Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Allah (swt) sent the Prophet (s.a.w.s) with the mission of spreading the message of Islam to all humanity. After the Prophet’s death, it is upon us to carry on his mission. He has given us all the da’wah material we need in the Quran and the sunnah. However, the message itself may not have effect if the carrier of the message is lacking in essential characteristics. That is why it is important for the Da’ee to learn about these characteristics and adopt them in his/her life.
The Da’ee has to be sincere in his calling others to the truth. He is to do it only for the sake of Allah. If he has some other motives, for example fame or wealth, then his dawah will not have the strength and determination which it deserves. He may even be driven to lie against Allah for the love of money, if that was his motive. That is how fabrications in hadith occurred. Allah has said (translation of the meaning):
Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord has ordered justice and that you maintain yourselves [in worship of Him] at every place [or time] of prostration, and invoke Him, sincere to Him in religion.” Just as He originated you, you will return [to life] [7:29]
It is simply not possible for anyone to call to the truth without knowledge, because first of all you have to know what the truth is. The righteous Caliph Umar ibn Abdil Aziz said, “Whoever worships Allah without knowledge corrupts more than he benefits.” [ibn Taymiyah 19]
Allah said (translation of meaning), ‘Say, “This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah ; and I am not of those who associate others with Him.”’ [12:108]
Insight in this ayah means sure knowledge. Without being absolutely sure it is from Allah, a Da’I is not permitted to convey something in the name of Allah, because there is an element of uncertainty whether he is right or wrong. If he is wrong, then it amounts to lying about Allah. Allah says, ‘Woe to you! Do not invent a lie against Allah or He will exterminate you with a punishment; and he has failed who invents [such falsehood].’ [20:61]
The Prophet said: “Compassion does not enter into anything without beautifying it, and is not removed from anything without making it ugly.” (Muslim and others)
And, he said:
“O, Aisha: Verily Allah is Compassionate, and He loves compassion. He gives based on compassion that which is not given based on force, and is not given based on any other cause.” (Muslim and others)
It is important for the Da’I to be wise, in order to understand the situation of the one he is calling, his culture, his background and what will or will not make him angry or attentive to what he is saying. Allah said, ‘Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.’ [16:125]
Patience is an essential characteristic for all muslims, but it is especially so for the Da’i. A Da’I will often have to face provocative situations. Shaytan will certainly get angry because of his spreading the truth, and he will create dissensions in the hearts of the spiritually weak. People will attack the Da’I verbally and sometimes even physically. But he has to endure it all with patience and gentleness. As Luqman said to his son: ‘And enjoin all that is right, and forbid all that is wrong, and be patient in the face of that which afflicts you, verily, that is the most upright of positions.’ [31:17].
A Da’I is someone whom others look up to. He is a role model for the society. It is therefore essential for the Da’I to have a righteous character in order for his da’wah to have any weight. He has to obey Allah in all matters obligatory, and try his best to emulate the Prophet as much as he can. He should avoid everything forbidden and also disliked by Allah. His manners should reflect the purity of his faith. He should practice what he preaches, because Allah says, ‘O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. [61:2-3]
7. Certainty in belief
If the Da’I is not a hundred percent certain in his belief of what he is preaching, he will lack conviction and will not be able to convey its importance to others.
Ibn Taymiyah said,
“It is not possible for one to have patience if he has nothing from which to derive inner peace, something from which he attains joy and which gives him sustenance: certainty of faith. The Prophet said in hadith: “Ask Allah for forgiveness and good health for, verily, after certainty of faith, no one has been given anything better than good health.”” [ibn Taymiyah 39]
These are the important characteristics which a Da’I should strive to attain. Given he tries his best to achieve these, Allah (swt) will make him succeed and make his da’wah a path towards earning His pleasure.
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