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Knowledge and wisdom “provisions of the caller

AMONG the greatest favours and bounties of Allah upon a person is to facilitate means and reasons by which he becomes one who carries out the mission of the religion and to be among those who strive and sacrifice all that is precious to them to establish the laws of Allah on earth so that the Word of Allah remains the highest and uppermost and the word of the disbelievers remains the lowermost. This high rank and honourable one is the most dignified rank and the highest level. It is the rank of the Messengers and their way, may Allah exalt their mention. This same task is shouldered by the scholars, who inherited this from the Prophets and Messengers. Calling people to Allah is an obligation upon all Muslims at different levels but it differs according to the level of knowledge, wisdom, way, rank, profession and time. This obligation is evident from many verses in the Quran. For instance, Allah Says (what means): “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” [Quran 3:104]. Allah also Says (what means): “Say, ‘This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him’.” [Quran 12:108] Allah further Says (what means): “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Quran 16:125] For the one who is propagating Islam, in order to achieve positive results in his mission, he should fulfil the two following matters: 1) Propagating based on sure knowledge: Allah Says (what means): “Say, ‘This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him’.” [Quran 12:108] It is necessary for all those who desire to call to Allah to have sure knowledge regarding the issue of propagating and inviting to Allah. Some people indulge themselves in propagating Islam without possessing any knowledge. Some scholars said that sure knowledge is divided into three parts: a) Knowing what one is inviting to; b) Knowing the situation (circumstances) of the one who is being invited; c) Knowing how to invite. First: Knowing what one is inviting to: The propagator must know the Islamic ruling on the issue he is calling to because he might call to something thinking that it is an obligation while it is not; thus obligating people to do something which Allah did not oblige them to do. Or he might warn against something thinking that it is prohibited while it is not so, and so on. Therefore, knowing what one is calling the people to is a vital issue. Second: Knowing the situation of the one who is being invited: The evidence for the importance of this issue is the narration in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to Mu’ath, may Allah be pleased with him, when he sent him to Yemen: “You are approaching a group from the people of the book; so let the first thing you call them to be the testimony that none is worthy of being worshipped but Allah”. Notice that he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, informed him about the situation of those whom he will be calling so that Mu’ath, may Allah be pleased with him, would be prepared and be acquainted with their situation and know how he should approach them. It is a mistake that a person invites or calls another person while he is not aware of his situation, his arguments, the kind of falsehood he is on or what he believes in; because he (i.e. the one who is being called) might put forward an argument which the Muslim propagator does not have an answer to; which results in the retreat of the truth. Third: Knowing how to invite: This refers to the methods of propagation, as Allah did not leave the matter up to us, but he guided us to the ideal way. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also guided us to start with the priorities; this leads us to the second issue: 2) Adopting a wise method of calling people: One of the Names of Allah is Al-Hakeem, which implies wisdom, and it is mentioned many times in the Quran in connection to knowledge. Allah knows all matters and decrees everything according to His Knowledge, based on what is best for a given situation and what will yield the greatest benefit to His Servants. He is the Most Wise and Most Knowledgeable in His Words, Actions, Sayings and Rulings. A wise person is he who places the correct matter in the most suitable place or situation as defined by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him. This can be attributed, in its perfect form, only to Allah, as He is the only One who is All- Knowledgeable of everything and the Most Wise in His Decrees and Rulings. One of the things that reflect the wisdom of the caller to Islam is when he bases his call on knowledge, because wisdom is derived from knowledge, as Allah says (what means): “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom…” [Quran 16:125]. That is the understanding and the proper definition of wisdom. Selecting the correct method along with the appropriate words is another matter that reflects wisdom in the caller. He should address people in a comprehensible manner in order to facilitate their understanding of the matter. For example, one should not talk to people about the virtue of optional fasting of three days every month while they do not observe the fast during the month of Ramadan, and so on. Thus, a propagator of Islam should be mindful of these matters when calling people to the path of Allah, lest he drives them away due to a shortage in any of them.