It is very easy to get clouded into the unfortunate mist of self projection and admiration when working on a noble and worthy cause. Many people of the past and some of the present have failed to notice subtle changes creep in when displaying courageous acts of dedication and devotion to religious causes.
It only takes a simple slip of intention to completely destroy a person’s effort.
Some muslims who are fortunate enough to be a part of an Islamic organisation or a group working tirelessly to promote good and well being of people. Do in many respects fall victims to the slippery tricks and traps of the devil who in foresight had already planned on how to nullify a person’s effort.
Working or volunteering to help out in the causes of dheen, Al Islam, is a honourable cause. It should make a person feel tremendously honoured and privileged to serve Allah’s religion of perfection and servitude.
However, the mistake which is often made is when an individual begins to think he is special. That, without his ingenuity and creativity in producing new ideas to take the message of Islam forward. Allah’s religion in effect, will come to a stand still.
Although those working in the field of Islamic organisations may not think this. The actions portray a different story.
It may be several years before a person realises he had been thinking along this line and change his intention and thought.
This is one of the worst possible situation to fantasise about. Working under the banner of Islam, spreading its message of truth, should make a person feel proud in the sense of serving Allah’s religion but not make one think he is “special”. That, due to his special abilities of persuasion, charm, creative abilities, etc. It is enabling people to join in his particular Islamic group. Shaytan being the ever deceitful and masterful in the art of corruption and anarchy knows how sometimes it is the subtle tricks he employs that does more damage to a person than the apparent tricks he uses to mislead mankind.
On the other hand there are some people who are in the habit of making Islamic project(s) or function into their own personal commodity. For example, if a new idea has been thought of and they have been placed in charge of overseeing the success or launch of the project. It is commonly seen the ameer of the project or the ‘project manager’ as it were, becomes adverse to any suggestions for improvement. If it is suggested a new person should lead the idea he feels a sense of intimidation, a personal attack on his abilities, intellect and integrity. When in fact doing the work of dheen should humble a person and allow him room for introspection. To clear out the clutter of ego and ulterior motives. However the reality is reversed. Many times the ego finds greater fodder to feed from when doing some or a little work of deen. Throughout my travels I have seen many brothers become lost in the fog of self projection and conceit. Seeing themselves as having added great value to Islam.
There some others who feel disheartened or demotivated when they are removed from a position or station they may have held in an organisation.
Working for deen is a privilege for anyone fortunate to be able to serve. The golden principle to keep in mind is:
Islam is in need of no one. We are in need of Islam. If we do the work of deen then it is WE who will benefit and not the other way round. Our little efforts do nothing for Islam or influence its standing in the eyes of Allah. It is easy to get lost in the translation of this golden principle to action and belief but this should be at the forefront of any action a person claims to do for Islam or Allah.
It was the legendary companion known for his acts of heroism and valiant acts of courage and bravery, who set this principle of ‘working for deen’ in stone.
Syyiduna Khalid Ibn Al Waleed (RA) was demoted after several years of being the leader of the Muslim army, from a commander to a foot soldier, by Syyiduna Umar (RA). It was said to him ‘o Khalid, do you not feel angered or vengeful that your status and honour had been removed. Now that you are fighting as a normal soldier and not a commander?’
He replied ‘ the Allah that i was fighting for then is still the same Allah I am fight for now’. Essentially, laying the blueprint for doing any work of deen. Pointing to the fact how his intention for fighting in the way of Allah was and is still the same. It was purely for Allah and not for self – projection, honour, name, fame, status, leadership, personal motives, or being considered as special.
Despite being a successful commander of over a 100 battles, he (RA) attributed all his success to Allah. He did think this was due to his “special” abilities and ingenuity which added to the success.
Everyone is replaceable when it comes to doing the work of deen. A person must not think if he does not do something then work to spread the message of Islam will not get done. It will. The difference is, it will done by someone else who is closer to Allah and more apt at it who will continue the work and take it forward. No one is irreplaceable when it comes to serving the deen. Prophets and the greatest Awliyah have come and gone but the work of Islam has not stopped with their passing. Who are we to think our little pin drop egoistic efforts to spread the message of Islam will be, ‘the be all and end all’. If we don’t to it then all is lost. This ill fated assumption sometimes undermines everything a person may do. He will do it out of feeling a sense of moral obligation and burdened duty. A duty placed on him which no one else can bare. This is a disastrously ugly mind frame to be in. Allah will completely reject anything this person may do or think he is accomplishing. He Jalla llahu is in need of no one or nothing!
Either, do the work of deen by feeling honoured and privileged or don’t do it if we feel we are special and worthy
Lastly, a person in the field of ‘working for deen’ should not think the group he is with or the idea he is working on, is his own personal commodity. (As mentioned before). If someone else can do a better job of any aspect in spreading the message or the idea he is working on, he should be willing to let that person carry on his role and encourage him to continue. Not feel a sense of violation of personal privacy and loss. Islam, or the work of deen is no ones commodity to do as he pleases with.
The more pious a person will become the more subtle the tricks of the ego become. The mundane trappings of shaytan via women, money, cars, etc are not as cunning as are these subtleties highlighted above. These are harder to spot and more dangerous than those of the apparent and commonly used ones. A person should always be on guard against all forms of devilish and egoistic endeavours.
This is why it is imperative a person has a teacher who will spot these subtilise and alert him to it before its too late. Having said this it is no good having a teacher as then not going to him every so often for check ups. Checks on your travel to Allah and making sure anything you are doing is clear and on the correct principles of Shayirah that there are no hidden agendas of the ego or shaytan.