Al-Huda Foundation, USA

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The Ingredients of Success for the 21st Century

By Nasim Hassan


Education: The teachings of Holy Quran and Hadith place a great importance on the acquisition of knowledge. By knowledge it was meant all kinds of scientific, technical, social, and political in addition to the religious and spiritual. The prophet implored his followers to travel even to China to seek knowledge. The importance of knowledge in Islam is emphasized by the following sayings of prophet (pbuh): The ink of the Scholar is more holy than the blood of the Martyr.

 Philanthropy and Charity: One of the common sights in many Muslim  countries is the omnipresence of poverty. In Islam charity begins with family, orphans, and neighbors whereupon it then extends out to other deserving segments of the society. Currently, the modern states in Europe and America have a complete system of social welfare. In addition to government programs, there are countless organizations that cater to all kinds of deprived segments of the society. These kinds of institutions can be appropriated and improved upon in line with Islamic values. The concept of Zakat is very explicit but requires modern institutions to reach out to the really needy people.

 Simple living:  The great prophet of Islam left a shining example unparalleled in the history of mankind of a simple and honest living. After the conquest of Mecca the world lay before his feet. Yet the prophet lived an austere life without any luxury.

 Human Rights:  Islam is the fi rst religion that started the concept of human rights and equality. The whole struggle of Islam centered on challenging the status quo in a society. The ruling class in Mecca once asked the Prophet (pbuh) for a separate status from ordinary Muslims, which he denied them. Islam was the first religion that preached equal treatment under the law without discrimination based on race, color, belief, and gender for all Muslims.

Unity:  Before the advent of Islam the people in the Arabian Peninsula were divided into various tribes and clans. Islam cut across all ethnic and racial divides to give the Muslims a concept of brotherhood and Ummah. After a brief period, Islam united the Arabian people and Islam eclipsed the major empires of that time.

 Mercy and Forgiveness:  Islam combined the mercy and compassion of Christianity with the concept of punishment proportional to the crime from Judaism. The life and times of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) is full of numerous historical events where he has shown mercy for his worst enemies and forgave the people who had committed war crimes against Muslims.

 Cleanliness:  The cleanliness in Islam has been described as half of the believers faith (Iman). Muslims have been time and again been reminded about cleanliness, as they have to perform ablution before prayer. The concept of cleanliness has to be extended from personal hygiene to clean home, streets, neighborhoods, and environments.