Intentionality, Excellence, Exceptionality. Self-Worth, Standards, and the Wellbeing of the Ummah at Large.

.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

If you truly stand for nothing, you will likely fall for anything.

Let’s talk (or, write and read,) about intentionality, today. Standards. Madness. And the rest.

I’m saying that, to eyes that are accustomed to viewing things through rose-tinted lenses: red flags come to look only like… flags. When dangerous, threatening, unsavoury things are just made to seem quite… rosy.

Until we review things from some better perspective. What is ‘madness’? Typically, and when socially defined, it is some shocking separation from the ‘norm’ and about what has become most ‘acceptable‘.

Some might choose to label… the woman who believes that there are angels around us, and that God hears every single heartbeat that your heart produces as… being ‘mad’. As though such notions as ‘all we can see is all there is‘, or that the very universe had incubated, and had given birth to… itself [???] are ‘normal’. And intentional theism is… ‘mad’.

And if we intentionally begin to unpick certain things… We find that things are not, typically, so ‘neutral’, or ‘value-free’. The education system: coming to view, perhaps, how much we can produce as being our ‘most valuable assets’, as human beings… Are we only mechanistic robots? Is lifelong exhaustion the kind of lives we are being equipped to ‘choose for ourselves’?

Or are we Divinely favoured beings, and Allah’s sacred creations? Maybe a four-day work week would be better for us.

Are we products of ‘macro-evolution’? Are our ancestors… apes?

Or, had it been Ādam (AS), the Divinely-taught, the learned, the conversant, who had been our father?

Have we not been drip-fed these diets of… coming to view our traditions as being something like ‘inferior’? As though theism is, somehow, absurdity? What about those underlying racial implications, and the beginnings of such notions as eugenics?

Look carefully, and look intentionally. What are we trusting for our sons and our daughters, and our little sisters and brothers, to sit within the walls of, for roughly eight hours a day?

Any place is definable by… its ethos. Any person, by… her… aura.

[Some places, for example, seem to place extreme levels of consideration onto work. Some, I think, foster some idea that it might somehow be less about… work towards a purpose. But, instead, that: work somehow ‘is’ the purpose. Wide and deep mental health crises thus basically become inevitable, as a result…]

As Muslims, as learners, as teachers and as siblings, nurses, businesspeople, and as mothers and fathers and aunties and uncles: we have standards of excellence, exceptionality, to meet, maintain, and uphold, In Shaa Allah.

In Allah’s Name, and with faith.

And: with due consideration to the fact that we are not solely… work. Or, money. We need sleep, and good nutrition, and sunlight, and the rest…

I write, today, about how clean, and calm, and simply-beautiful the masjid on the side of Roman Road Market is: about the goodness, and the nice energy, Maa Shaa Allah, of the people who attend the weekend classes there.

I write about the London Islamic School (kids’ holiday camp) too: good investments, into the spaces. Well-equipped, and well-run. Activities that are befitting, and which are neither stifling and boring, nor unfruitful and scattered, for children. Resources, healthful meals. Quick payment of staff members: when high standards are demonstrated, they tend to be mirrored. Kindness to students and to staff: others, we find, typically want to do better, too.

It is part of the comportment of the believer to seek to be conscientious. To really be excellent in what we do; there is always room, too, to be better.

I write about how one believer is a mirror to another. To seek to inspire, and to also mutually be inspired.

“Successful indeed are the believers…

“[…] those who are to their trusts and covenants true.

“and those who are ˹properly˺ observant of their prayers.

“These are the ones who will be awarded

Paradise [al-Firdaws: the highest place in Paradise] as their own. They will be there forever.”

Qur’an, (Surah Mu’minoon. 23:1, […], 23:8—11).

Excellence, in our homes. In our appearances, and our health. Excellence within our families, our businesses, our manners, our smiles. In the work we do, and in upholding our duties…

We begin today: what matters is what we are going to do today, In Shaa Allah. Every single ‘small’ thing. And to not fear those who might disagree. To not attach our notions of human worth to what somebody else is going to say. Maybe they’ll just see some things in some different way.

And: that is okay. Because your worth, your value, your beauty: is intrinsic. Allah Himself has honoured you, son of Ādam, daughter of Hawaa.

You might find that some may… disagree, find parts of you to be, in their eyes, ‘disagreeable’. You’re ‘too much’, in these particular ways, and ‘not enough’, for some, in those ones. But: s/he is a weak, mere mortal, human being too. There is no true Might or Power or Knowledge, or Goodness and Reward, or claims to Truth,

except with Allah.

And Allah has honoured you with the blessing of being exactly who you are. With what you have been given, of personality, and looks, and likes, and ways of living and doing things.

What we’ve been given, of Knowledge and Wisdom: the very mountains would have crumbled, with a glimpse of the same thing. He’s intentionally made you… pretty awesome, no? Maa Shaa Allah. Now we’ve got to maintain that; keep going, keep striving.

So: to live our lives like letters of gratitude, Shukr, to Him.

We won’t let ourselves down, and we have Allah.

As an Ummah, we’ve also got each other to, on the human level, love, serve, strengthen, support, and lean on, don’t we?

وَما تَوفيقي إِلّا بِاللَّهِ ۚ عَلَيهِ تَوَكَّلتُ وَإِلَيهِ أُنيبُ

“My success comes only through Allah.

In Him I trust and to Him I turn.”

Qur’an, (11:88).

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