Learning Islam forever - Exclusive words

A few things have been on my mind lately. Trying to work out the pros and cons of these matters...surely, I'm taking it positively Alhamdulillah. Apart from that, I have also been to several gatherings around Wales, attempting to make all of them before the 'big day'!

Following these two, I was somehow driven to a point where I looked at back and tried to evaluate myself, my manners and my approach to people around me. Whether it is
to school friends, friends in Malaysia, boys, girls, my family or my community, they are all included. To do that, I guess I have to go back to basic, back to quran and sunnah.

Then I came across a writing written by Uncle (Ust) Erfino from MSD Ed Attache, UK. I was moved. Truly moved. It never got into my head before but it opened my eyes, my mind and heart once I read it. I recommend it to you people. Salut!

I'm sorry if I ever made my words too exclusive. Perhaps I forgot who I am dealing with. I'm not only a Muslim student but I'm a Muslim who's learning Islam forever inshAllah.
Peace! Y^_^Y

A Word or Two - Don't make it exclusive!

07 Okt. 2010 - Our weekly circle is open for all. People of any backgrounds can just pop in and we can get to know each other freely, without any hidden agendas or organisation barrier. Whether you're a student, professional, community member, artists or celebrities, all are invited. During our weekly circle, I picked up two hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Recorded by Abi Hurairah R.A, our Prophet said, 'If any one of you is leading the prayer, do make it light to your congregation, as among them are those who are incapable, sick and old. And if you're praying alone, be free to prolong your prayer as you wish'.

In another hadith, recorded by Abi Qatadah al Harith ibn Rib'iyy R.A, the Messenger of Allah said, 'I was just about to lead (the congregation) for the prayer, and I've determined to prolong it, when I heard a boy crying. I then had my prayer lighter (finish early), as I don't want it to be a burden to his mother'.

First of all, solah is originally exclusive. It is meant for Allah and solely for Him. It is a package of performance with specific words and actions. We don't bow to people, we don't make our head equal and level to our feet while performing for people. We do it only to Allah. It's by right, an exclusive communication session between a man and his Creator. But still, in a matters where human's dignity is not just respected but preserved by Islam, there's something that can be done during the prayers or in the performance of prayers.

In the first hadith, the Prophet mentioned that as an Imam, you're standing in an exclusive spot. You'll be leading the congregation and perform the best you can in the name of Allah. You wouldn't dare to underestimate the words and actions done during the prayers. That particular time is solely for Allah. On top of that, Imam or the leader is being reminded that although you're leading and controlling the session and capable of making it the long performance, you must bear in mind that within the people who are following you, they come from a different backgrounds, they have different stories and issues, they might not be as good as you think you're or you feel. So, although this is solah or prayer from you to Allah, make it short and make it achievable to follow by others. Some might think that whenever prayer is mentioned, you'll have to push yourselves and do things exactly as the Imam does, perfectly.

It is the responsibility of the Imam to ensure that not just the congregation need to catch him, he as well, must open the opportunity for the congregation to feel that they're not neglected or left behind. And the Prophet continues, there wasn't any issues should you're performing alone, as you may make your prayer performance longer as you wish.

In any organisations, leaders are bound to manage and control it from every dimensions. Now, some people might get this silly idea that in order for him as a leader to control his organisation, he should do everything, he should involve in everything, he should be informed directly on everything! Imagine what could possibly happen if you have a leader who needs to be informed on every single tiny thing? Or having a leader who will do everything and leave his followers nothing but to agree and to work with the rigid sample provided by him? In this matter, our Prophet did delegate the power to his companions to make decisions by saying, ' All of you are better off than me in things that you do and know in life'. The empowerment system has been highlighted and introduced by our Prophet.

Another set of example is by his taqrir. Means, his positive affirmation on matters done by his companions. Whatever good things that his companions say and do, the Prophet didn't indicate any rejection. He kept himself by commenting, but not ignoring at the same time. It's a matter of giving a trust to his followers and giving the freedom for them to peel their potential accordingly. The exclusiveness is only on the revelation, as it is specifically for the Prophet. But as for life matters, big and small, let's just be a normal human, who needs assistance and delegates tasks appropriately.

What the hadith shown to us is, it's true that solah or prayer is compulsory, it's true that it's the only time we communicate with Allah and we always wanted to prolong it, due to our love to Allah. But, when you're performing in congregation, and especially when you're managing and leading it, always remember that the people behind you are not all the same. The may have limitations that you might not have, and at the same time, they surely have strength and advantages that you maybe, able to dream of having it! So, take it slow and steadily sail through it.

On the other side of the coin, we can clearly pick up the importance of openness. Whilst performing prayer can even shows its flexibility by having it light when it comes to congregation and understanding the needs of children, why can't we have an openness and flexibility upon giving and receiving Islamic teachings?

Islamic based organisations must not teach their followers to nurture the inappropriate exclusiveness. They must not be brought up in an atmosphere that telling them to put forward their organisation on other Islamic organisations. They must not be informed, directly or indirectly, that their organisation is better than others, their usrah and its syllabus is better than others, their events and activities are much better than others! If this happens, the complementing factor of having so many Islamic societies and various Islamic based organisations will be dumped into despair. And consequently, the prejudice and hatred will gradually, pushed in.

I delivered through my talks in many occasions with students that whenever any movement, society or organisation choosing Islam to be their slogan, motto or even as stated vision and aspired mission, they'll need to open their teachings and dakwah to all. The leaders, name it Nuqaba', Ameer etc will not to positively challenge themselves to face new faces and audiences that they're not familiar with. Having you preaching to a group of young lads who are already aware about their muslim responsibilities, who have enriched themselves with not just good guidance and thoughts, but also good actions on a regular basis. It's good though, it's brilliant. But, what about those who are not familiar with religious activities.

Try to speak to a person whom preferences are Malaysian Nights and gigs, besides you get close with those who are a regular attendees of Nasyeed Sheffield and usrah. Imagine what will you get? You'll see a wide range of gaps that need to be filled with a lot of things. We're complaining on situations where muslim males and females students live together in the same house? How many times have we actually made a contact with them. Eventually or occasionally, has any communications been made? I believe maybe there is, but it's too small compared to a bigger picture.

A preacher or a daie would be encouraged to step outside of his or her comfy circle. You'll see that there's more time to be dedicated to these types of people, rather than striving your ability in fullest to accomodate those who at the moment, might need less attention and guidance! It maybe the time for them to move and act freely, based with the knowledge and Islamic materials that we put on them!

Don't dictate them to only listening and accepting notes and statements from their own Islamic organisation, or favouring only selected muslim speakers and specific favourable scholars. Widen their scope of perception. Your followers and your workers in Islamic deeds are very highly aspired and motivated. Do avoid of giving them any impressions that your organisation is and will only devoted to certain speakers or preachers, due to the similarity of membership and engagement that both parties might have.

If we do this, indirectly, we teach our young good lads to be judgmental on things that is favourable to the organisation, but not necesasarily agreed and understood by the followers. Make them accessible by getting to know others, so many muslim and Islamic good organisations. Knowing and the awareness of the existence of other great muslim efforts will not effect their 'membership' with your organisation! If it does, then can we put a priority for any of our colleagues to become good muslims, more than loyally surrendering their membership to you? If a prayer can be shortened just for the sake a child crying, and the Prophet feels that it might become a burden to the mother who is at the same, praying, then why can't we extract the gees of it and apply the moral of it in different situation and approach, in our dakwah and communications.

After all, it is indeed, a disheartening to witness a 'mutual' arguements splashing and winding the relation between Islamic organisations. For their leaders, the transparent one to the public or the 'unseen' manager, let's hit the pitch. Get to know other unfamiliar players on the pitch, deliver your things, and see, whether you can play as a team player. To all Islamic organisations' leaders, give fairness to your followers. After all, we're utilising the same material as our guidance, and it's Islam. Islam is for all, so don't make it exclusive only to you and your organisation. Allah Knows best.