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 shed light on Islamic ruling on the means of Da`wah:
After we have proved the legitimacy of Da`wah’s means, now we should ask: Are all means of Da`wah legitimate and valid for spreading of Islam? Could all means whether beneficial or non-beneficial be used by the preacher in order to deliver the message of Islam to the people?
In fact, these questions are important and reasonable.
In order to elucidate Islamic ruling on the means of Da`wah, scholars and researchers have mentioned that the means and methods of Da`wah do not exceed three kinds. (1)
The First Kind:
There must be textual permission from the Glorious Qur’an and blessed Sunnah for the means and method of Da`wah. The ruling on the means and method is determined by Allah (Glory be to Him) or by the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) himself. There must be a divine commandment that denotes the ruling whether obligatory or praiseworthy, or permissible. As Allah (Glory be to Him) has instructed the preacher and said: “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].And He (Glory be to Him) says: “And speak good to people.” [Surat Al Baqarah: 83].
The Second Kind:
There must be textual prohibition in the Glorious Qur’an or the blessed Sunnah for the means and method. The ruling on the prohibited means and method is determined by Allah (Glory be to Him) or by the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) himself. And no one has to violate that. Therefore, the preacher is not allowed to use this kind of religiously prohibited means and methods, such as; double-dealing, fabricating, ringing a bell for prayers, usage of illegal money, trapping the people, backbiting, gossip or forbidden music or songs and so on.
The Third Kind:
If there is no textual statement in the Glorious Qur’an and blessed Sunnah about the permission or prohibition of the means or method then their ruling is dependent on the opinion of true Muslim scholars based on the sacred texts of the Glorious Qur’an and blessed Sunnah in the light of jurisprudential principles. This kind of means and methods falls within the category of “Permissible Thing”. According to the jurisprudential principle “All things are originally deemed permissible as long as there is no Shari`ah text that prohibits them.”
Categories of Da`wah’s Means:
There are two categories of means of Da`wah:
The first category: The direct means of Da`wah.
They refer to a group of means of Da`wah that is related to the invitees directly without a medium, for example: sermon, lecture seminar and conference, etc.
The second category: Indirect means of Da`wah.
They refer to a group of means that are associated with invitees, but indirectly or through some mediums that help to convey the message to the invitees, for example: media, multimedia and other means of communication, such as radio, television, telephone, fax, Internet, video, articles, etc.
Regulations for Da`wah’s means:
There are several rules and regulations that should be available in the means of Da`wah in order to protect them from disorder, misuse and corruption.
These regulations are many and different which have been summarized in brief without elaboration in the following points: (2)
1 – Those means must be legitimate and in accordance and harmony with the rulings of the Islamic Shari`ah under the principles of the Glorious Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah of His Messenger (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) coinciding with the practices of the righteous predecessors that were transmitted to us, in the sense that they should be based on a legitimate principle.
2 - These means should not contradict Islamic Shari`ah, in the sense that the means of Da`wah should not be prohibited ones and must be far from doubt and bad innovations.
3 - The means of Da`wah should not be a religious identity of non-Muslims, especially the identities related to religious matters, such as: Bell, cross, trumpet, fire, and so-called star of David, arrows for seeking luck, drawing an evil omen from birds, dancing and palmistry, etc. that contradicts the Islamic faith and has been regarded as religions identity of other religions.
4 – The intended goal through the usage of these means should be also legitimate. If the intended aim is religiously forbidden then it is prohibited to be sought by any means, because prohibition of any goal denotes the prohibition of all means leading to it, as every thing that leads to a prohibited act is itself a prohibited one and any action that leads to an unpleasant result is itself an unpleasant thing.
Ibn Al Qayyim says in this context: “The means leading to goal is dependent on the goal and both are intended, but the goal is intended as aims while the means are intended as means. If the Lord (Glory be to Him) prohibits some thing that has many ways and means leading to that, then Allah (Glory be to Him) prohibits and forbids all those means and ways in order to maintain, preserve and sustain the prohibition of that goal preventing it even to be neared to. As if Allah (Glory be to Him) would have permitted those means or ways leading to the prohibited goal it was a breach of the prohibition itself and the souls would have been lured to that thing whilst wisdom of Allah Almighty and His knowledge do not accept it.”(3)
Furthermore, Sheikh `Abdur- Rahman ibn Sa`adi said: “Means take the rulings of the purposes, as that which is necessary to establish an obligatory is itself obligatory, and as that which is necessary to establish a Sunnah is itself Sunnah, also the ways and means leading to prohibited or illegal action are themselves prohibited and illegal, as well as the means of a permissible thing are permissible. (4)
5 – It is also noteworthy that means of Da`wah should not lead to more dangerous results than their intended interests, if they lead to evil or harm or trial among the people then they must be avoided, as warding off definite harms has precedence over bringing the possible benefits. In fact, this is a great regulation and a very important rule but many preachers could not comprehend it. By the will of Allah, it will be detailed in an independent chapter.
Some important points regarding the usage of means of Da`wah:
These points are assisting factors for the proper usage of modern means:
1 – The preachers should take into account the priorities in using the means of Da`wah bearing in mind the importance of means according to their expected benefits, as the means leading to the best goals would be regarded as the best means whilst the means leading to the goals having less importance would be of less degree.
2 – Adopting the method of gradual steps in the use of means, so the preacher should not hasten in the usage of those means and should not use all available means of Da`wah at once in a particular community, but he should use these means slowly and step by step promotion with the case of his invitees until he reaches the fuller means of Da`wah.
3 - Compatibility of the means of Da`wah with the condition of the invitees and the circumstances of the community. It should be borne in mind whether they are able to understand it or not, can they be benefited by them or not? The preacher should also assess if the people are eligible to understand what he wants to deliver or not.
4 – Ability of the preacher for the usage of these means is also very important. The preacher must have knowledge of their benefits and utility methods. Beside the rational use of these methods, the preacher should exploit them for the good and welfare of his invitees, adhering to the honesty and sincerity in using these means of Da`wah.
By the will of Allah, we will start in the following episode explaining the development of the means and how the preachers should deal with them.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family members and his all companions.
(1) See: The Means of Inviting to Allah Almighty Between Divine Guidance and Scholarly Thought (Arabic), p: (31). The Rules about the Means (Arabic) p: (328). Methods of Inviting to Allah Almighty: p: (66). An Introduction to Inviting to Allah Almighty: p: (286).
(2) See: Means of Da`wah by Dr. `Abdur- Rahim Al Mughdhawi: p: (20). Means of Calling to Allah Almighty and its Methods by Dr. Hussein `Abdul Muttalib: p: (61). The Rules of Means by Dr. Mustafa Makhdum p: (347). Scientific Fundamentals for the Method of Islamic Da`wah by Dr. `Abdur- Rahim Al Mughdhawi: (676, 674).
(3)I`alam Al Muwqqi`in: (3/175).
(4) The Comprehensive Rules and Principles: p. (10).