Communication in the Qur’an (06/11)
Methods of Communication
The methods of communicating the message is just as important as the content of the communication. Those spreading Islam should not limit their efforts to reciting Qur’anic verses one after another, explaining matters of religion, and urging one to have faith. Rather, they must calculate the most effective manner and style to employ. This includes observing the other person’s reactions to what is being told. If this reaction is one of confusion, the method should be changed.
Of course, it is also possible that the person will persist in denial. In this case, the believer has to consider how long to pursue this effort, when to stop, and what to do next. The Qur’an is a believer’s guide in all of these matters, for the Prophet changed his methods according to circumstances and characters of people he met.
1. Identifying the person appropriate for the communication
Believers must first realize that those whom they are addressing may not come to faith right away. The education they have gone through or the influence of the people around them may lead them to show negative reactions, to the extent of refusing to listen. For this reason, those who want to spread Allah’s message should primarily select conscientious people who are inherently inclined to Islam. There is no urgency to talk with those who are arrogant or hostile toward religion. Allah relates in the Qur’an thus:
You will not make dead people hear and you will not make deaf people hear the call when they turn their backs in flight. You will not guide blind people out of their error. You will not make anyone hear except for those who have faith in Our Signs and so are Muslims. (Surat an-Naml: 80-81)
In another verse, Allah reveals the difference between those who will come to faith and those who will not:
The Word has been justly carried out against most of them, so they have no faith. We have put iron collars around their necks reaching up to the chin so that their heads are forced back. We have placed a barrier in front of them and a barrier behind them, blindfolding them so that they cannot see. It makes no difference to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. You can only warn those who act on the Reminder and fear [and respect] the All-Merciful in the Unseen. Give them the good news of forgiveness and a generous reward. (Surah Ya Sin: 7-11)
When believers decide to talk about Islam with others, they should consider these criteria. If they see no sign of a sincere conscience in those to whom they are talking, insistence on communicating the message will become a waste of time. As Allah underlines in many verses of the Qur’an, majority of people will not come to faith. Since this is the case, believers should seek out these rare individuals whose hearts are inclined to believe and then call them to faith.
2. Continuing the communication until an assessment can be made about the individual.
According to the above criteria, if a person seems to be inclined toward faith, communication may begin. During this encounter, the hearer’s reactions, interpretations, and responses will reveal his or her attitude toward religion. Therefore, if the person shows no signs of sincerity, communication must continue until an assessment can be made about the person in question. If, at this point, it is understood that the person has no inclination towards the morality of the Qur’an, then the believers leave that person so that they can devote their precious time on more useful pursuits and activities of communication.
Remember that success of a believer cannot be measured by whether or not the person embraces Islam, for only Allah can lead people to the right path. Success can be measured only by whether his or her effort has been totally pleasing to Allah. Ending this effort if necessary and moving on to more useful work is also pleasing to Allah. As in the case of Prophet Hud who told the following to his people, believers should turn their backs to people who resist faith:
[Hud said:] “If you turn your backs, I have transmitted to you what I was sent to you with, and my Lord will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. My Lord is the Preserver of everything.” (Surah Hud: 57)
3. Assessing the hearer’s attitude and sincerity
Believers must frequently make an assessment of the unbelievers’ reactions to what they are being told. Sometimes it will be necessary to alter the conversation’s content, style, and intensity according to the person’s spiritual state and ability to understand. This could provide a degree of flexibility to make the message more appropriate to those being addressed. In addition, this would allow the believer to measure the other person’s sincerity or openness to the message before continuing. However, if the other person’s attitude is thought to be the result of an ulterior motive (e.g., worldly gain) or insincerity, then this effort should cease.
In the Qur’an Allah tells us that Prophet Sulayman (as) used to observe the person’s reaction and then present the next topic accordingly. When sending a letter to the Queen of Sheba via Hudhud, a member of his army, he gave this command:
“Take this letter of mine, deliver it to them, and then withdraw for a little and see how they respond.” (Surat an-Naml: 28)
4. Not to make offers regarding worship before the person strengthens in his faith
It should primarily be ensured that those who are newly introduced to the religion believe in Allah and the Hereafter. In order to fulfill the requirements of religious morality, they must be able to grasp its rationale and perform these acts of worship willingly and consciously. Otherwise, they will simply imitate others without understanding what they are doing or may choose not to do them at all. Thus, it is important to bring such people to a certain level of understanding of Islam and make them desire to worship Allah as He commands. In this process, no recommendations about worship may be given until the person asks specific questions or acquires a certain understanding. Indeed, a person who has sincere faith in Allah and the Hereafter will desire to perform the acts of worship revealed by Allah in the Qur’an himself.
5. Creating a sense of the believer’s power and grandeur
Unbelieving societies have a mistaken idea that religion speaks only to the poor. This is fallacy, for Islam calls all people to the path of Allah, our Lord. However sometimes, “actual” examples are required to demolish this fallacy. Muslims, blessed with the world’s most striking beauties, power and grandeur, who live by the morality of Islam and use these blessings for religion set the best examples to eliminate the prejudices of unbelievers.
People tend to admire power, wealth, and splendor. That is why most people avoid Muslims who are morally upright and sincere but have no power; but instead admire and try to emulate coarse, immoral people just because of their wealth. But this “psychological” advantage of the unbelievers may benefit the believers when they are seen to be richer and more splendid than the unbelievers.
This is one of the reasons why the Qur’an emphasizes Sulayman’s (as) power and wealth and how he used them to communicate the faith. The Qur’an describes the Queen of Sheba’s submission and how greatly she was affected by his wealth:
She was told: “Enter the courtyard.” But when she saw it, she supposed it to be a pool and bared her legs. He said: “It is a courtyard paved with glass.” She said: “O my Lord, I have wronged myself, but I have submitted with Sulayman to the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat an-Naml: 44)
To use the blessings that Allah has given as a means to familiarize people with the Qur’an’s moral teachings is an act of worship. This was the purpose of several works of art commissioned by Sulayman (as). Following in his path, other believers may also use their power and wealth as effective means to acquaint people with religion.
6. Asking the people for their opinions
Remember that communication is not just “giving information.” Those who seek to communicate the message must know other people’s ideas, answer their questions, and provide proof to remove any mental reservations. For this reason, they must frequently ask what the hearers are thinking and, if no progress is being made, change the topic or adopt a new style.
When we look at the prophets’ and the messengers’ methods, we see that they questioned those who were listening to them. For example, Shu‘ayb (as) asked: “O my people, what do you think?” (Surah Hud: 88). Ibrahim (as) followed this same technique:
We gave Ibrahim his right guidance early on, and We had complete knowledge of him. When he asked his father and his people: “What are these statues you are clinging to?” they replied: “We found our fathers worshipping them.” He said: “You and your fathers are clearly misguided.” They asked: “Have you brought us the truth, or are you playing games?” He said: “Far from it! Your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and Earth, He who brought them into being. I am one of those who bear witness to that. By Allah, I will devise some scheme against your idols when your backs are turned.” He broke them in pieces, except for the largest one, so that they would have it to consult! They said: “Who has done this to our gods? He is definitely one of the wrongdoers!” They said: “We heard a young man mentioning them. They call him Ibrahim.” They ordered: “Bring him before the people’s eyes so they can be witnesses.” They asked: “Did you do this to our deities, Ibrahim?” He said: “No, this one, the largest of them, did it. Ask them, if they are able to speak!” They consulted among themselves and said [to each other]: “It is you yourselves who are wrongdoers.” But then they relapsed back into their unbelief [after having said to each other]: “You know full well these idols cannot talk.” He told them: “Do you then worship, instead of Allah, what cannot help or harm you in any way? Shame on you and what you worship besides Allah! Will you not use your intellect?” (Surat al-Anbiya’: 51-67)
Believers must ask questions from time to time to judge how effective their words have been, to determine what points should be emphasized, and to follow the progression of the hearer’s thoughts. They must record this progress and learn what those who are listening think of what they have been told. In this way, the believers will be able to assess the other party’s sincerity and determine how to proceed.
7. Employing the most effective method conforming to the person’s character
Apart from the truth of the message, effective communication depends on the way it is addressed: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition…” (Surat an-Nahl: 125).
This can be achieved by emphasizing a particular point and using interesting and relevant examples. Aside from this, since everyone has a different character and different needs, the believers have to tailor their styles and methods to make them effective. For example, sometimes it might be useful to use detailed examples or a concise narrative style. Through these methods, each believer should try to determine the listener’s level of comprehension and emotional state and adapt the method and manner of communication as necessary.
8. Leading a person to think
Asking questions may also lead people to think about particular topics. This is a very effective method for the communication of the message.
The most salient feature of unbelievers is that they do not know how to “think,” as thinking is defined in the Qur’an. They do not think about the meaning of life, but only about how to make money and put up appearances. They do not think about some basic faith-related issues the origin of the universe, who created their bodies, where a person goes after death, and other spiritual matters. Their thoughts are generally concentrated on their own personal gain.
Thus, those who are interested in Islam must be taught how to think, for that is the only way they will be able to see their society’s faults and errors and, as a result, grasp Islam’s basic tenets. When they can think, they can question their own ideas and beliefs, see where the deficiencies lie, and begin to feel discontented with their situation. This will lead them to search for what is right and true. In the Qur’an, Allah teaches people how to think and ask questions, and shows them what things they should think about:
Say: “What do you think? If Allah took away your hearing and your sight and sealed up your hearts, what deity is there, other than Allah, who could give them back to you?” Look how We vary the Signs, yet still they turn away! (Surat al-An‘am: 46)
Say: “Who provides for you out of heaven and Earth? Who controls hearing and sight? Who brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living? Who directs the whole affair?” They will reply: “Allah.” Say: “So will you not guard against evil?” That is Allah, your Lord, the Truth. And what is there after truth except misguidance? So how have you been distracted?” (Surah Yunus: 31-32)
Urging them to think, Prophet Ibrahim (as) also mare his people find the perversion they are in:
Recite to them the story of Ibrahim, when he asked his father and his people: “What do you worship?” They replied: “We worship idols and will continue to cling to them.” He asked: “Do they hear you when you call, or do they help you or do you harm?” They said: “No, but this is what we found our fathers doing.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’: 69-74)
Since whether or not to believe is left to people’s own free will, believers are duty-bound to help other people think about the truth. In order to perceive what is right in a particular matter, people must first think about it. For this reason, believers will communicate in a way that will lead other people to think.
9. Removing the influence of forefathers’ religion
There is a tendency in many people to conform to old traditions and follow the customs of their ancestors. If these traditions and customs accord with the Qur’an, there is no problem. However, if these practices violate the Qur’an and the tenets of Islam—which is often the case—then Allah bans them. The Qur’an is the guide for all Muslims; any traditions and rules that conflict with it contain no truth, regardless of who established them:
When they are told: “Follow what Allah has sent down,” they say: “No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing.” What! Even if satan is calling them to the punishment of the Blazing Fire? (Surah Luqman: 21)
People must be aware of this fact. Thus, they must be urged to abandon their ancestral “religion” and accept the Qur’an’s pure, unadulterated teachings. Otherwise, it becomes impossible for that person to understand and practice Islam.
10. Defining the life of ignorance and undoing its effects
The spiritual poverty of the society from which the person comes is one of the beneficial subjects that should be explained to the person to whom the message is communicated. This way s/he can compare the perfection of the morality of Islam with their own society’s distorted beliefs and practices and see the striking difference between them.
In societies that have remained distant to the morality of the Qur’an, the people’s moral make-up and understanding of justice have totally collapsed. Chaos and uneasiness is rife, the crime rate increases, and injustice grows apace. Allah’s messengers and prophets explained the danger of their situation and urged them not to overstep the boundaries that Allah has established for them. Comprehending that societal and personal hindrances will be removed by living by the Qur’an’s teachings, and that the establishment of Allah’s judgments will, by itself, eliminate the corruption rampant in the society is one of the important reasons that makes people feel closer to the religion.
While Yusuf (as) was in prison, two prisoners asked him to interpret their dreams. He replied:
… I have left the religion of a people who clearly have no faith in Allah and who refuse to acknowledge the truth of the world to come. I hold fast to the creed of my forebears Ibrahim, Ishaq, and Ya‘qub. We do not associate anything with Allah. And that is how Allah has favored us and all of humanity. But most do not give thanks. My fellow prisoners, are many lords better or Allah, the only One, the Conqueror? What you serve apart from Him are only names that you and your forefathers have made up. There is no mandate for them from Allah. Allah alone is qualified to judge. His order is to worship none but Him. That is, in truth, the straight and upright religion, but most people simply do not know.” (Surah Yusuf: 37-40)
Yusuf (as) told them about the idolatrous character of their society and asked, “are many lords better or Allah, the only One, the Conqueror?”. In this way, he revealed the great difference between idolatry and tawhid (the oneness of Allah). No doubt this knowledge can be provided in a very detailed manner. The idolatrous character may be described as selfish, greedy, opportunistic, unsophisticated, and crude, while the believers’ noble characteristics can be described as just the opposite.
The injustice, pitilessness, falsity, and opportunism, the features peculiar to those who associate others with Allah are totally opposite to the ideal of Islam. Presenting such a contrast is very useful in getting people to abandon their mistaken worldview and replace it with the Islamic one. However, to be effective, the examples given must be from the person’s own society.
11. Having control over the course of the conversation
Believers must never forget that the basic purpose of communication is to teach religious morality as a means to bring others to Islam. Unbelievers are generally inclined to turn the discussion to other areas. This is related to not being able to concentrate easily on religious topics, have an uneasy conscience, or not taking it seriously.
In this situation, believers must be very careful. Surely, it is meaningless to force someone who does not want to listen or feels bored to listen. In this situation, deliberately changing the topic, employing a different style, and giving the listener some time to relax will be useful. However, it would be a major mistake to allow the listeners to have control over the conversation and thereby have to deal with their unformed ideas and hypothetical questions. In short, believers should tell the listeners what is necessary and not what they want to hear. A good example is Yusuf’s (as) method of talking to other prisoners:
Two servants entered prison along with him. One said (to Yusuf): “I dreamt I was pressing grapes.” The other said: “I dreamt I carried bread upon my head and birds were eating it. Tell us the true meaning of these dreams. We see that you are one of the righteous.” He replied: “No meal to feed you will arrive before I have informed you what they [your dreams] mean. That is part of what my Lord taught me. For I have left the religion of a people who clearly have no faith in Allah and who refuse to acknowledge the truth of the world to come. I hold fast to the creed of my forebears Ibrahim, Ishaq, and Ya‘qub. We do not associate anything with Allah. And that is how Allah has favored us and all humanity. But most people do not give thanks. My fellow prisoners, are many lords better or Allah, the only One, the Conqueror? What you serve apart from Him are only names that you and your forefathers have made up. There is no mandate for them from Allah. Allah alone is qualified to judge. His order is to worship none but Him. That is, in truth, the straight and upright religion, but most people simply do not know. My fellow captives, one of you will serve his lord with wine, the other of you will be crucified and birds will eat his head. The thing you asked about is foreordained.” (Surah Yusuf: 36-41)
As we see, Yusuf (as) first presented religion and then answered their questions. If he had interpreted their dreams first, perhaps they would not have been interested in listening to what he said about religion. Musa (as) used a similar style when speaking to Pharaoh:
(Pharaoh) asked: “What about the previous generations?” He (Musa) replied: “Knowledge of them is with my Lord in a Book. My Lord does not misplace, nor does He forget.” It is He Who made Earth a cradle for you and threaded pathways for you through it, and sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth different types of plants. (Surah Ta Ha: 51-53)
Just as Musa (as) and Yusuf (as) communicated the message intelligently, so believers must be intelligent, deliberate, and direct in their conversations. They must be in control of its general course and know how to direct it so that the listeners will not be able to divert it to other topics.
12. Waiting for a listener’s first reactions and choosing the appropriate method
One way to direct a conversation is to find out what the listener believes and then choose the most appropriate subject and style. This allows the presenter to learn what the listener already knows and to avoid giving useless information. The Qur’an describes how Musa (as) used this delicate technique:
The ruling circle of Pharaoh’s people said: “This is certainly a skilled magician who desires to expel you from your land, so what do you recommend?” They replied: “Detain him and his brother, and send out marshals to the cities to bring you all of the skilled magicians.” The magicians came to Pharaoh and asked: “Will we receive a reward if we are the winners?” He said: “Yes, and you will be among those brought near.” They asked: “Musa, will you throw first or shall we be the ones to throw?” He said: “You throw.” And when they threw, they cast a spell on the people’s eyes and caused them to feel great fear of them. They produced an extremely powerful magic. We revealed to Musa: “Throw down your staff.” And it immediately swallowed up what they had forged. So the Truth took place, and what they did was shown to be false. They were defeated then and there, transformed into humbled men. (Surat al-A‘raf: 109-119)
Musa (as) applied this efficient technique by telling Pharaoh’s magicians to throw first. This is also a method that can be employed by anyone who follows in the footsteps of messengers. By asking the other party’s views first, making him lay down what he believes and thinks and then devising the most suitable approach and style will be more efficient in destroying the false views s/he entertains.
13. Employing a style that hinders the person from erroneous behaviors
Commending what is good and avoiding what is evil is an important act of worship commanded in various verses of the Qur’an. It is clear that the content of this command also relates to those to whom Islam is introduced. Believers not only “command what is good” but also make them “avoid what is evil.”
Their attitudes and thoughts should be corrected by explaining what is erroneous about them. In case they persist in acting inappropriately, the believers may adopt a style of conversation that will embarrass them.
14. Indirect communication
In dialogues, a style of address aimed at the listener's personality is generally employed. As a method of communication, however, in addition to that style, a third party may be addressed and other accounts given, again in such a way that the person in question is still informed of the message wishing to be communicated. This may enable the first listener to better understand the message being presented. This is a useful method that prevents the appearance of a possible tension between the listener and the one communicating the message and keeps listeners from becoming defensive and closing their ears.
15. Making people using their conscience and be sensitive
The purpose of communication is not only to teach or impart information; rather, it is more important to create an impression in the listeners’ conscience and lead them to undertake a sincere critique of their inner self. This requires a sincere, warm-hearted dialogue between the two people and a style that is guiding instead of instructive. For example, after Ibrahim (as) talked with his people, the prominent unbelievers were forced to examine their conscience:
He broke them in pieces, except for the largest one, so that they would have it to consult! They said: “Who has done this to our deities? He is definitely one of the wrongdoers!” They said: “We heard a young man mentioning them. They call him Ibrahim.” They ordered them: “Bring him before the people’s eyes so they can be witnesses.” They asked: “Did you do this to our gods, Ibrahim?” He said: “No, this one, the largest of them, did it. Ask them, if they are able to speak!” They consulted among themselves and said: “It is you yourselves who are wrongdoers.” (Surat al-Anbiya’: 58-64)
We can see from this story that a person’s conscience is his or her inner guide. As long as people follow their conscience, they will act correctly. This is the essence of religious morality. Allah uses people’s conscience to inspire them to behave in a way that pleases Him. For this reason, if there is any hindrance to a person’s learning and practicing religious morality (e.g., being afraid of others’ reactions, reluctance to give up old habits, etc.), these obstacles must be removed so that the person can obey his or her conscience.
16. Enabling a person to think freely
Freedom of thought is absolutely necessary for people to see the truth and make a right decision. To do this, they must be able to give up wrong ideas and embrace the truth. In this process, there must be no intellectual pressure and the mind must be free of bigotry. This cannot happen in an unbelieving environment, and new learners of religious morality must be informed of those things that impede free thought so that they can be removed. This will help produce a comfortable environment conducive to effective communication.
17. Not using force or pressure
Those who are spreading religion are not entitled to force listeners to believe, to make them embrace their views. Their only responsibility is to present Allah’s religion; Allah will give faith and lead unbelievers to the true path. Indeed Allah relates in the Qur’an thus:
So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of them. (Surat al-Ghashiyya: 21-22)
If your Lord had willed, all people on Earth would have had faith. Do you think you can force people to believe? (Surah Yunus: 99)
Refraining from the use of pressure and allowing listeners to believe what they want will show that the preachers are trustworthy and are not pursuing their own advantage. This will only add credence to their expression.
18. Remedying indifference
Though it apparently seems the easiest, listeners who are indifferent are the hardest people to talk about religion with, for it is impossible to find out what they really think. Remaining silent or without showing any reaction, they appear to confirm what is being said. Yet they innerly do not accept, and simply remain indifferent. Someone insisting on the opposite view at least shows some reactions. They can be convinced after some talk. However the situation of an indifferent people is more complex. In order to arouse their interest, aside from general style of conversing, very efficient styles should be employed. For example, believers may speak of death and remind them that they will one day rot in the grave. Or they may speak of the vagueness and meaninglessness of those things that unbelievers consider important. Such topics may spark some interest, and such a style may make them more sensitive to what they are being told.
19. Treat everyone properly
In the communication of Allah's message to different communities, His messengers empoyed styles conforming to the attitudes their people had towards them. Sometimes they spoke gently; other times they were relatively severe and threatened their people with Allah_s punishment. Indeed, depending on their attitude to the religion and believers, Allah commands believers to treat people differently. For example, it is necessary to be severe with hypocrites, unbelievers, and those who oppose the Qur’an (Surat at-Tawba: 73). On the other hand, protection should be offered to an idolater who asks for mercy and safety (Surat at-Tawba: 6). Accordingly, a believer who communicates Allah’s message may employ a style and attitude that addressses the non-Muslims_ approach towards the religion and believers. The style and the choice of topics should be tailored to fit the hearers dispositions, because they will be influenced according to their specific needs. Some people may need polite words whereas others may be influenced by strong language. This is similar to a doctor who prescribes an operation, aspirin or an injection, depending on the situation of his patient.
20. Telling about the destruction of former societies
One of the things that lead people to deny Allah’s existence is the strange idea that they will live forever. Young people think that they will always be young, or at least that they will remain young for a long time. Middle-aged people console themselves with the idea that death is still far off. Their society deepens this deception, for its magnificent buildings, beautiful art works, houses, cars, and much else gives them the impression that life is permanent and enduring.
Actually, this deception, which is no more than satan’s intimation of eternity, is only another example of the first and greatest deception: The sin that caused Adam (as) and Eve to be expelled from Paradise was a result of satan’s whispering: “... Shall I show you the way to the Tree of Everlasting Life and to a kingdom that will never fade away?” (Surah Ta Ha: 120).
For this reason, those who are being called to faith must be saved from this great delusion. They must be shown that their civilization is not permanent and enduring, for everything exists by Allah’s will and will disappear in a moment, like an image in a dream, if He so wills. They must know that all life is a manifestation of Allah, as the “Life Giver,” that He created in a weak and transient nature.
The story of former societies destroyed by Allah may be told in order to erase these mistaken beliefs. Many mighty peoples and magnificent civilizations have been totally destroyed because they did not obey Allah’s commands:
Have they not seen how many generations We destroyed before them whom We had established on Earth far more firmly than We have established you? We sent down heaven upon them in abundant rain and made rivers flow under them. But We destroyed them for their wrong actions and raised up further generations after them. (Surat al-An‘am: 6)
Allah destroyed societies that rejected the religion and mistreated His prophets and messengers: “They denied him, and the punishment of the Day of Shadow came down on them. It was indeed the punishment of a terrible Day” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’: 189) and “We have never destroyed a city without giving it prior warning as a reminder. We were never unjust.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’: 208-209).
When hearers learn about these destroyed civilizations and see their ruins, and when they are told that Allah could destroy their society any time He willed, the supports they trusted upon other than Allah will be largely undermined. They get the sense that their powerful civilizations and technologies are, in fact, nothing, that people are servants of Allah, and that there is no other power to be feared and respected other than Him.
21. Keeping death in mind
In any society, no topic is more basic and thought provoking than death. However although people witness other people’s death, they rarely think about their inevitable end. Instead, they prefer to avoid thinking about it by trying to convince themselves that they will never die. They never mention it and spend their lives in great heedlessness:
Say: “Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did.” (Surat al-Jumu‘a: 8)
On the other hand, believers often think about death and, knowing that they will give an account of their deeds, act in a way that pleases Allah. For those who are starting to learn about religious morality and coming to know Allah, the knowledge that they may die at any time and place raise their awareness and cause them to live a pure and religiously moral life.
Thus, it is essential to make people think about death, as it will make them understand the transtitory nature of life and embrace the religion.
22. Describing the helplessness of human beings
People who do not measure Allah with His true measure cannot grasp their own nature. Unable to conceive of Allah’s greatness and power, they cannot know their own helplessness. Such superficial people flatter themselves, thinking that they have made everything themselves, have power and other qualities that belong only to Allah. In other words, they look at everything from this distorted angle. Thus, it is necessary to explain to them that they are weak and helpless creatures made of flesh and blood who can die of a simple blood clot; have bad breath; whose eyes, ears, and nose get dirty; and who has to go to the toilet. Moreover, they must be made aware that Allah has all power and might, created each person, watches over, protects them, and gives them their daily bread. They must know that Allah has given them whatever they think they own, for all of their possessions really belong to Him. In short, they must come to understand Allah’s greatness and their own helplessness:
O humanity! You are the poor and in need of Allah, whereas Allah is the Rich Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Fatir: 15)