Reviewed by SIKANDAR AZAM
INVITING TO ISLAM
Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Omari
Tr. Prof. U. Muhammad Iqbal
Markazi Maktaba Islami Publishers, D-307 Abul Fazl Enclave, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, New Delhi – 110 025 India
To do Dawah is both art and science. To a Muslim it is in fact the very warmth of life. The Holy Qur’ān lays down complete guidance in this regard. It teaches the believer what preparations and precautions, qualities and rewards he has to keep in mind before undertaking the task of preaching, and above all what amount of steadfastness he has to have while doing this missionary work. The Seerah of Holy Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) and his Companions is also replete with all these details, including practical guidance. Books on Dawah in Urdu are rare, but those in English are far rarer. Keeping this in view, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Omari’s book, Inviting to Islam, is a significant contribution to the Dawah literature.
This academic work is of invaluable worth not only in the sense that it presents the preaching of Islam as a missionary, life-long task with minute but comprehensive details but also that it is characterised by pristine flow of language that sustains the interest of the reading public, for which Maulana Omari is internationally acknowledged so much so that many of his over ‘three dozen books have been translated into Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Turkish and Arabic.’
The book is divided in four major sections, with each having sub-sections further divided in suggestive points and sub-points. Section I deals with why Prophets came, how submissively and perfectly they did the task of conveying the message of Islam to their respective nations, what trials they underwent and what sacrifices they offered for the cause of Islam, and as a result how the Truth triumphed.
Section II details components of the Dawah work, relationship between precept and practice, sequence of preaching and reform, fundamentals of preaching, standards of success for a preacher, difference between the success of the message and the success of the preacher, causes for the rejection of religion, and how as a result of Dawah people discover the treasure of Islam.
Highlighting the importance Dawah holds in the life of a believer, Maulana Omari writes: “The message he [the Prophet] received from God remains intact and will so remain till the Day of Judgement. Now it is the duty of those who subscribe to this faith to present it before the people throughout the world.”
Is the preaching of Islam optional or obligatory? This is the question that should haunt the mind of Muslims. The learned author writes: “If they perform this duty, then they will be considered favourites of God; if they have forgotten this duty, then nothing can save them from God’s reckoning.” In the time of the Holy Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) every person who came to the fold of Islam was a preacher of the faith. But thanks to the lopsided growth of materialism and everything mundane, the Muslims today hardly take Dawah even as part of their life. It is high time they recast their approach to life. And Maulana Omari’s book is here to tell them what, why and how, and what-if-not of Dawah.
Section III presents essential attributes of the act of preaching like belief in Allah and belief in the Hereafter, what role the relationship with Allah and the belief in the Hereafter plays in the call to faith, the Noble Qur’ān, prayer and preaching, spending in the way of Allah, sacrifice, purity of belief and action, and last but not the least steadfastness.
Section IV underlines the need for an organisation for undertaking the preaching of Islam in a concerted manner. “It stands to reason that for the dissemination of the message of Islam also there should be an organization.” (P. 357)
One highlight of the book is that its citations from the Holy Qur’ān and hadīth consist of the referred to Arabic text and its English equivalent both.
Though this book is translated work, credit goes to the translator, Prof. U. Muhammad Iqbal, who in his own right is a great scholar and author of many books, for maintaining clarity of thought and felicity of expression so much so that it gives the effect of a creative work.
Though the Publisher of the book claims to have presented it in ‘a good shape’, the book needs a good deal of improvement in paper and print quality. Despite this, the book is indispensible for students of Islam and academics as well as libraries, for it promises to effect a social change on healthy lines.