Monday, 27 July 2009

Book Review : Agenda to Change Our Condition

First published in 1999, Agenda to Change Our Condition is a concise treatise written by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, which aims to offer a simple but profound life changing program for all Muslims who want to rectify their current state of apathy and heedlessness of God's commands. This is simply more than a book of Advice as it offers us the readers, a clear practical and effective guidance for rectifying our states as conscientious and productive Muslims. It is written in clear and simple English ensuring that everyone can implement its counsel. The book has two subjects that it places emphasis upon, Taqwa (God-consciousness) and Ikhlas (sincerity).Islam is a submission to reality and the acceptance of behaving in the manner ordained by God. Therefore, Taqwa and Ikhlas are crucial for Muslims in order to ensure that their lives conform this submission to God. Agenda To Change Our Condition is an indispensable handbook for all Muslims striving for excellence in character and self-refinement. The book is formulated from classical books by Scholars and Gnostics such as Imam al Nawawi, Imam al Ghazali, Sidi Ahmed Zarruq and many others (May God All Mighty Sanctify their secrets).These great friends of God have walked the path of God- Consciousness and left behind their advice in order to help future Muslims walk the trodden path also of Taqwa.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf makes the objective of the book clear :

"Our hope is that you take this manual seriously. It is rooted in the Book, the Sunnah, and the example of our pious predecessors. We hope that you will commit to implementing it to the best of your ability, that you find a group of brothers or sisters, whichever the case may be, and work together"

Despite being small in size, the treatise deals with some very lofty topics indeed. The topics covered include: Taqwa: Its Definition and Its Benefits, The Heart and its Treatment, Practical Steps to Change Our Condition, a series of exercises for achieving Taqwa as well as three new appendices taken from Imam Nawawi and Sidi Ahmed Zarruq (May God All Mighty Sanctify their secrets). I have no doubt that if one follows the advice contain in this book sincerely and aims to implement it in their complicated busy lives, the results will transform their inner and outer struggles.

Finally, I leave you with what one of the authors, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has said regarding his treatise:

"This path is indeed arduous, and it would appear to one looking at it that to arrive is too difficult for most of us. Let us set out first and then see how long we can last. A Divine wind will blow on your back, your feet will become light, and wondrous fellow wayfarers will show up with sustenance just when you thought you had none. Our success is by Allah, upon Him we place our trust, and to Him we return."

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