by Imam Dr. Tahir Kukaj, Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island
Census is an important action that is encouraged in Islamic Tradition.
In Islamic Tradition we have two types of obligations, Individual (such as Salaat (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (Fasting), and Hajj (Pilgrimage)), and Collective Obligations, which involves actions towards community and our country. Reporting into Census falls into this category.
Islamic history has shown the importance of count as well. One example as the Last Prophet (peace be upon him) is cited in Bukhari “We were with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he said, ‘Count for me how many people profess Islam.’ So we asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, are you afraid for us, while we are between 600 to 700 in number?’ He replied, ‘You never know, perhaps you may be faced with misfortunes.’”
In history, as the Muslim population grew larger and larger, it became harder to provide. Companions/Imams have had to keep count, to provide for food, shelter, and services as community needs grew in (men, women, and children).