Islamic Studies

The Comprehensiveness of the Islamic Method – Part I

Often Overlooked Quranic Evidences Which Support A Comprehensive Methodology of Islamic Work.

The call to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and to bring benefit to the society, comes to us in comprehensive fashion. Allah (swt) orders the Prophet:

“Say: ‘Oh Mankind/Oh People! I am the Messenger of God to you all’” (7:158)

The simple phrase “ilaykum jamee’a”, which indicates “all of you, together”, shows the collective and comprehensive nature of the Prophethood. His message was for every single segment of humanity – every corner, every nation, and every tribe. Practically, we should take this to mean that no segment of society around us should remain untouched by the call. No person uneducated, no one unaffected.

This does not mean that Islam should ever force itself upon a human being, for such a person’s Islam is not accepted anyways. As the ‘ulama (scholars) have stated, Tasqeeq-bil-Qalb – of the Affirmation of the Heart – is a MUST for any person’s Islam to be accepted. This is further supported by the Quranic verses:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

“If it had been your Lord’s will, all of the people on Earth would have believed. Would you then compel the people so to have them believe?” [Sûrah Yûnus: 99]

“So if they dispute with you, say ‘I have submitted my whole self to Allah, and so have those who follow me.’ And say to the People of the Scripture and to the unlearned: ‘Do you also submit yourselves?’ If they do, then they are on right guidance. But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message. And in Allah’s sight are all of His servants.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 20]

“The Messenger’s duty is but to proclaim the Message.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 99]

This removes any notion of forced conversion – as such conversion means nothing in Islam and has no basis.1

What we refer to rather, is that the Muslims are collectively obligated to provide clear access to the message of Islam for anyone who seeks to know it, and see to gradual attempt reform of society by:

assisting its downtrodden
improving the spread of beneficial knowledge
by helping its environment
by improving its social relations
working politically towards a just government
strengthening the ties of family and supporting its status
protecting its youth from dangers physical and social –
These effects, should radiate as a beacon of light throughout any society in which Muslims are present by virtue of their existence there.

Let us look into the Quran, the Book brought by this Messenger of God to Mankind, and see the signs that are mentioned in it as lessons for us, as to how comprehensive and complete our method should be. There are many Muslims who shun Islamic Work done in one way or another, deeming it to be un-Islamic because it does not fit their narrow, sometimes culturally biased view of what Islam came to do.

God says: “O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner; And as one who invites to Allah’s (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.” (33:45-46)

Anyone who wishes to follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah (swt), should strive to imitate these qualities and roles of his – for what greater Sunnah is there than the role for which he was sent? Muslims are to be witnesses to the people, bearers of glad tidings, warners, and invite to the way of God, and should be as lamps spreading light in the society.

The Various Methods of Islamic Work:

    Publicly Calling to Islam Through Speech:

Though this is the mission of all Prophets, there is one who’s persistence is especially highlighted in the Quran. The Prophet Noah:

He said: “O my Lord! Verily, I have called my people night and day, but all my calling added nothing but to their flight from the truth. Verily! Every time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, and persisted (in their refusal), and magnified themselves in pride. Then verily, I called to them openly (aloud); then verily, I proclaimed to them in public, and I have appealed to them in private, I said to them: ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, Verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance, and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.”

What is the matter with you, that you fear not Allah (His Punishment), and you hope not for reward from Allah or you believe not in His Oneness
(71:5-13 Quran)

So for anyone who would doubt the importance of calling to Islam in any society, let them ask themselves why Allah (swt) put this story in the Quran. For anyone who says that such Da’wah will be fruitless in a society in the West, let them say such words to the thousands of Muslims who converted to Islam. For anyone who says that the job is too difficult to be fruitful, let them look at the persistence of Noah.

    Establishing Avenues of Literary and Written Da’wah

(Solomon) said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are one of the liars. Go with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them, then draw back from them, and see what answer they return.”

She said: “O chiefs! Verily! Here is a delivered to me a noble letter. Verily! It is from Solomon and verily! It (reads): ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful; Be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims (true believers who submit to Allah with full submission).”

We see clearly that the practice of writing and establishing literary strength in order to spread the message of Islam and call people to Good, is encouraged not only since the time of the Prophet (saw) writing letters to kings and emperors, but from the time of Sulaiman (as) himself, writing to the Queen of Sheba. This should encourage to support our scholars and institutions with strong online presences and to translate their works into English.

    Striving for Just Government For All People When Living In A Non-Muslim State and Participating in the Political Process To Establish Fairness and Justice

Joseph said: “Set me over the store houses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.” (12:55)

We know for a fact that the King of Egypt, and the people of Egypt were pagans in their religion. They worshipped their king, as well as the stars and planets, and Egyptian mythology offers us clear indications of how far away they were from worshipping One God. Yet, we see Yusuf (as) asking for a position to protect the storehouses and the treasuries of their nation, and promises to protect them.

Through control of the treasury, Yusuf could ensure that Justice was protected, and that the grain of Egypt would be distributed fairly among the rich and the poor. Yusuf, being a Prophet of Allah, was not swayed by the idea that this was a nation of pagans to abandon these people. Rather, he knew that the poor could easily be oppressed during the years of drought which Egypt would undergo. He wanted to protect the poor from the upper-class hoarders and ensure that all had equitable access to the grain.

Through justice and fairness, his call to Tawhid (worshipping One God) could be further established in the land, and people would be more prone to hearing what it is he had to say of their own free will, if he worked for their welfare.

    Striving For Economic and Financial Equity for All People

Joseph said: “Set me over the store houses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.” (12:55)

We repeat this example because we not only take a lesson of political activism from Yusuf, but also, striving for economic and financial equity and fairness. This has been sufficiently explained above, but it should be recognized as a separate lesson of the verse.

    Calling to Family Values and Strengthening the Family

And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents: in difficulty upon difficulty did his mother bear him, and in two years was his weaning: (hear the command), “Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal. (31:17)

One should notice that not only has Allah (swt) enjoined this directly upon human beings in the Quran, and through the commands of His Prophet (saw), but then Allah (swt) TELLS US again that he has enjoined this duty to honor our parents upon us.

Think about what this means. There is a difference from simply commanding something. But to command something, and then also to explicitly remind the slave of this command, and providing an additional reason why this command must be fulfilled! SubhanAllah. Such a command must then form a core part of any Islamic effort that is undertaken to benefit a society.

    Using Modern Technologies and Resources Which God Grants Humanity – To Bring About Benefit and Prevent Harm

We had blessed David with a great bounty from Ourself. “O mountains, join with him in glorification,” and (the same Command We gave to) the birds. We made iron soft for him, saying, “Make coats of mail and set the rings in proper measure. (O people of David,) “Do good works: surely I see whatever you do.”

The scholars have a few interpretations on what it means for Iron to have been made soft for David – on whether it was made soft for him in his hand as a miracle, or if there was a source of molten metal that was given to him.

Regardless, David was ordered to take this resource, and use it, by making chain mail and setting rings in proper measure. To set metal into measured rings takes effort, research, measurement, and patience. This order to David is a reminder that is incumbent upon the servants of God to constantly put forth effort in taking the resources and technologies which we are granted, and to put effort and learning into them to bring benefit.

We will end the first part here. InshAllah we will continue with the second part in a few days.

Abdul Sattar

Taken from his web site here

1Sheikh Sâmî al-Mâjid – “Let There Be No Compulsion in Religion”

About the author

Abdul Sattar Ahmed

Abdul Sattar Ahmed is a young IT professional from Chicago, IL. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006 with a Bachelors in Finance with a second Major of Management Information Systems. He was a member of Young Muslims of North America for over ten years, serving in roles at the local, regional, and national levels with a focus on the organization’s educational program.

He currently works in the Software Engineering field in Chicago, and is receiving training in the Islamic sciences part-time at Dar ul Qasim Institute and the Islamic Learning Foundation’s Chicago Campus, and studies Islamic subjects independently with other scholars. He is a board member of the Islamic Learning Foundation and teaches Arabic and Islamic studies there under the lead of his teachers. His interests include software development, the study of the Qur’an, Islamic education, law, and history.

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