It is interesting that the author of a recent article on the forum (“If the Dead Could…) anticipates an “overtly optimistic alec” who might say “that the article is too gloomy”. Another possible anticipation by the author could have been that someone might say the article could be more positive. Isn’t perspective interesting?
Absolutely, for those who tend to view a glass as half-full, a likely reaction to the article below would be that a positive outlook on life is essential for forward progress. An outlook that calls out or seeks actionable next steps towards a future that is bright. Our failing to do so is not fully employing the infinite blessings that Allah (SWT) has bestowed on us and thus wasting an opportunity.
If we believe in a brighter future, we will naturally work towards it. Instead of lamenting on social woes of the time, we will rise to the challenge and inspire. For each social challenge, we will arrive at inspirational direction that clearly identifies simple *actionable* next steps. When we lack sense of direction, we will open ourselves to be inspired by others as we invite ideas to move us forward in an open inclusive supportive process where no idea is a dumb idea. We will find this to be more energizing than expressing why things are pathetic. We will not have our egoes discourage us when not every idea of ours is accepted and/or implemented! Our real goal will be individual satisfaction at that critical end moment when we depart for the hereafter! We will work towards that moment being the most pleasant, satisfying moment – a moment of no regrets, a moment of eagerness to meet the Lord. We will find reminder of death as a reminder of the limited lease of life and a motivator for urgency of action.
Why are we not being as progressive and as forward thinking as communities that were in the early days of the Prophet (SAW)? What factors are inhibiting us to arrive at practices that will energize, mobilize, inspire and help us all excel? Should we not be working towards a culture of constant improvement and reform? What, who, why and how are we being inhibited/stopped?
This will require each one of us to engage and take action to reform. To self assess, to self reflect. To bring about a change at an individual level, to work together as caring sharing communities that aspire for the betterment of all. To identify opportunities, to highlight barriers to progress, to create positive outlooks and plans, mobilizing ourselves and others to simple forward steps.
Reform is essential. If we reform our gatherings and approach, evolving and adopting cultural practices that better suit modern day reality, deploying latest social techniques, engaging and intellectually stimulating the inspiration deprived neurons, we will find that not only we have more attendance in mosques and religious places of worship, but these places, and communities that frequent these places, with Allah’s help will glow with a radiant guiding light just like they did at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)
Many of us can easily point to examples of practices followed today that were not a custom during the Prophet’s time. These came about at some point in the course of development of Muslim communities because people of the times deemed these practices to be effective tools for the challenges of the day. People then were not shy and neither should we be in coming up with practices suitable for our times. Of course, we would always be within the bounds of the shariah.
How confident are we that our cultural practices and customs are serving the needs of our times? How confident are we that what we undertake today are the right customs/practices inviting new people to Islam, providing a cohesive framework for the young and old alike? Are we being creative enough to arrive at new methods and techniques?
Everything begins with faith in Allah (SWT) that inspires hope and optimism. Things progress with tenacity and effort. How much effort we expend is what we control and we should leave no room for regrets. The efforts we apply to things are only meaningful to the extent they have a positive impact on humanity.
With faith, effort and commitment to humanity, optimism is inevitable. Optimism is a force multiplier! It starts with you and me!