BSA NICS Religious Islamic Emblems


The religious emblem programs make every effort to strengthen Scouts in their respective religious obligations. As Scouts earn their religious award, in addition to becomming more knowledgeable in their faith and its practice, also will strengthen their internal moral compass and exercise both personal and spiritual growth.

In the constitution of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, you can find the following definition of "Duty to God":

"Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting there from."
There are three parts in this definition:
(1) adherence to spiritual principles,
(2) loyalty to the religion that expresses them and
(3) acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom

I think that any believer, of any religion or spiritual tradition, can agree on this definition. We should understand "Duty to God" and how Scouting can contribute to spiritual development, which was also called by the Founder of the World Wide Scouting Movement, Baden-Powell "a natural form of religion". It is interesting to note that al-Islam – our religion is called Deen ul Fitrah – the natural religion:

Baden-Powell further observed: "The natural form of religion is so simple that a child can understand it. It comes from within, from conscience, from observation, from love, for use in all that he does. It is not a formality or a dogmatic dressing done from outside, put on for Sunday wear. It is, therefore, a true part of his character, a development of soul, and not a veneer that may peel off."

A careful analysis of the Founder's writings shows that the concept of a force above man is basic to Scouting. The whole educational approach of the Scouting Movement consists in helping young people to transcend the material world and go in search of the spiritual values of life.

On another occasion, "When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden- Powell replied, It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding." (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement--an address, 1926).

"No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion....Religion seems a very simple thing: First: Love and serve God. Second: Love and serve your neighbour." (Scouting for Boys). In al-Islam, the love of and rights of one’s neighbor have been strongly emphasized and are referred to in the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) as Hubbul Jaar/Huquq al-Jaar.

"Development of outlook naturally begins with a respect for God, which We may best term "Reverence. Reverence to God and reverence for one's neighbour and reverence for oneself as a servant of God, is the basis of every form of religion. The method of expression of reverence to God varies with every sect and denomination. What sect or denomination a boy belongs to depends, as a rule, on his parents' wishes. It is they who decide. It is our business to respect
their wishes and to second their efforts to inculcate reverence, whatever form of religion the boy professes. There may be many difficulties relating to the definition of the religious training in our Movement where so many different denominations exist, and the details of the expression of duty to God have, therefore, to be left largely in the hands of the local authority. But there is no difficulty at all in suggesting the line to take on the human side, since direct duty to one's neighbour is implied in almost every form of belief." (Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919).

Baden-Powell appended the age old adage and maxim “Know thyself” with “know other people”.

Let us remember that much of what Lord Baden Powell had molded together in what became the modern scouting movement and its training program as contained in his work Scouting for Boys – the pre-curser of the Boy Scout Handbook was the result of his readings of some quite diverse books and materials concerning the education of young men.

Finally let us reflect upon the Last Message of Baden-Powell to Scouters in 1939 sent from his home in Kenya (he died in 1941 on the eve of WWII), “Let us, in training our scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, and not let ourselves become too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, Jamboree comradeships are all means, they are not the end… The end is character – character with a purpose. And the purpose, that the next Generation be sane in an insane world… That the next generation be sane…. These are surely the operative words… and develop the higher realization of service, active service of love, and duty to God and Neighbor.

Here are some useful LINKS to Religious Emblems information and Islamic Scouting: