Monday, March 26, 2007

Advice from a MSA Alum and a Young Muslim “Activist”

by Cassie Williams

We’re activists. We are passionate about issues that are close to our hearts – Palestine, dispelling misconceptions about Islam, the war in Iraq, Imam Jameel, etc. Throughout the year, at campuses around the state and country, we see young Muslim students getting riled up about this or that, putting on protests, rallies, lectures, seminars, Fast-a-Thons, and sit-ins to promote these heartfelt issues.

But where is Allah swt in the mix? Where is Islam? Where is our spirituality?

We say that we are speaking out and doing all this for the sake of Allah….but are we?

How many times have we, as Muslim students, prior to an MSA sponsored event, sat down together as a group, in a circle and just made du’aa together and asked Allah swt to put His blessing in the event, to add barakah to our studying for all the effort that we put in to working for His cause, to open the eyes of the ignorant, to open the hearts of our opponents, to open the ears of those who have previously refused to listen?

How many times have we sat down together as an MSA before making a decision on how to handle a controversial situation and asked Allah to guide our decision-making process and lead us down the straight path?

How many times have we openly and sincerely prayed for our adversaries like Daniel Pipes, Paul Wolfowitz and the like?

We don’t do these things because we sometimes lose sight of the legacy of our deen when our hearts are stirring with the fires of passion, anger, and activism. But let us not forget our legacy, especially the legacy that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) left for us. He left us with myriad stories of how he handled situations very similar to the ones we face on our campuses and communities.

For example, we all know the story of the Prophet’s visit to the people of Taif. He came to bring them the message of peace, the most amazing message ever revealed, that of Islam. He came gently, humbly, respectfully. And what did they do? They ran him out of Taif, throwing stones at him and taunting him until he bled as he fled for safety. And as he left Taif, angels from Allah swt came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said to him,

“O, Prophet of Allah! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains overlooking this town on both sides to collide with each other, so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them."

The Prophet (pbuh) replied with this amazing words that we should remember at all times, “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause."

The Prophet (pbuh) faced much more treacherous adversaries, much stronger, bolder, more brazen adversaries than the likes of Daniel Pipes. The story of the Prophet’s journey to Taif is just one in hundreds, if not thousands of stories that we, as students, must contemplate, reflect upon, share with one another, and act upon.

These are not just stories for us to memorize. They are pieces of a complete instruction manual that the Prophet (pbuh) left for our benefit. Each story has its place in our lives. And until we realize that our activism will not be complete without deep reflection, du’aa and purification of the soul, we will continue to waste the legacy of our beloved Messenger and make a lot of clamor without a lot of success.

I hope that this will be an opportunity for us to take some time together to think about the purpose and intentions of the Muslim Student groups on our college and high school campuses. Maybe we can think about how to implement the character of the Prophet, his sunnah, du’aa, and true supplication for Allah’s blessing and guidance in our youth activities.

Our work is futile without the blessing of Allah swt. Therefore, sit together as an entire MSA, go around the group and allow each person to share their du’aa for an upcoming event. Not only will this ensure that you allow Allah swt to take the reigns, it will also bring you closer together as a group, as brothers and sisters for the sake of Allah swt. The joining together of spirituality and activism is an amazing dynamic when practiced regularly.

I pray that Allah swt inspires you to implement this harmonious link in your MSAs. I pray that Allah swt guides you all in your personal activism and in your personal spiritual growth. I pray that Allah swt leads you toward fulfilling the rich, bountiful history left by our Prophet (pbuh) and his followers. I pray that Allah swt gives you success and allows your activities to help open the eyes, ears, and hearts of those you target. And I pray that Allah swt will join us all together, all the young Muslim activists who worked for His cause, on the Day of Judgment and will keep us in His shade and place us on pillars of light reserved for those who loved one another for His sake. Ameen.

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