The Speaking Tree I December 28, 2014
A daee, who spreads God’s message, is bound to fail if he preaches revenge, says Maulana Wahiduddin Khan in Mumbai. MOHAMMED WAJIHUDDIN reports
Like many other things in Islam, Dawah is a much misunderstood term. It literally means ‘to call’. And in the Quran, it is used as ‘calling people to the message of God’ or conveying the divine message to humankind. Dawah is not a tool to convert or an armed struggle against a regime or group of people as many Islamists today would like us to believe. When Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan talks about dawah, he attempts to translate the word’s Quranic interpretation into action. This was evident at a recent three-day Dawah Meet in Mumbai, organised by the Centre for Peace and Spirituality International (CPS) which the Maulana heads.
Spreading the message of God is easier for those who understand God’s creation plan. Under this plan, confrontation is avoided and opportunities are availed of. When God opens His bounties on earth in the form of rain, He actually provides enormous opportunities to various groups, including farmers. Once the dry soil gets wet due to rains, farmers avail this opportunity and sow seeds only to get a good harvest later. “Those farmers who miss the opportunity and don’t act in time, will repent later,” said the Maulana. “The same applies to the people who want to do the dawah work. They must do it while they are alive as they won’t get an opportunity to do it hereafter.”
Dawah is a peaceful act. While it is done peacefully, it is wrong to expect that it can be done only in a peaceful atmosphere. There will always be a section of society trying to create trouble for those who want to live in peace and tranquillity. No prophets or saints enjoyed an ideal situation or environment to spread the message of God. Prophets like Ibrahim —Abraham, Musa — Moses, Isa — Jesus, and Muhammad had to work in adverse conditions. Through their message, they challenged established socio-religious norms, though they kept their struggle peaceful. Muhammad would have not succeeded had he followed a violent method for spreading God’s message. Mecca was a major commercial and religious centre since Ibrahim, wife Hagar and son Ismaeel created a sanctuary in the middle of a desert. Ibrahim conveyed the message of God here. Centuries later, Muhammad too utilised the precincts of the Kaaba in Mecca to tell people about God’s creation plan.
Revenge and dawah are poles apart. A daee, one who gives dawah, is bound to fail if he preaches revenge. Many so-called modern daees exhort their followers to avenge real or imagined injustice. Hafiz Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawah in Pakistan allegedly carries out armed struggle against the people or State it deems anti-Muslim. This violence-oriented work cannot be called dawah. It is political interpretation of the Islamic message of dawah. Political interpretation of an Islamic term is inherently dangerous as it involves violence, while spiritual interpretation is harmless and peaceful.
A spiritually-oriented person creates positive vibes around him, while the one who is politically motivated creates jealousy and enmity. A daee cannot afford to be politically-oriented as jealousy and ambition will make his message look hollow.People involved in true dawah work consider the whole world as their audience. They cannot be selective. A divine message has universal appeal and it should be shared with every human being, irrespective of caste, creed and gender. “Nobody is your enemy,” declares the Maulana. Instead of seeing others as potential enemies, people doing dawah work see everyone as potential friend. Animosity cannot be the basis for spreading divine message. It can be spread through friendship, mutual love and trust.
Conspiracy theorists are enemies of dawah work. Those who feel and always blame that some people are conspiring against them are not ideal dawah workers. And a workshop like the one Maulana Wahiduddin Khan addressed showed dawah is a peaceful mission which has no place for conspiracy theorists, rabble rousers and doubting Thomases.