We’ve all been there. We’re trying to motivate ourselves to get involved in the community (da’wah) but we’re confronted by endless barriers for why we shouldn’t. From self doubt to prioritisation issues, the list of reasons for why we stay away never seem to end.
Many of these thoughts often run through my mind when trying to motivate myself and others to get involved. I was recently blessed to sit in a class with Sh. Ahmed Saad Al-Azhari as part of the Husna Course (run by the Ihsan Institute) we run in our local community in Solihull. The session went through the issues with such clarity that I thought it we be beneficial to write them up and share them with the community for everyone to benefit. Although this particular segment was focussed on questions scholars would ask themselves, I think the have a general application for all of us. Insha’allah I will endevour to post the comments for each of the other categories of people as we cover them.
I pray this is of benefit, and may Allah allow us to follow the reality of the words we learn and teach. Ameen. I have also uploaded the video for you to hear the commentary directly. Please also pray for Sh. Ahmed for providing us with such useful insights!
Excuse 1: I do not practice what I know, so how can I invite others to it?
Not practising what you know is one fault, but not teaching it is another separate fault. Having two faults is far greater than having one, so fix the first by getting involved and remedy the second through it.
Excuse 2: This work is a great station which I am not qualified for
This is fake humility. Genuine humility is a virtue, and a virtue does not prevent another virtue from arising. Do what is good and struggle with yourself to keep you humble.
Excuse 3: It is better that I busy myself with worship and remembrance of God (dhikr)
Imam Ghazali wrote: “An action which benefits others is greater than an action which stays with yourself”. The latter only earns reward for you, whilst the former brings others to benefit to you and the community. This deserves your time more. The underlying question here though is one of prioritisation. It is likely you are wasting time elsewhere which you can re-channel to doing this work without compromising your other worship.
Excuse 4: There is no point. Corruption is everywhere and it will be no use
There is a hadith of the Prophet ﷺ:
|Anas ibn Malik reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” [Sahih, Adab Al-Mufrad]||حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْوَلِيدِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا|
The world by its nature is finite. Our objective should never be confined to it as nothing we do here will last except that which benefits us in the next life. This hadith demonstrates that even if we are certain that the final hour is about to take place and that the benefit of our good action will not manifest in this world, we should do it anyway as the intention, outcome and reward are all with Allah. Our actions should give more focus to the means than the ends. Allah has given us authority over our intention and action – both of which we are accountable for – whilst the outcome is something in His control. Whether or not a change comes at our hands should neither deter us from getting involved nor be the motivation by which we pursue things. The world today may seem a dark place, but far greater calamities have hit Muslims previously and there have always been those whose streadfast resolve for the truth prevailed in the end. Do your bit and leave the outcome to Allah.
Excuse 5: I have to earn a living and don’t have time for this
Allah is Al-Razzaq (The Provider). Busy yourself with Allah’s work, and He will ensure your provision is always given. Never has a person dedicated themselves to such work except that Allah has opened up the world for them – for the work of Allah is the highest paid! Allah said in a Hadith Qudsi
|Abu Sa’eed narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The Lord, Blessed and Most High is He, has said: ‘Whoever is busy with the Qur’an and My rememberance such that he doesn’t ask Me, then I shall give him more than what I give to those who ask.’ And the virtue of Allah’s Speech over the speech of others is like the virtue of Allah over His creation.” [Hasan Ghareeb, Tirmidhi]||عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ يَقُولُ الرَّبُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مَنْ شَغَلَهُ الْقُرْآنُ وَذِكْرِي عَنْ مَسْأَلَتِي أَعْطَيْتُهُ أَفْضَلَ مَا أُعْطِي السَّائِلِينَ وَفَضْلُ كَلاَمِ اللَّهِ عَلَى سَائِرِ الْكَلاَمِ كَفَضْلِ اللَّهِ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ ” . قَالَ هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ|
If you are in the service of Allah, Allah will put everything at your service, and if you place this world as your objective, the world will never come to you.
Excuse 6: I have to study and teach other sciences which are of no direct benefit to this
Prioritise the things which will be of most benefit to you and your community. Many teachers and students concern themselves with knowledge they neither benefit from nor benefit others with. Know where your talents lie, see where the communities needs are and learn that which will best serve each of those.
The Husna course, offered by Ihsan Institute in partnership with Solihull Islamic Education Institute (SIEA), consists of 15 day intensives spread throughout the year taught by Sh. Ahmed Saad Al-Azhari, an Egyptian scholar based in the for over 10 years. The course runs through 7 essential subjects needed for life in the UK;
- Fiqh – a guide through the key legal rulings around common scenarios one will face in acts of worship
- Hadith – a run through of 40 sayings of the prophet ﷺ compiled by Imam Nawawi, summarising the key aspects of religion
- Tafsir – an explanation of key passages from the last chapter of the Qur’an
- Da’wah – a run through of practical
- Aqeedah – a discussion on key Islamic creed and answering some common, contemporary questions
- Tasawuf – the application of knowledge. How one realises and applies it all in real life
- Seerah – the life of the prophet ﷺ and relevant examples to today
The course is something I would highly recommend as a first step for any seeker. It is very manageable and Sh. Ahmed is a rare scholar who combines both knowledge and spirituality. If you want to find our more, read the following booklet.