Decorum of da’awah in diversity
Category: Trust Islamic Forum Written by Umar Jibrilu Gwandu
“And if thy Lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Wilt thou then force men till they are believers?” (Q10:99)
The Qur’an made it clear that God Almighty is the creator of everything. Diversity has been embedded and entrenched in humankind from creation. “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to differ, except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy” (Q11:118-119).
Other verses on the same issue included in the Qur’an “Q49:13” and “Q30:22”. Allah has also classified human beings as believers and non-believers. While some of the believers are deviating from the track, the non-believers can simply be described as those missing the compass guiding their sojourn on earth.
Although cognizance of all they do, Allah (SWT) ordered the believers to enlighten and call the non-believers to His path and re-direct the deviating believers. This, when done based on enshrined etiquette, is considered as the best form of speech and by extension worship.
In Islam, da’awah is not a hard and fast rule of making “disciples of the whole world” but a committed obedience to the divine injunction of spreading the message per chance people may understand the reason of their creation, know the deity worthy of worship, acknowledge all the messengers sent by God and follow the right path.
In the process Allah (SWT) said “clear proofs have indeed come to you from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for his own good; and whoever is blind, it is to his own harm. And I am not a keeper over you... and if Allah had pleased, they would not set up others (with him). And we have not appointed thee a keeper over them, and thou art not placed in charge of them” (Q6:104 and 107).
The Qur’an laid a solid foundation of peaceful da’awah through avoidance of mocking the non-believer, forestalling the instigation of abuse to Allah, amplifying the understanding of diversity and leaving the matter of the called-people in the hands of Allah to judge them.
“And abuse not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest exceeding the limits, they abuse Allah through ignorance. Thus to every people have We made their deeds fair-seeming; then to their Lord is their return so He will inform them of what they did”Q6:108).
“But if they dispute with thee say: I submit myself entirely to Allah and (so does) he who follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and the Unlearned: Do you submit yourselves? If they submit, then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, thy duty is only to deliver the message. And Allah is Seer of the servants” (Q3:20).
After all, the premise of calling is to the way of Allah. “Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner. Surely thy Lord knows best him who strays from the His path and He knows best those who go aright.” Q16:125)
“So remind. Thou art only to remind. Thou art not a warder over them. But whoever turns back and disbelieves, Allah will chastise him with the greatest chastisement” (Q88:21-24).
Da’awah can be done in various ramification of social life. It can be in the forms of verbal and non-verbal social interactions. In some stages it requires expertise and skills. “And from among you there should be a party who invite to good and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. And these are they who are successful” (Q3:103 see also Q9:122 and Q29:46). Consequently, this will avoid unnecessary argument, unskilled confrontation and malignant contentions.
Students of Qur’an and Islamic History emphasized the fact Prophet Moses (AS), like other prophets received prior training on da’awah and was sent to Pharaoh with an order to speak to him with kindness. “And then speak to him a gentle word happily he may mind or fear.” (Q20:44)
An essential requisite is to know that the guidance is in the hands of Allah. “Certainly thou canst not make the dead to hear the call. Nor canst thou make the deaf to hear, when they go back retreating. Nor canst thou lead the blind out of their error. Thou canst make none to hear except those who believe in Our messages, so they submit” (Q27:80-81).
It is paramount for the Daa’i to know that “there is no compulsion in the religion – the right way is indeed clearly distinct from error. So whoever disbelieves in the devil and believes in Allah, he indeed lays hold on the firmest handle which shall never break. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing (Q2:256).