Sphere of Preaching
Question asked by .
Answered by Siddiq Bukhary

The editorial that I have read in Renaissance November 2003 issue is very good. I however am not sure about the responsibility that you have mentioned of the common Muslim being different from the Muslim scholars. I understand from whatever little I have learned so far that besides other factors it also depends upon the circumstances we all live in, that is, whether in a Muslim or non-Muslim state. I see that everywhere Allah and his Prophet’s (sws) rules are being openly broken before our eyes. If we cannot allow people to break traffic rules or simply walk backwards in the street in an absurd manner, I really do not understand how we can keep our gestures unexpressed or mouths closed about violation of Allah’s rules. This kind of thinking that we are only responsible for our family is not just right. This thinking implies we should then just live with our family and not move about outside or at work with other people so that our eyes do not see what wrong is being committed. In other words, we just should sit with our eyes shut.


I think you would agree that in the cited editorial the real stress is on the words ‘sphere of authority’ and ‘immediate surroundings’ and if you appreciate this stress there would be no difficulty, I hope, in understanding the real massage of the article.

The disturbance and anarchy which we often observe in our society is the outcome of ignoring our spheres of authority. The person who muddles in others’ affairs is just like the trespasser who is always disliked and sometimes punished too.

 In our sphere of authority we are allowed to use the force and we should; but we often want this license for others’ spheres, now this is against the real teachings of Islam and the same has been highlighted in the editorial.

Similarly one should not ignore one’s surroundings. Propagation of the truth in one’s immediate surroundings is the responsibility of every Muslim but it is just propagation and not use of authority. Authority will be used where we are allowed to do so and where we are not allowed, propagation only will serve the purpose.

It has never been maintained that a person should keep his mouth shut even in his surroundings. He should express himself but with wisdom and a sense of responsibility.

The person who disregards traffic signals must be told with wisdom and arguments that following the law is imperative for a good citizen. We however do not have the authority to force him to comply with the traffic laws if he persists. Using authority in this regard is the prerogative of the state alone. Similarly, where we work and where we live is also included in our surroundings. We should bear responsibility for propagating truth in these places. 

The guidance from the Holy Qur’ān should be sought keeping in view our status. I mean if we are common Muslims we should ask the Qur’ān that being common Muslims what our responsibilities are. If we are scholars we should ask the Qur’ān that being scholars what our responsibilities are and so on.

In our family, we hold dual responsibility i.e. propagation and at times authority depending upon the real situation but in our surroundings only single responsibility has been assigned to us, that is, propagation. In the light of Sūrah Al-‘Asar we should fulfill this obligation because otherwise we will be among the losers on the Day of Judgment as has been asserted in the Sūrah.

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