Those who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists were not to be parted until there came to them clear evidence.
A Messenger from Allah, reciting purified scriptures
Within which are correct writings. (Quran 98)
What is “Clear Evidence”?
Imam Al-Alusi said that the “clearest evidence” is the messenger (Prophet Muhammad) himself that reads on people purified scriptures.
So, when the messenger and the message come together, then you have the “clear evidence”.
Islam is about Theory and Action
Islam is not just theory. You can have a philosophical theory or an idea and you say this is the truth; but we say, in Islam, to have an idea is not enough. If the idea is actually truth and there’s good in it, then it should be something you can implement. But a theory, a concept isn’t good enough unless you see it in action.
This is the biggest obstacle to the dawah of Islam in our time. You can show people the proofs and the wisdom of Islam, but when you look at the practice of the Muslims it undoes all your dawah.
People get confused, “If the book is saying all of this and if your religion is so good, how come your own people don’t follow it? How come your own people don’t live by it? How come you people aren’t as honest in businesses your book says you should be? And how come you don’t treat your women the way your book and sunnah of your messenger says you should treat them?”
Striking the Balance
But in the end, a clear message is one that in theory sounds convincing and in practice it can be observed; that’s absolute proof. So, Allah says that the “absolute proof” isn’t just Quran, it’s a magnificent messenger from Allah who’s reciting purified scrolls and scriptures.
So this is the first thing: combining the messenger and the message into one. And this is the ultimate hurdle to the dawah of Islam in our time. We invite people in theory, we give them a pamphlet, a book, a video… All of that is theory that is empty unless you have practice.
Until they see the behavior of the Muslims, until they see the honesty of the Muslims, until they see how the Muslim treats their neighbor, until they see how the Muslim deals in business,… Until they see that, then this is just one side of the picture.
Allah makes it clear that you cannot separate the messenger from the message; the carrier of the message should reflect the teachings of that message.
Being a good orator, a speaker, or writer is not enough; that’s just one side of the coin. The other side, our speech must match our action.
Why do you say what you don’t do? (Quran 61:2)
Who could be better in speech who calls to Allah and acts righteously. (41:33)
Allah combines the two as He does in this amazing verse.