Thursday, August 30, 2007

Message for Friday - Change comes from within

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Ar-Ra'd, ayah 11):
Surely G'd does not change a condition of a people until they change what is inside of themselves.

One of the misconceptions that many have within the Abrahamic faith traditions, moreso among Muslims and Christians than Jews, is the longing of a Messiah that will resolve all grievances without any self effort.

Messiah or Al-Maseeh in Arabic is a concept within Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The purified one in Islam is Jesus (AS) who will accompany the Imam of the Age, Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi - Al-Mahdi means the guided one.

In Islam, those who will benefit from the restoration movement of Jesus and Imam Al-Mahdi are those we seek to repair themselves internally, not those who are lazy and have a blind, "pie in the sky" belief concept.

The change within comes in two aspects of the inner self (nafs)which regulate correct actions:

1) Changing one's heart through purifying intentions

2) Changing one's mind through refining the intellect

INTENTIONS

عن عمر رضي الله عنه قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ( إنما الأعمال بالنيات , وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى

The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) stated, "Actions are but by their intentions (motives), and everyone gets what he intends."

إن الله طيب ، لا يقبل إلا طيبا

He (SAAS) also stated, "Surely G'd is good; He accepts not except goodness (wholesomeness)."

In Islam, actions are based upon their motives to do good primarily for the pleasure of the Creator, not men. In order to change innerward conditions, this may mean bucking the trends or reviving certain principles that have declined or may be absent in society. In reading the Qur'an and the Gospels, Jesus was counter-culture. Purification of intentions, therefore, is to place social or material status in a subordinate position in relationship to adhering to what has been revealed via the Spirit of G'd.

INTELLECT

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

G'd says in the Qur'an (Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 171):
The likeness of those who reject [truth] is as the likeness of one who calls unto that which hears naught except a shout and cry. Deaf, dumb, blind, therefore they have no sense.

The intellect of man is alive when it's illuminated with the Light of G'd, meaning when the intellect is engaged and reflects upon the Signs of G'd in His revelations and creation. People are blind when they give their minds too much to frivolity instead of acquistion of beneficial knowledge and contemplation.

Therefore when a group of people begin purify their intentions and refine their intellects, the group will begin to progress.

How can the African-American community, for example, progress from its current situation when a large segment of its youth and young adults give themselves to the "gangsta" culture of thug hip hop, glorification of smoking marijuana and pimping? The African-American leadership must address internal problems more than external racism for the community's condition will truly change. Government programs and enforcement of legislation alone will never change the community's condition.

This also holds true for the systemic problems within the Muslim world and Africa. The West cannot truly save Iraq, Africa or Darfur. It's not possible.

And surely G'd knows best.

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