An exemplary model of compassion in dawah; from the story of the dwellers of the town in Surah Ya-Seen

Thursday 29-Aug-2019, 12:19PM / 204

Written by: Misbaah Olagunju (Abu Aamaal) 

Bismillaah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem 

Preface:

This is an effort made to serve an essential reminder on the reason why Allah sent his messengers to his slaves with the da'wah of Tawheed: which is His compassion towards His slaves and why this reason should be the motivation behind the call of every caller to the religion as well as the caller to the right path from the numerous deviations.

He said concerning the messenger —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace—, 
(وَمَاۤ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةࣰ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِینَ)
“And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)”.- [Surah Al-Anbiya' 107]

So the messenger Muhammad —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace— is a gesture of Allah’s mercy to his creation because he is charged with conveying to them the message of Tawheed so they may be liberated from being subjected to His punishment in hell and rather be admitted to paradise to dwell in His favour and everlasting bliss. This is why the prophet told Mu'adh Ibn Jabbal:

“The right of the slaves over Allah is that He does not punish whoever doesn’t associate partner with Him" – Saheehayn

Therefore the objective of every caller should be to connect their subjects to this mercy which their Lord intended for them by the message of guidance as much as Allah makes easy for them, and be tolerant and absolving towards them while hoping that the one who guides guide them.

An exemplification of the compassion of a caller for his wards is expressed in Surah Ya-Seen in the story of the dwellers of the town, the heroics of this man dubbed “Saahibu Ya-Seen” in a report granted him a mention by Allah the mighty and sublime in His book, which now serve us as an admonition. The verses, their exegesis and commentary follows.

Verses:

(وَٱضۡرِبۡ لَهُم مَّثَلًا أَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلۡقَرۡیَةِ إِذۡ جَاۤءَهَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلُونَ ۝  إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ إِلَیۡهِمُ ٱثۡنَیۡنِ فَكَذَّبُوهُمَا فَعَزَّزۡنَا بِثَالِثࣲ فَقَالُوۤا۟ إِنَّاۤ إِلَیۡكُم مُّرۡسَلُونَ ۝  قَالُوا۟ مَاۤ أَنتُمۡ إِلَّا بَشَرࣱ مِّثۡلُنَا وَمَاۤ أَنزَلَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ مِن شَیۡءٍ إِنۡ أَنتُمۡ إِلَّا تَكۡذِبُونَ ۝  قَالُوا۟ رَبُّنَا یَعۡلَمُ إِنَّاۤ إِلَیۡكُمۡ لَمُرۡسَلُونَ ۝  وَمَا عَلَیۡنَاۤ إِلَّا ٱلۡبَلَـٰغُ ٱلۡمُبِینُ ۝  قَالُوۤا۟ إِنَّا تَطَیَّرۡنَا بِكُمۡۖ لَىِٕن لَّمۡ تَنتَهُوا۟ لَنَرۡجُمَنَّكُمۡ وَلَیَمَسَّنَّكُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِیمࣱ ۝  قَالُوا۟ طَـٰۤىِٕرُكُم مَّعَكُمۡ أَىِٕن ذُكِّرۡتُمۚ بَلۡ أَنتُمۡ قَوۡمࣱ مُّسۡرِفُونَ ۝  وَجَاۤءَ مِنۡ أَقۡصَا ٱلۡمَدِینَةِ رَجُلࣱ یَسۡعَىٰ قَالَ یَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِینَ ۝  ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ مَن لَّا یَسۡـَٔلُكُمۡ أَجۡرࣰا وَهُم مُّهۡتَدُونَ ۝  وَمَا لِیَ لَاۤ أَعۡبُدُ ٱلَّذِی فَطَرَنِی وَإِلَیۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ ۝  ءَأَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِهِۦۤ ءَالِهَةً إِن یُرِدۡنِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ بِضُرࣲّ لَّا تُغۡنِ عَنِّی شَفَـٰعَتُهُمۡ شَیۡـࣰٔا وَلَا یُنقِذُونِ ۝  إِنِّیۤ إِذࣰا لَّفِی ضَلَـٰلࣲ مُّبِینٍ ۝  إِنِّیۤ ءَامَنتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡ فَٱسۡمَعُونِ ۝  قِیلَ ٱدۡخُلِ ٱلۡجَنَّةَۖ قَالَ یَـٰلَیۡتَ قَوۡمِی یَعۡلَمُونَ ۝  بِمَا غَفَرَ لِی رَبِّی وَجَعَلَنِی مِنَ ٱلۡمُكۡرَمِینَ)
[Surah Ya-Seen 13 - 27]

[And put forward to them a similitude; the (story of the) dwellers of the town, [It is said that the town was Antioch (Antakiya)], when there came Messengers to them.

When We sent to them two Messengers, they belied them both, so We reinforced them with a third, and they said: "Verily! We have been sent to you as Messengers."

They (people of the town) said: "You are only human beings like ourselves, and the Most Beneficent (Allah) has revealed nothing, you are only telling lies."

The Messengers said: "Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you,"

"And our duty is only to convey plainly (the Message)."

They (people) said: "For us, we see an evil omen from you, if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us."

They (Messengers) said: "Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it "evil omen") because you are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifoon (transgressing all bounds by committing all kinds of great sins, and by disobeying Allah).

And there came running from the farthest part of the town, a man, saying: "O my people! Obey the Messengers;”

"Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided.”

"And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned.”

"Shall I take besides Him aliha (gods), if the Most Beneficent (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me?”

"Then verily, I should be in plain error.”

“Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!"

It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): "Enter Paradise." He said: "Would that my people knew!

"That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!"] [Surah Ya-Seen 13 - 27]

Exegesis 

Al-Imaam Al-Baghawy:

إِنِّیۤ ءَامَنتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡ فَٱسۡمَعُونِ
“Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!"
That is: listen to what I’m saying, and as soon as he said that the people pounced on him, and one man leaped and killed him.

Ibn Mas'ūd said: “and they trampled on him with their feet till he died, with his liver coming out his anus."

As-Sudiy said: “they were stoning him while he continued to say: “O Allah this is my people (in pity for them)”, until they dismembered and killed him."

Al-Hasan said: they punctured a hole in his eye socket and tied him to a wall from the walls in the town, and his grave is in Antioch, and Allah has entered him into paradise where he dwells with provisions, and that is the meaning of His statement the mighty and sublime:

قِیلَ ٱدۡخُلِ ٱلۡجَنَّةَۖ
“It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): "Enter Paradise."”

And after he had been led to paradise he said:

قَالَ یَـٰلَیۡتَ قَوۡمِی یَعۡلَمُونَ
"He said: "Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me,”
That is: about the forgiveness of my Lord for me. 

وَجَعَلَنِی مِنَ ٱلۡمُكۡرَمِینَ
“and made me be among the honoured ones!"

That is: desiring that his people knew that Allah forgave and honoured him so they can also crave after the religion of the messengers.

Al-Imaam m As-Sa’di:

Al-Imaam As-Sa’di said in his explanation of the last two verses from above (26 & 27): “And then he exhorted his people after his death, just as he had admonished them when he was alive: 

قَالَ یَـٰلَیۡتَ قَوۡمِی یَعۡلَمُونَ بِمَا غَفَرَ لِی رَبِّی 
“He said: Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me”

 Al-Imaam Ibn Katheer:

You will not meet true believer except that he be a sincere adviser, you will never meet him being treacherous; therefore when he saw what he saw from the favour of Allah he said:

قَالَ یَـٰلَیۡتَ قَوۡمِی یَعۡلَمُونَ وَجَعَلَنِی مِنَ ٱلۡمُكۡرَمِینَ
"He said: "Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me and made me be among the honoured ones!"

Desiring from Allah that He make his people aware of what he was made to witness from the favour that Allah has bestowed him with and what he has been showered with (of His blessings).

Ibn Abbas said: “He admonished his people while he was alive by his statement;

قَالَ یَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِینَ
“saying: "O my people! Obey the Messengers;”

And also after his death by his statement;

قَالَ یَـٰلَیۡتَ قَوۡمِی یَعۡلَمُونَ وَجَعَلَنِی مِنَ ٱلۡمُكۡرَمِینَ
"He said: "Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me and made me be among the honoured ones!"
(Reported by Ibn Abee Haatim)

Ibn Abee Haatim said: <chain omitted> 
Urwah bin Mas’ud Ath-Thaqofiy said to the prophet —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace—, “delegate me to my people to call them to Islam”, then the messenger said: “I fear they may kill you", then Urwah said: “if they see me sleeping they wouldn’t wake me", then then prophet said" “go quickly", then he advanced and said as he passed by Al-Laata and Al-Uzza (both are the two biggest Arab idols); “you will surely not see the dawn of tomorrow for the damage you have caused", and that angered the people of Thaqif, then he (Urwah) said: “O people of Thaqif, Al-Laata is not laata and Al-Uzza is not uzza (meaning: they are insignificant), I have accepted Islam so accept Islam O people of the Confederates” he repeated that three (3) times, then a man stoned and hit him in the eye and killed him. And the messenger of Allah —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace— was informed about the incident then he said: “His similitude is like that the Soohibu Ya-Seen (the one in Ya-Seen), "He recited: "Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me and made me be among the honoured ones!". (Ya-Seen: 26-27)

Commentaries 

Indeed in these verses are great benefits: from the concern Allah have for the salvation of even his adamant slaves, to the cohesion in the message of all the messengers and that the only obligation in dawah is conveying the message. But the highlight of all these benefits in relation to the context of this discussion are those benefits connected to the man who came running from the extreme end of the town to exhort his people to obey the messengers. In the action of this man are exemplary lessons to employ in dawah:

The first of them is obtainable from the wisdom he employed in conveying his message: this is evident in his argument: 

ٱتَّبِعُوا۟ مَن لَّا یَسۡـَٔلُكُمۡ أَجۡرࣰا وَهُم مُّهۡتَدُونَ
"Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided.” (21)

In drawing their attention to the fact that the messengers seek no rewards from them in exchange for the guidance they offer them is great wisdom, because from what discourages from something is the consideration of the price attachment, here he is reminding them that these bearers of guidance asks them for nothing in return. The da'ee should seek for similar arguments in his dawah, arguments which are enticing but equally factual and not deceptive.
This wisdom is also portrayed in two verses that followed:

وَمَا لِیَ لَاۤ أَعۡبُدُ ٱلَّذِی فَطَرَنِی وَإِلَیۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ ۝
ءَأَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِهِۦۤ ءَالِهَةً إِن یُرِدۡنِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ بِضُرࣲّ لَّا تُغۡنِ عَنِّی شَفَـٰعَتُهُمۡ شَیۡـࣰٔا وَلَا یُنقِذُونِ ۝
"And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned.”

"Shall I take besides Him aliha (gods), if the Most Beneficent (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me?”  (22-23)

Here he explained in clear terms why they should worship Allah instead of their idols, he described to them how powerless their gods are in comparison to the might and capabilities of Allah, this is a logical argument that every intellect is capable of processing, and all dawah giver should employ this method to achieve clarity through logical comparisons in their dawah.

The second and third lessons connected to the action of this man as explained to us by the eminent Shaykh doktoor Ibrahīm Sālih Al-Muhamīd — Allah preserve him upon goodness—, is his relentlessness in his call and compassion for his people: from the exegesis it was made known from various reports that he did not relent from calling his people to guidance even when faced with severe torture and death in the hands of these same people, in that is also an indication to his compassion and leniency towards his people. And the peak of that is his desiring and longing for their guidance even after he had been killed and now admitted into the bliss of paradise: he still worried for his people and wished that Allah would let them see his current state so they would know what awaits them of Allah’s forgiveness and honour should they obey and take to the messengers guidance! 

“It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): "Enter Paradise." He said: "Would that my people knew!

"That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!"] (26-27)

Therefore the da'ee should emulate this and fill his heart with mercy towards his subjects at all times in all circumstances, then he will be lenient with them in his treatment and will desire nothing but guidance for even the most difficult of them on him. He should aid them in adopting guidance through enticements in forms of material incentives (as much as he can) if he have to, and also by way of good relation, and most importantly: he must constantly make du’a for them to be guided while bearing in mind the enormous nature of the reward for being instrumental in the guidance of a single soul: 

He said: —Allah raise his rank and grant him peace—: “By Allah, for Allah to guide a single man by your hands, it will be better for you than red camels (incomparable to any worldly acquisition)” – Saheeh Al-Bukhaari

And he should bear whatever harm may come to him from them with patience and perseverance, and never to expect rewards for any efforts he make in all these from anyone except Allah the mighty and sublime whom He intended by those actions, the One who rewards little deeds with manifolds of returns. Then we pray and hope that his final abode will be paradise by the leave of Allah like Soohibu Ya-Seen, and it will be said to him:  “Enter Paradise", with all his sins forgiven and honoured by his Lord. 

Wasalallaahu alaa nabiyynaa Muhammad wa alaa ahlihi wa as’ahbihi wa man’ taba’ahum bil-ihsaan ilaa yawmi-d-deen


References:
Tafseer Al-Mu'aalim At-Tanzīl - Al-Imaam Al-Baghawy
Tafseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahman – Al-Imaam As-Sa’di 
Tafseer Al-Qur'an Al-Azīm – Al-Imaam Ibn Kathīr
Fawaa’id min Surah Ya-Seen (Dawrah Imaam Maalik 5): Shaykh Dr.Ibrahiīm Sālih Al-Muhamīd