I've often been confronted with people
who are really motivated to do something for Islam, but who were aimless. You
know what I'm talking about. Sometimes we are so filled with feelings of wanting
to help but we don't really know where to begin.
Doesn't it seem like there's just too much that needs to be done? Muslims are
starving in war zones all over the world, kings and dictators rape our lands,
misinformation about Islam is rampant, our children are succumbing to the
non-Muslim way of life, maybe half our family members don't practice Islam, even
if they say they're Muslim, the Masjid needs funds, Muslims need to be taught
the difference between what's Islam and what's cultural, etc...
I'm sure many of you could add endlessly to this list. Have you ever felt like
the problems are just too great to solve? Have you ever blocked it out of your
mind because if you really thought about it you would become depressed? If so,
then you're not alone. I've met tons of believers, real sincere people, who
lament that they don't know what to do or how they can really help.
Of course, there are some people who will make one specific issue their focus
and they'll work to help in that direction. For example, someone might make the
support of the local Masjid their cause. Another person may support
whole-heartedly an Islamic school or the activities of a relief agency, etc...
But most of us don't have time to do justice to those types of goals like we
But the alternative, sitting at home and watching TV is hardly worth our time
when there are real Muslims out there who need us, and a cause that we must
support. So in view of all the variables that affect most of our lives in the
modern world, I've come up with a list of ten easy things that every Muslim
family should do so that they can contribute to the betterment of Muslims and
the establishment of Islam in the West.
Anyone can do these ten things and I've selected activities that are not overly
time-consuming, nor expensive. I expect that you'll agree and will tape a cut
out of these ten "to do's" to your refrigerator door. (Before grabbing that
snack you can be reminded about what is more important than filling your belly!)
#1 Sponsor an Orphan. Before anything else, there are hungry Muslim children
everywhere who have needs right now. There are several reputable relief agencies
who offer orphan sponsorship programs that only cost from $20-$40 a month. You
and I know that's nothing expensive on your part - so do it. Some agencies even
offer automated withdrawal so you can send a letter once with a voided check and
never have to fill anything out again. Doing this can make you close to the
Prophet in Paradise.
#2 Subscribe to at least three Muslim magazines. This is practically the only
way you can keep abreast of issues important to the Muslims in the West. It also
supports the budding Muslim media. Even if you don't intend to read the
magazines, subscribe anyway. Someone around you will read or you can leave them
with others. Make it at least three and try to subscribe for 2-3 years at a
#3 Go to the Masjid at least once a week for Salat. In the West today, nearly
all of us have a Masjid within driving distance. Even if you don't go to the
local Masjid for Jum'uah because of your job, then go for at least one Maghrib a
week or for Zuhr on Sunday. Whatever, just go at least once a week- WITH YOUR
FAMILY. It's the only way that you and your family will consider the Masjid to
be your place.
#4 If your children go to public school, and there is no Islamic school nearby,
then make sure they either get into some Sunday school program, or, if the local
Masjid doesn't run it right, then pool together with some like- minded families
and run your own program at somebody's house every Saturday or Sunday and
conduct it the way you think it should be done. This is the minimum requirement
for not losing your children to secular Christianity.
#5 Buy at least one book, audio or video produced by a Muslim company or author
per month. Have you ever wished that there were better items for you and your
family's pleasure? Unfortunately, Muslims don't support their own writers and
artists very well. No one can make even a decent living if they want to write or
produce for the Muslim market. That must change if you want to see wonderful
products for you and your children. Just buy one thing per month. Either out of
a catalog or from your local Muslim bookstore. For you it's only $5-$10 bucks,
but collectively, it can encourage our creative and talented brothers and
sisters to do more.
#6 If you see any new Muslims at your Masjid, then partially "adopt" them into
your family. The convert experience is basically one of isolation and
loneliness. You'd be surprised to know that most converts are outright ignored
by the people in the Masjid. Beyond a few pleasantries and handshakes, they are
usually never made to feel welcome or accepted. They are often cut off from
their non-Muslim friends and relatives so they are doubly vulnerable. A new
convert should be invited into various peoples home for dinner a minimum of six
times a month. Get together with others and make sure you all put the new
convert on your guest list for any sort of gathering.
#7 Keep three extra Qur'an translations and some literature in your home at all
times. You never know when you'll find someone interested who wants to know
more. Besides, your children read only and understand only English. (You
wouldn't believe how many Muslim families don't have an English Qur'an
translation in their homes! How will the child read it if they don't understand
Arabic, and they never understand Arabic, even if their parents are Arabic
#8 Go to one convention a year. Even if you have given up on them, you have to
go. It's the only way your children will feel a part of a greater community of
believers. Think about it and realize that you don't just go to a convention for
your personal enrichment. It's about Muslim solidarity. Go to at least one every
year. Couple it with your vacation plans or something. Just go.
#9 Eat only Halal or Kosher Food. Besides all the religious aspects I could
mention, which are the most important, by the way, there is another advantage.
You solidify your identity and introduce to your family the concept that animals
should not die cruelly (like they do in all American slaughterhouses) and that
Muslims eat cleaner food. If there are no Halal meat stores nearby, you'll
probably find a Kosher store. At least many of the Jews are not shy about
Allah's commandment there and have established kosher markets everywhere.
#10 Lastly, make sure you and your family have cultural-type items in your home
in abundance that are associated with Islam or Islamic culture. Everyone in your
home should have prayer beads, prayer rugs, kufis, Hijabs, (even if they're worn
only for prayer), gowns, posters, wall plaques, stickers, logo- shirts, Islamic
screen-savers on the computer, and on and on. You want to establish an identity
in your home. Everything outside is totally un-Islamic. At least let the Islamic
flavor be present inside.
Originally, there were only ten things on this list, but then a very important
item came to mind but I just couldn't bring myself to delete any of the
preceding items. But in the interest of simplicity, I'll keep the upper ten
intact and mention this item as a separate issue because it's something that you
don't really need to list with the other things.
This is extremely crucial: Resolve to raise your family as Muslims. Don't be
passive. Don't sit around and watch your spouse and children drift further and
further away into disbelief and kufr. Would any of you like to be on their
deathbed and then realize that they only left non-Muslims behind them? Imagine
entering the great sleep with that realization on your heart!
These ten things can be done, with minimal trouble and fuss, by each and every
Muslim family. Through these ten points nearly every purpose of Islam is served
and you can finally feel that you're doing something in an organized fashion to
help promote your healthy way of life and also to fulfill your responsibility to
your Creator. Give it a try and see how easy these things really are. Then stick
with it. You have no excuses for inaction anymore.