Islamic Perspectives

Patience and discipline key to Da’wah

Shabir Ahmad Kawa

Have we Muslims thought for a moment about the causes of our downfall? Though we boast that Islam is the fastest growing religion, we can’t show even a square inch of land on earth where the Shariah is truly implemented. Day by day the number of mosques, trusts, organisations increases and the Hajj quota touches new heights every year. Then why is the supposed best Ummah suffering from moral degradation and spiritual bankruptcy? Despite the fact that our population is above 1.7 billion, we are some 57 Muslim countries and we also own a sizeable share of natural resources, we have little to show for all this. We must ponder deeply in order to achieve success here and hereafter.

To avoid doom there is no alternative to complete surrender before Allah (SWT). Agreed that we recite and revere the Qur’an, but the question is that what percentage among Muslims does bother to comprehend the real aim of the revelation of Qur’an. The biggest responsibility lies upon the Ulama to deliver what the Qur’an demands without fear, favour or compromise. It is not all that easy as it appears because the mission of da’wah requires utmost care, comprehension of the truth (faham), character, and discipline. Almighty Allah (SWT) commands us: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner, surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path and He knows best those who follow the right way.”(16:125)

A pious Daee exercises great wisdom (hikmah) and upright character. He invites people towards the path of Allah, not towards the group or organisation he belongs to, neither towards any particular school of thought or maslak, nor towards any particular ideology/personality. If the focus of da’wah is on something else besides the Qur’an and the Sunnah, then such a process is destruction in himself, and the bad Daee is unaware of that. More often we witness that platforms are being misused by arrogant and ignorant maulvis. The devil makes them believe that they do a tremendous service to Islam, but they inflict the greatest harm on the ummah.

Wisdom demands that people should be called to the way of Islam in the best possible manner. The Daee has to behave politely with the people. Allah (SWT) ordered Prophet Moses (Moosa) thus when he was sent to Pharoah: “Then speak to him a gentle word haply he may mind or fear”(20:44).

A daee’s greatness is determined by the extent he succeeds in reading the mentality and capability of the listener. Lengthy lectures are to be avoided as they irritate people. Time and occasion has always to be kept in mind. The language should be simple and local. While delivering the speech it is better to give references from the Qur’an, and it will work wonders when Hadith is quoted and references are provided. Things must be made easy for people. The Qur’an says: “...Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty ...” (2:185).

These are the essentials for da’wah and if we define them in one word, it is hikmah, which is the combination of multiple aspects namely, comprehensive knowledge of deen, good character; foresight, patience, humility and wisdom. Only the fortunate few are blessed with this. The Qur’an says: “He grants wisdom unto whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom he truly has received abundant good. But none remembers except men of understanding”(2:269).

A vital component of da’wah viz, goodly exhortations (moweza-tul-hasanah), requires patience, vision and determination.  The daee has to act as a well-wisher of his audience. Advice has to be given in a worthy manner that quenches the thirst of minds and hearts. Humankind, the best creation, naturally loves the good and hates the evil. It is this instinct which the daee has to earnestly appeal and make people understand the result of good and evil.

While preaching the daee has no right to disgrace or insult the addresses. A disciplined and thoughtful approach must be maintained, sarcasm and ridicule must be avoided. It is none of daee’s business to be aggressive in tone, attitude or body language. With absolute cool he has to focus upon his mission and utilise all resources for the propagation of truth. If he acts carelessly or behaves immaturely then there is a possibility that people leave him to his own devices. It will be a greatest blunder of the daee if he imposes the final verdict on the masses.    

When a daee deviates from the divine injunctions, all kinds of differences arise. The situation sometimes turns ugly when ignorant men issue Fatwa against each other. The situation gets the worst when Muslim groups label each other polytheists. It is this sorry state of affairs which the ummah is currently facing in which more often fools rush where angels fear to tread. Hence the sectarian divide increases exponentially.

A daee has to be prepared to face opposition as long as he is the upholder of the truth. At times debates and discussions take place during the act of da’wah. Though the holy Qur’an allows discussion it is to be held on the condition of good manners. When attention is diverted from the commandment of Wise Allah, then there is nothing but exchange of heated arguments, verbal wrestling and mutual mudslinging.

We have countless examples in the Qur’an regarding debate and discussion which the earlier prophets (Asw) held with their communities. When we study the Qur’an keenly, we come to know how the prophets (Asw) were tortured, imprisoned, boycotted and forced into exile. The Qur’an repeatedly mentions the encounters and debates which the prophets (Asw) of Allah (SWT) patiently endured and overcame. These debates provide the best guidance for ulama about what kind of attitude and stance their sacred mission demands. Their duty is to deliver the message of glorious Islam in a dignified manner. And regarding guidance, it rests entirely on the Will of Almighty Allah. He guides whom He pleases.