The Islamic Call


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  • The Islamic Call


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    CHAPTER I

     

    CHAPTER I

    THE ART OF PREACHING A CAUSE

     

            Preaching a cause or a
    reform is an art with its own principles, plans and method. It cannot
    successfully be undertaken by any who is only anxious to figure in history. It
    is mastered only by those who are well grounded in its principles, experienced
    in it, and have a natural talent for it. To miss any of these conditions is to
    miss success in this very difficult art. Failure of any one call for reform may
    be traced to the lack of the gifted expert preacher.

    Successful calling for any new faith or ideal presupposes certain
    qualities inherent in the man who takes it upon himself to propagate such an
    ideal or faith. He should be a man of acumen and judgment so that he may choose
    the right circumstances for declaring his reform and successfully challenging
    the already established system. He should be a man of foresight, guarding
    against all eventualities.

     

           
    Consider, for example, how factious differences between the early leaders of
    Islam at Madiinah threatened the Islamic cause with
    disaster had the situation not been saved every time by the prudent action of
    the Prophet. His tact and resource were definitely instrumental in suppressing
    the factious tribal spirit which threatened to flare up, as it would have done
    between the Immigrants (Al Muhagireen) and the
    Helpers (Al Ansar) after the battle of Banil-Mustaliq. Foresight in a reformer entails a good deal
    of premeditated contrivance against unforeseen eventualities or sudden changes.


            Again, a caller for reform must
    be a man of insight, capable of reading the human heart, seeing through men,
    and willing to unfold his secrets only to those of his close adherents w?om he
    could trust, and who could share his convictions. A leader must be qualified
    for leadership in the sense of surpassing his fellow-country- men in sound
    reasoning and comprehension. He should be endowed with a sharper intellect, and
    a skill unequalled by his contemporaries. He should be the master of sound
    argument, able to scrutinize all sides of an issue; and in possession of the
    power of persuasion that would facilitate the propagation of his ideals amongst
    his followers and close adherents.

     

            He must
    be able to express himself with exactitude and rationality, so that he may be
    able to convince his opponents more easily than he should his adherents. Such
    were the outstanding callers for reform mentioned in history, as may be seen
    from the fact that Moses who, conscious of his linguistic deficiency, enlisted
    the aid of his brother Haroun to fill up the gap and
    supplement him in the would-be role of a leader and God's messenger. This he
    himself admits in the Quranic words to the effect:

           
    "And my brother Haroun is more eloquent than me
    in speech. Therefor send him with me as a helper to
    confirm me. Lo ! fear that they
    will give the lie to me". (verse 34, Surah Al Qasas).

        And we get the Divine answer:

           
    "We will strengthen thine arm with th? brother
    and We will give unto you both power so that they
    cannot reach you from Our portents. Ye twain and those who follow you will be
    the winners." (Verse 35, Surah Al Qasas).

     
            An able caller for reform then
    should be psychologically capable of understanding men, and of knowing how to
    select a group of helpers and be able to manage them to advantage, assigning to
    each the task to which he is most suited. He may be conscious of all this, but
    he may be impressionable and pliant to the extent of allowing his likes and
    dislikes to overrule his judgment, thus failing to put the right man in the
    right place. This mixing of matters and putting friendship before duty will
    surely lead to the failure of the call, or would seriously undermine the cause.

     
            Moreover, an able caller for
    reform should also be acquainted with the psychology of the peoples and the
    mentality of the masses. He should know how to reach the innermost feelings of
    the people and be able to control them. To secure popular support or mass
    response in this connection is a very difficult matter, especially in view of
    the fact that the masses are so emotive that one mistake may result in their
    renunciation of a course they had already begun to accept. Matters may then
    develop into an anti-climax, and the ship may drift from its haven into
    dangerous seas.

     
            The caller for reform must also
    be tolerant and patient, and should not force the issue, particularly when the
    new call involves a major change in the life of the community. He should not
    attempt wholesale transformations of the established order of things, but
    should gradually introduce such changes as are needed but could not be realized
    by the masses for fear of the ruling powers.

     
            This means that reform must be
    preceded by a long preparatory stage. The French Revolution did not break out
    until matters had degenerated to an intolerable state. Revolutionary writers
    had already paved the way by their various progressive publications despite
    many threats of punishment which invariably meant imprisonment within the dark
    walls of the Bastille. Outstanding reformers believed in the Revolutionary
    principles, and pledged themselves to advocate their cause secretly and openly
    until the masses could demonstrate their full response. No sooner was the
    Revolutionary signal given, than the uncontrolled masses took matters in their
    own hands, and forcibly imposed the Revolutionary principles which were
    destined to shake the very foundations of the existing regime.

     
            But first and foremost, the
    caller for reform must be a staunch believer in his mission, a man of
    determination, ready for the bitter sacrifice. Here we get the essential
    difference between a genuine and a quasi reformer. Every successful call has
    been sustained throughout its history by sacrifice, firm belief, and strict
    conformity to principles. Such were the inspired calls or missions of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam.

     
            Every mission is in part a
    continuation and refinement of a previous one. It is not merely a displacement
    of the old by the new, for the present cannot be completely dissociated from
    the past, and the reforms proposed should be built on all that is good and
    sound in the legacy received. Lastly, a true call is one which utilizes and
    mobilizes national feeling to further its purposes.

     
            And now we are in a position to
    raise the question could the Muhammadan mission,
    throughout the years of its propagation, utilizes this art long before it was
    born? Did it follow the principles hitherto known only to Providence? The reader of this work will see
    the art completely and minutely applied during the call by the bearer of the
    Divine Mission.
    Modern science has achieved remarkable success in almost every field
    particularly in psychology and the arts of preaching for a cause, including
    propaganda for both good and evil purposes. Yet not in any respect was modern
    civilization able to introduce new principles or improve upon what the Divine
    Messenger had done. His mission was successful because it did not overlook one
    single item of value instrumental in bringing about success.

     
            It was consequently an ideal
    achievement, as may be evidenced by those millions of Muslims who were
    converted to the new faith throughout the centuries Islam was challenged on all
    sides by able adversaries, powerful and resourceful, but it successfully
    withstood the challenge, and will continue to do so. It is so firmly believed
    in by
    every Muslim that it challenges almost any persuasion, provocation
    or menace. The Divine Islamic Call will endure as long as humanity itself. It
    is the call of and Good. It is God's call in God's Earth.

     

     

     

     

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