Da’wah of the present day groups (jamaa’aat) who have neglected the importance of ‘aqeedah (correct belief and creed) – Shaykh Saalih Fawzan

[The following is excerpted from : Shaykh Saalih Fawzan’s hafidhahullaah Introduction to the book : “The Methodology of the Prophets in Calling to Allaah – that is the way of wisdom and intelligence” – by Shaykh Rabee hafidhahullaah, translated by Dawud Burbank rahimahullah]

.. So whichever call is not built upon these foundations, and whatever methodology is not from the methodology of the Messengers – then it will be frustrated and fail, and it will be toil without any benefit. The clearest proofs of this are those present day groups (jamaa’aat) which set out a methodology and programme for themselves and their da’wah which is different to the methodology of the Messengers. These groups have neglected the importance of ‘aqeedah (correct belief and creed) – except for a very few of them – and instead call for the correction of side-issues. So one group calls for the correction of rule and politics, and demands establishment of the prescribed punishments, and that Islamic Law be applied in judging amongst the people, and this is indeed something very important, but it is not what is most important – since how can one seek to establish and apply Allaah’s Judgement upon the thief and the fornicator before seeking to establish and apply Allaah’s Judgement upon the mushrik, the one who attributes worship to others besides Allaah?! How can we demand that Allaah’s Judgement be applied to two men disputing about a sheep or a camel before demanding that Allaah’s Judgement be applied to those who worship idols and graves, and those who deny or hold heretical beliefs with regard to Allaah’s Names and Attributes, divesting them of their true meanings, or distorting them?! Are these people not greater criminals than those who fornicate, drink wine and steal?! Those are crimes against mankind, whereas shirk and denial of Allaah’s Names and Attributes are crimes against the Creator, the One free of all imperfections, and the right of the Creator has precedence over the rights of the creation.

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah says in his book, al-Istiqaamah (1/466): “So these sins along with correct tawheed are better than corrupted tawheed in the absence of these sins.”[1]

Then another jamaa’ah affiliates itself with da’wah, except that its methodology is also at variance with the methodology of the Messengers. They give no importance to correct ‘aqeedah, rather they give importance to worshipping and practising some dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) in the way of the Sufis.[2]They concentrate upon going out (khurooj) and touring the lands, and what is important to them is that they manage to attract the people to join them, without caring about their beliefs and creed (‘aqeedah). All of these are innovated ways, taking as their starting point matters which were justify until last in the call of the Messengers. This is just like the case of one who seeks to cure a body whose head has been cut off, since the place of ‘aqeedah in the religion is like the head with regard to the body. So it is necessary for these groups to correct their concepts and understanding by referring back to the Book and the Sunnah in order to know the methodology of the Messengers in calling to Allaah. For indeed Allaah, the One free of all imperfections, informed that correct rule and sovereignty, which is the central part of the call of the former Jamaa’ah whom we mentioned, cannot be achieved except after correcting ‘aqeedah such that all worship is for Allaah alone, and worship of everything else is abandoned. Allaah, the Most High, says:

“Allaah has promised those who truly believe (have true eemaan) amongst you, and act in obedience to Allaah and His Messenger, that He will grant them rulership upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them, and that He will establish their religion for them, grant them authority to practise the religion which He chose for them and ordered. And He will certainly change their situation to one of security, after their fear, providing that they worship and obey Me, not associating anything else in worship with Me. Then whoever rejects this favour by disobedience to their Lord, then they are the rebellious transgressors.”[3]

So these people wish to establish the Islamic State before purifying the lands of idolatrous beliefs which take shape in the worship of the dead, and devotion to tombs, such as is no different to the worship of al-Laat, al-’Uzzaa and the third of them Manaat,[4] rather it is worse. So they are attempting that which is impossible.

Indeed establishment and application of the Sharee’ah and the prescribed punishments; establishment of the Islamic State; avoidance of whatever is prohibited; and achievement of whatever is obligatory – all of these things are from the rights of tawheed, and matters which perfect it and follow on from it. So how can we give attention to that which is subsidiary whilst neglecting that which is of primary importance?

It is my view that the fact that these groups are at variance with the methodology of the Messengers in calling to Allaah is a result of their ignorance of this methodology, and the ignorant person is not suitable to be a caller, since one of the most important conditions for da’wah is knowledge, as Allaah, the Most High, says about His Prophet,

“Say, Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , this is my way, I call to Allaah (i.e. to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, with no partner) upon certain knowledge – I, and those who follow me. I declare Allaah free and far removed from all that they associate as partners with Him, and I am free of those who worship anything else along with Him.”[5]

So one of the most important qualifications for a caller (daa’ee) is knowledge.[6] Then we see that these groups (Jamaa’aat) which attribute themselves to da’wah are at variance with each other. Each group lays down a programme different to the programme of the others and follows a different methodology to it. This is the inevitable consequence of contradicting the methodology of the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , since the way and methodology of the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   is a single way, containing no division, nor divergence, as Allaah, the Most High, says,

“Say, Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , this is my way, I call to Allaah (i.e. to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, with no partner) upon certain knowledge – I, and those who follow me.”[7]

So the followers of the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   are upon this single way and are not divided and split. Rather those who contradict this way are the ones who divide amongst themselves, as Allaah, the Most High, says,

“This is my Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow any of the other paths, for they will split you and take you away from that way which He prescribed for you.”[8]

So because these groups (Jamaa’aat) are a threat to Islaam which may obstruct it, or prevent people from entering into it, then this is something which must be properly explained, and it must be made clear that this is something which is not from Islaam at all. Allaah, the Most High, says,

“Those who divide up the true religion and break up into sects and parties, you, O Muhammad, have nothing to do with them.”[9]

Written by Saalih ibn Fawzaan
Teacher in Imaam Muhammad ibn Sa’ud Islamic University.

Footnotes:

[1] The proof for this is the Saying of Allaah, the Most High, “Allaah does not forgive that partners should be set up with Him in worship, but He forgives whatever is lesser than that to whom He pleases.” [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):48]

[2] Publisher’s Note: For more information about Sufism refer to “The Reality of Sufism” by Muhammad ibn Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, U.K., 1995).

[3] Soorah an-Noor (24):55.

[4] Publisher’s Note: These were some of the idols that were worshipped by the Quraysh at the time of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ).

[5] Soorah Yoosuf (12):108.

[6] But some of those who claim to be callers to Islaam, if you were to ask them, “What is Islaam?” “What are the things which negate Islaam?” Then they would not be able to give a correct answer, so how can it be permissible for such a person to be a caller (daa’ee)?!

[7] Soorah Yoosuf (12):108.

[8] Soorah al-An’aam (6):153.

[9] Soorah al-An’aam (6):159.