Devoted but Not Strict
Devoted but Not Strict
As Muslims it is our duty to call others to Islam. The call to the way of Allah is called Da’wah and the reward we get, Allah willing, may be Paradise.
How to call others to Islam? And how we can handle the problems that for sure will appear in our way?
Following the advice of experienced Muslim preachers and scholars, we can realize the right way to call others to Islam. However, first we should follow the words of Allah Almighty that states in His Book (al Qur’an):
"Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided." [al-Qur'aan, an-Nahl (16):125]
And then, we should follow the advices of our teacher and the best preacher of all… Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). When the Prophet (pbuh) sent his Companions Mu'adh and Abu Musa to teach Islam to the people of Yemen, he gave them the following advice: 'Facilitate [religious matters to people] and do not make [things] difficult. Obey each other and do not differ [amongst yourselves].' (Bukhari & Muslim).
On other occasions he also said: 'This Deen or way of life is easy'; 'Make it easy, don't make it difficult; 'Let people rejoice in being Muslims and not run away from it' and 'Cheerfulness towards other people, even a smile is a sadaqah or charity to be rewarded by Allah'.
Furthermore, in sharing the message of Islam with people the Prophet (pbuh) was advised in the Quran: 'It is part of the mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them If you were severe or hardhearted, they would have broken away from you' (3: 159).
A person-in seeking to purify himself and further develop his God-consciousness-may choose to place greater demands of worship upon himself, but this in no way means that he has the right to impose or force the same on others, and thereby, unconsciously alienate them from Islam.
The Prophet exemplified this in his own life because he used to prolong the Salat whenever he was alone, but he would shorten it whenever he led others in Salah. Regarding this he said: 'Whoever among you leads the people in Salat, he should shorten it, for amongst them are the weak, the old, and the one who has business to attend to. And if anyone among you performs Salat alone, he may then prolong [Salat] as much as he wishes' (Bukhari).
Similarly, 'Umar Ibn al Khattab emphasized that creating unnecessary difficulties for people may well have the effect of leading them away from Allah, rather than making them better Muslims. He advised: 'Do not make Allah hateful to His servants by leading people in Salat and so prolonging it that they come to hate what they are doing'
This view that Islam is easy to understand and practice, is one which is derived from the primary sources of Islam. In the Quran, Allah comforts us by continuously reassuring us that He desires for us ease not hardship, despite the seemingly formidable trials and tribulations that we may sometimes face. Allah Almighty says in His Book:
'God desires ease for you, and desires not hardship' (2:185);
'Truly with hardship comes ease' (94: 6);
'God will assuredly appoint, after difficulty; easiness' (65:7);
'Whoso fears God, God will appoint for him, of His command, easiness' (65:4);
'We shall speak to him, of our command, easiness' (18:88);
'God desires to lighten things for you, for the human being has been created weak' (94:28).
From the greatest favors of Allah and bounties upon his slaves is to facilitate means and reasons by which he becomes one who carries out the mission of the religion and to be among those who strive and sacrifice all that is precious to them, to establish the laws of Allah on earth and in order for the Word of Allah to be supreme and uppermost and the word of the disbelievers the lower most. This high rank and honorable one is the most dignified rank and the highest levels. It is the rank of messengers and their way, may Allah exalt their mention. This same task is to be shouldered by the scholars, who inherited this from the Prophets and Messengers.
In order for the one who is spreading Islam to achieve positive results in his mission, he should fulfill the following two matters:
1) Spreading Islam based on sure knowledge: Allah Says (what means): “Say, this is my way , I invite on to Allah with sure knowledge, me and whosoever follows me and exalted is Allah and I am not one of the polytheist" [Quran 12:108]. It is necessary for all those who desire to call to Allah to have sure knowledge regarding the matter and issue of propagation and inviting to Allah. Some people indulge themselves in the field of propagation without possessing any knowledge.
Some scholars said that sure knowledge is divided into three parts:
a) Knowing what one is inviting to
b) Knowing the situation of the one invited.
c) Knowing how to invite
First: Knowing what one is inviting to; the propagator must know the Islamic ruling on the issue he is calling to, because he might call to something thinking that it is an obligation while it is not, and thus obligates people with something that Allah did not oblige them with. Or he might warn against something thinking that it is prohibited while it is not, and so on. Therefore, knowing what one is calling the people to is a vital issue.
Second: Knowing the situation of the invited: the evidence for the importance of this issue is the narration of Mu’aath (ra) when the Prophet (pbuh) sent him to Yemen, he said to him: “You are approaching a group form the people of the book, so let the first thing you call them to be the testimony that none is worthy of being worshipped but Allah”.
Notice that he informed him about the situation of those whom he will be calling, so Mu’aath, may Allah be pleased with him, would be prepared and be acquainted with their situation and how he should approach them. It is a mistake that a person invites or calls another person not knowing his situation, his arguments, the kind of falsehood he is on or what he believes in, because he (i.e. the one being called) might present an argument which the Muslim propagator does not have an answer to, which results in the retreat of the truth.
Third: Knowing how to invite: This refers to the methods of propagation, as Allah did not leave the matter up to us, but he guided us to the ideal way. The Prophet (pbuh) also guided us how to prioritize things which leads us to the second issue.
2) Adopting a wise method of calling people: One of the Names of Allah is Al-Hakeem, which implies wisdom, and it is mentioned many times in the Quran in connection to knowledge. Allah knows all matters and decrees everything according to His knowledge, based on what is best for the given situation and what will yield the greatest benefit to His slaves. He is the Most Wise and Most Knowledgeable in His words, actions, sayings and rulings.
A wise person is he who places the correct matter in the most suitable place or situation, as defined by Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim. This can be attributed, in its perfect form, only to Allah, as He is the only One who is All-Knowledgeable of everything and the Most Wise in His decrees and rulings.
One of the things that reflect the wisdom of the caller to Islam is his basing his call on knowledge, because wisdom is derived from knowledge, as Allah says (what means): “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom…” [Quran 16:125]. What is the proper definition of wisdom?
Selecting the correct method along with the appropriate words is another matter that reflects wisdom in the caller. He should address people in a comprehensible manner, to facilitate understanding on the part of those called.
For example, one should not talk to people about the virtue of optionally fasting three days every month while they do not observe the fast during the month of Ramadhan, and so on.
Thus, a propagator of Islam should be mindful of these matters when calling people to the path of Allah, lest he drives them away due to a shortage in any of them.
We have to understand that being religious and a preacher does not mean to be strict or severe and make people feel under pressure or oppressed. We need to be patients and also we have to remember that we are just conveying the message but the guidance comes only from Allah, as Allah the Almighty stated:
"Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided." (Qur’an, 28:56)
Author: Amal Ayob Patricia Schiavone
Sources of research
www.islamweb.net Knowledge and wisdom - provisions of the caller
www.islam101.com Islam - The Easy Way