The Call to Allah

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan

Source: From the Shaykh’s introduction to the book: Manhajul-Anbiyâ fid-Da’wah ilallâh fîhil-Hikmah wal-’Aql (pp.10-16) of Shaykh Rabî’ ibn Hâdî. The translations of the meanings given for all Qur‘ânic Âyât are summarised from the tafsîrs of at-Tabarî, al-Baghawî, al-Qurtubî, Ibn Kathîr and ash-Shawkânî.

Al-Ibaanah Magazine, Issue No.3 - Dhul-Qa’dah 1416H / April 1996


Da’wah to Allâh rests upon firm pillars and is established upon foundations which are absolutely essential. If any of these are missing, the da’wah will not be correct, nor will it produce the desired results - no matter how much effort is expended, nor how much time is wasted. And this is the reality which we witness with regards to many of the present-day calls, which are not supported by those pillars, nor built upon those firm foundations.

These pillars which support the correct da’wah are clearly shown in the Book and the Sunnah, and can be summarised as follows:-

[1] Knowledge of That Which One Calls To

Since the ignorant person is not suitable to be a dâ’î (caller). Allâh - the Most High - said to His Prophetsallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam:

“Say, O Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam, this is my way: I call to Allâh (i.e. the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allâh alone, having no partner) upon certain knowledge - I and those who follow me.” [Sûrah Yûsuf 12:108]

And Basîrah is knowledge. So the dâ’î is certain to encounter those who are scholars of misguidance, those who will attack him with doubts and futile arguments, in order to rebut the truth. And Allâh - the Most High - says:

“And argue with them in a way that is better.” [Sûrah an-Nahl 16:125]

Furthermore, the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam said to Mu’âdh: “You are going to a people from the people of the Book.” [2] So if the dâ’î is not armed with sufficient knowledge for him to face the doubts, and contend with the opponent, then he will be defeated in the first encounter and will be halted at the beginning of the way.

[2] Acting In Accordance With That Which He Calls To

So that he will be a good example - his actions attesting to his words, and leaving no excuse for the opponents of the truth. Allâh - the Most High - said about His Prophet Shu’ayb, that he said to his people:

“I do not wish to forbid you from something and then do it myself. Rather, I only wish to rectify you as far as I am able.” [Sûrah Hûd 11:88]

And Allâh - the Most High - said to His Prophet Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam:

“Say, O Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam! Indeed my Prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all purely and solely for Allâh, Lord of the Worlds. There is no share of any of that for other than Him. That is what my Lord has ordered me, and I am the first of this nation to submit to Allâh as a Muslim.” [Sûrah al-An’âm 6:162-163]

“Who is better in speech than the one who calls the people to Allâh and does righteous actions.”[Sûrah Fussilat 41:33]

[3] Al-Ikhlâs (Purity of Intention)

Such that the da’wah is done purely and sincerely to seek the Face of Allâh and His reward. It is not done for show, nor repute, nor status, nor leadership, nor desiring worldly goals - since if any of these goals adulterate the da’wah then da’wah will not be purely for Allâh; rather it would then be a call for oneself, or for the attainment of a worldly goal, as Allâh informs that His Prophets said to their respective people:

“I do not ask you for any reward for conveying this Qur‘ân.” [Sûrah al-An’âm 6:90]

“I do not ask you for any monetary recompense for my admonition.” [Sûrah Hûd 11:29]

[4] Beginning With What is of Primary Importance, Then With What Comes Next in Importance, and So On

So firstly he calls to the correction of ’aqîdah (beliefs and creed), by ordering that all worship is made purely for Allâh, and that shirk is forbidden. Then ordering the establishment of the Prayer, and the paying of the Zakâh, and that the obligatory duties are carried out and that the forbidden matters are avoided. This was the procedure followed by all the Messengers, as Allâh - the Most High - says:

“We sent a Messenger to every nation, ordering them that they should worship Allâh alone, obey Him and make their worship purely for Him; and that they should avoid everything worshipped besides Allâh.” [Sûrah an-Nahl 16:36]

“We did not send any Messenger before you, O Muhammad, except that We revealed to him that none has the right to be worshipped except Allâh, so make all your worship purely for Allâh.”[Sûrah al-Anbiyâ 21:25]

Furthermore, when the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam sent Mu’âdh to Yemen, he said to him: “Indeed you are going to a people from the people of the Book, so let the first thing you call them to be the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allâh. So if they accept this, then inform them that Allâh has obligated five Prayers upon them in each day and night ... ” [3]

Then there is in his sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam’s way and method of giving da’wah, the best example and the most perfect and complete methodology - in that he sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam remained in Makkah for thirteen years, calling the people to Tawhîd and forbidding them from Shirk, before he ordered them with Prayer,Zakâh, Fasting and Hajj, and before he forbade them from usury, fornication, theft and murder.

[5] Patient Perseverance in Facing Difficulties Encountered in Calling to Allâh, and in Facing Harm From the People

For the path of da’wah is not strewn with roses, rather it is covered with hardships and hazards. The best example of this is the case of the Messengers - may Allâh’s praises and blessings of peace be upon them all - with regards to the harm and the mockery which they suffered from their people. As Allâh - the Most High - said to His Messenger sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam:

“Indeed Messengers were also mocked before you, but those who mocked them were overtaken by the punishment that they made light of.” [Sûrah al-An’âm 6:10]

And He said:

“Indeed Messengers were also denied before you, but they bore these denials with patient perseverance, and they suffered harm until Our help came to them.” [Sûrah al-An’âm 6:34]

Likewise, the followers of the Prophets met with the same harm and hardship, in proportion to their efforts in calling to Allâh, following the example of those noble Messengers - may Allâh’s praise and purest blessings of peace be upon them all.

[6] The Caller Must Be a Person of Good Manners Using Wisdom in His Call

Since this will be an important reason for the acceptance of his call. Just as Allâh ordered his two noble Prophets: Mûsâ and Hârûn - ’alayhimus-salâtu was-salâm - that this was the manner in which they were to face the worst Unbeliever upon the face of this earth: Fir’awn (Pharaoh), who claimed Lordship for himself. Allâh -the One free from all imperfections - said:

“And speak mildly to him, that he might accept admonition or fear and obey Allâh.” [Sûrah Tâ Hâ 20:44]

And Allâh - the Most High - said to Mûsâ ’alayhis-salâtu was- salâm:

“Go to Fir’awn who has transgressed all bounds in his haughtiness, pride and disbelief, and say: Will you not purify yourself from the sin of disbelief and be obedient to your Lord? And that I guide you to the worship of your Lord, so that you may submit fearfully to Him and be obedient to Him.” [Sûrah an-Nâzi’ât 79:17-19]

And Allâh - the Most High - said, concerning His Prophet Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam:

“By the mercy of Allâh you behaved with gentleness towards them, and had you been severe and harsh hearted they would have left you and departed.” [Sûrah Âli-’Imrân 3:159]

“Indeed you, O Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam, are on an exalted religion / standard of character.” [Sûrah al-Qalam 68:4]

“O Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam! Call mankind to the way prescribed by yoke Lord with the Revelation that has been sent down to you, and admonish them with the examples and warnings that Allâh has provided in His Book, and argue with them in a way that is better.”[Sûrah an-Nahl 16:125]

[7] The Caller Must Remain Firm in His Expectation and Hope for Good

He should not despair of the effect of his call, nor about the guidance of his people. Nor should he despair of the aid and the help of Allâh - even if a long time passes. Again, he has the best example in this matter in the Messengers of Allâh. So the Prophet of Allâh, Nûh - ’alayhis-salâtu was-salâm - remained amongst his people for nine-hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allâh.

Also, when the harm and the hurt caused by the Unbelievers became severe, and the Angel of the mountain came to our Prophet Muhammad sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam, asking if he wanted him to crush them with the two mountains, he replied: “No! I wish to have patience with them. Hopefully Allâh will produce from them offspring; who will worship Allâh alone, not giving any partner to Him.” [4] So if the dâ’î lacks this attribute, he will halt at the start of the path and feel discouraged and frustrated.

So whichever call is not built upon these foundations, and whose manhaj (methodology) is not the methodology of the Messengers - then it will be frustrated and will fail, and it will be toil without benefit. The clearest proof of this are those present day Jamâ’ahs (groups) which set out a methodology and programme for themselves and their da’wah, which is different to the methodology of the Messengers. These groups have neglected the importance of ’aqîdah (correct beliefs and creed) - except for a very few of them - and instead call for the correction of side issues. So one group calls for the correction of rule and politics and demands establishment of the hudûd (prescribed punishments), and that Sharî’ah (Islâmic Law) be applied in judging amongst the people - and this indeed is something very important, but it is not what is most important: Since how can one seek to establish and apply Allâh’s judgement upon the thief and the fornicator, before seeking to establish and apply Allâh’s judgement upon the mushrik - the one who attributes worship to others besides Allâh. How can we demand that Allâh’s judgement be applied to two men disputing about a sheep or a camel, before demanding that Allâh’s judgement be applied upon those who worship idols and graves, and those who deny or hold heretical beliefs with regards to Allâh’s Names and Attributes - divesting them of their true meaning, or distorting them. Are these people not greater criminals than those who fornicate, drink wine and steal?!! Since those are crimes against mankind, whereas shirk and denial of Allâh’s Names and Attributes are crimes against the Creator - the One free from all imperfections - and the right of the Creator has precedence over the rights of creation.

Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) says in his book: al-Istiqâmah (1/466): “So these sins along with correctTawhîd are better than corrupted Tawhîd in the absence of these sins.” [5]

Then another Jamâ’ah (group) affiliate themselves with da’wah, except that their methodology is also at variance with the methodology of the Messengers. They give no importance to correct ’aqîdah, rather they give importance to some acts of worship and practicing dhikr (remembrance of Allâh) in the way of the Sûfîs. They concentrate upon khurûj (going out) and touring the lands, and what is important to them is that they manage to attract the people to join them without caring about their ’aqîdah. And all of these are innovated ways, taking as their starting point, matters which were left until last in the call of the Messengers. This is just like the case of someone who seeks to cure a body whose head has been decapitated - since the place of ’aqîdah in the religion, is like the head with regard to the body. Thus it is necessary for these groups to correct their concepts and understanding, by referring back to the Book and the Sunnah, in order to know the methodology of the Messengers in calling to Allâh. For indeed Allâh - the One free from all imperfections - informed that correct rule and sovereignty, which is the central part of the call of the former Jamâ’ah whom we mentioned, cannot be achieved except after correcting ’aqîdah, such that all worship is for Allâh alone and worship of everything else is abandoned. Allâh - the Most High - says:

“Allâh has promised to those amongst you who truly have îmân (true faith and belief) and act in obedience to Allâh and His Messenger, that He will grant them rulership upon the earth, just as He granted it to those before them, and that He will establish their Religion for them and grant them the authority to practice their Religion which He chose and ordered them with. And He will certainly change their situation to one of security, after their fear. Providing that they worship and obey Me, not associating anything else in worship with Me. Then, whoever rejects this favour by disobedience to their Lord - then they are the rebellious transgressors.” [Sûrah an-Nûr 24:55]

So these people wish to establish the Islâmic State before purifying the lands of idolatrous beliefs which take the form of worship of the dead, and devotion to the tombs - such as is no different to the worship of al-Lât,al-’Uzzâ and the third of them Manât, rather it is worse. So they are attempting that which is impossible:

“And whosoever seeks greatness without effort and exertion,
Will only be wasting his life in seeking something impossible.”

Indeed, establishment and application of the Sharî’ah and the prescribed punishments, and the establishment of the Islâmic State, and avoidance of whatever is prohibited, and achievement of whatever is obligatory - all of these things are from the rights of Tawhîd and matters which perfect it and follow on from it. So how can we give attention to that which is subsidiary whilst neglecting that which is of primary importance?


1. From the Shaykh’s introduction to the book: Manhajul-Anbiyâ fid-Da’wah ilallâh fîhil-Hikmah wal-’Aql(pp.10-16) of Shaykh Rabî’ ibn Hâdî. The translations of the meanings given for all Qur‘ânic Âyât are summarised from the tafsîrs of at-Tabarî, al-Baghawî, al-Qurtubî, Ibn Kathîr and ash-Shawkânî.
2. Related by al-Bukhârî (no.7372) and Muslim (no.29) from ’Abdullâh Ibn ’Abbâs radiallâhu ’anhumâ.
3. Related by al-Bukhârî (no.7372) and Muslim (no.29), from Ibn ’Abbâs radiallâhu ’anhu.
4. Related by al-Bukhârî (no.454) and Muslim (no.4425), from ’Âishah radiallâhu ’anhâ.
5. The proof for this is the Saying of Allâh - the Most High: “Allâh does not forgive that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives whatever is lesser than that to whomsoever He pleases.” [Sûrah an-Nisâ 4:48].


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