The Tools of the Daa’ie
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
ادع إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن إن ربك هو أعلم بمن ضل عن سبيله وهو أعلم بالمهتدين
"Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) 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." (An-Nisaa, 16:125)
Every Daa’ie (caller to Islam) requires certain tools in order to fulfill his mission in life. Da’wah (calling) to Allah was the duty of the Anbiyaa (Prophets) and Messengers, and there are certain tools and qualities the Daa’ie must have; for example, he must understand the reality and the condition (situation) of the one he invites. These tools are follows:
1. Knowledge before action (العلم قبل العمل)
Knowledge must always come before actions (al-‘Ilmu qabla al-‘amal). In this case, we are talking about knowledge which the Daa’ie is calling to. And the way he acquires this knowledge is by studying the Deen, attending halaqaat and circles. Allah (Subhaanahu wa-Ta'aalaa) says:
فاعلم أنه لا إله إلا الله
“So know that Laa ilaaha illallah (there is no deity truly worthy of worship besides Allah).” (Muhammad, 47:19)
This Aayah (verse) indicates that ‘ilm (knowledge) comes before actions. You cannot fulfil any action properly unless you have knowledge about it. The Daa’ie must therefore have baseerah, knowledge of the Deen and Sharee’ah. This knowledge will hence become a necessity and something he ought to be aware of.
The Daa’ie could command the good and forbid the evil, but he must definitely also know what is good and how to call for it, and what is evil and how to forbid it. He cannot be jaahil (ignorant) about what is known from Islam by necessity, otherwise he will face many problems and obstacles.
Why is knowledge a necessity for the Daa’ie in particular and for every person in general?
Allah (Subhaanahu wa-Ta'aalaa) told us about the virtues of knowledge, and He requests us to seek knowledge:
وقل رب زدني علما
“…And say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.’” (Taa-Haa, 20:114)
So to seek knowledge all the time is fard upon the Muslim in general as well as to ask Allah to increase his knowledge. Moreover, in Saheeh Muslim and Al-Bukhaari it is famously reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said:
طلب العلم فريضة على كل مسلم
“Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.”
Therefore, seeking knowledge is fard (obligatory) upon every Muslim in general, but especially so for the Daa’ie. Allah (SWT) says:
وا يرفع الله الذين آمنوا منكم والذين أوتوا العلم درجات
“Allah will elevate those who believe from among you, as well as those who have been granted knowledge…” (Al-Mujaadalah, 58:11)
And it is well known from the Sunnah that:
من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه فى الدين
“Whenever Allah wishes goodness for someone He makes him faqeeh (i.e. knowledgeable) in the Deen.”(Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Book of Knowledge)
So Allah praised the people of knowledge because they are not just benefitting themselves, they are also benefitting others. The Daa’ies are not just Ahl us-Salaah, they are also Muslihoon as they are involved in reforming others. The Saalih is the one who does good for himself, whereas the Muslih is the one who also does good for others.
Imam Ahmad (Rahimahullah) is reported to have said:
“The people (Daa’ies, scholars and those seeking knowledge) need knowledge more than food and drink. Because man eats and drinks (at least) once or twice a day, but he is in need of knowledge by the amount he breathes.”
Furthermore, seeking knowledge is better than Nawaafil; that is to say, the voluntary good deeds. Imaam Al-Shaafi’ie is reported to have said:
طلب العلم أفضل من صلاة النافلة
“Seeking knowledge is better than the naafilah prayers.”
Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullah) is reported to have said:
“Seeking knowledge is fard and precedes all the recommended deeds.”
And Imaam Ahmad said:
“Seeking knowledge is better than any recommended deed you could do to become closer to Allah.”
There is also a very famous hadeeth of the Prophet which states that for the person who seeks knowledge, those who are in the heavens and the earth will seek forgiveness for him, as well as the fish in the sea.
Therefore, every Daa’ie should be keen to seek knowledge – not just what is ‘ilm daroorah (necessary knowledge) – so he can have more goodness and teach the people.
2. Understanding the reality (معرفة الحكم والواقع)
The second tool or quality the Daa’ie must have is to understand how to apply the knowledge he has acquired, and this type of understanding must be accurate, because some information could be rare and not known to many people, even though it is mentioned in the Qur’aan.
The Daa’ie needs to understand the reality to which he will apply the knowledge because he will be conveying the Ahkaam (rulings) of the Deen of Allah to the people. Understanding the reality is part of understanding the rule (Hukm). And part of the Hukm is understanding the reality. In other words, understanding the reality is a prerequisite to applying the ruling. So you (the Daa’ie) must understand the reality before applying the ruling. For this reason, you must make sure that you are aware of the information you are carrying. Allah says:
كتاب أنزلناه إليك مبارك ليدبروا آياته وليتذكر أولو الألباب
“(This is) a Book (the Qur'aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses (i.e. have tadabbur), and that men of understanding may remember.” (Saad 38:29)
Tadabbur means understanding the Aayaat and knowing how to apply it.
3. To have knowledge about the way for the Hereafter
After understanding the reality you need to understand the way (road) to the Hereafter. The Daa’ie is al-waa’iz: one who reminds the people about Jannah and Hellfire, and reminds them of the Hereafter. If a person knows that they will be rewarded with Jannah they will be happy, but if they are told that they will be punished they will be shaken.
Whenever you remind people of the Hereafter you will feel like a stranger, especially nowadays. Nothing could benefit the Daa’ie in the Hereafter except taqwaa and good deeds. Therefore, the Daa’ie must always want to learn about the Hereafter and remind himself and others of it. Allah (SWT) says:
وتزودوا فإن خير الزاد التقوى واتقون يا أولي الألباب
“…And take a provision (tazawwadoo) for the journey, but the best provision is Taqwaa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding!” (Al-Baqarah, 2:197)
Tazawwud usually means to prepare for a long journey. So in this verse, Allah says to have tazawwud. So the Daa’ie is always looking forward to meeting his Lord. Tazawwud is to prepare your food, clothes and provisions before you embark on your journey. But the best preparation is Taqwaa and good deeds.
So those who want to engage in Da’wah must prepare to meet Allah. And the Daa’ie should be eager, ready and feel complete, and therefore when he comes out to speak the haq (truth) he should not fear any consequences. It’s nice to have knowledge and understand the reality, but the Daa’ie must also look to consequences of his sayings and actions in the Hereafter, and he should instil this in the minds of those he is calling.
Al-‘Aaqibah is the end result and last place. The end result of this life will be in the Hereafter. Bearing this in mind will keep you between two very important functions of the heart: one is fear (khawf), and the other is rajaa’ (hoping). You should fear and hope that Allah will forgive you. The one who has knowledge and fears Allah is different from the one who’s ignorant of what he is going to face (in the Hereafter). The ‘aalim (scholar) or Daa’ie will always be conscious of this and fear being from the people of Hell. But as well as this, he will always have rajaa’ – hope that Allah will grant him His Mercy.
Very few people today contemplate this. A person cannot become an ‘aalim and faqeeh even if he remembers and memorises all the books of fiqh, the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth. All this information will not help him unless he has fear and hope.
The Sahaabah spent their time and wealth for the sake of Allah. Knowledge of the Hereafter will lead to sacrifice. Whenever you say something, you should fear Allah when you say it and hope Allah will accept it and grant His Mercy. The Sahaabah understood this and digested it as well. This is why they gave up their time for Allah. They saw the dunyaa as a station that they would soon depart at any time. You could be a person carrying Da’wah or someone wasting their time. But the Sahaabah spent their time in taa’ah (obedience) and Da’wah. They were very active in their actions and transactions as a matter of submission to Allah, until Allah took the amaanah and they passed away.
4. Knowing your competitor
After having knowledge and understanding the reality, as well as the consequences in the Hereafter of your actions, the next thing is to understand the necessary tools and information the Daa’ie must have. If you have knowledge about what you are calling for, you must also know what contradicts this. The Daa’ie must know the following:
What the Shaytaan is calling for
As Daa’ie you are a salesman. As above, you need to understand your product (have knowledge) and you need to market it (understand the reality), and you need to know the consequences (or result): profit or loss? The Daa’ie must also know his opponent, the one who may ruin his Da’wah and make him lose everything.
The Daa’ie must therefore know the methods of Shaytaan and what he is calling for, as well as the consequences for the one who responds to Shaytaan. So he needs to know the enemy and opponent, and the style and means of Shaytaan and his party, as well as the consequences of responding to them. This is a necessity for the Daa’ie to know as it will make him live like he is now in the Hereafter. This is what distinguishes him from the falsehood. What distinguishes the haq from the baatil is al-furqaan (the criterion), and it is the noor which distinguishes guidance from misguidance. The Daa’ie seeks this noor and for Allah to show him the way, so he asks Allah to make us see the haq, by saying:
“Allahumma arinal haqqa haqqan war-zuqnattibaa’ah, wa-arinal baatila baatilan war-zuqnajtinaabah”
O Allah, make us see the haq as haq and grant us the ability to follow it, and show us the baatil as baatil and grant us the ability to shun it.
So it is not enough to have knowledge and know the reality and the consequences. You must even understand the baatil and the haq, and the consequences of carrying either. In Tawheed what is the most important element to understand properly? You should study and learn what is kufr, shirk and jaahiliyyah in order to keep away from them. Omar bin al-Khattaab (Radiyallahu 'anhu) famously said that people will one day grow up in Islam without to know what is jaahiliyyah. Whenever you know what contradicts your Deen you will avoid it and know how to avoid it. You need to know Shaytaan and how to treat him as an enemy. You cannot succeed in any battle unless you know the enemy’s strengths, tools, and so forth. In the Qur’aan, Allah (Subhaanahu wa-Ta'aalaa) tells us that Shaytaan is our enemy approximately over 700 times. Allah (SWT) says:
فأزلهما الشيطان عنها فأخرجهما مما كانا فيه وقلنا اهبطوا بعضكم لبعض عدو ولكم في الأرض مستقر ومتاع إلى حين
“Then the Shaytaan (Satan) made them slip therefrom (the Paradise), and got them out from that in which they were. We said: ‘Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time.’” (Al-Baqarah, 2:36)
The philosophy of life is: don’t eat from the tree. Allah said eat and enjoy, but don’t come near the tree. Allah said, didn’t I tell you not to eat from it? So Allah sent man to earth with Iblees and He said you are enemies to each other. So now we have to work hard in order to go back to Jannah. Today there are many trees, the tree of fornicating, the tree of shirk, the tree of stealing, etc. We should avoid all these trees and not go near them. So the Aayah above says that there will be enmity between you and Shaytaan on earth, and you will stay there for a short time. Allah wants us to remember the animosity between Ahl ul-Haq (the people of the truth) and Ahl ul-Baatil (the people of falsehood), or the Shaytaan and his parties. Allah declared enmity towards anyone who is enemy to His Deen, the Messengers and angels. Allah (SWT) says:
من كان عدوّا لله وملائكته ورسله وجبريل وميكال فإن الله عدو للكافرين
“Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibrael (Gabriel) and Mikael (Michael), then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:98)
Furthermore, Allah (SWT) tells us not to follow the footsteps of Shaytaan:
يا أيها الناس كلوا مما في الأرض حلالا طيبا ولا تتبعوا خطوات الشيطان إنه لكم عدو مبين
“O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:168)
In market research you are asked to study the product, the reality and competitors. But the Daa’ie is not selling products; he is marketing the Islamic thoughts and ideas. The last thing you would want is to be asked by someone, “Where you got this from?”, and you say, “I don’t know, maybe from China.” If someone asks where is the evidence that Khilaafah is fard, you cannot reply, “I don’t know, let’s study it.” This is why closed halaqah and circles are very important. If you don’t believe in what you are calling for how can anyone else believe in it? Allah (SWT) says:
يا أيها الذين آمنوا ادخلوا في السلم كافة ولا تتبعوا خطوات الشيطان إنه لكم عدو مبين
“O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan (Satan). Verily! He is to you a plain enemy.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:208)
Allah tells us to enter into Islam completely. Therefore, you cannot just call for some parts of the Deen. You must call to all parts of it. Allah then says, “Shaytaan is a clear enemy to you.” So there should be enmity between you and Shaytaan, as well as his allies who are the Kuffaar, murtads (apostates) and munaafiqeen (hypocrites). Verily, they are those who stand with him. You cannot say that he is an enemy yet you treat him as friend. Even if you have covenant with them (the allies of Shaytaan) you must still hate them. Allah (SWT) says:
إن الشيطان لكم عدو فاتخذوه عدوّا إنما يدعو حزبه ليكونوا من أصحاب السعي
“Surely, Shaytaan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” (Faatir, 35:6)
And Allah (SWT) says:
وقل لعبادي يقولوا التي هي أحسن إن الشيطان ينزغ بينهم إن الشيطان كان للإنسان عدوّا مبينا
“And say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) that they should (only) say those words that are the best. (Because) Shaytaan (Satan) verily, sows disagreements among them. Surely, Shaytaan (Satan) is to man a plain enemy.” (Al-Israa’, 17:53)
How many men today say a bad word to their wives to stop them from doing something? And sometimes you may say something bad, in the heat of the moment, in order to put your brother down. In the verse above, Allah (SWT) says to use the best (ahsan) words, not only good words (hasan). Allah (SWT) also says:
وإذا ضربتم في الأرض فليس عليكم جناح أن تقصروا من الصلاة إن خفتم أن يفتنكم الذين كفروا إن الكافرين كانوا لكم عدوّا مبينا
“And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten your Salaat (prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you; verily, the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.” (An-Nisaa’, 4:101)
After all this, anyone with the ‘Aqeedah of al-walaa wal-baraa’ should not be trapped by the whip of Shaytaan and the Kuffaar – they are your enemies. There should be no trust whatsoever between us and them, so you should always doubt them.
If the Daa’ie has no enemy, doubt him. If the Kuffaar like you, doubt your Deen. How can they love you when Allah says they will never like you? How can the taaghout and army of taaghout like you? Allah will make people show animosity towards the Daa’ie. Who is better than the Anbiyaa? Yet Allah (SWT) said:
وكذلك جعلنا لكل نبيّ عدوّا شياطين الإنس والجن يوحي بعضهم إلى بعض زخرف القول غرورا ولو شاء ربك ما فعلوه فذرهم وما يفترون
“And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayaateen (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it, so leave them alone with their fabrications.” (Al-An’aam, 6:112)
So the animosity of the Kuffaar will always be there. If they love you there is something wrong with your Deen. Shaytaan in this dunyaa wants to mislead you and take you away from Jannah. Allah (SWT) says:
يا بني آدم لا يفتننكم الشيطان كما أخرج أبويكم من الجنة ينزع عنهما لباسهما ليريهما سوآتهما إنه يراكم هو وقبيله من حيث لا ترونهم إنا جعلنا الشياطين أولياء للذين لا يؤمنون
“O Children of Adam! Let not Shaytaan (Satan) deceive you, as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwa (Eve)] out of Paradise, stripping them of their clothes, to show them their private parts. Verily, he and Qabeeluhu (his soldiers from the jinns or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. Verily, We made the Shayaateen (devils) Awliyaa' (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not.”( Al-A’raaf, 7:27)
Therefore, there are three tools the Daa’ie must have: (1) to know Shaytaan is his enemy, (2) what he (Shaytaan) is calling to and (3) the consequences of responding to him. Allah says:
قال هم أولاء على أثري وعجلت إليك رب لترضى
“He said: ‘They are close on my footsteps, and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.’” (Taa-Haa, 20:84)
People want to become closer to Allah, but Allah moves closer to the one who seeks Him.
The pillars of success In order for the Daa’ie to be successful he needs to fulfil two pillars:
1. Understand that his aim in this life is to target the Hereafter and fulfil his duties in this life.
2. He needs to have jafaa towards the dunyaa, or feel detached from it.
The Prophet (SAW) said that one day we will be many in number but weak nonetheless because wahn will enter into our hearts. What causes wahn is love for the dunyaa. The Daa’ie must always focus on his aim as defined by Allah (SWT), who created us to worship and obey Him. So the Daa’ie cannot be successful unless these two pillars are clearly understood.
If you look to the Aayaat of the Qur’aan, you will realise that the people are generally two types:
1) Those who are busy eating and drinking, fulfilling their sexual needs, and doing nothing else.
Their whole life is about enjoying time, “Did you enjoy yourself?”, “Was it fun?” etc. They don’t think about the consequences in the Hereafter, which could be Hell for a particular action. Allah (SWT) says:
إن الله يدخل الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات جنات تجري من تحتها الأنهار والذين كفروا يتمتعون ويأكلون كما تأكل الأنعام والنار مثوى لهم
“Certainly! Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), while those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as cattle eat, and the Fire will be their abode.” (Muhammad, 47:12)
Allah (SWT) says that the disbelievers are like animals: all they do is eat and drink. Allah also says in another verse that they are “sharrul bariyyah”, which means the worst of creations. So they are like animals in every way; the only difference is their appearance and shape. They (the disbelievers) are Daa’ies (callers) to Hellfire, and they will call you to keep away from Deen, the Islamists, so-called extremists, those who are “deep” in religion, etc. Their duty is to call people for fasaad (corruption). Allah (SWT) says:
أولئك يدعون إلى النار والله يدعو إلى الجنة والمغفرة بإذنه
Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire. But Allah beckons by His Grace to the Garden (of bliss) and forgiveness (Al-Baqarah, 2:221)
2) Those who are mindful of Allah and command the good and forbid the wrong.
Allah (SWT) mentions about such people in the Qur’an as:
ومن أحسن قولا ممن دعا إلى الله وعمل صالحا وقال إنني من المسلمين
"And whose words can be better than his, who calls (people) towards Allah, and performs good deeds, and says: 'I am one of those who submit to Allah!" - (Fuşşilat, 41:33)
Keeping this in view, we should intend to invite both Muslims and Non-Muslims, to understand the worship of God as expressed in the Qur'ān whilst informing about Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the example set by him and by the courageous and heroic prophets of Israel (Peace be upon them). For the truth's sake our Messenger risked his life, suffered daily persecution for years, and eventually banishment, the loss of property, of the goodwill of his fellow citizens, and for the confidence of his friends; he suffered, in short, as much as any man can suffer a quick death, which he only escaped by flight, and yet he unflinchingly proclaimed his message. No bribe, threat or inducement, could silence him.
May Allah (SWT) increase every Daa’ie in Imaan, knowledge and health, Āmeen.
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