The year 2013 has come to a close. Many people we know celebrated it with much fanfare and jubilation. Some spent much of their time shopping, buying as much stuff to prepare for school and work in the many challenging days ahead of them. There are others who prefer finishing the rest of the much-needed holidays by traveling overseas to explore places and sites previously unfamiliar to them. I, however, decided to take time away from what’s left of the year to contemplate over what has taken place in the last 365 days and think about sources of motivation for us to move forward. Upon much reflection, I realized that there are Five Powerful Things that Muslims have in ourselves that could make us Great People…again. Here are the five things which I hope Muslims (and non-Muslims) could derive inspiration from:
1. The Power of History
We have more than a millennium of achievements that we should be aware of that can help us to chart new paths for ourselves. Great scientists, leaders, activists, thinkers, artists, writers and so forth have emerged from the centuries of Muslim history. These personalities in the likes of the Prophet Muhammad, the four Righteous Caliphs, Harun ar-Rasyid, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, Al-Biruni, Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Qayyim, Mehmet Al-Fatih, and closer to our time, Umar Faruq, Iqbal, Hamka and Muhammad Yunus should serve as exemplars for us to emulate. We should put to practice the fine attributes, skills and attitudes that they have perfected for our own benefit. Knowing the power of our history and the powerful people in our own past will help us understand where we are now and give us the confidence to lead breakthroughs in many areas of life in future.
2. The Power of Faith
We have been blessed with a way of life (deen) that encompasses all facets of our day to day existence. From the way we sleep, to the way we talk, to the conduct of business and managing our finances and families. Islam encourages us to be deeply spiritual and attentive to rituals as well as precepts. Islam enjoins us to be active, if not, hyperactive in achieving material, social and intellectual success. Sticking closely to our faith would empower us to be at the forefront in the specific fields that we are engaged in. Our faith becomes powerful for us when we learn to use it to tell ourselves that all good servants of God must be the Best in what we are Good in and to be Good People when we are the Best in the things we do.
3. The Power of Family
At a time when families are breaking down and the institution of marriage and childbearing are shunned upon by many societies and civilizations, Muslims still look upon the family as the basic unit that could make us powerful people. We have and should invest more to build strong families where mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and the elderly are all contributing to the making of effective, educated and ethical human beings who are valued by society in general. The love between members of families that we have built through the years should be strengthened. The trust, respect and spirit of cooperation that we have among each other should be made stronger for us to be confident in facing the world at large. The family makes us powerful and power is indeed built from families. So let’s expand our families and guide them towards having a strong conviction to Islam!
4. The Power of Numbers
Some say quality more important than quantity. I say quality and quantity are both important. As Muslims, we should be proud that more than one-sixth of the world population today identify themselves with Islam. The numbers are increasing, by the way. Indeed, there are perhaps only few, if any, countries in the world today that do not have Muslims living in it. Knowing the fact that Muslims are in all parts of the globe should not only make us feel great. Rather, we should seize this opportunity to know more about as many of our brethren in regions far away from where we live. Render assistance to those Muslims who are in need, study their successes and failures, share our expertise and forge close links with them. The more we capitalize on the power of numbers that we are endowed with, the more we will be poised to become agents of change and reform in the world.
5. The Power of Networks
We will be Great People again if we focus all our energies on the friendships and connections that we have and, of course, establish new ones as well. All Muslims should make friends with the people of their own kind who are doing much better than them in order to improve their condition. Avoid making enemies. Speak kindly to those who are in need of advice and give gentle reminders to win them over. But that is not all. By networks, I mean here coming into contact with even non-Muslims who may also share the same aspirations as us in building a society of successful people who are guided by good character and fine manners. Establishing networks with both Muslims and non-Muslims will help us to meet our career goals just as it will also enrich our personal lives. As we make more friends outside our immediate circles of influence and circles of concern, we expand our capabilities to fortify our Faith, Family and Community.
I hope that these 5 Powerful Things that we have as Muslims will help us to be Great People in the next 365 days to come and for many years ahead. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all readers of this blog for sharing my thoughts with your friends and families all this while. Keep on sharing and may we all be revived once again to be Shining Lights (Nur) for the people around us.