There are several obstacles which greatly impact on the state and the direction of Canadian Muslims. Each of these obstacles affects us on individual, communal as well as societal levels and each of these makes a negative impact on our short and long term goals respectfully.
One of the most dangerous and the most destructive obstacle we face is self-isolation/exclusion from the society which we have chosen intentionally and willingly to be our home.
When we choose to isolate ourselves and live in our “safe-zones” we have intentionally chosen to stagnate and stop any way of becoming creative as well as contributing members of our society.
Actually, when we do so, we harm ourselves, our Canadian Muslims community, our faith and the larger society of ours – we prevent ourselves to progress further due to the obstacle on the path as well as restrict ourselves when trying to put our vision into reality.
Here are some remedies for the self-exclusion:
1. Full Understanding of the essence of our faith. It is essential for the Canadian Muslims to understand the faith properly; otherwise wrong understanding of the faith could lead to wrong application which could consequently harm us ALL.
a) Islam is the easy way: “YUSR” One of the terms used by the Qur’an in the early Makkan period to describe Islam was “yusr – easy way.”
b) Islam is the path of moderation: “WASAT” Moderation which leads to balance is the essential feature of the message of Islam: Thus, We have made you into a nation justly balance (Al Baqarah 143)
c) Islam is not a complex way: “’USR” It is human beings who make Islamic teaching difficult and then complexity overtakes them so eventually they become unable to cope even with simple tasks; lose sense of priorities: He has chosen you and has imposed no difficulty on you in religion (Hajj 78)
d) Islam is not a path of excessiveness: “TASHADUD” “Din is an easy path. And whoever exaggerates with it, it would take better of him/her. (Ahmad)
Islam should be made easy for others especially for youth: In sharing the message of Islam with people, The Messenger (S) was advised: “It is part of Mercy of Allah that you dealt gently with them. If you were severe or hardhearted, they would have broken away from you.” (‘Ali Imran 159)
He, Muhammad (S) guided Muslim community in the following words: “Whoever leads people in prayer, should shorten it, for amongst them there are weak, old and the ones to attend business. When praying alone, prolong it as much as you wish.” (Bukhari)
Islam is not the path of excessiveness! Islam rejects all its forms: Guluww, tanattu’ and tashaddud. Not everyone is a “super-human”, in our case a “super Muslim.” Excessiveness is short lived. Our capacity for endurance and perseverance is naturally short-lived. It blocks other obligations!
Too much of anything is too much! Just think of the case of Abdullah ibn ‘Amr whom Muhammad (S) advised the following: “Indeed, your Creator has right over you, your body has right over you and your family…therefore to give to each their right.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
Isolation could eventually develop into larger problem and even become a threat to the well-being of Canadian Muslims and others!!!
2. Understanding the relation between legal texts which call for a life of seclusion and those calling for living actively within the community.
3. Understanding why some great people chose to seclude themselves from the community. Ibn Omar or Anas ibn Malik lived in the contexts in which they have been able to afford it; we cannot! Each member of the community is its important integral part!
4. Full understanding of the true nature of worship: When one understands the true nature of ‘Ibadah (worship), one becomes more eager to get involved in the community activities: Volunteering.
5. Awareness of the important role of every individual within the society. Engaging with the community was an essential task of all prophets. If we have concerns, then it is our duty to speak up not run away from the community.
6. Remain with the larger group even if we sometimes disagree with them. If we want the change, then we should understand that the change comes with our participation not criticism or self-exclusion.
7. Shunning the company of people who isolate themselves from community.
8. Become fully acquainted with the approach of the Rasul (S) in building and establishing a Muslim community. He was involved not isolated; pragmatic not rigid; proactive not reactive; optimistic not pessimistic; wise not emotional. In him, we have the best example… (Al Ahzab 21).
9. At the end place one’s trust in God and seek His support. Almighty God says in the Qur’an: “Then, when you have taken a decision put your trust in God. For God loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Ali Imran 159)

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