Activism, A Better World, Islam, Change, Self-Advocacy

I ran across this website a few months ago and was able to find it again. I was at work one day trying to figure out how I could change the world. I was just sitting there at work trying to make sense of the world around me. Sometimes I feel like I could do alot more than what I do in creating a world that is better than how I entered into it. It’s always troublesome to me to feel as if I have to wait for politicians or the government to step in to stop inequalities that we see. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being proactive and doing what you have to do in order to change the inequalities in the world. 

As I encounter personal issues and problems in life, I have found myself motivated to live a life that is beneficial. I want to live in a way that will make the world a better place. I know I sometimes say this without any action to back it up, but I am truly sincere in saying such a statement. Sometimes we fall short of the promises we make to ourselves, but why don’t we actually pull through with these promises? Obviously they must be important enough for us make it as a promise. We can look in our own towns, cities, villages, provinces, and countries and see issues that are needing to be resolved. So, why don’t we do something? Recently, I’ve been quite interested in the Black Power Movement in America. I believe I am interested in the Black Power Movement because it represents a group of individuals that were oppressed and chose to think, create and find ways to uplift and better their current condition(s). Many instances, there would be motivation from Black leaders to tell their followers to change the lifestyles they were leading. There would be a push towards: education, healthy lifestyle, family life, stopping the usage of drugs, alcohol and departing with destructive behavior. These ideas were present and ran through in the Nation of Islam, the Black Panthers, and even in orthodox Islam. There became a consensus in many Black-communities that self-sufficiency and self-advocacy would be the only way to escape from the grasp of oppression and to true freedom. The move for one to become self-sufficient creates independence and allows one to become freed of other’s resources. Malcolm X encouraged Blacks to create their own media, their own institutions, and to create their own jobs so that they wouldn’t feel the need to go back to their oppressor for resources that they would have to rely on. This was a form of activism and a move towards changing the world for a group of individuals. 

These are just a few examples of how we can change the world or our world. In many instances we find ourselves stuck in oppression or going through some inequality within society so we can be that voice needed to uplift ourselves and others in our circumstance. Honestly, I will say that being the voice of a people or a nation can be hard, but it can be done. There’s been people that has come before us and had created freedoms due to their conviction(s).  

Sometimes we don’t feel we can do much because we are only one person. However, there’s been revolutions that has started with one person but had grew due to people recognizing the legitimacy of a message. Sometimes we need to become advocates for ourselves and others. Yes, we can be an advocate for ourselves and others. It can be as simple as not buying a product because it will cause an unseen oppression to continue. Recently I learned that most of the world’s chocolate comes from West Africa (60%) with 20% coming from South America. However, the chocolate that we are most likely eating is coming from West Africa and many of these cocoa farms are relying on child-slaves to harvest their crops. Yes, there is modern-day slavery today. And it comes in various forms. So, if I am unsure if my piece of chocolate is coming from a slave-plantation then I don’t buy it. This stops the cycle of oppression if we don’t support it.  Two months ago I became a vegetarian and a few weeks ago became a vegan. I absolutely couldn’t believe the poor living conditions and mistreatment of animals in factory-farms. Animals are usually in crowded spaces, given food that isn’t natural for the animal, shot up with hormones for quick growth, many times sick and sold at local grocers and unhealthy for eating. It becomes very easy to go to your local fast-food restaurant and eat cheap, but eating cheap comes at a price. Or when you buy eggs at less than a dollar a container…just remember that comes at a price. Many times male chickens are discarded and thrown out because they are unable to reproduce eggs, thus not unable to make money for the owner. The world we live in is extremely scary. There are things that we fail to see because it doesn’t happen in front of us, but there are things that happen because nobody is saying anything. 

So, we can do small and big things to change the world. Sometimes it just starts with us. We have to change ourselves and our attitudes about life. If we are selfish then we can try to change that. If we are stingy with our money then we can try giving more of it away. If we are always angry then we can try being more patient. These are things we can do for ourselves. Now, on a bigger scale we can do things for our neighborhood, villages, tribes and others. However, we must do everything for the sake of Allah. Everything is awarded due to its intention. There’s a story from the Islamic tradition that speaks about intentions. In the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the Muslims migrate from Mekkah to Madina( Yathrib) due to the persecutions by the pagan arabs. So, many emigrated due for the sake of Allah but there was a man that traveled for marriage, so the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that everyone will be awarded due to their intentions, even if it was for marriage. So, it is important to keep ourselves accounted for the things that we do and the reasons for us in doing it. 

As always, never allow hardships to stop you from making the world a better place. We can better the world because we are the world. 

Where Do You Stand?

Assalamu alaykom,

Where do you stand? The question isn’t about your current, physical geographical location. The question is philosophical. As a consumer in our global-community what are you doing to better this planet? Are you one of those people that just sit around for a better day to come? Are you expecting “those” activists to come on television to change the world? Unfortunately, you are mistaken to think that activism is specific to a special person. We are all activists- some of us are just simply inactive. As long as we are here and living we are playing a role. We are either making the world better or not.

The state of the world is in disarray. There are children being killed on a daily-basis from war, people living under the poverty-line, homelessness, starvation, sex slavery, lack of education, gendered-crimes committed, rapes, and etc in our world. All of these crimes against humanity is happening in our neighborhoods, cities, villages, countries, and regions. These crimes against humanity can be stopped if you stand up for those that can’t do it alone. Oppression can be fought, so never think you can’t help a cause. Everyone can do something- small or big. It is our choice to be lazy or to be active in the world in which we live in on a daily basis.

Do not stand on the wrong side of the fence. Do not choose to straddle between the two sides. Find your side and hope that it’s the right one. There is never an excuse for oppression. Figure out where you stand right now. Elevate your knowledge of the world by reading, interacting, asking questions and seeking out truth(s). Be willing to change your line of thinking for what is in the direction of truth and honesty. Never settle for idleness and doubt. Find certainty in your heart. Allow the knowledge that you seek become penetrable into your heart. Let it sink in and stay. Growth sometimes come with pain and in that we develop as individuals. The world simply need people with big ideas and drive. Get others to help in a cause or causes. Spread the word. Inspire others with your knowledge. Share it wherever you may go.

The road you may tread upon may be hard at first, but remember that the struggle is worth the end result. It may be a little foggy and dark, but remember that knowledge is true freedom. And down that road is light. So, as you travel down this road to enlightenment never give up. Always cling to your heart for the heart is never wrong.

So take a stand right now.