Triple Imperatives Of Islamic Work: Opportunities & Challenges Part II - Introduction: Dawah And Society

21 August 2012

Triple Imperatives Of Islamic Work: Opportunities & Challenges Part II - First, Second And Third Imperatives

By Abdulwarees Solanke

The world is always in flux not because there is no plan to stabilize it. In fact the fluidity is part of stabilizing instrument of life. For if the world perpetually Edenic, man is soon exhausted by its monotony and he begins to clamour for something different to "spice up".

If the society cannot be edenic or utopian so to say, then man must not claim divinity or perfection. After all, he has to operate and relate within the challenging milieu, challenging in the sense that he is subject to the temptation of shaitan and the primary elements of his own creation.

Introduction: Dawah And society

The reality of man and society is that Allah purposely created him in dialectics: Servitude and Freedom. But between the dialectics of freedom and servitude lies the imperative of Dawah: Towards what? Servitude to the creator or to the created? Freedom from the created or the creator?

Based on the closeness and interaction of the Islamic worker with the Quran, his understanding of the dialectics and his involvement in Dawah so far, I assume there is a strong feeling and burning desire in him to see the actualization of his objective. If I may be excused however, this feeling or desire can be interpreted as mere intention or Niyyah and whatever activity he engages in at this phase can only be termed as fine-tuning his intention.

The truth of this assertion can be verified by the effectiveness of his efforts at this level. For instance, if his efforts have not changed a situation, made an impact or created an alternative, it means his Dawah has not been effective. I am not implying that such efforts will not be rewarded by Allah. Far from that. What I am driving at is that the Dawah worker or mission should advance its level of work beyond the emotional/sentimental level that is associated with intention. It is basic that Allah will look into the intention behind everything and apportion reward accordingly. But how beautiful will it be if the intention is matched not just with any action, but one that is conscious consistent and co-coordinated. This to me yields more durable fruits. The Islamic worker/mission must therefore come to an inescapable conclusion that he is operating in a highly dynamic environment that is knowledge and information driven on one hand, but which on the other hand accepts only packaged ready-made solution to everyday problems.

In simple terms, Dawah must be pursued or organized in specific, identifiable and measurable terms if its purpose or goal is to be achieved. It is however not debatable that Dawah constitutes one of the essential elements of success for a Muslim, both in this life and in the hereafter. It is a specific duty imposed by Allah on the Muslim for the purification of the earth, and ensuring its stability. Dawah is a prophetic heritage, involvement in which gives the Muslim the criterion to appreciate his mission on earth, being the vicegerent of Allah or being a witness unto mankind.

There is no dearth of materials on forms of Dawah, or on Dawah in the time of the Prophet and His Companions. Literatures are also in abundance on the qualities of the duat. There is however the need to sharpen the insight of Islamic workers in areas they are already familiar with in the field of Islamic work, and possibly redefine their focus so that Dawah becomes more productive and relevant to the demands of the time.

Costly Approaches:

Dawah is not bearing the desired fruits in many parts of the world because of certain assumption and approaches to Islamic work.The first assumption are that there is over-generalisation in Dawah in many parts of the world. In this case, almost everybody and every group is doing the same and everything at the same time. There is hardly and variation in agenda and programme. Whenever a group or individual is beginning an effort, little time is taken to study the environment or even the target. It is usually a bandwagon scenario. And ultimately, this leads unnecessary competition for the the same sphere. An unnecessary criticism of what one is doing or not doing begin or what i call the pioneer syndrome emerges to becloud the effort and progress.

The second assumption is that there is lack of faith and confidence in the ability of Dawah to be self-sustaining. This has therefore prevented the emergence of Dawah as a full missionary work. In which case, Dawah is not professionally and organically run, with the application of evidence-based research methodologies and the tools of modern management. Consequently, it is either that Dawah workers are voluntary or part-time recruits who are liable to, or whose commitment is dependent on the vagaries of their primary source of income and living. This therefore gives room for instability of leadership and high turnover of Dawah workers within a very short space-time limit. In essence, Dawah does not seem to guarantee social security or professional or career fulfilment for its volunteers, as presently understood or engaged in.

Therefore, Muslim organizations and individuals with passion for Dawah must understand certain imperatives and construct their systems and structures or re-evaluate their interest and commitment in accordance with these imperatives.



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