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The Call to Allāh

  Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Fawzān

This article is taken from the shaykh's introduction to the book Manhaj al-Anbiyā fī al-Daʿwah ilá Allāh by Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī.



  Indeed calling to Allāh 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 (īmān), from shirk to tawḥīd, and from the Fire to Paradise.

All praise is for Allāh, Lord of the Worlds, who ordered us to follow His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and to call to His Way, and may Allāh send praises and blessings of peace upon our Prophet Muḥammad, and upon his family, his companions, and those who truly follow them until the Day of Judgement. To proceed:

Calling to Allāh (ad-Daʿwah ilAllāh) is the way of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his followers, as Allāh, the Most High, says:

"Say, O Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam): This is my way, I call to Allāh (i.e. to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh, alone, with no partner) upon certain knowledge - I, and those who follow me. I declare Allāh 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." [Sūrah Yūsuf 12:108]

Indeed calling to Allāh 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 (īmān), from shirk to tawḥīd, and from the Fire to Paradise. This call to Allāh rests upon firm pillars, and is established upon foundations which are absolutely essential. If any of these are missing the daʿwah 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 daʿwah 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). Allāh, the Most High, said to His prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam):

"Say, O Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam): This is my way, I call to Allāh (to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh, alone, having no partner) upon certain knowledge (baṣīrah). I, and those who follow me." [Sūrah Yūsuf 12:108]

'Basīrah' 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. Allāh, the Most High, says:

"And argue with them in a way that is better." [Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:125]

Furthermore, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said to Muʿādh (radhiyAllāhu ʿʿʿanhu), "You are going to a people from the People of the Book."[2] 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. Allāh, the Most High, said about His Prophet Shuʿayb 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." [Sūrah Hūd 11:88]

Allāh, the Most High, said to His Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam):

"Say, O Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam): Indeed my Prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all purely and solely for Allāh, 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 Allāh as a Muslim." [Sūrah al-Anʿām 6:162-163]

Allāh the Most High, said:

"Who is better in speech than one who calls the people to Allāh and does righteous deeds?" [Sūrah Fuṣṣilat 41:33]

[3] Purity of intention (al-Ikhlāṣ):

Such that the call is made purely and sincerely to seek the Face of Allāh (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 Allāh, rather it would then be a call for oneself or for the attainment of the worldly goal - as Allāh informs that His Prophets said to their people:

I do not ask you for any reward for conveying this Qurʾān. [Sūrah al-Anʿām 6:90]

I do not ask you for any wealth for my admonition. [Sūrah Hūd 11:29]

[4] Beginning With What is of Primary Importance, Then With What Comes Next In Importance, And So On:

So firstly he calls to the correction of ʿaqīdah (beliefs and creed), by ordering that all worship is made purely for Allāh, and that shirk is forbidden. Then ordering the establishment of prayer, and the paying of Zakāh, and that the obligatory duties are carried out, and that the forbidden matters are avoided. This was to procedure followed by all the messengers, as Allāh-the Most High-says:

We sent a Messenger to every nation, ordering them that they should worship Allāh alone, obey Him, and make their worship purely for Him; and that they should avoid everything worshipped besides Allāh. [Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:36]

We did not send any Messenger before you, O Muḥammad, except that We revealed to him that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh, so make all your worship purely for Allāh. [Sūrah al-Anbiyāʾ 21:25]

Furthermore, when the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) sent Muʿādh to Yemen, he said to him: "Indeed you are going to a people from the People of the Book, so let the first thing you call them to be the testification that none has the right to be worshipped excepted Allāh. So if they accept this, then inform them that Allāh has obligated five prayer upon them in every day and night..." [3]

Then there is in his (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) way and method of giving daʿwah, the best example, and the most perfect and complete methodology - in that he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) remained in Makkah for thirteen years, calling the people to Tawḥīd and forbidding them from Shirk, before he ordered them with prayer, Zakāh, fasting, and Ḥajj, and before he forbade them from usury, fornication, theft and murder.

[5] Patient Perseverance in Facing Difficulties Encountered in Calling To Allāh, And in Facing Harm From the People:

For the path of daʿwah is not strewn with roses, rather it is covered with hardships, and hazards. The best example of this is the case of the Messengers - may Allāh's praises and blessings of peace be upon them all - with regards to the harm and the mockery which they suffered from their people. As Allāh - the Most High - said to His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam):

Indeed, Messengers were also mocked before you, but those who mocked them were overtaken by the punishment which they made light of. [Sūrah al-Anʿām 6:10]

And He also said:

Indeed, Messengers were also denied before you, but they bore these denials with patient perseverance, and they suffered harm until Our help came to them. [Sūrah Al-Anʿām 6:34]

Likewise, the followers of the Prophet met with the same harm and hardship, in proportion to their efforts in calling to Allāh, following the examples of those noble messengers - may Allāh's praise, and purest blessings of peace be upon them all.

[6] The Caller Must Be a Person of Good Manners Using Wisdom in His Call:

Since this will be an important reason for the acceptance of his call. Just as Allāh ordered His two noble prophets: Mūsá and Hārūn - ʿalayhimus-ṣalātu was-salām - that this was the manner in which they were to face the worst Unbeliever upon the face of this earth: Firʿawn (Pharoah), who claimed lordship for himself. Allāh - the one free from all imperfections - said:

"And speak mildly to him, that he might accept admonition or fear and obey Allāh." [Sūrah Ṭā Hā 20:44]

And Allāh said to Mūsá - ʿalayhis ṣalātu was salām:

"Go to Firʿawn who has transgressed all bounds in his haughtiness, pride, and disbelief, and say: Will you not purify yourself from the sin of disbelief and be obedient to your Lord? And that I guide you to the worship of your Lord, so that you may submit fearfully to Him and be obedient to Him." [Sūrah Nāziʿāt 79-17-19]

And Allāh - the Most High - said, concerning the Prophet Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam:

"By the Mercy of Allāh you behaved with gentleness towards them, and had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have left you and departed." [Sūrah Āl ʿImrān 3:159]

"Indeed you, O Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallamCall mankind to the way prescribed by your Lord with the Revelation that has been sent down to you, and admonish them with the examples and warnings that Allāh provided in His Book, and argue with them in a way that is better." [Sūrah al-Naḥl 16:125]

[7] The Caller Must Remain Firm in His Expectation and Hope for Good:

He should not despair in the effect of his call, nor about the guidance of his people. Nor should he despair about the aid and the help of Allāh - even if a long time passes. Again, he has the best of examples in this matter in the Messengers of Allāh. So the Prophet of Allāh, Nūḥ ('ʿalayhis ṣalātu was salām) remained among his people for nine hundred and fifty years calling them to Allāh.

Also, when the harm and the hurt caused by the Unbelievers became severe, and the Angel of the mountain came to our Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), asking if he wanted him to crush them with the two mountains, he replied: "No! I wish to have patience with them. Hopefully, Allāh will produce from them offspring who will worship Allāh alone, not giving any partner to Him." [4] So if the daa'ee lacks this attribute, he will halt at the start of the path and feel discouraged and frustrated.

So whichever call is not built upon these foundations, and whose manhaj (methodology) is not the methodology of the Messengers - then it will be frustrated and fail, and it will be told without benefit. The clearest proof of this are those present day jamāʿahs (groups) which set out a methodology and program for themselves and their daʿwah, which is different to the methodology of the Messengers. These groups have neglected the importance of ʿaqīdah (correct beliefs and creed) - except for a very few of them - and instead they call for the correction of side issues. So one group calls for the correction of rule and politics and demands establishment of the Hudūd (prescribed punishments), and that the Sharīʿah (Islamic Law) be applied in judging amongst the people - and this is indeed something very important, but it is not what is most important; Since how can one seek to establish and apply Allāh's Judgement upon the thief and the fornicator, before seeking to establish and apply Allāh's Judgement upon the mushrik - the one who attributes worship to others besides Allāh. How can we demand that Allāh's Judgement be applied to two men disputing about a sheep or a camel, before demanding that Allāh's Judgement be applied upon those who worship idols and graves, and those who deny or hold heretical beliefs with regards to Allāh's Names and Attributes - divesting them of their true meaning, or distorting them. Are these people not greater criminals than those who fornicate, drink wine, and steal?!! Since those are crimes against mankind, whereas shirk and denial of Allāh's Names and Attributes are crimes against the Creator - the One free from all imperfections - and the rights of the Creator have precedence over the rights of the creation.

Shaykh al Islām Ibn Taymīyyah (d.728H) says in his book: al-Istiqāmah (1/466): "So these sins along with correct tawḥīd are better than corrupted tawḥīd in the absence of these sins." [5]

Then another jamāʿah (group) affiliate themselves with daʿwah, except that their methodology is also at variance with the methodology of the Messengers. They give no importance to the correct ʿaqīdah, rather they give importance to some acts of worship and practicing dhikr (remembrance of Allāh) in the way of the Ṣūfīs. They concentrate upon khurūj (going out) and touring the lands, and what is important to them is that they manage to attract they people without caring about their ʿaqīdah. And all of these are innovated ways, taking as their starting point, matters which were left until last in the call of the Messengers. This is just like the case of the one who seeks to cure a body whose head has been decapitated - since the place of the ʿaqīdah in religion is like the head with regard to the body.

Thus, it is necessary for these groups to correct their concepts and understanding, by referring back to the Book and the Sunnah, in order to know the methodology of the Messengers in calling to Allāh. For indeed Allāh - the One free from all imperfections - informed that the correct rule and sovereignty, which the central part of the call of the central jamāʿah whom we mentioned, cannot be achieved except after correcting ʿaqīdah, such that all worship is for Allāh alone and worship of everything else is abandoned. Allāh the Most High - says:

"Allāh promised to those amongst you who truly have īmān (true faith and belief) and act in obedience to Allāh and His Messenger, that he will grant them rulership upon the earth, just as He granted it to those before them, and that He will establish their Religion for them and grant them authority to practice the Religion which He ordered them with. And He will certainly change their situation to one of security, after their fear. Providing that they worship Me, not associating any partners with Me. Then, whoever rejects this favour by acting in disobedience to their Lord - then they are the rebellious transgressors." [Sūrah al-Nūr 24:55]

So these people wish to establish the Islamic State before purifying the lands of idolatrous belief which take the form of worship of the dead, and devotion to the tombs - such as is no different from the worship of al-Lāt, ʿUzza and the third of them al-Manāt, rather it is worse. So they are attempting that which is impossible:

"And whosoever seeks greatness without effort or exertion

Will only be wasting his life in seeking something impossible."

Indeed, establishment and application of the Sharīʿah and the prescribed punishments, and the establishment of the Islamic State, and avoidance of whatever is prohibited, and the achievement of whatever is obligatory - all of these things are from the rights of Tawḥīd; and matters which perfect it and follow on from it. So how can we give attention to that which is subsidiary whilst neglecting that which is of primary importance?


[1] From the Shaykh's introduction to the book: Manhaj al Anbiyāʾ fid Daʿwah ilAllāh fīhil Hikmah wal ʿAql (p. 10-16) of Shaykh Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī.

[1] From the Shaykh's introduction to the book: Manhaj al Anbiyāʾ fid Daʿwah ilAllāh fīhil Hikmah wal ʿAql (p. 10-16) of Shaykh Rabīʿ Ibn Hādī.

The translations of the meanings given for all Qur’anic Āyāt are summarised from the tafsīrs of al-Tabarī, al-Baghawī, al-Qurṭabī, Ibn Kathīr, and al-Shawkānī.

[2] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 7372) and Muslim (no. 29) from ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[3] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 7372) and Muslim (no. 29) from ʿAbdullāh Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).

[4] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 454) and Muslim (no. 4425), from Āʿishah raḍī Allāhu ʿanhā.

[5] The proof for this is the Saying of Allāh - the Most High: "Allāh does not forgive that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives whatever is lesser than that to whomsoever he pleases." [Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:48]

Translated by Abū Ṭalḥah Dāwūd Burbank [1]

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