In The Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
ORGANIZING AMERICAN MUISLIMS FOR ELECTIONS - 2008
Let us first understand and review our existing position and important features, both in American and global perspective. I will, then, share with readers what they are to do to improve their own position as Muslims and what they are to do to introduce themselves as conscious Muslim and Muslimah in this country.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE
i. Muslims are about 1. 3 billions, almost 1/4th, of the world population. They produce most important industrial raw material, hold lifeline of the present day industry, trade and transport and control almost all the strategic straits of water but have no say in the affairs of the world. A small portion of that big population, about eight millions, now lives in America/Canada. They are well educated, technically well equipped and are mostly affluent. They had come over here for the betterment of their lives but, unfortunately, have forgotten their mission of life. It is the integral part of their existence that they will have to rediscover themselves, while living in the midst of this liberal society.
ii. The bulk of the
Muslim population of
iv. Muslims have
developed some nationwide organizations. Islamic Society of North America has
transformed itself into an umbrella organization, representing more them five hundred Masajid and Muslim communities and
rendering useful services to the Muslim community of
From the foregoing features of the Muslim Community of America, it appears that they have to go a long way in order to organize themselves into a thriving and vibrating community of America, develop a unified command and a united political platform, create a consciousness among each and every Muslim of America about his obligation of “Shuhada-e-AL-Annas”[Witness to mankind] failing which their stay in America will become a source of displeasure of Allah in the Akhirah.
The especial situation of Muslims in America, as depicted above, demands two positive and simultaneous actions: to make them conscious Muslims and involve them aggressively to express their political will as an organized community of America
I have discussed the salient features of the Muslim Ummah of America both in continental and global perspective. By their faith, they are the torchbearers of Islam and the ambassadors of the Messenger of Allah. But their geopolitical and ideological condition demands that they first be organized as a disciplined and a conscious community. They are to be reminded of their position that they hold in the community of nations as the Middle and the Best of nations. They are to serve as models for the rest of the humanity in each and every walk of life. They are the champions of human rights and they are raised to deliver justice and peace [Al-Adl wa Qist] to the suffering humanity. They are the salt of the earth and the lamp of the mountain.
Can the Muslims of America do it and meet the challenges of their Iman and display the fragrance of their moral character in the midst of such unfavorable condition as exist today? Yes. It would not be a distant dream or something impossible to attain. They can do it and they can succeed, if they meet the only one condition prescribed by Allah for us that we are the Mumin [Al-Imran –139]. This is Allah’s commitment and who can fulfill his commitment better than Allah [Ref: Al-Tawba: 111]. The demands of Iman can be fulfilled only when the Muslims meet its following three requisites.
1. When Muslims live, act and behave like “conscious Muslims”. This is the first stage of Dawah amongst the Muslims. It can be pronounced as “Dawah to self”.
2. When they transform their sweet homes as “model Muslim families” for their friends, relatives, neighbors and visitors. This obligation should be popularized amongst the Muslim community as “Dawah to the family”.
3. They cannot maintain their individual integrity as Muslim and the status of their houses as “model families”, unless they go out and clean their neighborhood and the society in which they, their wives and their children pulsate day in and day out. This process of cleaning the society can be termed as “Dawah to the people”.
inherent demand of Iman to bring self, family and the society within the
purview of Islam presents a scenario of a continuous process pf Dawah Ilallah
within and out side the bounds of Muslim families. It will be possible only
when the Muslims lead a life of a conscious Muslim and Muslimah in the midst of
this liberal and free-for-all society. Without attaining this consciousness,
they cannot fulfill the mission of DI in the continent of
LET US BE CONSCIOUS MUSLIMS:
Before I elaborate this point, I would like to add that those brothers and sisters who are suffering from the complexities of expediency and want to throw the Muslims of America to the vagaries of the political system of this country must know that in the context of the American firmament they are just raw fodder with no political muscle of their own. The Muslim leadership will get nothing, not even a single seat on national level or get a person elected of their choice, if they do not plan to organize them first as Muslims who are conscious of their position and the part that they are destined to play in rebuilding this nation and the humanity at large on the doctrine of Monotheism [Tawheed], Prophethood [Risala] and Akhirah [accountability on the last Day of Judgment].
It reminds me of a couplet from the poet Iqbal: “Apni millat per qayas Aqwame Maghrib ka na kar * Khaas hai tarkeeb main qaume Rasuley Hashmi” [Translation: Don’t treat the Muslim millat in terms of the Western nations. The constitution of the millat of Rasulullah (S) is special and different from others]. The Muslim leadership is first to transform this “raw material” into 24- karat gold. Only then, they will be able to play their destined role in this society.
Let us see how this gigantic task of organizing the Muslim Ummah of America can be accomplished and through what process? How can they be prepared to undertake the responsibility of Dawah Ilallah in American perspective?
However, it must be noted that no single individual, or a solitary institution or a Political Action Committee, howsoever great it may be, can do this job alone in its own way. It would be a joint and concerted effort of the entire Muslim leadership, Masajid and their Imams, Muslim educational and religious institutions, local and national Muslim communities to work together with only one agenda, supreme in their minds and thinking process, as how to make each of us to live, act and behave like a conscious Muslim and Muslimah. For the attainment of this objective, the Ummah as a whole is to work on the following process.
1. MASJID – THE CENTER OF GRAVITY: The starting point will be the Masjid. Muslims are attached to Masjid, though in limited numbers. They attend the Friday sermons, weekly Qur'anic sessions, Hadith classes, Sunday lectures, observe various days, listen guest speakers from abroad, participate in different training programs and various other activities round the year. They are in direct contact with our local Imams and Muslim leadership. On all these and many other occasions, Muslims are to be educated and exhorted that they live, act and behave like a Muslim, regardless of where they are, what positions they hold and with whom they come in contact. If they are constantly reminded, educated and trained in this way, they will gradually develop the consciousness that they are Muslims and they are accountable to Allah for what they do and act. Hence they must act like a benevolent neighbor and a responsible Muslim citizen of this country. They are not like ordinary men and women. They carry a big responsibility on their shoulders to fulfill the obligation of “Shuhadah-Al-Annas” [witness to mankind] to the people of the land. A continuous conscious persuasion and ceaseless efforts on the part of our Imams and the community leaders will gradually make a big difference in between what they are today and what they will become within a few years.
2. NASIHA – REMINDING TO EACH OTHER: Simultaneously, each Muslim should be exhorted to remind to his Muslim brother and sister as and when they meet and depart that they are Muslims and that they have a responsibility as such. They should be advised/reminded on a regular basis to revive the spirit of Sahabah [Prophet's (S) companions] who used to recite and remind to each other with what Surah # 103 [Wa Al-Asr] contains, when meeting and when departing: “ By the time! Man is in the state of loss; save those who believe, do good deeds, exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance”. This conscious exercise will create the spirit of readiness to sustain the responsibility of a Muslim and Muslimah, compete in Dawah activities and mould their lives in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. If this habit of reminding each other is carried out in a continuous process all around and every where, it will make each Muslim and Muslimah self conscious, both individually and collectively to make themselves active Muslims, change their life pattern, remodel their family lives and be involved in Dawah activities in and around the Masjid and in their respective communities at public level. Thus, creating self-consciousness in the Muslims will lead to self-development of the Islamic values and the character that are desirable to be inculcated in each of us.
3. A CONTINUOUS PROCESS TOWARDS CHANGE: On one side, Muslims will get the Islamic education form our Imams and Muslim leadership and on the other, they will be reminding themselves to correct their affairs and be involved in Dawah activities to the rim of their capacities, at local and national levels. If this process is followed meticulously for two to three years at each community level, Muslims of America will get the proper opportunity, education and exhortation to meet the challenges of the time. In this process, they will learn in detail about their faith, understand the country where they live and get the opportunity to transform themselves and their families in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is a challenge to the ingenuity of Muslim leadership and our Imams. I am more than sure they will certainly resolve to struggle for this goal in a continuous process. That will be a turning point in the history of America
Now the organized and the conscious members of the Muslim community will have to do some homework within and outside the community from Dawah point of view on the lines as discussed below.
1. RECLAIMING THE LOST SHEEP: Muslims have to
find the lost sheep of this Ummah that are scattered here in this country, in
the midst of the liberal society. The bulk of the Muslim community of
this job is not undertaken now, they will soon be lost. Even their names and
nomenclature will sound different than that of a Muslim origin. So the Muslim
Ummah has to work hard for this reclamation job forthwith. It reminds me of the
fate of thousands of Iran-Iraq Kurdish Community who were brought here with its
leader, Mullah Mustafa Berzani, and rehabilitated in
it is to be noted with concern that if they are not fast reclaimed and won
over, the Muslims of
2. DAWAH AT COMMUNITY LEVEL: The second great stride for the organized and self-conscious Muslim community to undertake will be a wide ranged Dawah contact program at community level. Our Imams and local Muslim leadership, who are men of letters and are well educated in the arts and sciences of this country, get countless Dawah opportunities, every now and then, to call their contactee - teachers, professors, doctors, attorneys, police officers, jail and hospital authorities, civil officials, local religious, social and political activists, to the fold of their Creator and Sustainer. If the Muslim leadership and our Imams are conscious of their position and responsibilities as Muslims, they can create a lasting impression on each of them through their moral behavior, Islamic etiquettes and manners and do-good-to-the-society attitude as benevolent Muslims. This will nullify the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda going on through the prejudiced media day in and day out. Gradually, the local Judeo-Christian community will realize that the Muslims are different people than what is being depicted by the press and public forums.
this will be the best prelude to carry out Dawah activities at the grass root
level to the non-Muslim communities of the area. They can invite their leaders
to our schools and Masajid to participate in different functions and even offer
them to speak at important events. This
will open the course of dialogue and better understanding of each other in a
friendly atmosphere. Later on, those who are found interested to know more
about Islam would be involved in detailed talks. This will be one of the most
effective processes of Dawah Ilallah in the Judeo-Christian Community [JCC] of
think for a while that when this most natural and conscious process of DI is
being practiced and pursued all over the continent of
To accomplish this job efficiently on regular basis, the Muslim leadership and the Imams will constitute a Dawah committee of their own on each city level, prepare the list of contactee, divide themselves in groups of twos or threes as the situation warrants, seek the prior appointments where necessary and then follow their respective contacts or meetings to its logical conclusion. The contactee can be invited on dinner or some get together can also be arranged. Insha Allah, this extra ordinary Dawah activity at community level would create a tempo in the city. That will go a long way towards demolishing many prejudices against Muslims and Islam and pave the way in creating better understanding between different communities, opening doors of immense opportunities of Dawah Ilallah, Insha Allah.
3. ACTIVATING THE COMMUNITY POLITICALLY:
seven million Muslims are now living in
should be given the shape of a campaign both at local and national levels. Each
member of the community is to be exhorted to the effect that his voting right
is an Amanah and he or she is to use it very judiciously only for those who are
worthy of it. The Muslim votes are to be cast in a block and to whom? The
Central Leadership of the Muslims of
Along with the consolidation of political power under the guidance of an enlightened God-fearing Muslim leadership, Muslims and their leadership has to do two more things to be really effective in this country.
Muslims have to build gradually an “Ummah Fund” [UF - for
Muslim’s exigencies], both at local and national levels and a team of
“Muslim Volunteers Corpse” [MVC] for rendering socio-political-humanitarian
services at home and abroad when natural disasters occur]. Every candidate in
this country needs political contributions and Volunteers. If Muslim community
could meet these political urgencies as and when
needed they, the contesting candidate will always be willing to
support and work for the Muslim causes. If the Muslim leadership
[NOTE: However, it can be added that Muslim Ummah can fix its priorities as the situation warrants]
4. SERVICE TO HUMANITY: Allah (SWT) ordains the Muslims:
“ O ye who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord, and do good [serve the humanity], that haply you may prosper”.
[Surah Al-Hajj: 77]
Service to humanity is the most desirable assignment of a Muslim. It has been made incumbent upon us by Allah. Rasulullah (S) was himself the best social worker of his time and for all times to come. A conscious Muslim and Muslimah is to be recognized, through his/her social services in the ward and neighborhood as the person who comes to help to the needy, to the poor, to the incapacitated and to one who seeks help in times of distress. A Muslim in his individual capacity, and collectively where possible, should be recognized as “the man of need” at the place where he or she lives. He has to create an “oasis” of service to the people” in the midst of Kufr and shirk. This will make him a loveable personality, both by the downtrodden and the common man of this country. This will in turn create immense goodwill and opportunities of Dawah Ilallah to the millions of this country. Our Imams and the Muslim leadership had to exhort the Muslim masses for humanitarian services every now and then and develop a continuous process of evaluating the pace of progress on periodical basis.
5. FIGHT AGAINST MUNKAR: The Muslim Ummah has been raised as the best of the nations to eradicate the Munkar [evildoings] from the society and establish the Ma'roof in its place [Ref: Al-Imran –110]. The American society is infested with hundreds of Munkar all around. They are multiplying at an enormous speed. Our own sons and daughters are falling prey to it in schools, colleges and everywhere. Our homes are under its direct attack through TV, radio and Internet. It is the religious obligation of the Muslims of America to mobilize people’s opinion against different kinds of Munkar, educate them with its dire consequences on self, family and the society and build a tempo for a common fight against each Munkar. It is a gigantic task and needs a lot of planning, programming and resources.
Siraj Wahaj did it once in
6. ROLE OF
MUSLIM NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: The
role of these organizations is very important and an all- encompassing
phenomenon. As discussed earlier, the
Muslim Ummah of
I. ISNA: It
is a nationwide umbrella organization of the Muslims of America, representing
more than five hundred mosques and attached Muslim communities, spread
throughout the country. It superbly controls their affairs, provides legal
expertise, gives input as and when required, comes to their help at time of
distress and arranges financial support in acquiring propriety rights. It holds
lien on each member’s property. As such, it can motivate their Imam and
leadership towards reviving the fate of Muslims of America on the lines
suggested above, if it communicates its functions effectively and
imaginatively. Keeping in view the
paramount importance that ISNA can play in re-orientation of Imams and
communities under its direct umbrella, the writer personally visited ISNA HQ at
Through their Journal, Islamic Horizons, regional and local chapters and Annual Conventions, the leadership of ISNA comes in contacts with thousands and thousands of Muslims each year. They can exhort and educate them to live like conscious Muslims, and present a good model of Islam before their neighbors and local residents. ISNA can conduct special classes at its Centers and at each Masjid under its control to educate the Muslim masses to this effect. That would be the best Dawah in the field. Each Muslim and Muslimah will himself/herself become a walking Da’ee.
OF IMAM W. D. MOHAMMAD AND IMAM JAMEEL: African-American Muslims are very much attached to these
national Organizations and many more to Masajid and communities at local level.
On similar lines, as discussed above, all can work in unison to get the Muslims
conscious of their position on earth and what part they are to play as
conscious Muslims in the midst of the Judeo-Christian Community to the extent
that it creates a tempo all around in this country. By making them conscious Muslims,
they will be enthusiastic to use their voting rights en-block in conformity
with the recommendations and directives of the united Muslim Leadership of
III. TABLEEGHI JAMAAT & TINA: These are also two important organizations of the Muslims of America. They are actively involved in the Muslim community. They may not be interested in the politics of this country but carry a good following amongst the Muslim masses. Hence they can help a lot in getting the Muslims organized as envisaged above. I am more than sure they will use their good offices to accomplish the process of consolidation of the Muslims of America when approached properly.
IV. ICNA: ICNA has
a unique position in
it would strive hard in close collaboration with the Muslim leadership of
V. LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: It consists of ISNA, ICNA, Imam W D M and Iman Al-Amin. It
must revive its activities and streamline the Islamic education in the
country, synchronize Dawah activities, specially in
jails, develop a comprehensive program of workers training, take care of
the re-born Muslims, especially their relocation in the Muslim society,
and develop means and funds to cater to the various educational, intellectual
and spiritual needs of the Muslim Ummah. It should constitute a bridge
between the Judeo-Christian community and the Muslims of America, both at local
and national levels. It will work systematically to bring the entire Muslim
In case the Council has gone defunct, the present leadership of these national organizations must revive this body and resolve to undertake the aforesaid activities as their common goal. This National Agenda of American Muslims is now long over due and needs execution forthwith.
CONCLUSION: This is the program and the process that I have been advocating throughout Elections –2000 & 2004. This is the program of Dawah Ilallah for the Muslims and through the Muslims for the people of the land. If the Muslims of America do not act accordingly, they are going to get nothing out of their present state of affairs. At present, practically, the Muslims have no voice. But tomorrow, if the Muslim Ummah is rejuvenated, becomes conscious of its position and stands united behind a central command, Muslims will be the most respected people in this society. They will muster and use their political strength to the benefit of the community and the Ummah at large. Let us all - Imams, Muslim leadership, Muslim Organizations, Muslim communities and Muslim masses, work together and fulfill the three-point-agenda on the lines developed in this paper. If we work together intelligently with wisdom, the scenario of Elections 2008 and beyond will be quite different than what it looks today.
May Allah bless all of us and give us Tawfeeq to work together as envisaged. United we stand, divided we fall. Allah (SWT) ordains:
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah [the Qur’an] and do not be divided”.
[The Qur’an - Al-Imran: 103]
“Faint not nor grieve, for you will overcome them [be successful over your adversaries] if you are indeed believers [Mumineen]”.
[Al-Qur’an – Al-Imran: 139]
October 28, 2007