Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam while speaking of the fate of the Muslim businessman portrays two vastly different scenarios. On the one hand Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam mentions, “The businessman who is truthful and trustworthy will be raised with the Prophets, the Truthful ones, and the martyrs.” (Tirmizi) On the other hand Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam states, “The businessmen will be raised as evil sinners, except he that is conscious of Allah, displays acts of piety and is charitable.” (Tirmizi)
A person may well question the reason as to the special emphasis attributed to the business class of the Ummah. The answer to this could very well lie in the unique positioning of the businessman in society. When the world at large interacts with the Muslim world, then it is not in the Masjid or in our religious gatherings. It is rarely to be found in our social gatherings. No, the major point of interaction is in the business field.
Whether it is as buyer, supplier, consumer, employer, employee or work colleague, when the non-Muslim interacts with the man with the beard on his face, with a hat on his head or with a Muslim name, then his interaction is with Islam. The integrity, honesty, courtesy and decency that he experiences could well lead to the door of Islam either opening or closing upon him. And more than that, it can either challenge the negative perception that the media creates about Muslims or cement that perception in his heart.
As this is true in the business world it equally applies to our domestic life as well. The manner in which we deal with our domestic employees can make them love us or hate us. Are we compassionate to their plight in life or do we burden them like slaves while paying the minimum wage? Do we make unbecoming statements, and flaunt our lives in front of them considering them as part of the furniture rather than equal human beings with feelings and emotions or do we afford them due dignity and respect?
At the same time, we must be aware that there are elements who are working maliciously to foment and spread discontent in society to suit their own agendas. If our conduct and interaction with our fellow South Africans conflicts with the values taught by Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam, then we are helping to fan the flames of disharmony and unrest.
It is high time that we make Islam a priority in our lives. The negative conditions that face us are the result of us using Islam as a mere façade, while ignoring its values, morals and ethics.
There is a dual-approach that we must embark on if we value our position in Dunya and Aakhirah.
The first is to correct our relationship with Allah Ta’ala.
This means repenting and throwing out sin from our lives and turning to Allah in obedience. Allah Ta’ala mentions the statement of Nabi Nuh Alayhi Salaam, “I said, “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Endlessly Forgiving. He will send down on you, abundant rain from the sky and reinforce you with more wealth and sons, and grant you gardens and grant you rivers.” (Surah 71, Verses 10-12)
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has related that Allah Ta’ala has said, “If my servants obeyed me, I would make it rain by night and let there be sunshine by day. I would spare from them from even hearing the sound of thunder.” (Ahmad)
Conditions lie in Allah’s control. When we turn to Him in obedience, He will change conditions for the better!
The second is to correct our relationship with our fellow citizens.
There is a duty upon every Muslim besides our Salaah, fasting and charity. That duty is to be an ambassador of Islam. Being an ambassador of Islam does not only mean giving Dawah. It entails living as a Muslim, being generous and kind-hearted, being courteous and accommodating. It includes working towards a better society for all and uplifting the down-trodden. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam has stated, “The best of men is he who brings the greatest benefit to Mankind.” (Musnad Shihaab)
It behoves us to step out of the comfort zone of our daily lives and play an active role in uplifting the greater community, especially the underprivileged, indigenous community. It starts with small projects of welfare and caring for underprivileged families. If each family or each Masjid and Musalla were to adopt a disadvantaged family or area and work towards actively uplifting them, then it is a vital step in the right direction.
While there is always place for feeding and charity, our focus should not be confined to these acts of good. The need of the hour is to make a difference in people’s lives; to empower the jobless towards self-sufficiency; to sponsor the uneducated to become graduates and intellectuals who will make a positive difference and to embrace all people as fellow South Africans working towards the goal of a better South Africa. If we decide to thread this path, the tides will surely turn and those who were once hated us, will become our greatest supporters.
Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Quran, “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel (evil) by that which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity (will become) as though he was the closest of friends.”
But if we choose to ignore this situation, turning away from the obligations we owe to Allah and ignoring the difficulties of the underprivileged, then the South Africa of tomorrow may turn out be far different from the Rainbow Nation that is has the potential to be, and it will be our children and grandchildren who will bear the brunt of it.
May Allah Ta’ala change our country for the better and may he enable us to be the ambassadors of that change, Ameen.