VERSES OF THE HOLY QUR'AN CONCERNING TABLIGH
First of all, I want to mention a few verses of the Holy Qur'an concerning Tabligh. From these verses, the readers can easily see how important Allah considers the preaching of Islam.
I have come across as many as sixty verses on this particular subject, and Allah knows how many more verses could be found by another keen observer. I quote here a few of them for the benefit of every true believer.
"And whose words can be better than his, who calls (people) towards Allah, and performs good deeds. and says: 'I am one of those who submit to Allah!'"
Certain commentators have written that whoever invites people to Allah through any means deserves the honour mentioned in the above verse.
For instance, the prophets call people to Allah by means of miracles, and supernatural actions, the scholars invite them by preaching and arguments, the Muslim warriors (mujahids) call them by means of the sword; and the muazzins call them by means of the azaan. In short, whoever invites people to good deeds deserves this reward, whether he calls them to the formal observances of Islam or to the internal improvements of the spirit, like the mystics who stress the purification of the heart and the realization of Allah's attributes.
In the concluding verse quoted above some commentators say such a person should also be proud of the honour bestowed on him by Allah, of being categorised as a Muslim, and he should proclaim this honour in words.
Some other commentators interpret that he should not be proud of being a preacher, but should consider himself as an ordinary Muslim.
"(O Prophet! SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) preach to them (the Truth), for preaching proves very beneficial for the Believers."
The commentators have written that by preaching is meant instructing the believers through the verses of the Holy Qur'an, for these would guide them to the Right Path. But such a preaching can be useful for the disbelievers also, for thereby they may become believers. Alas! in this age, preaching is not performed regularly and properly. Generally the object of the preachers is to show off their ability and eloquence to the listeners, whereas the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) has said:
"Whoever learns the art of declamation in order to attract the people towards himself, his prayers and observances, whether obligatory or optional, will not be accepted on the Day of Judgment."
"And command your family to observe the prayers, and also perform these yourself regularly. We do not ask you for sustenance. We will give you sustenance; and the ultimate success is for the God-fearing."
Numerous traditions say that whenever anyone complained of poverty to the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM), he recited this verse, and advised him to perform his prayers regularly, as though pointing to the fact that regularity in prayers will lead to ample provision.
It has been stressed in this verse to do a thing yourself before giving instructions to other, because this is a more effective and successful method of preaching. That is why all the prophets themselves first did what they preached to others. Thus they became examples for their followers, who would not then think that the teaching of their religion are so difficult to carry out.
Moreover, Allah has promised ample provision for those who perform the prayers regularly, so that they should never feel that prayers can interfere with the earning of their livelihood, whether through trade, service, etc. Thereafter it is stated as a rule, that ultimate success and salvation will be attained by the God-fearing only.
"0 son! Perform thy prayers regularly; and command people to do good deeds, and prevent them from forbidden things, and bear patiently whatever befalls you (in the preaching of Truth): undoubtedly this demands courage!" (Surah Luqmaan: 17)
In this verse, several important things for a Muslim have been mentioned, which can be a means for our salvation; but we have neglected these very badly. Not to speak of the lack of preaching the truth, we have neglected even the prayers, which is a basic principle of Islam, in fact the most important after faith. There are so many people who do not perform their prayers at all; but even those who do, hardly perform it with all its requisites, such as congregational prayers. It is the poor only who perform the prayers with congregation in the mosque, while the rich feel it below their dignity to be present in the mosque. Ah! my complaint is only to Allah!
"0 careless person! What is an insult for you, is a matter of pride for me."
"0 Muslims! there must be a group among you who would invite people to Good; and would command them to do good deeds, and would prevent them from forbidden things; and these are the people who will attain salvation.*' (Surah Aaliimraan: 105)
In this verse, Allah has clearly commanded the Muslims to prepare a group or party which would preach Islam throughout the world: but we see that the so-called Muslims have totally neglected this commandment. On the other hand, the non-Muslims, are preaching their religion day and night. For instance, parties of Christian missionaries have been specially assigned to propagate their religion in the whole world; similarly other communities are trying their best to preach their own religions. But the question is, is there such an organization among the Muslims? The answer, if not in the negative, cannot be in the affirmative either.
If any individual or any party among the so-called Muslims arises for the preaching of Islam, unreasonable objections are raised against them, instead of giving them help and co-operation, whereas it is the duty of every true Muslim to help those who preach Islam, and to remove shortcomings where necessary; but these people neither do anything themselves to preach Islam, nor help those who have devoted their lives to this sacred cause. Thus the result is that even the sincere and unselfish preachers are disappointed, and give up their efforts in this regard.
"0 Muslims! you are the best of peoples, who have been selected for the guidance of mankind; you enjoin them to do good deeds, and prevent them from forbidden things; and you have firm faith in Allah." (Surah Aali Imraan: 10)
That the Muslims are the best of all nations, has been asserted in certain sayings of the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) also; and there are some verses of the Holy Qur'an that corroborate this. Even the above-mentioned verse bestows the honour of 'Best Nation' on us, provided we preach Islam, command people to do good and prevent them from evil.
The commentators have written that in this verse, the preaching of truth and prevention of evil has been mentioned before faith even, whereas faith (Imaan) is the root of all Islamic beliefs and actions. The reason is that faith has been a common factor among all the nations of the world, but the special thing that has particularly distinguished the Muslims is the mandate enjoining people to do good, and to prevent them from evil.
So, this is the real basis for the superiority of the Muslims, whenever they fulfilled it; and since in Islam good actions are of little value without faith, it is therefore specifically mentioned at the end of the verse. In fact, the real object in this verse is to emphasise the importance of enjoining people to do good deeds, and this is the distinguishing feature of the Muslim Ummah. It is not sufficient to enjoin good and to prevent from evil only now and then, but this practice should continue at all times and on all occasions regularly.
Reference to the task of preaching the truth are found in earlier religions, but the distinguishing merit of the Muslim Ummah lies in taking it up as a regular assignment. This is not a temporary work, but a permanent one.
"In the talk of an assembly of common folk there is no good at all, except those who command people to give charity (to the poor) or instruct them to do good things, or make peace between people (they will be rewarded by Allah). And whoever does this only to please Allah, soon he will receive a great reward from Allah." (Surah Nisaa: 114)
In this verse, Allah has promised a great reward for those who preach truth; and how great and honourable can be the reward that has been called 'great' by Allah.
In this context, the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) has said, "A man's words may be a burden (sin) for him, except those that he has spoken for giving instructions for good deeds, and preventing others from forbidden things, or for remembering Allah."
In another Hadith, the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) has said, "Shall I tell you a virtue better than optional prayer, fasting and charity?" His Companions said, "You must tell us that virtue, 0 Messenger of Allah!" (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM). He said: "To make peace between people, for hate and mutual conflict uproot good deeds, just as a razor removes the hair."
There are many more verses of the Holy Qur'an and sayings of the Holy Prophet (SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) that instruct us to make peace between people. What we mean to emphasise here is that to make peace between people is also another form of instructing them to do good and preventing them from evil. To introduce peace and cooperation in the society should therefore be given due importance.