The Enthusiasm of the Youth of the ‘Islamic Awakening’ (Sahwah) for Da’wah that Quickly Dies―and the Attributes of a Caller to Allah. (Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān)

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Question no. 52: There is something observed in some of the youth of the ‘awakening’ (sahwah) a severe zealousness (hamās) in their desire to establish daʿwah due to what they have heard about the great reward for the caller (dāʿiyah) to Islam—then very quickly this enthusiasm disappears. So, what is your advice concerning this?

Answer by Shaikh Al-Fawzān: I have some reservations regarding the usage of the term ‘Aṣ-Ṣahwah al-Islāmiyyah’ (The Islamic Awakening)—which has become widespread in publications and writings. This is due to what the term implies in denying the efforts of the scholars who bring about rectification continually in every era—and likewise what the term indicates in denying the efforts of the other righteous people of this Ummah which the earth will not be absent of until the Hour is established.

Enthusiasm for the daʿwah is good. A person may have eagerness to do good deeds—but it is not permssible for him to enter the field of daʿwah until after he has studied, and he knows how to call to Allah (the Mighty and Majestic), he knows the ways of giving daʿwah and he has knowledge of what he is calling people to. Allah (the Most High) said:

قُلْ هَـٰذِهِۦ سَبِيلِىٓ أَدْعُوٓا إِلَى ٱللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا۠ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِى ۖ وَسُبْحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ مِنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ ١٠٨

“Say, ‘This is my way. I invite to Allāh with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allāh, and I am not of those who associate others with Him.’” (Yusuf: 108) Meaning: I invite to Allah based upon knowledge.

It is not befitting that an ignorant person is put forward to give daʿwah. Rather, it is a must that the caller has knowledge, sincerity, patience, forbearance, and wisdom. And it is must that he knows the ways of giving daʿwah and the methodologies of daʿwah that the Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam) came with.

As for merely having enthusiasm or love for daʿwah, and then moving straight into giving daʿwah, then that in reality will cause more corruption than rectification (yufsid ak.thar mimmā yuṣlih). He may throw himself into difficulties or throw others into difficulties. It is sufficient for such a person to encourage other with good deeds, and he will be rewarded for that. However, if he wishes to enter the field of daʿwah, then he must first acquire knowledge.

Not everyone is suitable for giving daʿwah, not everyone who feels enthusiasm is suited for daʿwah—and zealousness alongside ignorance causes harm and does not benefit.


The term ‘Islamic Awakening’ gives the impression that Ummah was sleeping or absent, and there was no daʿwah present in it. That is not correct because the Muslims do not cease to have goodness in them, alhamdulillāh, due to the saying of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam): 

‏ لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ كَذَلِكَ ‏‏

“There shall not cease to remain in my Ummah a group manifest upon the truth—they are not harmed by those who desert them until the command of Allah comes and they remain as such.” (Muslim, no. 1920) And his saying:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَجْمَعُ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ضَلَالَةٍ وَيَدُ اللَّهِ مَعَ الْجَمَاعَةِ

“Indeed Allah will not unite my Ummah upon misguidance, and the Hand of Allah is over the Jamāʿah.” (Tirmidhi no 2167, graded hasan by Al-Albāni)

The Ummah does not cease to be awake and established—and the Rabbāni scholars (those who teach and act upon what they teach) are present in every age, generation after generation. And if we deny this, then we have denied the ahādeeth of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ʿalaihi wasallam)—and we refuge with Allah from such a thing, because it is the Prophet who said:

لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي قَائِمَةً بِأَمْرِ اللَّهِ لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ أَوْ خَالَفَهُمْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ ظَاهِرُونَ عَلَى النَّاسِ

“There shall not cease to remain in my Ummah a group that is steadfast upon Allah’s commands—they are not harmed by those who desert them, nor by those who oppose them until the command of Allah comes—and they shall remain manifest among the people.” (Muslim, no. 1037/1923)

Those who constantly refer to the term ‘Islamic Awakening’ are those who take their history from the inception of the political sect founded in Egypt known as ‘Al-Ikhwān al-Muslimoon’ by its founder and first leader, Hasan Al-Bannā. Muhammad Qubt (brother of Sayyid Qutb) stated: “We are only studying this phenomenon of the ‘Islamic Awakening’—its [idea] began in the heart of one man, and he is Hasan al-Bannā—Allah bestowed upon him radiance and illumination of his soul, and a pure connection with Allah.” (Wāqiʿunā al-Muʿāṣar, p. 401, i.e., ‘Our Current State of Affairs’)

Shaikh Bakr Abu Zayd (rahimahullāh) said in his book, Muʿjam al-Manāhī al-Lafdhiyyah (p. 209) under the heading, As-Sahwah al-Islāmiyyah: “This is a description for which Allah has not attached a ruling—it is newly invented term. We do not know it to have been from the speech used by the Salaf. Its usage became prevalent at the beginning of the 15th century hijrah (20th century CE) following the return of the unbelievers such Christians back to their ‘Church’. Then its usage passed to the Muslims—it is not permissible for the Muslims to draw in foreign concepts from the unbelievers into the Religion, nor to import slogans which neither Allah nor His Messenger have permitted. Shareeʿah titles are known through revelation (tawqeefiyyah) such as Islam, Imān, Ihsān, and Taqwa to which are ascribed the terms Muslim, Mu’min, Muhsin and Taqī.

And I think to myself: What would be ascription to the one who has undergone the ‘Islamic Awakening’ (Aṣ-Ṣaḥwah al-Islāmiyyah)? Would it be Ṣāḥin (‘the one who screams aloud’) or something else?!”

See: See Al-Ajwibah al-Mufīdah Fī As’ilatil-Manāhij al-Jadīdah (Questions to Shaikh Dr. Sālih al-Fawzan by Jamāl ibn Furayhān al-Hārithi)

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