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9 Things you can do for Islam in 2007

"I will lose 10 lbs"; "I will exercise more"; "I will spend my money more carefully" - these are just some examples of the kind of resolutions many of us make at various time markers in our lives, most notably, at the beginning of a new year.

But for most Muslims, while the goals we set are usually praiseworthy, few, if any, are aimed at contributing to Islam on a community level.

We might, for instance, aim to read more Islamic books or give more in charity. But many of us wouldn't intend to teach at the local weekend Islamic school and share our knowledge or devote our time, not just our money, to a Masjid building project. It's time to focus not just on our own personal development. We've got to start considering what we can do for Islam in our community and for the Ummah in general.

Below are 9 ideas that you can use or simply check out to jumpstart your own thinking and planning process when developing resolutions.

1. Become an Agent for Muslim Unity

Muslims need to come together to meet the challenges we face today. A common agenda has been there for several years but we remain divided. For Muslims, unity is not an option but an obligation. If the labor movement, women, and other minorities can organize on the basis of a federation/confederation model to address their common agenda successfully, why have we failed to do that? United we stand, divided we fall. Muslims must come together at the national level for a common Muslim agenda. I request that we all, individually, become agents of unity wherever we are. Here is a list of things you can do:

  • Find out what your Masjid is doing for Muslim unity
  • Meet, call, and write to Muslim leaders you know and ask what they are doing to bring Muslims together
  • Budget for funds and time you can donate for Muslim unity
  • Can you form a network of Muslims in your city who are willing to work for the national unity?
  • Adopt a plan of action for something you can do individually

2. Work with other faith groups

Remember all those nice people of other faiths who came forward to stand with Muslims after the backlash of 9/11? I love America because of those people. There are tens of millions of good people in America who, despite all the propaganda against Islam, firmly believe that Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims need to work with them to build bridges of understanding in society. Can you do any of the following things?

  • Attend the next Parliament of the World Religions in Barcelona, Spain where 20,000 people of different faiths will gather in July 2004
  • Volunteer in soup kitchens or homeless shelters run by other faith groups
  • Donate to a social justice program which Quakers may have in your area
  • Learn about their social services programs

3. Develop writing and communication skills

Yes, it's a cliche to say that Muslims have too many doctors and engineers and not enough writers. But this needs to be said over and over again because it seems we've made little headway as an Ummah in this area. English is the lingua franca of the world, and unless Muslims develop their skills and talents in the field of writing and communication in this language, we will continue to lose. There are more non-Muslims who have written about Islam and Muslims in North America than Muslims. We do not even have good books that can be given out on the issues of Jihad, terrorism, and women.

Sign up for writing classes. Check out your local library or community center for free or low-cost classes and seminars. Read, read, and read. Write letters to the editor, editorials, and more. And if you want to submit your work for the web, please send it to us at Sound Vision. We'll post the best writing Insha Allah!

4. Take care of New Muslims

Takbeer, Allahu Akbar. That is how we welcome a new Muslim in our Masjid. But what happens to these Muslims later on? One survey determined that about 50 percent of new Muslims in Illinois and about 65 percent in the state of New York leave Islam within a few years. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but if we do our duty of properly devoting our personal time and community resources, it will help stem the tide of conversions out of Islam. At this moment only 26 percent of Masjids regularly organize New Muslim classes. Each Masjid can develop a Moakha system to work with a new Muslim.

5. Learn about conflict resolution

Remember the fights in the Masjid? Or the wonderful active sister who left the Masjid because of a dispute with the Board of Directors? What about the brother who was a great teacher at the Islamic school until the administration decided to reduce his salary without informing him well in advance?

These are all cases where conflict resolution could have come in handy. There is a crying need for Muslims who can negotiate and mediate amongst Muslims. This is a skill every Muslim community needs to invest in.

It's also a skill you should consider developing. You could do a degree in conflict resolution, but you don't have to go that far. You can attend seminars and/or one-day classes. Business schools may offer a course a few weeks long in conflict resolution. Consider gaining and taking these skills to the Masjid and to your local Islamic center.

6. Increase your time for the Masjid

It's easy to drop a couple of dollars in a Masjid donation box, but it's not so easy to devote a couple of hours every few weeks to Dawa to the Masjid's neighbors.

When was the last time your Masjid had an open house? When were your non-Muslim friends invited to attend a party in the Masjid? While everyone in Masjids is ready to work on a Masjid building or a school project, there are very few who are willing to spare time for neighborhood relations or media communication. Many times, there is no one available to properly handle inquires left on the Masjid's answering machine.

Time is our greatest resource, not money. Devote yours to causes that deserve it. Also remember that when you are giving time to the Masjid, your input and ideas are also more likely to be considered by its administration.

7. Make your Muslim organizations more open to feedback and accountability

Have things been running the same way for years at your local Islamic center? You know, disorganized, or closed off, with a couple of people having the only say in all matters?

Many, many Masjids and Islamic centers lack management and organizational skills. They are run by an elite group of people who make all of the decisions without proper consultation with the community. They are also not held accountable for what they do or how the money coming into the Masjid or organization is spent. This doesn't mean that everything they are doing is wrong. But there needs to be a more transparent and open system that will benefit all Muslims in the community, the male and the female, the young and the old, the immigrant and the Muslim born in America.

You can help start the process of change. This has to be done with plenty of wisdom and patience. But you and others will benefit from working to make your Islamic organization more open and accountable to the community

8. Adopt a Muslim issue which few pay attention to

This commitment doesn't have to be for a whole year. It can be for only three months if you like. The aim is simply to develop a specialization in a specific area of need and benefit to Muslims.

One of the best is the assault on Muslim civil rights in America. It's here, it's real, all of those involved in the issue are accessible, and you can see the results of your efforts more easily. But don't stop there. You can also choose other areas of the world and issues that Muslims have ignored or given sparse attention to lately: Kashmir, Chechnya, environmental issues and domestic violence are all some examples.

9. Plan for Islam in your kids' classroom and your workplace

Ramadan and Eid are no longer unknown to many non-Muslims in America. They are now mentioned along with Christmas and Hannukah, as media coverage of Ramadan this year indicates.

That said, though, there will always be the new student, your child's teacher next year, or a boss and the coworker who need to know about our celebrations, as well as issues which concern us.

One good project to work on is creating more awareness of Islam in schools and the workplace. There are still issues which cause misunderstanding and confusion. Hijab, prayer and Friday prayers are still issues of contention in a number of workplaces and schools.

"Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching;
And consult with them in ways that are best and most gracious."

 
 
 
These are some suggestions and comments we have received from our visitors.  Thank You.

1-    Assalmolaikum Brothers and Sisters in USA.

I received your email regarding the new website and opened it straightaway and Subhan Allah, what a pleasure it was to go through it.

I have been a mureed of Mawlana Sheikh Nazim Al-Haqqani for over 15 years now and was in his company and Sheikh Hisham Kabbani when they visited the UN and also at the Unity Conference in Washington a few years ago.  These two visits to the US in the company of the Sheikhs were perhaps the best days of my life so far.  May Allah (swt)keep the Sheikhs with us for a long long time and bring peace around the whole world. AMEEN.

As a lecturer in computing and particulary HCI, I have only one comment about the website and that is that the main heading of Naqshibandi Haqqani Dergah of Chicago should be changed to a higher font size, so that it stands out much more prominently.  The rest of the site is wonderful and particular the the Sufi music in the background.

InshaAllah I will tell all my friends to view this site in the U.K.

Please convey my special Salaams to Mawlana Sheikh Hisham Kabbani.

Wasalaam.

DR.MOHAMED MAHMOOD BEGG
Senior Lecturer, De Montfort University,
LEICESTER. U.K.

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2-   Salamun alyekum.
I visited your web. It is very well but first, tirpod adverstment about gambling poker etc.. is  not well seen.
second when we try the listen :  Listen to the recitation of Surah ar-Rahman  by Mewlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani and
listen to the recitation of Surah al-Ikhlas  by Mewlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani, web page song's and Mawlana recitations are mixed. Is it possible that when one starts to listen Mawlana recitations thta web page ILAHI (song's) stops. Ilahi you chose is also nice.

May Allah bless you
B.

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3-   Salams,

Dear Brothers, I have just seen your website and thought let you know that it is a good website.  I am a student of Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani. I was in Cyprus a little while ago and had a very nice time.

Keep up the good work

Salams
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E-mail all comments and suggestions to    HaqqaniDergah@yahoo.com

seyhhisam.jpg
Mevlana Seyh Hisham - Imam Senad ef. Agic