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From the Blog
Democratic Participation and the Balance Between Spiritual and Material Life
The modern world has seen the rise of theÂ nation state and the widespread acceptanceÂ of various forms of democracy. The successÂ and proliferation of democracy depends onÂ many different aspects. Amongst these areÂ the importance of the education of citizensÂ and their role in public life. Clearly, no democracyÂ can be successful and representativeÂ as long as large portions of the population areÂ marginalized because of educational, social,Â or economic inequalities. It is also the caseÂ that if people are not actually participating inÂ this form of government then those who doÂ not deserve power will obtain it.
For the believer democracy poses a setÂ of obligations that must be adhered to. TheÂ person must know their faith to a sufficientÂ level that enables them to engage theirÂ society and solve its problems. This requiresÂ a certain level of self-education that cannotÂ be ignored in any democratic society. TheyÂ must also commit themselves to continuousÂ and tireless engagement in the reform of theÂ society they live in. This in itself is a core ofÂ democratic participation. ThisÂ tireless commitment is not easyÂ and requires a certain level ofÂ struggle and spiritual readiness.
A person who is driven by theÂ conviction of their belief inÂ something greater than themselfÂ will be able to withstand theÂ constant struggle of true politicalÂ involvement.
The Prophet MuhammadÂ (peace be upon him and all theÂ Prophets and Messengers) onceÂ said, âYou will enjoin the goodÂ and forbid the evil, and if youÂ do not, then God will place theÂ bad amongst you in a positionÂ of leadership over you and thenÂ the prayers of the good amongstÂ you will not be answered.â
This narration is a clear callÂ towards social participation. OnÂ its basis anyone who believesÂ in something can learn that ifÂ they do not put their effort forthÂ in promoting that which theyÂ believe is best then others willÂ put their effort in and succeed. At that pointÂ prayers will only do so much as the personÂ did not do what they were supposed to doÂ before the prayers.Â Another lesson can be taken from this,Â which is the balance between spiritual andÂ material life. Many times it is argued againstÂ people of faith that they just believe inÂ something beyond themselves and thereforeÂ do not work in the affairs of this world asÂ they should. This is incorrect understandingÂ of faith. Faith requires one to work for thatÂ which they believe in, knowing at all timesÂ that no matter how hard they work, God isÂ in control of the results. This knowledge,Â however, does not deter them from workingÂ their hardest because that is what their LordÂ has requested of them.
And say, âDo [as you will], for Allah willÂ see your deeds, and [so, will] His MessengerÂ and the believers. And you will beÂ returned to the Knower of the unseen and theÂ witnessed, and He will inform you of whatÂ you used to do.â