By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
01 November 2016
Q: What is the difference between Dawah work and social work? Did the prophets engage in social work along with Dawah work?
A: In terms of serving humanity, social work is a good thing. But social work is not the real mission of the Muslim Ummah. Social work seeks to save people from worldly problems, while the aim of the prophets was to save people from the difficulties of the Hereafter.
In this regard, reflect on this verse of the Quran (40:15):
Exalted and throned on high, He lets the Spirit descend at His behest upon whichever of His servants He will, so that he may warn of the Day of Meeting,
There are numerous other verses in the Quran on this same subject. After taking them into account, no doubt remains that the real aim of the Muslim Ummah is Dawah, to call people to God, or to convey that guidance to people that God has revealed for them (5:67).
A basic difference between the two kinds of work—Dawah work and social work—is that in Dawah work, the Dai develops a close relationship with God. While engaged in his work, he remembers God often. He prays to God. He seeks guidance from God. In contrast to this, in social work, the enthusiasm is for bonding with people. The entire focus is directed on people.
If Dawah leads to God-oriented thinking, social work leads to human-oriented or people-oriented thinking. If in Dawah work one is blessed with the company of angels, in social work human beings become the sole focus. Those who are engaged in Dawah work talk about Heaven and Hell, while those who are engaged in social work talk constantly about issues related to people. If quality is of importance in Dawah work, quantity is of importance in social work.
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