By Dr. Dania Al-Ghalib
May 02, 2014
I have always wondered why many religious people use scare tactics when they practice Dawah activities and call on disobedient people to repent. Why do these persons believe that scaring others into repenting is the only way to receive the mercy of Allah? Why is reminding others of the fire and torture awaiting them if they do not return to Allah the only method dawah activists seem employ?
I do not understand why they think that people should be frightened rather than encouraged into returning to Allah. What has happened to the language of love?
Frightening others into doing something will make them grow cold and careless and some will hate religion more and try to keep it out of their life as much as they can.
Why do we use the words of fire and torture to remind ourselves of Allah rather than using the words of mercy and love? We should remind one another that Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate. Allah will forgive us, no matter what our sins may be, if we go to Him with the full knowledge that He is the Most Merciful.
We memorize the Qur’anic verses on torture and Hell and forget this important verse from the Chapter of Al-Zumar: “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.’ And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him.”
Why do we not remind ourselves of the following important Hadith (saying) of Allah when we want to bring ourselves or others back to the path of repentance: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”
Such a Hadith makes those who have lost the path of righteousness come back to Allah with their hearts full of hope that Allah will forgive them for their sins.
Worshipping Allah consists of three qualities: love, fear and hope. That is to say, love of Allah, hope in His Mercy, and fear of His Punishment. So we should have overwhelming love for Allah and great hope in His Mercy but we should at the same time fear His Punishment. But love should come first.
I do not know why some Dawah activists remind others all the time to fear Allah but they never say anything about His Mercy and how one should be hopeful of this mercy. Worshiping Allah should be performed with love. When people love the Lord, they will automatically be frightened of His Wrath; consequently, they will not commit sins. Ignorance of Allah’s mercy has led many Dawah activists to adopt a scare tactics approach.
If people go astray, they should be reminded how Allah becomes pleased when a disobedient Muslim returns to Him. The Holy Qur’an says: “So flee to Allah”. Allah tells us to flee from His Torment to His Mercy.
Dawah activists should be careful about the methods and approaches they use to call others to repentance. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching.” Allah told Moses and Harun (peace be upon them) to be nice when they spoke to Pharaoh: “Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech.” Almighty Allah ordered Moses and Harun to use a gentle approach with Pharaoh, who said: “I am your Lord the Highest.” Why do those who use scare tactics not learn a lesson or two from the methods of Dawah that Allah used in the Holy Qur’an?