“Masterly concept of learning and teaching”

“But teach (thy message), for teaching benefits the Believers.” [Quran 51:55]

“All Muslims have the responsibility of learning HOW TO LEARN AND TEACH and of teaching HOW TO TEACH AND LEARN.”

[Achmat Cassiem; Humanology class; April 17, 2008; Gleemore Hall, Athlone, Cape Town]


Da’wah. The call to good; The Call to God

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:




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.





The self actualisation of Abraham

What is it that we as human beings need to survive; and in what order?


Do we, as the famous sociologist Abraham Maslow puts it, first need food and clothing above all else? Or is it a strong faith that ensures our survival?


Maslow’s pyramid of self actualization:

Picture from: http://cit.dixie.edu/vt/reading/maslow.asp

Prophet Abraham (may God be pleased with him) speaks of a different kind of self fulfilment than Maslow; showing us that as humans we need a relationship with God, first and foremost, even before food and drink.


In a prayer related in the Quran, Allah tells the last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) what Abraham asked his Lord to provide for his wife and child upon leaving them stranded in the desert.


“Oh Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, By Thy Sacred House; In order, Oh our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer; So fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, And feed them with Fruits: So that they may give thanks.” (Koran: Chapter 14; Verse 37)


In the prayer, the order of needs is illustrated as being:


  1. Spiritual needs: “establish regular prayer”
  2. Social needs: “fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them”
  3. Physiological needs: “feed them with fruits”  

This illustrates that, in the mind of Prophet Abraham, mankind’s relationship with God – man’s spiritual needs – are the base and most important of human needs. This must be established through “talking” to God, via prayer. Only after this do other needs come into play.


While many may be in favour of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Prophet Abraham captured the true reality of man. We all need God in order to survive, as He is our Sustainer and without Him, we will not survive. Food or not; there will always be something to bring us down if we have no real faith, whether in this life or the next.


Never JUST Chit Chat…

To continue on the last post: it is important to take account of what you say.

It’s NEVER JUST chit chat. Take cognisance of the potential harm of your words.


Before you say anything bad about an alleged “bad” person or a person’s “bad” deed, remember:


  • Make 40 excuses for your Muslim brother / sister.


  • Hide your Muslim brother or sister’s faults and Allah will hide your faults on the Day of Judgment.


[The Prophet (PBUH) told one of his companions, who was about to tell him (PBUH) something about someone else, not to tell him something bad about the next person lest he should judge that person upon meeting him/her.]


Lesson: No matter how badly someone may have hurt you or how wrong they were, do not tell people of how this person has wronged you, unless it’s absolutely necessary for mediation. Otherwise be quiet or very vague.




Would you say those things in front of the person you are talking about in his/her absence? If not then hush!


“O ye who believe! avoid suspicion as much (as possible): For suspicion in some cases is a sin; and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay you would abhor it . . .But fear God : For God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.”   (Quran:49;12) 



Remember Surah Furqaan-the purpose of life:


The true virtues of the servant of God are:


1)    they are humble and forbearing to those below them in spiritual worth


2)    they are constantly in touch with Allah



3)    they always remember the Day of Judgment


4)    they are moderate in their behavior



5)    They avoid treason to God, humans and themselves.


6)    They stay clear of falsehood and futility



7)    They pay attention to the signs of Allah


8)    Their ambition in life is to bring up families in righteousness and to lead in all that is good.



 Hence we see that the purpose of our being is to be praising our Lord by living the life He has mapped out for us. there is no point in revenge, in conjuring up past demons or spreading the word of those who have harmed you in the past…



I plead guilty. Pardon me my Lord and forgive me my errs…


The Opening

A prayer for those who seek the path of righteousness, and all of humanity.


In the Name of God; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.


Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds,

The Beneficent, the Merciful.

Owner of the Day of Judgment,

Thee alone we worship; Thee alone we ask for help.

Show us the straight path,

The path of those whom Thou hast favoured;

Not the path of those who earn Thine anger, nor of those who go astray.




[Source: Koran, Chapter 1]