In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
O ye who believe! Retalation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painfull doom. (Al-Baqarah, 178)
DURING ‘Maulidur Rasul’ (Prophet Muhammad's s.a.w. birthday), I attended several lectures on the subject, a talk by one preacher, Ustaz Long Kechik moved my heart and I would like to share it with readers.
His talk and presentation with aid of a power point illustration was simple; it revolved on why we were sent into this world and where we are heading for. On why we were sent into this world, he quoted Surat Adh-Dhariyat 51:56 (The Winnowing Winds) with the meaning; “I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me.”
Yes, human being existence along with jinn are to worship Allah SWT, but Ustaz Long explained in this ‘ayah’, Allah SWT used the word ‘men or mankind’ and not Muslim, so the duty of Muslims is not confined only to worship Allah SWT, it is more than that.
So what are other duties of Muslims? To explain this, Ustaz Long discussed at length about Allah SWT's mercy in sending His prophets.
Allah SWT, out of His abundant Love and Mercy for mankind, has not left us in darkness to discover the right path by trial and error alone. Coupled with our intellectual capability to reason, Allah SWT bestowed upon us divine guidance that outlines the Criterion for truth and the knowledge and reality of our existence in this world and Hereafter.
From the beginning of mankind Allah SWT sent exemplars or prophets to convey His revelation and to invite all mankind to the path of true peace and obedience to one true God. This is Islam.
This message was conveyed to all nations and tribes in this world throughout successive generations through more than 124,000 prophets – all inviting mankind to the same path.
Ustaz Long said prophets before Muhammad s.a.w. were sent to their own people or tribe. Their followers were not given the duty to preach the religion and when the prophets died, they were replaced by other prophets.
But Prophet Muhammad being the ‘khatamah’ (final) Messenger of Allah; was not only sent for his own tribe (Quraisy and Arab) but for all mankind and even jinn at every corner of the planet and his teaching would valid until ‘kiamah’ (the end of the world).
“If Prophets before Muhammad s.a.w. died; their teachings would be upheld by their followers and when they swayed from the true religion, Allah SWT would send another prophet, but what would be the case of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.’s followers?” asked Ustaz Long.
He said, after Prophet Muhammad's demise; the duty to preach and uphold the religion falls on the shoulder of every Muslim. This is what the Prophet s.a.w. used to tell his Companions to do: “Convey (knowledge) from me if it is just one ‘ayah’.” (al-Bukhari)
In another hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said: “Whoever calls people to the truth will have a reward like that of those who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Sahih Muslim)
Based on this fact, Ustaz Long stressed that the duty of every Muslim (the followers of Muhammad) is to worship (serve) Allah SWT (as mentioned in Surat Adh-Dhariyat 51:56 “I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me”) and to do the ‘dakwah’ (be a ‘daie’ – preacher).
‘Umat’ (the followers of) Muhammad was in front and have special place in the eyes of Allah SWT compared to other Prophets’ followers because among others they were given the task to spread the message of the Final Prophet s.a.w.
“So do we carry out the two tasks given to us as the followers of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.?” asked Ustaz Long. “True some of us devote ourselves to worship Allah SWT and to refine it such as doing the ‘tahajud’ (late night prayers) or ‘iktikaf’ (spending much time in masjids; praying, reading the Qur’an or thinking about God or oneself) but sadly, many of us distance ourselves from doing the ‘dakwah’ work.
“I would like to give you some simple examples. I know during ‘subuh’ (dawn) prayers many of you dashed off to the masjid with your bike. Sure, you devout yourself to your Lord but sad to say some of us do not bother on whether our wives of children say their prayers or not. To some extent; some of us were not bothered to wake up our children to say their prayers especially during their school holidays.
“Then how many of us are concerned about our wives and daughters attires; do they comply with the Islamic code of dressing? Then there are cases where the mother wears the hijab but the daughter puts on sexily clad dress.
“Why this situation is rampant in our Muslim homes? One factor is we do not do our ‘dakwah’ job. The father thinks that he should be a good Muslim but forget about his wife and children.
“He should ‘dakwah’ not only himself but his dependents for Allah SWT says: "Believers! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are angels stern (and) severe as wardens, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (Qur’an 66:6)
“After doing ‘dakwah’ to one’s family, have a look at our neighbourhood. Are our neighbours good practising Muslim or if they were of a different belief, have we shown them good aspects of Islam so they would be interested in the religion. Have we talked about Islam to them?
“Then we have to look at problems of our society, our state, country, and globally and lend our hands in solving them.
“The problem with Muslims nowadays is that we do not do the dakwah work, we only concentrate on own ‘ibadah’ (acts of devotion to Allah SWT) only as though we are going to Heaven alone. Remember a man would be stopped from entering Heaven by his wife or wives, daughters, sisters and mother if they insisted he had not done enough in guiding them to the straight path,” said Ustaz Long.
Sadly, nowadays dakwah seemed so strange, said the ustaz. Malays must not forget that they become Muslim from the hard work of dakwah of Arab, Indian and Chinese preachers who were mostly traders and they efforts were rewarded when rulers of Pasai/Perlak, Melaka, Aceh, Palembang, Patani and almost all entities in the Malay Archipelago accepted Islam beginning from the 10th century and reached its peak in the 15 and 16th century.
“If not because of the dedication of these traders and preachers, Malays would still be pagans, Nauzubillah,” said the ustaz.
Centuries ago, the Chinese such as Laksamana (Admiral) Cheng Ho had their part in preaching Islam to the people of Melaka and Palembang. Nowadays have the Muslim Malays done their jobs in explaining Islam to the Chinese community? The same should be asked on the dakwah work of the Malays to the Indians community.
So, based on the fact that dakwah seemed to be left out these days, Ustaz Long suggested it should be rekindled; insya-Allah (God willing) the ills of society would be able to be checked and more non-Muslim becoming interested in the religion and insya-Allah become Muslims themselves.