The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Consultation

Every morning after Fajr solaah, Imam Al and I would sit for awhile for a short mesywarah or consultation about how we were going to spend our time for the effort of dakwah and tabligh for the day. We would agree as to when the two of us would meet again in the masjid and who we were going to visit to convey the message of dakwah for the day. Usually we would meet at Maghreb time at our masjid and the short time between Maghreb and Esha' was being utilised to visit one or two persons in our neighbourhood. After Esha', the two of us would sit at the back corner of the masjid and we took turn to read ahadith from the kitaab Fadha'il Amal. That was our routine then. In this way it helped us to fix our attention to the effort of dakwah for the whole day.

Right about this time, I began to attend the weekly mesywarah where I sat together with 15-20 people from different masjids and surau in our district or halqah. I was a total stranger to them then but no sooner I felt at home with the brotherly love and affection that they had given me. The weekly halqah consultation was held at a small wooden Hanafi Indians' masjid every Thursday from Maghreb right to after Esha' solaah. These weekly gathering brought together people of the same mindset and the same heartfelt in our area to converge upon the takaza (urgency and demand) of the effort of dakwah and tabligh. Specific takazas were discussed and then systematically streamlined and consolidated collectively in the most informal but effective manner. These include, among other things, giving nusrah or assistance to the various jamaats that arrived at our area and forming jamaats from our area to proceed in the path of Allah to other areas, districts, states or countries.

All of us know that Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam always consulted with the Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum. Hadhrat Abu Bakr radiyaalahu anhu consulted with men of knowledge and insight who constituted the consultative assembly during his time. Similar practice had been adopted by Hadhrat Umar radiyalaahu anhu during his time. Hadhrat  Umar radiyalaahu anhu used to say, "Verily Allah has gathered the Muslims around Islam, has created love between their hearts and made them brothers in Islam. The Muslims are therefore like a single body in their relationship with each other. No part is free from pain when another part is suffering. It is therefore incumbent on the Muslims that their matters be decided by mutual consultation between their men of insight (the consultative assembly). The masses need to follow the one who is their leader and also bound by the decision of the consultative assembly. The people will have to adopt the course that these men plan. In fact, even the Ameer is bound by the decision that the consultative assembly make." Thus, it had always been the practice of the pious generations from this Ummah before us.
The manner and etiquette in which the consultation was conducted really fascinated me. I had never witnessed anywhere such manner and etiquette of consultation in any meetings, discussions, dialogues, deliberations or conferences.

A jamaat of mesywarah is usually conducted by a decision maker called faisala or zumindar or an ameer (although we are taught to exclude from it the word of "ameer" and to clearly mention that it is such an ameer who has no authority - he is merely a servant who serves the people). The faisala may ask for an opinion from anyone who is present in the consultation. It is not necessary for him to ask for an opinion from everyone. He usually makes decision on the matter in discussion based on the opinions given although, for some reasons, there are circumstances when a faisala reaches a decision without following any of the opinions given. He may also make his own decision without asking anyone for an opinion but it is undesirable for him to do so, and this is made only in exceptional cases. The faisala in a mesywarah should make the decision with the attention towards Allah, because he is placed in a very delicate position.  There is no such thing as majority or minority voice in a mesywarah

No one should, in a mesywarah, insist on his opinion and assume that his suggestion only is the correct one. Rather, he should express his opinion and then gladly act according to the decision. If one's opinion is accepted he should be scared and if not accepted he should be thankful to Allah. Rather syukur to Allah is to be offered in both cases. Opinions should not be governed by vested interest, rather by the benefits of Allah's Deen. All should sit together,  express opinions and Allah Ta'ala would show the right path. Intervening other's opinion, deriding, humiliating, or laughing at, all are to be avoided. 

A difference in opinions is but natural. And it should be like that because everyone's wisdom is different. Some have little wisdom, others have more and some others have a very high intellectual level. Everyone gives suggestions in accordance with his wisdom. With different opinions, all the aspects are explored and the issues clarified. It is therefore important to know everyone's opinion. Finally, whatever decision is taken, it must be followed whole-heartedly. One should not insist and be adamant on his opinion. Even if not satisfied, he should try to convince himself and not to go against the decision. 

Hadhrat Umar radiyalaahu anhu formed a shura (consultation council) to decide his successor and directed that whatever was agreed upon by four of them should be accepted and decison made accordingly and anyone who went against it, his neck should be slashed, whoever he was. Once a decision was made, to go against it demanded a death sentence.

Hadhratji Maulana Inaamul Hassan rahmatullah alayhi said, "My dear friends and elders! While admitting your slackness and shortcomings and being hopeful for Allah's blessing, continue the effort and move ahead, make du'a to Allah and be afraid of Him lest He may deprive you of this work. With mutual adherence and regards for other's opinion, step forward with pleasure in accordance with the decision. Then Insha'Allah, things will move nicely. There is nothing wrong if a difference in opinions exist. But an opposition is something very bad and undesirable. A decision, even if against one's opinion, must be gladly accepted, adhered to and steps taken accordingly. There used to be a lot of difference in opinions between Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar radiyalaahu anhuma. Even to the extent that once Hadhrat Umar radiyalaahu anhu told Hadhrat Abu Bakr radiyalaahu anhu, 'you said it just to oppose me'. The difference of opinions used to go even to that extent. But despite of this Allah Ta'ala had kept so much attachment and affection between them that the difference of opinions did not create division and deterioration of mutual affection between them. Express your opinion frankly with honesty and sincerity in mesywarah and when a decision is taken everyone should adhere to it. The decision will be in accordance with someone's opinion and against someone else's suggestion. The former should be afraid lest his opinion may cause lack of blessings, whereas the latter should be pleased that, alhamdulillah, the matter was saved from the evil of his self. Both should obey it. May Allah make it possible for us to be firm on the right path and move accordingly."

In this way those who make the effort of dakwah and tabligh in the world work unitedly with consultation and move ahead keeping themselves free from individualism and self conceit. That is why a shura is established in every centres of dakwah and tabligh in the world and evolved the system that every member of the shura may act as a decision maker turn by turn, in alphabetical  order so that the capability and competence of each one of them might grow and they remain unitedly engaged in the aamal of dakwah with unanimity, unity and collectively. 

Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah Ta'ala for the opportunity given to me in witnessing the outstanding manner and etiquette in which such consultations take place in the time when such order of Allah Ta'ala and sunnah of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam is being neglected by most people..