Ramadan Lectures1435- Notions on Faith- Lesson 11: Rules of Da'wah (Calling to Allah).


Manners of Da'wah require the following prerequisites:

1- Knowing both Usul and Furu' Ad-Din:

 Dear brother, in previous meetings, I made it clear to you that Da'wah is Fard Ayn (compulsory duty that should be performed by every single Muslim) on every Muslim, but this Da'wah should be within the limits of your Islamic knowledge, and should be addressed to people you know, and I went into details in that respect. If one of you intends to call to Allah, in a way or another, during this blessed month, he should know that there are rules in Da'wah which make his Da'wah effective and successful.

 One of these rules is to know that in Islam there are Usul (fundamentals of the religion) and a lot of delicate detailed rulings about Fufu' (branchesm which are the minor religious issues), so unless you are acquainted with them both, your Da'wah will not succeed. Take for example the reality of this universe; it is a manifestation of Allah's Beautiful Names and the Exalted Attributes. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾No vision can grasp Him﴿

[Al-An'am, 103]

 Actually, man is able to know Allah by using his reason. This universe is a timeless fact with everything in it; the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, mankind, animals, plants, inanimate objects, continents, seas and lakes. Everything in the universe indicates Allah's Existence, Oneness and Perfection.

The universe is the utmost timeless fact in religion:

 Do you know why the universe is considered the utmost timeless fact in religion? Because even the Kafer can't deny the existence of the sun and the other creatures in the universe, such as the moon, the stars, the mountains, the plants (there are about one million plants), animals and man. As a human being, man has an anatomic structure and a physical one, and his brain is the most complicated device in the universe. However, man is incapable of comprehending his own nature. Hence, we are in front of uncountable Signs (in the universe), and the Quran indicates this fact. Allah says:

﴾And on the earth are signs for those who have Faith with certainty* And also in your ownselves. Will you not then see?﴿

[Adh-Dhariyat, 20-21]

  In the brain there are 140 billion cells of the gray matter whose function is still ambiguous, there is the cerebral cortex and there is the memory center, which is as small as the lentil grain, yet it is capable of storing 70 billion images. As for the hair, there are 300.000 hairs in man's head, and each one of them has a vein, an artery, a nerve, a muscle, an oil sebaceous gland and pigment-producing cells. Allay says:

﴾And also in your ownselves. Will you not then see?﴿

 This is the universe.

﴾We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves﴿

[Fussilat, 53]

 Hence, there are Signs in the universe and Signs in man. What will happen to a man who sees a serpent while walking in an orchard? The image of the serpent is displayed on the retina which has one billion and 300 million light receptors. The most complicated professional camera, which might worth millions, has only 10.000 light receptors, whereas the eye has one billion and 300 million light receptors, which is something beyond imagination. This is why the accuracy of the human eye is amazing to such an extent that it can differentiate between about 10 million colors and 800 shades of each color:

﴾Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?﴿

[Al-Balad, 8]

 Though water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius, eye's water doesn't. If there were no anti-freezing quality in the water of the eye, man would lose his sight if he went to the North Pole where the temperatures drop to minus 69 degrees Celsius. The Signs in man are endless. Hence, man should know the reality of the universe and the reality of the worldly life, but who is man? Man is the foremost creature (in importance in this universe). Why does man have the free will? Because if Allah compels His servants to obey Him, rewarding will be pointless, and if Allah compels His servants to sin, punishment will be pointless, and if He neglects them, there will be inadequacy in the Divine Omnipotence. While the truth (as our Master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him said) is that "Allah, the Glorified, has ordered His worshippers to act by free will and has cautioned them and refrained them (from evil). He has placed easy obligations on them and has not put heavy obligations. He gives them much (reward) in return for little (action)."

Religion requires simplifying, rationalizing and applying religion:

 You need to be aware (beside knowing the branches) of the major matters like the universe, life, man and the free will without which the Divine Assignment will be useless. Da'wah entails knowing Usul and Furu' Ad-Din.

 There are tiny details with regard to ablution (Wudu), but they have to be simplified. A French man visited Egypt and wanted to know about Islam, but unfortunately he met a scholar who spent six months teaching him the rulings on the water used for ablution. He was fed up, so he left that scholar and met Imam Muhammad Abdo who said to him, "The water you drink is the one you can use for your ablution". It is that simple. We live in a complicated era, when everyone is tight on time, so we are in dire need of simplifying, rationalizing and applying Shari'ah rulings, and we should avoid being lost in the endless maze of details.

 Simplifying religious issues should not contradict rationalizing them. Yesterday, I was thinking about the following Hadith:

((Ramadan is a month in which the devils are shackled))

 One would wonder, "Why do we not have them shackled the rest of the year?" If someone argues with you about this matter, you can say to him, "It is not about having them shackled. Consider the example of a man who sells wine in an Islamic neighborhood, this man will not sell anything on the first day, on the second day and in the first two months until he closes his store (because Muslims don't buy wine). Much in the same line, when you repent to Allah, you stop the work of the devil, and this is exactly the meaning of "shackling devils". Having the devils shackled (or not) depends on your choices."

 As an Islamic Da'iyah (Islamic missioner), you are supposed to be aware of the major matters in the religion like the reality of the universe, life, man, the free will, the calamity, the Divine Assignment, good, evil, right and wrong.

2- Getting acquainted with the Legislator (Allah) before knowing His Orders:

 People in every country occupy different positions, so some of them occupy high positions, while other people occupy low ones. As an ordinary man, when you receive a note from the mail office to pick up a registered letter at 10.00 AM, you will not be disturbed by it, and you may not go the next morning, but if you receive the same note from another office, like the Intelligence Office to where man is called for serious matters, and he sometimes does not get back, you will become sleepless, so what is the difference between the two situations? It is all about the one who sent you the order (or the note). Similarly, your heroism as a Dai'yah lies in knowing the Legislator before knowing the Orders, because you will be devoted in obeying Him when you know Him first, but when you know the Orders and neglect the Legislator (Allah), you will skillfully avoid obeying Him.

  I think I have pointed to the main problem from which the Muslim world suffers. Most of Shari'ah rulings are known and are taught as they are mentioned in the curriculums at school and university. We all know the Shari'ah rulings, the rulings on the abandoned child, on trust…etc, but who is the Legislator? He is Allah. How do I know Allah? There are three ways through which we can get acquainted with Allah: The first way is His Creations, the second is His Actions and the third is His Words. When they built the Titanic, they wrote in its manual, "Not even God himself could sink this ship", yet it sank in her first journey leaving underwater billions of money. You know Allah through His Creations, Actions and Words. The following is a very precise Ayah:

﴾And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice﴿

[Al-An'am, 115]

 As if Allah says to us, "O My servants, there are two words which define your relationship with Me: The word of truth from your side and the word of Justice from Mine." This means that the honesty of the servants varies in the Sight of Allah, and Allah will treat them with justice.

 There is another accepted interpretation as the Quran uses words that have multiple meanings.

﴾And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice﴿

 Allah's Words (in the Quran) are either commands (which is just) or the news of the past nations (which is true). Hence, we should get acquainted with both Usul and Furu' Ad-Din, and we should know the Legislator before knowing the Orders.

3- Having the evidence and the explanation of matters:

 Let us move to another rule, which is having the evidence and the explanation of the religious issues. When you say that something is Haram supporting your view with evidence you will be persuasive:

((O Ibn Umar, take care of your religion! It is only your flesh and blood. Take from those who are upright, and do not take from those who have swerved.))

 By offering evidence, your argument will be stronger, but without any evidence, people would say whatever they wish. For instance, it is very easy to say to you that I own Amman as a whole with all its houses, but I don't have any proof to support my claim. Thus, without evidence it is easy to say anything, and people can say whatever they like.
  You should accustom yourself not to accepting or rejecting any religious matter without evidence. Get yourself used to this rule and have a scientific way of thinking, so if someone says to you that something is Haram, you should ask him to give you the supporting evidence. When you know Shari'ah rulings supported with evidences, you will develop an intellectual jurisprudence. Hence, Haram and Halal matters should be considered only when they are supported with evidences.

4- Addressing both the mind and the heart:

 Dear brother, man is composed of the mind, the heart and the body. When you, as a Da'iyah, feed the mind of the one you are calling to Allah with knowledge, his heart with love and his body with food and water, you build a balanced person. Unfortunately, there are exaggerations in Da'wah. For example a man lost his brother, so he asked his Skaikh about his whereabouts, and the Shaikh said to him pointing at a small puddle of water on the ground, "There he is. He melted out of love to us". These are unbearable exaggerations. Therefore, without the evidence people can say whatever they like. Hence, you are required to address both the mind and heart in your Da'wah. In fact, some interpreters believe that the following Ayah addresses the heart and the mind, Allah says:

﴾O man! What has made you careless concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?﴿

[Al-Infitaar, 6]

  Who is the addressee in this part of the Ayah? It is the heart:

﴾Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion;﴿

[Al-Infitaar, 7]

 Heroism lies in addressing the heart and the mind. Furthermore, calling to Allah includes encouraging your fellow brother to build their life (besides their religious knowledge), to attain high scientific degrees and to have a good job and make a living. You shouldn't be only care about your student's attendance, but also about his private life, about getting him married, about his income and about his children. As you see, Da'wah is a very complicated issue.

 There is a big difference between the one who delivers a lecture and the one who educates, so the scholar whom we need in our life is the one whose mission resembles the one of both the doctor and pharmacist; he knows what you suffer from and how you can be cured. If you want to learn Tajweed (rules governing pronunciation during recitation of the Qur'an) you can ask Tajweed scholar to teach you, and if you want to learn your obligatory acts of worship you can ask a scholar to tell you about them. However if you want someone who understands what exactly you need, who knows your shortcomings and who can help you overcome them, then you can ask a scholar who facilitates your path to Allah. Therefore, the knowledgeable scholar can do the function of both the doctor and the pharmacists. In other words, you need a scholar who is aware of your condition, and so he addresses both your mind and heart.

5- Educating people instead of disclosing their faults:

 You should avoid listing all the mistakes of the one you are calling to Allah in one session, because if talk about them all, he will refuse to see you again. It is recommended to disclose his mistakes gradually and indirectly in more than one session. Do you think there is more serious sin than drinking wine? Of course not, yet Allah has forbidden it gradually:

﴾O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state ﴿

[An-Nisa', 43]

 This Ayah is in the Quran, and it teaches you as a Da'iyah to teach the one who has embraced Islam recently Shari'ah rulings in different session instead of telling him about them all in one session, which may keep him away from you. Calling people to Allah entails wisdom:

﴾and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good ﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 269]

 Da'iyah should educate people, not disclose their mistakes.

6- Making things easy not difficult:

  There is another rule which Dai'yah should take into consideration. It is making things easy not difficult. Remember the aforementioned example of the scholar who spent six month in teaching the French man about the water used for Wudu. The man was sick of the subject, until Muhammad Abdo, the great scholar, said to him, "The drinking water is the one you can use for Wudu". He summarized all the information he got in 6 months about the rulings of the water used for Wudu in these words. Hence, we need to offer the Islamic information in concise and precise words bearing in mind the hectic life we live. Youtube is now the most effective way to discuss whatever matter you like in 15-20 minutes, whereas no one watches a 50 minute lecture.

7- Benevolence precedes clarifying religious issues:

 Dear brother, being benevolent to people should precedes clarifying religious issues to them, because you should win their heart by your benevolence so that they can open their mind to your words:

((O Dawud (David), remind My servants of My Favors upon them, for the hearts incline to love those who do good to them and detest those who wrong them.))

[Hadith Qudsi]

 If you want to convince someone of this religion, you should be kind to him. For example, if you are good at mathematics and the one you are calling to Allah is a student who needs help in mathematics, give him a lesson or two in order to win his heart, because in such a way it will be easy for you to persuade him of the religion. Hence, you should win his heart by being benevolent to him, so that he can open his mind to your words.

((O Dawud (David), remind My servants of My Favors upon them, for the hearts incline to love those who do good to them and detest those who wrong them.))

 Let me repeat the rules I have mentioned so far: Benevolence precedes inviting sh3er to Islam, making things easy for them instead of making them difficult, educating people instead of disclosing their mistakes, addressing the mind and the heart, supporting the arguments with the evidence and explaining religious issues clearly, knowing the Legislator precedes knowing the Orders and starting with Usul Ad-Din which precede its Furu'.

8- The good example precedes Da'wah:

 Finally, the good example precedes Da'wah. As a parent, your Da'wah can be the most effective one by setting a good example to your children even without uttering a single word about this religion. It is enough for them to be proud of you as a father who never badmouths, swears or acts violently. Hence, the good example precedes Da'wah, benevolence precedes inviting sh3er to Islam, making things easy to people instead of making them difficult, educating people instead of disclosing their faults, addressing both the mind and the heart, supporting your argument with the evidence and explanation, knowing the Legislator precedes knowing the Orders and starting with Usul Ad-Din which precede its Furu'. You can read about these rules in my website under the title "The main rules of Da'wah", write them down and apply them so that you can change someone and persuade him of Islam.

  Once, while I was in Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, I heard a very beautiful voice coming from the outstanding speakers of the M'ezanah (the minaret of the Masjid) preaching about setting Abeed (slaves) free… who are those slaves whom he was talking about? No one cares about such an issue, he could have chosen to talk about the powerful nations which enslaving the impoverished ones. Hence, you should choose a hot issue that is related to daily life. Let me make my point clear to you, your Da'wah should be related to man's basic needs. For example, man needs security, so you can persuade him that when he is upright, Allah will grant him security, and the evidence is in the following Ayah:

﴾ (So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know."* It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) ﴿

[Al-An'am, 81-82]

 Only the believer will be secured:

﴾Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us ﴿

[At-Taubah, 51]

﴾Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (Alone)," and then they Istaqamu, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! ﴿

[Fussilat, 30]

  There are a lot of other Ayaht which you can use to support your argument. Thus, you should know that when you link man's basic needs to the religion, this person will love Islam. On the other hand, your Da'wah will fail if it is based on irrelative matters that don't concern anyone, such like setting slaves free, which we never experienced, or describing the desert while we live in crowded noisy cities, so what desert are you talking about? There are hot issues which touch man's life and which are related to his basic needs and ambitions. People will be all ears when you base your Da'wah on the man's basic needs, but if your Da'wah revolves around illusionary or nonexistent needs, it will be rejected.