State of the Foundation

by Dr. Hassan Elannani, President of NAFIS


4th Shura Council

Apex Mosque, Apex, NC

Friday, November 24, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters, As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh

In the Name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. We thank Him and ask Him to shower His greetings and blessings upon the Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his companions, and his followers.

All praise is due to God Almighty who has brought us together in this blessed month of the commemoration of the birth of His best of creation, Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace. All praise is due to Him Almighty who has gathered us in this blessed mosque and welcoming community to discuss the affairs of NAFIS and set the stage for the next developments and projects with the Will of God. As you know well, the Shura Council plays an important role in steering the course of our organization and helping shape its future with the permission of God. I hope and pray that every member of the Shura Council contributes to the success of this meeting and make it a milestone in the history of NAFIS Insha’Allah.

The theme of the 4th Shura Council is “Empower today, lead tomorrow” based on verse 74 from Surah Al-Furqan “And make us leaders of the righteous”. Why do the believers ask God Almighty to make them leaders? Aren’t we instructed by the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of God be upon him) not to seek leadership positions? Aren’t we advised by the righteous generations of scholars and men of God to stay away from positions of responsibility? Isn’t it more righteous to avoid spotlight and keep low profile in our voluntary work?

I don’t think there is any contradiction between the Sunnah and the verse from Quran. If there is any difference, it should be in the way we approach leadership in our journey to serve the believers and people in general. The scholars of Islam, after weighing all the evidence from the Quran and Hadeeths said that it is permissible to ask for a position if the person is qualified and will only seek it to serve the people under his or her leadership.

As leaders gathering today in Apex, North Carolina, let us remember that it’s a great honor to serve the believers in NAFIS and all the people who benefit from its services. We are grateful to God for giving us this privilege and we ask Him to make us all leaders of the righteous so that we can help each member of our organization reach their potential and become leaders themselves. Ralph Nader, the consumer protection activist once said that, “the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers”. Imam Abdessalam Yassine, God bless his soul, was able to produce both, more leaders and more followers, and so can and should we.

Our organization is growing Alhamdulillah and members with leadership skills are very much needed to help with the amount of work at hand. Since the 3rd Shura Council, many developments have happened at the national and local levels and more is coming Insha’Allah. That’s why the Board of Trustees has made leadership the theme of this Shura meeting with the understanding that every member of NAFIS is a potential leader and guide to God, first and foremost.

Now let me introduce to you a summary of achievements and areas of development for the year of 2016 based on NAFIS Strategic Table and Key Performance Indicators that I will present to you in great details right after this speech:

  • We have surpassed our targets for three of our seven keys to success: tarbiya, external engagement, and centers. We opened a new center in the state of Georgia and our current centers in the states of NC, IL, and MA are all growing, alhamdulillah. We plan to build on such success and advance it by opening new centers in other states such as PA, NJ, and NY.
  • We have made progress in two keys to success: members engagement and finance related to membership dues. But we have not met our targets yet. To do so, we have plans such as asking shura members who do not pay their dues or give donations to do so at the Shura Council meeting in order to show a role model for all members to do the same. Also, we plan to restructure NAFIS directly per state, removing the regional level from our organizational structure, in order to optimize the use of our human resources and so better engage our members in achieving our vision of establishing NAFIS across the United States.  
  • We have fallen back on three keys to success: da’wa, finance related to members’ donations, and members’ satisfaction. To address this low performance in da’wa, we have launched several initiatives such as: a new public 5-step da’wa process that includes a new Introductory Prophetic Method program to recruit new members; a new website, a new Facebook page, and a new YouTube video channel to better promote NAFIS; a new book The Muslim Woman: Journey into the Light (V.1) to promote the Prophetic Method; and a new program called LEAD to train and produce new leaders.
  • As for our fourth key to success, children, which includes kids and youth, we do not have any performance indicators yet. However, the Family and Kids Committee has made significant progress such as the 1st Kids Camp that is being organized in parallel to this meeting. For the youth, a plan has already been developed but incha’Allah will be implemented as soon as possible.

In order to both sustain the above achievements and successfully address the above areas for improvement, the engagement and contribution of each of you are essential.

Before I conclude this speech, please let me share with you an excerpt from the book “Shura and Democracy” by Imam Yassine, may God shower him with His mercy. On pages 14 and 15, the Imam describes five qualities of the believers from Surah “Ashura”:

  1. They believe that life is a journey that continues after death.
  2. They believe that what is in store with God is better and everlasting.
  3. They believe that God gives the best rewards in the Hereafter to those who rely on Him more than on their means and efforts.
  4. They are pure in heart. They stay away from major sins, and when they commit small sins, they return to God for repentance.
  5. They have control over their temper and emotions.

In these five points, the Imam wants to remind us about the essence of Shura and the core values of the people who seek to apply it in their lives. As Muslim Americans gathered here to help each other understand the bylaws amendments, the Key Performance Indicators, and the reports by selected committees, the Imam’s words take us back to the origin of Shura: the 100% certainty of meeting God after death; the total belief that the Hereafter is better than this life; the complete trust in God; the purity of heart through remembrance of God; and the soundness of character in dealing with each other. These are also qualities of the leaders of the righteous; the leaders who guide people to the right path; the path of Shura, advice, and brotherhood in the context of the Qur’an and the Prophetic Method.

May God Almighty give us all the success in embracing these qualities of the people of Shura, and may the Blessings and Peace of God be upon the Messenger, God bless him and gran him peace, his family, his companions, his brothers, and his party.