Today we'll tackle perhaps what seems to be the hardest area of being socially productive: being socially productive to the Ummah.
Firstly, it's important to realise and internalise that we belong to the Ummah of Islam as individuals, families and societies. Unfortunately, the concept of an Ummah has slightly deteriorated in the past 100 years due to lack of leadership. However, it's still there in few remnants.
Just an example; I went to Malaysia a few weeks back and was overwhelmed by the kindness of the brothers and sisters there towards me. Here I was, a total stranger in their land, but I honestly felt they were like my family and I was one of their family members.
This universal brotherhood/sisterhood is a blessing from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) upon the followers of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and is our strongest source of strength.
Although we still need strong leadership in the Ummah to take the 'Ummah' concept to more concrete levels both politically & economically, that doesn't stop us from developing it at a grassroot level.
Ok I rambled on a bit there, let's get practical! Here are 3 ideas to be socially productive for your Ummah:
1. Plan your next vacation to be a 'volunteering' vacation where you go to a new Muslim country and help out in a community project. This can either be organised via a well-known international charity organisation, or you could arrange it yourself through friends and families or local people who can guide you.
2. Every month, choose a different Muslim country and spend time learning about it. Learn about its people, its history, its struggles. Even better, find a 'penpal' from that country; someone you could write to monthly and ask about how they live Islam on a day-to-day basis (you'll be surprised at what you discover!).
3. Find the ONE skill you have which you can truly serve the Ummah with and see how you can make that skill useful for as many people as possible. E.g. Good at graphic designing? Make beautiful reminder posters in different languages and share it on your facebook. Are you good with budget and finance? Or maybe administrative tasks? Volunteer for an online or offline charity organisation that's looking for those skills.
If we stop limiting our thinking to simply serving those around us, and think about how we can serve the Ummah and we're sincere about it, the possibilities will be endless!
My last piece of advice on this topic; in every prayer, make dua to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) to use you to serve His Ummah.