Dawaah by Addressing the Heart

CII talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed on the 24th of November, 2011.


“wa zakkir fa innaz zikra tanfa’ul mu’mineen”

I was recently sitting with some students in a university and they were talking about how to do da’wah to non-Muslims as well as to the not-so-practicing Muslims. And I remembered this hadith. It has been collected by Imam Bukhari (rah) and narrated by Syedna Anas (ra) that Syedna Rasool Allah (saw) said:

“haddithun naasa bima ya’rafun”
You should speak to people concerning things that they will be able to understand and can comprehend and understand or have affinity for.

And I was saying that both Maulana Moosa Sb and myself, Alhamdulillah, have had the opportunity to see our shaykh speak to many different people from different parts of the world on various occasions; whether it is Hajj, whether it’s an Umrah, whether it’s in Ramadan, whether it’s before Ramadan, during Ramadan, the last ten days of a’itikaaf in Ramadan, or on particular occasions like nisf-e-Shabaan, Laylatul Qadr, Yaum-al-Arafa or speaking in different languages, or speaking to people from different communities or even in small gatherings the way our shaykh has spoken to the Russians, or even Nigerians, or the South Africans or Pakistanis, or speaking to people in Middle East; this is a great Sunnah the mashaikh of tasawwuf, they do ammal on the Sunnah of Syedna Rasoola Allah (saw), and they always speak to people on a wavelength that the hearts can understand.

This is why when many people sit with the great auliya Allah like our Shaykh, they witness that outwardly, apparently it may seem the Shaykh is talking about something very intellectual, or for some people practical, for some people simple or at their level”.

The mashaikh are really just directing focus on the hearts of the people.

But what’s actually happening is that the Shaykh is directing his focus on their hearts, using language that they will be comfortable with; language that will cause them to open up their hearts and focus on the heart of the speaker. This is what I was thinking, when I listening to you speak. This is something that we have been able to see this phenomenon live in front of us that Hazrat Ji is able to keep an audience captured.

They can captivate an audience from all different types of backgrounds. And actually this is the hearts of the mashaikh. And one major reason is also that they often speak, whether at the outset, or the totality of their talk, or certainly the climax of their talks is always about Allah (swt). It’s always about connecting people to Allah (swt).

 In that sense, Syedna Rasool Allah (saw) said:

“al ulama-u warathatul anbiya”
The ulema are the scholars and the heirs, they are like the successors of the anbiya, of all of the prophets, and all of the prophets indeed they used to address to the qaloob.

Their words used to address the hearts of people. Their words were able to win over the hearts of all types of diverse people. And those ulema of ours who are known as Auliya Allah, they are perhaps the greatest heirs of anbiya wal mursaleen, the greatest heirs of the prophets in this regards that they were able to win people over.

Whether it’s reflecting on the natural creation of Allah (swt) or the inter-relationship between them. Or whether it’s just a few lines of punjabi poetry about a horse, or a few lines of a punjabi poetry about a dog; all of these mashaikh have a way of meeting and connecting with the hearts of the listeners. And connecting the hearts of the people to the dhikr of Allah (swt), to the love of Allah (swt).

The mistake of making da’wah through aqal

This is a grave mistake that many of our university students and even our da’is make is that they often try to address people’s aqal. They try to win people over using exclusively intellectual arguments and that’s not something that’s going to bring people towards Allah (swt).

Rescuing a person’s heart from the jail of his mind

Allahu Akbar, we have all seen that person who is so stubborn to get an answer to whatever intellectual rational particum that they have stuck in their mind, sometimes we see our Shaykh perform something that we call a ‘jail-break’; he rescues that person’s qalb, rescues his heart from the jail of his aqal. And then he is able to make that person realize that a person needs to think much, much, much more with their heart than they think with their mind.

Alhamdulillah, you know I think especially yourself, and many other mashaikh and auliya of this Ummah who were blessed to go on this journey of hajj, which was really ultimately a journey of the heart. And I think the lesson that a person’s heart learns are always much more true, much more lasting and have a much more affect and a lasting aftereffect on a person than the lessons that a person learns with their minds.

And surely perhaps this is the simplest way to explain that what is the real value of tasawwuf.

Tasawwuf is that branch of learning of Islam that enables a person to develop their heart.

It enables a person to discover their heart; their spiritual heart – their qalb. And it teaches a person to strengthen that qalb, and nourish that qalb so that that qalb will be able to discover Allah (swt), so that our qalb may have a relationship with Allah (swt) and it may be able to reach out to Allah (swt).

Just like the example of tajweed, both formally and rigorously. I’m using these two words deliberately; that when a person learns tajweed

1. Formally
2.  Rigorously 

Then they will unlock their tongues. They will find their tongue capable of reciting in a way that they previously or initially thought they will never be able to do. They would have never imagined such sound coming out from their tongues.

Feeling the feelings of Islam and Imaan

Just like that, if somebody studies tasawwuf and dhikr but

1.       Formally and also
2.       Rigorously

Then they will inshaAllah be able to feel such feelings in their qalb, feel such feelings in their heart, they will start having hearts of  Iman, they will feel those feelings of Islam and iman, feelings that they never imagined perhaps that they could have felt. Feelings that they perhaps felt that they could never be able to feel.

Take, for example, the feeling of taqwa, the feeling of god-consciousness and being conscious and aware of Allah swt, love of Allah swt and fear and awe and reverence for Allah swt at all times.

We cannot reach Allah swt unless our heart is so strong

Something that we can only imagine, that whenever the nafs tries to invite us towards sin or shaytan tries to whisper us towards sin, imagine that that person’s heart is so strong, is so feeling,  that the feeling in that person’s qalb is so strong that that heart rises up and it is so strong that it is able to dispel all of the whisperings of shaytan and to negate all of the feelings of the nafs.

So those are feelings and until and unless our hearts can feel the feelings of Iman we are not going to be able to reach out and discover and be true to Allah swt. And we are not going to be able to be true to ourselves.

The transformation of sahaba karam due to the change in the way they felt

That’s why when you look at the transformation that Sayyedina RasulAllahi (sws) was able to breather over sahabah karaam, that transformation was essentially one of the heart.

He changed the way they felt. When Syyedina RasulAllahi (sws) changed the way sahabah karam felt then (it was secondary to that) obviously the sahabah karam themselves changed they talked, they changed the way they acted and changed their lifestyle and changed the way they lived and they changed every single thing about them.

But why?

Because Syyedina RasulAllahi (sws) was able to change the way they feel. And that’s what we find when the great auliya Allah (like our shaykh) and other great auliya Allah on this earth, when they meet people, when that person comes out of that suhbah of that meeting of that company, even if it is just for a few moments or a few minutes, they come out with having their feelings changed.

They changed the way they feel and especially they changed and improved and progressed and developed in the way they feel about Allah swt, the way they feel about deen, they become more serious in their feelings of taqwa, about fear of Allah swt, about love for Allah swt.

When a person starts having feelings for Allah, Allah (swt) starts having feelings for him

When the person changes how they feel, we explain it to our friends like this, that when a person starts having more feelings for allah swt, then Allah (swt) will start having more feelings for that person.

Once a person starts to discover Allah (swt) then Allah Ta’aala finds that person. Not even that the person will find Allah, no. Allah (swt) will find that person. when a person in his heart tries to discover Allah (swt) then Allah will Himself find that person. And that is something that the Auliya Allah do; they inspire the hearts with these feelings that enable a person to be wanted by Allah (swt). They take people and they make them the mehboob, the murad of Allah (swt).

Syedna Rasool Allah (saw) took ordinary people and made them the beloved of Allah (swt)

What greater, what more noble act can that be and that is exactly the Sunnah of Syedna Rasool Allah (saw). Syedna Rasool Allah (saw) took a group of people from pre-Islamic Arabia in the age of Jahilliya, and not only did he make them the lovers of Allah (swt), the mureed of Allah (swt), the obedient, pious, worshipers and slaves of Allah (swt), ultimately what Syedna Rasool Allah (saw) was able to do was that he made them the mahboob of Allah (swt). He made them the murad of Allah (swt). He took the ordinary people made them the beloved of Allah (swt), he made them the desire of Allah (swt).

Then Allah (swt) revealed the ayah in Qur’an:

ya ayyatuhan nafsal mutmainna irji’ee ila rabbiki radiyatam mardiyyah” 

That these people became so beloved of Allah (swt) that Allah (swt) could not wait for them. Allah (swt) was yearning for them. And He expressed that yearning in Qur’an Al Kareem “irji’ee ila rabbiki” that turn towards your Rabb.

We make du’a that all of us can have that opportunity to sit, and spend time and listen and learn from the great auliya Allah who walk this earth and that we do so with an open heart. And so that our hearts’ feelings can be inspired by them, so that our hearts can discover the blessings of Allah (swt).


وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَانَا أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ


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