Series: Da’awah Essentials IV – How should Da’awah be carried out

Sandala Lessons

Assalāmu Alaykum Warahmatullāh Wabarakātuh

We are to continue with this topic
Brothers! We ask Allāh to accept our Ramadān Fast and to not deny us of the many rewards in it, āmīn

Allāh – ta’ālā – said in the Qur’ān:

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

“Call into the Path of your Lord with Wisdom and with Beautiful Preaching, and argue with them in a way which is best. Indeed your Lord is He who knows best who arrays from His Path and who knows best those who are guided.”

This was mentioned in Sūratu An-Nahl, the Surah of Tranquility

This verse sums up the Methodology of Da’awah and calling of others unto and into the Dīn. Allāh commanded the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – to Call unto His Path. And it is of the _Qawā’id of Tafsīr that a Verse must be Interpreted to encompass all the possible meanings it can take. It encompasses calling Muslims to practice the Fear of Allāh and to do more in the Dīn.

The Path of Allāh mentioned here also means Jihād in the Cause of Allāh as was mentioned by Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalānī – rahimahullāh – in the Fat’h that more often than not, whenever Fī Sabīlillah is mentioned, it refers to Jihād against the enemies of Allāh and His Messenger. It also encompasses calling fellow Callers (Du’āt) into Da’awah and encouraging them to be Patient and to bear the brunts and burns of Da’awah. What is meant by the Path of Allāh here encompasses Calling non-Muslims into Islām.

If that is understood, then we realise that the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – was here commanded to Call others toward Allāh for all forms of Khayr and Ma’aruf. Some of the Mufassirūn said what is meant by Hikmah in the verse is the Qur’ān. In other words, he – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – should use the Qur’ān in Calling unto People toward every aspect of the Dīn. Then Allāh specified the method by stating three

1. Hikmah – Wisdom

This is understood as Wisdom since that is the general meaning of Hikmah according to some Ulamā.

It has been referred to by some Mufassirūn as the Sunnah of the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam.

Some other Mifassirūn explained that what is meant by Hikmah with which the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – should call is the use of the right words at the right time in the right manner and to the right persons. Of them is the Muhaddith Imām Al-Baghawī – rahimahullāh.

2. Al-Maw’idhatu Al-Hasan – Beautiful Preaching

3. Al-Jidāl Billatī Hiya Ahsan – Argumentation in the Best of Ways

Thence the Ummah has been commanded to use both the Qur’ān and the Sunnah in Calling toward Allāh
With respect to what I have studied in this regard, I find the words of the Ash’arī Imām Fakhruddīn Ar-Rāzī – rahimahullāh – in the Asrār on this verse to be encompassing. He maintained that this verse directs our minds to three methodologies of making da’awah to the three categories of people. This is logical, concrete and excellent argumentation.

The first category are the People of Understanding with whom you have a common root such as Ulamā and Students of Knowledge. They are the People of Intellect, Knowledge and Understanding who submit themselves to the Light of evidences and to the Illumination of the Barāhīn. They are to be called with the Hikmah which are the Clear-Cut Proofs from the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

The Second Category are the Commoners who have no deep insight and lack the Credentials to understand the Words of Hikmah. For these, they must be called with the Maw’idhatu Al-Hasanah. This is the use of the Targhīb and the Tarhīb. They are the Reminders that instill fear of the Punishments of Allāh and those that instill hope in the Rewards of Allāh.

This reminds us of the words of Alī Ibn Abī Tālib – radiyallāhu ‘anhu – as was recorded by Imām Al-Bukhārī in the Sahih:

أُمِرْنا أن نُكلِّمَ الناسَ على قدْر عقولِهم

“We were commanded to speak to People with respect to their Intellectual Scopes”

Just as it has come in the weak Hadīth that was recorded by Imām Al-‘Ajlūnī’s Kashfu Al-Khafā:

حدثوا الناس بما يعرفون، أتحبون أن يكذّب الله ورسوله

“Address People with respect to that which they know. Do you wish that Allāh and His Messenger be belied?”

For this category of People, their understanding has not reached the depths with which they could understand and synthesize the text. Of this Category of People are those that will understand better whenever they are warned from something by being told of the advantages of its opposite rather than the dangers of that about which they are being warned. While there are others that will better understand when they are being warned of the dangers of what they are involved in rather than the advantages of the opposite. Either from the advantages of the opposite of what they are involved in, or the disadvantages of what they are involved in. Yet, there are others that will understand from both aspects.

A Dā’ī must identify them and therefore call them with the mere matters upon which their beliefs are rooted and founded And draw their attentions in accordance to what their intellects can carry.

The Third Category of People are the Obstinate Minds who neither have the Intellectual depth to understand the Barāhīn nor have maintained the Natural tendency (Fitrah) of the Commoner. Their hearts have been corrupted by their fastidious grip of the World or the darkness of their Ways.

For this category, the Rasūl – salallāhu alayhi wasallam – was asked to present the best Arguments against them. Their act is to argue and debate a matter for they will not submit to clear cut evidences nor Fitrah.

The Dā’ī’s understanding must be able to penetrate all of this and be able to categorize people in this regard

In continuance, we must realise that as for the first two, they are direct means of Da’awah when he said:

بالحكمة و الموعظة الحسن
“……With Wisdom and with Beautiful Preaching…”

For this reason, Allāh put them together with the vowel of Wa (و). For they are means by which the one to whom the speech is directed get convinced and tuned toward that which is truth. And then He said:

وجادلهم بالتي هي أحسن
“…And argue with them in the way that is best…”

Recall that Allāh said “Jādilhum billatī Hiya Ahsan”

He – ta’ālā – didn’t say:

والجدل بالتي هي أحسن

“…And by way of the best Argumentations…”

In other words, Argumentations such as: “if this is true, then this should be true”

This, some Ulamā explained, is to draw our attention that the Presentation of Logical Arguments and Rhetorical Reasoning is premised around holding the one to whom it is addressed ransom by virtue of what he holds true

But realize that in the Statement, Allāh – ta’ālā – said:

بالتي هي أحسن
“…by that which is best…”

That which is best revolves around three things:

1. That it is necessary
2. That it is precise and concise
3. That it is rich, illustrative, over reaching and error-proof

The Rhetoric in the Qur’ān contains such precise, concise, rich and error-proof arguments that lay bear and futile the obstinacy of the obstinate.

Shaykhu Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – referred to this in his comments in “Muqaddimatun Fī Usūli At-Tafsīr” on the Seven Sleepers of Eunuch ( As’hābu Al-Kahf) and how the Qur’an’s Methodology presents Discourse against the Obstinate minds in ways that refute them concisely and over-reaching.

Whosoever looks at the works of our great Imams will see examples of this.

Imām Abū Hamid Al-Ghazzālī – rahimahullāh – for instance wrote a book called Maqāsidu Al-Falāsifah in which he gave the lay man an understanding of what the goal behind Philosophy is, what Philosophers mean, and the intricacies it contains.

Then he followed the Maqāsid with the Tahāfut which he called Tahāfutu Al-Falāsifah.

When Abū Hāmid authored the Maqāsid, the Commoners understood the Philosophical understandings of the Philosophers, the Philosophers realized that Abū Hāmid understood their methodologies more than they did themselves, while some Ulamā considered the writing to be unwarranted, unnecessary and frivolous. In this work, he completely debunked the Philosopher’s approach, methodology and Creed after showing to the Philosopher and the entire world that he was a better Scholar of the Philosophical Approach than the Philosophers themselves. And his intent in the Maqāsid was initially to display the depth of his knowledge of their Paths.

One of the problems of this era is that Muslims, scholars inclusive have a simpleton approach toward intellectual challenges from blasphemous and antagonistic forces facing our Dīn and Creed. This is not the Path of the Predecessors.

Whosoever looks into the works of Shaykhu Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah – rahimahullāh – will see clearly that he understood the Methodologies of his adversaries more than they did themselves. Even more than their initial proponents. His masterpieces Minhāju As-Sunnati An-Nabawiyyah the Al-Jawābu As-Sahih and Volumes in his Majmū’a are examples of this. And he was the one that stated in the Al-Jawābu As-Sahīh Liman Baddala Dīna Al-Masīh:

(فهو أمر للمؤمنين أن يقولوا الحق الذي أوجبه الله عليهم، وعلى جميع الخلق ليرضوا به الله، وتقوم به الحجة على المخالفين، فإن هذا من الجدال بالتي هي أحسن، وهذا أن تقول كلامًا حقًا يلزمك، ويلزم المنازع لك أن يقوله، فإن وافقك وإلا ظهر عناده وظلمه)

“It is a command to the Believers that they should say the truth that Allah obligated upon them and upon the entirety of the Creation, that they nay thereby please Allāh. And that they thereby establish the evidences upon the opponents. For this is of argumentation in the ways that are best. What this implies is that you state words that are true and will hold binding upon yourself and upon your opponent to state. If he concurs with you then fine, otherwise his stubbornness and oppression thereby becomes apparent.”

All this means that the Dā’ī must not only master the Knowledge of what he intends to call to, he must also master the Postulates and premises of his Opposers, and then address the various categories of People with respect to their levels of understandings.

Then Allāh ended the verse with His words:

إن الله أعلم بمن ضل عن سبيله وهو أعلم بالمهتدين

“…Indeed Allāh is more knowing of those who stray away from His Path, and He knows best those who seek guidance and are guided.”

This is to draw the attention of the Dā’ī to the fact that his role is simply to call, to caution, to draw attention, to encourage good and to censure evil. But he is not responsible for the guidance, Allāh is..

We ask Allāh for a rooted understanding. Amin. We ask Allāh to guide us toward that which is best and wise, āmīn

Bārakallāhu fīkum


Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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