hese days everyone is aware of the existence of people who are oppressed, starving, maltreated and suffering. Just about everyone sees images of helpless and needy people in newspapers and on the television. Most people experience a feeling of sorrow in the face of such people's desperate plights. Yet they generally never think about intervening to do anything about the situation. They regard it as someone else's responsibility. Although some people do want to do something, these others think along the lines of "What good can I do on my own?". Yet this is a very mistaken way to think. That is because it is the moving away from religious moral values and the adoption of ideologies which are incompatible with those values that underlie all the suffering, conflict and chaos in the world. Therefore, the common and permanent solution to these problems is to wage an intellectual struggle against those ideologies and to tell people of the moral values of Islam, the religion selected by Allah for mankind.
By a struggle against ideologies which are incompatible with religious moral values, we mean the demolition, with scientific proof, of the claims made by those ideologies and the demonstration of their invalidity. An intellectual struggle is something in which everyone can take part, and everyone can assume a particular responsibility. Those who really have no opportunity of doing anything under their present circumstances can always help and support those people who are actively involved. For example, they can study the facts contained in books written for the purpose of furthering the intellectual struggle and can then tell others about them and make those around them aware of them. Telling people of the existence of Allah, teaching due fear of Him, reminding people of paradise and hell and what will happen on the day of judgment, and reminding them of the reason why they are in this world in the first place are all essential activities if the cruelty and oppression are to end. Making excuses and standing on the sidelines, on the other hand, effectively means supporting anti-religious ideas. It is of course incompatible with good conscience for a Muslim to make excuses, think of his or her own comfort and waste time on empty activities when Muslims all over the world are suffering violence and oppression because they believe in Allah and seek to live their lives in accordance with His commandments and prohibitions. A Muslim knows the most effective solution to all the problems facing the world. That solution is telling people of and teaching them the moral values of the religion. That knowledge imposes a grave responsibility on a Muslim: that of telling people of the good things which Allah's religion and its moral values can bring to the world, raising people's awareness so they live by those values, and waging an intellectual struggle against anti-religious trends.
Today neither the immediate conditions around us nor those in the world as a whole permit anyone to be hesitant and passive, waste time on empty activities, idleness and worldly concerns. At a time when millions of Muslims are suffering oppression and cruelty, a failure to make an effort to save those people is incompatible with a Muslim's Islamic identity. It is of the greatest importance to expose the injustices to which the weak are exposed and to keep these in the public eye. People need to be told that only if such virtues as justice, solidarity, compassion, love, affection, devotion and forgiveness, all of which are commanded by Allah in the Qur'an, come to prevail can a just, peaceful and secure environment emerge. It is also most important to tell those who have faith in Allah of Allah's help and glad tidings, to warn those who are responsible for the oppression that they will be punished by Allah, and to bring them to fear Him. As revealed by Allah in the verse, "Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success" (Qur'an, 3: 104), leading people to the true path is also a responsibility of Muslims. Allah reveals this attribute of Muslims in other verses:
Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who fast, those who bow, those who prostrate, those who command the right, those who forbid the wrong, those who preserve the limits of Allah: Give good news to the believers. (Qur'an, 9: 112)
Would that there had been more people with a vestige of good among the generations of those who came before you, who forbade corruption in the earth, other than the few among them whom We saved... (Qur'an, 11: 116)
Then when they forgot what they had been reminded of, We rescued those who had forbidden the evil... (Qur'an, 7: 165)
Sincere Muslims make great efforts so that cruelty and injustice should come to an end, that proper moral values should come to prevail and that Islam should be lived according to its true essence. They are devoted to our Lord with true submission and recognize no obstacles to their performing actions which will meet with His approval. They take great care to strive to be worthy of Allah's approval, mercy and the paradise He has prepared for Muslims. Allah has revealed this constant state of sincere striving:
"O Man! You are toiling laboriously towards your Lord but meet Him you will!" (Qur'an, 84: 6)
Allah wishes those people with certain faith in Him to do all in their power to attain His approval, mercy and paradise. They strive to finish one action and move on to another auspicious one and to serve the religion in the fastest, most wide-ranging way. They strive to make clear their devotion to Allah by making the most auspicious services part of their lives. They always think of the interests of Islam and Muslims and try to fulfill their responsibilities so that everyone should live in peace, friendship and security. This enthusiasm and desire in the service rendered for Allah's approval is one of the signs of true devotion.
Those whose faith is weak, however, never undertake such an auspicious service unless encouraged and supported by believers. They are unwilling to make efforts, do good and make sacrifices because they lack the love and fear of Allah to give them the strength to render service that will not be recompensed. However, they do render sufficient service to appear devout in the eyes of those around them, but seek to continue their lives making as little effort as possible. Since they ignore the fact that the approval of Allah is the greatest possible reward, they always drag their feet in this regard. They are quite happy to work day and night, go without sleep and tire themselves for the sake of some potential worldly advantage, but regard any service to be undertaken for the sake of Islam as a burden, and expect believers to be grateful for anything they do.
As a requirement of the verse "So when you have finished, work on, and make your Lord your goal!" (Qur'an, 94: 7-8), sincere Muslims, on the other hand, are enthusiastic and hard-working in all areas out of a hope and joy of attaining Allah's approval, mercy and paradise. Indeed, in Sura 2 verse 148 Allah commands believers to "race each other to the good." Believers who comply with that verse are never idle for a moment, but compete to do good and perform good deeds. They seize every opportunity to gain a reward from Allah, never tire, never leave their work for others to perform, and make use of every opportunity the moment it arises. They never leave anyone under a burden of gratitude or act as if they were doing someone a big favor. On the contrary, knowing that they stand in need of Allah's approval and mercy and the good deeds they will collect before they die, they serve Islam with humility and determination, expecting not even a thank-you from anyone.
Following their consciences and rendering service for our Lord's approval, even under the most difficult circumstances, is a source of joy and happiness for believers. Peace and happiness are the result of every sincere effort, as well as an honorable life in this world. In the hereafter only believers will enjoy eternal joy and happiness. A believer who comprehends all this knows that expecting any worldly recompense, even a thank-you, for his or her actions is a source of shame in the sight of Allah. He knows the loss he will suffer in this world and the next, and duly fears this. That is because forgetting Allah's approval, infinite mercy and paradise and turning to worldly expectations instead will lead to grave disappointment in this life and the afterlife. Allah has revealed this sincerity of believers in a verse:
... [They] fear a Day whose evil will spread far and wide. They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives: "We feed you only out of desire for the Face of Allah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly We fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day." So Allah has safeguarded them from the evil of that Day and has made them meet with radiance and pure joy and will reward them for their steadfastness with a Garden and with silk. (Qur'an, 76: 7-12)