The excellence and virtue in calling to Allah with wisdom and goodly exhortation: Ibn Baaz

BISMILLAH

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Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, mentioned a group of Prophets by name in Sūratun-Nisā’,

إِنَّا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ كَمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ نُوحٍ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ مِن بَعْدِهِ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَعِيسَىٰ وَأَيُّوبَ وَيُونُسَ وَهَارُونَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ زَبُورًا

“Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants, and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book of Psalms.” (An-Nisā’ 163)

Then He said about these Prophets:

رُّسُلًا مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى اللَّهِ حُجَّةٌ بَعْدَ الرُّسُلِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

“We sent these messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.” (An-Nisā’ 165)

So Allāh explained in this verse the duty of of the Prophets – and that was to call the people to the worship of Allāh, the Lord of the worlds, with glad tidings of goodness, and warning from evil and immorality. Allāh, the most High, said to our Prophet, the seal of the Prophets and Messengers (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam):

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا

وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا

“O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And you are one who invites to Allah by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.” (Al-Ahzāb 45-46)

Thereafter, Allāh commanded him, as He had commanded those before him to clarify to the people this duty – and this is the duty of those who truly follow him:

قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

“Say O Prophet, “This is my path; I invite to Allah with insight, me and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him in worship.” (Yusuf, 108)

So the Messengers and those who follow them are commanded to invite the people to the Tawheed (oneness in worship) of Allāh, and His obedience and to warn them from idolatry and disobedience. And this is a noble standing, a station of excellence for the one whom Allāh has guided and granted success – when a person seeks from that nothing but the Face of Allāh, and His  pleasure. Allāh, the Most High, said:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.”” (Fussilat, 33)

And when the righteous ones from this Ummah realise the importance of this affair, they strive to upon it and race towards seeking knowledge, acting upon it, becoming the best of examples and calling others to this tremendous Religion. Allāh, the Most High, said:

وَجَاءَ مِنْ أَقْصَى الْمَدِينَةِ رَجُلٌ يَسْعَىٰ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اتَّبِعُوا الْمُرْسَلِينَ

“And there came from the farthest end of the city a man, running. He said, “O my people, follow the messengers!”” (Yāsīn, 20)

So they race to this call – to invite to this pure Religion, the religion of the Prophets and Messengers of God – from the first of them to the last. They race to correct the false ascriptions to Allāh, to His Messenger and to the Religion, so that people can see clearly what was revealed to the Messenger Muhammad (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam). And then if they choose not to accept, then it is just as Allah has stated:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

Say, “O People of the Book (Jews and Christians), come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except the one true God and not associate anything with Him in worship and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.” But if they turn away, then merely say, “Bear witness that we are those who have sincerely and willingly submitted to Him (i.e. we are Muslims).” (Āli `Imrān 64)

And Allāh, the Most High, said:

ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

“…And say to those who were given the Scripture (the Jews and Christians) and to the unlearned polytheists, “Have you submitted yourselves in worship to the One God?” And if they submitted, then they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, then your duty is merely to convey the Message; and Allah is All-Seer of His servants.” (Ālī `Imrān, 20)

Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) said to his noble Companion, his cousin, his son-in-law, the first child to accept his message in Makkah, `Ali Ibn Abee Tālib (radiyallāhu `anhu):

انْفُذْ عَلَى رِسْلِكَ حَتَّى تَنْزِلَ بِسَاحَتِهِمْ، ثُمَّ ادْعُهُمْ إِلَى الإِسْلاَمِ، وَأَخْبِرْهُمْ بِمَا يَجِبُ عَلَيْهِمْ، فَوَاللَّهِ لأَنْ يَهْدِيَ اللَّهُ بِكَ رَجُلاً خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنْ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَكَ حُمْرُ النَّعَمِ

“Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.” (Sahih al-Bukhārī, 3009)

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu `anhu) narrated from Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam):

مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنْ تَبِعَهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا وَمَنْ دَعَا إِلَى ضَلاَلَةٍ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الإِثْمِ مِثْلُ آثَامِ مَنْ تَبِعَهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آثَامِهِمْ شَيْئًا

“He who called people to true guidance, there would be reward assured for him like the reward of those who adhered to it, without their reward being diminished in any respect. And he who called people misguidance, he shall have to carry the burden of its sin, like those who committed it, without their sins being diminished in any respect.” (Muslim 2674)

Consider these words: those who invite people to misguidance, killing, terrorism, extremism and insurgency are guilty of crime in Allah’s sight, and they will also be burdened with the crimes of those who followed them in their wicked activities.

So the caller to Allah, who invites to Islam with knowledge, wisdom and goodly exhortation, then he is rewarded not only for himself, but also for those who followed him. He is constantly being rewarded, even whilst asleep; and the caller to evil and misguidance is constantly accruing sins, throughout his days and nights, until he repents and rectifies and makes his past errors clear.

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَبَيَّنُوا فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

“Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth of Islam which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah: 160)

So this call to Allah must be upon be upon guidance and correct principles, just Allah, the Most High, has said:

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is rightly guided.” (An-Nahl 125)

The caller to Allah is required to have certain traits and characteristics that he must acquire and nurture so that his call to Islam is fruitful and pleasing to Allah:

1.) The caller to Allah, the dā`iyyah, must be sincere in his call. Allah, the Most High, highlighted this in His words:

قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ

“Say O Prophet: This is my path and call I to call to Allah with sure-sightedness..” (Yoosuf, 108)

Shaikhul-Islam Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb (d. 1206H, rahimahullāh) said regarding this verse in Kitābut-Tawheed:

“A note here with regard to being sincere because there are many who even though they call to the truth of Islam, in reality they are calling to themselves (and are therefore insincere)!”

Imām ash-Shāfi`ee (d. 204H, rahimahullāh) said:

“I would love that the people learn this knowledge and that nothing of that is ascribed to me.”

Even when Moosā (`alaihis-salām) asked Allāh for eloquence, it was only so that his da’wah could be sincere conveyed:

وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي

“And untie the knot from my tongue.” (Tāhā, 27)

i.e. “Remove the incorrectness from my speech.” And that occurred as a result of a brand of fire which Moosā put in his mouth when he was an infant. (see Tafseer At-Tabaree, Vol. 16, Page 159)

2.) It is obligatory upon the caller to Allah to constantly increase in religious knowledge. Allah commanded His Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) to say:

قُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

“Say O Prophet: My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Tāhā 114)

The more knowledge and understanding a person possesses , the closer his da`wah gets to the da`wah of Allah’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam), and therefore the more likely it is to be accepted by the people. Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 752H, rahimahullāh) said:

“If we accept that inviting to Allah is the most noble, the most dignified and virtuous of stations for a servant to attain, then this is not attained except by way of knowledge with which he invites and calls to. Rather, perfection in the field of da`wah is achieved by excelling to the highest levels in knowledge that one is capable of. And this, in itself is sufficient as a virtue of knowledge that a person who reaches such a station due to it – and Allāh is the one who gives His favour to whom he wishes.” (Tasfīr al-Qayyim, p. 319)

3.) That a caller to Allāh does not seek any payment for His inviting others to the Truth, except what he hopes from Allāh, that he himself be guided and that the people be guided.

4.) That a person is patient in his calling to Allāh:

فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ أُولُو الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَلَا تَسْتَعْجِل لَّهُمْ ۚ

“Therefore be patient Oh Prophet as were the Messengers of firm resolve and do not be in haste over them (the non-Muslims).” (Al-Ahqāf: 35)

Patience is from the greatest requirements when calling to Islam. A caller will face obstacles, and encounter difficulties – even abandonment and harm from those he is the closest to. He must be patient with all of this and not be disheartened. The striving is for the caller in inviting people to Islam, the result is in the Hand of Allah. Nooh (`alaihis-salām) invited his people patiently for 950 years. Khabbāb Ibn al-Arat (radiyallaahu `anhu) said: We complained to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) of the persecution inflicted on us by the infidels while he was sitting in the shade of the Ka`bah, leaning over his cloak. We said to him, “Would you seek help for us? Would you pray to Allah for us?” He said:

كَانَ الرَّجُلُ فِيمَنْ قَبْلَكُمْ يُحْفَرُ لَهُ فِي الأَرْضِ فَيُجْعَلُ فِيهِ، فَيُجَاءُ بِالْمِنْشَارِ، فَيُوضَعُ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ فَيُشَقُّ بِاثْنَتَيْنِ، وَمَا يَصُدُّهُ ذَلِكَ عَنْ دِينِهِ، وَيُمْشَطُ بِأَمْشَاطِ الْحَدِيدِ، مَا دُونَ لَحْمِهِ مِنْ عَظْمٍ أَوْ عَصَبٍ، وَمَا يَصُدُّهُ ذَلِكَ عَنْ دِينِهِ، وَاللَّهِ لَيُتِمَّنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ حَتَّى يَسِيرَ الرَّاكِبُ مِنْ صَنْعَاءَ إِلَى حَضْرَمَوْتَ، لاَ يَخَافُ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ أَوِ الذِّئْبَ عَلَى غَنَمِهِ، وَلَكِنَّكُمْ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ ‏

“Among the nations before you a believing man would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head and he would be cut into two pieces; yet that torture would not cause him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh and veins from the bones, yet that would not cause him abandon his religion. By Allah, this religion will prevail till a traveler from San`ā (in Yemen) to Hadramaut will fear none but Allah, or a wolf over his sheep, but you people are hasty.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3612)

Due to the evil of the terrorists, the Muslims do feel constricted and they are looked upon and painted by some non-Muslims with the same brush that they have painted the extremists with; many have been victims of vicious beatings for no other reason except that they are Muslims. This due to evil repercussions of the activities of the Khawārij:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Al-Baqarah 153)

5.) A caller to Allah must understand that the call to Islam is a universal call, to all people of all nations, not restricted to a particular race or class of people.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“And We have not sent you except comprehensively to all of mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.” (Saba’: 28)

The dā`iyyah invites with kindness, good manners and gentleness – he supplicates for them, helps them when they need him, visits them when they are sick and feeds them when they are poor. These are all things the Prophet (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) did, before his prophethood and during it until the day he died. This was a tremendous legacy that he left behind, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, for he said:

إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ صَالِحَ الأَخْلاقِ

“I was not sent but to perfect the noble character.” (Adab al-Mufrad, saheeh)

The true callers to Allah resemble the Prophets in calling to Allah, following their example, and as such they must not harm Islam by setting a bad example as that will drive people away from this beautiful religion. They call to Islam, enjoin the good and forbid from evil:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“And let there arise from you a group inviting to all that is good (Islaam), enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong – and those will be the successful.” (Aali `Imrān: 104)

Imām Ibn Bāz (rahimahullaah) sated:

“It obligatory upon all those who are able from the scholars, the Muslim rulers and the du`āt to invite the people to Allāh – so much so that this call reaches all the corners of the world. And that is the conveying that Allāh has commanded:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ

“O Messenger, announce to the people that which has been revealed to you from your Lord..” (Al-Mā’idah: 67)

So upon the Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) was to convey the message – and this was the case for all the Messengers, that they were to convey, and likewise it is the duty upon the followers of the Messengers. It has been narrated from `Abdullāh ibn `Amr (radiyallāhu `anhumā) that Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu `alaihi wassallam) said:

“Convey from me. Even if it be a single verse.” (Bukhārī 3461).

It is not hidden from anyone who has even the smallest amount of knowledge or insight, that the Islamic world, indeed the whole of the world is in the severest need of the correct Islamic da’wah that will explain to the people the true Islām, and clarify for them its regulations and its goodness. And for this reason it should be clear to every student of knowledge that the call to Allāh is from the most important of duties, and that the Ummah in every age and place is in great need of it, rather it is in the severest need of that! So it is obligatory upon the people of knowledge wherever they may be that they convey the da’wah of Allāh; and to be patient upon that – and that their da’wah must emanate from the Book of Allāh and from the authentic Sunnah of Allāh’s Messenger (salallaahu `alaihi wassallam) – and upon the path of the Messenger, his Companions and the Salaf as-Sālih (radiyallāhu `anhum).” (Majmū’ Fatāwá wa Maqālāt Ash-Shaikh `Abdul-`Azīz Ibn Bāz (rahimahullāh), 1/248,333)

And all praise is due to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds.

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