Award Philosophy

29:69

But those who struggle in Our cause, surely We shall guide them in Our ways; and God is with the good-doers.
Qur’an: 29:69 (Arberry)

Special consideration and priority is given to specific people in an attempt to be true to the Objectives of the Sacred Law or Maqasid Al-Sharia; a useful essay in this regard is the one by the esteemed scholar Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, LIVING ISLAM WITH PURPOSE.

1. Sacred Sciences of Islam

Whether studying at reputable institutions such as: Zaytuna College in the US or Cambridge Muslim College in the UK – or graduates of such programs, or the institutions themselves.  Similarly, programs like: Deen Intensive’s Rihla, Alim, Reviving the Islamic Spirit, Zawiyah at Rosales, Ta’leef, and similar efforts such as Classical Arabic Programs (e.g. Shariah Program).

2. General Financial Help

This includes people with difficult financial circumstances and who need help; especially those with particular circumstances like orphans, widows, people with disabilities, immigrants or refugees, and ex-convicts, etc. or people seeking to preform Hajj or Umrah, to cover urgent living or health expenses, or seeking to get married.

This also includes people who are trying hard to avoid interest or seek to repent from the major sin of interest or usury (i.e. riba): who beg God’s forgiveness and feel remorse for having fallen into it, who seek to get out of it, and wholeheartedly intend to live a life free from usury or interest.

If caught in heavy interest-based debt, see some of the organizations below in the FAQ section.

We pray that we are all granted Divine Facilitation to constantly make sincere repentance, to always avoid usury/interest and all sins, and to have meaningfully rich lives.  It is reported that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him said,

“The one who repents from a sin, is like the one who has no sin.”
(Ibn Majah, Tabarani, Abu Nu’aim, Bayhaqi

3. Specific Visionaries

‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.’ – Henry David Thoreau

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on the Roots of Our Crisis.

We are in dire need of volunteers, activists, thinkers, and institutions who are wisely and intelligently working at reforming society, visionaries who see the pitfalls in our times and are helping us redefine the way we look at the world to develop more meaningful, purposeful, and harmonious lives and communities.  Specifically those seeking to make balanced, grassroots, progressive change in the areas below among others.  The point is to encourage ourselves and our applicants to renew our intentions and to focus efforts on the root causes of societal problems.

COMMUNITY

as we have become disconnected from our Sacred Traditions, from the Earth and the sources of our nourishment, we have also become disconnected from each other – our families and communities continue to face enormous challenges.  We seek to support initiatives that aim to restore the centrality of family and community to our lived experience of the Sacred Tradition of Islam.  See some of the great work by Ta’leef and Tarjuma and Sanad.

EDUCATION

A tremendous amount of work has been done by many people who show that the old-school mass schooling model typically used in the West is a failed or even harmful model and that alternative methods are far superior for individuals and society at large.  For example, see the insightful work of the late Mr. John Taylor Gatto, Sir Ken Robinson, John Holt (the father of modern homeschooling), Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, the documentary Race to Nowhere and many others.

FOOD – HEALTH – ENVIRONMENT

We believe that our bodies, minds, and hearts are sacred trusts and that their nourishment affects our health, states, actions, and the environment-at-large – we cannot separate our individual health from the health of the planet, we are all connected, and in the Islamic Tradition, this goes further as the states of our hearts and the purity of our deeds affects our bodies and our world. The organic and fair trade food movements have been increasing in popularity.  Furthermore, much work is being done to help people understand the harms of the normal modern diet full of processed foods and artificial ingredients.  For example, see the outstanding work of Dr. Robert Lustig in advocating against sugar, and the many documentaries that resulted from his work (like Fed Up) – similarly, Michael Pollan and others have worked tirelessly to help offset the harms of the modern diet.  We seek to support people and causes that will help advance a holistic and honorable relationship between humanity and our sources of nourishment.

While there are many who would like to serve humanity in the capacity of medicine or health, there are relatively few who dig deep to get to root causes of modern health problems: for example, often there is little appreciation for holistic and traditional medicine and a dogmatic approach to ‘scientific medicine’ (see resources compiled by S.Hakim Archuletta and excellent research on the website of Sheikh Nuh Keller, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Medicine and Islam – A Holistic Approach to Healthcare)

See this insightful critique of modern medicine by Zelicoff and Bellomo that discusses, among many things, a modern preference for high cost treatment when simpler, cheaper, more effective treatments are available.  There is widespread corruption in the pharmaceutical industry (Sheikh Nuh Keller touches on this on his website).  There are institutional problems specifically in the US with similar issues in other countries, see Sicko by Michael Moore, and then see some of the pioneering of organizations such as  www.ummaclinic.org and www.muslimmeds.ca.

The point being: medical practitioners often only deal with micro band-aid solutions at the individual level; and while this may be good and praiseworthy, we are in dire need of critical thinking visionaries who can see through these colossal challenges and go to the roots of the problems and then advocate and dedicate themselves for solutions that will literally save and benefit hundreds of millions.

As for the environment as a whole, modern ways of living have had devastating affects on the entire planet including the land, air, and water we all share as well as specific harm to countless animal species.  As stewards of the Earth, it is our sacred duty to restore the balance in the world such that we live in harmony with all creatures.  For example, see what is being done by:

David Suzuki Foundation; Environmental Working Group; Environmental Defence; Council of Canadians, and many more. Many modern mass agricultural methods are harming each of us and eco-systems across the planet – see Cowspiracy.  There is a renewed push for small-scale solutions and local food movements are taking way across the globe; see the permaculture movement and www.soilassociation.org.  Similarly, what we wear has a tremendous impact on the world; the Organic Cotton movement, as part of the organic textile movement, is growing and needs much support, see the efforts of GOTS www.global-standard.org.

Then there are wide-spread use of chemicals and plastics in modern life, see Plastic Pollution Coalition and www.tappedmovie.com.  Stephanie Soechtig’s team also made this great clip giving a tip of the iceberg of personal harm behind modern cosmetics (not to mention environmental harm!) – amazingly, they report, newborns are exposed to ~300 chemicals via the umbilical cord; 1100 chemicals are banned in the EU and still allowed in the US; of the 80,000 chemicals in use in the US only 200 have been tested for safety.  That takes us into the wonderful world of scents, it is reported that “95% of chemicals used in scents are derived from petroleum” (i.e. the same stuff we put in our cars).  This is really harmful for us, our children, animals, plants, air, water, and land – for more information, see: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/myths-on-cosmetics-safety/ also see Story of Cosmetics.

May God grant us pure food and great health and a pristine environment on all levels.  Ameen.

ECONOMICS

Iana in its entirety is one humble effort to help combat the widespread oppression by the modern economic systems.  Much work is being done by other organizations to explore alternative local currencies, to advocate for credit unions over large banks, to prefer cash to over credit cards, and even to make a push for real currencies over cash.  See the work of Bruce Livesey in Thieves of Bay Street, or the documentary Money as Debt, and many more.  The inherent inequalities of modern economic systems hurt us all and lead to poverty and war – we need to do much more to raise awareness and to establish fair economic institutions and programs.  We believe adherence to the principles of Islamic Finance will solve our problems.

Economics, aside from the purely financial side, is in effect a means to affect all other areas of life, if we appreciate that ethical spending is a way to vote with our dollars – which causes, companies, organizations, or concepts to support or not support.  As such, there are many efforts in this regard such as:

www.thegoodshoppingguide.com  ;  www.betterworldshopper.orgwww.ethicalconsumer.org

By trying to be careful and intentional in how we spend our money, we can help reform our world on many levels including the environment, human rights, child welfare, animal rights, and more.  While Iana does not fully endorse any of these works in their entirety, they are providing tremendously beneficial services to help people be more ethical in their spending and to avoid being complicit in human and environmental injustice. 

There is much work being done here, on ethical earning and spending, and the over-arching Islamic Economic System by Dr. Adi Setia and others as highlighted in the international Journal for Islamic Sciences.

Other areas include: Law, Human Rights, Animal Rights, Politics, Pro-Peace/Anti-War, Journalism, Media, etc.


“each one             is a painter

each moment        making a mark

when you die         you step                              out

                     of the painting

and you look at your art”                        -Baraka Blue


God singles out for His mercy whom He will; God is of bounty abounding.
Quran 2:105 (Arberry)

Please read the Iana DISCLAIMER about references to other organizations.