Sacrifice, Volunteerism and Duty In Scouting

By Osama Mourad

Nobody lives without sacrificing, you sacrifice in everything you do. For example, you may decide to take a taxi and pay more money than taking a bus because you are late, here you sacrificed your money to save some time. Someone else can sacrifice his time and walk to save the bus ticket price.

Someone else can choose not to watch a movie to have the time to spend with his parents. Others can sacrifice their health for their happiness, they can smoke a cigarette or take drugs to feel happy for a few minutes of glory and spend their life in sadness with health issues or the risk of wasting their family’s future.

In scouting, as every other member you have the freedom to evaluate your priorities including your involvement and sacrificing level in the team as long as you are doing your best to fulfill your promise: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law …”, and that means:

  1. By becoming a scout, you agreed to have duties, not just joining for fun or to hang out with your friends.
  2. It is not enough to do some effort, you promised to “do your best”.

But it is not easy at all to do all our duties to God and the country and to obey the Scout Law, but doing our best while trying is the scouting way of doing things. The Islamic way is not different, “Allah does not task any soul beyond its capacity.(2:286). So, who knows that you did your best while doing your duties? Only you and God!

Going back to sacrificing, and given our skill and time capacity, we may need to do one duty but not the other, doing the most important or the most beneficial. Islam has the same concept of ordering the value of the good things, “Who is better in speech than one who calls to God and does good, righteous deeds, and says: ‘Surely, I am of the Muslims (wholly submitted to Him)’(41:33). So, you may give many good speeches, but the best is the one guiding people to God.

And, when I read “Surely, I am of the Muslims (wholly submitted to Him)” and reflect to what we have in scouting, I found that our scouting uniform does that part for us. Just by putting on your uniform while working on a service project will let people know that the scouting values and your duty to God are behind doing this good deed. This becomes a way to promote scouting and a way to call people to God, and to keep the cycle going.

When people know that this person is part of scouting, they expect that he has some skills like first aid, rescuing and helping others. And just by knowing that, the scout will do his best to be prepared and learn these skills for such situations, otherwise he will disappoint those who were looking up to him, and he will not be able to fulfill his promise “To help other people at all times…”.

Again, this is not different than Islam: “You are the best nation ever brought forth to men, bidding to honor, and forbidding dishonor, and believing in God(3:110). So, by reminding yourself that you are a Muslim, you should also remind yourself to be prepared and able to enjoining and actively promoting what is right and good and forbidding and trying to prevent the evil. You will do everything to “keep yourself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Why we should do that? Because we believe in God, and because we choose to be scouts.

What does believing in God do for us here in scouting? And to answer this question, let us see how to value things, and returning back to the examples we talked about in the beginning, you will notice, that sacrificing is not always to get something with higher value or even with a value at all. But when you sacrifice something in order to do your duty to God, you are expecting the value to be very high, even higher than the value of anything else you can ever imagine, only because you believe in God, “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise(9:111). That means, as a believer you will sacrifice your time, money, effort and comfort to “help other people at all times”, as part of your duty to God.

And as people may fail in valuing, what they will give and what they will receive in return, they may also fail in determining the right time to sacrifice. Volunteering in scouting adds to the duties the time part of the equation. You may need to step up and accept the responsibility now because you are the only one trained or the most skilled member at the moment. Moreover, you also volunteered to do your best to be prepared for that moment.

So, volunteering in scouting is all about sacrificing to doing your duties and achieving what is more valuable, it is an opportunity, an honor and a privilege, it is your choice.

About Osama Mourad: Started scouting as a Cub Scout at The Holy Family School in Egypt in the 5th grade, stayed in scouting until he became the Assistant Crew Leader. Now, the father of 2 Cub Scouts, he is a Cubmaster for Pack 12 and a Committee Member with Troop 12.