To Be A Muslim


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  • To Be A Muslim


  • V. THE NATURE OF COMMITMENT

    Every member of the Islamic movement must be committed, if it is to succeed. Commitment goes far beyond the formalities of filling out a membership form, registering one’s name, and going back and forth to the headquarters to attend gatherings; but it has a deeper meaning which goes beyond formalities. Commitment must be based on a common philosophy of life, a common creed or aqidah, common hopes for the future and on coherent blending of thought, organization, and action.

    The Creed (aqidab)

    The first task of a movement member is to absorb its aqidah (or ideology). The Islamic Movement, unlike some organizations, does not accept superficial submission to the leadership structure, because it would eventually destroy the organization itself.

    Commitment to an Islamic Movement means being a committed Muslim, that is, to obey all of the commandments of Allah and hope for His mercy. This type of commitment can easily survive the death or loss of Movement leaders because the commitment has always been only to Allah. Only in this way the Islamic Movement becomes a permanent movement. Whoever worships Muhammad, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, he should know that he is dead, but whoever worships Allah the Almighty, he should remember that He is alive and will never die. Allah, the Almighty, says:

    Verily those who pledge their allegiance to you do no less than pledge their allegiance to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Hence anyone who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and if anyone fulfills whathe has covenanted with Allah, Allah will soon grant him a great reward. [Qur’an 48:10]

    The Islamic Movement rejects any commitment undertaken only through enthusiasm. This is because Islam is a way of thought and life that contains a definite understanding about the universe, mankind, and daily life. Moreover working for Islam has the goal of establishing

    an Islamic way of life in society. This has to be done according to a clear understanding and careful ‘ planning. Therefore personal change based on faith and knowledge is the first requirement for committing oneself to an Islamic movement. This requirement must be thoroughly understood so that one will never look back once a commitment has been made to the Movement. Steadfastness in da’wah sufficient to guarantee one’s permanent commitment to the Movement and to achieve its goals requires deep understanding and a true perception of what such commitment means. Those who fall or quit are those who committed themselves through enthusiasm or under outside pressure without understanding the purpose or appreciating the implications of their commitment.

    The Islamic Movement also rejects any commitment based on self-interest, whereby this commitment is merely a stepping-stone to gain a particular goal, a material benefit or access to people.

    True commitment encourages surrender and sacrifice, so that one’s skills and efforts are always at the disposal of the Movement and Islam. Intention is very important, because committing oneself to the Islamic Movement is just another name for committing oneself to the cause of Islam itself. One’s heart and self must be cleansed and purified from all self-interest. The Prophet (s), said:

    Actions are judged only by intention and every man shall have only what be intended. Thus if one’s migration was for Allah and His Messenger, one’s migration will be for Allah and His Messenger, and if one’s migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some women in marriage, then ones migration is what he migrated for. [Bukhari and Muslims]

    Common Future

    Commitment to the Movement requires also binding one’s future to the future of the Movement. One’s commitment must not he limited to a certain period or bounded by a certain situation, whereby one’s commitment ends whenever the period expires or the situation changes. This would rule out any commitment to the Movement when one is young and single with the idea that one might quit when one becomes older or gets married or a commitment when one is poor or in difficulty but with the thought that one might quit when one becomes rich and has overcome one’s difficulties; or "commitment" in time of peace but not during tribulations or hardship.

    Commitment to the Movement must he a lasting one. Such a commitment ends only when one meets Allah in the Hereafter. About the early generations of Muslims the Qur’an says:

    There are among men such as say, "We believe in Allah," but when they suffer affliction in the (cause of) Allah, they treat men’s oppression as if it were the wrath of Allah! And if help comes (to you) from your Lord, they are sure to say, "We have (always) been with you!" Does not Allah know best all that is in the hearts. of all creation? And Allah most certainly, knows those who believe and as certainly those who are hypocrites. [Qur’an 29:10-11]

    There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were, on the verge; if good befalls them, they are therewith well content, but if a trial comes to them they turn on their faces; they lose both this world and the Hereafter, which is a lose for all to see. [Qur’an 22:11]

    How many of the Prophets fought (in the cause of Allah) and with them large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met disaster in the way of Allah, nor did they weaken (in will), nor give in. And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast. All that they said was, "Our Lord! forgive us our sins and anything we may have done that transgressed our duty; establish our feet firmly, and help us against those that resist Faith." And Allah gave them a reward in this world and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. For Allah loves those who do good. [Qur’an 3:146-8]

    Da’wah demands commitment, work and continuous jihad with steadfastness, patience, and sacrifice. And all the votaries of falsehood are always opposed to it. Allah, the Almighty, says:

    And we shall try you until We test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience, and We shall try your reported (mettle). [Qur’an 47:31]

    Those who are really committed to the Movement can be distinguished from others by their moral and social behavior, because they live according to the principles of Islam in all circumstances and they engage in the work for Islam only to win the pleasure of their Lord. These characteristics, however, emerge only through a long process of purification. Allah, the Almighty, says:

    The scum disappears like froth cast out, while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth. Thus does Allah set forth parables. [Qur’an 13:17]

    Tribulations and trials from Allah will distinguish good from the bad, and will screen and cleanse those who are qualified for being the true vicegerents (khulafah) of Allah in this world, which is an exalted status, and no other creature was found fit to receive. Allah, the Almighty, said:

    If a wound has touched you, be sure a similar would has touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and women by turns so that Allah may know those who believe and may take to Himself from your ranks martyr-witnesses (to truth). And Allah loves not those who do wrong. Allah’s object also is to purge those who are true in faith and to deprive of blessing those who resist faith. [Qur’an 3:140-1]

    Basically, the callers to Islam face two types of temptations. The first one they face in the form of luxuries, such as wealth, status, power, and popularity. Allah, the Almighty, said:

    Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet, women and sons, heaped-up hoards of gold and silver, horses branded (for blood and excellence), and (wealth) of cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life, but nearness to Allah is the best of all goals. Say, shall I give you glad tidings of things far better than those? For the God-conscious are Gardens in the presence of their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home, with companions pure (and holy), and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah’s sight are (all) His servants. [Qur’an 3:14-15]

    The second one comes to them as adversity and hardship, threats, pressure, and torture. Many are imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Their activities are watched, and their means of livelihood blocked. In these situations, they must always be patient and steadfast until Allah gives them victory.

    Men said to them, "a great army is gathering against you," and frightened them, but it only increased their faith. They said, "for us Allah suffices and He is best disposer of affairs." And they returned with grace and bounty from Allah, and no harm ever touched them, for they followed the good pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded. [Qur’an 3:173-4]

    All these trials and temptations are a means of moral purification and improvement for the Muslim, just as fire is for rusty irons. Allah, the Almighty, says:

    And we test you by evil and by good, by way of trial; to Us must you return. [Qur’an 21:35]

    Imarn Hasan AI-Banna says:

    I want to make it clear to you that today our da’wah is still unknown. When people know and understand the objective of this da’wah, you will be hated and assailed by them. You will face a lot of difficulties and so you will be blocked. Only in this situation will you start to follow the way of true callers to Islam. Now you are unknown. You are in the stage of preparation to make da’wah and jihad required by Islam.

    People’s ignorance about Islam is one of the obstacles in your way. For instance, you will find that the so-called scholars of Islam will look down upon your understanding of Islam and will not support your jihad. Leaders, powercrazy people, and the like will never tolerate you. All kinds of leaders will together attack you and try to control your work. They will do anything to go against you and to put out the light of your da’wah. They will spread rumors about your da’wah by saying that it is deficient, deviant, and so forth. Allah the Almighty said: "Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s light (by blowing) with their mouths, but Allah will complete (the revelation of) His light even though the unbelievers may detest (it)." (Qur’an 61:8).

    No doubt, you will go through these tests. You will be apprehended, imprisoned, and exiled. All of your belongings will be taken, your jobs will be frozen, and your houses will be invaded. You might face these tribulations for quite a long period. Allah the Almighty said.. "Do men think that they will he left alone on saying, ‘we believe,’ and that they will not be tested?" (Qur’an 29:2).

    But remember, after all of these tribulations, Allah has promised to help you and to reward those who strive to do good. Allah the Almighty said: "O you who believe shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous penalty? That you believe in Allah and His Messenger and that you strive (your utmost) in the cause of Allah with your property and your persons, that will be the best for you if you but knew. He will forgive you your sins and admit you to Gardens beneath which rivers flow and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity; that is indeed the supreme achievement. And another (favor will He bestow) which you do love, namely, help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give glad tidings to the believers. O you who believe, be helpers of Allah, as said Jesus, the son of Mary, to the disciples, ‘Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?’ The disciples said, ‘We are Allah’s helpers!’ Then a portion of the Children of Israel believed and a portion disbelieved, but we gave power to those who believed against their enemies and they became the ones that prevailed."(Qur’an 61:10-14). [See the discourse, Between the Past and Present, under the subheading "Obstacles in the Way."]

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