Survival Mentality

by Shaykh Muhammad Al-'Abdah

There is no doubt that the largest group inside the Islamic societies today is the one described by Ibn al-Qayyim as ashaab al-`aql al-ma`eeshee or 'the people of survival mentality'. They are the ones constantly worried about raising their living standards, or guarding existing ones. They are seen thinking day and night in these matters, and they are seen day and night exhausting themselves in working towards matching the living standards of their friends and neighbours. As a result their talk is always regarding the house, the clothes, the car, the furniture and the wage.

This strata of society is large. They became content with life, but as they possess no mission became inconsequential in shaping society. Can the Callers of Islam gradually motivate them to become people of principle, mission and adherence? This transition will not be too difficult for some, and can take place in their gatherings if they hear powerful reminders and effective speech. The content of such speech is the elaboration on Allah's majesty and greatness in His decrees and creations, His signs in the humans and horizons. Also, the ahadith on the Last Day, the demise of transgressing nations and individuals, present and past, and the illustration of Islam's splendour.

It is paramount for Da'wah that those large sections of society enter it so it can substantiate itself, and be a force on the ground. It is important for the hitherto foes or neglectful people to come in on the side of the Islamic Call, for they might become stronger and more enthusiastic in trying to compensate what they had lost or neglected. There are of course many other ways to attract such people or just some of them, yet we are neglectful in reviving the methods of Da`wah, and in doing our utmost to be connected with the masses of the Ummah and its Call to adhere to Allah's way.

When the scholar of the Ummah `Abd Allah bin `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu was heard interpreting the Surah al-Baqarah in Mina during Hajj, it was said that had the Jews and Christians heard him, they would have embraced Islam. This is proof that knowledge of Allah's book and referring to it in the right context will affect the most hardened of people, especially if that speech was uttered from a person whose heart is sincerely concerned with the affairs of Muslims.

Extracted 09/06/02 from


E-mail your comments to