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The Pros and Cons of the Tabligh Group

17 January, 2017
Q Asalamualaikum. I hope you’ll take some time to answer this question, and I apologise, if I have asked you this before. Alhamdulillah, Tablighi Jamat is quite successful in my city, Leeds. For 30 years this effort has been ongoing, and by Allah’s blessing the environment in many years is very “deeni”. The people involved in the work can be very determined to invites others, and, unfortunately they resort to unique tactics to get people to at least consider going for 3 days, and eventually for 4 months by using this Hadith. “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever dies without having gone out for jihaad or having thought of doing so, dies on a branch of hypocrisy.’” (Saheeh Muslim, 3533). When you point to these hadiths, Allah is referring to jihad not going to a local mosque for x-number of days knocking on people’s doors, and extending an invitation to join them in the mosque. They make out is wajib upon every Muslim who has the means, and is healthy to make intention otherwise he will die is a state as per the Hadith. My questions: a. Is their understanding of the Hadith correct? b. Is it furdh, wajib, or Sunnah to at least considering going out in the path if Allah, personally I have no interest, or desire in doing so. Jazak’Allah.

Answer

Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you very much for your question. We really appreciate your concern to get a better understanding of the teachings of Islam.

First, Muslims should do their best to come under one umbrella and put aside all differences. Allah says in the Quran:

{And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.} (Aal `Imran 3:103)

Muslims should use all possible means to introduce Islam to others with wisdom and good admonition.

Presenting Islam to others including non-practicing Muslims is the responsibility of the whole Ummah. Allah promised a great reward for those involved in this duty. We read in the Quran:

{Say, “This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him.} (Yusuf 12:108)

{And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.} (Fussilat 41:33)

Da`wah (inviting to Islam) can be of two levels:

  1. Individual da`wah

In this level of da`wah, one is asked to tell his family and close relatives about the religious obligations. The Prophet (peace be upon him-PBUH) is reported to have said:

Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

  1. Collective da`wah

In this level of da`wah, one tells others about what is good and what is bad; what admits them to Paradise and what protects them from hell. This da`wah is a collective duty.

If some people perform it, others are relieved from the responsibility. We read in the Quran:

{And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.} (Aal `Imran 3:104)

Da`wah can be performed in different ways and there is no specific method to do it. Everyone can call others with all possible means.

As for the Tabligh Jama`ah, it is an Islamic group that calls Muslims to get closer to Allah and abide by the rituals of prayer, zakah, fasting and hajj. They are to be thanked for their efforts and good intentions.

Still there is a lot to develop in their da`wah technique. As for the issue of travelling in the company of the Tabligh group, it is not a must and there is no explicit text either in the Quran or the Sunnah to support their argument.

There are many verses and prophetic traditions that the Tabligh group can use to urge Muslims to give da`wah to people. The hadith they quote in support of their view is as follows:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Whoever dies without having gone out for jihad [striving in the path to Allah] or having thought of doing so, dies on a branch of hypocrisy. (Muslim)

All Muslim scholars agree that the context of this hadith has to do only with the issue of waging jihad for the sake of Allah. It cannot be interpreted in any other way.

Therefore, quoting this hadith by the Tabligh group to support their view that it is a must to go out and travel in their company and make da`wah is baseless.

However, if one wants to do so, he can do it but without quoting the hadith in question.

The top leaders in the Tabligh group do not use this hadith or interpret it this way anymore. The problem is with the young men who join the group recently because they use this narration extensively.

Da`wah can be performed without the necessity of traveling and leaving behind one’s family, children, and work. You can give da`wah in your local community.

You can offer many forms of voluntary work that will contribute greatly to the advancement of your community. Do your best to be an active member in your community.

You can be the best ambassador to your religion by your good behavior.

If you are not interested in the work of the Tabligh group, you are not required to join or travel with them. Just serve your religion according to your available means.

I hope this answers your query.

Please keep in touch. Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Is The Punishment for Missing A Prayer?

Dawah: Challenges and Keyword Solution (Series)

Three Challenges You Will Encounter in Your Dawah Effort

Patience & Dawah: 6 Quranic Tips

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.