Philosophy of Change
In a healthy person, the blood that leaves the heart is fully oxygenated. Medical science tells us that oxygen is important for our brains; lack of it causes bad memory, imbalance and lack of concentration. If Islam is to our conscience what oxygen is to our brain, every Muslim ideally should posses a healthy state of mind (guided by an enlightened soul in a state of God consciousness). That elevated state of mind, then should translate into an invigorated sense of purpose in life, positively affecting the human development project.
So the question then arises, how come the hearts and minds of Muslims are in such a depleted state of affairs? Where are Muslims who can reflect and understand? A quick cursory analysis of the Human Development Index (HDI) reveals that the majority of Muslim countries lag behind the rest of the world in socio-economic development.
Civilized Muslim societies, given the absence of honor, respect, dignity, social mercy and tolerance, are like the endangered species that are rapidly racing towards extinction. We have contaminated our environmental ecosystem with waste and pollution. We have contaminated our social ecosystem with prejudice and injustice. We have contaminated our economic ecosystem with corruption and greed. We have contaminated our spiritual ecosystem by submitting to our low base desires instead of submitting to God. Void of any accountability, we are insensitive to the consequences of our actions. Void of responsibility, we have lost our sense of purpose. And void of self reflection, we have lost the ability to change.
Clearly one cannot deny the emphasis Islam places on incremental continuous improvement to bring about positive change in the status quo. Islam not just demands a change for the better when it comes to our hearts and minds, but it also mandates change in our behavior and in our attitudes. Behavior equals thought plus action (behavior = thought + action). Any behavior void of thought is nothing but a mere habit. Habit is normally defined as a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior. If actions are judged by intentions, as per the hadith of the holy Prophet (may peace be upon him), then our “thoughts” are the drivers for our behavior. Acting mindlessly without the use of intellect is not akin to emulating prophetic behavior.
13:11 Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).
Every conscientious Muslim bears the responsibility to figure out what we have done to be in this depleted state of affairs. This responsibility starts with redefining our purpose in life. Purpose is often confused with a goal. But purpose is not the goal. It leads one to the goal. Not everyone’s purpose in life is the same (i.e. not everyone is motivated by the same things in life). And for each individual purpose changes as their life progresses. Therefore our purpose needs to be as dynamic as everything around us. Anything that is dynamic in nature is in a perpetual state of change.
So how do we kick start our own change process? As Muslims our goal is to submit whole heartedly to our Creator so that we can attain His love. Submission is an active choice that requires inward reflection. Ability to reflect and understand comes from keen sense of connectivity with your Creator. Connectivity creates the motivation to do whatever it takes to get to our goal. That motivation gives rise to a sense of purpose within us. Purpose creates the urge for self reflection and self analysis. Self analysis is necessary for measuring our performance, in attaining the love of our Creator. And once we know where we stand, we make the commitment to improve. That commitment to improving our performance is the energy we need to kick start change from within. It is that type of energy that leads to success.
24:55 Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them…