Imam Afroz Ali speaks about the importance of service in the religion of Islam. He stresses the importance of knowing our deen, as ‘Knowledge comes before action’. It is our manifested responsibility is to be people of Khidma (service). SO, it is the human being who can and should be the ‘distribution agency’ of Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He. This lecture was given during the SeekersHub Global, Sa’ada & Radical Middle Way UK Tour – Knowledge Without Barriers – in June, 2013.
The Prophet (Sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:“The pleasure of Allaah is from the pleasure of the parents, and the anger of Allah is from the anger of the parents.”
I am a strong believer that character plays a huge part in defining who you are as a person. Without character, a person is nothing. First impressions last forever and in most cases, first impressions are born from qualities that you possess. We learn from the Quran and Hadith that character is extremely important. In fact, a Hadith states that those who will have the most complete faith on the day of judgement will be those whose character is best. Character is so important that you would even find animals possessing qualities that are worthy of admiration. You probably thinking “Huh? What? Animals?”, yes, animals. I know you confused right now so I decided to write a list of some qualities that you would find in animals….
Zebra (Racism) – Did you ever marvel over the beauty of a zebra, the way its black and white stripes are perfectly formed. Imagine if it was full black or full white. Would it lose its beauty? Would it still be so eye-catching? No. Why? because black and white together paints that perfect picture. I take lesson from the zebra. By looking at the zebra, I realize that our different skin colours work the same way. What makes this world so beautiful is the fact that we have black, white, brown and various other skin colours. It’s no use fighting and being racist. Being a racist is like fighting for a full black or a full white zebra. Does it really make sense?
Tortoise (Patient) – The tortoise is perhaps the most pitied soul from the entire animal kingdom.It always looks like it’s going nowhere slowly. Most folks that have a tortoise as a pet leave it outside to walk. They don’t close the gates for they know that it will take a few hours to reach the front gate. But what amazes me is, a tortoise never gives up. One step at a time it strolls along heading towards its intended destination. We, humans, would think that they always sleeping not realizing that they move very slow taking long pauses between steps. They never seem to be in a rush. With patience, they eventually reach their destination even though it might be after weeks or months. By looking at the tortoise, I learn that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal. It doesn’t even matter if you reach your goal or not. What really matters is the fact that you tried to reach your goal.
Rhino (Brave) – It’s really sad when you hear the news that rhinos are being killed on a daily basis for their horns. I don’t know about other countries but in South Africa it has become a really serious issue over the past few years. The rhino horn is quite expensive and rare so rhino poachers try every possible way to kill the poor animals and take the horns. Sometimes, a group of rhinos would be walking along and all of a sudden they would see another rhino lying dead on the floor without a horn. Animals are not stupid. After so many killings, it’s possible that the rhinos are aware that they are sought after. They are aware that they living in dangerous territory. Despite this, you still find them walking around. They still wake up every day and do what they have to do. Many of them see a family member lying in a pool of blood. They also got hearts. They also feel pain when a loved one is lost. By looking at these rhinos I see bravery. They are brave enough to walk the wild knowing that they could be killed at any moment. They are brave and strong enough to get up every morning and look for food even though they perhaps still recall their friends lying in pools of blood. I look at them and realise that one has to be brave and strong minded to pull through a difficult time. Hiding in your home is not going to solve the problem. Come out, carry on with life, and stay strong.
Horse (Tolerant) – Before the motor-vehicle, horses were one of the most commonly used means of transport. Of course, horses didn’t have gears. It was whips that made the horses move faster. Till today, horses are whipped by man so that they move faster. Despite the horse’s strength, I have never seen a horse attack a man after being whipped. It amazingly tolerates the lashing and carries on in fulfilling its duty. It has the ability to kill even the strongest of man but it doesn’t. Not only does it tolerate the lashing of man, it also serves man by transporting them from place to place. It’s easy to tolerate someone who is bigger and stronger than you but to tolerate someone who you can overpower is just brilliant. I look at the horse and I see this brilliance. This is a quality we should take from a horse. In life, we will come across people who will cause us a lot of difficulty. Think of the horse and tolerate. Even better, serve them just like the horse does.
Bee (Hard-working, Service) –Did you hear the phrase ‘As busy as a bee’? Well, obviously, the phrase originates from the long working hours that the bee puts in on a daily basis. The bee goes from flower to flower to collect nectar that is used to make honey. When you see a bee buzzing around you, don’t think the bee is just passing time.It’s actually moving from park to park and garden to garden visiting every flower. All this effort is put in to produce honey. The beauty part is that human are the primary beneficiaries from the honey but not once did the bee ever ask for a salary or stop working because he seen no benefit for him. I look at the bee and see the quality of service…service to humanity. It works tirelessly on a daily basis so that others may benefit. When we taste the sweetness of honey, not once did we ever praise the bee. From this we find that the bee doesn’t worry about attaining fame. It does its job, with or without praise. If we could all adopt this quality, how beautiful our planet would be.