Da`wah (inviting people to Islam) and Tabligh (conveying the Message) is a collective responsibility of the whole Ummah and an act of great reward as it has been declared a distinguishing characteristic of this Ummah by the Qur’an. [See Albaqarah 2:104, 110. Yusuf 12: 108. Hamim Al Sajjdah 41: 33].
My Question is also about the Work of Jama’ah Tabligh. According to the Shariah there is no particular format of doing DAWAH. Some people do Dawah by creating website about Islam and some by going to door to door. Some people go to places like Egypt and some choose to go to Saudi Arabia to learn deen for certain amount of time leaving the family and work. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn’t tell us a particular format of doing Dawah. Dawah, I believe can be done in different ways, I don’t think a person has to form a M.S.A or some kind to Islamic organization to give Dawah.
1) In the light of Quran and Sunnah, the kind of Dawah the Jama’ah Tabligh is doing is it permissible?
According to some Islamic Scholars that format Moulana Ilyas1 selected and now used by Jama’ah Tabligh, according to Shariah there is nothing wrong with that.
2) What do you think?
3) Some people think that Tabligh is a bid`ah (innovation) in ISLAM. What you think?
I found some information on the WEB while search about Tabligh Jama’ah. This information was posted by some one on the WEB. Just want to get your opinion (I am not sure if it is authentic)
Kanzul Ummal, Transmitted by Abdul Razzaq. Vol II p288.
DISPROVAL FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT COMPLETE FORTY DAYS IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH. Zaid bin Abi Habib narrated, “One person came to Umar ibn Khattab r.a. He asked Him, “Where were you?” The man replied, “I was in the cantonment.” Umar r.a again asked, “For how many days did you live in the cantonment?” HE replied, For thirty days.” “Why did you not complete forty days?” Asked Umar r.a.
For Four months period.. the story is transmitted by Baihaqi (Vol IX, p.29) through Malik on the authority of Abu Dinar.
TO GO OUT IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH FOR THREE ARBA’INAT (FOUR MONTHS) Ibnu Umar r.a narrated, “Once Umar ibn al Khattab r.a is taking a round in the night. He heard the voice of a woman who was reciting: ‘The night has become too long and all its end have been blackened. I can’t sleep as I don’t have a beloved with whom I would play.’ The Umar r.a. came to his daughter, Hafsah r.a and asked her, “For how long a woman can live without her husband?” She replied, “Six or four months.” Umar r.a said, “I will not detain the armies more than this.”
I fully agree with you, the Shari`ah does not specify any particular method of propagation and neither does it make it obligatory upon Muslims to adhere to a particular method of Da`wah. A person may, therefore, adopt any particular method of calling to the way of the Lord, which he deems more effective in his environment and the one, which is in keeping with the bent of his particular personality.
However, the Shari`ah has made a few qualifications regarding the nature and scope of the work of Da`wah at various levels.
For Common Muslims
At a common man’s level, a Muslim has been prescribed to participate in mutual admonitions and exhortations regarding steadfastly following what he has understood to be the Truth (Al-Asr 103). The words “mutual admonitions and exhortations” have defined the nature and the scope of the responsibilities of propagation, which the Qur’an has placed upon common Muslims. For instance, these words clearly imply that:
This work is done at a mutual level. This work does not create a relationship of teacher and pupil, or the learners and the learned among those who participate in it. On the contrary, it creates a relationship of mutual helpers in promoting whatever is considered good and hindering whatever is believed to be bad (or evil). The Qur’an has referred to the true Muslims as ‘mutual friends, promoting good and hindering evil, among themselves’ (Al-Taubah 9: 71).
They refer to an on-going ‘divine’ assignment. The act of mutual promotion of good and steadfastness on the Truth is not a temporary phase in one’s life, but is to be conducted through out one’s life – 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The scope of this work seems naturally to be limited to one’s own social environment and surroundings. In other words, this work is primarily to be undertaken and conducted in one’s own environment and surroundings. It is to be conducted in one’s family, friends, relatives and social and professional acquaintances. It is obvious that ‘mutual exhortations and mutual admonition’ cannot take place without a prior relationship between the two or more individuals who involve themselves in the exercise.
The nature of this work is not one of “Teaching Islam” to others, on the contrary it is limited to the mutual promotion of what is already known to be good and mutually hindering what is already known to be bad.
The above, in my opinion, are the guidelines provided by the Shari`ah regarding the work of propagation when it is undertaken by a common Muslim.
For Those With Knowledge
The Qur’an, in Al-Taubah 9: 122 has prompted some of the Muslims to gain expertise in Islam and has subsequently prescribed an assignment for them as well. The referred verse reads as:
And it was not possible for all the believers2 to go out [to gain expertise in Islam]3. Then why did not a group from each community come to gain in-depth knowledge in [God’s] deen and to warn their people, when they returned to them, so that they may save themselves [from God’s wrath].
Some of the main points referred to in this verse, which are pertinent to our discussion are:
The opening of the verse tells us that even though it is not possible for all the Muslims to gain in-depth knowledge of Islam, due to the natural differences in their abilities as well as in the opportunities that one is provided in life, yet some of the people, in each community, who had the ability of gaining such in-depth knowledge, as well as the opportunity for doing so, should have made the efforts of gaining this knowledge.
The verse prompts those who have the ability and the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of Islam, to do so.
The work that is assigned to those who gain this in-depth knowledge of Islam is to warn their people of God’s wrath and His punishment, if they remain unmindful of their duties and obligations toward Him.
The purpose that is to be served from this work has been given in the words: “So that they may save themselves”. Thus, the ultimate goal of the work of those who have been given the ability and the opportunity of gaining in-depth Islamic knowledge is to make their people mindful of their duties, so that they save themselves from the severe punishment of the hereafter.
In contrast to the nature and scope of the work assigned to the common man, the work prescribed for those bestowed with an in-depth knowledge of Islam, is one of teaching and wisely admonishing others on their deviations from the right path. This work is not done at a mutual level. In this case, one person assumes the active role of a teacher for his people and the common Muslims are expected to assume the role of pupils.
For Muslim Collectivities
The third level of propagation mentioned in the Qur’an is one, which is to be undertaken by a Muslim collectivity4. The Qur’an says:
These are the people, who – if We give them authority in the land – shall establish Sala’h, pay Zaka’h, promote good and forbid evil. (Al-Hajj 22: 41)
This verse was revealed before the establishment of the Muslim state in Medina. This verse chalked out the basic Da`wah program for the Muslim state even before its establishment. The primary responsibilities given in this verse are:
The first and the foremost responsibility in this regard is the establishment of Sala’h. This responsibility includes the establishment and the maintenance of all such facilities that may be required for the organization of Sala’h. For instance, this responsibility includes – as is also evidenced by the Seerah of the Prophet (pbuh) and that of the subsequent Muslim Caliphs – the construction and the maintenance of mosques; the appointment, if necessary, of the leaders of prayers; the organization of the Jum`ah congregation and address etc.
The second responsibility of an organized Muslim collectivity, as is mentioned in the referred verse is the establishment of the system of collection and the equitable distribution of Zaka”h5.
The third responsibility of an organized Muslim collectivity is that of the promotion of whatever is good and forbiddance of what is known to be bad. After the establishment of the Muslim state in Medina, the Qur’an gave a further directive with respect to the fulfillment of this particular responsibility. It directed the Muslim state to create an organized department, which is authorized by the state, for the purpose of carrying out this particular responsibility, on behalf of the state. The Qur’an says:
And it should be so that there be a group among you, which calls to virtue, promoting good and forbidding evil. And whoever makes this arrangement, shall indeed be successful. (Aal Imraan 3: 104)
In the foregoing paragraphs, I have briefly outlined the basic directives of the Shari`ah relating to the propagation of Islam at various levels.
Keeping the above explanation in perspective, let us now turn to your specific questions.
Your first question is whether or not the kind of work done by the Tablighi Jama`ah permissible by the Shari`ah.
I may have some differences with some aspects of the work done by the referred group, but the work can in no case be termed as prohibited by the Shari`ah.
Your second question is whether or not the style of Da`wah adopted by the Tablighi Jama`ah according to the directives of the Shari`ah or not. I have given my understanding of the directives of the Shari`ah relating to Da`wah and propagation of Islam. Obviously, if the work of the referred Jama`ah is in consonance with my understanding of the related directives of the Shari`ah I would consider it to be in accordance with the directives of the Shari`ah. Otherwise not. I would suggest that you try to derive your own results rather than make me comment on the working of the Jama`ah.
Your third question is whether Tabligh is a bid`ah or not. In my opinion, Tabligh (propagation) can by no means be termed as a bid`ah. In fact, propagation of Islam, if done in keeping with the related directives of the Shari`ah is a duty of every Muslim man as well as woman.
The narratives which you have cited at the end of your letter are not even remotely related to the work of propagation and Da`wah. The results which are being derived from these narratives are far-fetched and, in my opinion, absolutely incorrect.
August 10, 2000
- The founder of the referred movement. [↩]
- As everyone is neither capable nor has the opportunity to do so. [↩]
- It should be kept in mind that the knowledge being referred to here is the in-depth knowledge of Islam. It does not refer to the basic knowledge of Islam, which should be gained by every Muslim. [↩]
- It should remain clear that “Muslim collectivity” does not refer to the various groups formed by Muslims, it actually refers to a Muslim state. [↩]
- Zaka’h is the only tax which an Islamic state can impose upon its Muslim citizens. The Shari`ah has given extensive rules pertaining not only to the collection of Zaka’h, but also its distribution or spending. [↩]