of the Prophet’ at IIUM, Gombak Selangor. The topic of the talk was mainly on how muslims should contribute to the world, and Professor managed to deliver it in such an awesome way that the two and a half hours talk felt as if it passed just like that.... He made you want to listen to him more but due to the time constrain, you just could not.
Prof. Tariq started his talk with the notion of ‘loving Allah instead of feeling scared of Him’. Here, he recited the hadith saying that ‘submit to Allah SWT as if you see Him but if you could not, then do it as if He sees you’. Many muslims subconsciously interpret the hadith by thinking Allah SWT only sees the mistakes done by them. Professor reminded us that Allah does not only see but he was very close to innermost intentions of a person. As He is the most loving of all, He is welcoming His servant’s intentions rather than being a punishing God. Therefore, he said, a muslim should love Allah instead. A true love has to be manifested, so keep in touch with Him via the prayers and by following His lover, the Prophet Muhammad SAW. If we love God, we follow the Prophet. Insyaallah, the Prophet would love you and Allah in turn would love you too. Hence, try to turn your relationship with Allah into a love story that you enjoy throughout your life.
According to Prof. Tariq, muslims would contribute to the world if they see things just like how the Prophet Muhammad SAW sees things. And the Prophet sees things the way as how Allah SWT wants his creations to see. The starting point is the way we see the Nature and the universe. In many verses of the Quran, Allah SWT told the muslims to observe His creations – the earth, the animals, the sun, the moon, the stars and many, many more. Apart from that, He also let his servants know that all of those creations belong to Him and only Him. Thus, a muslim should always remind himself that he owns nothing in this world, including himself. Once he has this consciousness, he would see the Nature and everything above the earth and below it as a gift from Allah the Almighty. He would never destroy it, because he knows it never belongs to him. Instead, he would do his best to make this world a prosperous place to live in and protect the balance of the ecosystem. This is the basis of the khilafah concept, where we use the gift from the Creator for the best interest of everyone with the faith that the gift is not ours, but God’s property.
Change the way we look at the poor. The Prophet during his time always treated his people with compassions and care. Ignoring the needs of the poor means you are being arrogant. Arrogance is the key factor that leads to total destruction as what happened to the Satan when he was asked to bow before Adam by Allah SWT. Satan was condemned by his Creator and chased out of the Heaven. Thus, arrogance is an act very close to the Satans. Through the syariah law, Allah SWT demanded the muslims to pay zakat in order to cultivate love for the poor among the muslims. He ordered us to fast during the Ramadhan month to allow us to feel the pain of the impoverished people. At this point, Prof. Tariq expressed his disappointment on the muslims attitude during the fasting month. Many muslims failed to spiritually understand the significance of Ramadan by eating excessively when breaking the fast and lazing thoughtlessly during the day.
Change the way we look at our family members. For the men, see the women in your family as companions. When we look as the children, never see them as possessions as one day they would leave us or the other way round. Instead, always see them as the mercy from the Most Merciful. And more importantly, always treat the parents with full respect, as they are the gateway to the Paradise. In short, in order to be a muslim that contributes to this world, one has to view this world like how the Prophet sees it, as in this person lies all excellent examples to be a successful believer. According to Prof. Tariq, there are four qualities of the Prophet we the muslims must attain- confidence, trustworthy, ambitious and courageous. Feeling confident does not mean that you never doubt yourself in everything you do, but to confidently do your best with the belief that Allah is protecting you. When you are being ambitious, you aim with Allah’s will by praying to Him.
In the latter half of his talk, Professor pointed out an interesting statement – ‘celebrate this life because this life is important’. He rejected the views saying that this world is a place to suffer in and a muslim must refrain himself from enjoying this life. This is because victimising attitude is not compatible with human’s nature as socialising creations. Hence, Prof. Tariq urged the muslims to believe that both life now and hereafter are equally important. If you live happily in this life with Islamic principles, you will, God willing, live happily after death as well. Hence, a muslim should celebrate this life but at the same time, never forget that he would die one day. Remember that death would be coming to you, but yet do not forget your share in this life.
Finally, Prof. Tariq stressed the essence of spreading the awareness of being the real khalifah, which is by educating the ummah with meanings. We should be consistent with what we say to others, and show to them that the Islamic way of life is not the harsh one but the right one. And what we say to other people should be in coherent with our actions as well, as actions always speak louder than words. When we are inviting others to engage in Islam, avoid stressing on the rules and regulations. Instead, we should guide them with the akhlak of the Prophet, which is full with tender and compassion. Apart from that, the muslims must always glorify human’s dignity and justice. A true muslim would never differentiate a muslim from a kaffir, and he would always promote solidarity among the human beings without considering their races and backgrounds. We must always bear in mind that the best among us the humans are those with God consciousness. Allah SWT shows His mercy on all of His creations, therefore what right do we have to be unfair towards others? This is one of the questions the muslims should take into account when dealing with the non-believers as well as the muslims who are strayed from the path of Allah.
In conclusion, a contributing muslim is indeed the one that follows the Prophet’s footstep by looking at things the way he did, treating others with love as he did and trying to achieved all of his good qualities. That muslim is also the one that treasure this life and he always learns to forgive. Last but not least, he is also a muslim that tells the people he loves ‘I love you’.
MSOC Committee 2011/12