Attributes of the Society of Medina – 2/3

Part 2 of the attributes of building the society of Medina

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Toolkit to set our priorities and focus

This is a khutba I made to help Muslims set their personal priorities to be able to please Allah more and focus more on more important actions.

PART-I

PART-II


And if you prefer reading, you can check the two part article I wrote for OnIslam. Here are the links

http://www.onislam.net/english/shariah/refine-your-heart/advice/461138-the-most-important-deeds.html

http://www.onislam.net/english/shariah/hadith/this-hadith/461239-the-most-important-deeds-how-to-tell-p-2.html

 

Does One Person Matter?

The Drop and the Jar

A few years ago at my son’s middle school graduation ceremony, the school superintendent wanted to encourage the graduating students to seriously consider what they could add to society as they move further ahead in their educational journey. “Does one person matter?” he asked. And instead of continuing his speech, he made a demonstration, one that I will never forget. He showed a large glass jar full of water and an eyedropper. He then asked the students, “How many drops of water you think this jar contains?” After a few guesses from the students, he disclosed the answer, “2673 drops! I counted them myself this morning while filling the jar.” Raising the eyedropper, he asked “Do you think another drop can make a difference to the water in the jar?” The kids confidently yelled, “No!”

This is exactly how we all feel. What can one person do? What would a drop of water add to a whole jar full of water? Would my small effort make a difference in this huge complex world ? Unlike the answer to the water drop question, answering ‘no’ to this personal question will result in a lazy, inactive life, a life lacking energy and achievement. The Shaitan uses this tactic frequently to discourage people from doing good deeds, especially deeds that have wide-ranging effects. Shaitan challenges us with questions all the time: “Are you going to reform the world? How would you succeed while everyone who tried before you failed? What is so special about you? Do you think this small action will make a difference? People are completely astray; do you think you are a prophet to guide all of them?” These and many similar questions are sufficient to disable any person from doing good, and can cause stagnation in reforming a society, especially when the task is huge and the challenges are so formidable.

In this article, we will elaborate more on this obstacle and try to understand the causes. We will also identify the spiritual power needed to overcome this problem and defeat all the tricks the Shaitan uses. We will share a few examples of how being proactive and making even modest effort can bring about great results. We will help the reader answer the question presented at the outset with a resounding, “Yes! one person matters! — a lot.” We hope that by the end of this article, we will be as excited as all the students at the school graduation were when the superintendent proved them all wrong. He added one extra drop to the jar, and the difference was so obvious that it drew loud applause from all the students and their parents. The drop changed the whole jar. Of course it did. It was a blue food-coloring drop!

Full article
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Conclusion

The hoopoe is a beautiful bird but it is not the only one that is beautiful. It does fly smoothly and with style but so do many other birds. It is not mentioned in the Qur’an because of all of that. It was its small action regarding the people who worshipped the sun. It was the hoopoe’s proactive attitude towards the truth that made its name recited by billions of Muslims in the most honorable and authentic book. It is its small effort that led a queen and her whole kingdom to believe in Allah with His Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh). Not only does one person count; Even a little bird does

The Milk Factory

A very interesting description when Allah mentioned the cattle in a verse in the chapter of “The Bees,” Allah says what can be translated as:

Surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle: We provide you to drink out of that which is in their bellies between the feces  and the blood pure milk which is palatable drink for those who take it [16:66]

Although the verse is talking about the real milk and the real cattle, I would like to drive a lesson in real life. Just think that every time people drink milk, you remind them of this verse and show them pictures of blood and feces. What do you think they will do? Although it is reality and you are not showing them anything that is wrong, this is not how people like enjoy drinking milk. The process, although well known and has to be known, is not necessarily useful to be exposed to everyone who drinks. This may harm people and may make them stop drinking milk.

In real life, especially in organizational life, the interaction between people who work together in an organization to produce something, being it a product, a service, or a program, is like the process that takes place in the bellies on the cattle. It is not an easy process. There will be opinions and opposing opinions. There will be conflict and friction. Sometimes, there will be problems and difficulties. Sometimes is tough (blood) and sometimes is really bad (?) 🙂

Transparency, on one hand, is important so organizations can be held accountable by its stake holders–such as members, share holders, or customers. However, on the other hand, excessive and unwise transparency can  be similar to showing a milk drinker a movie of the cow’s belly while drinking milk.

Beautiful and useful products can be made disgusting by unwise transparency.

A leadership challenge

I usually lead the Salah either at home or when I pray with others. A couple of days ago, two of us where praying in congregation and I wasn’t the Imam. After I finished my recitation, I was about to say “Allah Akbar” and bow. I realized at the last moment that I wasn’t the Imam and I had to wait for the Imam to move so I can move. It would have been really embarrassing if I where to loudly say “Allah Akbar” and move to bowing. 🙂

Two quick thoughts I would like to share (completely unrelated to Salah)

1- Those who get used to being in leadership position will find it very difficult to quit and work as regular team members. It requires a lot of discipline to be able to do so.

2- Those who continue to live as if they were in the leadership position and can’t acknowledge they are no longer there will embarrase themselves and sometimes others.

3- Salah will be invalid if you make the move ahead of the Imam. You have to keep your position as a team member when you are a team member or otherwise your work will be void

Just wanted to share this quick thought. It looks like quitting smoking is much easier that quitting leadership (positions).