This article is not about any particular Dawah but the very idea of Dawah as mentioned in the Quran and Hadiths. This brief article examines the classical understanding of Surah 3:104 which is one of the most important verses in the Quran for Dawah and related methods as mentioned in Hadiths and Quran. Sakshi Research Team.
Surah 3: 104 “And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong, and these it is that shall be successful.” (Shakir)Among the many verses in the Quran which speaks about inviting people to Islam (Surah, 2:186 2:221, 3:104, 10:25, 12:108, 13:36, 14:44, 16:125, 23:73, 40:10, 41:33, 70:17 and 71:5–6) Surah 3:104 is particularly important as this is the only verse which speaks about Dawah as a group/party.
If one were to believe these Dawah preachers, one would assume that Islam is a religion of peace propagated only through the appeal of reasons and evidence. But then there is so many questions which needs to be answered. We will answer a few.
Paradox 1: If Dawah method of debate and reasoning of religion is so important in Islam, why is Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations not open for debates and reasoning.
As already mentioned Surah 3:104 is one important verse in the Quran which speaks about Dawah as a group. Let us see Tafsir of Ibn Kathir says about Surah 3:104 as it is authoritative for Sunni Muslims. Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of Quranic verses as Muhammad would have understood it. So he looks at the Ahadiths to understand the meaning of the text.This is what Ibn Kathir says about Surah 3:104 (http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=3&tid=8957)
Allah said, [وَلْتَكُن مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ] (Let there arise out of you a group of people) That calls to righteousness, enjoins all that is good and forbids evil in the manner Allah commanded, [وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ] (And it is they who are the successful.) Ad-Dahhak said, "They are a special group of the Companions and a special group of those after them, that is, those who perform Jihad and the scholars.''
The objective of this Ayah is that there should be a segment of this Muslim Ummah fulfilling this task, even though it is also an obligation on every member of this Ummah, each according to his ability. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, «مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِع فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وَذلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَان» (Whoever among you witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then let him change it with his tongue. If he is unable, then let him change it with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.)
In another narration, The Prophet said, «وَلَيْسَ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْإِيمَانِ حَبَّةُ خَرْدَل» (There is no faith beyond that, not even the weight of a mustard seed.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet said, «
8;َالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِه، لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ، أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْ عِنْدِهِ، ثُمَّ لتَدْعُنَّــهُ فَلَا يَسْتَجِيبَ لَكُم» (By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah shall send down a punishment from Him to you. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.) At-Tirmidhi also collected this Hadith and said, "Hasan''. There are many other Hadiths and Ayat on this subject, which will be explained later.
Answer to the Paradox 1: Preaching and reasoning are good only if Islam cannot use violence. So in countries like US, India, UK etc, one would find Dawah groups in debates but not in Saudi Arabia.
Paradox 2: If reasons are so important for Dawah, why do they often resort to insults, and mocking: Paradox Solved:
Let us read what Al-Ghazali has to say on Surah 3:104
Among the Muslim scholars of the classical times, Al-Ghazali maintains that “enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong” is fard kifaya and not fard ‘ayn (Arabic … ÖÑÝ) (Imam Gazzali’s, 1978: 225). He distinguishes five forms of “enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong”:
- giving simple advice
- giving sermons with “sweet words”
- abusing and meting out harsh treatment
- applying force and preventing one from “doing a sinful act”
- Finally, assaulting, beating, and threatening not to do a “sinful act.”
Only in this fifth form, one is required to obtain permission from authorities for his actions (Imam Gazzali’s, 1978: 233).
Answer to the Paradox 2: It was only our misunderstanding. In Islam insults and mocking are a part and parcel of Dawah methodology.
Paradox 3: When there is no salvation offered in Islam, why are so many Muslims involved in Dawah.
Paradox Solved: Ok, let us read an authentic Ahadiths. Sahih Muslim Book 19, Number 4294 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/019.smt.html#019.4294)
It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhairs and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirs. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muslims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai' except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated When you besiege a fort and the besieged want you to let them out in accordance with Allah's Command, do not let them come out in accordance with His Command, but do so at your (own) command, for you do not know whether or not you will be able to carry out Allah's behest with regard to them.
Answer to the Paradox: It is the Islamic enslavement and imperialism which is the motto of Dawah. Preaching religion is only a means to subjugate, penalize and finally slaughter human beings.
Paradox 4: If Dawah is so important, why so many Muslims are “misled” into Jihad and terrorism.
Answer to the Paradox: This time we will answer it first. Allah gives reward for jihad but not for Dawah (poor Dawah preachers).
Surah 9: 111 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/009.qmt.html)
Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme. While we do not know why Law and the Gospel are mentioned here, we know why Quran considers this has an achievement supreme- good bargain, right?
For those who do not know, read Surah 37:40, 44:51-55, 52: 17-20, 55:54-59, 56:37-40, and 78:31-34.
Lest any Muslim friend accuse us of misquoting, we provide two verses and links to the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir for those two verses. We ask Muslim friends to read the verses and Tafsir before they accuse us of wrongly interpreting Quran.
Surah 55: 54-59 http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/055.qmt.html
They will recline on Carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the Fruit of the Gardens will be near (and easy of reach). Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny? In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-
Read the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir for Surah 55: 54-59 here http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=55&tid=51713
Surah 78:31-34: Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart's) desires; Gardens enclosed, and grapevines, And voluptuous women of equal age; And a cup full (to the brim).
Read the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir for Surah 78: 31-34 here (http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=78&tid=56825)
Paradox 5: If Dawah is all about spreading the truth
about Islam, why do Dawah preachers often lie?
Paradox solved: Lie is permitted in a battle in Islam. Dawah is a form of battle and therefore lie is permitted in Dawah method too. Sahih Muslim Book 032, Number 6303: (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/032.smt.html#032.6303)
Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).
Paradox 6: Why do when Dawah groups negotiate, they change their words?
Surah 5:89" Allah will not call you to account for what is futile in your oaths, but He will call you to account for your deliberate oaths: for expiation, feed ten indigent persons, on a scale of the average for the food of your families; or clothe them; or give a slave his freedom. If that is beyond your means, fast for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths ye have sworn. But keep to your oaths. Thus doth Allah make clear to you His signs, that ye may be grateful."
In Conclusion: Things to remember while speaking with Dawah Groups
- It is not because Islam is reasonable that they come for debate, but because Islam is not dominant. You cannot debate with Muslims in Islamic countries.
- Expect mocking and insults while in the debate
- Dawah is only a temporal thing. When Islam achieves the critical mass to fight, be sure that they will fight.
- Jihad appeals to many Muslims as that is a “good bargain”. So do not completely trust when Dawah groups say that Islam is a religion of peace
- You should expect Dawah preachers to blatantly lie in the debate. Remember it is permissible in the battles.
- While negotiating, remember to record the correspondence, otherwise there is no value from the Islamic side on their oaths.
For Further Understanding: YouTube Videos to Watch
- Is Islam a Religion of Peace? Sam Shamoun Vs. Nadir Ahmed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sijF-2af_tI) Christian Exposes Islam
- Dispatches – Undercover Mosque (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peFQWuk4nuo&feature=related) Secular People Exposes Islam
- Death Penalty for Apostates! (Dr. Zakir Naik) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMAZR8YIhxI Do not trust Zakir anymore.