Sunday, 22 April 2018

Tafsan 

 

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Topic: Managing the Exapnsion of Dawah

 

I begin in the name of Allah the most gracious the most merciful.  

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi wabarkatuh.  Short Arabic Khutba  

Let me begin by first of all praising the Lord Almighty Allah the Lord of the universe, who is our cherisher, our nourisher, our sustainer our creator, the creator of myself & yourself and everything else besides himself, We praise HIM at all times for the priceless gift of faith & imaan & for making us  from amongst the people of faith.  We seek his assistance & we seek his forgiveness.  We seek refuge in him from the evil of our souls & the evil of our actions.  

We declare & believe that whoever Allah decides to guide no one can misguide him and whoever Allah decides to misguide no one can guide him aright.  We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Prophet Mohammad PBUH is His final Messenger.  (May the countless blessings of our Lord be upon Him and upon ALL of Gods prophets from Adam to jesus and Mohammad & upon all of their illustrious disciples & companions, upon all those who follow them, including yourself, until the day of reckoning.  Amen  

We ask Allah for his protection his mercy & his forgiveness and pray that Allah makes us from amongst those  Daees who are obedient in service to him & successful both in this life and the hereafter Ameen ya rabal aalameen. 

His excellency the honourable head of state Mr President Nana Akufo-Addo, honourable Ambassador of Nigeria to Ghana Mr Michael Olukoye,  the most revered chief imam of Ghana Shaikh,  The honorable Governor of Osun Sir Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, respected Chair of NASFAT Engineer Kamil Bolarinwa,   honorable Imam Sheikh Arimyau Shuaib,  respected chief missionary Imam Maruf Abdul Azizi Onike, Chaiman National council of elders Alhaji Y O  Soliu , Chairman board of Trustees of NASFAT Alhaji Abdul Lateef Olasupo, all distinguished dignitaries & guests from across the globe,  respected administrators, & my beloved brothers & sisters in Islam  I greet you with the greeting of islam - Assalam Alaikum W.W  May peace & blessings of ALLAH be upon you all.    

It is indeed a real privilege and a great honor to have been invited to participate and speak at this most esteemed & hugely important 4th

Biennial General Islamic conference in Accra Ghana.  

We pray Allah Almighty grant this conference a resounding success and accept the efforts of one all for the sake of His pleasure alone.

I would like to thank the executive for this opportunity to share my thoughts and I pray to the Almighty that I am able to deliver to your expectations by the will and mercy of Allah. . 

I pray Allah increase us all in knowledge of deen, & grant us  beneficial knowledge & benefit us from the knowledge he bestows us.   

 My dear brothers and sisters in islam We need to begin by understanding that the religion of Islam is not the religion for a particular nation nor a group of people or a particular civilization, it is a global world religion that has answers to the worlds problems.  Islam has a universal message and that is why the messenger who introduced this religion to the world is described by Allah Almighty as Rahmatullil Aalimeen: Allah says

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

He was made the mercy for all of mankind.  His message is therefore appealing to mankind globally. So Those who see themselves as daees & fortunate to convey the message of this global religion,  have a duty to align with this global message by making it appealing to the entire  world because Allah clearly states in  Quran: 

قُلۡ يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنِّىۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰهِ اِلَيۡكُمۡ جَمِيۡعَاْ .   Allah tells his beloved messenger to tell the people that I am the prophet of Allah sent to ALL of you. Not just the people of quraish or arabia.  And his universal message created global duaat & servants of Islam at the time; the likes of Abu Bakr & Umar, Uthman & Ali, Talha & Zubair, Abdur Rehaman ibn Auwf, Sa’ad ibn abi waqas, khalid ibnul Walid, Abu Ubaida Bin Jarrah, Abdullah ibn masud & Muaaz ibn Jabal and & Jaafar Al-tayyar the refugee who bought islam into Africa & propagated it for 15 yrs.  These  illustrious companions were not prepared and primed by the messenger SAW to simply become khateebs in a masjid or simply to lead salah or teach the reading of the quran.. Not at all - these companions became global leaders & daees  aligning themselves  with global diversity to make their calling appealing to not only the arabian peninsular but across the Muslim world  

They forged alliances with other tribal leaders and heads of state  And  within just over a decade following the demise of the messenger of Allah the daees had extended the  boundaries of the Muslim empire to Morocco in the North of Africa & Spain in the West & across Central Asia & India to the East.

 So What were the ingredients for this resounding success.  Contrary to the popular belief, It was not the sword, it was effective leadership, it was their character, it was equality & justice, it was their sense of real brotherhood and manifestation of Quran & sunnah in their life through  good moral character.  And above all it was their sincerity of purpose in the mission they had set out to achieve. 

Remember sincerity of purpose is the cornerstone to the success of any  movement And that is one of the fundamental characteristics of dawah which I would like to begin with today.  Before any building is structured we need to get the foundations right.   And Whilst there are many ingredients to the foundation of dawah I want to concentrate on two important foundational aspects of dawah ; Sincerity and Brotherhood.   

Correct your Intention (tashih al-niyya)  (1st)

We learn that dawah holds a prestigious position in Islam, and as such da’ees are carrying out the work of the messengers.  The messenger SAW is described as a Daa’ee in the Quran: Surah 33 V:46

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ

Da’wah is given a lot of importance by Allah in the Quran and  therefore its talked about very often in the quran in different ways.  Infact if you look at the life of the nabi of allah one of his most common sunnah – something he did all the time was dawah -his life rotated around dawah  his life summary can be summarised as a daee ilallah 

 In essence those involved in the work of Dawah are in actual fact carrying out one of the key roles of the messenger.  And We also know from the hadith of Prophet SAW that inheritors of the prophet are the scholars who convey to people the knowledge of Quran n sunnah. So in essence scholars are also daaees. But one of conditions for a scholar to qualify as a scholar in the eyes of Allah is to Fear Allah & be conscious of his presence in all matters.

إِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى ٱللَّهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ ٱلۡعُلَمَـٰٓؤُاْۗ

“Only those of His slaves fear Allah who are knowledgeable”

(Quran Surah 35 Verse 28)

Those who fear Allah are the real scholars and scholars are the inheritors vicegerants of the messenger SAW.  On the other hand we have the daees who are personifying the messengers role as a caller to islam, And when we look at what constitutes a scholar in the eyes of allah it is he who has fear of Allah.  So in essence the Daee / missionary who is carrying out the role of the messenger, for him or her to be called a Daee in the eyes of allah,  the same condition that apply to scholars must apply to the missionary, they are both vicegerents of the prophet.  So the real Daees / missionaries  are those who also fear allah.  

And one way of developing this fear & consciousness of the Lord Almighty is to make sure your intention is correct. 

E.G: If you have a scholar that has knowledge but does not fear Allah, he is not a true scholar. We have back home in the UK professor of Islamic studies; in the prestigious Cambridge & Oxford Universities where professors possess deep knowledge  of Quran and hadith & al-asma wal-rijal (science of critically analysing the reporters of Hadith), yet he is not even a Muslim. The point I wish to make is that Knowledge of Islam (ilm) is not just information; it is much more than that. What benefit is  knowledge of Islam if that knowledge does not even make you a Muslim?  Or if that knowledge does not take you closer to Allah.   NASFAT needs to monitor application of knowledge. And I believe the key ingredient to help us value the knowledge we learn and apply it is our correct and sincere intentions. Because sincere intention develops consciousness of the Almighty Allah and when you have taqwa Allah will open up ways for your success.   

Which is why out of 7275 Sahih ahadith compiled by imam bukhari in his book Sahih al Bukhari from an initial collection of 300,00 the very first hadith imam Bukhari decides to start his work with is the hadith on correcting ones intention. The hadith is narrated on the authority of Umar RA. He reports Messenger of Allah saying:    إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، 

The reason Imam bukhari did this was so that he could remind himself of the correct intention, i.e. O Allah; I am compiling this book of Hadith only for your pleasure, only for your sake, only to serve you & your deen. 

And it is for this very reason that this book Sahih Al Bukhari turned out to be second most authentic book in islam after the book of Allah. 

This sincerity of purpose can be applied to other professions too.  Whether you are a Medic or Teacher or an Engineer or a Politician -  if your intention is financial gain & to make money you will get that, but thats all you will get.   However, if your intention, along with the financial gains in the world is to serve humanity & you want to serve the creation of Lord Almighty & you want to help people, then you will in the process please Allah Most High & will not only make your dunya but your aakhirah which is our ultimate aim.    

So as of now if you have not already changed your intention, please change it now. Whether you are a dr, nurse, teacher, engineer, change your intention & simply any  worldly act will become an Islamic act of dawah.    Just change the perspective and outlook in your brain, mind and thoughts. You will do everything the same, you will come to university every day, you will go to work everyday, you will go to teach everyday, you will go to the hospital to operate, but you have just changed your perspective, you have only changed the way you look at things.  You make dua to Allah that O Allah, I am doing this to please you by serving humanity, I want to do something fruitful in life, I want to make a difference in other peoples life, then even through your profession and career you will be doing dawah what’s called individual Da’wah  & make your paradise, Insha-Allah. 

 

Genuine Brotherhood ( Ukhuwwah )  (2nd) 

The second important part of the foundation for da’awah is brotherhood. 

Allah says in surah hujuraat Verse 10:     إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ

 Believers are nothing but brothers so make peace, settlement between brother:  

 

 Now إِخْوَةٌ is different to ikhwaan in the Arabic language. Ikhwaan is used to refer to fraternity of brothers, show of solidarity amongst people who are not blood brothers but are very close. There is something that bonds them as brothers –  so ikhwan is used to show unity between people, whilst the word إِخْوَةٌ is used to show blood relations.  Same mother and father.   Just Imagine thats the word Allah uses to describe our relationship as an ummah. Allah compares us with blood brothers.   

That requires us to think deeply. How many have brothers here? Its normal for brothers to have an argument & fights. Its natural between siblings to have clashes, yet there is unity.   One of the things we can understand from this is as ummah and brothers of deen that we are going to have differences and have clashes and confrontations.   But when someone from the outside is hurting your brothers although you may have arguments between you  you will go to defend your brother from being harmed.    So even if you have rifts as blood brothers the bond of blood is so strong that you will eventually help one another when the enemy strikes.  And so Allah likens the ummah with that of blood brothers that we may go through differences and may have clashes but we need to show brotherhood and solidarity to the world.   

So here is the point, its very easy for us to say the Muslim ummah across the globe are all brothers in Islam, so the Egyptian, the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Bengalis, or the Russian or Chinese Muslims are all our  brothers in islam, but the litmus test is how many of us actually treat each other as bothers.    

If there was a Chinese man or a Turkish man or Somalian or Senegalese praying  salah right next to you would you really treat him like your blood brother. ?    Would  you be able to harbour the same love as you would for your real brother? Most likely Not!   So we have real issues to deal with as an ummah. We need to change the way we see the ummah at large. We need to harbour the true feelings of brother hood for our Muslim brothers at home and abroad and then the help of Allah will come.. 

Our deen gives us harmony as believers -  Allah say

 وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا 

And remember the blessings which Allah has bestowed upon you: How, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through HIS blessings you became brethren. C:3 V:103

 

Allah says فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ) Allah says he is putting love in between your heart.  Now think about it. The people quran refers to were enemies yet because of one gift & one gift alone - they were bonded together like blood brothers.  So what is the basis of that love.?  I mean I am here today..  Why would I love you? I dont even know you guys? I dont know you from Adam? I dont even look like you, I dont have the colour skin as you do, I dont come from the same country as you, I dont share the same language or culture! I have nothing in common except what?  Faith in Allah & his Rasool.    Allah puts that love between the ummah  Allah creates this relationship? We didnt create it.  

This is a special type of relationship.. But the more crucial point is this -  if  you dont feel like brothers with another Muslim from another country for example  - then may be we are not the ummah allah is talking about  allah is talking about the true believers. May be we are lacking in true faith.   If we dont have the true love for our fellow Muslims then may be we are not the audience that Allah is talking to in the Quran.  

The point I want to make is that the fundamental pre-requisite & foundation  for any effective dawah is sincerity, genuine brotherhood &  genuine love..

Whilst i have come here to talk about Dawah today but I cant talk to you about dawah until we have the foundation right.  For any building we need to get the foundation right.  That is unity & brotherhood.  

Why did I mention unity & brotherhood ?  because there is a  link between dawah and brotherhood.  Any of you brothers ever been on a joint mission or project either from work or  university  Or you are working with a team of people on an important task together or playing in a sports game and you  have several teams playing in the knockout competition  basket ball or football tournament do you know what the most important thing is for a team to succeed?   There is one team that has no unity they are not passing the ball to each other  there is no co-ordination, on the other hand the other team is synchronised together and work in tandem with good communication  they are passing the ball fluently - if they make a mistake they dont criticise nor argue  just hand shake and get on with it.  whose going to win? 

So If you want a job to be successful you need unity, bond, synchronisation,   And naturally that bond is created when people are on the same mission with sincerity.  When you do hajj together with someone or group of people and you go through difficult times but you stick together in the mission  you will notice that even after hajj you will be forever close brothers  So a bond is created when you are in the same mission.  Now lets come back to our topic   what is the main mission of our ummah? Dawah.  If there is no unity of purpose and bond in our approach then we cannot do dawah successfully.  

Infact on the contrary  if there is no unity of purpose Allah warns us that your disunity and dis-harmony and lack of love and brotherhood will result in you becoming weak in courage and you will lose your strength as an ummah.   Allah spells this our very clearly in [Surat Al-Anfal 46]

(وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ)

Obey Allah & His Messenger & do not dispute – otherwise you will become weak/ you will lose courage and your strength will depart from you. 

 

So my message is unity of purpose is crucial in the work of dawah. 

Dawah is more effective when done collectively as a team: 

You cannot do much dawah individually as you can collectively  It needs to be a collective effort.   As Allah says:

وَلۡتَكُن مِّنكُمۡ أُمَّةٞ يَدۡعُونَ إِلَى ٱلۡخَيۡرِ وَيَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِۚ وَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ 

“Let there arise among you a group inviting to all that is good, (enjoining righteousness) and forbidding evil. Those are the successful ones.

    (Surah Aal Imraan, 3: 104)

 

When we join forces collectively  forge alliances with others we increase our potential to give dawah.  We are able to take advantage of each others talents  NASFAT May want to consider forging alliances with other organisations to share good practice so we dont re-invent the wheel.  A lot of times we re-invent  the wheel. We need to build on something thats already done and improve on it. That is what synchronisation is all about  no two people are doing the same thing..  we need to compliment each other’s efforts.  

Dawah is a also a personal obligation:

In surah nahl chapter 16 verse 125:  Allah mentions

ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ

“Call to the way of your Lord ...”

This was a direct command to the prophet himself.  And by virtue the command is to all of us individually too.     In Surah Ma’aidah  Allah again orders the messenger to convey what is revealed to him:  

ٓأَيُّهَا ٱلرَّسُولُ بَلِّغۡ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ مِن رَّبِّكَۖ

“O Messenger, convey what was revealed to you from your Lord.

(Surah al-Maaidah, 5: 67)

 

These verses prove that it is a personal obligation upon every Muslim according to their abilities. 

 

What we learn from these verses is that the whole life of the prophet SAW circumvented around dawah. So dawah is actually a big deal   because the messenger of allah made it his life mission. 

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I want to now concentrate the characteristics of dawah:

we need to ask ourselves what does Dawah really mean?  How do we as an ummah get prepared to make dawah. What are the pre-requisites of dawah, what are the characteristics of dawah, what are the different kinds of dawah and how do we contribute to the work of dawah. These are very important Qs  And Allah didnt leave us without answering these questions for us in the quran. 

To help us with some of these questions lets look at the verse 125 of surah Nahl C:16 

اُدۡعُ اِلٰى سَبِيۡلِ رَبِّكَ بِالۡحِكۡمَةِ وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلۡهُمۡ بِالَّتِىۡ هِىَ اَحۡسَنُؕ

 (O Prophet), call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good counsel,122 and reason with them in the best manner possible. Surah Nahl (The Bee) Verse 125. 

 Before we analyze this verse to help us answer some of the questions I want to reflect on the word Allah uses. Interestingly we just been talking about brother hood as the foundation of dawah.  If you look at the first word  ٱدۡعُ  meaning INVITE has message of brotherhood harmony and unity hidden in it.  Allah says’ ٱدۡعُ    uses the word INVITE.  Now inviting someone is an act of friendship, act of love and act of kindness.  You don’t invite someone you hate.  And you cannot invite someone when you are angry with that person.  If you hate someone what chances are there that you will invite him or her to your house.?  What I am trying to get to is that the idea of dawah and spreading the message of islam is an act of love, courtesy respect and kindness. It cannot be a condescending message where you come across arrogant or feeling greater than the people you giving dawah too.. because then its not an invitation.  Allah says ٱدۡعُ     call – invite is meant to be something filled with goodness and politeness & brother hood. 

The other very important thing you must be mindful of is that when we invite people to Islam - we are calling to something beyond just ideas. Islam is not just a  set of rules and  ideology.  The Deen of Allah is not just what you know but how you act  how you manifest islam in your own life, how you implement the teachings of Islam yourself.  So learning a few ayats of the Quran and few important points to convey to the people you intend to give dawah too, is not enough.  How you live & how you deal with other people is crucial.  

Remember there is nothing heavier in the scales on the day of judgement than good character.  Others from outside our religion will be more impressed with what you do than what  you say. your actions speak louder than words.

 The messenger of Allah is being described by Allah as someone who was of the highest character & of high moral ground.    (وَاِنَّكَ لَعَلٰى خُلُقٍ عَظِيۡمٍ‏ ﴿68:4﴾)

Character in & of itself is a great form of dawah.   Your character and personality is the biggest caller to brotherhood and harmony.  If u study deep into this verse you will realize what Allah is trying to convey. 

This verse was an early revelation that suggests that Allahs declaration refers to Muhammad character before nubuwwah  pre islam  It refers to his character as a member of the arabian society. So after spending 40yrs as a member of the community allah describes his character as sublime and of high moral ground.  Why? Because any message from a member of society is not acceptable by the masses unless it is backed by sound credibility. And the most sustainable form of credibility is character.   

Today we have powerful & eloquent politicians.  What is the easiest way to dismantle their political campaign?  Its to smear their character. No matter how well you present your manifesto, social & political ideal, when you lose your credibility no one will accept your message.  So because Muhammad was given a noble message to convey  it would not have any validity if there was no substance & credibility to his character.. Whats incredible is that makka pre isalm was pretty evil and corrupt. There was corruption  & injustices in almost everything. Might was right  - Yet just one single man in an entire corrupt society sticks to honesty and justice and not only survives it but stands out as the most trustworthy and as a result transformed people to the core. 

The Hadith of Jabir is very striking in this regard wherein he narrates the messenger of Allah saying:  “وعن جابر رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: إن من أحبكم إلي وأقربكم مني مجلسا يوم القيامة أحاسنكم أخلاقا وإن أبغضكم إلي وأبعدكم مني يوم القيامة الثرثارون والمتشدقون والمتفيهقون”.   The most beloved to me and the closest to me on the day of resurrection will be who?  Is it the one who has memorised the most ayaats? Or the one who has given the most time in dawah? Or the one who gives millions of Ghanain Cedis Or £s or $s. Noo. Its the one who has the best character.

It is for this very reason the prophet SAW advised the prospective spouses that when one of you receives a proposal from someone whose character appeals to you then you must get married.  Hadith of Abu Hurairah عن أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا خطب إليكم من ترضون دينه وخلقه فزوجوه، إلا تفعلوا تكن فتنة في الأرض وفساد عريض” -  There is a reason why character is singled out by the messenger as very important criteria for marriage… Think about it.  Its this character that then  contributes to completing half of your imaan and faith in marriage. 

You know Martin Luther king once said: People hate each other because they fear each other and they fear each other because they dont know each other.

  So your character & personality when doing dawah should be such that people get to you know you and begin to love you..   And that was the amazing & remarkable thing about the messenger of Allah that who ever he interacted with his unique character was such that he made every one feel so special that every sahabi assumed he was the most beloved to the messenger.   Even the companions who spent a short period of time with the messenger like Amr Ibn Aas RA. He accepted Islam shortly before the conquest of Makka so he spent only a few years in the company of the prophet. Yet this was the sahabi was amongst the delegation of  the enemies of islam  who travelled to king Negus in Abyssinia to persuade him to expel the Muslim refugees who had migrated for protection.  

So one day he approaches the messenger and asks فَقَالَ : أَيُّ النَّاسِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟?  Who is the most beloved to you from all the people?  Amr is asking in the presence of other companions.   And Amr is sure that its going to be him.. The Messenger SAW said, well now that you are asking its قَالَ : " عَائِشَةُ. And Amr bin Aas says NO.NO.NO.  ، قُلْتُ : مِنَ الرِّجَالِ ؟ - I mean from the men not from the women.  So the messenger said قَالَ : " أَبُوهَا " - Her father.  Notice he still makes reference to Aisha instead of saying Abu Bakr he says her father. That was his love for his beloved wife..  Amr Ibn Aas asked; : ثُمَّ مَنْ ؟ YA RASULULLAH?  The messenger replied its " ثُمَّ عُمَرُ " .  Amr ibn Aaas then says I stopped asking the messenger of Allah because as he was afraid he would never says his name. 

The point is that even in a  few years the messenger would make someone  feel so special that they would think they are most beloved to him..   That is the character we need to seek to personify in our approach to people particularly non Muslims.  

Now lets analyse this ayah  in surah nahl. Allah says: (Surah 16 V: 125)

اُدۡعُ اِلٰى سَبِيۡلِ رَبِّكَ بِالۡحِكۡمَةِ وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلۡهُمۡ بِالَّتِىۡ هِىَ اَحۡسَنُ

 

Going back to analyzing the ayah in surah nahl,  I want to explain to you how Allah uses this ayah to explain and help us organise our thoughts in terms of the different aspects of dawah. Allah in the verse makes indirect reference or gives a clue to three aspects of dawah  or three types of people in dawah or three stages of dawah -  

3 kinds of people in dawah  corresponding with 3 types & aspects  of dawah 

 

1st kind of people: The first kind of people are the masses of people, the majority of people the common masses   and when you dealing with the common masses you need to deliver the message that everyone can understand. Its a simple message and that is a  message of good advice.  

 

As Rasul SAW summarises Deen as Good Advice -  AL Deen Al Naseeha  good advice on how people should live. Advise on what would make people happy in their lives.  Key thing about this religion is if they understand it, they follow it & practice it, then not only does it make your afterlife better but it makes your life in this  dunya better.  

 

Remember Allah only prohibits things for us because its harmful and HE make permissible things because there is goodness and benefit in it for you.  That is the law of Allah. You need to share advice that would bring peace to your marriage, peace your family members, it brings you peace in yourself at your work place -  So for the masses of people whats needed Good advice which Allah terms as  وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَة

 

So What I want you to remember from this verse is  that there are 3 kinds of People you generally face in dawah :

1st kind of People:   First kind of people are common masses – they need to hear good advice -Quran uses the term ‘وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَة. Good counsel and advice -  

2nd kind of People The second type of people Allah refers to when it comes to dawah are those who are not your common people – they are the intellectual elite of the society – they are on top of their field whether its finance, law, medicine, engineering.  They are the thinkers and pioneers and trend setters of society & common people look up to them as role models.  If you want to invite them to Islam then simply good advice and good counsel is not enough. These are smart people and they ask smart & intellectually challenging questions. 

So you have someone who is an expert in finance and say works for the federal reserve or the state bank or a senior health minister or cabinet minister or government politician.  If you have the opportunity to speak to them about islam, these people will have questions that may be not be directly related to the pillars of islam but they will ask about what Islam actually says concerning usury or stock markets or shares or hedgefunds,  Or about Islams view on organ donation or stem cell research etc. Well someone like me might not be the right person to answer these specific queries because I may  not have the expert knowledge using the right terminology & language,      So if people are at a different levels of intellect, we are supposed to be able to present islam at every different  intellectual level.     General advice or good advice which we use with the common masses may NOT be  relevant with the elite & professional people?  We need to use some hikmah.   That is why Allah uses the word HIKMAH. 

And this idea & view  of using specialist people with specialist knowledge  to propagate deen is also supported by another verse of the holy Quran in Surah Ibrahim Verse 4:   وَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوۡمِهٖ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمۡ

Never have We sent a Messenger but he has addressed his people in their language that he may fully expound his Message to them.

Some scholars are of the opinion sending messengers in the language of their people does not only refer to same language, tone, & linguistical dialect, but is also extended to include same professions, trade & occupation etc. So for example for effective dawah amongst computer technicians one would need to relate to aspects of software and hardware to strike a similitude or use figurative speech they would relate to.  And amongst medics use medical aspects to make dawah, amongst farmers relate to land & crops and produce etc. etc. This is the hikmah that Allah refers so in surah nahl. 

So we now learn from the quran that we have to prepare people who are able to give 1. good advice and good counsel to the masses, 2. we also need to prepare and train specialist in key areas to deal with the intellectual people.  So when you target both spectrums of society thats when the results will be seen.   When people see their top elite becoming muslims  really influential people start to look at islam in a different light and  talk good about it then what will the common people do?  They want to do same.. 

But when this happens i.e when you see influential people turning to islam  you will also notice that some people will start to feel threatened, feel scared and intimidated.   The question here is Why would people think that Islam is a threat.? 

The answer to that is our deen has two goals and the dawah seeks to achieve both of them.  

The 1st goal is that  in this dunya our Deen seeks to achieve Justice  & the 2nd goal is our deen seeks to achieve everlasting success In the akhira. 

As for justice in this dunya -  there is  Justice between the master and his servant  (Hukkuk Allah) justice amongst the creation of allah (Hukook al Ibaad)  this includes justice between business partners, justice between married couples, justice between the government and the people, justice between employers and employees. Justice across the board. 

But guess who hates justice - those who take advantage of injustice. & corruption - for example if Islam was made appealing to the elite of the country one of the biggest enemies of islam in that would be the huge beer n brewery companies like Guiness & the likes of accra brewery honestly -  do you know why because islam advocates that the injustices that spread in society is because of alcohol  

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا  They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit.

The entire brewery and casino industry would be big opponents of islam.  These are powerful multi billion dollar  industries and so its inevitable that  islam would have some serious opponents and enemies if we start become to target the intellectual n elite of society.   So the elite who take advantage of injustices will find away to stop this justice that the expansion of dawah seeks to establish.     This is when the influential and powerful autocracies create n fund  intellectual speakers, create debators, and so called experts to manipulate the message of islam and their job is simply to bring the message of Islam into disrepute.    Their job is to demonise islam on every media and news outlet possible.    Their job is to show the masses how evil and backward & crazy this religion is.  So what this does is it convinces the masses not to take the good advice and counsel.  So these debaters & arguers and so called experts, attack the shariah and so to respond to them and address that part of the challenge Allah says we need to produce the third kind of dawah – which is to specialise  in debate – (وَجَادِلۡهُمۡ بِالَّتِىۡ هِىَ اَحۡسَنُؕ) those who specialises in debate and dialogue & use intellectual arguments to reason with them. 

 So there are 3 type of dawah Allah refers to in this verse of surah nahl and each of these aspects of dawah are related to 3 specific types of people.     

Three aspects of dawah we need to work on

 بِالۡحِكۡمَةِ /  وَالۡمَوۡعِظَةِ الۡحَسَنَةِ /  وَجَادِلۡهُمۡ بِالَّتِىۡ هِىَ اَحۡسَنُؕ. 

With Good counsel to the general masses 

With wisdom and reasoning to the intellectual elite  

With debate & dialogue with those who seek to manipulate and oppose the message of Islam.  

But before we can work on developing these areas of dawah at every level we need to know that  in every type of  dawah there are two parts & components  Whether its good advice & counsel, or its talking with intellectuals with wisdom & reason or whether its dialogue or debates, at every level you must have  two components to your dawah:   Speech  &  Action  for a daaee they have to have good speech but also  good action if you have good speech and your action does not show it your work is in vain.   Your talking about unity and brother hood and then you make a racist remark.  No one is going to take you seriously. if your action does not follow your speech you lose your credibility.   Allah talks about these two aspects of dawah in surah Fussilat chapter 41 verse 33    

وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ قَوۡلٗا مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحٗا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ

“Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, does righteous deeds and says indeed I am among the Muslims (submitters unto Allah).” 

 

In the verse Allah not only talks about the virtues of dawah by praising those who engage in inviting others as the best of people  but also explains dawah to be divided into 2 segments - 1st speech first  مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ  and then action.    وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحٗا

If you have one component and not the other then you have no credibility –  

So to recap WHAT are three areas of dawah or three types of people in dawah?  1/ general masses, 2/ the intellectuals and elite, 3/ debators & disputants 

With in each of these areas we have so many different sub- areas. So within the general masses we need specialist people who could work on the teenagers as they have specific problems, then there is dawah to women and girls, dawah to parents dawah to children, dawah to the different communities, Christians communities, the traditionalist, the jews etc..  

when you get to intellectual level we need specialist people in different disciplines and when it comes to debate there are people debating from a political point of view, people who are debating about the existence of God, some from the point of view of the legitimacy of the Quran & hadith or Fiqh.  And mashallah we have intelligent people who need to be harnessed in the right way and who can become intelligent resources for the ummah. We need to invest in them. 

So If there is a young guy who is studying medicine, or young girl who is becoming a nurse or scientist in our community & they happen to attend the Sunday Islamic class or is a volunteer in any Islamic project and is confident in a particular field, we need to invest in him or her in becoming a daee in that field.

  Its important we hand pick n choose and prepare an equal proportion of our men & women folk.  If we really want dawah to be successful we need to prepare our women as Daaiyaat. What a sister can advocate about her personal experiences in wearing a hijab a man cannot.

Back home I know a person who  graduated from Cambridge university brother Iqbal Nasim with a first class honours degree and studied to become a Dr but he decided he wanted to make a difference to Muslims of UK so he left his discipline & set up the first ever UK based National Zakah fund and part of the vision was not just to support the poor and needy & homeless people of UK both muslims & non Muslims, but to establish a scholarship fund that would be used to invest in individual talented youngsters; to coach them in a specific field within an Islamic environment with a view that these people will become experts in their own field but have a strong Islamic identity & become daaees of deen in their discipline through good character. These people can become assets to the country & ambassadors of islam. 

So its important we have a good strategy, we need to have a good business plan, we need to have a vision and set targets to achieve what we have set out to achieve.  We monitor n assess progress. For that we need the right calibre of people for each segment of society.  

In short in this ayah what I wanted to do is share with you some of the lessons we can take away in terms of the types of dawah that can be implemented and the kinds of pre-requisites we have to fulfil and how important it is for us to become like a family .. 

And remember people who have the freedom to preach or freedom of speech in the free democratic countries, they are in a better position to do dawah than most Muslims across the world. There are Muslim countries where if they say even a small thing about propagating islam & deen they are arrested & jailed.  So Allah will ask us about this free speech and ask how much of that we utilized in giving dawah.   If you have liberty in your countries you need to  use the liberty to serve Allahs Deen.  So those of you who have European & American passports you really need to be thinking and saying to Allah Oh Allah I really now have the passport to serve your Deen. But we dont think that way. We think now that we have a western passport its time to have party and travel Europe & all of America.  

Finally I want to home in and focus on the choice of words Allah uses in the beginning of the verse we have been  discussing: 

 اُدۡعُ اِلٰى سَبِيۡلِ رَبِّكَ  - Invite to the path of your lord

So here Allah say call to the WAY of your master  Allah didnt say call people to Allah. He used the word  Sabeel  Path denotes a journey.  its indicating that when you take journey on a road its tiring  its a struggle.  Path resonates with struggle  what this means is that dawah is not going to be easy. It will be a struggle.  

This is a little strange cause we dont normally invite people to a path.  For example  when I invite someone I invite them to my house, to a conference,  to  family retreat, to a restaurant, what I mean is you generally invite people to a destination - but you don’t call them & say - I want to invite you to the M1 highway.  Think about what Allah says  - اُدۡعُ اِلٰى سَبِيۡلِ رَبِّكَ invite to the path of your master – invitation to the path is not a destination.  

Subhallah - This is profound wisdom in the Quran.  The wisdom is when you are invited to a destination and you do not get to the destination then people will be upset cause you didnt make it to the destination.  NASFAT has invited me to speak at this conference  And if I didnt make it after all the preparation of course the organisers will be disappointed. But when you are called to the path then it doesnt  matter if you travelled 1000 miles on that path or you just travelled 10 yards you are on the path & set to get to your destination any time cause you are on the rd.   In other words Allah has given us a profound gift of what dawah really means - you are not asking people to reach the destination of perfection. We are not expecting from anyone to be in  absolute  complete  submission to allah  without any mistake  - no - and people are not expected to be on the same level because this is a path.   Some people will make progress faster than others some will move slowly, some are just getting started with limited progress.  But all of that is a success. And if any of them died on this rd they are accepted by Allah as they were on the path and the entire religion of Islam is described as a big long rd.  Think about it allah says  اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Guide us on this straight path road. your entire life is a road  that you travelling on - Road is there to make progress and Allah didn’t quantify the progress.  There are some sahaba who struggled whilst some turned over night in submission to Allah & become the best amongst the arabs. The companion were all at different levels.  

We find so many examples in the Quran where Allah teaches us dawah has to be steady, gradual & measured.   Take for example the instructions on prohibiting alcohol.  

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ameer AL Mumineen Umar RA said, There were three stages to prohibiting Khamr (intoxicants). When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, the people of Madina  were consuming alcohol and gambling, so Umar asked the Messenger of Allah about these 2 habits. So Allah responded  in C:2 V:219

﴿يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَـفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ﴾

The people said, `They (intoxicants and gambling) were not prohibited for us. Allah only said,

﴿فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَـفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ﴾

In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men.)’

 

So they went on drinking Khamr until one day, one of the emigrants lead his companions in the Maghrib prayer and mixed up the Ayat in his recitation. Umar RA asked the Messenger about it.  Umar was summoned and Thereafter, Allah sent down a tougher statement,

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـرَى حَتَّى تَعْلَمُواْ مَا تَقُولُونَ﴾

O you who believe! Approach not the Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning of) what you utter.)﴿4:43﴾

So Allah still didn’t prohibit alcohol because people were not ready for it. Instead he said do NOT approach salah whilst being intoxicated.   Umar RA, went to the messenger again & he still said, “ Ya rasoolallah - Make the verdict concerning Khamr clear to us.” Then, the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah was revealed ﴿5:91. 

يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالاٌّنصَابُ وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ 

(O you who believe! Khamr, Maysir, Ansab, and Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.)﴿5:90-

Just think about this - The companions of the messenger were considered to be in the best of times, and they were the best of people  Khairul Quroon  yet when the ayaat of alcohol were revealed they were not revealed one time to ban  the drinking of alcohol. They came down in stages.  Allah did not expect even the best of nations to change their life in an instant.  Even though the final revelation in the process of the prohibition of alcohol  allah describes it in the quran as - وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ –  its filthy n evil from the work of the devil.  I want you to think about  this -  if alcohol has always been the work of the devil – yet at the beginning Allah didn’t use those words. It was too much to handle for some people – Allah started by saying – ‘لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـرَى - Don’t go near salah when you are in the state of intoxication- He didn’t make it haram and he didn’t mention that it was the  work of the devil  Why? because he knew people couldnt handle it   it was ingrained in their life and culture.  Allah was merciful to companion and he allowed them to develop and mature over a period of  time before it was prohibited..   That is the same reason why Quran was revealed over a period of 23yrs. And in the first 13 yrs of Makkah none of the laws of islam were sent down.  Infact if you analyse the Makkan  surah they all talk about building their faith about tawheed shirk, day of judgment, after life and hell and heaven.  Then in Madina, the laws were sent down. This is to teach us that people change gradually and not just overnight.   

Take for example the sunnah of Allah when he talks about how he created the heavens and the earth in 6 days  in Surah 32 Verse 4: اللَّهُ الَّذي خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضَ وَما بَينَهُما في سِتَّةِ أَيّامٍ ثُمَّ استَوىٰ عَلَى العَرشِ

 Yet at the end of Surah Yaseen Surha 36 he explains his power and might by saying ‘إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

Why when his power is such that he could create something in an instance simply by using the word ‘كُنْ ‘ yet Allah tells us he created the heavens and earth in 6 days. This is to teach a lesson of gradual progress and development. What I am saying is when you give dawah you cannot expect instant results – you don’t expect a person to be a sahabi or  taabiee.   If anyone had the right about why people didn’t change it was Nooh AS, after 950 yrs of dawah, yet even he didn’t question his people.  And all this leads to one golden rule - remember Its not our words that change people its Allah that changes the hearts of the people. Our job is to convey not convert.  

Golden Rule Convey not convert:. The lesson we learn from here is dawah is a journey - our duty & primary objective is to convey not convert.  Guidance  is in the hands of Allah. Allah reminds us of this very important aspect of dawah in the Quran C:28 surah Al-Qasa Verse 56  

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهۡدِي مَنۡ أَحۡبَبۡتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهۡدِي مَن يَشَآءُۚ

 “Indeed you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He wills.”

(Soorah al-Qasas, 28: 56)

 Our job is the same as the one given to the Prophets & messengers – It is simply to convey. As Allah says in C 24 Surah An Noor V:54: 

وَمَا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ

“The only obligation on the messenger is to give the clear message.”

(Soorah an-Noor, 24: 54)

 

And therefore quite interestingly at the end of the verse 125 of Surah Nahl Allah ends by saying 

اِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنۡ ضَلَّ عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِهٖ وَهُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِالۡمُهۡتَدِيۡنَ

“ Your master & Lord truly knows best who has gone astray and misguided and he knows who will be guided”  So when you give dawah your job is to convey not to convert.   Its Allah’s job to give guidance to the right path.  

Using the same verse  وَمَا عَلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ 

I end my address by saying my job was to convey the message.  The rest is in the hands of Allah.  I sincerely hope &pray that this talk was beneficial to you all, as I personally have benefited from reminding myself of this great duty & obligation of conveying the message of Islam to world.  

May Allah help us to create sincerity of purpose, work with unity & brotherhood & help us understand the importance of dawah.  May Allah revive the spirits of this ummah to personify the role of our prophet as a Daa’ee. May The Almighty  help us to fulfil the pre-requisites and  characteristics of dawah &   internalize the wisdom of how to implement & manage the expansion of dawah as outlined in the quran by Almighty Allah. 

May Allah almighty accept the marvellous work NASFAT is doing. Give it the platform to convey the message so that it reaches every segment of our community & every part of the globe.  

May Allah bless every single one of you here today and make us all amongst the dwellers of paradise.  Until we meet again – wasallah u alla nibiyina muhammas - Wassalam Alaikum.