A Gleam on the Way

08/01/2014| IslamWeb

How effective was the first generation of the Ummah (nation) of Islam?

What is the importance of positivity in the life of a Muslim?
How has the Quran recorded this effectiveness?
These are important and serious questions about the value of positivity and effectiveness and what they represented in the life of the youth who established the civilization of this Ummah, and how they could be revived once again in the life of the youth of this generation, given that a great deal of good lies in them. Let us start with the Prophetic point of view on the path of effectiveness and warding off failure and negativity.
A Prophetic perspective on the path of effectiveness
 “O Allah! I seek refuge with You from (being given to) failure, indolence, cowardice, (and from being sent back to) old geriatric age and niggardliness, and I seek refuge with You from the punishment of the grave, and from the affliction of both life and death.” [Muslim]
These are luminous Prophetic words, filled with positivity and carrying within their folds seeking refuge from negativity. This was the Prophetic perspective. In fact, the life of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was but a living example of that. The life of the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was the best ideal of a human being, in whom all the attributes of positivity were manifested and from whom all traces of negativity had been removed. The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, gathered around the pure spring of the noble attributes of Al-Mustafa  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and at the beginning of the Da‘wah (call to Islam. The majority of whom were young men, imbibing positivity, power and effectiveness, translating them into words and deeds in the world, and spreading them among those surrounding them, until they were able to establish an edifice of civilization of strong foundations and great power.
Armed with positivity, the youth of the Ummah set out in the different parts of the land of their Lord, building and constructing. They gave life to the land with strong arms of endeavor, and promulgated effectiveness in the hearts, which had long been possessed by negativity, thus, illuminating the universe with pleasure and delight.
Thus, the Islamic Ummah (nation), at the hands of its youth, presented to humanity the most beautiful gifts in all fields. The scientists of Islam presented to humankind the principles of the experimental scientific method based on practical experiment and scientific proof in order to reach a scientific fact, unlike the Greek philosophical method that is based on philosophy and theoretical postulates. Thus, it is the Muslims who presented to the entire world the basis of the modern renaissance, on which the European renaissance depended later on. [Hayaat An-Noor: Fareed Mannaa‘ p28]
This took place due to the fact that the youth of this Ummah were brought up on positivity, according to which each of them sought areas of work where he was most effective without waiting for it to come to him; making events happen, and not waiting for events to take place on their own. None of them would let a day pass until he had done an act pertaining to the religion or the world, which he liked to see on the Day of Judgment. This is reported by one of the positive youths of this Ummah, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, “I hate to see a man without work; neither working for this world nor for the Hereafter.” [Hilyat Al-Awliyaa’: Abu Nu‘aym]
However, when we moved away, step by step, from that concept of positivity, the youths of our Ummah deviated, owing to a violent wind of negativity, which lulled most of them into a sense of complacence and subsequently, ruined them. It caused the disease of failure and indolence to spread among them, and consequently, we started hearing oft-repeated words that imply the aforesaid mental state such as: “I cannot”, “I am a failure”, “It is impossible [to achieve], this is the reality”, and so on.
A concrete reality
In order to come closer to the issue of positivity, we have to consider the reality. A man might be intelligent and possess high qualifications in the field of science, but, at the same time, he might not be effective. This is because he has been brought up in a culture which hinders him from any great achievement unless he gets rid of any traces of negativity.
There are communities characterized by individualism, selfishness and envy, and there are diseases which decay the soul, like haughtiness and arrogance. There are also communities whose people have ideas which encourage idleness, like those who read the Hadeeths (narrations) of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) about the future afflictions and battles and misunderstand them, and thus sit at home, and do nothing to support Islam, under the pretext that things are deteriorating, and it is useless to work, and so on.
No doubt, such examples and others, are found in reality. However, we should not continue to curse the darkness and loathe reality – in particular the reality of today's Muslim youth that is typically characterized by negativity -- and then satisfy ourselves with phrases of sorrow and regret. On the contrary, we should talk about positivity, its concept and importance, perchance we may light up the candles of effectiveness in the hearts of the youth.
The concept of positivity
First of all, we could define positivity as a Muslim’s personal movement, resulting from the sentient believing heart to change and reform the reality in conformity with the ordinances of Allah The Almighty.
We may get more acquainted with effectiveness if we say that it is the best form of productivity that is based on perseverance and regularity of actions, as confirmed by the description given by Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, of the deeds of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “The dearest of deeds to the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is that which a servant does regularly, no matter how little it might be.” [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
The same description is given by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, of the deeds of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when she said, “He used to do any deed regularly.”
Positivity in the Quran
In order to clearly perceive the concept of positivity in the Quran, it is sufficient to recite the following short Soorah (in which Allah The Almighty Says what means): {By time, indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.} [Quran 103:1-3]
It shows that man is doomed to loss unless he has four characteristics, which in fact are the characteristics of the positive Muslim personality. According to As-Sa‘di  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him
Allah The Almighty enjoined loss upon everyone unless he has four characteristics: 
1.       To have faith in all things which Allah The Almighty commanded to believe in. Faith is not complete without knowledge, which is an integral branch of faith.
2.       The righteous deed includes all good works, hidden or apparent, pertinent to the right of Allah The Almighty or the right of His servants, obligatory or recommended.
3.       To advise each other to adhere to the truth -- which is faith and righteous deeds. In other words, they should advise and encourage each other to do good.
4.       To advise each other to patience in the obedience of Allah The Almighty, and abstention from the sins forbidden by Allah The Almighty, and accept the decrees of Allah The Almighty even if one finds them painful.
With the first two, man perfects himself, and with the other two, he perfects others. By having these four characteristics, man becomes safe from loss, and obtains great profit.” [Tayseer Al-Kareem: ‘Abd-Ar-Rahmaan ibn Naasir As-Sa‘di: 1:934]
At this point, after talking about the importance of positivity, we have to pause so that each of us asks himself: Am I really positive? Do I have a positive attitude in my life? Do I feel that I am really effective in life, or do I live among negative people? Also ask yourself: Positivity is to seek areas of work and not to sit waiting for them: Am I really like this?
Positive people exert an influence on events, unlike the negative ones who wait to see what events occur. Am I then from those who make events happen or those who wait for them to happen?
This is a pause, not only for blame, but also for assessment and introspection, after which each of us should wake up to seek his roles in life, and see how he can efficiently interact with them, and how he can best utilize this life. No doubt, we, as Muslim youth, have several missions to carry out in this world. Doing this would be impossible unless each of us becomes truly positive and effective in our sphere of activity.

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