Sunday, 1 March 2015

D for Da'wah

Da'wah :- (Arabic) Translation: Invitation

In this post, in shaa Allah, I will be writing about "How to Give Daw'ah". I'm guessing a lot of us don't know the fundamentals of giving da'wah, so that's what today's post is going to be about.

Let's begin.

The fundamental term that keeps coming up in the Qur'an is the term ذكر, تذكرة, ذكرى or 'reminder'.

Islamic theology looks at the human being as a creation that was given the innate knowledge of the existence and the rights of his/her Creator. So basically, we were born with this innate knowledge. And overtime, we get absorbed in the worldly life and somewhat forget the purpose for our creation. At the end of it all, the Messengers were sent to remind us what we've forgotten about our own selves. i.e. they are leading us to what we were supposed to have known all along, and therefore, their fundamental role is to 'remind'.
The Messenger, himself صلى الله عليه و سلم, when he was delivering the message of Islam, there were people who found it appealing and were immediately attracted to it. They were willing to sacrifice all the norms of their life and accept this message. On the other hand, there were also people who didn't pay much attention to it at the beginning, and people who were opposed to the message and couldn't stand it at all, and their hatred and animosity only increased over time.

The Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم constantly tried to preach to these people, and the people who believed was actually quite small compared to the population of the city compared to who his actual audience was i.e mankind. So he felt like he wasn't getting anywhere. And at this occasion, Allah tells him an important reminder, "فذكر أنما أنت مذكر" "then remind as you are only a reminder". Allah doesn't even say "remind them" "فذكرهم". He just says 'remind'. And by not mentioning 'them' in the statement, Allah is telling him that he shouldn't be concerned about what happens to them. Just remind, that's your job. His job is to remind, not to save anyone. They have responsibility for themselves.

When a Messenger knows what's going to happen to the people if they don't believe, he starts worrying. He starts thinking about how he can convince the people that what he's trying to do is not for him, it's for their own good. But obviously, when someone tries to convince you of something over and over again, your first assumption is that this person has an ulterior motive. Like, why does he want this from so bad? This can't be about me, this has to be about them. And so the claims that the Messengers want wealth, power, etc. And then there are similar statements from different Messengers in response to this "ما أسألكم عليه أجرا" "I'm not asking you for any compensation for this". My reward lies with only Allah. I'm not doing this for any other compensation, no strings attached. But even then, there wasn't much response from the people.

And the Messengers would worry and worry and worry. And then they would start thinking "Maybe I'm not doing enough. There's probably something wrong in me. They keep pointing out flaws in me, so maybe I haven't done my part correctly". So Allah comes to the aid of His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم, and says "No, no, no, there's nothing wrong with you." "أنك لعلى خلق عظيم" "You are of great characteristics" And that if someone who take a reminder from someone as great as you and cannot benefit from it, clearly the wrong is on their side. So you don't have to worry yourself.

That's why, Allah tells him, your job is to only remind, not to convert, not to see results, not to see people enter into the religion in groups,etc. that's none of you. You have nothing to do with that stuff.

"مذكر" means someone who reminds continuously. So Allah tells His Messenger, keep on reminding them of their purpose in life, that's all you have to do. "لست عليهم بمصيتر" "You are not a watcher over them".

And this is the kind of attitude that a Muslim should take as inspiration from the life of the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. This is the position of a Muslim on da'wah. When we do da'wah, our job is to do justice to what Allah commanded to His Messenger: to remind. We should do our best to remind people. That's it. Although, you should be sincere and worried, but know that you're not in the authority to give the people guidance. The only one who can open the doors to the heart and the mind of the people for your words to have an effect on them is Allah. It can take a year, or ten years for that person to come around as a result of your sincerity.

And also, da'wah shouldn't be about debating, or proving that the Qur'an is the word of Allah, etc. The people would debate with you to make you look stupid. So don't fall for it. They will accuse you and point out all sorts of flaws in you, but that doesn't matter. Your job is: to remind.

One of the most fundamental ingredients in the Messenger's da'wah, that gave it strength, is his character. He was known as the honest, the truthful, he had legitimacy, even before he started preaching. So if you don't have these qualities as an individual or as a community, then you're not in a position to speak about higher ideals. Like a guy who comes late to work everyday, and then gives a lecture about punctuality. It doesn't have an effect. It's pointless. If you don't have these qualities, forget da'wah! What da'wah are you making?! It's your actions that carry more weight than your words. These are the basic ingredients.

So I pray that we're able to deliver this message properly, and understand that our job when giving da'wah is to remind, and to fulfill the requirements of what it means to become a person who delivers reminder. Ameen.

P.S.: Any questions/suggestions will be entertained in the comments section. :)

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