In recent times it has become common practice to hear citizens from all walks of life complaining about what is perceived to be the deteriorating socio-economic and political conditions in South Africa. Social gatherings and even informal interactions are peppered with pessimism about corruption in the country, the influx of foreigners, increase in the cost of living and the widespread prevalence of crime and violence.
As citizens of the wider South Africa, Muslims are not exempt from this phenomenon, and may sometimes project the loudest voices of gloom. However, as unfamiliar as it may sound to many Believers, the Islamic faith demands pro-activeness and advocates Muslims offering meaningful solutions to the problems of society, beyond being mere armchair critics.
To discuss the role of Muslims in remedying the challenges facing South Africa during these uncertain times, Cii recently hosted a panel discussion to solicit the views of a trio of learned Ulama on the subject. Some of these important guidelines and practical pointers offered to the Muslims of South Africa by the Moulana Khalid Pandor of the Lenasia Muslim Association, Qari Ziyaad Patel of the Al-Imdaad Foundation and Moulana Rafeek Mohammed of the Alternative News Network are reproduced below.
“You are the best ummah singled out for mankind: you enjoin what is right (ma’roof), forbid what is wrong (munkar), and believe in Allah.” [Surah al-Imran, ayah 110]
The Contributions South African Muslims can make towards the betterment of their country and Actions they can establish to draw Allah’s Mercy upon our Society
*Realise that every Action has a Reaction. Take responsibility. Whatever we send up(our actions) is what comes down(conditions). “Whatever misfortune befalls you, is for what your own hands have earned, and He pardons much.” (42:30)
*Be thankful. The grass is not always greener on the other side. The level of austerity and uncertainty in many European countries is far more severe than in South Africa. “And only a few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13) ‘’If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’.” (14:7)
*All hope is not lost. We are not living in the bleakest time in history. Conditions in the world were far worse during the Days of Jahilliyah prior to the arrival of Muhammed(PBUH). Whilst many Signs of Qiyamah are apparent, it is still not too late to make a change. Hadhrat Mahdi has not appeared; the the sun has not risen from the West; the Trumpet has not been blown yet..
*Perform Salaah. Conservatively speaking, 60-70% of Muslims are not performing their Salaah. The rows of Masaajid at the time of Fajr are depressingly empty. This is surely not an appropriate manner of thanking Allah who nourishes and sustains us every moment of our lives. Non-performance of Salaah is the greatest crime we are committing against ourselves.
*Trust Allah. The entire Quraan is replete with directives to put ones full faith in Allah, and to seek his help in all conditions. “Whoever relies on Allah (has Tawakkul), He is sufficient for him” (65:3)
*Make Tawbah. Acknowledge the wrongs being done, show remorse for the sins committed, refrain from repeating them in the future, and seek Allah’s pardon. “Allah will not punish them as long as they are seeking forgiveness.” (8:33)
*Embark on Collective Istighfaar. “Turn ye to Allah, all together, O believers, that you may prosper (24.32). Recite the following Quranic Dua often:
La ilaha illa Anta, Subhanaka, inni kuntu mina z-zalimin.
لا إلهَ إلا أنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظّالِمِيْنَ
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The supplication of my brother Dhun Nun (Yunus, peace be upon him), who called on Allah while in the whale’s belly: ‘There is no deity but You. Glory be to You! Verily, I have been among the wrongdoers’ (Quran 21:87) – no Muslim person says it, for any situation whatsoever, except that Allah Most High answers his call.” [Tirmidhi]
The above supplication is also beneficial is increasing Barakah in one’s Sustenance(Rizq).
*Obey Allah and avoid actions that earn His Displeasure. Most importantly, we should establish Salaah. “Verily, Salah prevents from lewdness and evils. And indeed, the remembrance of Allah (by you) is greatest. And Allah knows what you do.” (29:45). What is prohibited in Islam is miniscule compared to what is permitted. All that we are commanded not to do is only for our own benefit.
*Command what is Good and Forbid the Evil. Love for others what you love for yourself. This tenet should be the focal light of each and every Believer. If we do not prevent others from doing wrong and advise them accordingly, the darkness of their misdeeds will, sooner or later, come to haunt us. Of particular importance is advising and correcting our families. “O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones” (66:6)
*Make Dua for a Betterment of Conditions. This is far more effective than complaining. A simple Dua that can be recited often is: “Bismillah al-ladhi la yadurru ma’a Ismihi shay’un fil ardi wa laa fi s-samaa’ wa huwa s-Samii’u l-‘Aliim” (In the name of Allah, by whose name nothing is harmed. Neither on earth nor in the heavens and He is the all-Seeing, the all-Knowing). Also recite Ayat ul Kursi after every Salaah.
*Read the Quraan. Make it part of your daily routine to recite even a small portion of the Quraan consistently. Also endeavor to study the meaning of manageable excerpts of what you recite.
*Do not condone nor participate in criminal activity. Be extremely careful not to contribute towards fraud, corruption and other misdeeds that destroy the social fabric of society.
*Give Sadaqah. Sadaqah removes Allah Ta’ala’s anger and saves the giver from a bad death. Ahadith also teach us that concealed Sadaqah causes the wrath of Allah to wane. Many Ulama suggest that the abundant charities dispensed by South African Muslims could have been the means that has protected the country from major tragedies thus far. Be charitable to those closest to you before extending your donations further afield.
*Live Simply and Avoid Extravagance. Simplicity is the best policy. Bear in mind the reaction of those living in abject poverty to our large-scale squandering of money. Extravagance was never the way of Muhammed (PBUH) and our pious predecessors.
*Contribute towards the upliftment of society. Empower the impoverished, and ‘teach them how to fish’. South African Muslims can mentor groups of underprivileged youth in the principles of entrepreneurship that they have mastered well. This could also present the ideal opportunity for imparting lofty Islamic ideals such as honesty and fairness.
*Give priority to Dawah and Tableegh. Take the message of Tauheed to every door, dingy den and dusty road. It is an indictment on ourselves, that Muslims remain merely 2-3% of the total population, even after a presence of centuries in South Africa. Constantly reminding fellow Muslims about the tenets of our faith also has the effect of drawing the Mercy of Allah and strengthening our communities.
*Become part of wider community structures. If we remain totally insulted and isolated, how will we be able to project the lofty qualities of Islam to the wider society.
*Project Islamic Values. Become a walking ambassador for Islam. Be a beacon of truthfulness and honesty. Be orderly and disciplined and always respect time and appointments.
*Keep the Unity. “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” (3:103) Avoid factionalism in Deen, as this saps our collective strength. ”Do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart.” (8:46). Realise that enemies of Islam are forever lying in wait to exploit our disunity. Small ingredients can have a tremendous impact in achieving unity: Spreading Salaam, Straightening the Sufoof in Salaah, Giving gifts to one another, preferring Muslim brothers/sisters above oneself, always maintaining a positive opinion of fellow Muslims and making excuses for them etc.
*Never Become Despondent of the Mercy of Allah. Allah’s Help will always be with those who believe and uphold His Commands. “And incumbent upon Us was aiding those who believed.” (30:47)
Importantly, we should always have the will to change our individual and collective conditions. “Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (13:11)
“We have the solutions to the problems, but do we have the will to implement the solution, that’s the big question.” – Moulana Khalid Pandor
(Some of the above-mentioned pointers have been adapted from Mufti Mohammed Saeed Motara’s ’6 Point Contingency Plan to the Crime Crises’)Tags: Al-Imdaad, Alternative News Network, Complaining, Corruption, Crime, Lenasia Muslim Association, Moulana Khalid Pandor, Moulana Rafeek Mohammed, Mufti Mohammed Saeed Motara, Qari Ziyaad Patel, Service Delivery, South Africa, strikes, Ulama in Focus