Agenda for Change, Secrets of Life, Overcoming Hesitation
Issue 517 » February 20, 2009 - Safar 25, 1430
Al-Hujurat (The Chambers)
Chapter 49: Verse 15
Agenda for Change
"Believers are those who (truly) believe in Allah and His messenger, then doubt not, but who strive with their possessions and their selves in the way of Allah; it is they who are the truthful ones."
Significant change cannot be effected solely through preaching and delivering sermons. These have a very limited and temporary effect on an audience and societal powers. The influences of society, or the dominant culture, are so huge that they very quickly wash away any effects produced by the preaching. Thus, change agents additionally require a clear practical agenda for change, backed up by sincere devotion, firm resolve and commitment, a spirit of sacrifice, and an investment of time, energy, and resources.
The kind of actions that a movement can engage in will naturally vary according to the social and political circumstances. For instance, if a people are oppressed by their governments, then armed struggle cannot be ruled out. Conversely, in peaceful conditions, actions can incorporate communication, dialogue and exerting social and political pressure.
In the light of Islamic guidance, actions for positive change should lead to a greater good and not to a worsening of the situation. If taking certain actions, no matter how crucial or effective they may be considered, leads to panic and confusion, or creates social upheavals that may give rise to more evil, then they must be avoided and patience exercised until condition change. This is because Islam aims to bring about peace and order not chaos; its aim is to reform, improve and develop a society, to remove wrongs and corruption rather than punish the wicked or create disorder on earth.
"Building a New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 159, 160
Higher Secrets of Life
The Sunnah shows us the best way to develop and use one's freedom of choice and action. It teaches us how to embark upon any action properly so as to ensure good and favourable results and avoid harmful and evil consequences both in this world as well as in the hereafter.
Ibn Masud, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Adhere to the truth, for the truth leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. A person continues to speak the truth until (at last) his name is written down with Allah as a truthful person. And avoid falsehood, for falsehood leads to shameful deeds, and shameful deeds lead to Hell. A person continues to tell lies until (at last) his name is recorded with Allah as a liar." [Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
This hadith clearly tells us that before a man is recorded for eternity as a truthful person he has to go through a number of phases, each requiring his active initiative and a willing effort on his part without any external interference from any side. This is clear from the contrast portrayed in the hadith between man's state of choosing and abiding willingly and consciously at each and every step by the dictates of truth and his state of opting for the evil and persisting therein. Obviously it is man alone who decides which way he is going to move, toward the good or the bad.
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, pp. 100, 101
Overcoming Your Hesitation to Help
You may suspect abuse is happening to a neighbour, friend or family member, but do not know what to do or how to talk about it. You may worry about making the situation worse, or be concerned about what to do. Here are some concerns you may have about whether you should help:
|Points of Concern||Points to Consider|
|You feel it's none of your business||It could be a matter of life or death. Violence is everyone's business|
|You don't know what to say||Saying you care and are concerned is a good start|
|You might make things worse||Doing nothing could make things worse|
|It's not serious enough to involve the police||Police are trained to respond and utilize other resources|
|You are afraid his violence will turn to you or your family||Speak to her alone. Let the police know if you receive threats|
|You think she doesn't really want to leave because she keeps coming back||She may not have had the support she needed|
|You are afraid she will become angry with you||Maybe, but she will know you care|
|You feel that both partners are your friends||One friend is being abused and lives in fear|
|You believe that if she wanted help, she would ask for it||She may be too afraid and ashamed to ask for help|
|You think it is a private matter||It isn't when someone is being hurt|
"How You can Identify and Help Women at Risk of Abuse" - Neighbour, Friends and Families