Sharafuddin B.S. Kuwait
(Writer is a faculty for management students and authorized Khateeb from the Ministry of Awkaf, Kuwait)
‘Well begun is half done’ a famous English phrase is very much true to Jamiyatul Falah while it is celebrating its silver jubilee. So many Muslim associations were formed and dissolved during the last decades in the coastal districts of Karnataka. However, Jamiyatul Falah was fortunate to have great legacy from the visionary leadership of late Mohammad Hussain at the outset then followed by many other luminaries. Thus it is still serving the community with the unstinted support from concerned non residence Indians particularly from Saudi Arabia. It is a living example to show that NRI’s can make a difference and contribute something worthwhile to the community back home.
While addressing NRI friends of Jamiyatul Falah in particular and others in general I would like to highlight the important tasks we should care about based on the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). While establishing a first Islamic society in Madinah Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) performed 9 important tasks that are very much relevant for us even today. However these 9 tasks are rarely discussed while we talk about the migration(hijrah) of Prophet Muhammad (pubh). If we analyze these 9 tasks it was focused on the religious, cultural, educational, economic and social development of the community. He enlightened us to care for overall development of the community.
The nine tasks he performed after migration to Madinah were as follows 1. Construction of Masjid Quba 2. Establishment of School by the name of Ashab Al Suffa. 3. Agreement of brotherhood between migrants and inhabitants. 4. Peace treaty and interfaith relations 5. Cleaning the city of yathrib and converting it into a new city, Madinah. 6. Addressing the water scarcity. 7. Promoting agriculture and gardening. 8.Poverty eradication and 9. Establishment of safety, security and law and order.
Task No 1: Construction of Masjid:
Prophet Muhammad established the first Masjid of Madinah ‘Masjid Quba’ as an Islamic center. It was a place of worship for the entire family including women and children. People used to go to Masjid to get guidance for their community issues, for learning, for solving their
disputes and so many other things. In the gulf countries we find that many masjids play this kind of multifarious roles. Masjid Al Kabir of Kuwait or Masjid Al Fateh of Bahrain can be quoted as an example in this regard. Many multidimensional activities are going on in these places of worship under one roof. Even non-Muslims visit the masjid for the cultural understanding and this has paved way for great understanding of Islam among non Muslims. We still miss this kind of activities in Masjid at our places in the coastal districts of Karnataka. Wherever possible it is necessary to develop the masjids as Islamic Centers and to utilize the infrastructure and venue of the Masjids for the betterment of the community and interfaith understanding.
Task No 2. Islamic Schools
The Prophet (pbuh) established a learning center called ‘Ashab Al Suffa’ and facilitated boarding and lodging for the students to encourage learning. Schools and learning centers are the pressing need of Muslim community in our locality even today. When I was scanning for a good school for girls in Mangalore City, I found that none of the CBSE schools except the Muslim management schools allow Muslim girls to wear hijab .The scenario in other parts of coastal district may not be different. We are badly in need of more and more schools where Muslim students may avail basic Islamic teachings coupled with modern quality education. This is necessary to develop efficient future leaders for the community.
Task No 3: Unity Among Muslims:
Unity among Muslims is a pressing need in today’s society. Muslim organizations and movements should ensure that in the process of reformation and enlightenment of Muslims they are not dividing the community. Division of the community is disastrous while it is facing so many social, economic and political challenges. Unity and tolerance of various view points is basic requisite of the community. Religious scholars and community leaders need to play a role in this regard.
Task No 4: Interfaith Relations:
We are living in a multi cultural and multi religious society. It’s a fact that the majority of the non Muslims in our region are peace loving and tolerant people. However a small number of communal elements are trying their level best to spread hatred and polarize society based on religion. Developing constructive and peaceful relationship and mutual appreciation between people of various faiths are very important for the peaceful co-existence and development. Muslims should lead by example by contributing positively to the society and living with harmony in achieving the interfaith understanding in the society.
Task No 5 : Cleanliness
Cleanliness is among the primary teachings of Islam and it admonishes that cleanliness is half of faith. Our beloved prophet ordered to clean the city of Madinah, which was very unclean while Muslim reached there after migration. Muslim converted the city of Yathrib into a clean, green and progressive city and named it ‘Madinah Al Nabi’, the city of the prophet. However today, Muslim localities and areas are not known for their cleanliness, which was supposed to be the integral part of their faith. It is a great accomplish ment for us when we acquire these qualities and when people start recognizing us for these attributes.
Task No 6 and 7 : Developing water resources and promoting vegetation.
While Prophet Muhammad reached Madinah there was a severe scarcity of water. Prophet Muhammad addressed this problem by requesting people to dig as many wells as possible. When someone asked Prophet Muhammad what can he do for his deceased parents, the Prophet advised him to dig water well on their behalf. Even today we can see that the people of gulf countries are paying large amount as charity to dig wells in so many countries including India, motivated by this prophetic injunction. As per the advice of Prophet Muhammad his companion Uthman Ghani (R), purchased a famous water well of Madinah known even today as ‘Bi’ar Uthman’ (Water well of Uthman) and donated it for the charitable purposes. It is considered as the first ‘wakf’ (endowment) from where the concept of endowment originated. Today there are ministry of wakf in every Muslim and non Muslim country.
Like wise the prophet introduced a new law stipulating that the ownership of the land will be given to the one who cultivates a bareland. This was an important step to boost agrarian economy. Thus severe scarcity of water and food grains in Madinah were addressed. It is a responsibility of the Muslims to care for the basic humanitarian issues which may lead them towards collective leadership.
Task No 8 : Poverty Eradication
Poverty eradication is another important task performed by the prophet in Madinah. Islam is the only religion on earth which makes it a compulsion for its followers who are affluent to pay 2.5% of their wealth as poor due (zakat) for poverty eradication. The Zakat money can be spent only on eight predefined categories and this careful categorization is mainly for the purpose of poverty eradication. There are instances in Islamic history that when well organized system of collection and distribution of zakat is implemented poverty was completely eradicated from the Muslim societies. Even today if an organized system of zakat is implemented at least in a humble way, we can address the issue of poverty, which is a major problem today.
9- Safety security and law and order.
Muslims need to strengthen their image as law abiding and positively contributing community. It is a religious obligation and a need of the community. Globally there is an ongoing organized effort to malign the image of Islam and Muslims in the name of fight against terrorism. As a part of this conspiracy, thousands of innocent Muslim boys are victimized in the name of terrorism. One of the ways to address this issue is to play a responsible role in safeguarding safety, security and law and order of the society at large and Muslim community in particular.
For Muslims, being religious is definitely not a mere change in their attire and looks or following certain rituals. The Prophetic example of being religious opens an array of responsibilities in front of us. Caring for these 9 tasks is a part of our religious obligations and heeding to this may definitely make a difference in our society.