The Muslim community or Ummah, is composed of the Muslims who give the two testifications i.e., there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad (s.a.w.) is His Messenger. Among them are Muslims who practise it while others do not. In this regard, the duty of Muslim missionaries, i.e., calling Muslims back to Islam, is centered on the following:
1- One of the greatest problems faced by the Muslims is lack of proper understanding of Islam and mixing it with western, Christian, and their own cultural concepts on religion. This misunder-standing is a result of the sources from which the general public acquire their ideas on Islam: Secular parties, information dissemination sources and the universities which are custodians of ideology and culture.
Therefore, the first step in any discourse with the practicing Muslim, who understands Islam, is to make him comprehend the reality of Islam as a system of belief, legislation and a way of life, know that Islam is a method of building a civilization, the state and a way of thinking and to strengthen his relationship with Allah, the Glorious.
2- Making them conscious of their social condition and the causes of their backwardness, solving their problems and presenting Islam in a scientific way and showing how it is the only solution to the problems of mankind and supporting this presentation with statistical data and economic, historical, political and social conditions. This will make the dialogue forceful and lead to conviction and satisfaction.
3- Making the audience feel the religious responsibility regarding his ummah, belief and society, deepen his sense of responsibility and explain its relationship with the reward in the next world. To also explain the importance of enjoining the good and forbidding the abominable, and Shirk from social duties and installing the religion of Islam as a state and a way of life is no less a misdeed than non-observance of personal worship. All these assertions must be backed by relevant proofs from the Shari’a.
4- To clarify the nature of his responsibility and train him on the method of change and social reforms and how to bear his responsibility so that he will be a part of the reform movement calling for goodness, guidance and service to the society.
5- The method of inviting a Muslim who does not practice Islam differs from that of a practicing Muslim, because we must, first, understand his personality and the causes of his deviation and sinning. After identifying the conditions and causes of his behavior we then help him realize his problem, solve it and pave the way for his uprightness and good conduct. The dialogue shall start by treating the subject of deviation, its causes and problems in a composed mood so that he can perceive that the co-discussant respects his personality, loves him and is desirous of a blissful destiny for him. It should also be pointed out that deviational behavior threatens his own integrity, while comparing his situation with that of an upright personality.
We must also make him sensitive by drawing examples of obstinate characters who committed all forms of crimes and sins and what befell them, as a result of their misconduct, in this world and what awaits them in the hereafter. We should also acquaint him with what the love Allah has for mankind and that the divine way is truly a way which is based on Allah’s love for man and His bestowal of bliss in this world and the hereafter. This should be helpful since the person we talk to is a Muslim, a believer in Allah and the Last Day.
In case the cause of deviation is ignorance, then he must be given the necessary knowledge; present to him the information on beliefs which can solve his problems and remove his mental and spiritual confusions. Here the duty of the prosperous missionary is like that of a psychiatrist and social expert. 5- Method of Dialogue With Various Islamic Trends and Jurisprudential Approaches:
The unity and unification of thought, legislation, leadership and feelings are the foundations on which Islamic thought, society and politics are built. The Ummah enjoyed that unity during the life-time of the Prophet (s.a.w.) because he himself was the caller who espouses the system of beliefs and rules and he was the leader and guardian of the society and the state.
The Messenger (s.a.w.) was the sole authority explaining the rules and delivering judgement in all matters as well as the leader and guardian of the Muslims. The Muslims are unanimous on this issue. After the demise of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.), three candidates for the leadership of the Ummah, Sa’ad bn Ubadah, Abubakr bn Abu Qahafa and Ali bn Abi Talib emerged. That conflict was the beginning of political and ideological differences in the Islamic Ummah.
New developments and conditions cropped up calling for the exposition of the relevant rules pertaining to them. Likewise, the Muslim community was quickly evolving and there was a vigorous quest for learning, exegesis and thought. This gave rise to questions and complications in matters of ideology and legislation that needed explanation. The people resorted to the compan-ions of the holy Prophet (s.a.w.) for clarification. The latter presented their verdicts, exigesis and narrations from the Prophet (s.a.w.) but contradicted one another in many places. This became the origin of the differences in the verdicts, exegesis and narrations issued by different scholars and it is the cause of the existence of various schools of jurisprudence, ideology, hadiths, etc.
The generations after the companions witnessed greater development in Islamic thought in theory, methodology and scientific reasoning. Consequently, the exercising of independent judgement (ijtihad) and deriving rules from the sources (istinbad) started and with it theological sects and schools of jurisprudence, traditions and narrations, theology, principles of jurisprudence and exegesis came into existence based on the theories of the various Islamic scholars.
Unfortunately, the multiple differences in opinion, due to a number of reasons, turned into personal opposition, the denouncement of one another as renegades or having strayed from the right path, and even to clashes, that were sometimes bloody, between the followers of different opinions and schools of thought. The foremost problem in the conflict between Muslims centers on three areas:-
1- The issue of leadership and ideological authority after the Prophet (s.a.w.).
2- The issue of differences in jurisprudence and what relates to it like the sources of jurisprudential opinions and methods of Istinbad.
3- The issue of ideological conflicts such as cases of determinism `jabr’, choice `ikhtiyar’, changing of decrees in matters of creation `bada”, infallibility of the Prophets (a.s.), the essential attributes of Allah, etc.
Scientific studies in the fields ideology, jurisprudence, exegesis, traditions and history have produced many opinions, convictions, concepts and ideas conflicting with one another.
Adapted from: “The Methods Of Propagation and Missionary Work” by: “Sayyid Bahashti”