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The Meaning and Levels of Dawat

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 14th March)

1. Literally da’wat means to invite, but in the shar‘ee context it means to call people to Allah Ta‘ala completely and correctly. This is a broad definition. So how does it apply? There will be different levels and different types of people: (1) To invite a person out of Islam into Islam. This was done during the entire lifetime of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). (2) A person has just come into Islam. So how do you work with this person? (3) One who is already in Islam and Muslim by birth, but he has no motivation and spirit, and he does not have any commitment. (4) A person has commitment, but it is not consistent or incomplete. For each one is a different type of da’wat.

2. In all of this it will be told “yassiroo wa laa tu‘assiroo” – take it easy and don’t be overbearing. Allah Ta‘ala forbid, if you are overbearing and the person begins to dislike Islam or some part of Islam, then on who does the sin fall? One needs to know how to bring a person into Islam; bring him gracefully. Many a times I discourage a new Muslim from going to the hifz class. The reason is obvious, because one knows what goes on in a hifz class. If he is going to go he will feel that Islam is so hard.

3. Whether it is deeni or dunyawi (wordly) work then do it less than your full capacity. Why? If you exhaust your capacity then you will not look forward to doing the work again. Sometimes the tutor in teaching a student, either burns out the student or he burns himself out. Both are wrong. It is like eating till capacity. You will begin to feel bilious. You will not look forward to the next meal. If you adopt an easy approach then people will feel that Islam is manageable. A tutor at times gets upset because his work is not finished. So the student then feels that he should rather push the work so that that the tutor does not get upset. In the process one person is burning out the other. Hence, how will there be the barkat there?

4. In the past, it was easy to correct a person directly. Nowadays, you are unable to do so and you have to go in a roundabout way. As a result many don’t even get the message. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was such that despite him being the Ameerul Mu’mineen, but even if an ordinary person corrected him he would immediately accept the correction. Such a person is fit to be a leader. If they are asking people to do work then they also are doing work; it is not that they are relaxed. Having a selective attitude is not right; what seems nice and enjoyable then we will do that and other works are handed over to others. On one occasion, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard that a trade caravan had arrived on the outskirts of Madeenah. Hence, he took Hazrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), one of the wealthiest Sahaabah to do the security for the entire night. He did not remain behind and just send others.

5. When teaching, be easy and don’t be overbearing. A person in the Bani Israaeel was granted Jannah. On enquiry, he explained that he used to lend people money and he would advise his collectors not to demand payments from people. Instead if it was a wealthy person then grant him respite and if it is a poor person then overlook his debt. Despite it being an obligation to pay, he granted that respite and gave consideration. So as a senior one should see whether the junior is at ease and comfortable.

Moulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) had two khaadims (attendants) to see to the needs of his families. At any time of the day or night if they required anything then these khaadims were required to attend to it. Moulana would say that I count this as the greatest fardh after the other faraa’idh. If you are going to be overbearing then those under you will curse you and life will become difficult for you. If you are easy then they will make du‘aa for you. At times when you are overbearing then even if the person sees your business burning down he will say, “Let it burn,” for you have broken his heart. Sometimes we are only worried about the material wealth and we are not worried about burdening those below us. We become cold hearted and it is only money and wealth that have become our goal.

6. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) explains the aayat “koonu rabbaaniyyeen” – as teaching people the easy and simple things in deen. They will then feel that deen is easy and their hearts would be won over. The idea is not just to get it off your chest, the idea is for the person to correct himself and come closer to deen. In doing this you will have to first think of the approach that you need to adopt. This is consideration.

7. One of the reasons why the da’wat nowadays is not effective is the abundance of haraam we are involved in. It won’t be an exaggeration if it is said that 70 to 80 percent of people slip into porn. It brings you to a level when you begin to consider the wrong as right. When we say porn, it means indecency. One begins to feel nothing about it; there can be free mixing at work, at weddings, etc. Then at the wedding which is mixed, we will want to invite some Moulanas. So we will make a separate area for them and even say to them that we considered you and made this separate arrangement. It is as if we are doing that part for them, but then there is no consideration for Allah Ta‘ala and the sharee‘ah in the rest of the nikaah. Look at the manners of finance, interest, gambling and insurance. People get involved in it to such an extent that they go to the level of denial and begin to say that how can life carry on without these things. On account of the abundance of haraam the heart becomes disfigured and the mind and understanding are distorted. The whole family can be sitting in front of the TV and watching someone else’s wife and husband. This is wholesale zina.

Another reason for the da’wat not being effective is that we are not exhausting our resources and efforts in correcting ourselves firstly, and those under our control. If the food at home is not right then we will make such a big commotion, but do we apply the same to their deen. At least what is within our means and control we should try. If we can’t do it directly then correct the person via someone who knows the person. The problem is that we tend to say that we must maintain the peace, but in doing so we are allowing so much of wrong to continue.

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