Ten; the ability to do ‘first things first,’ ensures success for people working in the field of da’wah. The boy insisted on the most important, first step to coming close to Allah, and that is imaan, faith in the Almighty.
We have to arrange in the right order what we intend to pass to our audience, then emphasis should be on the most important points; everything to be placed in its appropriate position. Da’wah must start with keeping shirk at bay and establishing solid basis for imaan in people’s hearts. Laa ilaaha illallaah must be a living reality within their system, illuminating their lives and dispelling the darkness of disbelief and shirk.
Your da’wah must not dissipate energy on naafilah at the expense of fard; on fighting minor sins and neglecting kabaa’ir; or on correcting makruuh and being unmindful of haraam. No; da’wah must commence with first things first.
Let issues be presented according to the preferential order in the Glorious Qur’an and how often they are mentioned in its verses. Let such matters as commanded that level of attention in the Glorious Book be accorded equal consideration in our process of thinking and way of life. Favoured candidates in this regard could be belief in Allah, His prophets and His Messengers. Another is belief in the Abode of the Hereafter in which reward for good or evil deeds will translate into eternal life in Paradise or Hell.
In the second category is the fabric of worship, like the proper establishment of salaah, giving out of zakah, fasting and pilgrimage to the Ka’bah. Closely related to this is the concealed form of worship of dhikrullaah, tasbeeh, tahmeed, seeking for His forgiveness and repentance. Also, in this line could be putting implicit trust in Him, hoping for His Mercy, dreading His punishment, showing gratitude for His bounties and perseverance in times of adversity.
Right conduct will follow: truthfulness, shyness, humility, tenderness to believers, sternness to the faithless, showing mercy to the weak, obedience of parents, keeping the ties of kinship, honouring the neighbour and taking care of those in need and the orphans.
We shall not accord an issue any more importance than that given to it by the Qur’an; for the Qur’an is the ultimate proof for this Ummah; it is the basis for the deen; and the Sunnah is there for explication.
What is concealed in the breasts should be given preference over physical actions; Allah looks at what is hidden in our hearts of faith and sincere intentions. By this, I do not mean the faulty understanding of some people who say all that matters is the intention. The action also matters a great deal but we should not fixate on the action without knowing the underlying intention too.
So, what is imperative to da’wah work is for us to pay more attention to the source rather than the branch; like the people who will spend the night in naafilah prayer but neglect the subh prayer which is obligatory. Or such night vigil will sap away the energy they need in their place of work. They come to the office weak and unable to discharge the task for which they earn their salary.
Such people should know that discharging their official responsibility is obligatory; giving less than what their appointment letters and schedule of duty expects of them amounts to dishonesty and eating up of the property of that office in vanity. Night prayer is naafilah; discharging official task is mandatory!
What about those who will observe naafilah fast every Mondays and Thursdays with difficulty especially in summer? The effect of the fast weakens their performances in their offices and places of work. But observing such fast is optional, not obligatory. The Prophet (SAW) prohibited the observance of naafilah fast by a woman whose husband is present until she asks for his permission, because the husband’s rights on her are more deserving of observance than naafilah fast.
In the same connection as above is the case of people who have performed the obligatory hajj as is compulsory on every Muslim able to do so, but they undertake to observe voluntary hajj and Umrah every year – for the tenth, twentieth or even fortieth time - spending millions on what is not obligatory while their neighbours need urgent assistance or die of hunger and preventable illnesses.
Then all of us, those engaged in da’wah and those to whom it is directed, are required to put things in the right perspective: the very important and then important; then the essential and then necessary, and so on.
Eleven; the strength of imaan in Allah and how firmly the Islamic ideology is rooted in the heart make one working in the da’wah field to become strong and daring enough to face any tyrant and convey the message without fearing any repercussions or the blame of any blamer. We saw that in the position assumed by the boy in his intercourse with the king and in the ultimate showdown with the countless number of new believers who were murdered but who smiled as they died for Allah’s sake.
Twelve; every froward potentate cannot and will not permit free exchange of ideas among his people; has no proof against plain truth; their only refuge is in stifling the truth, and torturing and killing those who accept it. This is exactly what the king did to the monk, the courtier, the boy and all those who believed afterwards.
The Glorious Qur’an chronicles the story of Musa (AS); how Allah strengthened him with miracles and wonders and how Pharaoh and his chiefs denied him without any proof. They accused him of lying against Allah; that he was a madman and a sorcerer. Pharaoh, may Allah’s curse be upon him, even claimed divinity and purposed to kill Musa (AS).
The Qur’an says:
“When Moses came to them with Our clear signs, they said: "This is nothing but sorcery faked up: never did we hear the like among our fathers of old!" Moses said: "My Lord knows best who it is that comes with guidance from Him and whose end will be best in the Hereafter: certain it is that the wrong-doers will not prosper." Pharaoh said: "O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself: therefore, O Haman! Light me a [kiln to bake bricks] out of clay, and build me a lofty palace, that I may mount up to the god of Moses: but as far as I am concerned, I think [Moses] is a liar!" And he was arrogant and insolent in the land, beyond reason, - he and his hosts: they thought that they would not have to return to Us! So We seized him and his hosts, and We flung them into the sea: Now behold what was the end of those who did wrong!” (Al-Qasas 28:36-40)
“Of old We sent Moses, with Our Signs and an authority manifest, To Pharaoh, Haman, and Qarun; but they called [him]" a sorcerer telling lies!"... Now, when he came to them in Truth, from Us, they said, "Slay the sons of those who believe with him, and keep alive their females," but the plots of Unbelievers [end] in nothing but errors [and delusions]!... Said Pharaoh: "Leave me to slay Moses; and let him call on his Lord! What I fear is lest he should change your religion, or lest he should cause mischief to appear in the land!" Moses said: "I have indeed called upon my Lord and your Lord [for protection] from every arrogant one who believes not in the Day of Account!" (Ghaafir 40:23-27)
The Qur’an taught us that repudiators and enemies of Allah’s emissaries have one trait: they belie the message and accuse the messenger of insanity and or sorcery. It says: “Similarly, no messenger came to the Peoples before them, but they said [of him] in like manner, "A sorcerer or one possessed"! Is this the legacy they have transmitted, one to another? Nay, they are themselves a people transgressing beyond bounds!” (Az-Zaariyaat 51:52-53).