The Methodology of the Prophets In Calling To Allaah
by Shaikh Saalih ibn Fawzaan
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood ibn Ronald Burbank
All praise is for Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, who ordered us to follow His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and to call to His Way, and may Allaah send praises and blessings of peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family, his companions, and those who truly follow them until the Day of Judgement. To proceed:
Calling to Allaah (ad-Da'wah ilallaah) is the way of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his followers, as Allaah, the Most High, says:
Say, O Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): This is my way, I call to Allaah (i.e to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, with no partner) upon certain knowledge - I, and those who follow me. I declare Allaah free and far removed from all that they associate as partners with Him, and I am free of those who worship anything else along with Him. [Soorah Yoosuf 12:108]
Indeed calling to Allaah was the mission of all the Messengers and their followers, in order to bring the people out of darkness and into light, from unbelief (kufr) to true Faith (eemaan), from shirk to tawheed, and from the Fire to Paradise. This call to Allaah rests upon firm pillars, and is established upon foundations which are absolutely essential. If any of these are missing the da'wah will not be correct and will not produce the desired results - no matter how much effort is expended and time wasted - and this is the reality which we witness with regard to many of the present day calls which are not supported by those pillars and built upon those foundations. These pillars which support the correct da'wah are clearly shown in the Book and the Sunnah, and can be summarised as follows:
1. Knowledge of that which one calls to:Since the ignorant person is not suitable to be a caller (daa'ee). Allaah, the Most High, said to His prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam):
Say, O Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): This is my way, I call to Allaah (to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, having no partner) upon certain knowledge (baseerah). I, and those who follow me. [Soorah Yoosuf 12:108]
'Baseerah' is knowledge. So the caller is certain to face those who are scholars of misguidance, those who will attack him with doubts and futile arguments in order to rebut the truth. Allaah, the Most High, says:
And argue with them in a way that is better. [Soorah an-Nahl 16:125]
Furthermore the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to Mu'aadh (radhiAllaahu 'anhu), "You are going to a people from the People of the Book." So if the caller is not armed with sufficient knowledge for him to face every doubt and contend with every opponent, then he will be defeated in the first counter, and will be halted at the beginning of the way.
2. Acting in accordance with that which he calls to:
So that he will be a good example - his actions attesting to his words, and leaving no excuse for the opponents of the Truth. Allaah, the Most High, said about His Prophet Shu'ayb that he said to his people:
I do not wish to forbid you from something and then do it myself. rather I only wish to rectify you as far as I am able. [Soorah Hood 11:88]
Allaah, the Most High, said to His Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam):
Say, O Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): Indeed my Prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all purely and solely for Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds. There is no share in any of that for other than Him. That is what my Lord ordered me, and I am the first of this nation to submit to Allaah as a Muslim. [Soorah al-An'aan 6:162-163]
Allaah the Most High, said: Who is better in speech than one who calls the people to Allaah and does righteous deeds? [Soorah Fussilat 41:33]
3. Purity of intention (al-ikhlaas):
Such that the call is made purely and sincerely to seek the Face of Allaah (and seeking His Reward) - not for show, or repute, or status, or leadership, nor desiring worldly goals - since if any of these goals adulterate it, the call will not be for Allaah, rather it would then be a call for oneself or for the attainment of the worldly goal - as Allaah informs that His Prophets said to their people:
I do not ask you for any reward for conveying this Qur`aan. [Soorah al-An'aam 6:90]
I do not ask you for any wealth for my admonition. [Soorah Hood 11:29]
Dawah - An Obligation
An important matter for Muslims to realize is that da`wah is an obligation upon them.
Allah (subhaanahu wa ta`aalaa) says in the Qur'aan:
"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." [al-Qur'aan, an-Nisaa'(16):125]
"Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining al-ma`roof [i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do] and forbidding al-Munkar [polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden]. And it is they who are successful." [al-Qur'aan, Aal `Imraan (3):104]
The second verse may seem to be restricting the general obligation given in the first verse, but a close look at the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) reveals that calling to Allah is an individual obligation, rather than a collective one.
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) has said: "Convey from me, even one verse." [al-Bukhaaree] Conveying the message therefore does not require a high level of scholarship, it is in fact a responsibility of each and every Muslim, according to his or her ability.
The obligation is further emphasized by the following verse which explains that not conveying the message - hiding knowledge - is disobedience to Allah that causes Allah's curse to descend upon such people, which shows that such a sin leads to the Hellfire.
"Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers." [al-Qur'aan, al-Baqara(2):159]
In the same connection, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) has stated, "Whoever hides knowledge, Allah will brand him with the branding iron from the hellfire." [Ahmad]
Calling people to Allah also means completing our own worship, the reason for which we are created. It is one of the noblest acts that entails a high reward.
"And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allah and does righteous deeds, and says: 'I am one of the Muslims.'" [al-Qur'aan, Fussilat(41):33]
With regards to the reward, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) has said: "Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it." [Saheeh Muslim] Also, "By Allah, if Allah were to guide one man through you it would be better for you than the best type of camels." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
Obligation of a Muslim Towards a Disbeliever
by Sh. Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, From "Answers to Common Questions From New Muslims" © IANA
Question: What is obligatory upon a Muslim with respect to non-Muslims concerning different types of interactions and also with respect to holidays and festivals?
Response: The responsibility of a Muslim towards non-Muslims are many, including:
First, he must call them to the way of Allah. This is to preach to them and to make clear to them the reality of Islam, according to his ability and if he has the knowledge to do so. This is the greatest and best good deed that one could do toward his fellow citizen and for those who live together with Jews, Christians and other disbelievers. On this point, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The one who guides to good gets the same reward as the one who performs it." [Muslim] The Prophet (peace be upon him) also told Ali, when he was sending him to Khaibar to encounter the Jews, to invite the Jews to Islam. He told him, "By Allah, if Allah guides one person by you, it is better for you than the best types of camels." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, "Whoever calls to guidance will have a reward similar to the reward of the one who follows him, without the reward of either of them being lessened at all." [Muslim, Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa'ee, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah] Calling them to Islam, preaching Islam to them and advising them concerning that is one of the most important deeds and is one of the best ways to get closer to Allah.
Second, [the Muslim] may not wrong the other person with respect to his life, wealth or honor, if the non-Muslim is a citizen of the Islamic state or has attained other protection. He must fulfill the other's rights. He may not wrong him with respect to his wealth by stealing from him, deceiving him or cheating him. He cannot harm him in his body by beating or killing him. His protection from the state guarantees his safety from such things.
Third, there is no prohibition concerning buying, selling, renting or other such business transactions with them. It has been authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) bought things from the polytheistic disbelievers. He also purchased items from Jews. In fact, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) died, his shield was being held as collateral with a Jewish person in exchange for food for his family.
Fourth, one should not give them the greetings of peace first. However, one responds to their greetings. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not give the greetings of peace first to the Jew or Christian." [Muslim] He also said, "If the people of the book give you the greeting of peace, then say, 'Wa Alaikum (and upon you)."' [al-Bukhaaree] Therefore, a Muslim does not greet a non-Muslim first. But when a Jew, Christian or other disbeliever greets him, he replies, "And upon you also," as the Prophet (peace be upon him) has ordered. This is from the rights of conduct between a Muslim and a disbeliever. He also must be neighborly toward his non-Muslim neighbor. If your neighbor is good to you, you do not harm him and you may even give him charity if he is poor or give him a gift if he is rich. You may also advise him concerning what is good for him. All of this may lead him to want to learn about Islam and become a Muslim and because neighbors have very great rights. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The Angel Gabriel kept advising me concerning the neighbor until I thought he was going to inherit [from his neighbor]." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] Allah also says in the Quran, "Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and drove you not from your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity" [al-Mumtahinah (60):7].
It is recorded in an authentic hadith from Asma bint Abu Bakr that her mother, who was a polytheist, visited her and asked for her assistance - this was during the time of the peace treaty between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the disbelievers so she went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to ask him about that and he told her to keep the ties of kinship with her and be righteous towards her.
Fifth, a Muslim should not participate with them in their greetings and festivals. However, one may give them condolences upon the death of someone if he finds some legal benefit in doing so. He may say to them, "May future bring good to you," or something of that nature. He may not say, "May Allah forgive him," or, "May Allah have mercy on him," if the person who died was a disbeliever (see Quran 9:113). That is, one may not make prayers for a dead disbeliever although one may ask for guidance for those who are alive and so forth [From "Answers to Common Questions From New Muslims"].
"Time is our capital in this life. It has to be invested for the maximum possible return."
One Hour a Day
Editorial, the Friday Report (Vol V, No.1), al-Jumuah Magazine
ONE HOUR A DAY - When the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, received the order to 'Arise and warn', he started calling others to Islam and continued to do so, day and night, until he died. Time was very important for him and he used every minute of it in the best possible way. He would meet regularly with his companions to teach them Qur'an and to warn them from disobeying Allah. He was an example to them in speech and in deeds.
The result of this education was that the companions' faith became the most important thing for them. And when they had to choose between their home, tribe and good living on the one hand and the companionship of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, on the other hand, they chose the latter and emigrated for the sake of Allah and exemplified sacrifice for the sake of one's belief. After thirteen years of hard work and sacrifice in Makkah, the Prophet and his companions were granted victory in Madinah.
How do our efforts today compare with those of the Prophet and his companions? One year of our life has passed. How many good deeds have we prepared for the day of judgment? What did we, as individuals and communities, do for Islam? Were we distracted by our money and our children from the obedience of Allah and Jihad for His sake? Allah said: "O you who believe! Let not your money or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. If any act as such, then surely they are the losers." (Qur'an, 63:9) The Prohpet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: "No servant will be let go on the day of judgment until he is asked about the four matters: His lifetime: How did he spend it? His knowledge: What did he use it for? His money: Where did he gain it from and what did he spend in it? And his body: In what did he wear it away?" (at-Tirmidhee) Have we used our bodies for fasting, praying, enjoining good and forbidding evil or have we used them up by succumbing to our desires?
Muslims have to realize the importance of time: that it is their capital in this life and that it is to be invested for the maximum possible return. Suppose for a minute that every Muslim dedicates one hour a day to work for the sake of Allah. In financial terms, this would generate a minimum of 1 billion dollars a day, 360 billion dollars a year! If such amount were to be reserved for Islamic work, it would change the face of the earth. Suppose that every Muslim were to spend one hour calling others to the path of Allah: millions would enter Islam!
Muslims today need to build their Ummah and revive it. And this does not come through futile discussions but rather through work, sincere, continuous, careful and planned. We need to strengthen the body of this Ummah and protect it from the dangers surrounding it. We need to deepen the awareness of the Muslims about their indentity, their history, their wealth and that they are one single nation. And to start with, we need to invest in the Muslim individual because he is the real instrument for change.