Calling to Good Manners Firstly is Contradictory to the Prophetic Dawah Method [Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan]

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…

One of the great senior scholars of this era, Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him), was asked:

Is this manner of da’wah (Islamic propagation) correct: One that begins by inviting the people to good manners at first?

The shaykh responded by saying:

No, this is misguidance, a contradiction to the da’wah of the Messengers. This is the call of the hizbees (bigoted sectarians) nowadays. It is a false da’wah, because it is contradictory to the methodology of the Messengers. What they (really) desire is that people remain upon their (various) beliefs, whether they are (the beliefs of) the Qubooriyyah (gravesite fanatics), idol-worship, or sufism. What is important (to them) is just to gather the people together, merely for the sake of following them (i.e. their group) exclusively.

Source: This Arabic recording.


1. When the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) sent Mu’aath ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) to Yemen, he told him:

إنك تقدم على قوم من أهل الكتاب، فليكن أول ما تدعوهم إلى أن يوحدوا الله تعالى، فإذا عرفوا ذلك، فأخبرهم أن الله قد فرض عليهم خمس صلوات في يومهم وليلتهم، فإذا صلوا، فأخبرهم أن الله افترض عليهم زكاة في أموالهم، تؤخذ من غنيهم فترد على فقيرهم، فإذا أقروا بذلك فخذ منهم، وتوق كرائم أموال الناس
“Verily, you are going to a people from Ahlul-Kitaab (i.e. the Jews and Christians), so let the first thing you invite them to be to worship Allaah alone. If they understand that (and accept it), then inform them that Allaah has ordained upon them five daily prayers. If they pray, then inform them that Allaah has ordained upon them the payment of zakaat from their wealth, taken from their rich and given back to their poor. If they agree to that, then take (zakaat) from them, but abstain from the people’s best (most expensive) belongings.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

From this and many other clear evidences, we learn that the focus and priority of the da’wah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) was to towheed. Other essential matters of the Religion were presented only after people accept towheed.

This same methodology is also evident from the many Quraanic passages describing the da’wah of Allaah’s Prophets and Messengers. Refer to the book The Methodology of the Prophets in Calling to Allaah by Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee for a more complete discussion of this important topic.

2. Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan, in the above fatwaa, is not saying that good manners in da’wah is not important, nor is he saying that calling the people to good manners is not from Islaamic da’wah. He is merely assisting the Ummah to redirect their focus and priority in giving da’wah back to its original theme – that Allaah has the sole right to be worshipped.

3. Many Muslims today incorrectly assume that, since manners are highly stressed in Islaam, we should make them our priority when giving da’wah. There is a difference between giving da’wah with good manners and beginning one’s da’wah by inviting to good manners.

4. Making good manners the focus and priority of da’wah causes us to resemble the Christians, whose great Prophet and Messenger called them to worship Allaah alone from his very first words after birth, announcing himself as a worshipper of Allaah alone! [Soorah Maryam, 19:30-36] However, you find modern Christians explaining their religion as merely good morals and manners. Not only have they taken towheed out of the priorities of their da’wah, they have removed it from the religion altogether! Muslims must be wise enough to learn from the mistakes of the people who came before us. We must not follow in their footsteps into the traps of Shaytaan.

5. Every Muslim is a daa’ee (caller, one who invites to Islaam), through his/her actions and behavior, and we are all required to implement Islaam properly in our lives and be good examples of Muslims. However, it is not correct to say that any Muslim knows enough to get involved in organized da’wah work and outreach programs. How often we see ignorant Muslims who wish to serve their Religion cause extensive harm and corruption in the name of da’wah! Knowledge must come before this kind of da’wah work. We must shun the corrupt form of “do-it-yourself” da’wah, independent of the scholars of Islaam and their advice and direction.

And Allaah knows best.

Translation and commentary by: Moosaa Richardson

36 thoughts on “Calling to Good Manners Firstly is Contradictory to the Prophetic Dawah Method [Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan]

  1. as-salaam alaikum. jazaakallaahu gairan.

    I’ve read once that when you want to forbid munkar, you should begin with the greatest evil. That the greatest evil is the priority. Sometimes when I’m in the mosque or somewhere else I see an ‘aami do something that is wrong (for example: reciting along with the imaam after fatihah, or raising his hands after the obligatory prayers in dua’) and I want to advise him, yet I see that he also has his pants below his ankles, and he shaved his beard and chances are he listens to deviated people like al-Qardawee etc.

    The evil of the beard, isbaal and listening to deviated people is widespread among the ‘awaam here in Holland and probably all over the Islamic world, so I was wondering if I should advise this person to stop with his munkar that seems ‘little’ compared to the other evil or not?

    For example last week I heard a man next to me saying in tasleem ‘as-salaam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi ta’aala wa barakaatuh’ and I was wondering if I should say to him that we need an evidence for adding the ‘ta’aala’ part.

    And there are many more examples in which I don’t know what is the right thing to do.

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. I would not advise that you give priority to the addition of “ta’aalaa” in the salaams and other such issues when a person is being misguided by the likes of al-Qaradawi. Introduce the upright scholars of Islaam to him and guide him to their reliable students and their books and tapes as a priority. And Allaah knows best.

  2. Our noble brother, regarding Towheed, and the issue of shirk and bid’ah… can we say the greatest bid’ah is shirk? If so, could you clarify it more for me please?

    • When shirk is done in an attempt to draw near to Allah, like those who call upon saints and claim there are doing “tawassul” – then this is the greatest form of bid’ah. It nullifies a person’s claim to be Muslim takes him outside of Islam. And Allaah knows best.

      • Jazaak’Allaah khair akhi. Just to see if I’ve understood this… so if someone commits shirk in order to bring them near to Allaah (eg; asking the dead in the grave to take their dua Allaah..?), then this also falls into being the greatest bid’ah. However, if someone worships other than Allaah, (& not seeking nearness to HIM) eg, someone who worships and sacrifices for a stone idol, this is not from bid’ah but the greatest shirk? I am hoping to consolidate my understanding on this important issue, so appreciate the help. Jazaak’Allaah khair.

        • Someone who worships (du’aa’, sacrifice, etc.) other than Allaah, intending by it to draw near to Allaah: shirk and bid’ah
          Someone who worships (du’aa’, sacrifice, etc.) other than Allaah, not intending by it to draw near to Allaah: shirk

          Both are the greatest crimes a person can commit (shirk).

  3. As salaamu alaykium…we have a student of knowledge that tells us “it is not for us to advice someone as soon as we see it..that that is only for the PROPHETS…WITHOUT ANY PROOFS..WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT HIM AND THAT STATEMENT?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said (what means): “Whoever of you sees an evil matter, let him change it with his hand (when he is in authority). If he is unable to do that, let him change it with his tongue (with advice, enjoining good, forbidding evil). If he is unable to do that, then let him change it within his heart (by hating it), and that is the weakest level of faith.” [Saheeh Muslim] The Prophet also generalized this whole religion as being naseehah! [Saheeh Muslim] With that, when someone sees the need to advise and fails to do so, while being capable and without fearing harm, then he is a treacherous betrayer to the Muslims. Allaah has said [what means]: “Verily those who hide what we have sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We have clarified that to the people in the Book, such are cursed by Allaah and cursed by all those who curse.” [2:159] May Allaah save us from the evil trials of those who betray the Muslims and mislead others into betraying them. And Allaah knows best.

      • As salaamu alaykium..what is the ruling on the one mu’haaddin who calls the adhan outside but to himself..where we can barely hear the adhan being called inside..and probably no one can hear it outside.?

        • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. The point of the athaan is to be an announcement publicly. Whenever possible, the mu’ath-thin raises his voice and calls out loudly, hoping for the promised reward for everyone and everything that hears his athaan. The athaan of someone with a low voice is valid, but not preferable. And Allaah knows best.

  4. Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
    why earthquakes happen as per islamic sharia ?
    The citizen of nepal today almost everyone do want to know about it but found no authentic explanation. .
    Jazakallahu khairan

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Allaah does whatever He chooses and He is not accountable to us. We are all His property and to Him we shall all return. Sometimes Allaah tries his believing servants with calamities, to increase their reward, and sometimes Allaah punishes the people through natural disasters, as He says (what means): “Corruption has appeared on land and at sea, due to what the people’s hands have earned, so that He would make them taste part of what they have done, in hopes they would return (to Allaah in obedience).” [30:41] And Allaah knows best.

      • Assalamu alaykum,
        Brother, forgive me if I am wrong but I do remember something about not calling such incidents natural disasters since they are not natural but caused by Allah and that it could lead to shirk calling it that? Just to be extra cautious. It was on salafitalk and I think by shaykh Muqbil

        • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. There’s nothing wrong with using the word ‘natural disaster’ when referring to catastrophes that happen by the Qadr of Allaah, like hurricanes and the likes. The shaykh was warning about when people attribute those things to nature alone without mentioning Allaah, as if things in nature happen without a creator, or that nature itself is the creator, i.e. “Mother Nature” (Refuge with Allaah is sought!) That is shirk. However, this is clearly not the context here, as you can see: “…Sometimes Allaah punishes the people through natural disasters, as He says (what means): ‘Corruption has appeared…” And Allaah knows best.

  5. As salaamu alaykium…in reference to the Abdullah bin masud…where he said ..whoever likes to meet allah tomorrow as a muslim he should guard these five times daily salat by praying them where the adhan is being called….Allah has prescribed for your prophet (salllahu alayhi was salaam)practices of guidance and if you pray in your homes as some laggerds do,you would be abandoning the sunnah of your prophet…..etc. ….to the end of the narration…I want to know the tafseer on this narration….inshaallah..barakallah feekam

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. It is a very clear and stern exhortation from a great advisor from the Companions about the importance of prayer in congregation, and a warning that misguidance and hypocrisy can overtake someone who neglects it. Is there something specific in the wording which you feel needs explained?

      • It was told to us as a community that..the prayer in congregation is only obligatory if the adhan is heard…nevertheless with proofs…taking away the significance of prayer in congregation…and this is by a student of knowledge.SO I wanted to find something to stress the importance of the congregational salaah because when we address the student he says…..”it’s only wajib if the adhan can be heard…”and we live in a loud city…

        • Simply share the benefits and virtues of prayer in congregation, specifically in the masjid. Increased reward, being in the thimmah (special protection) of Allaah all day or all night, being distant from hypocrisy, etc. Muslims desire all that safety, reward, and protection, so there is a lot to be said on the topic. And Allaah knows best.

  6. As salaamu alaykium…we have had two issues of our masjid being broken into…at the time it was told to us…there’s no proof for us locking up the masjid…we takeaway the salat for the latecomers….ppl the want to read,study,and get away from the duyna…all the while after there gone..the masjid is open unattended to?SO would locking the doors after a certain amount be considered..maintaining the masjid…making it permissible to lock the doors?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Al-Imaam al-Bukhaaree has a chapter in his Saheeh he called “Closing [Locking] the Ka’bah and the Masjids” where he establishes from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) that he closed the Ka’bah with a few of his Companions once. Imaam al-Bukhaaree’s fiqh is in his chapter title (as usual), where he said: “Closing the Ka’bah AND THE MASJIDS“, indicating that he viewed this permissibility to apply to masjids other than just the Ka’bah.

      In the explanations of Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, you find the scholars mentioning that Imaam Ahmad, as well as the scholars of the Maalikee and Shaafi’ee math-habs, as well as some of the Hanafees, all allowed locking masjids outside of the prayer times, for needs related to their maintenance and upkeep, like protecting property from theft, and other necessities. Some of them mentioned that Fajr time should include all the way to sunrise. Al-Haafith Ibn Rajab has the most comprehensive gathering of statements from the early imams on the permissibility of locking the masjid outside of prayer times for a need. Ibn Battaal even said it was WAAJIB (obligatory) for masjids to have doors [that lock], so as to be maintained properly. His statement was quoted by the later explainers of Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and relied upon, without anyone [that I know of] challenging it.

      In terms of resources in today’s world, many communities simply cannot afford to keep the lights, a/c (or heat), and other expenses running all day, nor do they have the ability to provide security for the necessary equipment in the masjid throughout the day. With these issues, it is still not strange to find that one dissenting whisper in a community: “You know they keep people from the masjid by locking its doors…” regarding the people who VOLUNTEER to help maintain the masjid and keep it clean and accessible! Allaah’s Aid is sought.

      I would recommend that people who are trustworthy are given keys to open the doors whenever they can outside of the prayer times, and that the community is diligent in keeping the doors open at all five daily prayers consistently. And Allaah knows best.

  7. As salaamu alaykium….is there ANY INSTANCE…where it is permissible for a sister to recite the quran for a non-marham?Whether it be Iman of masjid or student of knowledge having class..?even behind a veil or in another room where they can’t see one another only hear?

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. If there are no qualified ladies to teach her the Quran, then she reads without any beautification of her voice upon a qualified male teacher, from behind a curtain, or by phone. And Allaah knows best.

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. When he has the permission from those responsible for the affairs of the masjid, and his stay does not harm anyone/anything. And Allaah knows best.

  8. As salaamu alaykium…what is the most correct opinion on the issue of whether or not a sister can come into the masjid on her menses?and touching the Qur’an on her menses?

  9. As salaamu alaykium…I’d like to know the tafsir on the hadeeth by Ibn masud..(ra)reported the Messenger of ALLAAH..sallahu alayhi was salam said..”Truthfulness leads to piety and piety leads to jannah… the end of the hadeeth..

  10. Assalaamu ‘Alaikum,

    Why did Loot (peace be upon him) call his people to stop homosexuality if Tawheed is the first priority? Same with Shu’aib (peace be upon him) on being balanced in business?

    Thank you.

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. All Prophets called to towheed and warned from shirk as their core mission, as Allaah says: (ولقد بعثنا في كل أمة رسولا أن اعبدوا الله واجتنبوا الطاغوت), which means: “Verily we have sent to every nation a messenger, [saying] Worship Allaah (alone) and shun false deities”. This verse includes Loot, as well as the rest of the Prophets and Messengers.

      More specifically, read Quranic passages like Soorah ash-Shu’araa’ v.160-175 to see that Loot (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) called his people to be conscious of Allaah (to have taqwaa of Allaah), observe their duty to Him, and then obey their Prophet. The people of Loot were also in the time of the Prophet Ibraaheem, and they likely heard the call to towheed from him as well. And they were also warned away from a catastrophic lifestyle of filth which would stop them from heeding the call to towheed. And Allaah knows best.

  11. Essalam alaykoum dear brother !

    I write this comment to ask you for some commentaries on the following hadith, or some commentaries on the answer of Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan in light of the following hadith :

    [Arabic : عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏:‏ إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ صَالِحَ الأَخْلاقِ]
    [English : Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “I was sent to perfect good character.”]

    Source : Ahmad (2/318), El-Boukhâri in El-Adab El-Moufrad (hadith 273), and athentificated by El-Albâni dans Es-Silsila Es-Sahîha (hadith 45).

    Thank you

    • Wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. The one who was sent to the people to perfect good character (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace), did he begin his call with exhortations to patience and kind dealings, or did he climb Mt. Safa and warn the Quraysh against shirk and where it would lead them? Another question: When this man sent his missionaries to places, to convey his message, AND HE WAS INDEED SENT TO PERFECT GOOD CHARACTER, did he ask them to call the people to various manifestations of good behavior first or did he say, for example: (what means) “Mu’aath, you are going to some of the People of the Book, so let the first thing you call them to be THAT THEY WORSHIP ALLAAH ALONE…”

      Good manners are very important in Islaam. Shaykh al-Fowzaan was referring to those who speak on topics like patience, forgiveness, kindness, smiling, etc. without establishing the call to the worship of Allaah alone first. There are people who approach grave worshippers who need to hear about towheed, yet a preacher approaches them and reminds them to pray at night, or be honest in their business dealings, and the likes. Manners are important, but they are not a priority in reaching the common people who typically fall into violations of the core of their Religion. Re-read the article with these points in mind, and it should be easier to understand, and Allaah knows best.

      I worry that Ikhwanis & other deviants who favor this method of de-prioritizing towheed in da’wah will say in response to this article: Salafees do not care about good manners! (without trying to understand the issue or put things in their proper places). So be warned against their influence, and may Allaah protect us all, and Allaah knows best.

  12. Asslammu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu and is it not the height of good manners that we rectify and perfect it (good manners) with our Lord First, so if we were committing shirk with Allah,and innovation into Allahs deen then is there any worse manner with our Lord that we could have. Subhanallah does not good manners begin with how we are with Allah?

  13. Assalamu alaykum ustaadh Moosaa,

    What is the ruling on giving da’wah? I’ve read contradicting views on this and from what I know it is “fard ayni minal kifaayah”, but what does that entail? Is it obligatory for me to give da’wah on an individual level if I’m living among the non-Muslims?

    Jazakallah khair

  14. Assalamu alaykum

    Is it something correct to say to a non-muslim that Quran has answers to each & every questions arise in human minds ?
    (In otherwords, quran has answers to all your questions)

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Absolutely not. Rather, the Quran answers the most important questions that are beneficial to Mankind, in all issues needed to fulfill his purpose in life. And Allaah knows best.

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