The dangers of working within a voluntary Islāmic organisation
– The subtle tricks and traps of working within an Islāmic organisation
Many people seek ways and avenues in which they can work for the betterment of society and in general work for a charitable/islamic organisation. A work which should be held in the highest place of respect, dignity and honour. Undoubtedly, the people who work tirelessly, at times day and night to spread the message of deen, are the best of people to walk the earth. The brothers who travel far and wide across the length and breadth of the land doing dawah and charitable works are blessed beings of whom the angels themselves are jealous of! Of their highest stations in the hereafter, only second to that of the prophets.
However, as with everything in life, to much of anything can become detrimental to a person. Shaitan then can exploit the situation, if one is not in continual self check and in a state of alertness. Let me explain.
There are countless examples to illustrate this. Some people are doing great charitable/Islāmic work. But, at the expense of their personal development, unfortunately. That is, their spiritual development. when asked ‘why don’t you pray brother?’ The reply, ‘im already doing charitable works, god’s work, so in turn I have a leverage on normal duties, like that of praying. I don’t have to’, is used to demonstrate that they are on par with Allah, to admit or omit the injunctions of Islam as they please. (indirectly) Astagfirullah!
What they disastrously fail to understand is, working for deen or having a position in an Islāmic organisation does not mean you are;
1) Automatically guaranteed that you will enter paradise,
2) That you are free from the sharia or,
3) That you do not need to pray!
Although this mindframe of neglecting the obligatory personal duties is not what the individual seeks out to do from the onset of things. It is nonetheless a subtle frame of thinking which seeps into the unguarded individual’s mind, over time. This is why you see him/her (the individual) beginning to slacken in his/her obligatory duties as a muslim, praying on time and in congregation when possible, being the biggest victim here. It is a trend that every new practicing brother/sister undergoes, and steps through which the devil uses to his advantage to slowly lead a person to destruction. To highlight this point we can draw the following example; Initially when a person becomes pious, the shaitan leaves him temporarily to busy himself with worshipping Allah and acting on the sunnah. The next step the individual chooses to take is, to get involved in islamic activities, to further his hunger for leading a pious life, (and rightly so). Eventually, what happens is that, the individual gets so much preoccupied that he again, like before the days of practicing Islam, begins to neglect his personal duties as a muslim. The new occupation which he has chosen to take up, consumes all his time, energy and efforts. The shaitan seeing this, seizes on the situation and capitalises on something which was a good and a commendable action turning it into a disaster and a means for the individual’s downfall.
Being part of an Islāmic organisation/doing charitable projects are a bonus thing that a person can choose to do in this life. BUT, the primary concern and the most important factor here is for you to work on your own iman, before you help others. Other activities you may choose to do, for example, working within an Islāmic organisation, being extra charitable etc, is of secondary importance in the court of Allah.
In Allah’s court he (swt) is concerned only with what you have done in terms of applying the sharia on YOU as an individual;
– Did you pray?
– Did you give zakat?
– Were you punctual in performing the injunctions of Islam? Etc.
If you are able to pass these sets of questionings then you will be asked about your extra optional/voluntary activities. I.E ‘what part did you play in spreading the message of Islam?’
You see, in Allah’s eyes he is only concerned with your personal spiritual development (your iman) before the global development. For instance, how can you save your fellow beings from drowning when you, yourself is drowning?
Basically, working for deen or being part of an Islāmic organisation should not make you lose focus of your primary important duty, which is to save yourself from hell fire before you help others. Your goal and objectives should be thus in this order.
At the top most priority should be to continually do self-development of ones iman. Alongside, working for deen and sunnah. Not leave one for the other.
I know a person who is one of the pioneers of a growing Islāmic organisation. Yet, he hardly offers his five daily salah, or if he does, it’s very late! Sleeps all day and when he finally does wake up, he simply goes to the ‘Islāmic’ centre of theirs,
does this, that, the other, and then goes homes late night/early morning. Eats and then sleeps again. What use will all the extra optional ‘islamic’ acts be for him when the foundations of his spritual life is not intact? having the slackness in offering salah, being lazy, etc?
Shaitan often times knows that those who are working as part of a voluntary Islāmic organisation will not fall for his usual tricks, his usual temptations. That being, the sins and pleasures of life. So, for these beings/people he employs another avenue to lead them astray and make them fall into his trap blindly.
This is through the physiological trappings he sets in motion. Slowly but surely, when one is engaged night and day working for an “Islāmic” organisation, shaitan makes that individual neglect his own duties as a Muslim. To pray, to be punctual in the strictness of sunnah, etc.
The mindset which he (shaitan) creates for the individual is ‘you are working for Islam, a very worthy cause. So, if you slacken in fulfilling your obligations as a Muslim. Don’t worry, as Allah already knows you are pious and are working for his deen. You hold a lofty position in such and such an Islāmic organisation. He’ll oversee your faults and admit you in paradise for all the “good” you are doing. You have links with this and that scholar, so there’s nothing to worry about’ if you don’t pray on time, with congregation etc.Eventually, in the making of a great number of years, the-one time-pious and righteous muslim is completely destroyed and lead astray. Making him leave completely doing anything “Islāmic”.
Not only did the shaitan make him fall flat on his nose spiritually, on an individual level, but also for the optional righteous acts he was doing. That is, being charitable, working for an Islāmic organisation, etc. This is subtle trick which the devil uses to mislead people is far more dreadful and a greater danger than the usual temptings/ whispers of the devil. As, this avenue to mislead people is seen as good, innocent venture on the outward. But, dark, dull, and ugly in the inward.
For instance, the individual being taken down this route does not even believe for a second he is being led astray. Whereas the former situation of falling for the usual shaitanic tricks is apparent and the victim can clearly see he is being led astray.
Recently, an Islāmic organisation I know of and love immensely had a complete overhaul of its operational structure rewritten. That is to say, the ones who held a high position within the organisation were shifted from their cosy positions and some others were brought in, in their place. A reshuffle of the cabinet so to speak. Now, this act of reshuffling has caused a great outcry amongst the members of the organisation. Many claiming it to be sinister and a conspiracy to over turn the handful of normal 5 amirs (leaders). Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the consultant doing the reshuffle was a new member of the group.
It is interesting to note here, that I happen to know a number of these ‘high-ranking’ amirs. On a daily basis I interact with these brothers – whom only a number of days ago were the ‘untouchables’. From what I know and see of them, they are a prime example of what I mentioned earlier. Of being from amongst those people who focused on helping others but not themselves. Neglecting their own duties as muslims yet thinking they are doing a greater ‘good’ helping others; Helping people build their spiritual lives when their own iman and islam is dying of thirst and hunger. Slowly, suffocating their spiritual hearts of all nourishment needed for a strong and vibrant spiritual life.
The reshuffle has done them good, should they look deeper at the wisdom of the teacher and within themselves. They will clearly see that Allah wanted what was best for them. This is why they were removed from the advisory panel and others brought in. A second chance has been given to them. It should be a wake up call, in making them see their faults and short-comings.
One must understand sometimes working for a Islāmic organisation can become a barrier for one’s own spiritual development, neglecting prayers, sunnah in the false hope of working for deen and bring busy spreading deen. Focusing On others and not themselves. This is why at times positions and roles are taken away from him/them to bring him back to his senses. One of the brothers from amongst the five high ranking amirs who was demoted, is continually seeking comforting words to justify losing his previous position/role. Conjuring up theories after theories as to why he would have been made to stand a side. Always lamentaing the days of glory and power, so to speak. He is failing to see the bigger picture here, that Allah wanted him to focus in his own personal spritual development more, working to improve his iman and ihsan before he does to others.
On a more lighter note, you see, when one is working in an islamic voluntary organisation there are bound to be changes occurring all the time, reshuffling and restructuring.
People will be moved up and down, new ideas and structures brought in on a constant basis. One should be happy to have been made relived of ones duties. If one were really working for Allah in the first place, you would want to see the organisation succeed in its missions and to go forward. The lesson for us is from the incident of Syyiduna khalid ibn waleed (ra). When Syyiduna Umar (ra) demoted him from being a general in the Islamic army to that of a normal solider, he took it in the chin and moved on. He was not upset, or angry, moaning and complaining of the apparent conspiracy etc. A man from the ranks asked ‘o khalid (ra) how do you feel now that you have been demoted and are like one of us, a normal solider?’ khalid (ra) replied ‘the same Allah I was working for then as a general, I am working for him now as a normal solider’. Meaning, he was not concerned if he was a general or not. Since he was only doing jihad for Allah’s pleasure anyway, he did not mind where he was. This should also be our mindset if we get involved working for deen, our have the privilege of doing the work of the prophets.
All in all, I am not endorsing the notion that we should all abandon working for/serving the deen, for the pleasure of Allah. No! Not at all, if this is the message you are perceiving from this post you are entirely wrong. I am merely saying that one should not;
1) Fall for the subtle traps and tricks of the devil.
2) Continue serving deen and sunnah but do not lose track of your personal development along the way.
3) To priorities your responsibility. The primary concern for you should be, ‘how can I save myself from the hellfire?’. The secondary concern should be ‘my family, then the locality’. Along the way if we are losing this focus of the procedure/ order of things, then we should reëxamine our bearings, change our root we are heading towards and be alert!
4) To continually, correct and check our intentions as to why we are doing what we are (ikhlas). Is it to please people or is it to please Allah? Is is to get people’s respect or Allah’s favour? Etc.
When these checks and balances will be in place we will be euphoric in our lives. Experiencing the joys of serving deen whilst have a good personal, healthy, and strong spiritual lives at the same time and not lose one for the other.