Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tools for Da'awa Part I

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

This is in relation to previous posts about the importance of da'awa. I have no affiliation or interests in any movement. Sometimes they provides me inspiration for example those elders in South East Asia from various mission orders. I read those of South Asia and Middle East but in South East Asia we also have our own history of da'awa missions. For us who had been dipped into religious studies since our childhood, we are aware about local ulamas, their orders and their madrasas because we had been exposed to them first through the history of local ulamas. Local ulamas also were involved in the movements during colonialism period but because other who were a bit modern had been educated in Egypt so they were exposed more to the foreign Muslim reformers of diverse school of thought for example Rashid Ridha or Muhammad Abduh. So, those local ulamas were not really being given attention by youngsters. I believe that local ulamas and their works need to be documented. So far, we could see many blogs and sites talking about them. There are also efforts from local publishers. So, it is a good move itself.  

My father had also collected the list of ulamas in South East Asia under the classification which is known as Nusantara. I do not agree with him for the term since Nusantara actually denotes the area of Majapahit Hindu Kingdom of Eastern Java Island tributary states and they were actually scattered around the archipelago of South East Asia. Those states which were included into the Nusantara realm remained tributaries for a short period around 13th to 15th century. Not in a unified form and federalized. The problem happened in identification when it was bumped with the history link of the earlier Buddhist Srivijaya Empire as this ancient empire has few capitals in Sumatera, Malayan Peninsula, Southern Thailand and Java Island where few royal members being sent to administrate along with the locals.

We from Northern Malayan Peninsula were closer to Siamese Empire and the Burmese Empire. Our illustrious Sultanate never submit itself to any colonial power be they from South East Asia nor from Europe. Even when British trying to impose their rule, our Sultanate had already established its own modern administration system with officials wearing government servant uniform. British residence had not played significant function in our state capital because they find no reason to "fully" control our people. However, from my father written books I roughly get the idea about local religious teacher figures in Malayan Peninsula. I think rather than looking far outside of our region why not we pay our homage to those around us and looking at what are their approaches in term of da'awa? What are the tools that they proposed us to have when performing the responsibility of da'awa be it alone or be it in groups? I made some highlights here so brothers and sisters could look at what we need to equip in our selves and how we could cooperate with each other:

1. Intention and the Goal of Da'awa

A person who perform da'awa need to know what is the goal of his da'awa. Where would it lead the people who receive it? This has to do with the intention dear brothers and sisters. We should be acknowledged on what is our intention when performing da'awa. The purest form of intention is only for the sake of Allah pleasure. We are not performing da'awa to strengthen our political alliance, to strengthen our economy or to satisfy our nationalism or ethnocentrism courses. We are not performing da'awa to show off that we can dominate the mind of other people. The reason why we perform da'awa is to spread charity, to highlight the beauty of noble morality and promoting chastity around the universe. We are not in the position to act in Allah position because He does not need us to be His representative to put labels or calling other people names if they do not listen to the call and invitation. For the intention, the basic one is from the compilation of Imam Nawawi rahimahullah which states that every act we perform is with intention. This is also what those in secular legislation field learned about criminal law in the saying of: "mens rea or guilty mind when followed with actus rea or guilty act forms a crime". In the Divine Way of Islam, it is also the same. Our act is based on our intention and intention is within heart (mental and soul). Make sure to be specific in the intention before doing something.

2. Knowledge about Quran and Sunnah

When performing da'awa, we need to equip ourselves with the knowledge about al-Quran and the scripture. Before prophet Muhammad s.a.w era begins, there was the era of prophet Jesus a.s. He has disciples and he also assigned disciples who were known as his apostles to spread the mission of his gospel to others such as in the land of the Greeks, the land of the Assyrians and others. They brought with them scrolls and the notes of his teachings. People of this era could also do the same and we even have technologies such as iphones, blackberries, and other which could also access information from the database. However, I personally think that it would be better if we keep the Quran within our "heart". So, we could recite it out when we need them in our daily life or when we need to help others with the revelation.

Besides, we need to also know and familiar with the sunnah of Muhammad s.a.w. Sunnah here refers to the traditions inherited from prophets and sages. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w is the inheritor of prophetic traditions of ancient prophet and messenger of Allah's lineages. He transmits them again through the light of Quran and revelations. What is the source of sunnah? Actually many sources ranging from the hadith of Muhammad s.a.w discourses with his companions, his family members to the life of Muhammad s.a.w framed in the sīrah. It would be even better if we could also get to know his four closest companions whom are Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali. For us, we were also taught with the life of these companions closest family members.

3. Knowledge about Jurisdiction and Our Legislation System

When we talk about Islam, it is our way of life and it is divine. Why it is divine? It is flowing from Allah to His servant which is Muhammad s.a.w and transmitted to other servants through revelations. Revelations here is compiled as the Quran and also in the form of Sunnah. The basis reference for our legislation system is firstly the Quran and secondly the Sunnah which also includes the hadiths. When we talk about performing da'awa, we need to have sound knowledge about the opinions of the Salaf Imams and the Ahl Bayt Imams. We need to also know about these imams and their life. Because da'awa is also known as explanation. The Quran and the Sunnah needs explanation especially for jurisprudence and those imams provided explanations to them.

Who are those imams? Basically they are Imam Zaydi bin Ali, Imam Ja'afar bin Muhammad, Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik bin Anas, Imam Idris al-Shafi'ī and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal. These people had started six well-known schools of jurisprudence which are the Zaydi, the Ja'afari, the Hanafi, the Maliki, the Shafi'ī and the Hanbali. The Zaydi is followed mainly by those in Northern Yemen and the Ja'afari jurisprudence is followed by the Usūli Twelver Shi'a, the Akhbari Twelver Shi'a and most of the Isma'ili Sevener Shi'a (Fatimid) of both lineages the Nezari and the Sulaymani. It is because Imam Ja'afar al-Baqir is the sixth imam of the Musawwi Shi'a Muslim and the fifth imam for the Ismaili Shi'a Muslim.

Before we act on something, we would first have to take into the note that the Quran functions as the guidance, comparison for worship and as an interesting source of lessons. The same thing also goes to "the life of Muhammad s.a.w" where we need to get it from reliable sources of those who have faith in the prophethood of Muhammad s.a.w and not from those who do not believe in the prophethood.

4. Knowledge in Ethnology

To perform da'awa, we need to know the condition and the situation of nations which we are going to perform the da'awa. We need to check the current issues in the region. Other things to be taken into consideration such as their educational standard, the experience of the people, the climate and the way they behave or what is considered as social norms by the receiver society. These are framed in the ethnology.

After the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w passed away in the state of Medina, there were reports about companions of Muhammad s.a.w were quarreling over who is the most suitable candidate to be appointed as a caliph. After two days of discussion and meeting, they made up their mind to appoint Abu Bakr as the first caliph after the prophet s.a.w passed away. In the beginning, there were also those who disagree over the decision but later everyone accepts it. The reason why they accept it because Abu Bakr r.a was well-acquainted with the knowledge about the norms of Arabian tribes.

Knowing about ethnicity of the target society of da'awa is not by just memorizing the ethnic or a nation name such as German, French or Gallician as for example. One needs to know their common norms and mannerism. He has to know what is the difference in term of mannerism between a British and an American. What is the ethic of British or American in their daily life? I actually learned a lot from my discussion with non-Muslim friends because I could get to know their opinion without revealing my faith status. So, I could check on what is the most suitable way to perform da'awa according to situation and the type of society or individuals, haha.

5. Knowledge About General History

To perform da'awa, we need to know what are the factors of social depravity and from where did the customs that hinders society to think discernibly. It could be done through general history knowledge. Through this way, a person may perform da'awa without having to fear that his acts of combating customary inventions in a society would be rejected because he knows the factors of the inventions and their origin. His words with sound background knowledge would be taken into consideration by people after they learned the facts from the words spoken. So, people could transfer their selves from a condition to another condition.       

6. Knowledge in Geography

When a person moves to other region, he needs to first being acknowledged about the geography of the region. Say, if he is performing da'awa in the jungle say in Amazon, he needs to know the climate or important natural resources such as the location of river and equipped with orienteering equipments. It is also important in order to provide fatawa guidelines because the geography of regions would be different. For example, Imam Idris al-Shafi'ī had provided different fatawa guidelines in different locations in Iraq and in Egypt. It happened because of the difference in geographical grid and the difference of the regions makes the norms of people different. The fatawa in the Lisbon might be different to the fatawa in Manila because they are in different regions. So, in Shafi'ī school of jurisprudence as far as I know, they have the Qawl Qadīm and Qawl Jadīd. Qawl Qadīm means the Older Sayings and Qawl Jadīd means the Newer Sayings. It is because of the difference in regions.

So, those of other schools of jurisprudence need to respect each other and not trying to impose the opinions of their schools on others. No laymen who just sat in the circle of few lessons listening to reading of books for example by Sheikh Muhammad b. Abdul Wahhab or other individual Sheikhs could issue rulings on others. Shari'a is something which you have to start from the very beginning! Not from the above where you listened in the thesis of those ulamas and being influenced by the whisper of satan that you are all-knowledgeable because you are attached to a "popular" movement until you can label other with inventions in here and there. If you wanted to follow Hanbali madhab and the movements predominantly consisted by the Hanbalis, then find the ulamas who are knowledgeable in jurisprudence and learn under their supervision. Check all the kitabs by the Hanbali ulamas and not selectively.

There are many ulamas writing the kitabs according to Hanbali method of jurisprudence not only Ibnu Taymiyyah and Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. Example of them are Taqiyuddin Ahmad bin Abdul 'Aziz (Ibnu Najjar), Imam Muwaffiquddin al-Moqaddasi, Muhammad bin Muflih bin Muhammad bin Mofrij al-Moqaddasi and many others. What I could say, just be yourselves. You do not have to conform to other groups whom you look as popular because they look greater in their eloquence of speech or anything. You can always study their materials while being yourselves. 

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...