Change: It Begins with You

Wherever you look change is occuring, our Ummah is at a critical turning point. Do you ever think how you can impact this change? There is no need to feel helpless, because you can help the tides turn by first seeking excellence within yourself.

From the invasions of Muslim lands and the massacre of innocent lives, to our immediate communities, where we are witnessing our loved ones drift further from the purity of Islam; the ummah is crying for change. The uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now Syria have seized the attention of the Ummah worldwide, throwing them into a state of delusional hope; as if by the action of others, the whole Ummah would somehow instantly change their state.

Some merely have a belief that they wish to make change; but where is belief if it is not coupled with intention? [Notice that I said belief and not intention. A belief is when you fool yourself into thinking you have made an intention to make change somewhere in the future. This will not satisfy your scale of deeds.]

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows what is within our chests. Sincere intention is almost always followed by immediate action of some sort, regardless of success or failure.

So Where do We Start?

Understand that the conditions of our lives have no bearing on the shaping of our destiny, rather it is the pro-activeness of making decisions that shapes the outcome of what you can achieve. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) states that He ‘will not change the condition of people unless they change what is in themselves’. My dear brothers and sisters, ask yourself how might you begin the process of change?

In Surat al Fajr, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) highlights that the states of the people of ‘Ad, Thamud, and Firawn; those of transgression, oppression and corruption, were at the root of their punishment. But the beauty of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) teaching is further appreciated in the second half of the surah where we are taught that the nations’ deviance were caused by the deviance of the individuals and their respective indulgence in arrogance, ingratitude, dishonouring of the yateem, and excessive love of money.

It is in the moments of our decision making where our destiny is shaped by the Qadr of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It was the decision of Ibraheem 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) to care for his children, that motivated him to make a dua which was manifested in the Prophethood of the Messenger Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). And it was the decision of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to show mercy to the people of At-Taif and make dua for their offspring which was manifested in Muhammad bin Qasim RaheemahuAllah who conquered the regions of India and Pakistan in the name of Islam, resulting in many of us being blessed with Islam by birth.

What is the Right Course of Action?

Sadly, many times when we think of beneficial change for the Ummah, we think of it in the context of a military uprising. However, in the context of where the majority of us live, we need to think of more practical means by which change can be achieved. In this particular piece, I wish to address change within the context of business. It would appear that shaitaan has very strategically enslaved many of us to money and until we master money, and break free of its shackles, we cannot look to the horizon for our next step. Though I will be discussing the following steps in the context of business, they can be applied to dawah, marriage, even ‘Ibadah, and I trust you will apply these with wisdom where appropriate, bi’idnillah

The formula: S + B + Rm = Change

Now let’s get straight to it and aim to be that difference we wish to see in the ‘Ummah. In every craft there is a skill, a guideline that is required for success. Likewise, here we have a formula for change.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) allow us all to act upon the following in His Name for His Pleasure Alone, and make this a path of our place in Jannatul Firdous al ‘Ala, in the Greatest of Company, standing before our King, gazing timelessly at His Glorious Face, Ameen.

Step one

(s) Standard

Personally, the fundamental change in my life came from raising my standards. When taking command of ourselves, we immediately open the door for greater opportunities, and believe me, they materialize in forms we least expect, bi’idhnillah. Take the analogy of a man who aims to earn one million pounds a year; you would deem him as a man with high standards, right? This man may succeed in making that million, or he may get half a million, but compare him to the man who aims to get by on a £30,000 a year. The likelihood is he will not make more than that £30,000, he will either hit the par or drop short, due to his aspirations limiting his end-goal.

Do you think that Abd Ar Raham ibn Auf raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) would have died with eight million dinar to his name if he did not have high standards? Do you think ‘Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) could have conquered two thirds of the world during his time as Ameer al Mumineen if he just wanted to govern the local people? Of course not. They both possessed elite standards which caused them to ask more of themselves, resulting in them reaching heights beyond their supposed means.

Step two

(b) Belief

A high standard, without the belief that it can be attained is meaningless. We must develop absolute certainty that we are going to, without doubt, meet our new found standards of excellence insha Allah. This will allow us to engage in attaining our goals in the fullest capacity.

Imagine the outcome of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) message if he was not confident in the fact he could be successful. Bearing in mind his standard was the highest, even when faced with the greatest of difficulties. Thus his belief had to have been certain. As a result, we must convert our belief systems to that of positivity, so we are confident in our abilities.

We may come across critics that aim to belittle our goals, and hope to influence us through fear of underachievement; with a firmness of belief in our abilities, these criticisms have a lesser impact on our potential to achieve. Remember if you set your standards for the Sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), will you really lower them for the sake of a critic?

Step three

(Rm) Role Model

Whatever your aim may be, the likelihood is someone has already done it, and done it to an impeccable standard. I have yet to find a praiseworthy aim and objective that the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) has not already mastered, be it business or parenting.

Thus, would it not make perfect sense making him the role model of your life? Remember he was the Qur’an in action; his sunnah resulted from the Divine guidance by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Is following the sunnah not another way of making the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) your role model?

Regardless of who your role model is, you will find that in their success, there are strategies that were already executed by the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). Perhaps there is someone who is accessible in your community, or a celebrity figure who has authored several books and taught his strategies of success.

Tap into these resources. LEARN from them, ASK them, and, most importantly IMPLEMENT their strategies; save yourself from repeating the mistakes they once made!

Try It

Now take any part of your life that you wish to change and apply the above, you will see the results take shape very quickly. Apply this consistently whenever and wherever you can.

Remember that talk is cheap. You want change and so do I. Let’s make change, beginning with ourselves. Make dua, seek guidance through istikharah, and then GO! TAKE ACTION!

Insha Allah I will see you at the finish line at the gates of al Firdous. Ameen.

About the Author

Imran Khan can be found on Facebook at Student of Success. He is also passionate about personal health resulting in another endeavor, Sunnahfit. Check out his recent video on Revision Tips.


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