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Islam and planning

In the name of Allah, the most Merciful the Bestowal of Mercy

Abuu Mus’ab

Alhamdulillah, indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from our soul’s evils and our wrong doings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
I bear witness that there is no (true) god except Allah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His Servant and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslim”. (Al-Imran, 3:102)
O people! Revere your lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah, through whom you demand things from one another and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever watchful over you.” (An-Nisa, 4:1)
“O you who believe! Revere Allah and say just words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory”. (Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71)

To proceed:
Indeed, the best speech is Allah (SWT)’s Book and the best guidance is Muhammad (SAW)’s guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the fire.
O servants of Allah, O fellow Nigerians,
Indeed, we often notice a regrettable phenomenon among Muslim individuals, groups, communities, and countries. This phenomenon is bad planning or a total lack of planning in their affairs.
Some Muslims fail to plan their actions; therefore the outcomes of such actions are different from what they had in mind when they started. These Muslims work on the basis of the “Baraka (Blessing) syndrome,” or “Insha-Allah, or everything will be fine,” or “Allah will be with us”or“with the prayer (Du’a), everything is going to be alright”, etc. This new phenomenon, although it is true, is exploited by the defeated Muslims, who always look west and the seculars who reject Islam as a way of life, or those Muslims who doesn’t want to be associated with anything Islam or Muslims. They attack Islam and Muslims and accuse it of being the source of backwardness in the Muslim world.
Needless to say, that this new phenomenon does not represent Islam, because if we carefully read the Qur’an and the Sunnah, we clearly see that there are Islamic foundations for planning.

*    THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION OF PLANNING.
–    Orientation to the future.
The Islamic way of life revolves around our preparation for the future life in the hereafter. The Qur’an tells us there are people who ask for what is good in this world as well as in the hereafter will receive what is due to them in both the worlds. It affirms that what is due to them is based on what they earn by their actions.
Allah says:
“Some say. Our Lord, give us all the good things here in this world, such people shall have no share in the hereafter. Then, there are others who say, Our Lord, give us what is good in this world and also what is good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of Fire, Such people shall have their due share (in both the worlds) according to what they earn. And Allah is swift at settling accounts.” (AL-Baqara, 200-202)
Thus, the Qur’anic view is two-fold; we should plan our actions with specific goals in mind. Our reward is dependent on our implementation of that plan. Making a plan and implementing it are thus two sides of the same coin.
The Prophet (SAW) urges us to be always oriented to the future, he said:
“If the last hour strikes and you are carrying a nursling tree to the grove for planting, go ahead and plant it.”

Fellow Muslims, Fellow Nigerians, then,
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PLAN? In other words what are the requirements or the mechanics of planning in Islam?
Brothers and Sisters, Planning requires four basic elements; thus; (a) Learning from the past, (b) use of resources, (c) consulting before deciding and, (d) being fair to others. So let us take them one by one:
A.    Learning from the past.
In planning for the future, we must build on what has been done before, without being limited by the short comings of the past. The Qur’an urges us to learn from the experience of others, Allah (SWT) says:
“Did they not travel through the earth, and see what the end of those before them was?” (Yusuf, 109)
B.    Using Resources.
The art of good planning is the art of identifying potential resource and optimizing their use to produce the desired results. The Muslim recognized that ALLAH has provided all that he needs, if he would only strive to deserve it and to acquire it.

Allah (SWT) says:
“Do you not see that Allah has subjected to your use all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure both seen and unseen?” (Luqman, 20)
C.    Consulting before deciding.
The Islamic view of planning is based on, study, advice and consultation. It is not an authoritarian, totally centralized process of giving orders. In fact the Muslim planner seeks knowledge to replace his ignorance on the subject at hand, solicits advice to test his assumptions and engages in consultation to overcome his own limitations. Allah says:
“Then ask the learned if you do not know.” “Consult them in affairs of the moment.”
The Qur’an furthers describes the believers as:
“…And who conduct their affairs by consultation.”
And also The Prophet (SAW) tells us that … “Religion is sincere advice.”

D.    Being fair to others.
Good planning demands a balances approach in assigning responsibilities to carry our tasks, in giving authority to discharge responsibilities, in allocating resources to accomplish objectives and in putting goals in priority to achieve the best interests of all involved. The Qur’an calls for justice and fairness in all dealings… Allah (SWT) says:
“Give just measure and weight, and do not withhold from people the things that are their due (i.e. both Muslims and non-Muslims)…”
Planning is not putting words and drawings on paper; it is not a theoretical concept only. Planning is based on actions, commitments, implementing decisions and delegating when necessary. They are as follows:

A.    Commitments.
Planning is not an academic exercise but a commitment to take a series of actions to get from where one is to want to be. Without actions one cannot move and thus cannot achieve anything. The Qur’an clarifies that result can come only from our actions, not only from our prayer/Du’a… Allah (SWT) says:
“The man can have nothing but what he strives for.”

B.    Implementing decisions.
Good planning is realistic. It consists of actions that are compatible with the resources, ability and willingness, not unrealistic promises that cannot be kept. Allah (SWT) says:
“…O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do?”

Also a plan is only as good as the decisions that it calls for. The decisions are only as good as their implementation. The Muslim should direct the human need and financial resources to implementation and seeks ALLAH’S help in bringing his efforts to success… Allah says:
”Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in ALLAH.”
C.    Delegating others.
Sometimes, making a plan or implementing one may require the collective efforts of a number of people. In this case, it is important to recognize the need to involve others and delegate work to them in order to translate the plan into accomplishments. The Qur’an clarifies the need for delegation when Allah says:
“And we raise some of them above others in ranks so that some may command work from others.”

*    QUALITY OF PLANNING
My respected people,
Allah (SWT) loves your actions to be done thoroughly and perfectly. Striving for perfection should be reflected in all our actions, including planning. Therefore a Muslim should build excellence into his/her planning. It is as follows:

A.    Build Excellence into planning.
A Muslim planner builds excellence into his plans by seeking to find ways in which his resources can generate most desirable results. The Prophet (SAW) has referred to this by saying…
“Allah decreed that for everything there is a better way…”
Also, when working with others, a Muslim planner should build a team and acknowledge their contributions.
B.    Build a Team.
Planning is a collective activity in the sense that it touches on the lives and achievements of all affected, be they the family, community or nation.

Success in good planning call for benefiting from the effort of all, exercised not through disoriented individual action but through concerted effort. The Prophet (SAW) advises us that:
“The hand of ALLAH is with the Jama’ah (people)…Then whoever singles himself out (from the Jama’ah) will be singled out for the hell-fire”
C.    Acknowledge others contribution.
Good planning recognizes the value of people and encourages their continued commitment by acknowledging their contribution. The Prophet (SAW) stated:
“He, who does not thank people, does not thank ALLAH.”
D.    Integrate Accountability into Planning.

Responsibility must be accompanied by accountability. Those who assume leadership roles in carrying a plan must be more accountable than others because their success or failure affects everyone involved. The Qur’an stressed accountability in this way:
“O women of the Prophet (SAW), if any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the punishment would be doubled to her, and that is easy for ALLAH.”
Finally my respected people, fellow Nigerians, Politicians, Business men and women, Civil servants, Religious leaders, Security agents, students, Labourers, etc.
REMEMBER: “IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL.”
May Allah (SWT) continue to assist us all in our good endeavours ameen.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today (Jumu’ah) Dhul-Hijjah 23, 1435 A.H (October 17, 2014) by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi Uvete Central Mosque, Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 for corrections and advice, because your feedback will help us to improve our Khutbahs (Sermon). Please let us have your comment and suggestions by writing to murtadagusau2@yahoo.com
Jazakallah Khairan!

Wassalam Alaikum

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