A summary manual on the qualities of true Islamic representatives presented at the Darus-Salam Society, Nigeria’s National Leadership Workshop, held in Katsina, between Friday 20th and Sunday 22nd July, 2007.
Bismillahi wa salatu wa salamu ala Rasulillah wa ‘ala jami’il ambiyai wal-mursalin wa ‘ala ahlihi wa Sahabihi ajmain, amin.
We offer our infinite thanks to Allahu ta’ala Who in His mercy has chosen us for His cause. May He ease our path to all the means needed to fulfil the great obligation placed on us. May He help us to success in our efforts to serve His Deen. May He protect us against the calamity of being satisfied with ourselves and against the misfortune of being replaced with others as alms for the earliest of those who championed the cause of this noble Deen, the noble and exalted Ashabul kiram .
Serving the cause of the Deen is the noblest of duties, the best of assignment and pinnacle of success. It is for this reason that this great endeavour was primarily reserved for the best of people and creation, Allah’s Prophets u and then to those who truly love the Deen and who seek a share from what is the Prophets’ lots.
“The higher the prize at stake,” says the exalted Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali t , ‘the tougher the race’. If the reward for serving Allah’s cause is so great, the task, the challenges and its conditions too are indeed enormous.
We are here to learn the rope in order to give this Ummah a positive push. We are aiming at the best of rewards which automatically requires fulfilling all conditions for an acceptable struggle. Everyone is a witness to the failure of people who call to the Deen all over the places. Why are our men divided and why do we have divisions within divisions? Why are we always failing to publish simple tracts for free or for sale? Why are most of the ones that emerged and disappeared mere dead and ineffective words? Why are religious propagators hated and are ever under suspicions of the people they intend to serve? Why are Muslim youths falling for violence instead of a painstaking moral and intellectual revival.
So many questions yet one answer. Islam is a religion of a Sunnah linking back to the noblest Rasulullah u and a religion of middle course maintaining a balance between the extremes. Modern Muslims propagators have veered to either of the extremes thus straying off what the Holy Qur’an depicts as Siratul Mustaqim. Today we are either those who wants to obey the majestic Qur’an and Hadith ash-Sharif with a narrow understanding or simply following those who are said to be people of Sunnah without reflecting the purity of the true heirs of Rasulullah e. We are either of those who says there is nothing like Ihsan, Tazkiya or Sufism or those who hold on to the ‘Tazkiya’ and neglect the Sunnah and the Shariah. The lists of extremism of both sides are countless and this should be a point of great concern.
A true Islamic flag bearer must not be caught in these extremes else he fails in this world and goes to the Akhirah empty handed. A true Islam propagator must get his niyyat right. He is embarking on a journey of suffering, insults and disgrace. Sometimes he is accepted and honoured and another time He is pushed away. This was the lots of Prophets u and he should be prepared for it.
He approaches his job with wisdom. He is neither a judge over a people, a self assumed saint, or a person setting out for criticism. He is a wise soft-hearted lover of humanity who wants humanity saved from eternal damnation. He is aware that there is great spiritual sacredness in every soul. He doesn’t look down on anyone but rather consider himself as the worst of creation.
By reading ancient books of true Islamic scholars y he gets a proper grasp of what’s to be done, say, corrected and how best these are done. He is extremely careful in calling attention of Muslims to harams that have settled among us, thus, taken as halal in the name of music, zina of every forms and its accessories on television, video, etc. Reading ancient books would also assist him to realize the exaltedness and greatness of the great sages of the past relative to his own worthlessness. He is full of respect for the past, always using it as the main pivot for the future. It is well known that al-Imam bn al-Jawzi rahimahullah read over 20, 000 books of Islamic sages and then wrote over a thousand himself. This is one ‘small’ achievement in Islamic scholarship. We need to familiarise ourselves with this unique reality.
A true Islamic flag bearer puts the Ummah first in his thinking, planning and working. He is aware of the gradual process of happenings in creation so he does not embrace hastiness in seeking success. The main focus of the Muslim is guidance for both Muslim and non-Muslims but never vengeance and settling old scores. He is a pure symbol of patience and perseverance and a perfect reflection of the manifestation of firm resolve mentioned in the ayat:
“… And you will hear from those given the Scripture before you and from idolators much abuse, if you patiently persevere, and remain mindful (of Allahu ta’ala), surely in this is a manifestation of firm resolve. – Qur’an 3: 186.
An Islamic flag bearer always puts other first in everything he does and he is ready to suffer in order to put smile on faces of others.
Our exalted Prophet, Habibul rabbil ‘aalamin, Muhammad Mustafa alaihi salam encouraged vigilance on all believers every moment. So a true lover of the Rasul u is ever in remembrance of Allahu ta’ala and he is extremely cautious in all his steps lest he falls to sins. The sin of a Da’i (a man calling to the Deen) is more disastrous than so many failings and foibles of the enemies of the Deen. The greatly noble and exalted Hadrat Umar bin Abdul ‘Aziz t advised one of his commanders in these valuable words:
“We overcome the enemies in the battle field only because of their sins and vices … if we equate ourselves with our enemies in misdeeds and transgressions, they will undoubtedly gain a victory over us by virtue of their numeric strength.
Behold if we are not able to gain ascendancy over our enemies on account of our righteousness, we would never be in a position to defeat them through our might … Therefore, do not put yourself to shame by exceeding the limits set by Allahu ta’ala.”
The man of religion must avoid literal interpretation of the nasses (Qur’an al–Karim and Hadith ash-Sharif). He should belief as the early Muslims did without attempting to adapt the Islamic beliefs to mind on reasoning. Allahu ta’ala is above all questions being asked and all theories being presented today. Our exalted Prophet e had warned that the deviants that would emerge in the Ummah would go to such dangerous extreme that they will ask, “who created Allahu ta’ala?” But Allahu ta’ala is wara-ul-wara. He is beyond everything beyond. He is beyond questions and the grasp of mind of His helpless creatures.
‘And nothing is comparable to Him.’
A true servant in the cause of Allahu ta’ala embraces the ten basic ethics taught by our superiors y. The first of these is to be cheerful and amiable when meeting a believer. The blessed words of Shaykh Hafiz Shiraz t said:
‘Tell the friends the truth and the enemies meet with a smiling face’.
Should be given a pride of place in our propagation efforts.
Dogmatism in everything, right or wrong, is bad. There should be always room for others to express themselves within the laid down rules of decorum so that right and wrong would not be mixed up. We should borrow the great wisdom of our exalted al-Imam Idris bn Shafi’ t who gave us the most civilized way out whenever there is a difference among qualified Mujtahids
I am right with the possibility that I may be wrong. My opponent is wrong with possibility that he may be right.
This more than any other thing, shows the purity of heart and intention of true Muslim Scholars y on points where differences are entertained. When it comes to rigid issues like the basis of traditional beliefs we stick to the pristine Iman taught in the earliest texts and then endeavour to bring straying parties to the right course with wisdom and good counselling.
The biggest undoing of modern propagators of Islam is to mix ayats and Hadiths on morals with the ones dealing with ‘amal. In ‘amal (ibadats) we need to take from the extremely learned sages of the past lest we claim to attain to the grade of Ijtihads, while on morals we freely take as much as we need to show the perfections in our Deen.
In his introduction to Imam Zarnuji’s Ta’alim Muta’alim, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (Damat Barakatuhu) said:
“The food of adults is poison when given to infants. We are indeed (relative to our great superiors of the past mere) spiritual and intellectual children, and until we mature through learning and mastering our own tradition, we cannot safely trust ourselves to delve into primary texts (Qur’an and Hadith) for other than blessings and moral guidance. Legal guidance taken directly from nasses is only permissible when one has reached the highest level of intellectual mastery in the Islamic scholarly tradition.”
It is quite unfortunate that whoever can speak Arabic or quote Ahadith today has become a faqih dishing out fatwas and challenging the deductions of the past elders. This itself is the foundation of all other sicknesses. A true Islamic representative passes his time in nothing but useful ventures. He is a book worm reading the earliest writings of the Islamic giants. He engages in physical exercises to keep himself fit. He is moderate in eating, sleeping and talking. Always working for progress of the Ummah and he is progressive too.
A true flag bearer holds the middle course in all issues avoiding extremes. He upholds the truth of Iman without being neither literal nor does he falls to the other extreme of learning the beliefs without actually internalizing the teachings. He decries the affronts of the western powers, works towards bringing their evil plots to the awareness of Muslims without embarking on violence that would further harm the Ummah. He works with other conscious minds towards an Islamic revival predicated on knowledge and moral purity. A single Muslim of knowledge and moral purity is scarier to the enemies than thousands of riff raffs and demonstrators. This we need to know.
He also take to the middle course in spiritualism turning away from those who upon seeing the bankruptcy of those who call themselves men of Ihsan or Tazkiya denounces the science as unislamic and he also objects to those who said Islam is all spiritualism and thus make the Shariah a secondary or non-issue. A deep study of our history would help to show the true place of Ihsan or Tazkiya. True exponents of this science are extremely rare today yet that is not to say that they do not exist at all. Finally a true Islamic representative studies the trend of destructive plots of Islamic enemies to know where attention must be focused. Why are they ever busy castigating our great past, why are they desperate to turn us against the great champions of our Deen, their invaluable writings and painstaking deductions.
Why are they emphasising freedom of thoughts and freedom to live as we please? Why is the destruction of traditional Islamic places of learning with its advanced Minhaj one great target of our enemies? Why are they promoting independent reasoning and freelance interpretation of our Deen. Why decrying adaptation to our past as backwardness?
Why are they filling all our lives with music and with pictures of naked women? Why must every home be hooked to international or local television stations and why must football and other sporting activities becomes an idol, a religion?
We are all in this and it takes very conscious mind to ruminate these questions and then seek the ways out of the world wide web of enemies. There is surely a way out and the path to victory for the Muslims is sure though very rough. We are aspirants to true service in the cause of Islam and of those who want to purify the land for Allahu ta’ala alone. True success and the ultimate victory belong to Allahu ta’ala and in this is the greatest delight of true Islamic representatives.
May Allahu ta’ala count us among those who will commit their lives to the service of this Deen. May He make our contact to Darus-Salam permanent and grant us eternal bliss of the greater Darus-Salam as alm for the sages who have spent their lives and all they have in cause of our noble, unique but embattled Deen, amin. And our last words are al hamdulillah rabbil ‘aalamin.
Faqir Abdulqadr An-Naqshbandi Mujaddidi – Nigeria