Author: Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan
Source: Advice to Muslim Societies Series (No. 7) Trans. Abdul-Ilah Lahmami
All praise is due to Allaah the Lord of the worlds and peace and blessings upon His servant and His Messenger our prophet and messenger Muhammad and his family and companions and those that follow him until the of judgement.
After which follows:
The subject of calling to Allaah swt is an important one. The call to Allaah means inviting (others) to enter into the religion of Allaah. Allaah created the creation for His worship
“And I (Allaah) created not the Jinn and Mankind except that they should worship Me (alone). I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allaah is the All-Provider, the owner of power, the most strong.” [soorah daariyat:56/57]
The benefit of those worshipping Allaah returns to them for they are the ones in need of the worship of Allaah. As for Allaah, the most high, then He is not in need of them and He is self sufficient from their worship.
"If you disbelieve you and all those in the earth together, then verily, Allaah is Rich (free of all needs) the Owner of all praise.” [soorah Ibrahim:8]
In a hadeeth qudsi Allaah says:
“Oh my servants, if the first and the last of you, the Men of you and the Jinn of you were to be the most pious (heart of) one man then that would not increase My kingdom in anything. Oh my servants, if the first of you and the last of you, the men of you and the jinn of you were to be the worst (heart of) a man amongst you that would not decrease anything from My kingdom. Oh my servants, it is your actions that I account you for then I will show it to you so whoever finds good then let him praise Allaah and whoever finds other than that then let him blame no one but himself.”[Saheeh Muslim 4/1994 related by Abi Dar].
So the worshippers are the ones in need of worshipping Allaah so that they acquire the pleasure of Allaah and His forgiveness and mercy. This so that they may enter His paradise and save them from His punishment. This is why Allaah created them. However, it was decreed from His wisdom that He will test them and test them so that there would be a distinction between the people of obedience and the people of sin.
Satan and his party call the people away from worshipping Allaah to the disobedience of Allaah and to the following of desires and lusts. This is why Allaah sent messengers calling people to that which is good. The devils call them to evil.
“And Allaah calls to paradise and forgiveness by His will and He makes His signs clear to mankind that they may remember.” [soorah al Baqara:221]
And Allaah calls to the dar sallam and He guides whomsoever He wills to the straight path.
He calls you that He may forgive you your sins and He delays it until an appointed time.
So Allaah calls His servants that they may worship Him and that they may have repentance towards Him, that they ask forgiveness. He has sent the Messengers calling the people to that and He has given the scholars (inheritors of the Prophets) the responsibility of calling to Him for the benefit of His servants and profit.
The call to Allaah has been established ever since what happened between Adam and satan and when satan took it upon himself to lure whoever he was able from the children of Adam and misguide them.
“Indeed satan is an enemy so take him as an enemy, and he calls his party to be of the companions of the fire.” [soorah al Faatir:6]
No doubt there are callers to that which is good and there are callers towards wrong amongst the devils from the Jinn and the men. This being wisdom from Allaah, the most High, a trial and test for His servants from the time He created the creation until the end of the world. Conflict continues between the truth and falsehood and between the callers to good and the callers to evil. Allaah has praised the callers towards Allaah.
“And who is more better in speech than one who calls to Allaah (says: My Lord is Allaah – believes in His oneness) and does good deeds and says I am indeed from amongst the Muslims. Good and bad are not equal, Push forward with one which is better.” [soorah Fusuliat: 33,34]
So Allaah has mentioned that the callers to Allaah are the best people in speech. He has also described the callers as those who practice what they call the people to. So the caller must first be practicing what he is calling to in terms of obedience and worship until he becomes a good example such that his saying and actions are truthful. This is why Prophet shu’ayb said:
“I do not wish, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allaah in Him I trust and to Him I repent.” [soorah Hud:88]
Allaah’s saying “I am indeed from amongst the Muslims” means that he belongs to Islam and the Muslims and the group of Muslim. He does not belong to any others except Muslims.
Then Allaah the most high shows that the caller to Allaah will meet some harm from the people but He advised (the caller) to push forward with one that is better.
If anyone has wronged him then he should meet this wrong with righteousness. For this will result in the acceptance of his call.
“And good and bad are not equal, push forward with one which is better.” [soorah Fusuliat: 34]
So when the caller is harmed, he doesn’t consider what is said or done against him. He meets the wrong with that which is good. So he is good to whoever has harmed him so that he brings people to good because he doesn’t want to be victorious himself but rather he wants good for the people. This is why the Prophet saws never gave victory to his own self. Rather he became angry and took revenge if the sanctuaries of Allaah were violated. As for himself then he was harmed and it was said of him (this and that) and they spoke against him but he never sought victory for himself rather he wanted the reward from Allaah. This is from the essential fundamentals of the call, having righteousness to the ones being called even if they fall into error. This will bring them to goodness and attract them to good as for meeting them with bad then this will push them away.
“Push forward with one which is better.” [soorah Fusilat: 34]
Then Allaah showed the fruits of this and said:
“But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the hereafter i.e. paradise and of a high moral character) in this world.” [soorah Fusilat: 35]
Then He showed that this attribute is dear, meaning that the person should be patient and should endure (harms) and he should answer bad things with good. This is a good attribute which Allaah said:
“And none shall reach it except those who are patient.” [soorah Fusilat: 35]
This requires patience and it is to imprison the soul from wanting revenge and being victorious. Settling down the soul and this is what protects him from his human enemy, with goodness towards him until you invite him by love and he comes to the truth. As for the satanic enemy then Allaah has shown how to protect oneself from them.
“And if an evil whisper from satan tries to turn you away (from doing good) then seek refuge in Allaah, He is the All Hearer, the All Knower.” [soorah Fusilat: 36]
The caller to Allaah will face the human devils and the Jinn devils. As for the human devil then he should face him with goodness upon their error and forgiveness upon their errors and not to pay attention to what they say. As for the jinn from amongst the devils then one is protected by seeking refuge. This is the way for the successful caller. That he continues to call to the way of Allaah and that he should not weaken such that his effort decreases due to a person harming him or that he(the person) spoke against him. The reason being is that he is not calling to himself and he is not looking to give victory to himself rather he is calling to Allaah, the most high. So the call to Allaah means inviting others to enter the religion of Allaah who is the one who has created this creation for that purpose, the one who gives their happiness, and improves them and gives them success.
The caller to Allaah doesn’t want from the people to look towards himself by rewarding him. Rather he seeks the reward from Allaah. The caller to Allaah does not seek promotion and to be prestigious in the land. He looks to the benefit of the people and to take the people out of darkness into light. This is what the successful caller seeks as for the one opposite to that, seeking to be seen or praise from the people, no doubt that he returns to the beginning of the path when he meets the first obstacle. As for the one who calls to Allaah then he is not put off but he continues his da’wa.
“Say: I do not seek from you reward.” [soorah aln’am: 90]
All of the Prophets said to their nation: “I do not ask from you any reward.” “What we want is to benefit you and bring good, if you accept then that is the intention sought. If you do not accept then we have left the responsibility (to Allaah) and have established the proof upon you.”
The call to Allaah precedes Jihaad (strive in the cause of Allaah) because the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasallam used to send his army to call the people to Islam before they fight them.
They start with the call to Allaah so if they (the disbelievers) accept then all praise is due to Allaah but then if they did not respond to the call then they are fought and jihaad is proclaimed against them in order to raise the word of Allaah.
1. So the disbelievers are called to enter Islam.
2. Those Muslims who have misguidance in Aqeedah are called to the correct Aqeedah.
3. Those Muslims who have correct Aqueedah but they have some sins and wrongness are called to repent and to leave of sins and disobedience.
So the call to Allaah is required and it varies according to the need. So it is a must to have this call to Allaah. It is the work of the Prophets, the Messengers and their followers from amongst the righteous scholars until the hour comes and it is not allowed to leave it. Allaah says praising this nation:
“You are the best nation who have come out to the people, you enjoin good and forbid the evil and you believe in Allaah.” [soorah Imran:110]
“Let there arise from amongst you a nation who call to that which is good and they enjoin that which is good and forbid that which is evil. They are the successful ones.” [soorah Imran:104]
The aim of this nation is the call to Allaah so that the people are taken out of darkness into light. Allaah ordered His prophet with the call to Allaah:
“Call to the way of Allaah with wisdom and beautiful exhortations and argue with them in ways that are better.” [soorah Nahl:125]
This is an order from Allaah to His Prophet saws. Then He has shown him the methodology that he should follow in his call.
“Say: this is my way, I call to Allaah, upon knowledge, I and whoever follows me, and subhanallaah and I am not from the polytheist.” [soorah Yusuf:108]
In these two verses the ruling of calling to Allaah is clarified for us that it is obligotary since Allaah ordered the Messenger saws. He has also mentioned that His followers must also call to Allaah as the Prophet saws called to: “Say: this is my way, I call to Allaah, upon knowledge, I and whoever follows me”.
Th methodology of the call must be in accordance to what Allaah has legislated and not a methodology that is left for the people (to make up), such that they make a methodology for themselves. Rather the methodology is that Which Allaah clarified and that which the Messenger saws has implemented in his pure life. Those that followed him were upon the methodology of the Messenger saws in his call. Any one who brings a new methodology other than the methodology of the Messenger saws, and that is the way of the Quran and the Sunnah, then they will be wrong and the consequences are that his call will not be successful.
So we should follow the footsteps of the Messenger saws and take his methodology from the Quran and the sunnah. In the above two verses it clearly shows this. First and foremost the caller to Allaah must have sincere intention and the aim of this caller must be to seek reward from Allaah and to establish His religion and to improve the ways of those being called upon in a righteous way. He does not want a gain from the gains of this world nor to be highly honoured in the land nor to show off and to be famous neither a worldly greed. Rather he seeks the face of Allaah. He seeks to take out the people from darkness into light, from misguidance into guidance, from disbelief into (correct) belief and from disobedience into obedience. This is what is sought.
From the saying of Allaah “to Allaah.” Is a clarification of sincerity. Sheikh Muhamad Abdul Wahhab said regarding this verse “I call to Allaah – is a clarification of sincerity, because many people call to themselves.”[Fath al majeed sharh kitaab tawheed 1/185]
I say: Nor does one call to a group or party or person other than Muhammad saws. Nor to a madhab other than the Islamic religion neither to a group except to the group of Muslims Ahlu sunnah wal Jama’ah (and he says I am from amongst the Muslims).
It is upon the caller to invite to Allaah and not to call to himself because many people call to themselves. This is why if some harm, deficiency or obstacle from the obstacles befalls him, it affects him because this affects his personallity. As for the one who calls to Allaah then he is not concerned with the praise of the people or whether they do not praise him. The reason is that he seeks the face of Allaah, the most high. If any harm befalls him then he is upon the path of Allaah.
The second attribute of this methodology is that the condition for the one who calls to Allaah that he is upon knowledge. He has knowledge with what he is calling to. Upon him is to learn the knowledge first and foremost which will allow him to call the people to Allaah, the most high.
The ignorant one is not good for calling (people)even if his intention is good and even if his aim is to call to Allaah. If he doesn’t have knowledge then he is unfit for da’wa (calling people) because he is not Islamically qualified. The one calling to Allaah is in need to show for the people the wrong from the right in aqueedah (belief), in worship, in interactions, in manners, in etiquette, in personal life, and in many of things in the legislation in need of showing them these things. If he doesn’t have the knowledge then how will he clarify to them. Will he say it with ignorance and make halal haram and make haram halal. This is a great catastophe. He will misguide the people even if his intention is good. Until without realising it misguides the people and make haram halal and make halal haram and gives a wrong fatwa. He is not fit for da’wa except for the one equipped with Islamic knowledge taken from the book of Allaah and the Sunnah.