Muhammad Ziyaad R
All Praise is due to Allah, the Exalted, the Majestic and peace and blessings be upon our last messenger Muhammad the perfect model for us, who (صل الله عليه وسلم) was sent to call mankind and jinn to worship the Creator, Allah only. For thirteen years in Mecca, he strove hard to deliver the message. He cared a lot for the people around him and he was anxious for them to understand the truth. Muhammad peace be upon him died at the age of sixty three in Madeenah and he was buried there, but the call to the truth continues until the end of times. It is now upon the daa’ees (callers) to carry the words of truth to the whole world, not because they are fanatics who just want to propagate but because of the conviction that Islam is the only purely divine religion remaining: it has the solution to the problems mankind faces and is the success for the hereafter. In this paper, I will attempt to briefly describe how Muhammad peace be upon him interacted with the people Mecca, how he dealt with the challenges he faced, and how it applies to the callers to Islam.
The way that Rasulullah, peace be upon him used “to deliver the message of Allah (SWT) in calling the people of the land into His fold” is called da’wah (Siddiqi, 1989, p.35). The purpose of da’wah is to make sure knowledge of the truth reaches as far as possible, and it is a general obligation and a fulfillment of a trust and covenant with Allah as mentioned in the Quran “(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Muhammad صل الله عليه وسلم and the knowledge) known and clear to mankind” (Quran, 3:187). Hence a daa’ee is someone who brings the information about Islam to people. As a daa’ee, It is very important to strive to have taqwa i.e. to act in obedience to Allah seeking His reward and fearing his punishment, as well as to acquire other qualities as part of their character (Ibn Uthaymeen, p.3). There is no better way of achieving this except by looking up to the prophet peace be upon him as our model in all aspects of our lives.
Studying the situation in Mecca is a must for all daa’ees because he is likely to be the minority due to widespread ignorance among Muslims or if he lives in a non-Muslim country. Reading through the seerah of the prophet, we find that pre-Islamic Arabia witnessed many deviations such as immoral practices between the men and women and many superstitious beliefs (Mubarakpuri, p.20). The Arabs also had strong attachment to their tribes. As a result of this fanaticism, intertribal conflicts were very common (Mubarakpuri, p.21). The pagans of Mecca prior to Islam claimed that they followed Abraham’s religion. They believed in Allah, although most of the time they would worship idols as intermediaries to Allah. They had rituals devoted to the idols. They were also very superstitious as shown by their practices of Azlam (arrow picking) and their dependence on tiyaraa i.e. the path that animals take (Mubarakpuri, p.16). Some arabs had embraced Christianity such as Waraqa bin Nawfal, the cousin of Khadijah (Mubarakpuri, p.32). Despite growing up in this kind of society, the prophet peace be upon him never committed shirk or superstitious practices. In fact, he stayed away from any abominable or indecent acts also, such as drinking wine or going to parties (Mubarakpuri, p.30). When he was still young, Muhammad peace be upon him witnessed the ‘sacrilegious’ wars and the ‘Al Fudoul’ confederacy (Mubarakpuri, p.28). He worked as a shepherd and later, as a merchant for Khadijah who he later married. He was very wise and was well known for his excellent manners and character. The prophet peace be upon him was the best in solving problems. Even before his prophethood, he was known as Al Ameen (the trustworthy). He arbitrated between the Quraish when they were on the verge of fighting about who will place the black stone on the corner of the Ka’ba and thus maintained peace in the city of Mecca (Mubarakpuri, p29). Anyone who calls to Islam can learn and relate to Muhammad’s way, peace be upon him as it is mentioned in the Quran: “Indeed there is for you in the messenger of Allah an excellent example” (Quran, 33:21).
Notwithstanding his status among the Quraish, Muhammad, peace be upon him faced many challenges when he began to publicly call them to Islam. As soon as the aayah of surah 26:214 of the Qur’an was reavealed i.e. to warn the tribes of near kindred, he called Banu Hashim and some of Bani Al Muttalib for a meeting and invited them to Islam. Abu Lahab, his uncle was the first one to speak and opposed his call. The prophet also called his people from Mount Safa but only to receive criticism from his own uncle again (Mubarakpuri, p.39). Persecution intensified against the Muslims with every convert to Islam. Siddiqi (1989, p.17) explains that trials are actually part of da’wah and cannot be avoided. These periods of trial come from Allah to test the truthfulness of the Muslim to his iman as proven in the following ayah: “Do men imagine that they will be left at ease because they say ‘we believe’ and will not be tested?” (Al Qur’an, 29:2). But behind each trial, there is wisdom. It was because of such ill treatments that migration was allowed and thus, when his companions could do nothing else to advance the cause of Islam, they migrated to the more peaceful non Muslim society. As part of their scheme, the pagans offered him wealth and power in exchange of Islam, but the prophet rejected these temptations (Siddiqi, p.18). Hence trials are not in the form of persecutions only but also enticement. The prophet peace be upon him, considered it was wise for the new converts in Mecca to conceal their conversion for their own welfare. They used a temporary centre located in Safa mountain to meet secretly and learn about Islam (Mubarakpuri, p.54).
Until today, the attitude of people who are not open minded is the same. We hear cases where new converts are disowned by their family or face rejection from the whole community. Muslims who start practicing the authentic faith are pressured into returning to the traditions of their forefathers or even beaten. Therefore, a caller to Islam has to be ready to face such communities and help new converts in the best ways possible. So, what do daa’ees need? Sheikh Al Albani (2004) mentioned in ‘Tawheed First’ that from the methodology of all the prophets and messengers is to pay particular attention to tawheed. Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen also alluded to that in the book ‘The provision of the Daa’iyah Ilallah’ based on the hadeeth about Mu’aadh, who was sent to Yemen to give da’wah, which is under the broader topic of having firm authentic knowledge (Ibn Uthaymeen, p.5). Without clear knowledge the daa’ee may confuse people or he might end up confused himself. Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen mentioned five more characteristics: Patience is required due to opposition against him or his call. It is also not sure that Allah will allow the caller to see the fruits of his da’wah right away. Wisdom is needed as indicated in the aayah “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom …” (Qur’an, 16:25). He, rahimahullah described wisdom as ‘proper assessment of matters, putting them in their right place and proper perspective’. One has to be aware that hastiness is not from wisdom. The daa’ee must also exhibit the best character and morals. The caller’s character should reflect his da’wah, otherwise it is hypocrisy. Removing barriers between him and the people is also important. What is meant by this is to advise people upon seeing something wrong and encourage them to do the right things. He shouldn’t condemn and leave a community because of the corruption he sees among them. The last point that Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen mentioned was to be open to the people, especially if he knows that their intention is good. This is in relation to giving da’wah to the Muslims and it should always go back to the authentic evidences.
It has already been established that the way to deliver the message is based on the methodology of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Allah has put the prophet in different situations so that his sahaba and all the daa’ees may know what to do when they face similar circumstances. The caller starts from those closest to him and makes sure they are in touch with him. The da’wah may become chaotic without any organization or cooperation among the people (Siddiqi, p.36). It is imperative for people to see Islam in practice so that they may realize how it can be beneficial in their lives such as resistance against evils of alcoholism, racism and pornography etc.(Siddiqi, p.37). Not being afraid to practice Islam openly and hatred towards evils in society bore its fruits in Mecca, although most of the Quraish were too proud to leave their ancestor’s religion (Ibn Baz, p.6). It was through this peaceful resistance that Allah guided many to Islam in Mecca (Siddiqi, p.42).
Nowadays, the call to Islam has become easier for the daa’ee through the use of technology. Travelling is easier and tools of da’wah have increased as we now have the media. On the other hand, enjoying too much the technology has left the ummah complacent. The number of daa’ees are very limited. When someone takes the shahada, everyone is happy but there is no follow up with new converts to help and teach them. They are left on their own and unfortunately we hear many cases of them returning to their previous state. In Mecca, Dar Ul Arqam was set up to teach the new sahaba about Islam and the Muslims helped each other. In that way, their faith grew strong. Now, there is no unity in the ummah which is a new challenge to the daa’ee since the sahaba in Mecca were one jama’ah. Lack of resources is also a problem, and the Muslims in Mecca faced a similar situation. Daa’ees need to be more involved with their communities and show that Islam can solve problems.
The daa’ee should not believe that he has the ability to guide people because even the prophet could not guide his uncle. He should therefore remember that his obligation is only to pass the message just like the sahaba did. The daa’ee should always find ways to improve the society he lives in and benefit the people, as this is what is required of a Muslim. I have shown in this paper that the life of the prophet in Mecca provides insight for the daa’ee and thus, the daa’ee should always keep in mind the example of Muhammad (صل الله عليه وسلم) and draw lessons to benefit himself and his community.
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