Fundamentals of calling to Allah Almighty that help to achieve the objectives of Da`wah (The second milestone)
Praise be to Allah and may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family members, his companions and his lovers.
Thereafter, in this episode we will talk about the fundamentals of calling to Allah Almighty that help to achieve the objectives of Da`wah (The second milestone).
2 – The second milestone: The knowledge and insight:
One of the main requirements of the preacher is to be aware of his Da`wah and should have good knowledge about it, rather, he should be an expert and jurist of Da`wah. As Allah (Glory be to Him) said: “Say (O Muhammad): This is my way; I invite unto Allâh with sure knowledge (insight), I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allâh.). And Glorified and Exalted be Allâh (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the idolaters." [Surat Yusuf: 108].
It is noteworthy that the word ‘insight’ or (Basirah) has more specific meaning than the word ‘knowledge’ (`Ilm), as ‘insight’ has additional meaning, including: the evidence, perception, clear vision, understanding, and sure knowledge. (1)
Moreover, the insight requires a preacher to realize the consequences of things and should be aware of the results of his words and his actions.
Shaykh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in this regard: “Three qualities are necessary for enjoining good: knowledge, gentleness, and patience. Knowledge is required before enjoining and forbidding, gentleness is required during it and patience is required after it. This separation does not go against the fact that these three qualities should be present at all times.” This is similar to a statement narrated from the righteous predecessors, some of whom attributed it to the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). And Al Qazi Abu Ya`ala mentioned this in his book entitled Al Mu`atamad with the following words: “No one should enjoin good or forbid evil unless he understands what he enjoins and show forbearance in what he forbids.” (2)
Hence, perception is necessary before undertaking the duty of Da`wah, so that the preacher can enjoin the good and forbid the evil. This is a prerequisite of calling to Allah Almighty and it is one of the duties of the preacher to be fully aware of what he is inviting to and to be characterized with prudence, armed with confidence, firm step, having a clear vision about his mission, his invitees, his surroundings, his friends and enemies, the ongoing events around him. All these meanings are included in the word of 'vision'. This is a duty prescribed by Allah Almighty for the preachers engaged in Da`wah activities.
Therefore, it is not permissible for a Muslim to call to Allah Almighty but only after he has acquired sufficient amount of Islamic knowledge and true understanding that can illuminate his way.
Knowledge will correct his step and understanding will clear his vision. A preacher having no knowledge about his mission will deviate from the right path also if the preacher has no clear vision will stumble during Da`wah.
Not only that, but also the preacher without insight is a sinner in the sight of Allah for violating the command of Allah Almighty. The preacher having neither insight nor understanding not only misguides himself but also misleads others whom he invites. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “And among mankind is he who disputes concerning Allâh, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious Shaitân (devil).” [Surat Al Hajj: 3]
A preacher without knowledge might intermix in Da`wah and might forbid what is good and enjoin what is evil or will mix heresy with Sunnah and vice versa.
Even such preacher might call to an unlawful action under the name of religion or will teach heresy and will spread deviated thoughts under the title of religion like the sects of Al Khawarij, Al Mu`atazilah, extremist Sufis and Shiites. As Allah (Glory be to Him) has warned of such people and said: “And surely many do lead (mankind) astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly your Lord knows best the transgressors.” [Surat Al An`a’m: 119].
Furthermore, Allah (Glory be to Him) has regarded any word in any subject without knowledge as lie. Then how evil would be if it is about the religion and Da`wah itself? Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “And follow not that of which you have no knowledge.”[Surat Al Isra: 36]
In addition, Allah (Glory be to Him) said after naming a list of blasphemous actions and quoting some offensive words of the disbelievers: “Indeed lost are they who have killed their children, foolishly, without knowledge, and have forbidden that which Allâh has provided for them, inventing a lie against Allâh. They have indeed gone astray and were not guided.” [Surat Al An`a’m: 140].
Therefore, the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has ordered everyone who heard his word to remember it until it is conveyed to others. The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) says in this regard: “May Allah freshen the affairs of a person who hears something from us and conveys it to others exactly as he has heard it (i.e., both the meaning and the words). Many a recipient of knowledge understands it better than the one who has heard it." (3)
Due to the importance of this subject, Imam Al Bukhari has put in his Sahih a chapter under the title of ‘Knowledge before word and action’ because knowledge corrects the word and action.
Ibn Hajar narrates a comment of Ibn Al Munir to Imam Al Bukhari’s title who said: “Imam Al Bukhari intends that knowledge is a prerequisite for the validity of any word and action, neither word nor action is considered but only with intention that must precede word and action.”(4)
Ibn Hayyan Al Andalusi said in this connection: “The duty of inviting to good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is valid only for those who have knowledge about the good and evil. How can an ignorant carry this duty or fulfill this mission? Perhaps the ignorant will enjoin what is evil and will forbid what is good or will be harsh in the places of gentleness and vice versa.” (5)
Moreover, Al Hasan Al Basari warned of abandoning the knowledge or depriving oneself of it, he says in this regard: “Who acts without knowledge is like one who travels off the path; and the one who acts without knowledge damages more than he reforms. Seek knowledge in a way that does not harm your worship and seek worship of Allah in a way that does not harm your learning. Indeed, there were people who sought to worship Allah but abandoned knowledge until they attacked the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) with their swords. But if they had sought knowledge, it would not have led them to do what they did.”(6)
Therefore, lying on the behalf of Allah and His Messenger (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has been regarded as the most serious sin and most dangerous prohibited action because it misguides the people.
In addition, Ibn Al Qayyim said: “Speaking on the behalf of Allah without knowledge is the most serious prohibited action and one of the most sinful doing. It is the base of polytheism and most of the blasphemies and heresy are based upon it. All kinds of bad innovations in religion branch out from speaking on the behalf of Allah without knowledge. Also the reality of polytheism and disbelief is not but to speak on the behalf of Allah without knowledge.” (7)
Therefore, the preachers must have full knowledge of Islamic ruling about the subject they are inviting to. They should be aware of the opinions and different attitudes of Muslim scholars about the subject. As well as the preachers should be aware of the value of the subject in religion, beside their full knowledge about the purposes of Islam in its legislations and rulings.
Conclusion: The preacher should set his goal according to knowledge, insight, understanding, awareness and clear vision, far from mere imagination or imitation of others. All these meanings are included in the word ‘insight’.
By the will of Allah, we will start in the following episode explanation of the fundamentals for achieving the objectives of Da`wah.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family members and his all companions.
(1) See: Lisan Al `Arab: (4/67).
(2) Majmu`a Al Fatwa: (28/137). However, this narration with this wording is not authentic, though its meaning is true. This Hadith has been narrated with different words but all of them are weak, as well as this narration was mentioned by Al Ghazali in his book Al Ihya’: (2/333), while Al `Iraqi commented to this narration by saying: “I did not find it, but Al Bayhaqi has reported it in his book Shu`abul Iman: (7603) on the authority of `Amr ibn Shu`ayb from his father, from his grandfather with following words: “Who enjoins good then let it be with kindness).” Nevertheless, the narration has two weak narrators also this Hadith was graded by Al Albani as weak in his book Adh-Dha`ifah. (590)
(3) Reported by Al Bukhari: (2/216, Hadith No. 1741), Book of Science, Chapter on (The sermon during the days of Mina).
(4) Fathul Baary: (1/160).
(5) Al Bahr Al Muhit (An interpretation of the Glorious Qur’an): (3/20).
(6) Jame`a Bayan Al `Ilm W Fadhlih, (An inclusive statement about the science and its virtues). (1/136)
(7) Madarij As-Salikin, (1/404, 403).