A Simple Thought – Friday, 10th October 2021

For better or for worse

Our community, like any other unit of society, is a social entity, made of a large number of people, who all work to make things function, for better or for worse.  And to truly and scientifically understand how the system works in its totality, we must be open to looking at single units of such a society that make up the whole. For instance, if people appear to be amicable with each other, then two relevant questions can emerge from this – either that there is harmony amongst the members, or that there is an unavoidable need to remain cordial.  Whichever way one looks at this, while not changing the overall make up of that society, knowing does in fact form an independent perspective borne out of the individual perspectives that the group members have, of one another and their system.

Similarly, to understand how we work, we must investigate many aspects of our existences today that preclude our ancestry, our cultural roots, our adopted geography, our value systems and of course the tenets of our faith.  True that, each individual will once again have divergent interpretations of each one of the above suggested parentheses, but to get a mean sense of reality, this would be a good starting point.  

Eventually, people and societies that are not able and willing to confront their demons, violate their comfort zones and ruffle a few social feathers in the process, are culpable to domination and unilateralism.  These phenomena can then drastically change the paradigm on which original societies were based.  And as one may well appreciate that change can be both – for the better and the worse, the role of leadership of societies becomes even more significant.  For where leaders labour to work selflessly in truth, there can be real hope of reform, but where a syndicate of leaders join hands to impose rules and cultures that lend them the cover to bypass democracy, then the long term future of such societies remains ambiguous, at best. 

This week’s ‘Golden Word’ quote from our Holy 7th Imam (AS) invites us to abstain from useless information and to hasten towards knowledge that can root us out of our ignorance, and in this spirit, we must emerge from our mundane and routine lives, to rise up to the meaning and object of our creation, by seeking the right knowledge and by understanding that an integral part of pursuit of knowledge, and hence leadership, is the attainment of humility and respect, rather than the oft-promoted sense of entitlement and superiority, that is so characteristic of modern societies. 

About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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