One of the Effects Da`wah Should Have on an Individual

There’s no doubt that being involved in the field of da`wah and teaching Islam on various levels has its many positive effects on an individual, whether it be on a personal level bringing one closer to Allah, or on a societal level bringing others closer to Allah and making one a role model for others to follow. But one of the most significant effects that involvement in da`wah should have on the personal life of an individual is its effect on one’s belief in al-Walā’ wal-Barā’.

Al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is a concept that is firmly rooted in the Islamic `Aqīdah. Its literal translation would be allegiance (walā’) and disassociation (barā’); which refers to allegiance to religious, ideological and political sense of belonging, loyalty and allegiance to: Allah, His Messenger and the Muslim Ummah, while at the same time disassociation and rejection of: all other religions, ideologies and concepts that undermine the authority of Allah, His Messenger and the Muslim Ummah.

Part of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is also “loving for the sake of Allah and hating for the sake of Allah,” which applies to both actions and those who perform them. So if a person is a murderer, we not only hate the evil of murder, but also the murderer for what he does, unless and until he repents. The same can be said with all the sins he may commit. However, while our hatred for a certain evil act must be complete hatred, our hatred for the perpetrator should be proportional to the magnitude of evil he commits, while at the same time considering the good he may also have.

From the above, we can see the mistake that some fall into when translating or explaining the concept of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’. Some translate it as simply a concept of love and hate; outright love for the believers and outright hate for the disbelievers. This leads people to two extremes; one that embraces the literal understanding and connotations of love and hate, and the other that rejects the concept altogether. But when one brings together all the various texts of the Qur’ān and Sunnah and reconciles between them, he can see that the reality is far from a mere black and white picture.

After understanding the concept of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ and its status in Islam, we move onto the role it plays in the life of the one who is involved in the field of da`wah. Whoever reflects over the Qur’ān and the reality of da`wah will see that there is a strong connection between da`wah and the `Aqīdah of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ in one’s life. The more involved one becomes in da`wah, and in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil – while at the same time having sincerity – the stronger this `Aqīdah becomes within him and appears quite clearly in his life, stances, love and animosity, to the point of being prepared to forsake his land, family and wealth if the situation necessitates it.

This `Aqīdah reaches its peak in the heart of the individual when he abandons everything to go fight in jihād against Allah’s enemies, even if they are the closest of family members:

{ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ }

“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakāh and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Sūrah al-Tawbah 9:71]

{ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَوْا وَنَصَرُوا أُولَئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ }

“Indeed, those who have believed and emigrated and fought with their wealth and lives in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided they are allies of one another.” [Sūrah al-Anfāl 8:72]

The opposite of that is quite true and visible as well. You find that some of those who were once active on the da`wah scene, as their determination started to weaken and they started leaning toward the dunya, the decline of their belief in al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ accompanied that. For many, this decline continues and is in proportion to the decline of their interest in this religion, until they come down to the level of many common folk who have no interest in anything other than the dunya and its temporary enjoyment. As for his religion and da`wah, he no longer has much place for it in his life.

Belief in al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ becomes weak and fragile in the hearts of such individuals, and quickly rattles or even disappears all together, at the very slightest of situations. Perhaps this explains those stances taken by some individuals, either currently or formerly involved in the da`wah scene, that are in direct opposition to the correct Islamic `Aqīdah. Thus, you see the effects of nationalism, patriotism, tribalism, etc. on these individuals, such that they prefer giving their allegiance and love to the enemies of Islam, while disassociating from and showing animosity toward their Muslim brothers and sisters, whether locally or abroad. The worst part of it is that they will justify their stances by using evidences from the Sharī`ah. All of this is as a result of the fragile nature of their belief in the `Aqīdah of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’.

Therefore, it should be noted that the `Aqīdah of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ is not merely a theoretical concept that is simply taught and memorized, but rather it is an `Aqīdah of action, which includes da`wah, jihād, allegiance, disassociation, love and animosity. Thus, it necessitates all of these aforementioned points, without which it becomes an `Aqīdah that only remains a concept in the mind, and which quickly vanishes at the slightest of situations.

So if we want to strengthen this great `Aqīdah in our hearts, then the way to do it is by treading the path of da`wah, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and jihād in Allah’s cause. The more distant an individual becomes from these acts, instead giving preference to enjoyment and relaxation, the more likely it is that this `Aqīdah of al-Walā’ wal-Barā’ will be exposed to danger, which is nothing strange at all. That is because Īmān, as is well established by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā`ah, consists of: statement and action, increasing with obedience and decreasing with disobedience; and al-Wala wal-Bara’ is among the most specific aspects of Īmān. So it increases with righteous acts – of which the best is jihād and da`wah – and decreases with disobedient acts – among which is abandoning da`wah, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and jihād in Allah’s cause.

May Allah rectify all those involved in defending His religion, whether by pen or sword, and accept their efforts that are done solely for His sake and based solely upon the truth.

Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
20th of Jumādā al-Awwal 1435