We call upon da’wah workers to emphasize the concept of gradual progress, not sudden change; careful, strategic planning, not arbitrariness; wisdom, not agitation; deliberateness, not haste; and continuous, persistent work, not interrupted, hurried work. As the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “The best loved deeds to Allah are the continuous ones even if they are few or little” (Reported by al-Bukhari 3/31).
The Prophet is also reported to have emphasized the value of every deed, even the small ones, in the service of the overall objective of spreading the message of Islam. He (Peace be upon him) said: “Convey what you have received from me, even if it is one verse” (Reported by al-Bukhari 3461).
We need to remember the saying, “Time is part of treatment.”
Going by Stages:
We need to break down our plans into different stages, which build upon one another and serve the overall objective. The stages in sequence will allow the final goal to be achieved since the first goal paves the way for the second one, and the second one is founded upon the first one. Each stage lays the foundation for the next one. We also have to set realistic objectives that we can achieve in a reasonable time and in a way that suits the prevailing environment.
Planning for the Future:
The present is the son of the past and it is the mother of the future. Workers have to learn from the past, deal effectively with the present, and make sufficient preparations for the future. We have to do everything in our power to improve the situation, always putting our trust in Allah and relying completely on Him.
Therefore, da’wah workers plan for the future, for this testifies to their prudence and paves the way for success. If we choose not to plan, we will be doomed to failure and will be marginalized. Indeed, Islam attaches great importance to investing in the future. Islam teaches us to fear the displeasure of Allah and prepare for the Day of Judgment, which is our eternal future.
We recognize the efforts of planning which prophets undertook to ensure the best results. For example, there is the story of prophet Joseph who saved Egypt from the dreadful seven year - long famine through his planning to consume wisely and store enough wheat. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also attached much significance to future planning, as evidenced by the planning for the migration of his companions to Abyssinia, the planning for his and his companions’ migration from Makkah to Madinah, and the planning for improved relations through the Covenants and agreements he concluded with the Jews in Madinah. He also planned for the spread of Islam through peaceful means.
His da’wah included the letters he addressed to various rulers that opened the door to negotiations and set in motion the glorious development of Islamic civilization. These measures taken by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) helped pave the way for the future of Islam.
Strategizing Responses to Attacks on Islam:
Every now and then, people face different kinds of trials, tribulations, problems and misconceptions. Examples of attacks on Islam include defaming the Prophet Muhammad and his household, the attack on a Muslim community center, the assault on a holy place, and the mocking of Islamic scriptures. There are various motives behind these assaults, including hatred, ignorance and seeking fame. Attacks on Islam sidetrack the efforts of sincere Muslims and divert their attention away from the message and essential areas of activity.
Islamic workers have to contemplate ways of prioritizing these problems and then deal with them according to the motives behind them. They may respond to these problems by adopting different strategies, such as observing complete silence or providing a media response that will expose these problems and misconceptions with or without naming them.
It should be noted, however, that when they choose to counter false allegations, they have to observe utmost care. Otherwise their efforts will be wasted and they will fall prey to the tricks of wicked individuals who only intend to divert their attention away from the real mission, exhaust them, and then restart the cycle by raising more accusations.
Being Active ... Being Proactive:
Islam encourages its adherents to be active, and proactive, for activism is the prerequisite to civilization building (‘Umran). Islam encourages productive discussion and dialogue, but warns against idle and vain talk.
Some da’wah workers gather, not to engage in constructive, positive conversations, but rather to waste time (discussing trivial issues, defaming people and organizations, superficially raising some unnecessary issues and giving themselves false hopes). Having wasted a few hours, they then disperse without having done anything beneficial. They falsely believe that they have discharged their duty towards God by supporting His religion, while in fact they are only deceiving themselves (through futile speeches to satisfy their passion for idle talk and to fill the vacuum in their lives). They are only venting their emotions rather than spreading knowledge, in the mistaken belief that they truly serve Islam, while in fact they are neglecting their agenda and responsibilities. To make matters worse, they bestow religious legitimacy on their distracting chatter and meaningless sophistry. They argue just for the sake of argument, rather than for any helpful goal.
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