Episode 22: The Second Rule: Clear Vision and Distinct Goal (7-8)
Episode 22: The Second Rule: Clear Vision and Distinct Goal (7-8)
The fundamentals of calling to Allah Almighty that help to achieve the objectives of Da`wah (The third 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 third milestone).
3 - Third milestone: wisdom and good exhortation:
This is the third milestone of invitation that helps the preacher to design right goal. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord 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.” [Surat An-Nahl: 125]. Also Allah (Glory be to Him) says: “And speak good to the people.” [Surat Al Baqarah: 83].
Furthermore, Imam Al Bukhari reported on the authority of `Ali ibn Abi Talib, who said: “Talk to the people according to their level of understanding. Do you wish that Allah and His Messenger are denied?” (1)
Wisdom in calling to Allah Almighty and good exhortation for invitees are the third fundamental of invitation to Allah Almighty.
Wisdom (or Hikmah) means to put everything in their suitable places and wisdom is the lost treasure of the believer who should search for it in each area by all possible means. Wisdom requires the preacher to be aware of what is going on around him and should assess the conditions and surroundings of Da`wah, taking into his account the needs of people and their feelings in order to appeal their hearts. This quality is the first step in achieving the goals of Da`wah.
Wisdom leads the preacher to assess things according to their real position. Such preacher never invites the people to abandoning the worldly activities especially, when people are in need of activity and hard work. They do not encourage people to adopt celibacy or renouncing the worldly works while Muslims are in need of acquiring knowledge of faith, Islamic law, jurisprudential rulings about buying and selling or when people are in need to learn about ablution and prayer.
The true preacher deals with any case according to its real condition, thus he enters the hearts of the people through their wider doors. The hearts of the people become satisfied with him and see him as a savior, who is keen on their happiness, security and peace.
Good exhortation is a good word that comes out of a preacher’s mouth and addresses the minds of people who find it a source of goodness and pleasure. People feel through this word sincerity of the preacher and his eagerness to bring good to them and zeal of warding harm off them. The Glorious Qur’an has compared the good word with a useful tree, as Allah (Glory be to Him) said: “See you not how Allâh sets forth a parable? A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky. Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord, and Allâh sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember.” [Surat Ibrahim: 24 -25].
Good exhortation always carries happiness to the people and leads them to the path of truth and righteousness. It neither offends anyone at any cost nor scolds anyone in any case. Such word is delivered by a preacher who intends the pleasure of Allah only that removes the grudges of the souls and erases the complaints of hearts. Through good word people become sincere for each other and unity is restored between people also hearts come together and everyone become brother for each other.
Good exhortation is a gentle and pleasant word that touches the hearts of the people and softens them and when it mixes with the souls of people it spreads pleasure and happiness. In fact, good word is a salve that heals the wounds, relieves the pain and soothes the soul.
The Glorious Qur’an has presented for us some examples of calling to Allah Almighty that were characterized with wisdom and good exhortation. Those examples were expressed in a bright and wonderful style which is role model for the preachers who take their benefits. Though the backgrounds are different and the contexts and factors are dissimilar. Anyhow, those examples give the preacher a general figure that should be implemented by them and their plans and methods should be based upon them.
One of those examples is the personality of Ibrahim Al Khalil the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) who did not permitted himself to treat with his opponent with harshness and was committed to deal with the best manner and gentle style, even though his opponent was arguing with him harshly.
Nimrod asked the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to explain his proof on the existence of Allah Almighty, Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) answered him saying as was mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an "My Lord (Allâh) is He Who gives life and causes death." Then Nimrod said with his arrogance and self-conceit: “I give life and cause death." [Surat Al Baqarah: 258].
The Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) realized that his opponent is dominated by stubbornness and pride. And arrogance has seized his mind and heart, so Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) relaxed the string of his opponent and let him boast, in order to face him with a silencing proof that will refute his claim and will prove his inability in giving life and causing the death. Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said: "Verily! Allâh brings the sun from the east; then bring it you from the west." Then his stubborn opponent became silent and was unable to pronounce even a single word as if he was totally dumb who never spoke, as Allah (Glory be to Him) has described the scene saying: “So the disbeliever was utterly defeated.” It is noteworthy that Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) neither expressed any anger for his arrogant opponent’s haughtiness nor resorted to say anything insulting nor used abusive language. He (peace be upon him) never deviated from his main topic to any other unreasonable argument. This manner of talk is the real wisdom and best exhortation.
If Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had adopted a harsh method in arguing with his opponent he would have a valid excuse for that, as Nimrod was so fierce and bitter that his stubbornness and ignorance required mockery and sarcasm, yet Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) kept himself far from such action, instead of that he treated him with a sublime method and ethical manner that should be adopted by the preachers of our age with their invitees. In fact, Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) showed him kindness and mercy in order to soften his violent heart and melt his rebellious soul.
Moreover, this is our Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who was ordered by his Lord (Glory be to Him) by saying: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Surat An-Nahl: 125] And he was instructed to adopt the method of wisdom and good exhortation that invades the hearts and wins the souls.
And this is `Utbah ibn Rabi`ah who offered for the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) some very attractive offers in order to abandon his mission, when he has finished his talk the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) neither argued him nor debated with him, but plainly said to him: “Have you finished, Abul-Walid?” He answered: “yes.” Then the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Then listen to me.” And He (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) recited some Verses from Surat Fussilat, that is “Hâ-Mîm. A revelation from (Allâh), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail - a Qur’ân in Arabic for people who know.” [Surat Fussilat: 1-3] The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) continued his recitation while `Utbah listened intently, putting his hands behind his back and leaning on them to follow his recitation.(2) Until the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has finished his recitation. After that Abul Walid’s face expressions and his mind were changed. When `Utbah returned to his companions who saw him coming and commented saying: “Abul-Walid has come back with a different expression on his face to the one he went with.”
Indeed, Abul-Walid became lenient to Islam after listening the blessed Verses of the Glorious Qur’an and said to his friends in clear words: “By Allah! I have heard words the like of which I have never heard before. By Allah, it is neither poetry nor magic nor soothe-saying. O men of Quraysh! Obey me! Leave this person alone with what he has. Be considerate towards him and don't interfere. By Allah, Surely, there would be some surprising news about what I have heard from him. If (other tribes of) the Arabs do way with him, you shall be relieved from him by other than you and if he prevails over the Arabs, then his authority shall be yours and his glory shall be your glory, and you shall be the happiest of people by him.” (3)
Undoubtedly, good word will remain always a principle of dialogue and method of Da`wah that can attract through its peaceful tone and merciful nature even a rebellious person. Though if it could not attract a disobedient it was and will remain a source of love and wellbeing however the disobedient is the one who does not want goodness for himself.
Conclusion: Formulation of objectives is one of the most important fundamentals of Da`wah. So it is important to build the objectives on the sound base and wisdom in its comprehensive concept, which has been outlined above. The objective should be designed on good exhortation in its highest degrees that was denoted in the Glorious Qur’an by the word “good”.
The consequences of applying this rule:
There is no doubt that one of the most important elements of the success of any preacher and any preaching is to define the target according to clear vision that leads to some positive results, including:
1 – Through this the preacher follows the footsteps of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) the role model of all preachers. His mission never was random or without a clear goal - as was explained above -. So the true preacher always tries to formulate his target clearly in following the example of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him)
2 – Setting the target is a strong motive and a great incentive that helps the preacher to continue his mission.
3 – Through this the preacher can realize his goal and can identify the way leading to it thus he will manage to arrange the means needed for that goal as well as he would be able to recognize the method to be used for his cause.
4 – Through the formulation of the goal and applying it, the preacher can measure the accuracy of his Da`wah activity and can assess the proper safety steps for his mission.
5 – If the preacher follows these steps he gets an excellent reward and distinct merit from his Lord (Glory be to Him). In fact, the greatness of the work is derived from the greatness of the goal.
If one of those effects is sufficient to hasten for the formulating the goal then how important would be if it is the basis for any Da`wah work?
The negative effects are many if the objectives are not formulated previously or if the goals are unclear; some of them have been summarized in following points:
1 – Not formulating the objectives leads to confusion in Da`wah works and causes disorder in mission activities; also if the goals are not defined the preacher cannot realize where is he going?
2 – Also the way becomes longer and unsafe.
3 – The preacher faces frequent obstacles leading to weakening the strength of Da`wah or causes totally failure of mission.
4 – If the preacher does not know what he wants to achieve people become uninterested or bored of it.
5 – Such preacher may spoil more than he reforms, as was said by `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz: “Whoever works without knowledge his damage would be more than his reformation.” (4)
Now we come to conclude here again what we have asserted in the beginning that the preacher must determine his purpose first, and then should try to follow it accurately so that his action would be sound and the result would be clear.
By the will of Allah Almighty, we will start in the following episode the explanation of third rule: the aims and means.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family members and his all companions.
(1) Reported by Al Bukhari: (1/44), Book of Science, Chapter on (Who specified some people to learn (religious) knowledge preferring them over others fearing that they may not understand it.)
(2) As-Sirah (The Biography of the Prophet Muhammad) by Ibn Kathir: (1/504).
(3) As-Sirah An-Nabawiyah (The Biography of the Prophet Muhammad) by Ibn Kathir: (1/505) and As-Sirah by Ibn Hisham: (1/294).
(4) Jame`a Bayan Al `Ilm W Fadhlihi(A comprehensive statement about science and its merit) by Ibn `Abd Al Barr: (1/27).