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Invitation and Propagation, a Difficult Task Necessitating Certain Conditions
The first thing we learn from the Holy Quran in Propagation, and calling people to Allah is the problem of ‘expansion of one’s breast, i.e., increasing its capacity for faith in God. All kinds of Propagation are of course not so difficult as this one. Sometimes the message is sensed easily through apparent means, like the warrant from a court notifying the accused of his crime and calling him to the court. This is not a difficult task.
Sometimes delivery of message through external senses is not enough; in addition, one should influence the mind by presenting the message properly. What is presented to eyes and ears is not necessarily accepted by wisdom. What transfers a message to wisdom is not sound or shape of written symbols, but something else called reason and logic. Wisdom does not accept any thing but logic and reason. All Prophets intended to deliver their messages through wisdom in the first place. If Christianity rejects this and if they say that faith and religion has nothing to do with wisdom and reason, it is because they have distorted Christianity. Jesus Christ never said so. He neither talked trinity, nor about the lack of relationship between faith and wisdom.
“ Prognosis” as the main stage of Propagation
The Holy Quran says:
“ Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair admonition , and reason with them in the best manner.” The Holy Quran, ( 16:25)
At first It mentions wisdom: “ O Prophet! Lo! We have sent thee as witness and a bearer of good tidings and Warner, and as a summoner unto Allah by His consent, and as a lamp that giveth light. And announce unto the believers the good tidings that they will great grace from Allah’. The Holy Quran( 33:45-47)
A warner is not simply one who frightens people, but one who notifies people in case of emergency, making them aware of the danger they may face.
During the first years of his appointment, the Holy Prophet stood at the foot at Mt, Safa, and shouted and warned people. People gathered there wondering why he did so. At first the Holy Prophet asked them whether they trusted him or not. When they all declared that they did, he announced that wanted to warn them that enemy was ready behind the mountains to attack them. He again asked them. if they still relied on him. They affirmed their belief in him. Then he said: “ “ I am warning you that what you are doing leads eventually to severe punishment here and in the hereafter from God.” The Prophet are thus entrusted to call people to God.
The Manner of Calling People to God
The Holy Quran explains the way to call people to God, and the greatest truths of the world and the way to revive human wisdom. The simple delivery of God’s message is not sufficient. The action and invitation by the Prophet is a step prior to propagation. A teacher’s duty is transfer his knowledge to the students. He stands at the blackboard and solves problems for them. Students on the other hand, ask questions and reasons to accept all that the teacher say. Once the teacher provides proofs and solutions for problems, his lecture adds to the student’s wisdom.
Philosophers too are like teachers. The maximum they do is to influence people’s minds with an idea. But in the case of God’s message, influencing the mind is not enough, the message should get to the hearts and to the depth of man’s spirit to control all sentiments. This is what the Prophets do and they are the ones who lead humanity in the right path of Truth and God, no the Philosophers. A philosopher, no matter how hard he tries, can only influence people with an idea. This he can do only with a specific group of people, who have been his students for years and he needs to resort to a special terminology with hundreds of conventional phrases and expressions. As one of my great teachers put it, if philosophers use so may expressions like essential possibility, future possibility, aptitudinal possibility, necessary being in itself, primary wisdom, secondary wisdom and so on, they do so only because of their inability to express themselves plainly. On the other hand, Prophets have no need to us such expressions. They express themselves in clear terms. What has been said in confusing philosophical phraseology is expressed by Prophets in two simply sentences, easy of comprehension, causing philosophers to wonder as to its simplicity:
“ Say: He is Allah, the one! ( One who is sought by all in need with all having trust in Him. )
Allah the full (Full without emptiness. All material bodies have openings, vacant spaces and emptiness. Since God is not matter, He is Full. Nothing is required by God to complete or make (Him perfect. Martyr Mutahhari has choosen the second meaning.)
He begetteth not, nor wasbegotten
And there is none comparable unto Him.” The Holy Quran: ( Tawhid :112)
“ All that is the heavens and the earth glorifieth.
Allah, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.
His is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth,
He giveth life and death, and He has power over all things.
He is the First and Last, and the Outward and the Inward: and He is the Knower of all things.
He is who created the heavens and the earth in six days,
then He mounted the Throne. He knoweth all that entereth the earth and all that emergeth therefrom and all that cometh down from the sky and all that ascendeth therein to and He is with you wheresoever ye maybe.
And All Allah is the Observer of what ye do.” The Holy Quran (57:1-4)
In these verses, Unity is expressed in very simple words. One who believes in the Prophet becomes binded to him, heart and soul. There is famous story about Ibn Sina who was a genius of his time. He had sparkling eyes and sharp ears, so people started to invent stories about him. For example, they would say that he could hear the sound of hammer of the blacksmith of Kashan in Isfahan. One of his students, Bahmanyar once told him: “ You are one of those whom people will accept as Prophet if you claim so.” Ibne Sina said that is was nonsense, but Bahmanyar insisted. Ibne Sina decided to him a practical answer. Once they were traveling together in winter and it had showed heavily too. It was dawn and the Mu’adhin was calling people to prayers. Ibne Sina awakened Bahmanyar and asked him for a glass of drinking water. Bahmanyar reasoned: “ O my master! You are a physician and know well that drinking cold water on an empty, inflamed stomach, causes stomach upset.” Ibne Sina replied: “ I am a physician and you are my student I tell you I am thirsty, so why do you hesitate?” Bahmanyar persisted: “ Yes, you are my teacher, but I only wish what is good for you, instead of simply obeying you and carring your order. “After Ibne Sina has proved to Bahmanyar that getting up was difficult for him, he said: “I am no at all thirsty. I only wanted to test you. Do you remember having asked me why I did not claim prophethood? You Had told me that people would accept me as prophet? Here is your answer! You have been my student for may years, yet when I ask you to getup and bring me some water, you hesitate and start reasoning with mewhereas, you see the Mua dhin one thousand years after the Holy Prophet’s death, still obeying him and getting up at dawn, leaving his warm bed for the top of the tower, announcing Mohammad (S) is the Prophet of the Almighty God. He, then, is Prophet not Ibn Sina.
Now, we see that if a message to be delivered from Allah to human hearts, it should captivate hearts, move societies to action, not only for getting their rights, but also for making them repentant to shed tears when the Holy Quran is recited:
“ And they fall down on their faces weeping, and it adds to their humility”. The Holy Quran ( 17: 109)
This is an extremely difficult task. In the Holy Quran, may verses occur, mentioning appropriate ways for propagation quoted from previous Prophets well as our Holy Prophet, Mohammad (S), which elaborate on the conveying of the message and the captivating of hearts.
Some words and terms imply evil consequences, while “ propagation” ( or propaganda) as used by modern scholars, has come to convey a bad meaning , namely deception and enticement. This use of the word “propagation” in the wrong sense does not however man that we should not use it. We do resort to propagation specially because the term has been used in the Holy Quran too. 16: 35, 21: 18, 24: 54. Only a propagator whose message is delivered in true and strong but simple and enlightening words will succed in calling people to God. Ali’s sermons, for example at the hight of eloquence, were still understandable by common people and the audience benefited from these sermons according to their degree of understanding.
In the Holy Quran , the words candid advice ( Nash) have been repeatedly used to denote propagation and calling people to God. The opposite of the words candid advice is “fraud” ( Ghash) or ( treacherous advice). Anything counterfeit is not candid. Here, only those who have sincere intentions and speak the truth, can call others to God, that is their intention is nothing but people’s wellbeing:
“ Words which spring from the heart will influence heart, and words which comeout of the tongue, do not go further than ears.”
The Holy Prophet’s words are all hear felt admonitions. e Holy Quran says:
1- “ I convey unto you the message of my Lord and give good counsel unto you, and know from Allah that which ye know not.” ( 7:62)
2- “ My counsel will not profit you if I intend to advise you, but Allah’s will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord and unto Him ye will be brought back.” ( 11:34)
3- “ I convey unto you the message of the my Lord and am for you a trustworthy adviser,” (7: 68)
4- “ And he swore unto them( saying): Certainly! I am s sincere adviser unto you”. ( 7:21)
5- “……I delivered my Lord’s message unto you and gave you good advice, but ye love not good advisers.” (7:79)
6- “So he turned from them and said: O my people! I delivered my Lord’s message unto you and gave you good advice….” ( 7: 93)
When Moses, son of Imran, talks to God, he says that the difficulty of the task he undertaken does not lie in its being a fight against the Pharaoh with all his power and despotism, bat there are other difficulties. Then he asks God to help him to such Moses that ignores Moses, and has no selfishness nor egoism, so that he can deliver God’s message in all sincerity.
Another characteristic of the Prophets is to abstain from imposing or assuming troubles upon themselves. In Sura Sad, the Holy Quran says:
“ Say ( O Muhammad, unto mankind): I ask of you no reward for this ( the task of Messengership) and I am not one of those who like to give you trouble.” The Holy Quran ,( 38:86)
Imposing troubles means to assume troubles and inconveniences to stand on for malities. These are times when one tries to impose an idea an others, though the himself does not believe in it. this is very difficult to do:
That which has no share in “ circle of being.”
How can it become a source of life- giving?
And the could so aged, drained, and dry,
How could it be generous to rain and fly.
This is one sense of the term imposing troubles on oneself. Another sense as mentioned by Ibn- Ma’s ud and others too, is speaking without knowledge. Nobody in the world except the Holy Prophet and the Imams, know everything that one asks them(God is All-knowing, and our Prophet and Imams who derive their knowledge from God can answer any question as they are in close contact with God). Jew had asked. “Who can claim to have absolute knowledge? “ Well the Holy Prophet can of course. Ali declared:”Ask your question before you lose me! (Safinat –Al Bihar , Vol.1.p.586 The New Bihar, Vol.40.p.139).You can’t except any body else to know everything, and one should know oneself well and should not speak any thing about what one doesn’t know. Ibn- Mas’ud has said.
“ Say what you know and don’t say what you don’t know! If you are asked to question which you cannot answer, be enough to say so.”
Then he mentioned this verse: “ Say ( O Muhammad unto mankind): I ask of you no fee for this, and I do not impose troubles.”
The Holy Qur’an, (38:86)
Ibn- Jowzi, one of the famous preachers of his time, was once speaking from the pulpit. A woman from the audience ask him something which he did not know. The woman said: “ If you don’t know the answer, why have you mounted the three steps of the pulpit? Ibn- Jowzi answered: “ The three steps that I have mounted higher than others is for what I know and you don’t. If had wanted to mount the pulpit to the extent of my ignorance, then I would have has a pulpit whose top would reach heavens!”
The late Sheikh Ansari ( peace be upon him) was a genius in his time and the scholars still take pride in understanding his subtleties. Whenever they asked him a question he could not answer, he would intentionally repeat aloud: I don’t know! I don’t know! This, he would do to teach his students to do the same whenever they did not know something and not to be ashamed of confessing ignorance.
noble character of the Holy prophet of islam- pages: 120to132
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