So You Want to Be a Muslim Activist?

Posted on January 28, 2011 by


Article written by Michelle Yeung, for the Allahcentric blog



I have been blessed to have met, and worked alongside, some great Muslim activists. What do I mean by the term activist? An activist is someone who has a vision, and strives to see that vision made a reality. Driven by high intentions and goal oriented, they inspire others and bring about positive change.

Great activism does not have to be on a huge scale, people can be active in a small community or school group, but the effect can potentially be felt globally. Utilizing modern technology and free communication methods has enabled many activists to operate on a much larger scale, via blogs, Facebook and Twitter for example.

Talk Like a Muslim Activist

Choose any phrase from each column to make sentences and try them out on your friends. Do they believe that you’re the next great Muslim activist?

Never will we stop campaigning until the strategic model our nation will follow embraces the need for total transformation in our communities
Tungle me, so we can discuss how a renewed commitment to total excellence realises an iconic message for all of mankind
Utilizing Facebook following the 3-step approach can help to ensure that a constant stream of positive media messages incorporates the much needed traditional aspects of Muslim society
We believe that positive change will be a reality when the pulse of the latest Muslim initiatives embodies a new modernity that is religio-centric
Together we must reestablish sound leadership so that unity is fostered which instills a holistic approach to the search for truth


This  demonstrates how easy it is to “talk the talk”, but what does it take to actually “walk the walk”?


Walk Like a Muslim Activist

The most effective Muslim activists I know have a vision, and their vision revolves around pleasing Allah, and they follow the example of our beloved Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Having excellent adab is essential (a recommended online course by SeekersGuidance), and is always present in truly successful activists.

“The vision for Muslim activists must be striving for ma’rifah (the beatific vision) not trivial worldly matters. We must remember      that ultimately, the ends and the means are none other than Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). We often lose focus when we fail to keep   vigilant of our own selves and its base tendencies or do so but fail to take ourselves to account. The way forward is to constantly strive to match our intentions and actions with those of our noble Prophet (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) who was above all else a uniter of hearts in the worship of God. Activism rooted in other than Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and His Messenger (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) may have some success but will ultimately prove transient and ineffectual.” Br. Khuram Zaman, Allahcentric blog founder and columnist.

Activists can rarely go it alone. They need people to help them to get the necessary tasks done to make the vision a reality.

Technician: Most of us begin at this stage. Many never leave it, but that’s okay, the world needs great technicians. They get tasks done, effectively and efficiently.

Manager: Once a technician puts together the processes needed to make all the individual tasks come together, and they train other technicians to do the tasks, they become a manager.

Visionary: If the manager can then get those people to manage themselves, and in turn train other technicians, then they become a visionary.

The most effective Muslims activist I know are  great visionaries, but it’s not enough just to have an idea of how one wants things to be. A three year old child can formulate plenty of nice ideas for example. Rather, we must learn how to execute our ideas, and be prepared to invest the time and energy into research, planning, people, and making it all happen.

“Activism that challenges the status quo-that attacks deeply rooted problems-is not for the faint of heart.” Malcolm Gladwell at Ta’leef Collective, via Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Michelle Yeung is a British convert, currently living in Toronto, Canada with her husband. She serves as the educational services manager for SeekersGuidance, and runs the sister has style blog.

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