As a religion and spiritual order, Islam offers comprehensive ethical and moral guidance on all aspects of life in its varied facets. And a Muslim will be able to find solutions within the framework of the teachings of Islam to the many problems he or she is confronted with. This can be done even without injecting ideas and processes antithetical to the Islamic perspective (Bid’ah) by seeking to equip oneself with the correct knowledge of Islam. Apart from practicing Sahih Al Islam, a Muslim ought to share the richness of the Islamic path- “beauty, rationality, practicality and completeness”- and its innate ability to appeal to the human mind with all of mankind.
In his Friday Sermon of March 09, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius gave a discourse on how to conduct the preaching of Islam and underscored certain points to keep in mind in Dawa.
Read the Extracts from the Sermon:
Dawa requires effective planning and strategy formulation. We should never do Dawa by haste. We have to plan it out very carefully with deliberation. We have to plan how to do Dawa to various kinds of peoples coming from different backgrounds. We need to plan especially if we are organizing Dawa for groups through lectures or seminars. We have to plan ahead of time, plan for the theme, topics, venue, time particulars, speakers concerned. We have to consider planning what to say and how to say it. As Dai-Illallah, it is imperative for us to plan but we have to acknowledge that Allah is the Best of planners like mentioned in the following verses of the Holy Quran:
“And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners.” (3: 55) and “But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (8: 31)
Thus, we have to pray for His help to bless our plan, our Dawa because “When He decrees a plan, He only says to it, ‘Be’, and it is!” (3: 48); and that, “He does command according to His will and plan”. (5: 2)
(2) Inviting people with Hikma (wisdom) and beautiful preaching.
Allah the Almighty commands us, so that we can be successful Dai-Illallah. Allah says:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is (rightly) guided.” (16: 126)
The guidelines on how to do Dawa with Hikma and beautiful preaching
Allah is the One who gives (41: 21) and teaches speeches (55: 4) to others to whom He pleases. We should pray to Him for eloquent speech and wisdom so we can effectively convey Islam to others. A very beautiful prayer (made by Hazrat Musa (upon him be peace)) is mentioned in the Holy Quran in this respect: “My Lord, I ask you to expand my breast (with assurance), make my task easy, untie the knot in my tongue so that my speech will become comprehensible.” (20: 26-29)
(3) Speak with confidence. We, the Dai-Illallah, should have self-confidence in ourselves. As long as we know the subject matter in Islam that we are going to discuss with a certain degree of knowledge and then turn to Allah, pray for His help, we can successfully convey the message of Islam to others. We should have trust in Allah that by His grace, we can speak with confidence in public no matter how large the audience is.
(4) Be friendly and show kindness in your approach. Like Allah says in the Holy Quran (60: 9), “Be friendly and show kindness in your approach towards them”.
Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said “A believer is friendly, and there is no good in one who is neither friendly nor is treated in a friendly way”. (Tirmidhi)
(5) Invite people to Islam with kind words instead of evil words or bad languages.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.” (2: 264)
(6) Present the fundamental or best teaching of Islam and refrain from nonsense talking.
Speak good words and do not insult.
(7) Avoid vain discussion, argumentation and debate.
The Quran states:
“And do not argue with the People of the Book except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims (in submission) to Him.” (29: 47)
And moreover the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one who has once found the right way, ever goes astray except through dispute”. Then Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) recited this verse: “And they said, “Are our gods better, or is he?” They did not present the comparison except for (mere) argument. But, (in fact), they are a people prone to dispute.” (43: 59).” (Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja)
(8) Call attention to the benefits of the Islamic way of life
We have to make it clear to them (that is, the non-Muslims) that the sincere performance of the five pillars of Islam is a must for all able Muslims for their salvation in the eternal life hereafter. The non-Muslims should be made to understand that every teaching or commandment in Islam that we are supposed to do is for our benefit. Likewise, everything that we are forbidden to do does harm to us.
Allah forbids all indecent deeds, examples: evil and rebellion, mischief, transgression, arrogance, selfishness, niggardliness, ungratefulness, pride, boastfulness, envy, dishonesty, making oaths to deceive others, slandering, laughing at others, sarcastic attitude, calling others by offensive nicknames, suspicion, spying, drinking wine, gambling, extravagance, usury, stealing, adultery and fornication, killing of children etc.
Non-practicing Muslims and non-Muslims must be objective and accept that all these forbidden deeds are harmful to all of humanity. Furthermore, we have to make clear to them Islam as a complete way of life that is full of wisdom, guidance and truth in the simplest way possible. In other words, we have to make things easy for them to see the light and not to make them run away from it. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).” (Bukhari)
Islam is the religion free from any distortions. During our Dawa, we expect questions from non-Muslims, which they consider as sensitive issues in Islam. Among these are the Burqa or Hijab (veil) for women, divorce, polygamy, capital punishment and Jihad.
(9) Address misconceptions in the most logical and rational way
We should address these issues in the most logical and rational way in order to correct their misconceptions about Islam. Hijab or Burqa protects women from being molested by men. We should always make it clear to the non-Muslims that everything that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) command us to do is good for everyone and for the society as a whole. An example of this is Burqa or Hijab (proper covering of women’s bodies). This is based on the Quranic verse (24: 32) which commands believing women not to display their beauty to men who are not related to them in order to guard their modesty.
Hijab or Burqa protects women from being molested by men. Allah says:
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves (part) of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33: 60)
Hijab or Burqa covers women’s beauty from men. It preserves women’s dignity and honour which deserves men’s respect, as women in Islam play a vital role in the society.
Islam as a rational religion, allows divorce to solve perplexing domestic and social problems. Islam as a rational religion allows divorce only after husband and wife have observed the prescribed conditions which include the waiting period during which they should stay in their house together. This is to give them time to reconsider their decision. If they find out that they cannot really stay together because of incompatibilities, then they can finalise their decision for divorce. Allah says:
“For those who swear not to have sexual relations with their wives is a waiting time of four months, but if they return (to normal relations) – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. And if they decide on divorce - then indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing. Divorced women remain in waiting for three periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have more right to take them back in this (is period) if they want reconciliation. And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them (in responsibility and authority). And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (2: 227-229)
Islam as practical religion, allows polygamy to slow social ills and problems in the society. Polygamy or plural marriage of men in Islam is limited only to a maximum of four wives with a condition that husbands are able to treat their wives with justice. A good and pious man who practices polygamy is neither a vagabond, nor a sadist, nor a women’s man, but he is rather putting in practice the command of Allah who has given this right. This commandment is a sacred one, and no true Muslim, man or woman (especially the women) do not have the right to criticise such a commandment or instruction of Allah, or think and talk ill of it, for if it is so, therefore her situation shall be grievous.
“…Marry those that please you of women, two or three or four.” (4: 4)
Otherwise, the rule in Islam is monogamy (mentioned in the same verse 4: 4). Polygamy solves the problem of adultery among men, who by nature are polygamous, or not happy with their wives, from committing adultery. Furthermore, polygamy gives the opportunity for more unmarried women to be married, considering the fact that women exceed men in number. This in turn eliminates fornication and prostitution, thus greatly reducing the number of children born out of wedlock.
Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock are being ostracized in the same way as their mothers are being looked down by the society. In polygamy, children are recognized as legal offspring of their fathers just as their mothers are respected as legally married women.
Capital punishment in Islam is the solution to stop the prevalence of crimes, drugs, robbery and other social ills in the society. On the subject of capital punishment, it is for the welfare of every society that those who commit criminal offenses like murder, robbery, drug abuse and the like will be given due capital punishment. This is to warn any member of the society from committing similar crimes. Non-Muslims who see capital punishment as something abominable or inhumane must ponder upon the veracity and wisdom of the following divine verses:
“(As for) the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent (punishment) from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (5: 39-40)
Finally, with regards to Jihad (holy wars) the non-Muslims should know that Islam is a religion for peace. It has spread so fast and continues to attract many people not because of the sword or by force, but because people have come to know and understand its beauty, rationality, practicality and completeness have peacefully embraced Islam. The propaganda that “Islam was spread by the swords” is nothing but a lie. Allah makes it clear that there is no compulsion in religion (2: 257; 3: 21; 10: 100; 109: 2-8).
Jihad is justified to defend the weak from the hands of the oppressors for the pleasure of Allah and not to spread Islam by force.
(10) Advice to all the Dai-Illallah: Develop Patience and Perseverance
As Dai-Illallah, it is very important that we must develop patience and perseverance. Dawa is not an easy task. We should know that as believers, Allah will try our Imaan (faith). Allah may test us as to which of us is best in deeds.
“(He) who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving” (67: 3)
The closer we are to Him, the more He will try us, just as He did all his prophets and messengers. We should be patient because Allah commands us to patiently persevere (2: 154). Allah the Almighty may try our patience and perseverance by the hands of the non-Muslims or enemies of Islam and even fellow Muslims who may harm, insult or ridicule us. We should take lesson from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) who showed remarkable patience and perseverance at all times. As much as possible we should show patience for whatever trial we may incur. We should remember that Allah surely rewards those who patiently persevere.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“O you who believe, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (3: 201)
…May Allah be pleased with us in our sincere efforts to invite others to Sahih al Islam. May Allah guide us to do more and more Dawa according to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (upon him be peace) the promised Messiah of the last era. May He accept all our humble efforts, which are purely for His sole pleasure? May He guide all to His way, so that Islam (the Sahih al Islam) prevails over all other religions and that many people are saved from hellfire in the eternal life hereafter. Ameen.