Where Are We Going in Islam?
Students & Problems in Dawah
NOTE FROM YUSUF ESTES:
Bismillah - salam alaykum to all of our hard working students and presenters of Islam. I love you all for the sake of Allah.
I am worried about the future of our Muslim student organizations and campus activities here in the USA.
Since coming into Islam over a decade ago, I have been actively working with a number of these types of groups in an effort to bring about a better understanding and image of the true Islam and Muslims particularly for those English speakers residing here in the West.
I am more constantly involved today than ever before with such activities and individuals. I love this effort for sharing Islam (dawah) and all of those beautiful brothers and sisters who participate along with us in this capacity. But there are some things I feel must be seriously reviewed and taken into consideration to insure a continued growth and prosperity for these groups here in our country, inshallah.
When Muslims come to this country to learn and gain a higher education they sometimes (although not enough) join with groups on campus such as the Muslim Student Association (MSA) or similar types. We would like to encourage more such participation amongst all the Muslims both male and female.
While this is greatly appreciated especially by those who are living here all the time, it should be noted that all too often when they leave, they do not take into consideration some of the ramifications that are felt by those who remain behind long after they are back in their countries moving on with their lives. After leaving the campus, they can simply cancel their subscription to the student email lists and ignore the very real situations they have left behind.
I am refer in particular to the influence felt in the colleges, universities and local Islamic centers located close to these campuses. Many times the activities and programs being conducted in these organizations are beneficial both to the Muslims and non-Muslims in the communities where they exist. However, there is also a negative or "down side" to the involvement of these students when they fail to take into consideration their efforts, work and activities can leave a lasting impression, one that may not be all that beneficial if they do not properly think it through.
Without going into detail or mentioning any particular community in the US, I would like to suggest we consider the damage arising as a result of students who do not properly represent the mainstream teachings of Islam or use their organizations as a platform for some political agendas that are not really representing the spirit of Islam nor the average Muslims who are remaining behind and having to deal with the image left behind by those inconsiderate students.
Often times I have seen a lot of good, hard efforts and excellent work abandoned or destroyed simply because students have not taken these things into consideration. Policies and rules are put into place that may serve a temporary purposes but without regard to the effects these will have on future students and local groups and individuals.
In many cases the over all picture and consideration for subsequent reactions to things initiated by these students bring about hard feelings and form difficult situations for those left in authority and those attempting to work on after they have left.
Local masjids, Muslim schools and Islamic centers are often brought into to assist in some activities on campus only to find out later there is no longer support for the activities that were established or there now exists strong opposition even from the new organizers or even the community to these projects, the former leaders and those who had been associated with them.
I would like to suggest to all of us participating in such organizations on campus, to stay within reasonable bounds and not use our positions irresponsibly trying to influence local community issues or ongoing relations with other organizations, Muslim and non-Muslim in matters that only cause division and disintegrate when the influence is gone.
The entire Muslim community may be better served if they would use their energies to work in areas that are bringing about more light of understanding and less darkness of single-mindedness, inshallah.
Finally, I would like to offer a prayer for all of those who are working to spread the truth for Islam:
O Allah, guide us to do as much as we can to bring about better understanding of Islam to all whom we meet, ameen.
O Allah, help us show the teachings of Islam to our families and communities, ameen.
O Allah, open our minds to the truth and give us understanding of this way of life called Islam, ameen.
O Allah, open our hearts to the reality of others around us and to serve their needs as best we can, ameen.
O Allah, purify our intentions and make our efforts only for You and not for showing off or any worldly matter, ameen.
O Allah, help us and protect us from dividing and hurting each other and from hurting ourselves, ameen.
O Allah, forgive us and pardon us for those mistakes that we have made against ourselves and each other, ameen.
O Allah, You are the Guide, the Protector, the Merciful, the Forgiver; so guide us, protect us, be merciful to us and forgive us, ameen."
Jazakumallahu khairan for all of those who are working and striving in the path of Islam for the sake of Allah - was salam alaykum,
Director, Share Islam