The Secret to Dawat-e-Islami’s Success
Maulana Nasir Jamal Attari Madani
It was probably in 1978 that a 28-year-old man used to lead Salah at Noor Masjid in the old city area of Karachi. The young man saw the growth of impiety and its detrimental impacts on communities. Different to most Imams, he would go beyond his regular duties, taking practical steps to address the deteriorating attachment of people to Islam. He would advise the congregation, participate in the joys and sorrows of people, and practice what he preached. The only thing on the mind of this Imam was to reform those who suffered from intellectual confusion and impiety. The sincere Imam continued striving according to his capability and based on the results of his striving, it seemed as though this Imam would definitely succeed in his pious aim with the mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ.
Then that time came on 2nd September, 1981 when the religious movement of the devotees of the Prophet, Dawat-e-Islami, was formed. Owing to the sincere and enviable efforts of this Imam and his colleagues, Dawat-e-Islami began ascending the ladder of success until the world hailed this Imam as the ‘Ameer of Ahl Al-Sunnah, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri.’ Masses began taking him as their mentor and guide on the path of righteousness.
There are two signs of any active movement:
1. Clear and effective objective
2. Systematic and integrated system.
By the mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, both these signs are clearly evident in the rise and success of Dawat-e-Islami. Let us observe its details:
1. Clear and effective objective of Dawat-e-Islami
The clear purpose of establishing Dawat-e-Islami was individual and societal edification, for which the Ameer of Ahl Al-Sunnah, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ was already working individually, but a systematic and integrated system was needed to effectively reach more people. True dedication, indeed, makes every difficulty easier, so with time, the system of Dawat-e-Islami went from strength to strength. Sincere passion was required to make this movement successful. This is also the basic foundation of calling people to Allah Almighty. Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ was a paradigm of sincerity from the very beginning. To spread the message of Islam, he travelled to different parts of Karachi, delivering powerful speeches, trying his utmost to pay for things ranging from travel expenses to food himself; he even carried salt and water with him so that he would not have to ask for such a small thing either. When this level of sincerity drives an individual, he is able to guide people and rectify them through his discourse and state; his silence is as impactful as his words. The influence of this preacher of Islam was swiftly accepted by the people, and wherever a speech of the Ameer of Ahl Al-Sunnah دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ took place, an amazing change could be observed in the character and mannerism of the people there. When he دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ would meet someone, the person’s heart would be transformed. Thus, people of all ages, especially the youth, who lived in the society, began to join this movement. The most important aspect of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri's invitation is that he has placed the purpose and philosophy which consists of rectifying the Ummah in the heart of everyone associated with him and gave a very simple and pure approach to enhance the work of Dawat-e-Islami. This is perhaps the same style of inviting regarding which it would be correct to say that it is the Sunnah of the Prophets and the method of the Awliya.
2. Organized and integrated system of Dawat-e-Islami
As Dawat-e-Islami progressed, its work continued to grow. A new administrative structure was needed for the second element of this movement, which was ‘an organized and integrated system.’ Since this movement follows Islamic principles wholeheartedly and Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ has instilled Shar’iah, Sunnah, Tasawwuf, and Ihsan in the hearts of Dawat-e-Islami members, he established the Central Executive Committee and proved to be a great administrator by handing over the organizational administration to it.
A movement is only as effective as its individual members. To train members as effective preachers who know, observe, and embody Islamic teachings, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ introduced a system of lectures and gatherings in all places, from home, markets, and schools to colleges, universities, and the last resting place of a man; the positive results of which are before us. This effective system allowed people of all backgrounds to find an Islamic environment that welcomed them and provided equal opportunities to everyone for self-development and growth.
In the last 40 years, how much has the passion for knowledge increased in people associated with this movement? This can be gauged from the record sales of every book of Maktaba-tul-Madinah, the publishing department of this movement. Unique in many aspects, the truly remarkable thing about this publishing house is that it aims to foster a passion for reading in society and not garner a customer base.
The approach of Dawat-e-Islami is grounded in gentleness and mercy for these qualities are at the heart of the Prophetic Way. The final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘Gentleness makes whatever it is found in beautiful, and whatever gentleness is removed from becomes unpleasant,’ (Muslim, p. 1073, Hadith 6602).
Islam is defined by mercy and so the methodology of Dawat-e-Islami is really a microcosm of Islam, drawing on the core values of our faith. Dawat-e-Islami also believes in conveying its message using gentleness. Influenced by the message of love given by Dawat-e-Islami (which is actually the true picture of Islam), many non-Muslims are becoming associated with Islam, many Muslims are endowing their assets for Islam, in fact, they are ready to spend their lives to spread Islam’s message of peace. In reality, this is the result of Dawat-e-Islami being a peace-loving organization which is making its active system go from strength to strength.