My Notes and thoughts on “Excuses we make for not being involved in Dawa” presented at the Muslim Youth Convention May 5th, 2011
1) I don’t know enough to give Dawah: The Prophet (saw) said, “Convey on my behalf a single Ayah [verse].” How many of us know one ayah? Indeed, I am sure that most of us know Surat Al Ikhlas which is the Surah in which Allah (SWT) identifies Himself (SWT) to us. It is the essence of our belief, Tawheed [Monotheism].
2) I am not a good Muslim: This is part of Shaytan’s deception. He makes us believe that we are not good enough for Dawah. In earnest, are we ever going to good enough for anything Mr. Shaytan? Listen to the Dawah efforts of Tufayl ibn ‘Amr Al Dawsi from his Excellency himself:
I approached Makkah. As soon as the Quraysh leaders saw me, they came up to me and gave me a most hearty welcome and accommodated me in a grand house. Their leaders and notables then gathered and said:
“O Tufayl, you have come to our town. This man who claims that he is a Prophet has ruined our authority and shattered our community. We are afraid that he would succeed in undermining you and your authority among your people just as he has done with us. Don’t speak to the man. On no account listen to anything he has to say. He has the speech of a wizard, causing division between father and son, between brother and brother and between husband and wife.”
They went on relating the strangest of stories of his incredible deeds, and managing therewith to scare me of him. I made up my mind not to approach this man, or speak to him or listen to anything he had to say.
The following morning I went to the Sacred Masjed to make tawaaf around the Ka’bah as an act of worship to the idols that we made pilgrimage to and glorified. I inserted a piece of cotton in my ears out of fear that something of the speech of Muhammad would reach would make its way to my hearing. As soon as I entered the Masjed, I saw him standing near the Ka’bah. He was praying in a fashion which was different from our prayer. His whole manner of worship was different. The scene captivated me. His worship made me tremble and I felt drawn to him, despite myself, until I was quite close to him.
Notwithstanding the precaution I had taken, God willed that some of what he was saying should reach my hearing and I heard a speech that was so beautiful that I said to myself, “What are you doing, Tufayl? You are a perceptive poet. You can distinguish between the good and the bad in poetry. What prevents you from listening to what this man is saying? If what comes from him is good, accept it, and if it is bad, reject it.” I remained there until the Prophet left for his home. I followed him as he entered his house, and I entered also and said, “O Muhammad, your people have said certain things to me about you. By God, they kept on frightening me away from your message so that I even blocked my ears to keep out your words. Despite this, God caused me to hear something of it and I found it good. So tell me more about your mission.”
The Prophet [saw] did and recited to me Surat al-Ikhlaas and Surat al-Falaq. I swear by God, I hadn’t heard as beautiful as them. Neither was a more noble or just mission ever described to me. Thereupon, I stretched out my hand and offered it in allegiance to him, and testified that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. This is how I entered Islam.
I stayed in Makkah for a while, learning the teachings of Islam and memorizing parts of the Qur’an. When I decided to return to my people, I said, “O’ Rasullallah, I am a man who is obeyed among my tribe. I am going back to them and I shall invite them to Islam.”
When I returned to my people, my father, who was quite old then, came up to me and I said, “‘O Father, let me relate my news to you. I am no longer from you and you are not of me.” “Why so, my son?” he asked. “I have accepted Islam and now follow the religion of Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him,” I replied. “My son,” he said, “your religion is my religion.” “Go and wash yourself and cleanse your clothes,” I said. “Then come that I may teach you what I have learnt.”
This the old man did and I explained Islam to him and he became a Muslim. “Then came my wife and I said, “Let me relate my news to you. I am no longer of you and you are not of me.” “Good heavens! Why so?” she exclaimed. “Islam has separated us,” I explained. “I have become a Muslim and follow the religion of Muhammad.” “Your religion is my religion,” she replied. “Then go and purify yourself, not with the water of Dhu Shara, the idol of the Daws, but with pure water from the mountain.” “Good gracious! Do you fear anything from Dhu Shara?” “Damn Dhu Shara. I told you, go and wash there, far away from people. I guarantee you that this dumb stone won’t do a thing to you.” She went and washed and I explained Islaam to her and she became a Muslim. I then invited the Daws as a whole to become Muslims. They were all slow in responding, except Abu Hurayrah. He was the quickest to respond to the invitation of Islam. The next time I went to Makkah, Abu Hurayrah was with me.
“What have you left behind?” the Prophet asked me. “Hearts with veils over them obscuring the truth, and firm disbelief. Sin and disobedience have won over the Daws.” The Prophet thereupon stood up, made Wudu’u and prayed with his hands raised to the heavens. Abu Hurayrah remarked, “When I saw the Prophet like this, I was afraid that he was praying against my people and that they would be destroyed.”But the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prayed, “O Lord, guide the Daws, guide the Daws, guide the Daws.”Then he turned to me and said, “Go back to your people, befriend them, treat them gently and invite them to Islaam.”
I stayed in the land of the Daws inviting them to Islaam until after the Hijrah of the Prophet to Madinah and after the battle of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq had taken place. Then I went to the Prophet. With me were eighty families who had become Muslims and who were strong in their faith. The Prophet was pleased with us and he gave us a portion of the booty after the battle of Khaybar. We said to him, “O Rasoolullah, make us the right wing of your army in every battle and make our efforts acceptable.” Tufayl stayed with the Prophet until the liberation of Makkah. After the destruction of the idols there, Tufayl asked the Prophet to send him to put an end to the worship of Dhu-l Kafayn, the chief idol of his people. The Prophet gave him permission.
Back in Tihama among the Daws, men, women and children of the tribe had gathered and were agitated that the idol was going to be burnt. They were waiting to see if any evil would befall Tufayl, should he harm Dhu-l Kafayn. Tufayl approached the idols with the worshippers around it. As he set fire to it, he proclaimed,
“O Dhu-l Kafayn, of your worshippers I certainly am not.
Fire have I inserted into your heart.”
Whatever shirk remained in the Daws tribe went up in the flames that burnt the idol. The whole tribe became Muslims.
So, let me ask you, “How much do you think Tufayl ibn ‘Amr Al Dawsi knew?” So, don’t give Shaytan what he would he wants by putting off conveying what you know about Islam, until you become a good Muslim because it is a lifelong journey from the cradle to the grave. Starting Dawa with what we know, will serve as a reminder to ourselves to stay in check, as well as give us an incentive to learn more. Insha Allah.
3) They will label me an extremist/terrorist and may even report me, and send me to jail: The Prophets (saw) endured and sacrificed for the sake of the message. You are joining their ranks. Besides, if you are then it’s an indication that you’re on the right path—it’s a testimony to your success. Ibn Taymiyyah when imprisoned said “What can my enemies do to me? I have in my breast both my heaven and my garden. If I travel they are with me, never leaving me. Imprisonment for me is a chance to be alone with my Lord. To be killed is martyrdom and to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey.”
4) If some Muslims are doing it, then I don’t have to: Each one on us has been entrusted with this job [dawah]. Indeed many of us have accepted to take on the job [being Muslims] but not all of us are actually doing the job. So, let’s revise what it means to be Muslim and what is asked of us and start fulfilling it.
5) “I am busy making a living, I don’t have time for Dawah”: Your understanding of Dawah is so narrow and uncreative. You can transform your work space into a Dawa space/ground/field just by being a good Muslim, this of course requires that you know what being a good Muslim entails and actually practice it. Use your tact and skill. Besides, did you not know that Allah (SWT) is the one who provides; He is the Provider. Do the job you were born to do, serving Allah, and He will take it upon Himself to provide for you. It is said that when one serves the earth Allah (SWT) says to the earth, “enslave him/her and use them” but when you serve Allah, He says to the earth, ‘serve him/her’. Given the choice I would rather go for the latter.
Dear Muslims, know you are doctors who have the cure to ALL of humanities problems, and not sharing it is denying the gift that you have been blessed with, and asked to share. Let’s jump on the “Dawah bandwagon.” Everyone in their own capacity! I pray that Allah makes us Muslims who talk the talk and walk the walk