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 the development of the means and how the preachers should deal with them:
The wisdom and intellect oblige the preacher to keep pace with the development of the means, especially in modern age. The preacher should not lag behind in using those means that has significant impact in expanding the scope of Da`wah and helps in the explanation of Islamic message, rather he has to be creative in their usage as much as he can, as if the wheel of train begins to rotate it goes forward and neither forgives who stands in its track, nor waits for the late-comers.
There are two types of means that have been invented in this era that was spread very quickly and has great importance in this sector. Those means benefit the far and near, distant and close alike. The preacher has to take advantage of them and contribute to the promotion of his invitee’s levels, and these two types of means include:
1 - Internet: This invention has brought all corners of the world to each other and it is the most effective means of modern age by which the preachers should benefit fully to transfer Islamic message to the people all over the world. Through this network the scholar and the preacher can convey his lessons, speeches and his sermons to any corner in the world, especially, who has the ability to access Internet. Preachers are advised when they use Internet and publish their contribution through it to be characterized with the ethics of a true preacher, such as; soft talking, easy presentation and starting with agreed-upon points of basic doctrine, jurisprudence and Islamic elucidation. They should explain the truth of Islam conveying the correct understanding of purposes of Islam. Also they should avoid injuring the feelings of others at any cost and should try to reach the authorities in non-Islamic societies in order to inform them about Islamic message and its merits, perhaps they might understand. (1)
2 - Media: as has been said about the Internet the same would be said about the various communications media, especially the video systems of satellite channels that break in all barriers. The most efforts at the scene are mixed with aspiration to achieve business goals or gain interests for parties, sects and groups. Even some of them are offensive to Islam itself due to their lack of knowledge about the principles of jurisprudence and basic objectives of Shari`ah. In fact, these channels are in need of sincere preachers who should come forward to correct misunderstanding about the purposes of Islam represented in theology and Shari`ah. Such sincere scholars have to broadcast their opinions based on proper understanding of Islam and Da`wah, through which the goodness could be spread all over the world.
In addition to what has been elucidated in the rules and regulations for the usage of these means.
Balancing between the goals and means:
Balancing between the goals and the means has great importance in the lives of the preachers and their practices.
This act of balancing should be based upon some important points, including:
1 – When the preacher deals with the goals and means, he should balance between them, neither the means should be dealt as goals, nor the goals should be dealt as the means. However, many means have been turned into the goals in the life of some Muslims today, even some people have exaggerated in the usage of the means to the extent that they have forgotten the original purpose for which the means have been used, as has happened with some preachers of our time who belong to some parties or Islamic groups who are engaged with Da`wah activities as they become inviters to their own parties and groups and became more zealous for their parties than the principles and objectives of Islam becoming the prey of narrow partisanship. And some of them have exceeded all limits in the usage of those means diverting them from their original targets to their own goals, even if it leads to spoil the real general goal.
This point is very important through practical point of view, since the failure in establishing balance between these two standards has resulted in many problems that have deviated Da`wah from its correct track to some personal desires and narrow biased purposes and so on. I am sure, whoever follows Da`wah activities in different parts of the Islamic world will find it very evident.
2 - It is also among the important points of balancing between the goals and means to use appropriate means for the desired purposes. A lot of people have failed in the usage of many means that were easy to be utilized for achieving the goals of Da`wah, either ignoring the legitimacy of those means or being confused about their rulings. Thus they have wasted numerous opportunities for the usage of those means, like those who preferred to remain away from using some modern media resources claiming their prohibition, because they contain some types of prohibited aspects. Even though such person may be excused in their opinion, but through from other point of view, he has wasted many great opportunities of their positive usages especially when they have been proven useful in practical field, particularly if such person imposes his opinion on others. (2)
3 - It is also important in establishing balance between goals and means to choose carefully the appropriate means and tools when plans and prospectus of Da`wah are prepared. A true preacher never becomes content only with nobility of his cause or purity of his intention ignoring the proper means. In some cases, some preachers become satisfied with their studies and scholarly works paying no attention to the means and resources needed for achieving the goals of their studies. Thus you find them engaged in issues that could not be solved by them also they fall in matters that could not be afforded by them, because their available means fail to help them in achieving their goals, like the person who indulges in fighting activities while he neither completed their necessary means nor took their requirements thus his damages will be more than his advantages and his destruction will be larger than his construction, for example: If a person sets a great target intending to build some schools for teaching the Glorious Qur’an or raising the people according to systematic method then he began his effort to achieve his goal and to construct his proposed schools, but he had not assessed the needed means previously to achieve this goal naturally his efforts will fail and his project will become ineffective.
Hence, the preacher must balance between his goals and means before beginning a serious work.
4 - It is also necessary in balancing between goals and means to compare between goals and means, as every goal has its specific means. But some preachers have exaggerated in the usage of means and advancing them. They used some of them more than their real need and exploiting them in Da`wah activities in a advanced way to achieve some easy and small objectives that were lost amongst so many means and the invitees were unable to focus on the original and basic goals being preoccupied with the joy of these means. This does not mean to diminish the importance of these means, but what is meant by this is to encourage for balance in the selection of proper means for appropriate goals.
The above-mentioned lines have proved the importance of balancing between goals and means in the lives of inviters to Allah Almighty. (3)
Some most important effects of using these means appropriately are as follows:
1 – Through this method, Islamic message would be conveyed successfully with all available advanced means.
2 – The duty of the preachers would be fulfilled by using the means granted by Allah Almighty in Da`wah activities.
3 - Time, effort and money rendered for Da`wah would be saved.
4 – Through this method, Da`wah works would be saved from wasting of times that leads to lose a number of opportunities of Da`wah.
5 – Through this method, the emerging issues of Da`wah would be addressed effectively.
In contrast to these positives, if those means of Da`wah were not used properly or if the preacher fails in taking the advantage of these means will lead to some natural negatives like delaying the activities of Da`wah, as well as it results in the rise of evil and immorality in society which requires greater efforts in addressing them and combating their proliferation.
Conclusion: After formulating the objectives the preacher has to estimate the means that he wants to use in achieving his desired targets, if the means would be easier, less expensive, more widespread and more accurate, would be more preferred and more needed. And if the means would be more complicated to use, more expensive, more slow in spreading, and more complex in explanation would be more worthy of abandoning.
Actually, this issue is the subject of some jurisprudential rules that are applied when the advantages and disadvantages conflict with each other, which have been detailed in their contexts. (4)
By the will of Allah Almighty, we will start in the following episode the explanation of the fourth rule (Balancing between knowledge, worship and work.)
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family members and his all companions.
(1) Following the example of those noble preachers who directed their invitation to the heads of the Mongol invaders who embraced Islam, thus Muslims were in no need of fighting against them, because after they have converted to Islam became defenders of Islam, nevertheless, they were most hostile to him before their conversion.
(2) I remember the conversation held with Sheikh `Abdul `Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him), attended by a number of scholars to discuss the importance of the participation by eligible scholars and students of Islamic education in media in satellite channels. There were two types of opinions about the permissibility of participation or prohibition of it. However, his eminence has concluded the permissibility of this activity if it is done by the able persons, but he advised those of the opinion of prohibition not to discourage, nevertheless, they are excused according to Shari`ah point of view as long as they are not convinced with the another opinion.
(3) See:Fiqh Al Muwaznat Ad-Da`awiyah: p: (139, 138).
(4) See: Method of Da`wah in the light of contemporary reality (Arabic): p: (368).