There is a plethora of sad sagas narrated by well-meaning individuals, who after their own reversion to Islam, bravely take up the task of inviting others, too. What are they usually confronted with varies. Insults, threats, suspicion, ridicule, malign, prejudice, oblivion, bigotry, etc. Nonetheless, it shakes one up to lose his honour, dignity and position as a result of simply sharing with others (many times family and friends and not just strangers) what will eventually benefit them most. Yet they shun you away, as if flicking a fly.
Mufti Najeeb offered a deep insight once that is most relevant to Daaees (preachers): “If you have chosen to call someone to Allah’s (swt) path, you need to spend equal time with him/her in person, as well as in absence of him/her.” Firstly, you introduce the person to the message, which will be done directly. Then invoke Allah (swt) earnestly at night for his/her guidance, when you are alone. Omar (rta) didn’t just walk over to Islam. He listened to Surah Taha as a disbeliever, which was the phase of sharing of the message, and later the Prophet (sa) beseeched Allah (swt) to strengthen Deen through his conversion, which was the stage of prayers to the Lord (swt).
What stands in the way of Islam?
- When actions do not support words
“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (As-Saff 61:2-3)
Consistency of deeds and speech is most difficult to attain. Yet it is of utmost significance too. Otherwise an apparently sincere Daaee can reflect hypocrisy causing others to flee Islam.
Once, a very learned scholar was imparting a sermon on patience, suddenly his seven year old daughter interrupted him. He harshly rebuked her for causing this interruption and non-chalantly carried on with his discourse. What impression would the listeners bear of him in their minds when they walk out the door? It’s anybody’s guess.
- When we wish to control others
“So remind them (O Muhammad (sa)) – you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator.” (Al-Ghashiyah 88:21-22)
This happens to Daaees, when they cannot bear to see their kith and kin sinning day and night and out of desperation they adopt extreme measures. When such thoughts strike you, always remember that every person’s heart is in between the two fingers of the Lord (swt). We personally have no control over anybody, except our own choices in life.
Secondly, if Muhammad (sa) was not held accountable for results and he was deemed as a messenger, how can we take on the additional responsibility of guaranteeing favourable results. It’s simply not in our hand. If that would have been the case, Nuh’s (as) son wouldn’t have been drowned for his disbelief. Nuh (as) invited his people for 900 plus years. And his own son didn’t embrace guidance. Hence, a caller can sincerely strive in Allah’s (swt) way but never impose on others, decide or chose for others, whether they will pay heed or be doomed.
- When we are unable to understand and agree with Allah’s (swt) Qadr
“And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evildoers) that I will fill Hell with Jinn and mankind together.” (As-Sajdah 32:13)
As a caller to Islam, it is pivotal for us to understand that Allah (swt) loves His creation the most. He offers ample opportunities and sufficient time to them to return to His Deen. We are not the sole source for their reversion, which we mistakenly believe. Hence, it takes consistent and deliberate refusal on part of individuals and nations to turn down Allah’s (swt) signs, before their hearts are sealed. And once the verdict is passed against them, people like us cannot alter it in any way. It is based on the Creator’s (swt) infinite wisdom and decree. And Allah (swt) knows best.
- When we lose hope
“Perhaps, you, would kill yourself (O Muhammad sa) in grief, over their footsteps (for their turning away from you), because they believe not in this narration (the Quran). (Al-Kahf 18-6)
Out of love and devotion to his people, Muhammad (sa) would grieve, when the disbelievers did not respond to his call. He could foresee their horrible end in the blazing fire, and hence he would cry for their guidance before Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) has created boundaries for mankind in everything. Transgression against these limits always proves fatal. A Momin’s faith must swing in between hope and fear. Hope for Allah’s (swt) mercy and fear of His wrath.
A Daaee can invest his best efforts, pray earnestly to Allah (swt) and then he needs to move on to the next mission and man. It should be a matter of relief for him that Allah (swt) will reward him for his strife and not hold him accountable for the numbers. Imagine, most callers would fail as there are always fewer people, who will accept guidance willingly and be led to Jannah, and more of those, who would prefer the short lived joys of the world. After all, Jannah is exclusive and for the distinguished only.
- When we overlook the reward
“And We send not the Messengers except as givers of glad tidings and warners. But those who disbelieve, dispute with false argument, in order to refute the truth thereby. And they treat My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and that with which they are warned, as a jest and mockery!
And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, but turns away from them, forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this (the Quran), and in their ears, deafness. And if you (O Muhammad sa) call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided.” (Al-Kahf 18:56-57)
All such people, who have called you names, gossiped about you, degraded your mission, have a score to settle with Allah (swt), not you. You, as a Daaee, are only an ambassador, who delivers the message faithfully and as a trust to all. If the receiver decides to turn a deaf ear or snub you it is his short-sightedness and misfortune. You have your precious reward stored with Allah (swt) Who will hand you back big time with honour on the Day of Judgment. That should be a balm for your broken heart, bull dozed feelings and misunderstood intentions at the hands of others.
- When we forget that it is Allah (swt), Who keeps hearts firm
“And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of faith in Allah and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation of their kith and kin and dwellings) when they stood up and said: ‘Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any illah (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief.” (Al-Kahf 18:14)
When we witness scores of non-Muslims taking the Shahdah at the hands of many scholars of Islam around the globe today, we forget that it wasn’t because of their eloquence of speech, or scintillating piece of writing or a dazzling debater’s spell. It is Allah (swt), Who keeps hearts firm of all, be it Daaees or the ones, who are invited. Otherwise, none of these scholars could withstand the blizzards and boulders of objections and rejections they have to face every day, and most of us are unaware of their personal plights. Scholar Anwar Aulaki lost his life, after the lofty work he left behind. May Allah (swt) grant him Jannat-al-Firdous. Dr. Bilal Phillips has been exiled time and again from none other but Muslim countries, but he continues to educate millions of students to date. Dr. Farhat Hashmi has been time and again mis-quoted and maligned; however, Alhamdulillah, she has brought light to the dark world of uncountable Muslim homes.
It is Allah (swt), Who grants firmness of faith to Daaees, indeed. Allah (swt) has the majesty and power to do the impossible. Hence, as a Daaee, it is always my earnest plea that He may guide the entire humanity. After all, for Him it is simply ‘Kun fay a kun’ and it shall ‘Be’. Allah (swt) knows best.