Activism At School
We, as young Muslims
at school, have heard many things about Islam: “Its all about peace…all
about love…all about believing in Allah.” But what does all this
mean for us in real life? How many things is Islam about, after all? The answer
is sweet and simple; it’s about all, yes that’s right, all! It is
about peace and compassion, it is entirely based upon God Consciousness, and
it is about faith. How do they all connect? Simple as well. There has to be
something that encompasses all these factors, and more; it’s activism.
openly all that you have been bidden [to say], and leave alone all those who
continue to associate partners with God.” [15:94]
The idea of being
active in the community is thought to be very primitive by some as if it’s
something done by those teenagers who have nothing to do in school; or that
being ‘active’ means you can’t be ‘cool’. Others
believe in order for a person to be involved in the community, he or she has
to be super-knowledgeable about Islam. The balanced approach to looking at activism
is the way the Prophet Muhammad (S) did. He spent most of his life struggling.
Through his activism began a change, which soon changed the whole Arabian Peninsula.
It was his courage, his determination, his peaceful and loving nature, and above
all his trust in Allah that brought him success. Not the success that we think
of in terms of money or glory, rather the success of the next life, the eternal
life and the reality.
As Umar (R), the
Prophet’s beloved companion once said, “A man’s actions are
judged by his intention, if his intention for migration is to marry, then that’s
what he will earn, and if his migration is to please Allah, then that is what
he shell reap.” If we closely examine these words, it should strike us;
are our intentions right? For example, do we pray in the perfect manner to impress
others around us, or to truly connect with Allah (SWT)? This is the first step
to activism, getting our intentions straight, and if they aren’t, we should
start all over; forget what we have done, and start clean.
shall have nothing except for what he strives for" [53:39]
Now you might sit
there thinking, what’s the point of talking about our intentions and inner
feelings? Wasn’t this supposed to be about activism at school? The reality
of the issue is that your MSA will not just start up on its own, and nor will
it do it the right way by it self. There has to be a vision, a goal that it
wants to achieve, and more importantly there has to be a mature leader. The
leaders must have the correct intentions and objectives. What is this vision,
you might ask? Well it’s basically it is defined by our intentions.
We have already
established our intention; it is to strive for Allah’s sake, and to please
Him. The real question is how to achieve our goals. How do we act upon it? Will
everything happen automatically, after the correct intention? NO! We must now
create an action plan of our personal life in accordance with our intention.
Think of things that fit into this broad guideline, it doesn’t necessarily
have to be Islamic as such, but something that is fun and Halal. Come up with
a checklist, something that includes daily and periodic activities.
If we really put
our brains to this, we should get something as follows:
Quran daily (5-10mins)
all 5 daily prayers on time
Charity as much as possible whether with money or simply as an energetic smile
more active in the Muslim community, school, and the Masajid (Mosques).
there could be a lot of things added, or done in a different manner, but on
the whole this is a good start!
Now lets focus
on the last part of the list, the involvement in the community. We probably
have heard a lot about the other things, so lets just stick to the topic.
Activism, as said
earlier, should be exercised the way the Prophet Muhammad (S) did. He dedicated
his life to it, until his very end, and it was due to his activism and Allah’s
Mercy that he accomplished what he did. For many people activism is considered
to be just doing the work, which may mean just helping out at the mosque in
your community. It may also mean establishing a Muslim club or organization
even if there is absolutely no need for one, since there might be already a
couple in that area!
However, such youth
often lack the true purpose behind all this work. True activism involves the
hard part: being social. That means getting out in the public, meeting new people,
even those that you may not like very much, and befriending them. To make them
feel that they can depend on you when they need help, and ask you for advice.
You shouldn’t be “just another boring religious dude” in their
eyes, instead a guiding light! Activism is not about building an empty structure
or organization at school with 10 exec members.
Activism may include
fund raising for the needy and unfortunate in the community, helping the seniors
with shoveling their driveway, and getting the teenagers at your school involved
in Islamic activities. For most of us the last scenario suits the most.
We probably know
many of our friends who hang out in a bad crowd, or perhaps do the wrong things
as well; it is our duty as true Muslims, with that right intention, is to help
these brothers and sisters. We must be that guiding light, helping them out
of that ditch that they have been stuck in for so long. All this requires creativity;
the conventional Friday Khutbahs after school or the monthly talks by an outside
speaker are not enough. We have to adopt new methods to attract the common teenagers.
Some ideas for
a short Halaqa after every Friday Prayer, where people can ask and say what
they want, not having to be looked at strangely, and discuss Islam.
Have fun sporting events to increase brotherhood / sisterhood, after which
there would a short Islamic reminder
a weekly Islamic Video session, in which you show Islamic movies, such as
“The Message”, and others.
what is the solution? There is no one answer. It depends on the people you are
dealing with, and how you think they would react to certain things. The pace
at which you will move with your ideas also depends on how enthusiastic they
might be. However the most important thing to remember is that we keep checking
our intention, and observe if the initiative is following the guidelines. True
guidance only lies with Allah (SWT), but we should be the workers who spread
that guidance, because He says:
give warning. Your duty is only to warn them: you are not their keeper. (88:
In short before
we plan anything for any Muslim activity we should think to our selves of these
Why am I doing it? The answer should be to only please Allah
2) How am I doing it? Our method should not go against the
teachings of the Quraan or the Sunnah. Certainly we don’t want our actions
to go in vane by displeasing Him.
The Prophet (pbuh)
once said that my Ummah is like a body, when one part of it hurts the whole
body feels the pain/sleeplessness. He also said that those who are not concerned
with the affairs of other are not from us (i.e. Muslims). So dear brothers and
sisters if we think that the troubles and misguidance of “that looser
there” has nothing to do with us, think again.
May Allah (SWT)
always keep us under his light, and guide us to the straight path and give us
young Muslims the ability to work for His cause. May He grant us the patience
to bear with all the different people and the wisdom to be true leaders of Islam.