Building Empowerment and Equity: The Importance of Advocacy in Islam

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Advocacy shines as a force for positive change. Through life’s challenges and the inequities of the world, it plays a vital role in raising awareness and facilitating social, political, and policy transformation. As its influence is not limited by borders or boundaries. Rather, it transcends them, touching the lives of individuals, communities and entire societies. 

In Islam, advocacy also holds great significance, aligning with the principles of justice, compassion and community welfare. 

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌۭ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ 

“Let there be a group among you who call [others] to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil—it is they who will be successful.” 

Ali ‘Imran, 3:104

In this article, we explore the profound impact of advocacy, within Islamic history and in the present. 

Advocacy in the Early Days of Islam

Advocacy held a central position in the formative years of Islam, serving as a driving force behind the growth and ethical foundation of the Muslim community. At its heart was the remarkable leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), whose character embodied the fundamental Islamic principles of compassion, justice, and moral integrity. 

In carrying out his mission from Allah (SWT), he was a living embodiment of the values he preached. His advocacy went far beyond the confines of words; it manifested in his daily actions and interactions with the diverse individuals of his community. 

Advocacy by the Sahabah and Sahabiyat

The Prophet (ﷺ)’s unwavering commitment to justice and peace also set a profound example for those who followed him. His companions, the Sabahah and Sahabiyat, played pivotal roles in early Islamic advocacy. They were torchbearers of his teachings, actively engaging in dialogue to spread the message of Islam. 

One remarkable example is the story of Bilal ibn Rabah, the first muezzin (one who calls the adhan). Despite the many hardships he faced as a former slave and as one of the first followers of Islam, he had an unwavering commitment to his faith. He had an unyielding resolve to stand up for his beliefs, even in the face of danger and persecution. 

Another example of a Sahabah who demonstrated advocacy was Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the first male convert to Islam. He was known courageous personality, noble character, simplicity and for being a symbol of justice and fairness.

Likewise, several Sahabiyat also showed remarkable commitment to advocacy and social justice. 

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the first convert to Islam, was a source of strength and wisdom for the early Muslim community. She uses her resources to support, empower and advocate for the community, even during times of struggle, such as during the boycott of Muslims in Makkah. 

Similarly, Umm Salama (Hind bint Abi Umayya) one of the Prophet’s wives, was known for her wisdom and counsel. After the death of her husband, she offered her support to the community and played a crucial role in mediating disputes and advising on matters of faith. 

In essence, advocacy in the early days of Islam encompassed faith, social justice and ethical conduct. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his companions led by example and their legacy continues to inspire advocacy efforts today, reminding us that true change begins with unwavering commitment to the principles of compassion, justice and moral integrity.

Empowering Individuals in Society Today

In the modern world, advocacy remains a powerful force for positive change. It empowers individuals and communities by giving a voice to the marginalised, raising awareness about critical issues and fostering active citizenship. It builds alliances, shapes policies, and addresses global challenges, ultimately working towards a more just and inclusive world.

At MWA, we are deeply committed to advocacy, carrying forward the legacy of the early Muslim community to champion the rights and well-being of those in need within our communities. 

Our vision revolves around advocating tirelessly for equality and the rights of all women, guided by our Islamic principles. Rootedt trust, sincerity, transparency, and authenticity, we strive to ensure that our advocacy work is not just effective but also conducted with integrity and empathy.

MWA offers community programs for Muslim women, youth, seniors and mothers, nurturing well-being and empowering individuals to be advocates in their communities. We also offer support for women and families form from CALD and faith-based backgrounds to access crucial services, including Legal Aid, Housing, Education, Domestic Violence Support, Health Services, Employment, and more, ensuring they have the resources to thrive and be heard in society.

In the history and the present, advocacy remains a powerful tool for positive change and a testament to the resilience and determination of those who stand up for justice, equality and empowerment. In a world full of challenges, let us stand tall as voices of change and advocates for empowerment and equity in our communities. 

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