The "rabbaniyun" mentioned in the last post may suggest an exclusive lot limited to those fortunate associates of the Prophets (as), but however the qualities of these individuals are evergreen. In other words, aspiring for these qualities is a timeless endeavour especially for us today,
Taking the sahabah (companions of Prophet Muhammad [saw]) as manifestation of these "rabbaniyeen", the following, though not limited, were key qualities for our own contemplation. These qualities are not lofty concepts that are abstract or far reaching but practical and relevant to those in the contemporary and seeking to exemplify the achievements of these illustrious individuals:
1. Quwwah al Itsål Billah (Strength of Relationship with Allah)
"O you who believe! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful."
While at times these "rabbaniyun" may had, seemingly, played roles as change-makers in their society (ies), yet that is in fact merely a minute dimension and, perhaps, became more of an outcome of the core quality of these "rabbaniyeen". To conclude that the "rabbaniyun" only serves a vocational function is false or to measure them based on tangible outcome is too misleading. So then, what was this core quality? Well primarily, the "rabbaniyun" were dedicated and humble servants of their Lord, Allah (swt). They developed a pristine connection with the Divine. This connection did not only remain in the abstract mind but was greatly articulated into action, deeds and their daily interactions with the surrounding. The sense of morals developed as a result of this connection with Allah (swt) also made them better individuals that leads to a sense of justice.
Hassan al Banna once said to young activist during his time, "be an abid before being an amir". Today, we see so many individuals offering themselves for causes or helping certain needs whom eventually develop leadership status in these causes. Yet these army of activist have yet to really scratch the surface of social issues that exist still today, and we ask why? Perhaps, the answer lies in this point.
Often, I would quote the following, which is a preface, from Tariq Ramadan's Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity where the author describes his last few exchanges with his late father, Said Ramadan, before the latter passed on:
"After more than 40 years of exile, an entire life for God. faith and justice, he knew that his hour was coming. In the most profound hours, he spoke and he spoke so much of love, fraternity and affection.
A few months before returning to God, he said to me, with the strength of his sad, drowned look: "Our problem is one of spirituality. If a man comes to speak to me about the reforms to be undertaken in the Muslim world, about political strategies and of great geo-strategic plans, my first question to him would be whether he performed the dawn prayer (Fajar) in its time." He observed the agitation of each and everyone, including my own. He reminded me so much not to forget the essential, to be with God in order to know how to be with men.
An entire life in struggle, the hair turned grey by time, and a reminder: "Power is not our objective: what we have to do with it? Our goal is love of the Creator, the fraternity and justice of Islam. This is our message to dictators."
2. "Tahqiq al Adof al Mawajjah" (Committed to the Intended Objective)
What were the core objectives of the Prophet (saw) that he commits himself to?
"He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them, and teaching them the Book (this Qur'ân, Islâmic laws and Islâmic jurisprudence) and Al-Hikmah (As-Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship, etc. of Prophet Muhammad SAW). And verily, they had been before in mainfest error;
And He has sent him (Prophet Muhammad SAW) also to others among them (Muslims) who have not yet joined them (but they will come). And He (Allâh) is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."
The verses above articulate explicitly the following role of the Prophet (saw) and an extension to that, the "rabbaniyun" whom carried out the Prophet's (saw) mission:
(i) "reciting to them His Verses"
As such the mission of those today whom seek to exemplify the "rabbaniyun" needs to include the introduction of the Qur'an in developmental or programs that seeks to create impact. What is the point of running a youth program for the masjid(s) or other "muslim organisations" but in it lacks of any sort of introduction or reminders to certain verses from the Qur'an in extracting learning points. Or worse, the camp organisers lacks any appreciation of the Qur'an at all?
(ii) "purifying them"
The Arabic word in the Qur'an is "yuzakkihim". As in any Qur'anic translation, it is so difficult to identify a pin-point accuracy to certain terms and it usually takes a whole thesaurus of words to develop an understanding of certain terms. I like Karen Armstrong's choice of translation which is refinement. According to her, the Qur'an (and thus the Prophet's) mission in the context of "tazakka" was to refine the society that he (saw) lived in. This definition is not too far from the classical scholars.
As such, today's "rabbaniyun" also needs to include these process of refinement in their development programs or efforts to transform others.
(iii) "teaching them the Book and the Wisdom
The Qur'an and the Sunnah remains central in the human development mechanism. It renders the human development or perhaps human resource of a "muslim organisaiton" incomplete without embedding the knowledge, and code of conduct as well as systems to guide human life.
This last point does not immediately suggest that the Qur'an and Sunnah be the sole point of reference of every day affairs, for even in Fiqh, there are other consideration in jurispridence (ie. culture, context, etc.) but, that said, the Qur'an and Sunnah needs to be in a position of primacy
Every problem or solution proposed, need to be viewed, as it it were, in the shades of the Qur'an.
(to be continued)