Triple Imperatives Of Islamic Work: Opportunities & Challenges Part II - First, Second And Third Imperatives

20 August 2012

Triple Imperatives Of Islamic Work: Opportunities & Challenges Part I - Introduction: Dawah And Society

By Abdulwarees Solanke

The First Imperative

The first imperative i want to address is the imperative of education. By imperative of education, I do not mean just the robust Islamic knowledge because this is a basic necessity, a primary condition which i assume every Dawah worker must have. The depth of message is vital, no doubt. This makes it unnecessary for me to belabour this point again. But if perchance there is any worker lacking in respect of Islamic knowledge, this deficiency only widens the scope of knowledge he has to encompass in the short run in the field of work, and this is no mean a task.

By imperative of education, I mean totality of awareness and currency of the social environment in which the Dawah worker operates. He must understand the organic structure of the society; the flow of power and influence in the system, its intricacies and workings; the demographic configuration, the infrastructural distribution, and resource allocation.The organic structure of the society defines the nature and level of co-operation, collaboration and struggle within the society.

The organic structure determines ownership and control of the economic resources, and their allocation just as it dictates the reservoirs of power. The knowledge of the organic structure of the society by Islamic mission would enable it to have a perfect understanding of the direction of its Dawah. Not just that; the Dawah would be able to organize itself and deliver its work to its specific objective without necessarily encountering opposition.

I appreciate that opposition and rejection, ultimately, constitute the test of Dawah impact. However, these are most undesirable at the preliminary stage of Dawah because it is distractive of the primary mission. A perfect knowledge and understanding of the organic structure of the society expands and opens the scope of work and the field of opportunities, as it assists it in discovering talents and resources that could be helpful to the mission and ease its task.

Similarly, the understanding of demographic distribution is as necessary as the quality of Islamic knowledge itself. By this understanding, i mean the distribution of the society across gender, age, geographic and economic indices. The Dawah mission must be familiar with all the demographic indices of his environment, as the knowledge of these would enable it to define its target and focus appropriately.

Infrastructural distribution - establishment and location schools, hospitals, and other facilities relating to the health and development fo the human capital are part of demographic indices that are necessary to be understood by the Dawah mission/worker as these would serve as the platform to operate and reach the people. Ultimately, our real challenge is a challenge of research. Research expands the horizon, exposes problem areas and helps in finding solutions to them. Dawah becomes easier, focused and result-oriented when proper research is done. Such research must not be superficial or hasty. It must be scientific, and all the tools for testing its application must be employed. The research must involve studies in behavioural patterns, socio-cultural evolution of he environment, and its adaptative tendencies. Findings of research in these areas will afford the Dawa mission to effectively distribute or allocate its resources both human and material.

Let us assume here that what our society needs now is not the emergence new Dawah missions, but a re-direction of existing ones. Each one must look inward into its own activities and determine where these activities will be relevant to the needs of ht society and the generality of Muslims once the objectives are to popularize teh Islamic ideology and bring humanity to recognizing Allah as teh sole disposer of affairs. If it successfully does a research about itself, the result will assist it in appraising the society it is operating in.

For instance, if after an appraisal, the mission thinks it will be best adapted to economic empowerment of the Muslims, it must proceed to do a thorough research of hte employment situation viz-a-viz the muslim. If the research reflect lopsidedness of muslim represented in any particular area of life e.g. the media, we must proceed to charge the balance.

The Second Imperative

The second imperative of Dawah has to do with need to cast away the garb of negativism that portrays Daway as an all-corner affair. Such an attitude has been very damaging to the real objective of Dawah beause the field of Islamic work is today mostly populated by charlatans and opportunists and incapable or fake scholars who rather than bring people to true faith, further corrode their ceman and persent to them a distorted image of Islam. The simple solution to this Dawah has to be a thorough professionalized vocation.

By professionalization, it is not an attempt to create an ecclesiastical class or order as in Christendom, but to bring to reality that verse of the Quran, which says "Let there arise out of you a band of people"

Not that his band of people will just arise without vision, mission and training. These three elements confer on the band the professional commitment, as it must be consciously organized and distributed to serve Dawah needs.

The Third Imperative

In the make-up of the human society, each individual is equipped with his god-given talent and ability. Training and education also assist the individual to realize the potentials for them to be optionally deployed for individual or societal advancement. A man gets fulfilment and satisfaction, and his productivity is most manifest when he is most consistent and specializes where he has the greatest interest and comparative advantage. It is high time this truth is also recognized in the field of Dawah. And this is what I refer to as the imperative of specialization.When there is specialization in Dawah, individuals and organisations would be able to discover their comparative strengths and advantages and the resulting energies are variously deployed to the appropriate areas of needs without anyone suffering neglect or undue concentration and waste of human and material resources usually associated with.

The Challenge Of Knowledge And Understanding

The reason why Dawah often lacks depth or is slow in response to the challenges of modern time is the superficiality in knowledge and understanding of the dynamics to today's world.There is no doubt that tones of literature on Islam are available, not to talk of Tafseer of the Quran and Hadeeth. On the mimbar, scholars and Imams can draw galloons of tears from our eyes, exposing the vagaries of the Dun'yah and the realities of the hereafter - its joys adn punishment. But these sermons hardly take many muslims beyond the precincts of the mosques. Outside are fresh challenges which they can hardly connect with the sermons, or which the sermons did not provide alternatives to tackle. Muslims are told not to take interest: what are the available investments options? How realistic are they? Do they have access to them? How can they be organized to benefit from them? Muslims are told that the Palestinians are being victimized the Israelis, and that it is an Islamic duty to support them: how do we let the ordinary muslim know the origin of the crisis, the extent of the suffering and the real motive of the Israelis. These instances are economic and political challenges. There are other fundamental areas of life that constitute everyday challenges. Unfortunately these would not be directly taught in schools or be made to be part of educational curriculum. If they are, their depth may not be sufficient. Although many muslim scholars are rising to this challenge with studies and researches, how well are their findings publicized? How much are they applied and taught to the beneficiaries?

Those who responsibility it is to educate and reform the society must be educated about all the contemporary challenges and their threats and linkages to Islam. Dawah must continue to look into the education of Imams and scholars and journalists. Knowledge of History and International Geo-politics are as crucial as that of Tafseer; knowledge of Psychology and the other branches of social sciences are as important as Seerah. In the understanding of these branches of knowledge will it be possible to establish connection with the Islam ideals and precepts.



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