So we once again embark on yet another march against the occupation of Palestine on the 24th May, 2008 in commemoration of the 60 years of occupation. Will it make a difference, I wonder?
Often I look at the pitiful state of mankind’s affairs and question why I even try to carry on with perpetuating goodness. Why try to eradicate poverty and starvation when the governments of the world are only going to allow food price-hikes and privatisation of countries’ natural resources.
An interesting lecture I was listening to one day managed to answer a couple of my misguided questions. [The lecture was an audio recording of Imam Anwar Al Awlaki]
In this world of corruption and craziness, there is hardly a clear distinction between good and bad. Sometimes, to do good we have to touch bad and sometimes doing bad can wield good.
The world has ceased to be black and white. We are living in a dull, grey world today.
But, as the speaker so righteously put it:
DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE DUE TO THE CONFUSION OF THIS WORLD.
Instead, he advised the following steps in doing good and inevitably, calling to God:
1) Advise people to do the good that you do
2) Do good wherever you find it and as much as you can. Do not leave it off until you “find the time” or for the “opportune moment”, like a holy month or day. If you have the opportunity to do good, do it at that moment, and don’t think of the here and now inconveniences.
3) If you are not able to do some form of good completely, don’t leave it completely, but do some of it. In most things that we do there is always some form of bad and some good. Thus sometimes we cannot change a bad situation 100% but we can change it 5%.
4) There are steps to the fulfilment of complete good, thus we need to each be a stepping stone in the righteous path. We must remember the lesson of gradualism. Change is a step-by-step process. It took the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 30 years to change the vices of the Arabs at that time and it will no doubt take the Righteous of today way longer. But we must stay positive and be patient.
5) Each one of us should be a key for good. Wherever we go, we should leave behind the essence of goodness and remind people of God.
6) The successes and the outcomes of our efforts depend on God (Allah) alone. We are in charge of our efforts, not whether it will work. We can march for the freedom of the oppressed or we can sit at home and curse the oppressors. Both ways the oppressed will be freed and the oppressors will be made to pay for their crimes. But the difference between the one who marched for freedom and the one who sat at home is in their effort. And, as the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) goes:
“Intention determines the worth of a person’s actions and he will attain what he intends…” [Related in *Bukhari and Muslim]
Hence, humans are not punished or rewarded on the basis of the outcome of their deeds but on why they carried them out. The one who makes the effort will be rewarded by God here or in the Hereafter.
7) Put your trust in God. If you have the right trust in God, He will provide for you like He provides for the birds: they leave their nests in the morning hungry and come back full. The birds made the effort to leave their nests in search of food and God took the responsibility of leading them to the good food and availing that food to them. If we have trust in God, He will make things easy for us. He will make our endeavours fruitful, if He so wills it.
8) Lastly, don’t let personal issues that you have with people cloud your judgment and prevent you from the truth and from doing good toward them.
So, we cannot give up hope in the goodness of this world and the goodness of people, even if they be evil. We cannot live in terror of the unknown, by thinking that things will only get worse or stay the same, nor can we dwell on the negatives of each situation. We plan, take action, and leave the rest to Allah, God Most High.
May we all be blessed with the ability to do good and to be in the company of the good doers.