“Will you join in our (mission)?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?”
These words belong to the most successful musical in all theatrical history, Les Miserables (save for the word “mission” which I just changed from the original word “crusade”, to avoid any interpretation of a calling for violence). They are a true encapsulation of the message for our movement needed in our time of Islam. They hearken the Heavenly calling from Allah (SWT) to those who are the proponents of His word, of Islam, of the Quran. Also, to those who are the proponents of humanity, for all fellow Muslims, Brothers and Sisters across this world during this time of need, in an ever-falling world that cries for compassion, brotherly and sisterly love, a return to chivalry, and a return to the goodness and values that once were commonplace to our global society, but which now is laid to ruins, due to the ever-increasing uncaring nature of today’s people.
“There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong”
Now, these above words of Les Miserables encapsulate today’s global society’s status quo. A time of remembrance for those of us old enough to remember the days past; a time of uncertainty and confusion for those of us who are of younger generations. One example where the vileness of modern global society’s status quo is seen in the way people treat each other; in the way they do not respect each other’s characters, and differing, but Islamic, beliefs and ideas. This issue is one professed by various communication, social media, sociological, and psychological experts is exacerbated by the spread of social media and nonsensical material perpetuated across platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and TV. Whatsmore, it is an issue which can build to hatred, ostracization, and even violence. Fortunately, for fellow Muslims who follow the Word of Allah (SWT), the Quran, they are mandated to rise above the negative that gives way to these behaviors by educating themselves each day so to come to a closer understanding, however minutely possible as human beings, of Allah (SWT). This is understood via the first word of the Quran, “Iqra”.
This first word, “Iqra”, means “Read”. This word alludes to the necessity of Muslims’ built-in programming to read and, therefore, to learn; to read, and, therefore, to learn to see and become closer to Allah (SWT) and his plan for the global Muslim community; to read and, therefore, acquire a different vision of life, a different aspect of life, a different manner of living in the world, a different, and elevated, purpose. Such an innate practice towards knowledge gives Muslims an ability to change on the fundamental level of humanity within themselves. This, in turn, again, ideally, forces Muslims to man the posts they are charged to man, as alluded to in the Quran, for the good of themselves, each other, and all of our global society. This is so Muslims can change things as they should be changed, all in accordance to the One who knows how the Islamic global social system should be. Such a fundamental paradigm shift within people then acts as an agent of perpetual change for the better, which, furthermore, goes against the selfish, the sloth, the lack of civility of this new world’s vile character.
Touching further on the importance of the “Iqra” mandate, to “Read”, to “Learn”, and, therefore, to transform ourselves, is a well-versed Sudanese Muslimah and future Hafiza named Afnan Altayeb Ahmed so to impress the importance of this message in today’s world according to the words of the Quran.
سورة “العلق” / اقرأ
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ
خَلَقَ الْإِنْسانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ
اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ
الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ
عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسانَ ما لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
Read! In the Name of your Lord,
Who has created man from a clot
Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous
Who has taught by the pen
Has taught man that which he knew not
Regarding this mandate to “Read”, it does not mean become one who knows literally one fact about everything. Those who are foolish and cannot see the essence, the foundation of things will think it does mean that. However, those who can see the essence, the foundation, the truth and holistic nature of things (i.e. this excerpt) will understand easily that it means to become one who knows aspects deeply surrounding many things. This is precisely charging all Muslims with a mandate to become as the greatest thinkers across space and time, i.e. as a well-founded person in seeing and understanding Allah’s (SWT) creation and a Muslim’s character in dealing with the world. Just as all the greatest thinkers of history have never been experts in only one thing (e.g. silo thinkers, pigeon-holed thinkers), but experts who were able to see things at the foundation level across landscapes.
When one thinks of these greatest thinkers s/he recalls names as Einstein, Avicenna, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many others. It must always be recalled that these people are known not only as experts in one arena, but many, e.g. statesman, inventor, mathematician, physicist, historian, philosopher, astronomer, etc. They were experts in many fields because they were able to read, to learn, and to see the foundations, the universals, of multiple arenas and see the connections across landscapes; whatsmore, they were able to put these connections, these foundations to use for the good of all humanity. They knew deeply about one thing – the foundations which underlie many things. For this reason, they are regarded as the greatest thinkers across space and time. It is this character, this mindset that Allah (SWT) charges to Muslims; to read; to learn and, in turn, naturally understand and respect each other by acting inline with Islam. This mandate is not necessarily only to become the greatest thinkers per se, but to become the greatest examples of Islam and to live the greatest experiences of life, inline with glorifying Him.
This charge He gives mandates Muslims to think and contemplate, on a deep level, on the proper level. The messenger discovered Islam and the truth of this universe because he sat thinking, and contemplating, and asking, “Who created this universe?” Then, Allah (SWT) answered him through the angel Gabriel. So, the messenger then discovered Islam. This is a lesson not only to be learned, but to be put into practice in daily life. Each must continue to think, and ask so to get an idea of everything around each person. For if all Muslims across the global community are to continue reading and even memorizing the Quran without understanding its meaning, without ensuring the verses of the Quran work in each one’s lives and change each one’s lives, individually and together, there will be no benefit. This is because the true meaning is not within the superficial level coming out from the words we read, but the depths of those words. This is something that must be discovered. Just as simply reading through beginner, intermediate, and advanced mathematics books will not make you a mathematician. You must practice the examples, the formulae, the proofs within the books in order to understand math, and master it.
So, what does this mandate to “Read” mean in an article noting the importance of tolerance with everyone in this global Muslim community? For those who have the gift to see through the noise of issues that surround us everyday, to see through the distractions amongst the countless superficial variables of issues that surround us everyday, to cut through it all and see the foundations of issues that surround us everyday, the importance of the mandate to “Read” in this article of tolerance is easy to see. For if the global Muslim community does not learn, if Muslims do not “Read” and advance themselves, individually first via reading, then they cannot see things as they should be seen, as they truly are. Muslims then cannot see ourselves as they should. They cannot see others as they should. They cannot see the foundations, the universals that surround everyone on a daily basis that Allah (SWT) has given to everyone which are learned by reading and implementing the teachings of the Quran.
If we do not solve our own problems and only look outward at the negative aspects of others, we will not improve. Furthermore, this repugnant behavior will only grow and develop more and more naturally into a habitual practice that we will continue to hone and perpetuate within ourselves, and even onto our own beautiful and innocent children.
Surat Al-Rad Ayah (11):
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ
Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they change what is in their hearts
Surat Al-Baqarah Ayah (195):
إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ المُحسِنِينَ
And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
Going back to those who can see the foundations of the world, those who can see through the superficiality of issues, they are the ones who will already understand the importance of the last word “benefactors (al mohseneen)” in this charge to us as stated in this Surah. In Arabic this word comes from the source “Ihsan”, which means “charity”. Allah (SWT) loves the benefactors, i.e. those who feel the people; those who have the pulse of the people, and, ergo, spend money on the poor and time on those in need, and all without hesitation.
The mandate of “Read” is further attested to via the fact that Allah (SWT) teaches us values and principles such as to respect others’ feelings, shapes, and colors. And, again, to learn about and know everything, even about the simplest of things.
Surat Al-Hujuraat Ayah (13):
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is knowing and acquainted.
Allah (SWT) created us different. Allah (SWT) created male and female. Allah (SWT) created different people and different tribes. He did so in order to force us to expand our minds and learn about these differences, about each other, so to enable us to communicate with, interact with, and live amongst each other. This difference between us all actually forms the basis for learning and growth in order to known, respect, and accept each other.
Expanding on this fact, one can naturally see it becomes the basis for ridding our global Muslim community of that which goes against its nature, e.g. the spread of social media and nonsensical material perpetuated across platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and TV; the practice of not standing up on the bus or train and giving up your seat to those in need (e.g. the elderly, handicapped, and pregnant); not possessing a vile feeling of entitlement, as more and more generations are naturally possessing these days.
Muslims, as ambassadors of Islam, ambassadors of the Quran, ambassadors of Allah (SWT), are charged with “Read” so they can step out from the crowd and represent the highest form of living by understanding the vast and in-depth knowledge contained within the Quran and using that knowledge to advance themselves individually and collectively. Touching upon this mandate of “Read” is an excerpt saying:
“Do not know everything about one thing, but know one thing about everything.”
Now, this does not mean become one who knows literally one fact about everything. Those who are foolish and cannot see the essence, the foundation of things will think it does mean that. However, those who can see the essence, the foundation, the truth and holistic nature of things (e.g. this excerpt) will understand easily that it means to become one who knows aspects deeply surrounding many things. This is precisely charging Muslims with a mandate to become like the greatest thinkers across space and time so they can see, learn from, and appreciate Allah’s (SWT) creation, and thus give glory to Him.
Just as all the greatest thinkers of history have never been experts in only one thing (i.e. silo thinkers, pigeon-holed thinkers), but experts who were able to see things at the foundation level across landscapes. When you think of these greatest thinkers you recall names as Einstein, Avicenna, Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many others. Recall these people are known not only as experts in one arena, but many, e.g. statesman, inventor, mathematician, physicist, historian, philosopher, astronomer, etc. They were experts in many fields because they were able to read, to learn, and to see the foundations, the universals, of multiple arenas and see the connections across landscapes; whatsmore, they were able to put these connections, these foundations to use for the good of all humanity. Ergo, they were people who knew, deeply, about multiple things. They knew one thing (the foundation) about everything — everything they choose to study. For this reason, they are regarded as the greatest thinkers across space and time. This is the charge Allah (SWT) gives Muslims; to read; to learn; and, in turn, to understand and respect each other.
This charge of knowing one thing about everything Allah (SWT) gives Muslims mandates each to think and see His creation from a holistic angle. Allah’s (SWT) final Messenger discovered Islam and, thus, the wholeness of Allah’s (SWT) creation because His Messenger educated via contemplation, via seeking the truth of things. Then, Allah (SWT) answered Him through the angel Gabriel. This answer came in the form of the discovery of Islam.
This is a lesson Muslims must not only learn, but put into practice in daily life. The inculcated habit of contemplation, and of asking must always be adhered to so to acquire a grander idea of everything around that surrounds everyone. This grander understanding then forces one to open up and see the world, see each other in a more respected manner. This more respected manner, in turn, naturally forces one to be more at peace and understanding of things, and of people, fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For if all Muslims across the global community are to continue reading, even memorizing, the Quran without understanding its meaning, without ensuring the verses of the Quran work in our lives for practical change in our lives, there will be no benefit; all efforts of simply reading the Quran in a rote manner are therefore wasted efforts. This is because the true meaning of Islam is not within the superficial level coming out from the words we read, but the depths of those words. This is something Muslims must all discover. Similarly, just as simply reading through beginner, intermediate, and advanced mathematics books will not make one a mathematician. One must practice the examples, the formulae, the proofs within those mathematics books to understand and master math; to then appreciate and see the world through the vision of a mathematician.
Ensuring Muslims “submit” (which comes from the word “Islam” [“submission”]) to this mandate of “Read” (the mandate for education and self-development), and, thus, advance in their vision of and respect for others, Muslims naturally adopt tolerance for all things and people, including people’s differing beliefs and religions — as long as those beliefs of others are not harmful of course. People versed with the Tao Te Ching (a.k.a. Dao De Ching) will see the parallel of this fact with the Tao/Dao:
“When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king.”
This charge of tolerance also relates to respect for other religions. Surah Al-Kafirun requires every person to follow his/her religion.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ
لا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
وَلا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ
وَلا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ
وَلا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ
لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِين
Say, “O disbelievers
I do not worship what you worship.
Nor are you worshipers of what I worship.
Nor will I be a worshiper of what you worship.
Nor will you be worshipers of what I worship.
For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”
Notice that Allah (SWT) did not say to possess a mindset of, “For those not of your religion you can bring death”. No. This is because everyone follows the religion of his/her choice and only Allah (SWT) will ask him on the day of resurrection the reason for following another way.
Finally, in order to perpetuate tolerance amongst this planet, even the manners of dialogue are mandated to us in the Quran (e.g. how to properly speak with people of different religions) so to cultivate peace — not insults, violence, or murder.
Surat Al-Alankabut (29:46):
وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ
And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best.
So, why should Muslims care about anything in this work? Why care about tolerance and civility, especially when seemingly everyone, Muslim and non alike, are resorting to the global status quo of dehumanizing everyone else? Why care about the above tenets of the Quran which deal with Heavenly attitudes which cannot realistically relate to things down here on Earth for all us humans living a practical life? Does it really matter to care about Islamic values so much? Can caring about such things really change the Muslim world when so much push contrasting energy already reigns heavily across the world? The answer, fortunately, is a resounding, “Absolutely.”
This is because these tenets of the Quran also represent foundations or universals that are found outside Islam as well. Those universals exist and permeate all landscapes of existence, including countries and industries. Those universals are rules which affect everyone in various positive and negative manners every day. Learning, mastering, and utilizing these tenets in Islam affects each Muslim positively on multiple levels. They are created to help Muslims advance in development. This advancement is a powerful force available for the entire global Muslim society, as well as for the glory of Allah (SWT). Being a Muslim is to be an ambassador of this kind of life and of Islam.
So, once again, in the call of the people of Les Miserables,
“Will you join in our (mission)?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?”
Who will join in following the mandate of Islam, “Iqra”? Who will join in following the mandate of Allah (SWT)? Who will join in empowering each other by seeing the Interconnectivity of this world, and the connection to each other, in a way that promotes a symbiant mindset, a symbiant society? Who will join to stop the blind and uncaring nature of today’s state-of-the-world and help build each other up in a better world for all?
Unite the Muslim world by exposing the vileness of today’s world in order to re-educate and redirect the mindsets, visions, habits, and lives of Muslims across the world. Create the impetus in Muslims for tremendous self-development, leading to the creation and perpetuation of developing minds for social change.
We would like to thank the creators of the musical Les Miserables and its 2012 movie (trailer available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmvHzCLP6ug).
- Clem Onojeghuo — https://unsplash.com/@clemono2
- Dmitry Ratushny — https://unsplash.com/@ratushny
- Alex Radelich — https://unsplash.com/@alexradelich
- Steven Houston — https://unsplash.com/@stevenhoustonfitness
- Aziz Acharki — https://unsplash.com/@acharki95
- Ghadeer — https://unsplash.com/@izohal94
Afnan Alfatih Altayeb Ahmed:
Global Agent for Islamic Change, writer, aspiring Hafiza, and student from Sudan living in Egypt. I work towards ridding the selfish characteristics and status quo of today’s misguided world with the tenets of Islam in the Quran so to materialize Allah’s (SWT) peaceful, humanitarian, civil, and loving global Muslim community, as mandated in Islam.
Dr. HermanSJr., A.A., B.A., B.Msc., M.A., M.Msc., Mpsy.D.:
Globally sought-after Global Change Agent, Harvard University-published writer, two-time author, consultant to various entities across countries, industries, and languages across the world (multi-million dollar businesses, universities, doctors, police, engineers, artists, influencers, and many others), university instructor at four universities across the world, expert featured in 25+ media platforms across countries, industries, and languages, psychological expert whose program is undertaken by a global academy certifying people under his name and program. He teaches holistic problem-solving using highly-engaging psychological strategies and the concept of Interconnectivity that surrounds us all every day and controls this physical world and universe, as well as all of our successes and failures.
Peter Sipes, M.A., M.Ed.:
Linguist, Latin Teacher, publisher. Pete speaks fluent Latin and has taught it to his two young children (both under age 10) by always speaking it to them as their everyday language. He also speaks Ancient Greek (Hellenistic). He is an avid editor, publisher, linguist, and academic who continues to translate and publish several classical Latin books into English and textbooks on learning Latin.