The Volunteer Discipline

Allah knows best.

I, like many of us, am fortunate enough (Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah) to grow up in a good community. Not great, not bad either, but good. I was given the luxury of being raised in an environment where it does not rain bombs and where the sound of gunshots is not (at all) as common as singing birds. It is always healthy to remember that not all things are a hundred percent good and not all things are hundred percent bad. I was unfortunate to have been brought up in an environment where Islam is not practiced to the fullest and where alcohol and gambling is not uncommon.


All praises to Allah, I was fortunate to receive adequate primary and secondary education. This would mean that I meet old and new people continuously. I knew my neighbours, I knew my peers and I knew my teachers. Growing up in a community means having to think of other people instead of simply one’s self.

Being selfish is never an option, if anything, we must always put other people’s welfare first before our own. One of Shaytan’s greatest deceptions is convincing us that we barely have enough for ourselves; why should we give? Be careful. Nonetheless, this is not what I wish to highlight at the moment.

The point I would like to bring to light is the growing up in communities, putting other’s before you and therefore having at some point, do some volunteer work whether it be a school project, a neighbourhood activity or humble charity work.

The volunteer basis implies that you do not receive anything in return or rather, anything so lucrative. Many people at this point would demand “What’s in it for me?”.

We as Muslims are taught to make our intentions clear; are we doing this for so and so, or are we doing it for Allah? Everything should be in the name of Allah. He does not accept other intentions. If we do something, it must be in the name of Allah. When we do anything, when we help strangers, when we make donations, when we give, expect only the return from Allah. When you start to expect a return from anyone aside from Allah, then you know your intentions from the beginning was obscure. Your return can be withdrawn in akhirah, cashed to be your ticket to Paradise. That is what’s in it for you.

Now that you’ve volunteered your money and/or time and energy for a good cause, (in the name of Allah) you must possess, understand and practice the volunteer discipline. How we behave in this circle of people projects our commitment towards the cause of the project. It paints a portrait of how we feel about it and shows to what extent we care for the cause as well as our colleagues or the other volunteers. A few examples would be attending meetings, completing tasks and consulting group members or superiors. I think we can all agree that the major part of projects is completing tasks. Talk is cheap, so walk the talk.

Many times you are placed in a group, the group would consist of at least two people, including yourself. Your team is given a task along with a due date. Soon comes the due date, the task is as stagnant as the day it was delegated. No one has done anything because each one thought that the other would do it. The diffusion of responsibility happens when there are one; other people and two; selfishness.

Why would you assume that the task would be completed without you when clearly you are a part of the team? If you have an emergency or have prior commitments, then have the courtesy to let people know that you are sorry and are unable to participate. If you agree to do something, then it is already branded as amanah to you, people are depending on you — do it.

Your failure to inform your group members and your superior of your absence in participation in completing the task demonstrates that you do not respect them and the project. “There’s nothing in it for me anyway”. Your unfulfilled part has now caused a disruption in the flow of project, thus adding sudden, unexpected burden to people other than yourself, all because you were not amanah. So, be solicitous, be respectful and be amanah.

Indeed the faithful are those who have faith in Allah and His Apostle, and when they are with him in a collective affair, they do not leave until they have sought his permission. Indeed those who seek your permission —it is they who have faith in Allah and His Apostle. So when they seek your permission for some work of theirs, give permission to whomever of them you wish and plead with Allah to forgive them. Indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful. -62, An-Noor

The above verse from the twenty fourth surah, titled The Light explains the role of a leader and how he should allow dismissal from an assignment if appropriate, affordable and rational. The verse states that those who have faith are those who seek permission from the prophet. This brothers and sisters, means that these people have the decency and respect for the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to go up to him and explain their situation, thus asking for permission to excuse themselves. If the prophet felt that it was okay for them to go, then he would allow it and if he felt otherwise then he would not allow it. Indeed those who seek permission are those of iman.


If you feel that you have contributed so much, and that you are deserving of a break, and when you kindly request for it, your request has been denied, it is not because your boss or superior is unappreciative of you. On the contrary, it is because he values you and does not deem it affordable to allow you a leave. Do not on the other hand feel that when he does allow leave that he does not have the same opinion of you as he does in the former situation for the reason that here, he finds that it is affordable to let you go and he finds that you are deserving. Having said that, do keep in mind that he could also have a negative contradicting opinion of you when he does allow leave. Your presence and absence does not make a difference, so much so, it becomes rational to let you have leave.

“If your presence does not add value, than your absence will not make a difference”

“Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day do not ask you for leave [exempting them] from waging jihād with their possessions and their persons, and Allah knows best the Godwary.”

“Only those seek a leave [of exemption] from you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, and whose hearts are in doubt, so they waver in their doubt.” -44-45, At-Tawba

In this next two verses, it might seem contradictory to the first as it mentions that those who ask for permission are those of the disbelievers. The men who seek dismissal from the battlefield are the men whom you do not want to be there, on the battlefield, by your side. They will be a liability, possibly adding more burden to the readily heavy existent one.

So, let them be. Allow them to turn their back and leave. These are not the kind of people you want. Allah insults these men telling them to sit back with the women and children. These are the munafiqs.

The characteristics of the genuine munafiq;

1. Telling Lies
2. Treacherous
3. Excessive In Disagreements
4. Breaking Promises
5. Lazy In Performing Ibaadah
6. Riya’
7. Not As Much Of Doing Zikr
8. Hastening To End Salah
9. Condemning The Obedient and Righteous People
10. Making Fun of Al-Qur’an, As-Sunnah and Rasullah SAW
11. False Swearing (Perjury)
12. Unwilling To Infaq (spending wealth in the way of Allah SWT or sadaqah)
13. Not Paying Attention To The Fate Of The Muslims
14. Keen On Spreading False News
15. Denying The Taqdeer (Divine Decree or destiny)
16. Criticizing The Honor Of The Righteous People
17. Always Avoiding Salah In Jama’ah (Congregation)
18. Committing Corruptions On Earth With An 19. Excuse Of Doing Goods.
20. No Conformity
21. Fearing Any Incident Or Event
22. Being Evasive By Fabricating Illness
23. Encouraging Munkar and Preventing Ma’ruf
24. Miserly (Bakhil)
25. Forgetting Allah SWT
26. Denying The Promise Of Allah SWT and His Rasul
27. Arrogant In Speeches
28. Not Understanding Ad-Dien
29. Hiding From People And Fighting Allah SWT With Sins
30. Happy With The Calamities That Befall The Believers and Envious of Their Happiness

Now, ask yourself; am I a munafiq? The Quran has hundreds of verses discussing the munafiqun referring to them as more dangerous to Muslims than the worst non-Muslim enemies of Islam.

By: Zulaikha, Jan 2016

When Muslims Work Together, Sem. 3, Volunteer Discipline, Bayyinah Podcast, Nov 20th 2012


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