24 Sep Eid-Ul-Adha Message from MAPS President – Fostering Model Citizen
Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmat Ullahi Wa Barakatuhu / Peace and Blessings be upon you
Eid Mubarak to all of you. Kullu Am Wa An-tum Bi-Khair.
Eid Mubarak to all of you. Kullu Am Wa An-tum Bi-Khair.
Once again this year, as it has been for 1400 years, Muslims from around the world, including many from our community led by our very own Imam Joban, answered the call of Islam and completed the Hajj. Congratulations to them and congratulations to all of you here. May Allah, The Almighty, accept their Hajj, accept their supplications and forgive all their sins.
The Hajj is the most unifying of Islamic experiences. The Hajj not only gathers Muslims from every corner of the globe – Muslims of every color, every language, every background, every social status, and every school of thought – but it also connects us with Muslims across time. And as we celebrate Eid, as we relive the ideals of Ibrahim (pbuh) – a Prophet revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, – as we give charity and as we sacrifice and feed the poor, we are further reminded of the common bond that we share with the rest of humanity. At MAPS, we take these lessons to heart and our Vision, which aims to create a well-balanced community that is welcoming to all, is clearly built on that. I have previously explained how our Vision is founded on the 4 cornerstones of: Faith, Inbound Good, Outbound Good and Model Citizen. Today, I would like to focus on one of these pillars – that of Model Citizen.
What does Model Citizen mean? Who is a Model Citizen? And, how do we aspire to become one?
In surah 4, verse 36, Allah says:
Qur’an 4:36 “Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful;”
This verse defines the Model Citizen. Islam requires us to do good to all those around us – those who are near and those who are far, those who are known and those who are strangers, those whom we meet once or those with whom we spend all of our lives, those who has status over us and those who have no status whatsoever. Being a Model Citizen means doing good to all in our society. Being a Model Citizen is not a luxury but a commandment from Allah, The Wise.
Recently I was reading a book called “Mindset” by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. The author lays out relevant lessons on how we can help foster and cultivate Model Citizens within our community. Model Citizens combine two properties, their intellect and hard work, to achieve magnanimous goals. The whole process starts with our mindset – how we approach our circumstances, think about our challenges, internalize the solutions and then tenaciously and flawlessly execute. We need to cultivate this mindset in ourselves, our kids and our youth. A mindset of Growth and not one of being Fixed. A mindset of Movement and not one of being Stagnant. A mindset of Achievement and not one of being Idle.
With a Fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success-without effort. They are wrong.
With a Growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work-brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had this Growth mindset.
To become Model Citizens, we too need to cultivate such a Growth mindset in ourselves and in our children. Let us approach everything we face with the wisdom of careful reflection and the courage of hard work. Let us not be thinkers who cannot do and doers who cannot think!
Let me give you an example of a Model Citizen. The 14-year old Muslim kid, Ahmed Mohammed, who channeled his ingenuity, his passion for Engineering and his do-it-youself skills into building a working clock IS a Model Citizen. He combined intellect with hard work. It is true that we have some ignoramus claiming that a Muslim cannot become the President of this country. Such people live with a Fixed Mindset. Ahmed got a lot of support from people with Growth Mindsets – starting with the President, to the CEO of Facebaook and other tech companies, to Professors at MIT. We are thankful to Allah The Generous to be living in a country where when things go wrong the majority supports and corrects it. We need more Ahmed’s to be leading the world with their innovation and creating a long lasting positive impact on the world. And, mark my words – a Muslim Model Citizen with a Growth Mindset will Insha-Allah one day become President of this great country! We have to evolve as a community to address the challenges of now! While laying a strong foundation for humanity, by focusing on becoming Model Citizens.
I want to close by thanking Sk.Nabil for his relentless effort in making us read and understand the Quran; Sk. Joban for sharing his knowledge through his classes and halaqas and helping us build the community; Br. Abdulselam for his unwavering effort in managing operations; our cleaning staff, our volunteers, our teachers, our city, police and officials who help us think about safety of our community and all of you for putting your trust in us and praying for us.
Let me leave with you with 3 things to remember and implement:
ONE – Let us all try to aspire to become Model Citizens by changing our mindset to one of Growth instead of Fixed. It will Insha-Allah yield tremendous results.
TWO – Prioritize helping, supporting and establishing our centers here in United States. Let us join to create an unshakeable foundation for our next generation right here.
THREE – Provide your constructive feedback to us. Let us know what we are doing right and where we need to improve. And do continue to support MAPS with your ideas, with your time by volunteering and with your financial support so we can always improve and grow.
And finally, I would like to welcome all the new people who have come to MAPS for the first time. This is your masjid and your center. Irrespective of who you are and where you came from, you are one of us. As one of the sisters who is new to community rightfully put it “MAPS accepts me for who I am without any prejudice and that is why I come here.” Please take time after the prayers to explore your masjid and programs. Grab a copy of the annual report where we have listed our activities. Subscribe to our newsletter. Let us give you a tour. Become a part of our community and help us in creating the programs and experiences which will shape our Model Citizens.
Our belief in Allah, living our lives according to His will, helping the needy, and learning from the examples of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) will serve as a common ground for us to Lead the Way in this journey.