Da’wa, the underrated revivalist project؛(Hadith (9
Da’wa, the underrated revivalist project؛(Hadith (9 / محمد لهلال
Da’wa, the underrated revivalist project
Hadith ( 9 )
الأستاذ محمد لهلال
On the eve of “Khaibar” battle, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, God be pleased with him, was chosen by the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, to carry the flag of Jihad and leadership. ‘Ali asked: “O Messenger of God, shall I fight against them until they are like us?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Advance cautiously until you reach their open places; thereafter, invite them to Islam and inform them what is obligatory for them from the Rights (due to) God, for, By God, if God guides even one person through you that is better for you than possessing a whole lot of red camels” narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Sahl Ibn Sa’d, God be pleased with him.
The extract of this hadith is adapted from “Sunnah.com”.
Meanings and Lessons:
- Even at critical moments of the battle against the enemies of Islam, Da’wa (calling to God) is strongly present in the Prophet’s mind. The Prophet’s utmost goal is to save people from misguidance and subsequent perdition in the life to come. The Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, was sent as a mercy to all the worlds, so he cares more for the guidance of unbelievers to the straight path than to fight them. The Qur’an relates the emotional state of the Prophet and solicitude: “You are bound to destroy yourself with grief because they do not become believers.” (ash-Shu’ara’, 3).
- The believer who exercises Da’wa is highly rewarded by God. The hadith demonstrates that when your efforts are expended to guide someone to the straight path, or help for repentance to God, this action is better than the red camels which were the most precious at the time, and in another narration, better than the entire world and whatever it contains. And whenever a person is guided to the right path through your efforts, you will benefit from whatever good deed this person does in his lifetime, and you will be rewarded for that in the hereafter.
- Calling to Islam is not equal to calling to God. Calling to Islam is mainly focused on the basic and most fundamental precepts of Islam, and it is the way to calling to God, the Almighty. Calling to God requires knowing God by His majestic attributes and journeying to Him by climbing the ascent of faith to the stations of Ihsan (excellence in spirituality, character and deeds). Da’wa is not only a matter of words articulated by the believer, but it is also a purified heart communicating light to the target person(s).
- In order that our Da’wa have an impact we should also choose the best of methods to convey it. In this respect, the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, instructs us to be lenient, compassionate and bring glad tidings to people who are already experiencing distress, confusion and despair. Some “Da’wa men” would choose the hard way to convey the message of Islam by wearing an unsmiling face, choosing extreme interpretations, suspecting people’s fundamental belief and clashing with Muslims for minor aberrations, if they ever exist.
- In our modern age, we need to revive Da’wa, the noblest mission of Prophets, peace and blessings be upon them. But we have to emphasize a point of extreme importance in the strategy of Islamic movements: the Islamic mainstream movement in their program focus more on the political side of their activism and virtually ignore Da’wa. For this reason, many Islamists have deserted mosques and morphed into politicians and activists, creating a dangerous void that leave many nominal Muslims scramble to find answers to their consequential questions, particularly questions pertaining to the spiritual need and acquisition of balanced education.
- Islamic thinkers should seriously tackle the relationship between Da’wa and state. If we assess the course of most Islamic movements, the picture of this relation is still blurred, we can rather say that state affairs and politics have in many instances absorbed Da’wa, and many Islamists have taken politics as a primary vocation like other secular parties, using the same discourse and behaving in the same unethical ways, the only difference is the superficial raising of Islam slogan from time to time. So how should we preserve the mission of Da’wa in its spiritual, educational and social dimensions, and in the meantime make the state of Islam function by experts in their respective fields?