Conditions for Sound Successful Islamic Work (3)
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday Speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C., on April 30, 1993)
There are many Islamic projects, activities, and tasks that are initiated and executed by Muslim individuals, groups and organizations. But, what makes a project or a task Islamic and which projects are successful and beneficial for the society, and rewarding for Muslims who worked on this project in the Hereafter.
There are certain conditions that must be met in every Islamic work so that it will be beneficial for the society and rewarding for the Muslims who worked on it on the Day of Judgment.
We mentioned four conditions that must be met. The first one is that the work must be allowed from the Islamic perspective. The second one is that the intention must be one hundred percent for the sake of Allah (S.W.T.). The third one is making a sound plan and the fourth one is depending on Allah (S.W.T.) and putting all of our trust in Him.
Today, we will talk about the other two conditions: On-going checks during the work and evaluation after it finishes.
The fifth condition that must be met in every Islamic work or activity so that it will be successful; beneficial to the society and rewarding to those people who do it is the constant and on-going evaluation while performing the work. This is necessary for the following:
- The first is the intention so that it will not be come corrupt.
- The second is the legitimacy of the work from the Islamic perspective so that it remains always within the boundaries of halal.
- The third is the quality of work and perfection. Allah (S.W.T.) dictated upon us to do all the work well. The prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Allah (S.W.T.) dictated eh-san (perfection) in everything.", and "Allah (S.W.T.) loves the servant that when he does work he does it well".
- The fourth is the continuation of the work so that it reaches its end and accomplishes its goals. This was from the guidance of the prophet (S.A.W.) and from the Sunnah of his companions and his family. The prophet (S.A.W.) said: "We, the family of Muhammad, when we do work, we continue to do it." Imam Muslim reported: "When A’ishah had work to do, she continued through it." Imam Muslim also reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "The best kind of work is the one that keeps going even if it is little." This statement was said in a number of occasions.
So, the Islamic work has to have efficiency and a high quality of performance and has to continue with that level until it reaches its end and accomplishes its goals. Every other work that does not accomplish that will be a waste of time and effort and worsens the Islamic work more than it helps it to get better. In addition to that, people will turn away from it and will lose trust and confidence in those people who perform the work.
All Muslims, individuals, groups and organizations, should study the capabilities of achieving a high quality in a job and make sure that this high quality continues before doing the work. If they find out that the high quality can be achieved and can continue until the job is done, then they should do it, otherwise they should look for something else to do. It is better for them and for the society. The little and persistent work is better than the abundant work that is discontinued.
The prophet (S.A.W.) taught us how we decide on doing some work and how to evaluate it based on our capabilities that we could guarantee the work to continue. Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Oh people, do the work that you are capable of, ……….., and that the best kind of work is the one that continues even if it is little."
So, we should raise ourselves, our families and the people around us to achieve a high quality in our work and continue through it.
The sixth condition that must be met in every Islamic work or activity so that it will be successful is accounting and evaluation after it finishes. This is necessary for the success of the work because it corrects the errors and takes care of any shortage and fixes any defect and helps revisit the work again in the future for improvement. This is a benefit from practical experiences that can not be accomplished through theoretical studies. Omar (R.A.) said in this context: "Be accountable for yourselves before you are held accountable, and evaluate your deeds before they are evaluated for you."
What makes accounting and evaluation necessary after every Islamic work is:
- Our realization that the results of the public activities will effect negatively or positively in the lives of Muslims and leave marks in their present and their future. So, it is a great responsibility that must be considered seriously.
- Also, our confession that man is weak. This is a reality that Allah (S.W.T.) created in us and made clear to us in surat An-Nisa', (verse 28), what can be translated as, "…And man was created weak." Human weakness is the reason of making errors. Every human, with no exception, makes errors no matter how good he is and no matter how experienced he is. It is not bad to make mistakes but it is bad not to learn from the mistakes and not to quit making them. The prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Every son of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of them is the ones who repent."
- Our realization that our capabilities are weak and our needs are great. So, this huge difference between our weak capabilities and our great needs often leads to work that does not finish and /or to absence of a high quality.
- Our realization that the theoretical studies differ in some instances from the implementation.
- Our realization that some Islamic activities may have a different effect when they are implemented, unlike what we expected when the activities were being planned. If these effects had been known, the plans would have been different.
Here are some of the things that must be considered during the process of accounting and evaluation:
- We must rely on accurate information in the process of accounting and evaluation. We should be aware of the inaccurate and deceiving information. That means, different sources of information must be consulted and we must sure that it is accurate. This information should be obtained from those people who are involved in the work.
- We should be cautious and make sure that the process involves objective and constructive criticism for the Islamic activities and not personal attacks.
- We should be careful that the process of criticism does not turn into a waste of time and effort. The process should not involve gathering information and then ignoring it.
- Sometimes, we have to expect that the process of accounting and evaluation may take a huge effort and time that are no less than the ones spent while planning and implementing the work.
Finally, we should not forget what Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat At-Tawbah, (verse 105), what can be translated as, "And say (O Muhammad): Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the Allknower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do."