What is change? How does change happen? What is the purpose of change? What are the spiritual and worldly keys to change—for the individual, for groups, for communities, and for believers?
In the first part of the series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani speaks about the definition of change, reform, and rights.
What is Change?
There is not, in fact, any intrinsic benefit mentioned in the Qur’an about change. Rather, we are called upon to change from an undesired state to a desired one, in accordance to what Allah has deemed to be good and true. Not only are we responsible to change our own states, but we also have a social responsibility to have concern for the greater societal good.
Furthermore, we are taught about reform (islah). Something is considered to be reformed when it is free of harm. Therefore, a righteous person is called a salih, or someone who had made a personal change and fixed themselves.
We also have a definition for good. We have a moral criteria, we do not believe that good is relative. For example, just because someone is very rich, does not mean that we can steal from them. Allah has upheld justice, and His justice is not punitive. Rather, it is restorative. Justice entails that we are required to give everyone their rights, and deal with them in the best possible way.
Some obligations comes through choice, while others are circumstantial. For example, after choosing to get married, it is our duty to do well by our spouse. However, if we see someone bleeding on the sidewalk, it is our responsibility to help them, even if we haven’t been the cause of their injury.
In conclusion, we see social change as a responsibility, not as a whim-based function. We should be having a sense of responsibility to work to improve the lives of the poor or oppressed, rather than waiting until a picture goes viral.
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