Malfoozaat on Tableegh

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Tableegh, i.e. Amr Bil Maroof Nahy anil Munkar is waajib on condition that the Haqq did not reach the audience and one feels reasonably confidant that the people will not inflict on one such harm or injury beyond one’s ability of forbearance. At such a time it is waajib to act in accordance with the Hadith, “Whoever among you who sees evil should prevent it with the hand.” When one lacks the ability or power for rendering this duty or the audience is capable of injuring one, tableegh will then not be waajib. Even if there is the fear of danger but it is known that the audience is intransigent and will resort to abuse of the Shariah (or of Allah and Rasulullah—sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then too tableegh is not waajib.

Those who are categorized as religious and see their daily (five time) prayers to be an obligation, do they even consider this (Tawasee bil haqq) tableegh to be as necessary as well? Definitely no! If one misses an obligatory prayer, one would feel regretful, but if one misses an opportunity of doing tableegh he will not feel any remorse. Think honestly, has it ever happened that you felt regret for not advising your wife? Or, did you ever feel regret when you found your friend in a non-Shar’i condition, and you did not advise him? Never!

And if once in a while by coincidence one does advise someone, then instead of being thankful to Allah for providing an opportunity to fulfill an obligation after a long time, one feels proud of it, as though he accomplished a very big task. This is just like one who feels proud of standing vigil on the night of Qadr, but doesn’t feel the same after praying Dhuhr (noon prayer). No one feels proud after eating; then why feel so proud after advising someone? The secret is the same. They consider praying Dhuhur as an obligation, and fulfillment of an obligation is not considered a big task, while they do not consider Tawaseeh bil haqq to be an obligation. They consider it as an extra deed, which is why if they somehow get a chance to do it, they feel proud of it.

If they had considered it an obligation then they would not seek pride from it, instead they would feel that this tableegh was a responsibility. (He would then know that) the way we feel the remorse for not praying our obligatory prayers, we should also feel the regret for not being able to do Tawaseeh bil haqq for two days. So, this is just like a person who doesn’t pray Ishaa (night prayer) and then considers himself a regularMusalli (one who prays). No one will consider him a regular musalli. Then how can one feel religious while forgoing ones obligation inTableegh? Understand it well, without tableegh you cannot be religious. [Khutbah]

My contention is not so much with those men who are not religious, rather with those who are religious and regularly pray. They too do not fulfill this obligation to inform their families. They don’t keep account of their families’ activities; whether their wives or children prayed for the day or not; did they do anything contrary to Shariah or not? These people have made their perception that ‘we only need to rectify ourselves. This will attain us Jannat’.

This is a wrong thinking. They will be accountable of this action as well. They will be asked as to why they did not inform their family of deen. Allah Says clearly in Quran (Surah Tahreem, V6). “You who believe, Save yourself and your families from fire” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam has mentioned in one hadeeth, “Each of you is a Shepherd, and each of you will be accountable for his flock” (Sahih Bukhari) So do not think that this family will leave you just yet. If they will go to hellfire, they will take you along with them. (Hence start worrying on making tableegh to your families). [Khutbah]

“By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.”

At this moment, I would like to caution you all about one thing. Just as Allah (SWT) has made the ‘state of loss’ dependant on ‘Emaan’ and ‘righteous deeds’, similarly Allah has also made it dependant on ‘tawaseeh bil haqq’. Tawaseeh bil haqq means to advise each other and to do tableegh (propagation) of deen.

Allah (SWT) is giving us the commandment of tableegh (especially) with regards to this calamity of apostasy which is spreading widely (within our ummah). Tableegh needs to be done to those Muslim brothers who are caught in this calamity or have a fear of being caught. We need to inform them about the boundaries of Islam and save them from apostasy. Tableegh is an obligation upon us, both in primary tenets of deen, and its branches. We can clearly understand its fardhiyyah (obligation) from this subtlety, that just as we have been commanded with Emaan and righteous deeds, in the same breath the command for tawaseeh bil haqq has been given. And, the state of loss has been made dependent upon all these factors.

Now, let us check the state of our negligence. How much time from the twenty-four hours of a day do we spend carrying out this obligation upon those people who are not under our direct responsibility (e.g Muslim brothers, sisters etc.)? Leave that aside, we do not even carry this obligation upon those who are under our direct responsibility (eg. wife, children)! [Khutbah]

“What! Do you tell others to do good whilst you are forgetful of yourself, whereas you read the Kitaab?” (Surah Baqarah, 44) Question: Does this mean that one whose actions are not in order should desist from admonishing others? Response: No! The purport of this Aayat is that one who tells others to do good deeds should not forget about himself. Telling others to do good deeds is vital and there is definitely some benefit in it or other. The benefit to the listener is self-evident; even the admonisher benefits. It is my experience that when I find some deficiency in me, I give a bayaan on the subject and from that day onwards I automatically start engaging in the work for it is embarrassing to find myself lacking in something which I have propagated to others. (Ashrafut Tafaaseer)

Let us look at an Ayah which has been used to take proof that no one should propagate dīn until he brings that action into his own life. “Why do you say that which you do not do? It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do.” (61:2-3)

In reality these people have relied on the apparent translation only and have been deceived. They think that the Ayah is saying that an action which one is not doing himself, then he should not tell others to do that act, whereas that is completely incorrect. In order to understand Qurān in proper way we need to keep in mind the Asbāb un Nuzūl in mind.

The Sabab un Nuzūl of this particular Ayah is that, some Muslims said that if it was told to them which action is the best and most rewarding, then they would go at length to accomplish that action. Upon this it was revealed that the best of action for the Muslim is Jihād fi Sabīlillah. When some Muslims heard this revelation they became apprehensive. This Ayah was revealed about these Muslims, and it rebuked them that why do they say something when they themselves would not be able to fulfill.

So in this Ayah“لم تقولون” has neither come to mean “لم تنصحون غيركم”2 nor any commanding order, rather it is an informative statement. In other words this ayah is from the chapter of Da῾wā (Claiming) and not from the chapter of Da῾wah (Propagating).  This should have been understood after reading the reason for its revelation, that this Ayah has absolutely nothing to do with Amr bil Ma῾rūf Wan Nahiyun ῾anil Munkar.

Hence, while it is necessary to propagate and rectify (Islāh) other Muslims, rectifying oneself takes precedence over that. Despite this necessity Allah has not disregarded the propagation and rectification of others; rather Allah has emphasized the command of Tablīghat numerous places without restricting it to self-rectification.

The reason for this is that everyone deems self-rectification to be necessary, but does not give much importance to propagating to others. This is why the propagation and rectification (Islāh) of others is greatly emphasized. This is why in the Ayah “كنتم خير امة”3 has placed this propagation (Amr bil Ma῾rūf Wan Nahiyun ῾anil Munkar) before self-rectification (Islāhun Nafs), so that one should not forget the work of Tablīgh along with one’s self rectification. [Khutbat]

(Addressing a gathering consisting of mostly students of the Deen – Talabah – and teachers – Asaatizah, Hazrat Thanwi Rahmatullahi alaih said): Like Namaaz and Roza (Salaat and Saum), Tableegh is also Fardh. However, the ways of Tableegh fluctuate with the circumstances. For instance, your learning (O Students) is also Tableegh provided that your intention is good, for “Actions are judged according to intentions.”

If your intention is to make Amr bil ma’roof having completed your studies then this course of study is a branch of Tableegh. If this is not your intention then your learning is not Tableegh. Consider a person who makes no intention when offering Namaaz. He is not credited with any Namaaz. Similarly, if a person does not make intention of Roza but stays the whole day away from food, there is no Roza for him.

It is astonishing that we learn and teach day-in and day-out but due to not having the intention of A’maal and Taa’aat (good deeds and acts of obedience unto Allah Ta’ala) we are deprived of reward. Thus, with a good intention learning these kitaabs in these times is undoubtedly a branch of Tableegh. [Etiquettes of Tableegh]

If Tableegh is sub-divided into three divisions; one: Tableegh of the Fundamentals and Tenets of Islam to the kuffaar, the second: Tableegh of the particulars that is, the Masaail of the Deen to the general Muslim public, and three: to prepare a group to competently make Tableegh then teaching and learning are palpably part of Tableegh.

Now, since there are departments of Tableegh it does not follow that every person involves himself in all three departments. In fact, allocation of responsibility is necessary. Thus, the various branches should be entrusted to specific individuals. In other words, in proportion to ability and competency responsibility should be allocated as every person is not competent at everything. Sharing responsibility of the departments of Tableegh is furthermore understood from the Qur’aan Majeed. Allah Ta’ala says:

“It is not appropriate for all the Mu-mineen to go out (in Jihaad). Why not a group from every region go out…” (Surah Anfaal, 122)

Here Allah Ta’ala has condemned every one going out in Jihaad. He says: One group should go out in Jihaad and a group should stay behind to study the Deen. This Aayat does not discuss who should do what. In other words who should go out in Jihaad and who should stay behind to study? Nevertheless, what it does state is that the work of Deen should be allocated.

In like manner, since Tableegh has different departments, some should attend to one department whilst others should look after another. All should not jump into one department for this will erode the foundation of Deen. [Etiquettes of Tableegh]

These days some people have started to think that the work of tablīgh is the sole duty of ulamā. If it is the sole duty of ulamā then let these ulama also keep fast on your behalf, and you may go ahead and live a life free of any religious restriction. [Khutbah]

I do not say that there is no distinction between the Ulamā and Laymen. The distinction is indeed there but the Ulamā are not the bearer for the entire task. The detail in this is as follows: Address (speech) is of two Categories, which are further divided into two types.

Category 1: [i] General Address to masses [ii] Specific Address to individuals. Category 2: [i] Address pertaining major issues of Dīn. [ii] Address pertaining to detailed issues of Dīn

In the above, from within “Category 1” the first type (i.e. General Address to masses) is restricted to the Ulamā.  Only their speech will be beneficial for the masses because people have trust in these Ulamā and see them as their leader. This is contrary to a layman who would not be beneficial in this type of an address because people do not regard him worthy of leadership and thus his address will not be effective

As for the second type within this category (i.e. Specific Address to individuals), then this is not restricted to Ulamā. Anyone can give advice and guide another person on an individual bases. Similarly, in “Category 2” the “Address pertaining major issues of Dīn” can be done by anyone and is not restricted to Ulamā. Anyone can give this speech aloud. This address refers to those issues which every muslim ought to know in any case, like “we should believe in Allāh”, “pray five times”, “fast the month of ramadhan” etc.

The last type in “Category 2” (i.e Address pertaining to detailed issues of Dīn)) is restricted only for the Ulamā. These addresses include specific issues pertaining to the laws of Shariah. Laymen will err in relaying such an address. An Alīm generally is aware of lot of maxims within the Shar’ī Law, so much so that he will not err, and even if one Alīm does not know a specific maxim then the glory of his knowledge is such that he will not shy away from saying “I do not know”. Nonetheless, such issues require an in depth understanding.

Similarly to give an address to masses and then explain the Shar’ī rulings is restricted for theUlamā, while to address major and well known aspects of Dīn on an individual basis is not restricted to the Ulamā. This is why Allāh mentions in one place:

“There should be a group among you which calls towards good… “(3:104)

Here the action of Da’wah has been made restricted to one particular group. And later on Allāh says:

You are the best of nations who has been raised for the mankind. You enjoin the good and forbid the evil… (3:110

In this ayah, the task of enjoining good and forbidding evil has been kept general, hence everyone is addressed. This also gives us the indication that enjoining good and forbidding evil has one particular level which is obligatory for everyone and is not restricted to Ulamā alone. The detail has been given above.

Aside from this, there is another distinction understood from these ayāt, between the role of Ulamā and the Laymen. This distinction is that one group will be such that it will always be in the work of tablīgh by enjoining good and forbidding evil, while another group will be such that it will carry out this duty of tablīgh according to the time and place. This is mentioned in the second ayah. This is called distribution of task and no nation can advance unless it has some form of distribution of tasks. Thus Ulamā’s role in Da’wah and Tablīgh is such that they are always engaged in it; while the laymen will do their part of Tablīgh in specific times and places (which ever are most suitable). This is because Allāh made the salvation from the loss dependent on Tawasī bil haqq and Tawasī bis Sabr in Suratul Asr; hence making this an obligation on ALL (ulamā and laymen alike). [Khutbah]

In most cases it is detrimental for non-Ulama to engage in general tableegh to the masses because laymen are not generally versant with the limits of propagation. They, therefore, commit excesses in the Deen.

Furthermore, since most laymen are not spiritually reformed, their propagational activities are clouded with base motives of the nafs. Pointing to the fact that propagation to the general public is the exclusive duty of the Ulama, some Mufassireen have said that the word ‘min’ in the aayat: “Let there be among you a group calling to virtue…”is ‘min’ tab’iedhiyah’, which sets aside some out of the whole; the meaning here being that some and not all should execute this duty.

The particular Amr Bil Ma’roof of the Ulama is Waajib in the following cases: 1. A person does something and is not aware of the Shariah’s ruling in regard to his doing. 2. The Aalim has full control and authority over the one who does the act. 3. The Aalim is confident that the one doing the deed will heed his (the Aalim’s) statements of Amr bil Ma’roof. In cases other then the three above mentioned, the Amr bil Ma’roof will be Mustahab (preferable and meritorious), but not obligatory.

In short, do not do anything unilaterally. Otherwise, instead of any good there will be corruption because I see those Talabah who are not even qualified with their studies jumping on the Tableegh bandwagon. In my opinion they should firstly complete their studies. This is of prior importance. If this studying and teaching are abandoned then all Tableegh and writing, etc. will be in vain.

The reason for this is that such persons will be incompetent. And the ‘tableegh’ of an incompetent person is worthless. In fact, if this carries on (students devote themselves to Tableegh instead of their studies) then in a short time our heritage of Ilm will be lost. Thus, the education in the Madaaris is also a branch of Tableegh. [Etiquettes of Tableegh]

Among the branches of Amr bil Ma’roof, Nahyi anil Munkar is to propagate to the kuffaar as well. Such propagation may be either verbally or by means of literature distributed to them. Tableegh to the kuffaar should be to the non-Muslims of one’s own land as well as to those of other lands. Although tableegh to the kuffaar is no longer Waajib, nevertheless, since the Shariah is universal, it will be highly meritorious if this branch of tableegh is also undertaken.

Defending Islam against the onslaught of the forces of baatil is also a branch of Tableegh. To save the seekers of truth from doubt, confusion and deception, the Ulama should counter and neutralise the criticism, attacks and false allegations of the kuffaar and the Ahl-e-Bid’ah. In achieving this goal, all lawful means should be utilised.

The first condition for Amr Bil Ma’roof (Commanding virtue) is not to despise the person who is being admonished. If he is despised, the Amr bil Ma’roof will be for the sake of one’s nafs. For Islaah (reformation) both mildness and harshness are necessary. There are two types of mildness—for the Deeni benefit of people, and for one’s own worldly benefit. This latter kind is evil.

A man here once admonished someone, exhorting him to do an act of righteousness. I doubted his motive and said to him: “Did you resort to Amr bil Ma’roof (commanding righteousness) to a certain man” When he replied in the affirmative, I said to him: “You are standing in the Musjid. You are taking the Name of Allah Ta’ala. If you are going to speak a lie, both your worldly life and the life of the Akhirah will be ruined. Now honestly answer. At the time when you were executing the duty of Arm Bil Ma’roof, did you consider yourself better than him?” He replied: “Undoubtedly, I did think so.” I said: “This is therefore, not guidance. On the contrary it is deviation. I fact, it is a deviation akin to shirk. Now what should be done to you?” He said: “Whatever you prescribe.” I said to him: “Tend to the shoes off all the musallis.” (This means to put in order the shoes off all the musallis who usually leave them in disarray at the entrance of the Musjid.) Also, fill the wudhu-jugs for all. (These services were imposed on him as a remedy for his pride.)

Since this ailment (of pride) was in consequence on his Thikr and Shaghl (prescribed forms to spiritual exercises), I ordered him to desist therefrom. Instead of the prescribed formulae of Thikr I instructed him to continue with Thikr while walking, sitting and reclining. In this way he will in fact be engaging in even more Thikr. He had derived much benefit by the adoption of this method. He had also conceded this fact. His words were: ‘Even in ten years I would not have derived so much benefit.’

(Introduction: The Ahl-e-Bid’ah – those who practise bid’ah- in India accuse the Ulama of Deoband of being disrespectful to Rasulullah- sallallahu alayhi wasallam – Such accusations and slander have been evoked in consequence of the criticism of bid’ah customs such as meelaad and qabar-puja –grave worship- by the Ulama of Deoband. Since the Ulama of Deoband prohibit all acts and customs of bid’ah, the Bareilli sect propagated the slander that the Ulama of Deoband are disrespectful of Rasulullah – sallallahu alayh wasallam. In view of this false propaganda, the Ulama at Darul Uloom Deoband asked Hakimul Ummat, Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi- rahmatullah alayh- to deliver a wa’z on the fadhaa-il of Nabi-e-Kareem- sallallahu alayhi wasallam- to counter the false propaganda.—Mujlisul Ulama) Commenting on this request, Hadhrat said: “During the Jalsah of Deoband (Darul Uloom Deoband), I was requested to deliver a wa’z on the fadhaail (virtues) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) so that the ill-conceived notion of the masses regarding the Ulama of Deoband could be dispelled. The opponents (of the Ulama of Deoband) had deceived the people into believing that the Ulama of Deoband vilify the lofty status of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) – Nauthubillaah! I said to them (i.e. those who requested the wa’z): Such a discourse will only serve the motive of the speaker. A wa’z should in reality be for the benefit of the audience. Since no one present here (in the jalsah) denies the virtues of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), of what benefit will such a wa’z be for them? After some thought, I delivered a wa’z on the malady of Hubb-e-Dunya (love of the world) which is a widely prevalent disease among the people. If I had delivered a wa’z on the virtues of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then perhaps the misconception may have been dispelled. But this misconception which (countenances slander against the Ulama of Deoband) is not such a grave malady to warrant a special lecture). It is neither kufr nor shirk. While it is incumbent to believe in the Nabi, it is not incumbent to believe in any particular Aalim or Wali. Just as Allah Ta’ala will forgive other sins, so too will He forgive this misconception (of the Ahl-e-Bid’ah). This forgiveness will be even if their niyyat (intention) was malicious. On the contrary, if their intention is sincere and their accusation is the product of a genuine intellectual error of judgement, then instead of being punished, they will be rewarded.”

A leader of Islam (an Alim of the Haqq) should state with clarity every issue of the Shariat as Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) did on the question of Khalq-e-Qur’aan (Is the Qur’aan created or uncreated?). He proclaimed the truth with clarity(and was severely lashed by the order of the king). One who is not of such calibre should not engage in such debates. There is no need for it. If the audience is intelligent and unbiased, the question should be correctly stated with clarity. If the debate will be acrimonious, maintain silence.

Among the etiquettes of Tableegh is to exhort and explain the one concerned in privacy and with kindness. Thereafter, if necessary, in public and with emphasis and severity. On the other hand, if there seems to be no hope of the audience heeding one’s call, then ignore them and make dua.

People have the wrong conception of harshness. If obedience to the Law is commanded with sternness, it will not be harshness. All the rules of Salaat are easy. However, harsh warnings have been sounded for non-observance. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had also instructed the hudood (the punishments of stoning and cutting off the hands). Despite such severity, the Qur’aan describing the character of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) says: “Verily, you (O Muhammad!) are on a wonderful moral character.”

When the Haq was trampled upon then the anger of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was unstoppable until he restored the Haq to its position of dominance. He would, however, neither become angry out of self-interest and nor would he avenge on account of a personal matter. (Nashrut Teeb)

(A Muhaqqiq is an Aalim of the Haq who is grounded in knowledge and taqwa.) The greater a Muhaqqiq, the more will he be criticized. The reason for this is the profoundness of his knowledge and intellectual grasp. Others are unable to understand the profundity of his investigative research. His statements appear to be in apparent conflict with what the masses believe, hence even verdicts of kufr are doled out against him. However, they were truly wonderful men. In their short life they prepared volumes of such books which are not normally possible. Added to their works of knowledge, is the abundance of their ibaadat. They would perform hundreds of raka’ts daily and engage in abundance of Tilaawat. Hadhrat Haaji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) said that when a man develops a compatibility with the realm of souls (Aalam-e-Arwaah), then he is not much restricted by time and space. There is barkat in his time and work. The illustrious seniors among the Mutaqaddimeen were such men. The determinant in this barkat is primarily Taqwa.

There is a core essence of Tablīgh and boundaries that govern it. We have been given ta῾līm (guidance) for everything and this ta῾līm is of a very pure nature. So pure that even the theories of elite philosophers also fail to produce something similar.

Rasulullāh salallahu ῾alayhi wasallam has been taught in the Qur’ān to relay the message and not to worry about whether the people accept that message or not, even if it means that they all end up going to hell. This is such a thought provoking and pure teaching. The secret is that one should not make the “materialization of the fruits” as a goal in for ones efforts. This way the person will not be disturbed about his progress and will not lose courage.

On the contrary if the person looks towards the“materialization of the fruits” as a goal, and when he does not see any fruits of the effort, he will lose hope and stop struggling. It should be kept in mind that struggling in the effort itself is an independent goal and this has been the way of our elders. In this field they had only one outcome which they would hope for and that one fruit is happiness of Allāh. This can be attained at all times, whether the Tablīgh is fruitful or not.

The reality of the matter is anything which is Ikhtiyāri (within ones means) can be accomplished, and by  focusing on something gher ikhtiyāri (beyond ones means) one will only lose hope. To do Tabīgh is ikhtiyāri, and for its fruits to materialize is gher ikhtiyāri. Do not run after gher ikhtiyāri or you will lose out on the ikhtiyāri as well!

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4 thoughts on “Malfoozaat on Tableegh

  1. 'abdur Raheem

    Brother Jazaak-ALLAAHU Khairan for this eye opener post.
    Tableegh explained in detail with such clarity that no doubts remain…ALHAMDULILLAAH

    Taqabbal-ALLAAHU minkum…
    May ALLAAH TA’AALA keep us united on Haqque in this dunya & reunite us for the Vision of HAQQUE in Jannah…aameen

  2. vaseem farooqui

    Hazhrat thavi rahmatullah alaihi
    malfoozat is of great impotance and of great use for guidance
    jazakallah admin for this post and inshallah keep posting such posts


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