Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

DHU'L HAJJ - MUHARRAM 1424 H
February 2004
Volume 17-02 No : 206
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Dr. Zakir Naik - Question Hour


Da'wah or Islaah - which is more important?

Da'wah or Islaah - which is more important?

Q1. We are doing part-time Da'wah in villages near our city in Tamil Nadu. But we are not sparing anytime for Islaah. I would like to know which of the two is more important, Da'wah or Islaah? A friend of mine said that it is Da'wah that is more important and not Islaah.

H. Mohamed Riaz, Tirunelveli Islamic Voluntary Association, (TIVA), Tamil Nadu. riaz@vsnl.net

Ans. At the outset let us first understand the meaning of the words 'Da'wah' and 'Islaah'. Da'wah means a 'call' or 'invitation'; which means to invite non-Muslims to Islam as well as the Muslims to the true understanding and practice of Islam, but many a times, in context, it refers to the invitation of Islam extended to those who are yet to believe in or accept Islam.

'Islaah' literally means 'to repair' or 'to improve'. In an Islamic context, it refers to efforts to improve Muslims or to correct them. It also refers to their moral rectification. Allah says:

"Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord, with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious!" [Al-Qur'an 16:125]

With regards to your question, which is more important, the simple answer is that both Da'wah and Islaah are equally important. One should not concentrate only on one and ignore the other. Therefore, to say that those who do Da'wah should not do Islaah or those who do Islaah shouldn't do Da'wah is wrong.

However, by looking at the scenario of the Muslims today, we realize that there are many Muslims who are doing Islaah and have completely ignored Da'wah. Thus the people dedicated to do Da'wah are very few as compared to those doing Islaah. Therefore it is more of our responsibility to concentrate on Da'wah in order to fill this vacuum, but while doing so, Islaah should not be ignored. And Allah knows the best.

Do the Muslims Worship the Kaaba?

Q2. Some of my non-Muslim friends ask: Why do the Muslims worship the kaaba despite Islam being against idol worship?

Ateeq Ahmed, Visakhapatnam, ateeqahmed_2002@yahoo.com

Ans. Kaaba is the Qibla i.e. the direction Muslims face during their prayers. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Kaaba during prayers, they do not worship the Kaaba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah. Allah says:

"We see the turning of your face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn you to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then you face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: wherever you are, turn your faces in that direction." [Al-Qur'an 2:144]

1. Islam believes in fostering unity

For instance, if Muslims want to offer Salaah (Prayer), it is possible that some may wish to face north, while some may wish to face south. In order to unite the Muslims in their worship of the One True God, Muslims, wherever they may be, are asked to face in only one direction i.e. towards the Kaaba. If some Muslims live towards the west of the Kaaba they face the east. Similarly if they live towards the east of the Kaaba they face the west.

2. Kaaba is at the Centre of the World Map

The Muslims were the first people to draw the map of the world. They drew the map with the south facing upwards and north downwards. The Kaaba was at the centre. Later, western cartographers drew the map upside down with the north facing upwards and south downwards. Yet, Alhamdullilah the Kaaba is at the centre of the world map.

3. Tawaf around Kaaba for indicating one God

When the Muslims go to Masjid-e-Haram in Makkah, they perform tawaf or circumambulation round the Kaaba. This act symbolizes the belief and worship of One God, since, just as every circle has one centre, so also there is only one Allah (swt) worthy of worship.

4. Hadith of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)

Regarding the black stone, hajr-e-aswad, there is a hadith (tradition), attributed to the illustrious companion of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Umar (may Allah be pleased with him).

Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (pbuh) touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you". (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2, Chapter 56, H. No. 675)

5. People stood on Kaaba and gave the adhaan

At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Kaaba and gave the 'adhaan' i.e. the call to prayer. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Kaaba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?

Why are non-Muslims not Allowed in Makkah and Madinah?

Q3. Why the non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah?

Shah Alam Makandar, Belgaum, alam_mak@rediff mail.com

Ans. It is true that non-Muslims are not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, by law. The following points will serve to elucidate the possible reasoning behind such a restriction.

1. All citizens are not permitted in the cantonment area

I am a citizen of India. Yet, I am not permitted to enter certain restricted areas like the cantonment. In every country there are certain areas where a common citizen of that country cannot enter. Only a citizen who is enrolled in the military or those who are connected with the defence of the country are allowed in the cantonment area. Similarly Islam is a Universal Religion for the entire world and for all human beings. The cantonment areas of Islam are the two holy cites of Makkah and Madinah. Here only those who believe in Islam and are involved in the defence of Islam i.e. the Muslims are allowed.

It would be illogical for a common citizen to object to the restriction on entering a cantonment area. Similarly it is not appropriate for non-Muslims to object to the restriction on them to enter Makkah and Madinah.

2. Visa to enter Makkah and Madinah

a. Whenever a person travels to a foreign country, he has to first apply for a visa i.e. the permission to enter that country. Every country has its own rules, regulations and requirements for issuing a visa. Unless their criteria are satisfied they will not issue a visa.

b. One of the countries, which are very strict in issuing a visa, is the United States of America, especially when issuing visas to citizens of the third world. They have several conditions and requirements to be fulfilled before they issue a visa.

c. When I visited Singapore, it was mentioned on their immigration form - death to drug traffickers. If I want to visit Singapore I have to abide by the rules. I cannot say that death penalty is a barbaric punishment. Only if I agree with their requirements and conditions will I be permitted to enter the country.

d. The Visa - The primary condition required for any human being to enter Makkah or Madina is to say with his lips, 'La ila ha illallah Muhammad ur Rasulullah' which means 'there is no God but Allah and Muhammed (pbuh) is His Messenger.'

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