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ADAB" [MANNER] IN DA'WAH



There is no one with monopoly of wisdom and in fact, the term wisdom is relative depending on the context of discussion. It is not wisdom to compromise the truth for anything whasoever. It is not also wisdom to render corrections or admonitions in a destructive manner. We need to keep calling ourselves to order, so that we can achieve the collective goal of leading ourselves to righteousness. Let us not see the call to wisdom and beautiful words in da'wah as a kind of self-purification or have a feeling that the one who calls to lenience in preaching is trying to monopolize wisdom. The people of Sunnah are not perfect. We all need da'wah. The observation that many of the flagbearers of Sunnah need reform in the area of manner and character is not new. Past scholars mentioned it, one of them is Sheikh Al-albaani رحمه الله. Sheikh Ibn 'Uthaymeen رحمه الله also stressed the need for lenience in da'wah considering the situation we are today. The rate of ignorance is alarming! Go round and see! Even Sheikh Rabee' حفظه الله has many quotes on lenience in da'wah. Our salaf call for adab first before anything. This doesn't mean we should compromise the truth. Sufyan Ath-Thawri رحمه الله said:

كَانَ الرَّجُلُ إِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَكْتُبَ الْحَدِيثَ تَأَدَّبَ وَتَعَبَّدَ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ بِعِشْرِينَ سَنَةً

If a man intended to write the hadīth, he would study good manners and worship for twenty years before doing so. [Hilyat al-Awliyā 361]

Often times, we avoid quotes to avoid lengthy write ups, and not that there are no backing from scholars. Refutation is very good, it brings a sincere servant back to his senses. But it must be done politely considering the circumstances of each case. This is where many people go wrong. This is where emotion sets in. This is where human nature comes in. There are two extremes in this matter. Being lenient in a place where harshness is required leads to laxity, and being unnecessarily harsh where leniency can be employed leads to extremism. However, in all cases, the objective of guiding ourselves must be paramount. The major concern is the rate at which young people with little or no knowledge turn scholars to their toothpicks. If you mention so and so who is well known to be upon sunnah (although he is not perfect), the next thing you hear is, he is this and that. You can read that in many posts on Facebook, and when you meet some people one on one and you see how they lash scholars with their tongues, you will understand the fitnah better. There is no scholar upon Sunnah, no matter how great, without mistakes. The issue is how to go about the mistakes. The way we treat our scholars speaks volume of who really we are. Anyone can be refuted, no matter who he is. But, should his mistake make him loose our respect and due regard as a scholar? I fear!

Yes, if some people refuse to use wisdom and polite way of correcting people, those whom Allaah has blessed with wisdom and adab should go ahead and use it. But it should be noted that the latter have not helped the former if they fail to tell them the defect in their da'wah methodology. We are believers because we assist and encourage ourselves to do good and abandon evils. Those who compromise the truth should take heed and those who have poor manner of presentation must upgrade. The danger is that when some people use widom and some don't use it, the process of da'wah would still be undermined. The major problem we have here is lack of proper organization. In the first place, only people with considerable level of knowledge, firmness upon Sunnah and adab supposed to be preaching. The reverse is the case here. If someone doesn't have minimum required level of adab in addition to his knowledge, what is his business in preaching? In reality, there are scholars who don't preach, probably because they know themselves and their nature. They can be easily influenced by their emotions. These kind of people prefer to keep quiet rather than talking in a way that gives the Sunnah a name it doesn't deserve. This is ikhlaas (sincerity). 'Abdullah, Ibn Al-Mubarak said:

طلبت الأدب ثلاثين سنة وطلبت العلم عشرين سنة وكانوا يطلبون الأدب ثم العلم

I sought manners for thirty years and I sought knowledge for twenty years. The righteous predecessors would seek manners and then seek knowledge. [ Ghāyat al-Nihāyah 1/446]

It is a pity that what many youths are learning today is how to water down any scholar who does not agree with their own teacher on some masaail. We need to wake up, our salaf were not like this. Ibn Wahb رحمه الله said:

مَا تَعَلَّمْتُ مِنْ أَدَبِ مَالِكٍ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ

What I learned from the manners of Malik was better than his knowledge. [Jāmi’ Bayān al-‘Ilm 581].



In our present time, many ignorant people with poor manners ascribe to salafiyyah. This makes some people to think salafiyyah is just about 'aqeedah and 'ibaadah alone. Contrarily, salafiyyah also pay great attention and lay emphasis on adab (mannerism) and akhlaaq (good character). Ascription to salafiyyah is not just by mouth or addition of "as-salafee" to one's name. The most important thing is for a Muslim to be upon pure and undiluted Sunnah (pristine Islaam) as practiced by the Companions رضي الله عنهم. The Sunnah has several branches, each of which must not suffer neglect, otherwise, we would just be deceiving ourselves.

Sometimes, when we talk about, manner, good character or wisdom in calling to the path of Allaah, it is often mistaken for compromise of the truth. That is a very wrong perception. We need patience, lenience, wisdom, gentleness in da'wah now than ever before because ignorance is widespread. Ignorance has permeated land and the sea. The need to be gentle in our da'wah in this time is evident in the words of many of the highly respected scholars (past and presence). So, it is not our own creation. We are only saying what scholars said. I remember posting the statement of Sheikh Ibn Al-'Uthaymeen رحمه الله on this previously. The scholars have advised us to be considerate and lenient. They advise us to study our audience properly before addressing them. Da'wah is not just about knowledge, it requires some beautiful tactics that would make it easy for people to understand the message we are trying to pass.

Nobody has monopoly of wisdom and kindness in da'wah. We are only trying to call ourselves to order. Any reasonable person who has been following the situation of the ummah, especially on the social media recently, would understand that we are in serious trouble. The da'wah train has been infiltrated by some ignorant youths with poor manners. If you have not taken cognizance of this, I can't blame you. But many people are very much aware. Young boys who are not even up to the status of the pupils of the students of the students of scholars are mocking scholars here and there. This is what we get when the responsibility to preach the deen is thrown out open to just anyone.

I admit, without an iota of doubt that a lot of brothers who ascribe to salafiyyah have issues with adab and akhlaaq. It calls for serious concern. Many of our scholars have been dealing with this matter in their books and various gatherings. Although the problem of lack of manners and good character is not peculiar to the salafees as some people are trying to make it look. Who can be more mannerless or of bad character than someone who does not have due respect for taoheed and the Sunnah? The best of manner and good character is to have due regard for
taoheed and the Sunnah of the beloved Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. So, if that is the case, the kuffaar and the people of bid'ah are worse in character and manner. So, let's not be bothered by their spiteful campaign against salafiyyah.

However, it is our responsibility to address our internal problems in the appropriate manner. What we want our brothers and sisters upon Sunnah to realize is that if someone who doesn't understand or ascribe to Sunnah or salafiyyah misbehaves, people lay little or no emphasis on it because his poor condition is well understood. But if someone who is versed and steadfast upon the sunnah misbehaves, it would be the talk of town. That is why we have to be very careful and stop giving salafiyyah a bad name. As you display your bad manner towards people, many ignorant people would not understand that it is your own personal problem, they would link it wrongly with your manhaj. So, let us behave ourselves. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Companions رضي الله عنهم didn't just practise Islaam with their tongues, they won more souls for Allaah with their exemplary conduct and character. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said in a hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه:

 إنما بعثت لأتمم مكارم الأخلاق
"Indeed, I was raised to perfect excellent character" [Musnad Bazaar]


If you think the issue of bad manner of presentation in da'wah activities only relates to Jabata and his boys alone, you are making a big mistake. Just of recent, I have seen and heard worse things from young people who do not even take knowledge from Jabata. Although, the mannerless Jababta da'wah is still one of the viruses haunting us directly or indirectly in our community. It created many enemies for Sunnah in many ways. Except we want to continue to deceive ourselves, there are some people who have left Jabata manhaj, but the reminants of Jababta's viruses are still in them, they haven't been totally cured. Their substance of their da'wah might be different from that of Jabata, but they still very much retain Jabata's poor manner of presentation.

On the series of posts I made recently on our manner of approach, someone commented saying: "are you saying we can take knowledge from those hizbee dakaatirs, no way". This was a person I met one on one offline to discuss this fitnah, but he seemed not to understand. Truth be told, there are some people whose job is now to poison the mind of young people against their scholars. They mock the people of knowledge among us. They make jest of them because of some areas of disagreement. They slander and spread hatred against them. They have forgotten so fast that the meats of the 'ulamaa' is poisonous. By Allaah, if things go on in this manner, some people would end up destroying the Sunnah they claim to be preaching more.


We need to learn adab and akhlaaq first before anything. For someone to be upon the true sunnah, he must combine the three: sound 'aqeedah, sincerity upon 'ibaadaat and akhlaaq. So, many people are poor in knowledge and adab, yet they want to preach. They cause more harm than good. Our society in danger. We are far away from the Sunnah that we think we are upon. The Sunnah has become something strange. The Companions of the Prophet رضي الله عنهم are the original Ahlus Sunnah, not us. Our own is just that we are striving to follow their path. So, if we must guide people in this difficult and trying time, it has to be gradual and with wisdom. Harshness and impatience would lead to bigger problems. One of my teachers, Dr. Yahya AbdulBaaqi (Abu Zakariyyah) حفظه الله always tell me whenever we meet: "Abdullateef, oju nkan wa pupo, sunnah o bo'ri, amaa, a gbodo se suuru, nkan ti baje jina" (we are too much in haste, the sunnah would would prevail, but we need patience, things have really gone bad). I always remember these words and I am always optimistic that the Sunnah would prevail. But we have to be very careful not to create more problems with hamaasah (intense or hasty interest in seeing people change). Allaah says to His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم:

(فَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُنْ كَصَاحِبِ الْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَىٰ وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌ)

Then be patient for the decision of your Lord, [O Muhammad], and be not like the companion of the fish when he called out while he was distressed. [Surat Al-Qalam 48, Sahih International]

The scholars of tafseer have explained that by this verse, Allaah enjoined His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم to be patient and persevere in his da'wah. He urged him to endure the harms of his people and their rejection of truth. Allaah promised him and his Companions رضي الله عنهم victory and authority over them, in this life and the Hereafter. Let us learn from this verse and be patient upon the ignorant people, for Allaah has the capacity to change their situations at anytime He wishes.

In his Al-Lum'ah, pg.27, Sheikh AbdulHameed Yahya Az-Zu'karee حفظه الله gave a narration where Al-Mubaarak bin Fadhoolah رحمه الله said:

Al-Hasan (Al-Basoriy) رحمه الله prayed jum'ah, then he sat down crying. It was said to him, what makes you cry O Abu Sa'eed? He said, you are blaming me for crying, and if a man from among the Muhaajireen (those who migrate to Madeenah with the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم) appears from the door of your masjid, he would not be able to identify anything from what they were upon during the time of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم among what you are upon today, except this your qiblah (direction of worship)"

If this was the case during the time of Al-hasan رحمه الله, what do we expect in our own time (many centuries after)? If the Companions رضي الله عنهم would not be able to identify anything apart from the qiblah in the time of al-Basoree رحمه الله, what would they be able to identify in this very very poor time of ours? In fact, in our own present time, qiblah is still very much a big issue. If you advise some people to turn to the qiblah appropriately, they can even curse you. They would blackmail you. They would say, that is where their forefathers have been turning to, long time ago. This is our difficult and sorry state. And this is the more reason why we should be patient with people. This is why we should appply more wisdom and manner in dealing with the ignorant people. And if we see people who are trying their own best to practise the Sunnah upon sound creed, let us refrain from blackmailing them because they don't agree with us on some issues. Let's  handle them with care. Let's not fight them or poison people's mind against them. There are many people who are still far far behind. Let's work more on our own selves as we strive to assist other people to get better in their deen.

Please note that, by this, I do not call for unity or compromise with deviant sects as identified by scholars. My point is that we should exercise caution in the way we pass our messages, handle ignorant people with care and wisdom, purify our intentions as much as possible and make the guiding of people our priority in our da'wah activities.


In conclusion, the truth is that after understanding the Sunnah very well, there are tendencies for you to start wishing that people change immediately after you preach to them. You want them to start practising the Sunnah at your own pace. But it is not easy like that. Sometimes, when you preach the Sunnah to people and you want them to adhere immediately, it is as if you want to take their lives. We need patience and wisdom. And if care is not taken, these kind of tendencies could drive you to begin to look down on other people due to what is now clear to you and the extent of misguidance in our society. But if you remember some verses of the Qur'an and hadiths on the evil of self amazement, you wouldn't have any choice than to cool down, reassess the situation and make the guiding of the people to the right path your main objective.

Gentleness and lenience with ignorant people is the best way to go. Allaah would guide whomever He wishes among them. You don't need to go extra mile. Yes, people alrelady know you are upon truth, but that is not enough, you have to show them beyond reasonable doubt what the sunnah is, not only in terms of 'aqeedah, 'ibaadah, but also the akhlaaq salaf (conducts of the righteous predecessors).

May Allaah guide us aright.



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