In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
Allaah [The Most High] stated:
قُلۡ هَـٰذِهِۦ سَبِيلِىٓ أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا۟ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِىۖ وَسُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
Say (O Muhammad): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah; those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah).”
[أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ – I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)]. This part of the Ayah contains a notification regarding sincerity, because indeed some people call to themselves. It may be that a person propagates, delivers lectures and sermons, but his aim is to become apparent to the people – to receive some status, praised by the people and that people gather around him and become numerous around him. If this is his aim, then he is not one who calls to Allaah; rather he is a caller to himself. The person who abandons Dawah has indeed abandoned a great obligation and the person who is not sincere in Dawah has indeed fallen into a great danger, because Dawah has to be carried out sincerely for the Sake of Allaah and the aim should be to establish the Sharee’ah of Allaah- to guide and benefit the people, whether you are praised or rebuked. As for some people, when they are not praised and promoted, they abandon Dawah. This is a proof that such a caller is not a caller to Allaah, rather he only calls to himself. Therefore, the Muslim should be warned and that his aim in dawah should be sincerity, to benefit the people, free them from Shirk and bidah, free them from those affairs that are in opposition to the sharee’ah and fulfil what is obligated on him.
A great number of people around a person is a not proof that such a person is virtuous, because some of the Prophets were only followed by few people. “A Prophet will come on the day of judgement with a few followers and a Prophet will come with no followers”. [Bukhaari 5705]. So, does this mean that such a Prophet is not virtuous? No, definitely not! A person does not look at the large number of people who are present, because the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said to Ali, “If Allaah gives guidance to a single man through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels”. [Bukhaari 3009] (1)
The Shaikh [may Allaah preserve him] also stated, “Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah are not harmed by those who oppose them. If you are with them- all praise is due to Allaah, they are pleased with this because indeed they want good for the people. If you oppose them, you cannot harm them and due to this the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]said, “There will not cease to be a group of my Ummah who will be manifest upon the truth- not harmed by those who forsake them until the command of Allaah comes to pass (i.e. the day of judgement) whilst they are (still) upon that (truth)”. The one in opposition does not harm except himself. What is given consideration is not the great numbers; rather what is given consideration is to be in agreement with the truth, even if a small number of people were upon it. And even if in some eras there is only one person (upon truth), then he is the one upon truth and he is the Jamaa’ah. The Jamaa’ah does not necessitate great numbers; rather the Jamaa’ah is what is in agreement with the truth – in agreement with the Book and the Sunnah, even if those upon it are few. However, if many come together and (upon) truth, then – all praise is due to Allaah- this is strength. But if the majority oppose it (i.e. the truth), then we side with the truth even if only a few are upon it”. (2)
The Goal Behind Ta’aawun
Allaah [The Most High] said:
[ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ – Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa [virtue, righteousness and piety]; but do not help one another in sin and transgression. [5:2]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
This verse contains all the Masaalih (things that will bring about benefit and repel harm) for the salves in their worldly affairs and in the Herefater- amongst themselves or in relation to their relationship with their Lord. That is because every servant finds himself within two circumstances and obligations – either to fulfil the obligations owed to Allaah or the obligations owed to Allaah’s creation. As for the obligations owed to the creation, they include (righteous) association, companionship, aiding one another upon what Allaah loves and obedience to Allaah, and that is the goal behind one’s search for happiness and success in the afterlife. There can be no happiness in the afterlife except through Bir and Taqwaa, because it is basis of all affairs of the religion.
As for Taqwa, its reality is to act in obedience to Allaah based on Eemaan in Allaah and hoping for Allaah’s Reward- fulfil what Allaah has commanded based on having Eemaan in that which Allaah has commanded and affirming the reward Allaah has promised; abandon what Allaah has forbidden based on one’s belief that what Allaah has forbidden is forbidden and fearing Allaah’s punishment, just as Talq Bin Habeeb [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “When Fitna occurs, extinguish it with Taqwa”. So the people said, “What is Taqwa?” He said, “You act in obedience to Allaah upon a light from Allaah [i.e. Eemaan, sincerity, guidance etc] and hoping for reward from Allah. And you abandon disobedience to Allaah upon a light from Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah”. This is the best of that which has been stated regarding Taqwa, because indeed there has to be an aim and a goal behind every deed. A deed cannot be considered an act of obedience to Allaah and an act that gets one close to Allaah until it is based on Eemaan, so that which leads to the performance of that deed is solely due to Eemaan – neither (un-Islamic) customs nor desires, neither seeking praise nor status and other than it; rather it should be solely based on Eemaan and the aim behind it should be to attain Allaah’s reward and seeking after Allaah’s Pleasure. (3)
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “If one says, ‘Through what can sincerity in seeking knowledge be (attained)?’ We say, ‘Sincerity in seeking knowledge can be (attained) by making an intention for the following:
[a] To fulfil Allaah’s command, because Allaah [The Most High] commanded it (i.e. that one seeks knowledge). Allaah said: [فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ- So know (O Muhammad) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin]. [Surah Muhammad. Verse 19]
So, Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] strongly urged (a person) to acquire knowledge. And strongly urging (someone) towards something necessitates having love for it, being pleased with it and commanding (one) to do it.
[b] To preserve Allaah’s Sharee’ah. That is because preserving Allaah’s Sharee’ah can be done by way of learning, memorization and writing.
[c] To protect and defend the Sharee’ah. That is because had it not been for the scholars, no one would have protected or defended the Sharee’ah. And due to this we find the likes of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and other than him amongst the people of knowledge repelling ahlul bidah and clarifying the falsity of their innovations. We see that they reached a lot of good.
[d] To follow Muhammad’s [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] Sharee’ah. That is because it is not possible for you to follow his Sharee’ah until you learn about it. (4) [end of quotes]
I ask Allaah to include me and my family amongst the first people who act upon everything that is mentioned in this article and keep us away from everything that will ruin a person’s religious affairs. And I ask Allaah to grant you all what I have asked for myself and my family Aameen.
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘I’aanah Al-Mustafeed Bi-Sharhi Kitaab At-Tawheed’ pages 97-98’ Publisher: Ar-Risaalah Publishers 1st edition 1428AH (Year 2007). Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ( لمحة عن الفرق الضالة )– pages 14 -15. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’ Vol 1 pages 307-311. Publisher: Daar Ibn Al-Jawziyyah 2nd Ed, 1431AH- Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Source: Sharh Hilyah Taalib Al’Ilm’ pages16- 17. Slightly paraphrased]