DR JAVED JAMIL strongly advocates that a proactive Dawah approach must be adopted by the Muslim Ummah as had been done by the Prophet who was the perfect Daee and the perfect Abd.
In this Section
Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) was a Daee (one who invites) in at least two ways. He was a Daee as Rasul (Messenger) of God, where he conveyed the Message of God, primarily acting as Muballigh (one who propagates the message). Then he was a Daee (Inviter) as a person, as the Most Perfect Abd of God, where he invited mankind towards Islam through emulating his example. Both are important parts of the Islamic Revolution that started with the revelation of the Qur’ān from God to His Last Ambassador and Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). Unfortunately, there are people who are trying to undermine his status and functions as Abd, which can in fact be described as the most natural form of Dawah.
There have been proponents of the theory that Muhammad had two phases in his life. He was a Messenger of God for some time and a Human Being at the other time, his actions and statements as Messenger are to be followed and his actions and statements as Human beings are not to be followed. I have a disagreement. We have to understand that Muhammad’s position should be classified not as “Rasul” and human being, each of which position is isolated, but as
1. Nabi (always since birth)
2. Rasul (when he is conveying his message (by action as well as speech) in accordance with the guidelines of God) (So also always after his Mission started, known as ba’that)
3. Abd (Slave) when he is following God in every action of his life. (always)
4. Imam (when he is implementing the System)
The Qur’ān itself has explained in detail that Muhammad was the man who was endowed with all the abilities to receive the Message from God, to understand the meaning of all that is being revealed to mankind through him and to apply the messages contained in the verses to establish a system:
Those who follow the apostle, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper.” (7: 157/A)
A similar (favour have ye already received) in that We have sent among you a Messenger of your own, rehearsing to you Our Signs, and sanctifying you, and instructing you in Scripture and Wisdom, and in new knowledge. (2: 151/A)
O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner,- And as one who invites to God’s (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light. Then give the Glad Tidings to the Believers, that they shall have from God a very great Bounty. And obey not (the behest) of the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and heed not their annoyances, but put thy Trust in God. For enough is God as a Disposer of affairs. (33: 45-48/A)
We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by God. So be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust... (4: 105/A)
NABUVVAT, RISALAT AND ABDIYYAT
The Qur’ānic verses describe Muhammad SAW as “Messenger who gave good news as well as warning”, as one who “allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad”, as “Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner” and as one who “mightest judge between men, as guided by God.” He is advised to “consult them in affairs” and is admired for dealing gently with the people. He is not always addressed as “O Prophet” or “O Messenger” but is also often addressed as “Thou/you”. What was then the real purpose of Risalat? Obviously it was to inculcate abdiyyat in human beings. It is this abdiyyat that makes humans worthy of salvation. And if abdiyyat is the final destination of man, who can be the most perfect abd (slave) of God other than the Final Prophet of God. He was the first who submitted to what was revealed to him. If, as the argument goes, he was Rasul only for a certain period of time, and at other times he was simply an ordinary human being not worth emulating, how can he be described as the best abd, and how he can be judged as to what his position at a particular time was (Rasul or human) when he was allowing them what was lawful and forbidding them what was prohibited.
The argument that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) is worth emulating only as Rasul and not as human being is fallacious for another reason, too. As Rasul, he is only conveying the messages of Allah and therefore his commands are to be obeyed. But a Rasul can be a role model only for rasuls and not ordinary human beings. He must be emulated by ordinary human beings because as a human being he proved himself to be the most perfect abd of all times; and all human beings must try to become good abds (slaves). Howsoever good human beings become, obviously they cannot hope to become Nabi or Rasul; they can only hope to become good abd of Allah. Muhammad’s nabuvvat and Risalat cannot be emulated, his abdiyyat can be.
If Muhammad is a perfect abd, and he is receiving guidance and protection of Allah at all times, it means that his personality, his inclinations, his behaviour on different occasions, his natural disposition, his reactions to various events at the personal and social levels and his application of what is being communicated to him through Wahi (Revelation) – all become direct sources of Dawah ilallah. As he was the Most Perfect abd of Allah, it becomes important to know what he spoke on various occasions, how he acted in various situations and how he behaved with his wives, relatives, friends, supporters, enemies and strong and weak sections of society. If he is the first recipient of Qur’ān and has been charged with communicating it to the world and its application, we need to know how he explained, interpreted and applied the messages of Qur’ān. Without knowing all these aspects, we cannot hope to understand the Qur’ān. In effect, Muhammad SAW was not a combination of Messenger (when he was receiving and reciting Qur’ān) and Human (When he was not) but a combination of Messenger (when he was receiving and reciting Qur’ān) and Abd, which meant that he was the most perfect follower of God’s Commands. Hence his deeds and sayings are extremely important because it is as Abd that we can emulate him, not as Rasul; none of us can ever be Rasul of God while we all can become good abds. (Normally Abd is translated as servant or slave but it means a person who makes a passionate and conscious submission to someone; while “slave” and “servant” imply a kind of compulsion.)
When Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) invited people to the Established Track (Sirat-al Mustaqeem) of God, he used Tableegh, Dawah through Words and Dawah through actions as three most important ways of convincing the people. The same approach has to be adopted now. Muslims should convince the world about the mandate of God through dissemination of Qur’ān and Hadeeth, through direct invitation and through examples as individuals and as a community. It is to be clearly understood that Prophet Muhammad adopted an active and dynamic and not passive mode of Dawah; and a proactive and dynamic mode of Dawah alone can be successful in saving mankind from chaos in this world and humiliating punishment in the next world. This proactive Dawah must involve not only presentation of the truth of Islam but also unveiling of the falsehood of the other ideologies.
We have to prove to the world that Islam is the only option for mankind not only because it would guarantee peace in the next world but also because it is a guarantee to true peace in this world. We have to produce the statistics showing the effects of following and not following the Qur’ānic system, and more than that we have to set personal examples as individuals and as communities. Though it is very easy to say, and it is what is being repeatedly said for quite some time that Muslims have failed in proving themselves, the truth also remains that even in what we are able to follow there are a plenty of lessons for mankind.
Instead of always trying to discuss the negatives, we should also be able to highlight our positives. Introspection is good but creating a negative image in the name of introspection is something that needs to be discarded. While the West and all other ideologies keep projecting themselves in the best shades, burying all that is negative in their method and its impact; Muslims are busy negating their positive features. While non-Muslims attack Muslims and Islam in order to vanquish them so that their own objectives can be achieved without much resistance, Muslims fail to see and present their positive sides, which despite several weaknesses, are much more glaring than what the Western and other civilisations can offer or boast of. Introspection is generally a healthy sign, but if it becomes a means to afflict a whole community with an inferiority complex, the method of “introspection” itself needs introspection.
The time now has come when Muslims must come out of the inferiority complex, which they have been suffering from, in recent years. They must know that despite all their weaknesses they are still better than others in most respects, at least in respect of things that matter most in real life. They must know the real face of what the Westernists are promoting: New World Order. And they must develop confidence and resolve to promote Islamic paradigm of World Order, which I call Natural World Order.
The globe of New World Order is rapidly developing into nothing but a fireball of chaos. It is hardly surprising then that
• More than 1 million people are murdered every year. (More than 240 million people lost their lives in wars in the last century)
• More than 2 million people commit suicides annually
• More than 5 million people die of sex related diseases (more than 20 million have died of AIDS in recent years). More than 100 million suffer from sex transmitted diseases (42 million from HIV/AIDS).
• More than 2.2 million die of alcohol related problems. (More than a hundred million suffer from alcohol related illnesses.)
• More than 5 million die of smoking related problems. (More than 2000 millions smoke.)
• More than 70 million children are not allowed to take birth and are aborted.
• Hundreds of millions indulge in gambling. 500 million are now using Internet alone for gambling. (In US alone, 20 millions show some signs of gambling addiction and 2 million divorcees had gambling as a significant factor.)
• Tens of millions of women are in prostitution and other sex related businesses (more than one million Americans alone have served as prostitutes)
• More than 1.2 million of children are exploited annually in prostitution and other sex trades
• More than 800 million watch pornography
• Millions of homes are broken every year
• Millions of women are raped every year; in many Western countries one tenth to half of all women have been raped (The total number of women who have been raped at least once is in hundreds of millions)
• Sexual abuse of children is on the rise all over the world; in many Western countries up to one third of all people have been sexually abused in their childhood
• Drug addiction is also persistent; tens of millions of people are addicted to harmful drugs
• Civil wars, and wars and riots for various reasons are also not showing any remarkable decline, consuming thousands of lives every year
• Economic disparities between different countries and different peoples of the world and among the people of the same countries are continuously growing; poverty may be on the decline but relative poverty is showing steep rise.
Islam does not rule the current world and therefore is not responsible for the chaos that prevails. Muslims of the current world have adopted Islam partially. This partial application has deprived them of the peace in its entirety. Still they are in a much better state of peace than the people living in the so-called developed world are. This is evident from the fact that they have
• Almost negligible incidence of suicides
• Negligible consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related deaths and other problems
• Extremely low level of family break-ups
• Extremely low number of prostitutes and pornographic actors among them
• Negligible level of sexual abuse of children
• Very low incidence of sex-related, alcohol related and gambling related diseases
• Relatively low incidence of drug addiction
• Relatively low incidence of psychiatric illnesses
• Relatively very low level of the consumption of sedatives and tranquillisers
• Very low incidence of single parents, negligible number of children born out of wedlock
• Relatively much lower level of promiscuity and other sexual perversions.
• Very low level of abortions including teenage pregnancies,
• Relatively low incidence of several diseases including Cancers of Penis and Cervix (due to circumcision), sex transmitted diseases, Urinary Tract Infections, other cancers due to alcohol.
The Agenda of Dawah must not remain limited to invite people to the institution of Islam. In addition, it should involve presentation of Islam as a comprehensive system capable of leading mankind to peace and prosperity. Dawah strategy must therefore be comprehensive. Some of the highlights of the Dawah must be as follows:
1. Start Ideological aggression against the Western and other un-Islamic ideologies by showing their impact on society
2. Stop always blaming ourselves for our sufferings. Introspection must be supplemented with focus on external factors.
3. Stop feeling Inferior. Show to the world that despite many shortcomings and not following Islam the way it demands, Muslims are far more civilised than others.
4. Stop being defensive, apologetic and defeatist. Attack the false ideologies that are based on economic exploitation, suppression and injustice.
5. Stop toeing the lines of the Western thinkers
6. Befriend Western people and make them aware about the designs of their political and economic masters and their impact on society
7. Develop good relations with all religions, particularly Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, but don’t try to dilute Islamic principles in order to appease them. Their slanders against Islam can easily be answered by citing their own scriptures and making comparative studies.
8. Take all religions with you and wage a full-fledged war against commercialisation of evils particularly gambling, alcohol, smoking and sexual misdemeanours and unhealthy sexual practices.
9. Take left forces along with you in the fight against injustices at the international level. (Cooperate in good and piety, and do not cooperate in sin and enmity. (5:2)
10. Develop highest levels of science and technology but do not misuse them for the commercialisation of evils.
Muslims must remember the verse of the Qur’ān, “Give glad tidings to the believers and make their hearts firm, tell them that I (God) am with them.” And rest assured God’s help will come provided they unite against injustices, evils and inequalities. Mere inviting through words won’t help. Dawah must be able to show the full face of Islam. Only then Dawah will become an effective weapon against disbelief, disorder and devastation.
[DR JAVED JAMIL is Executive Chairman, International Centre for Applied Islamics, and Chief Editor, “Islam, Muslims & the World”.]