The following is a useful article written by a brother some years ago.
The thinking for change is essential in life. It is a thinking that exists inevitably in people and exists by the mere feeling of life alone. It is one the most important types of thinking. The thinking for change, whether it concerns the changing of individuals and their situation, or societies, or the circumstances of peoples and nations, or anything that requires change, involves the change of people in their quality as human beings. Any discussion about the thinking for change must start by determining a view to change itself, and a view to the human being.
Change is motion (Harakah) and motion is life (Hayat). Stagnation (Jamoud) is death. In fact, life is nothing but a manifestation of growth (Namoo) and motion. Indeed, change is evolution, in that, it aims at the transference of a matter from one situation to another situation. Life, in all its manifestations, is in continuous motion and hence, change. So, the submission to fatalism and the stagnation of life are from the greatest dangers; they bring the peoples and nations to ruin and extinction and the individuals to disintegration, gradually, as events occur and days pass. Thus, statements such as "the world is ill-fated" or "the Ummah is bad and beyond salvation" are of the most dangerous thoughts in this world. Hence, it is the most important type of thinking since it allows one to proceed through life and its various forms (Ishkal). The desire for change is deep-rooted and natural in all. The very feeling of life brings about this desire, since it is a feeling of the continuous motion of matter from one situation to another and its growth in all directions. No-one can fail to see that man does not live in a vacuum of one day, but thinks about his future, whether it were close or distant, temporal or beyond. Man is never absolutely content with the reality he lives within, if it is good he seeks better, if it is bad or corrupt he desires to better it. Hence, man has much nostalgia for the past and constantly aspires for the future, yearning for it. While the feeling for change is a natural and inevitable matter, there exist factors and circumstances that restrain or restrict this desire, or alternatively, that drive it forth in strength. This is due to the work for change being burdensome and tedious requiring great efforts and sacrifices, and the natural physical and mental disparities amongst people in terms of strength and motivations. The weak and lazy fear change, whilst the rulers and those termed conservatives, wage war against it and all those who work for it, mercilessly, attacking their provisions and lives. They seek only to preserve their present situation, either to maintain a particular interest or because they know no better. Those who custom and habit govern require change, yet fear it, since it takes them from one situation to another.
Man is a living being and like all living beings possesses and shares in common certain properties. So he grows and ages, gives birth and multiplies, preserves himself and defends himself. He feels his weakness and need and sentiment and sympathy, and feels much more all of which he pursues in the path of satisfaction. Man, from birth to death, is in permanent motion seeking such satisfaction .Such feelings and desires result from a vital energy latent within him. The vital energy contains natural feelings (Ahsassat Tabi'ee) that drive man towards satisfaction and produce emotions (Masha'er). This energy demands satisfaction and hence drives man to perform diverse actions in order to realise this satisfaction. The vital energy is the original energy (taqa tal-asliy) in every man, it stems from the Fitra (human nature), which are those attributes existent in man as part of his form, much like the attribute of cutting of a knife fashioned from a piece of metal. This vital energy has two distinct aspects: one demanding satisfaction definitively and inevitably and the other merely demanding satisfaction. They are both the organic needs and the instincts respectively. The organic needs are those vital energies demanding definitive and inevitable satisfaction and if not satisfied lead to man's death. They relate to the very existence of the vital energy, like eating, drinking and the call of nature. They also require certain conditions, such as sleep and rest, which if neglected for a while lead to distraction. The impetus that drives the organic need is internal by itself. So hunger is felt regardless of one's external circumstance, when its time approaches. However, there may also be an external influence on the organic need that motivate it like the sight, smell or discussion of food and drink. The instincts are those vital energies that merely demand satisfaction, if they remain unsatisfied anxiety, agitation and unrest is felt rather than death. So not fulfilling the sexual inclination or the desire to own will not lead to extinction of the person but will cause an anxiety and unrest. The instincts are natural inclinations whose impetus is not internal at all but is rather external. The instincts are moved to satisfaction only when an external impetus stimulates and influences them causing these natural inclinations to form emotions. This external impetus is of two types: (a sensible perceptible reality that influences the emotions) or (thoughts having meanings that relate to, realities or things, that influence the emotions). For example, the sexual inclination may be motivated by the sight of a beautiful woman or the speaking about realities that denote the sexual feeling for someone. Hence, the need for sexual activity is felt when either of the two motivators, that of a reality or a thought denoting a reality, influence the instinct. If after this motivation the need is not satisfied agitation and anxiety will ensue and unrest will establish itself in the heart of the person. However, in the absence of an external impetus the desire for sexual activity will not exist at all, since, there is no internal impetus coming from purely within the person. Whilst the instinct is a natural energy existing within the person it cannot move towards satisfaction without an external stimuli. In this case the agitation or unrest within the person cannot exist in absence of the impetus and the person will remain settled.
The Western world has with short-sightedness and stupidity introduced and proliferated the sexual publications and stories and encouraged the mixing of men and women, with no regard for the khalwa (isolation), in these acts they have constantly motivated the sexual feeling at every turn and down every path. The person is busily involved in seeking satisfaction for this feeling constantly and is prone to anxiety and unrest when he is not satisfied, and he will never be satisfied enough. Hence, Western societies suffer from the permanent hardship of constant unrest. Islam deals with the sexual inclination preventing the motivation of the instinct except through marriage and by preventing the entrance of the motivator of the sexual feeling into the public domain. The instincts are several and not one. The feeling of survival inherent within every person pushes him for self-preservation. This is a natural feeling for survival and immortality of oneself alone. This is the survival instinct and has many manifestations including that of ownership, fear and bravery and the love of dominance, sovereignty and leadership. As an example, fear is an inevitable manifestation of the survival instinct it is a dangerous problem if it is the fear of illusions and phantasms and this is the problem of the weak-minded who are weak or deficient in their ability of linkage of information to reality. To remove this the weak concepts about such realities must be removed and the level of sensation and thought raised. The fear due to the incorrect evaluation of the results of the performance or non-performance of the action is another danger it may result in refraining from participation in the battle due to fear of loss of life resulting in the loss of the battle for all. Or the fear of speaking out against the ruler resulting in the maintainance of an oppressive system over all. However, fear of real dangers is beneficial and is a guardian and protector since it makes one aware of real dangers. As is fear of Allah and his punishment. The feeling for the survival of the species manifests itself in the inclination of desire to the opposite sex, the feeling of compassion for the mother and the feeling of fatherhood, all this with the intent of progeny and maintainance of the species. It also manifests itself in the humanitarian property, where if one sees a drowning person he will rush to save him, seeking no material value but the humanitarian one. The sexual feelings towards the same sex or animals are not from the natural inclinations and are deviations from the natural feeling. This instinct is the species instinct and it is not the sexual instinct, rather it is feeling for the survival of the species. The natural feeling of limitation and need results in the respect for great powers, the reverence of heroes and the worship of Allah. For this is the religious instinct (tadayon) which stems from the natural feeling of weakness and the need for an organising Creator (Khaliq Mudabir). It manifests in the reverence, being the highest of sincere heartily respect. Worship is also an effect of this instinct. This instinct has been denied or misguided in satisfaction resulting in the worship and reverence of creation over the centuries or the sanctification of individuals and science by the atheists, those unnatural deviants from their own nature. These are the two aspects of the vital energy that demand satisfaction. Their existence is not directly sensible (perceptible) but is felt by the existence of their manifestations. Hence, one feels hunger and thirst indicating the presence of such organic needs. Also, the manifestations of the instincts are the instinctive responses to the motivating impetus and prove the existence of these three instincts. However, it should be clear that the manifestations stem from the original feeling unique to each instinct, survival of oneself, one's species and the innate feeling of weakness. This relationship can be likened to that between a root and a branch. Whilst the branch stems naturally from the root, anyone of the branches may be replaced for another without affecting the root. So, the inclinations and feelings for one's mother may be replaced by a feeling of fatherhood without affecting the satisfaction of the original instinct. The manifestations of the instincts appear according to the movement of the instincts in response to the external impetus, be it a thought or a sensed reality. These feelings of the instincts (Ahsassat al-Gharaiz) (in the metaphorical sense) in response to either impetus are the emotions. All animals, being living beings like man, share this vital energy and instinctive response to external motives. However, their behaviour does not proceed beyond the instinctive response to an externally sensed reality from which they acquire the instinctive distinction.
Man possesses the mind, the comprehension of reality by issuing a judgment over it. This distinguishes him from all other living beings providing him with the capacity to organise his satisfaction. When man experiences an instinctive response and a resultant demand for satisfaction he is faced with two questions. Firstly, what are the things that are suitable for man's satisfaction? Secondly, are such things allowed or disallowed to him? Both these questions require specific thoughts that judge these realities. If the meanings of these thoughts denote a reality that is either sensible externally or a reality built on a sensible reality, providing that the reality is visualised in his mind, and believed in, a concept is formed. This belief would exist if the thought convinced man and this would occur if the thought agreed with the sensed reality. Hence, since concepts are those thoughts believed in man's behaviour will proceed according to them. As for the first question previously mentioned, whether or not a thing satisfies the desire and satiates the need? This is answered by the establishment of concepts about the suitability of the thing for satisfaction. So can an apple satisfy hunger as opposed to a rock, does the clothing protect from the heat and cold. These concepts about things (Shay) are rarely disputed and almost universally agreed upon, except for the dispute relating to personal taste and preference. The existence of these concepts about things within a person when combined with motives for satisfying the vital energy, forms the inclinations towards things within the person. The second question of the allowance or non-allowance of the thing for satisfaction is an external matter to the essence of the thing or man. It is a response to a principle or a set of principles, in other words, to the point of view about life. For Muslims this would be the Halal and Haram. These concepts about life relate to the change of man unlike the concepts about things. As man proceeds through life developing such concepts he develops strong inclinations and as he experiences the diverse styles and forms of life, coupled with his concepts about life, he acquires a distinctive taste in these matters. These inclinations drive his satisfaction in a particular direction and provides a source of fuel for action and concern for thought. This is since it is the emotive aspect of man that provides a sense of urgency and concern about judging the issues of life and pursuing tasks. Infact, the behavior is understood to be those actions performed to satisfy the organic needs and instincts. These inclinations themselves mix inevitably with the concepts about life leading to the formation of the disposition of man. However, man is not pure feeling alone, although it is true that the sentiment in him is the blazing passion(emotion), rather he possesses a mind and can evaluate the various issues of life. This mind is suitable to lead and govern the sentiment. Hence, the way man thinks will be a dominant factor on his behaviour. This way of thinking will be crystallised if it measured according to a principle or principles. This is the mentality and it is the principle or principles that determine the nature of the mentality. From these two elements the mentality and the disposition, the personality is formed. The personality acts in life and this is his behaviour. The personality may be disparate and weak if its guiding principles are many and if a disparity exists between the mentality and the disposition, in terms of the concepts. However, if there is a single principle that guides the mentality and also the concepts about life that organise the direction of the disposition, then the personality will be strong, despite the possible lapses in behaviour, and distinct, particularly if this thought was an aqeeda about life that functioned as an intellectual basis. So any thinking for change must consider all the factors that constitute the human behavior and personality in terms of drives and concepts. The state of the one targeted for change, in terms of these inclinations and thoughts, must be studied meticulously, the obstacles to change within him identified and the most influential and productive styles adopted to yield swift results by shortening the time between the action for change and its results.
INITIATING THE THINKING FOR CHANGE
The thinking for change whether concerning the changing of individuals themselves, societies, or the circumstances of peoples and nations requires the change of the basis of living and the basis of life. This is since any effort for change not starting with the basis is a mockery of this thought for change and not serious. One cannot change the branch without changing the root. Changing the basis means changing the collection of basic thoughts that dominate the person or group. These thought would need to be changed in order to change the personalities and behaviour of the ones targeted for change. Changing the basic thoughts would be changing the basic concept, the basic criteria and the basic conviction to the correct and honest ones. By changing these thoughts one would change the basic values of things and thoughts completely. This basis in any people would constitute the viewpoint about life. If the viewpoint were wrong or non-existent the change would be needed. But, if the basis is correct no change would be required and the idea for change would not even enter the hearts and minds of those who carry it. This correct basis would be a rational doctrine that agrees with man's human nature (that is the religious instinct).Those who possess such a basis would not need to think for change in themselves but ought to think for it in other peoples and nations foreign to them.
THINKING FOR CHANGE
The thinking for change does not mean the existence of the feeling of the necessity for the change of a situation or thoughts. Rather it means the existence of a situation in this universe requiring change. This is since man has the humanitarian property that emanates from the species instinct. This drives him to feel concern for all people in their quality as humans and once the thinking for change of one's own situation is complete the thought to change all other people's and nations foreign to him, must exist for it to be a true thinking for change. Infact, the thinking for change cannot stop until the universe submits to the assured basis upon which the one who seeks change launches his campaign. The thinking for change breaks free from the depths of the souls (nafs) of people. It is deep rooted in people since the events of life motivate this feeling for change, life itself is constantly changing and the mere feeling of life is enough to initiate it. Hence, the thinking for change is an inevitable matter in human beings, despite the strong forces placed in front of change by those who would thwart it. People can be made thinkers in change by the way of convictions, an overpowering force (coercion) or the actual occurrence of change. The way of convictions is the best and most powerful manner to establish the thinking for change. Since, it requires the intellectual awareness of the reality of the situation requiring change and an intellectual feeling for the envisioned change. The overpowering force may initiate a thinking for change though it is not sufficient to keep the thinkers in change continual in their thinking, since without a serious interest it will be extinguished. The actual occurrence of a change causes people to realise the full value of change and makes the thinking for change easy and highlights the necessity for this change.
ASPECTS OF THINKING FOR CHANGE
The thinking for change is an inevitable and natural matter. But people differ in their ability to pursue change and realise it, and in their ability to think for a change in productive manner. Some people differ in their motives, purposes and aims in seeking change. Varying from the partial to the high, from the selfish to the concern for others. These diverse aims depend on the strength of the intellectual awareness. This is since man does not seek change unless he senses a corrupt reality requiring change. Sensation of reality is a basic condition of the intellectual process, understanding cannot come without a sense of reality. However, the sense of the material matters is termed the sensible understanding (Idrak al-Hessi) such as the coldness of ice or sweetness of honey. The sensing of the non-material issues like corruption, goodness and badness and honour is other than this, it is termed the intellectual feeling (sensation). The intellectual feeling (Ihsas al-fikri) is the use of a previous thought to define the manner of judging a reality. Hence, the sensing of the corruption of a situation requires the intellectual feeling. However, the intellectual sensation differs in terms of strengths amongst people from those with the sensitive senses (Ihsas al-Marhaf) who are swift at sensing the corruption, to those of normal senses requiring some attention in their sensing, till the weak in sensing, who are shallow in sensation. Hence, the strength of awareness and the previous thought determines the strength of the work for change, since it determines the strength of the sensing of corruption.
The other side to this the intellectual awareness is the feeling of the alternate reality, change is being directed towards. Such a vision established by conviction represents the seriousness in pursuing change. As well as awareness, a seriousness in thinking and working for change must exist. Seriousness in thinking for a change would be placing a specified target and striving to realise this target. It would also involve a good vision about the reality being thought about which would include the laying of a detailed plan with clearly defined and understood steps in the way to achieve that aim. This will ensure that the aim will be both practically as well as rationally possible in the minds of the people. Seriousness in working for change would mean performing actions to the same level of the intended aim. So actions unsuitable to the specified aim will not be chosen rather actions that achieve the aim in a productive manner.
Revival is linguistically an energy or power and its location is one of a high place. Revival is a transference from a situation to a better situation. So it is a change. However, this motion is an elevation from a lower state to a higher one. Revival is in fact an intellectual elevation, since man does not truly raise up except on the basis of the thoughts about life he carries in terms of the organisation of his affairs. Thus, the elevation is the transference from the aspect of pure animality to the human aspect. If this elevation is based on a spiritual foundation that it will be a true revival based on an aqeeda that takes care of the affairs of this world and the here-after.
The Muslim Ummah has been blessed with a decisive belief that is arrived to through the use of the mind and hence is rational. It is built on the mind agreeing with the rational principles and answers human nature perfectly. It possesses a political spiritual aqeeda that founds a noble ideology providing solutions to all human problems. It is an intellectual basis and intellectual leadership that by its very nature demands no change in itself, since it is the height of perfection, but motivates change in all places for all peoples till its message reaches every part of this universe and its state overshadows the world.