You can work for Allah in different ways: through your career, your voluntary work, your activism in defence of justice and humanity.
The follower, Oqba Ibn Nafea worked for Allah for 43 years. He established the city of Qirawan and was one of the pioneers who introduced Islam to North Africa.
Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) forgave his enemies
Oqba Ibn Nafea’s father was a staunch enemy of Islam and Muslims but the Prophet forgave him. The mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) even extended to those who brutally killed and then mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah.
Quran 41:34 “Good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with what is better. Then he, between whom and you there was hatred, will become as though he was a bosom friend.”
The Prophet’s act of forgiveness touched Oqba’s father’s heart so deeply, that he dedicated his son Oqba to Allah. He sent his son to be raised by an important companion of the Prophet PBUH. An important lesson to be learnt here is that if you committed a sin, don’t despair. Instead, do good deeds that outweigh your sin and ask for forgiveness.
The Messenger of Allah PBUH said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be, trail a bad deed with a good deed and it will wipe it out, and treat the people with good character.” [at-Tirmidhi stated as Hadith Hasan]
Excellence and hard work are important Islamic values
Oqba Ibn Nafea worked for the cause of Allah throughout his life. He discovered his talents and utilized them in service of his cause. He became an expert on North Africa. His father put him on the right path. We should find ways of putting children and youngsters in our circle of influence on the right path, through excellent education and by being good role models.
Are you going to inspire your children and those in your circle of influence to dedicate their lives and work for justice, humanity and Islam? Are you doing all you can do to change the world by being the best influence possible on those around you? Are you inspiring and motivating others? Are you praising and appreciating those who are trying to leave a positive impact, no matter how small? Women have a special place in Islam. Are you acknowledging, praising and motivating the wonderful women in your life and making them feel appreciated?
It may be that the early trials are not always very fruitful, but without the early trials we wouldn’t have great achievements. Pioneers are always appreciated because they lay down the foundations of what will later become great successes.
Take the initiative, be creative and take calculated risks!
Are you a pioneer? Do you always take the initiative? Or are you passive and just follow the crowd? Taking risks if necessary is something commendable, but taking unnecessary risks and making impulsive decisions are attributes that can be counterproductive.
Pioneers are not afraid of failure. They understand that failure is part of the process. They understand that learning from failure is an essential part of building success.
Thomas Alva Edison said:“I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Don’t be afraid to try and don’t give up easily.
Change direction or change career if necessary
If you came to the realization that you are leading your life on the wrong path, you can stop and change your path. It might mean making sacrifices, but you have to be strong enough to lead your life, not let your life lead you.
Islam is not just rituals, it is a way of life.
Are you truly ready to join the path of Allah? Some people think that praying, fasting, paying zakat, wearing the hijab, hajjare enough. Rituals of worship are not everything in Islam. Islam is much deeper. What have you done for humanity? What have you done for science and knowledge? What kind of activism have you participated in? What injustice have you opposed or prevented? What have you done to raise awareness about the plight of innocents around the world? What voluntary work have you done? What have you done for your community or for your neighbourhood?
Your role is bigger than just looking after your family
Your role in Islam extends far beyond your duty towards your family and friends. You have a responsibility towards the progress and advancement of humanity. You have a duty to stand up for justice against Muslim and non Muslim oppressors. You have a duty to spread goodness and solidarity to all people of conscience, whether Muslim or non Muslim. You have a duty to enjoin good and oppose evil in every field of life.
You may really want to work for Allah, supporting justice and humanity, but don’t know how to. You have to take the initiative and discover your talents and find the appropriate channels that will help you work in the most effective way for the cause. Just don’t sit and wait and be a bystander. Get involved!
Quran 6:160: “Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged”.
Quran 13:22: “And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good – those will have the good consequence of [this] home”
This article is adapted from Dr. Amr Khaled’s lecture. Dr. Amr Khaled is an Egyptian televangelist. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East.