Giving Da’wah Gradually and Applying Wisdom in Implementing Acts of the Sunnah
(Ash-Shaikh Rabee’ bin Haadee bin ‘Umayr Al-Madkhalee – may Allaah preserve him)
Question: Some people of knowledge have said, “Verily from Fiqh ul-Khilaaf (Understanding of Differing) is that when a man comes to the people of a land, and he is in opposition to their math-hab regarding an issue from the issues in which differing is allowed, is that he should yield to (i.e. not challenge or refute) their opinion in order to prevent confusing the common people. So what is the correctness of this statement? And may Allaah reward you with good.
Answer: Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy upon him) held the opinion that from the benefit of the Da’wah is that you should forgo a Sunnah practice and not be stern in implementing it until you surpass a stage where it will be possible for them (the people) to accept from you the implementation of this Sunnah (may Allaah have mercy upon him).
And indeed he gave an example of this: That the Messenger (‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) left off tearing down the Ka’bah for the sake of the benefit and repelling the harm (‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam). And this is a matter that is desired, and with that, for the sake of preventing the harms which would result from tearing it down and rebuilding it – meaning the Messenger (‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) said to ‘Aa’ishah, “O ‘Aa’ishah! Were it not for your people having just recently left Shirk (associating partners with than Allaah) I would have torn down the Ka’bah, and added some land to it (i.e. built it over again upon the foundations of Ibraaheem), and I would have made two doors for it – an Eastern door, and a Western door – and I would have added to it six cubits from the Hijr [i.e. the half circled, walled area called Hijr (room) of Ismaa’eel]. For indeed the Quraysh shortened it where they built the Ka’bah.” (Reported by Muslim, hadeeth number 1333.)
The understanding of the hadeeth is that when we consider a deed to be from the Sunan (plural of Sunnah) that some harm would come as a result of its implementation, even if it is obligatory – like commanding the good; commanding the good is obligatory, and it is a fundamental from the fundamentals of Islaam (then you should not do it). If your prohibiting this evil would lead to a greater harm, then it is not permissible for you to prevent it because it would lead to a greater harm.
The point that is being proven here is that the Da’wah (Islamic propagation) requires wisdom, and it requires knowledge. “Call to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and the good admonition, and argue with them with that which is best.”
And for this reason Allaah, glory be unto Him, the Most High, brought legislation gradually in stages for the Muslim nation. He did not forbid intoxicants except at the end (of the revelation), and he gradually revealed its forbiddance in stages. And He did not forbid interest except at the end (of the revelation). So Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah says, “The caller to Allaah who is in a corrupt land, there is no harm in him taking things gradually in stages. He should be gradual in the Da’wah. He should not bring all of Islaam and poor it upon the deviated nation of people.”
He (the caller) should not come to the Raafidhee (Shi’ite) people, or the Soofee people who are extreme grave worshippers, and demand from them the implementation of the Sunan while they are immersed in deviations and aspects of Shirk (association of partners with Allaah)! Begin with the call to At-Tawheed (Islamic monotheism, the worship of Allaah alone) and the establishment of the obligatory acts. And if they have with them some things that are contrary to the Sunan – after he has passed these stages (of calling them away from Shirk) – then he may enter into teaching them the Sunan.
Ash-Shaikh Rabee’ Al-Madkhalee
Translated by Aqeel Walker