One of the mistakes that many of us have made in the past was to drop work in the Cause of Islam, for one or other reason. Of course, we never thought these things through and never realised that when we committed ourselves to Allah Almighty with regard to His Work, it is, in a sense, a permanent commitment. However, our lack of understanding of our relationship with our Creator made us drop His Work for other things. One day I met an imam, I think it was tn Mitchell’s Plain somewhere, and he told me that he was going to give up doing the imam work because he wanted to further his studies. I remarked to him: “Do not leave the work of the Akhirah for the work of the Dunya”. I think he took my advice. But this is not the only kind of mistake I am talking about. I am talking about people dropping the work of Allah Almighty, because of changes in circumstances, extra opportunities with regard to their work or business, personality clashes or whatever the case might be. One finds this very disturbing, because one knows the priority of the Cause of one’s Lord in one’s life. I always remind you, what the first generation of Muslims had to do. Their cause that they had to participate in most of the time was Jihad and it was compulsory for them. When the Prophet (ﷺ) came out of his house and raised the call of Jihad, they all followed suite. Our causes of Allah Almighty are in a sense very minor to the causes that the Companions (r.a.) had to participate in, but they were for that period and we are for this. They could not refuse participation. It was considered a serious sin. When one thinks of this now, one can well imagine the different personal circumstances that prevailed for each Companion (r.a.) and how he had to stop whatever he was busy doing to go to war. This was an unequalled responsibility that rested on their shoulders. If they had failed, there would have been no Islam left.
The night before the battle of Badr, the Messenger (ﷺ) poured out his heart to his Lord about the ensuing battle, pleading for help and knowing full well that if they were to lose, Islam would have been irreparably harmed. He spent almost the whole night in prayer for he knew that he need not worry if Allah (ﷻ) sends help.
إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللهِ وَ الْفَتْحُ
When comes the Help of Allah and the victory (cv: 1).
When the help of Allah (ﷻ) comes then the victory comes. On the day of the Battle, Allah Almighty sent hordes of angels with amamahs on, to help the small group of about 313 Muslims against an army of about 3 000 of the Quraish. It would have been physically impossible for them to win that battle without the assistance from their Lord. They won, and the star of Islam started to rise. Would we have done the same under the same circumstances?
The jobs we do have no comparison to the jobs of Jihad that the Companions (r.a.) had, and some of us fail miserably in small things that we have to do. Many of us have been students of history and we know the large number of Muslims who over the centuries lost their lives defending Islam. We know this. Sometimes, or most times, once a month I call you not to Jihad, but to get up an hour earlier to attend a pre-Fajr programme. There is nothing difficult in this. You don’t stand any chance in losing your life or of being maimed. You are only requested to get out of bed a little earlier than usual and yet, so many of you I see so seldom at these programmes.
Despite this moan, there are also sometimes very positive things such as the 100% positive response to go on da’wah trips. This is fantastic. There was not a single refusal. You see, if one considers the fact that da’wah work was perhaps the second most important prophetic endeavour after Jihad, then one can understand the importance of the religious status of this work. In a sense, Jihad was the major form of defence of the growing Islam, then “peaceful” da’wah work has been perhaps the most important form of religious expansion. Islam grew territorially as its teachings were taken from parts of the Middle East to parts of Africa and Asia. Of course, Jihad also contributed to expansion and so the twin forces of Jihad and peaceful da’wah was a major contributing factor to the eventual establishment of the Islamic Empire that stretched from China to the Pyrenees in Spain. To say that Islam was spread by the sword is a fallacy. It had to defend its nation by defeating its enemies and then spread its teachings amongst the conquered nations. And so, wherever the Muslim people went, their religion went with them, again from China to the Pyrenees.
Our roles in da’wah work are not that demanding. It consists only of a small portion of what the first two generations of Islam achieved. Although we are not involved in any war in the real meaning of the term; our work also takes the form of a “Jihad” in the sense that we are struggling with our money, energy and physical beings to take the message of Islam where it is not and to take the remembrance of Allah Almighty where it is not. This is not a classical Jihad, but there is no doubt that in the work that we are doing, there are elements of the classical Jihad. This might sound as an exaggeration but a careful assessment of what the murids are doing indicates the extent of personal sacrifices, of course, without military weapons, undertaken by each murid. It is this that I find so admirable in the work that you are doing, but can you imagine the quality of your striving if you could combine what you are doing in the towns and townships with what you are doing on your prayer mats early in the morning? Can you imagine the impact of all of these, in combination, on your personality and on your striving for special heavenly stations? But I leave that with you. You will have to decide whether you want to receive the full impact of the combination that I have just mentioned. We ask our Lord for guidance, amin.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]