In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"Anyone who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God..." (Nisaa 4:80)
ALHAMDULILLAH, I would like to jot down simple things that we as laymen could do so that we have our part in performing our duties as a ‘khalifah’ (vicegerent) during our short span of living in this temporary world.
Everyone should try their best to promote the Islamic way of life as suggested by the Prophet (peace be upon him, s.a.w.). Regarding this matter, he ordained all his companions and thus, every Muslim who possesses some knowledge – even as little as one verse – to disseminate it to others. The Prophet s.a.w. said, “Convey (what you learn from me) even if (it is) only one verse…”(Related by Bukhary)
‘Da’wah’ (calling mankind to Allah) is one of the most significant duties obliged upon Muslims. ‘Da’wah’ to Allah ensures ultimate success and religious benefit for individuals, as well as society at large.
We should not forget that whenever a Muslim start a good ‘Sunnah’, established by Islam, and spreads it between Muslims then she or she will gain a reward similar to that earned by all those who practice this ‘Sunnah’, without decreasing THEIR OWN rewards.
Note that for almost all the things we suggest others to do, we must do it first. We must help ourselves first in doing good things that would please Allah SWT before recommending it to others.
Regarding helping ourselves first before helping others, a local well known scholar and preacher, likened it to the demonstration by the plane stewardess during flight take off to passengers that in case of emergency they need to help themselves first to oxygen masks and only then tender help to those under their care such as their children.
So if we were to ask our children to perform ‘solat’ (prayers) then we should do it first so that they could emulate us. Or better still we perform the prayers together with our children.
The same also applies in society, if we (especially leaders) call upon the ‘rakyat’ (people) to adhere to the principles of Islam we should practice what we mention. If not, we are only good at talking and the people would look upon us as liars, double faced persons and worst still as hypocrites.
For example when a woman leader suggested to those under her leadership to follow the ‘Sunnah’ of the Prophet but she herself did not cover her head with a ‘tudung’, then she was only making a mockery of herself. There is a Malay proverb regarding this matter – ‘bagai ketam mengajar anaknya berjalan betul’ (like a crab showing her infant how to walk the correct way).
Other than performing our compulsory duties as a Muslim such as praying five times a day, paying ‘zakat’ (tithe), fasting during the month of Ramadan and going to hajj once in lifetime, there are many ways Muslims could do to please Allah SWT, thus paving way for him/her to get closer to Him.
Of course a Muslim have to understand his/her duties and and take responsibilities to perfom obligations to his/her Lord (Allah SWT), his/her own self, his/her parents, his/her partner (wife or husband), his/her children, his/her relatives, his/her neighbours, his/her Muslim brothers or sisters and friends and lastly his/her community (society).
In cementing our ties with fellow human beings especially Muslims and at the same time enriching our life to be closer to Allah SWT, the Muslim Welfare Organization of Malaysia (PERKIM) suggested that among others we;
1. Buy a translation of the Qur’an and present it to a non-Muslim friend.
2. Subscribe to an Islamic magazine and circulate the copies to others after you have read them.
3 Visit a Muslim welfare organization to find out how you can help in their activities.
4. Get permission from an orphanage to let an orphan spend a weekend with you.
5. Get to know someone who has converted to Islam and help to strengthen his/her faith.
6. If you know of a public lecture on Islam, tell others about it and try to attend it. · If you have a good idea that will help the ‘ummah’ (Muslims), mention it to those that you think will take it to the next level.
7. Write a letter of appreciation and encouragement to a Muslim brother or sister who is doing a lot to help the ‘ummah’.
8. Invite one Muslim family in your neighbourhood to your home for a meal as a way to strenghtened your bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood. Use the opportunity to find out what aspects of Islam that they don’t understand. If you are unable to explain, find out from others and convey the explaination to them.
9. Keep a donation box in your home and encourage your family members to put their donation ito it. At the end of the year, use the money to buy something useful for a poor family.
In a book ‘Seeds of Righteousness – Tools for Muslim Women to Spread Islam’ (published by Darussalam, Riyadh), writers Abdul-Malik Al-Qasim and Ibn Abdar Rahman aAl-Qasim among others suggested readers to emulate ‘da’wah’ works done by a few ‘Muslimah’ (Muslim women)
1. She writes articles in newspapers and magazines on women’s issues, dedicated her writing to the subjects that resurrect faith and modesty in her Muslim sisters. She also tries to refute the doubts that some people raise about Islam, in particular. Only her friend knows about her activities, for her friend takes her articles and asks her brother to mail them to relevant addresses.
2. She became ill and is admitted to hospital, but her stay there became a blessing for her and those around her. She gave away Islamic books and tapes in various languages to the doctors and nurses in the hospital. She also gave many more books and cassettes to the patients and left some books in the waiting room. She met an old woman in the hospital who does not have sufficient Islamic knowledge, so she gave her a radio and kept it tuned to the Qur’an station.
3. She visits women’s workshops selling Islamic books in Arabic and other languages and distributes them to the workers and visitors to these shops. Her efforts are modest, but several women have embraced Islam as a result. How many women do the same as this good Muslim woman?
4. She works hard for her Hereafter, attending Islamic lectures, giving sincere advise to her sisters and engaging in every act of righteous, as much as she can. At the end of every month, one of her fellow teachers came to know, she sends her entirely salary to a charity organization. She pays all her salary to the orphans, to support printing Islamic books and helping the cause of ‘Jihad’.
Note that all the individuals had help themselves before helping others. For example how one is going to teach an aspect of Islam to a person if he/she does not have the knowledge on it, or how a person is going to help another person or persons financially if he/she is does not have wealth?
So help ourselves first before helping others!