Da'wah: The Obligation of Da'wah Between Facts and Obstacles - Part 2
- B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e mDa`wah
The Obligation of Da`wah Between Facts and Obstacles
Part 2 - 2
By Imaam Mohamed Baianonie
Last week we learned about the obligations of dawah to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. We learned that the Islamic dawah is established on clear evidence and truth. This dawah is the task of the Prophet Muhammad sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam and his followers until the Day of Judgment. Also we learned that this dawah fought all types and forms of Shirk (association with Allaah Subhaanahu wa ta`aala with other deity), and also we learned how the Prophet sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam used all available means, and ways to convey the Message of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala in the clearest way, by personal contact, public sermons, visiting the people in their gathering places, going out of Makkah, and sending letters to the kings and leaders of different nations.
Now we will discuss about the obstacles, and the hindrances that caused the neglect and obligation of the dawah among the Muslims today, in the hope that we will recognize them and work sincerely to remove them.
Some obstacles and hindrances facing the Islamic Dawah
The first obstacle is the misunderstanding among many Muslims today that the obligation of this dawah to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala is restricted and limited only to a group of Muslims, who are the scholars of Islam. And that Muslims in general should not carry out this duty. This misunderstanding is built on the misinterpretation of what Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala says in soorah Aali-Imraan 3:104, what can be translated as, "Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining AL-Maruf (all that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (all that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful."
To answer this misunderstanding of this verse, we go back to the explanations of the scholars concerning this ayaah.
Imaam Ibn-Katheer said, "What is meant by this verse is that a group is dedicated to this task even though the obligation of the dawah is upon every individual of this Ummah according to his/her ability. Imaam Muslim reported that the Prophet Muhammad sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Whoever among of you sees a munkar (evil action), let him change it with his hand; and if he is unable to do so, then let him change it by his tongue, and if he is unable to do so, let him change it with his heart, and that is the weakest faith."
Imaam Ar-Razi said in his explanation concerning Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aalas saying, "People among you" they are two opinions among the scholars: One of them is "among you". Here are two reasons:
The first reason, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala placed the duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong on all the members of this Ummah in His saying in soorah Aali-Imraan 3:110, what can be translated as, "You are the best of people (Ummah), ever raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allaah."
The second reason is every mature Muslim is commanded to enjoy what is right and forbid what is wrong, either with his hand or his tongue or his heart according to the hadeeth that we had mentioned earlier.
Thus, the true and correct interpretation or the meaning of this aayah is "Be all of you an Ummah inviting for the good, enjoying what is right and forbidding what is wrong so "Among you" here is meant for clarifying and not for classifying like Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aalas saying in soorah Al-Hajj 22:30, what can be translated as, " So shun (avoid) the abomination of idols, and shun the word that is false."
Even though, if we say that the obligation of dawah is only on the scholars of Islam and it is Fard Ke-fa-yah which means a duty that is accomplished by a group who are able to carrying it on, no sin will be put on the others. But because they could not accomplish it, then the obligation of the dawah is upon all Muslims until the requirement of accomplishing this task is met.
If we look at the situation of the Muslims today and the situation of their scholars, we will realize that those who are carrying on the task of dawah, have not fulfilled it. And thus, the requirement is not met, so the task is placed on all the Muslims with no exceptions, each according to his/her ability.
The second obstacle is the misunderstanding among many Muslims today of what Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala says in soorah Al-Maaidah 5:105, what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves, no hurt can come to you from those who stray if you become guided." So to get rid of the duty of dawah and to justify their laziness, they think that this verse is excusing them from the responsibility of dawah, as long as they are good and guided themselves. In fact the misunderstanding of the meaning of this ayaah came to some Muslims at the time of Aboo Bakr radhiallaahu anhu, who tried to eliminate this misunderstanding. He said, "O people you are reciting this verse and misinterpreting it. O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves, no hurt can come to you from those who stray if you become guided." Then he continued, "I heard the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam saying, "If the people see Ath-Thalim (wrong doer, unjust) and do not stop him, a punishment from Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala may embrace all of them." " (This is an saheeh narration reported by Imaam Aboo Dawood and others.)
Another thing that can be noticed from this verse, which assures the obligation of dawah upon every Muslim without exception is what Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullaah said in explaining Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aalas saying: "If you become guided." - the true guidance comes when a person fulfills the duty. If the Muslim accomplished what is obligated on him as enjoinng what is right and forbidding what is wrong as well as accomplishing other Islamic duties, in this case no harm comes to him from the misguided people.
The third obstacle, some Muslims might say is that the corruption and evil action has spread widely in the earth. And the corruption and disbelief are entrenched so in this situation the dawah effort will not benefit anything. So individual Muslim should care for his ownself and protect his deen only and forget about the other people. In answer to this, we say that this misconception has occurred to previous people. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has told us their news and how the dawah callers responded to them; Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala says in soorah Al-Araaf 7:164-165, what can be translated as, "And when some of them said, Why do you preach to a people whom Allaah is about to destroy or punish with a severe punishment? (The preachers said): "To discharge, our duty to your Lord, and perchance they may fear (and obey) Him. So when they disregarded the warnings that had been given to them, "We rescued those who forbade Evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel."
The fourth obstacle and hindrance which face the path of dawah to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala is fanaticism to their personal opinions and rejecting the other opinions in the dawah work. And this is what led to misuse the powers of the duaat (callers to Allaah). Fanaticism to the personal opinion and rejecting the other opinions in the matters where there is no clear cut evidence. This unacceptable behaviour is spread widely among many Muslims today. As Muslims we should not practice this behaviour. When we make dawah using one of these ways where there are no firm hadeeth or aayah which shows us the clear path we should not believe that other opinions are completely false or misguided. This is why the (callers to Allaah) disputed previously and recently in the styles and ways of dawah work and truly we dont know which of these are the most successful and the most beneficial. Maybe all of them are good and benefit the Ummah. Each one might be right in his opinion. And the one who reaches the right gets a double reward.
The fifth obstacle and hindrance is excessive indulgence in this worldly life and forgetting the Hereafter. The student is busy with his studying, the employee with his occupation, and the merchant with his business until this occupies most of his time so the Muslim can hardly see or find some free time to dedicate for the sake of dawah. We have been warned from this dangerous indulgence from many aayaat and ahadeeth. The true Muslim is the one who balances between all responsibilities and duties so that nothing is done at the expense of the other.
Lastly, it is a great reward for the one who calls people to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, and adheres to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. Imaams Bukhaari and Muslim radhiallaahu anhum repoted. "The Prophet sall Allaahu`alayahi wa sallam, 'If Allaah guides one person because of you, it is better for you than the whole earth and what is within it.'" In another hadeeth reported by Imaam At-Tirmithi, 'the Prophet sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, "May Allaah beautify a person who heard something from us and he convey it as he has heard, maybe a person who received it through him understands it better then him.'" Also Imaam Muslim reported that the Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Whoever calls to guidance has a reward equal to the reward of his followers without decreasing anything from their reward."
Let us take advantage of every occasion and opportunity to make dawah for Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala like the Prophet sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam used to do. It was narrated that "when the Prophet sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam migrated from Makkah to Madeenah accompanied by Aboo Baker radhiallaahu anhu, they met on their way Baridah Al-Aslami with some of his people. So the Prophet sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam called them to Islam and they all became Muslims." The Messenger of Allaah sall Allaahu alayhi wa sallam did not forget the obligation of conveying the Message of Islam even though his enemies were chasing him.
The noble Quraan tells us the story of the prophet Yoosuf alayhissalaam when he was unjustly imprisoned. The hardships did not divert him from making dawah to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. He took advantage of the situation, when the two inmates asked him for his explanations of two dreams they had. Before the prophet Yoosuf alayhissalaam replied to their request he asked them: "O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many lords Gods) differing among themselves better, or Allaah, the One, the Supreme and Irresistible? If not Him, you worship nothing but names which you have named,- you and your fathers, for which Allaah hath sent down no authority. The command is for none but Allaah. He hath commanded that you worship none but Him: that is the right deen, but most men understand not. (Yoosuf 12:39-40).
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