The mission of NAFIS is to guide to God.
Established in 2005 as a non-profit organization, the mission of NAFIS is derived from verses 52 and 53 of Chapter 42 in the Qur’an, The Chapter of Consultation. God addresses His Messenger saying: “And indeed you are guiding to a straight path, the path of God, the One to whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth.” NAFIS seeks to follow and call to the straight path that leads to God by following in the footsteps of His Beloved Messenger.
We mean by guiding to God, turning to Him and calling others to turn to Him. The focus is on four major areas: (1) tarbiya (purification and education), (2) da’wa (calling to God), (3) engagement in society, (4) and collaboration with people of goodwill.
Turning to God means constantly remembering Him, striving to seek His pleasure, repenting to Him humbly, consistently seeking His forgiveness and mercy, constantly praying for His guidance and support, fully trusting in Him, strengthening our belief in Him, learning His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes, always being present with Him, loving Him unconditionally, helping others to know and build a strong bond with Him and ultimately becoming one of His beloved servants.
Turning to God starts with and is centered on being in the company of the true followers of God and His Messenger, Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace. Throughout the Qur’an, God reminds us of the importance of companionship: “And follow the way of those who turn to me” (Qur’an, 31:15), “O you who believe, fear God and be with those who are truthful” (Qur’an, 9:119). In addition, His Messenger has advised us, “A man is on the religion of his intimate companion, so let one of you consider well whose company he keeps.”
Turning to God means purifying ourselves through the process of tarbiya (purification and education). God says: “Truly, successful is the one who purifies it.” (Qur’an, 91:9). Tarbiya means purification of the heart from sin and diseases, such as arrogance, greed, envy, malice, self-satisfaction and heedlessness, and acquiring noble character traits such as humility, generosity, loving good for others, sincerity and constant awareness of God. If God wills in His generosity, this process of purification leads to the ultimate goal: nearness to God and experiential knowledge of Him.
The following are some of the practical means of tarbiya embraced by NAFIS:
- The Day and Night Schedule of the Believer: a variety of daily practices based on the Qur’an and Sunna and centered around the remembrance of God. The purpose of these practices is to strengthen one’s relationship with God and advance in the journey to Him, while staying engaged in and making a positive impact on society.
- The daily practice of du’a ar-rabita: a supplication for the righteous, past and present, whose primary purpose is to establish a strong spiritual bond and lasting relationship with the role models whom one prays for, and to follow their example in the hope of being counted amongst them in the presence of God.
- Qur’an memorization project
- Weekly study circles to renew and increase one’s knowledge of Islam
- Monthly gathering of nasiha: overnight gathering of complete devotion to and concentration on God through prayer, reading and study of Qur’an, learning, and dhikr (remembrance of and presence with God)
- Quarterly ribat: a spiritual retreat similar to an extended gathering of nasiha
- Annual conferences and summer camps
In addition to turning towards God, it is equally our responsibility to call others to Him through da’wa. God says: “And who is better in speech than one who calls to God, acts righteously, and says, ‘I am of those who submit to God’?” (Qur’an, 41:33). Da’wa means calling, inviting, and helping people to know, love and worship their Creator, God the Most High. In order for da’wa to be successful, it must take into account the background and needs of the one being called, and should be carried out through role-modeling and with gentleness, flexibility, patience, perseverance, open-mindedness, respect, no pressure or coercion, and above all with sincerity.
It is noteworthy that while striving to fulfill its mission of guiding to God, NAFIS firmly believes that guidance is ultimately in the hands of God. God says: “Verily, you do not guide whom you like, but God guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who receive guidance” (Qur’an, 28:56). And He says, “Do not claim sanctity for yourselves, God knows best who is truly conscious of Him” (Qur’an, 53:32)
As part and parcel of guiding to God, NAFIS also aims to understand and practice Islam in light of the circumstances and challenges of current times without compromising any of the core values and teachings of the faith. We believe that this is best achieved through cultivating a deep connection to God while being fully engaged in the social and political issues of our country in order to promote justice for people in the U.S. and throughout the world. This necessitates broad cooperation among different Muslim organizations, as well as with organizations and other faith communities that share similar goals and concerns for the well-being of our society and humanity.
NAFIS extends its hands and opens its hearts to anyone, Muslim or not, for the good of the people and the planet.