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  Dawah and Intellectual Development  

Da‘wah is a strictly non-political mission. But it is an extremely difficult task to perform, because it invites challenges from virtually all sections of society. The da‘i says: “Here is the truth with a capital T, and success in this world as well as in the world hereafter depends on the acceptance of this truth, so man has no choice but to accept it.” This kind of claim is highly provocative, eliciting reactions from every ideological group—religious, materialist, secular, atheist, etc.

The man with a mission throws down a challenge which provokes a response. A challenge-response-mechanism becomes operative which stimulates continuous interaction, involving questions and answers, discussions and dialogues. It is during this interaction that the process of intellectual development begins.

As a mission, da‘wah work by its very nature is divine. Because of this, people with a mission are bound by their code of ethics to respond in a positive manner to their audiences regardless of the latter’s misconduct. At all costs, they must, as a matter of principle, avoid all friction. As the Qur’an says:

“Certainly, we (the Prophets) would bear with patience your persecution of us.” (14:12)

This positive behaviour on the part of people engaged in the da‘wah mission prevents them from succumbing to hatred for and violence against the other party. That again ensures that their intellectual growth and development will go on uninterruptedly. No situation whatsoever will halt this process of peaceful da’wah and, subsequently, the inner progress of those involved in it will continue ceaselessly.

The Prophet Muhammad once said: “Beware of the wisdom of mu’min (a believer), because he sees with the light of God.” How is it that a mu’min becomes a man of wisdom, in such a superior sense? It is because his faith makes him pious and God-fearing. In his state of piety, he undergoes the inner experience which psychologists call brainstorming. This helps activate his potential to the full extent. The result is miraculous: if, before, he was a man, now after this brainstorming, he becomes a superman.

Then comes da‘wah, that is, the call to Islam. According to the Qur’an, da‘wah is the great jihad. Why is da‘wah the great jihad, or great struggle? Because it is a universal mission. It is a most serious task. It engages one’s entire capacities throughout one’s whole life. Every time one is faced with intellectual challenges, one is bound to give a strong response.

Thus, da‘wah becomes an extensive course of action through which one’s personality develops day by day, until one reaches the highest level of intellectual and spiritual development.
Iman (faith) and da‘wah are two basic levels of Islam. If iman is a superior ideology, da‘wah is a superior course of action. Iman purifies one’s mind and soul, while da‘wah imbues one’s personality with a sublime probity. One who adopts Islam as a universal mission, in both the ideological and practical sense, is morally activated to the maximum possible extent and this course, slowly but surely, leads him to reach the highest pinnacle of humanity.

Stating the relationship between man and true religion the Qur’an says:

So you set your face towards the true faith uprightly, the upright nature with which God has endowed man, and let there be no alteration in God’s Creation. That is the right religion, although most men may not know it. (30:30)

This means that every human being is created by God to be capable—as a matter of his natural constitution—of accepting the religion of truth. The Unity of God is a truth, arrived at intuitively, and is plain to every man of common sense, unless he perverts himself by the different prejudices which he receives from his environment. Islam is thus the natural religion that a child left to itself would develop. A western writer, Lady Cobbold, has rightly described it in these words, ‘Islam is the religion of common sense’.

When this potential is realized, it results in the emergence of a new man. What kind of character is possessed by this new man is made clear by the following hadith:

Nine things the Lord has commanded me:

     Fear of God in private and in public;
     Justness, whether in anger or in calmness;
     Moderation in both poverty and affluence;
     Joining hands with those who break away from me;
     and giving to those who deprive me;
     and forgiving those who wrong me;
     and making of my silence meditation;
     and my words remembrance of God;
     and taking a lesson from my observation. (Razin)  

 This hadith gives a complete picture of the man Islam wants to build.

We invite you to join the dawah mission.


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  Quran Foundation is founded under the aegis of CPS International