In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Shaikh Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
Allaah [The Most High] stated:
قُلۡ هَـٰذِهِۦ سَبِيلِىٓ أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا۟ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِىۖ وَسُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أَنَا۟ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
Say (O Muhammad): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah i.e to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah; those who worship others along with Allah or set up rivals or partners to Allah).”
[أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ – I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)]. This part of the Ayah contains a notification regarding sincerity; for indeed some people call to themselves. It may be that a person propagates, delivers lectures and sermons, but his aim [or aspiration] is to become apparent to the people – to receive some status; praised by the people and that people gather around him and become numerous around him. If this is his aim [or aspiration], then he is not one who calls to Allaah; rather he is a caller to himself.
The person who abandons Dawah has indeed abandoned a great obligation and the person who is not sincere in Dawah has indeed fallen into a great danger; for Dawah has to be carried out sincerely for the Sake of Allaah and the aim should be to establish the sharee’ah of Allaah; to guide and benefit the people, whether you are praised or rebuked. As for some people, when they are not praised and promoted, they abandon Dawah. This is a proof that such a caller is not a caller to Allaah, rather he only calls to himself. So the Muslim should be warned and that his aim (or aspiration) -in relation to dawah- should be sincerity; to benefit the people; free them from Shirk and bidah; free them from those affairs that are in opposition to the sharee’ah, and fulfil what is obligated on him.
A great number of people around a person is a not proof that such a person is virtuous, for some of the Prophets were only followed by few people. ‘’A Prophet will come on the day of judgement with a few followers and a Prophet will come with no followers.’’ [Bukhaari 5705]. So does this mean that such a Prophet is not virtuous? No, definitely not! A person does not look at the large number of people who are present, for the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said to Ali: “If Allaah gives guidance to a single man through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.” [Bukhaari 3009] [Ref 1][End of quote]
The Shaikh (may Allaah preserve him) also stated: Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah are not harmed by those who oppose them. If you are with them– all praise is due to Allaah- they are pleased with this because indeed they want good for the people. If you oppose them, you cannot harm them and due to this the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’There will not cease to be a group of my Ummah who will be manifest upon the truth- not harmed by those who betray (or forsake) them until the command of Allaah comes to pass (i.e. the day of judgement) whilst they are (still) upon that (truth).” The one in opposition does not harm except himself.
What is given consideration is not the great numbers (of people upon something), rather what is given consideration is to be in agreement with the truth, even if a small number of people were upon it. And even if in some eras there is only one person (upon truth), then he is the one upon truth and he is the Jamaa’ah. The Jamaa’ah does not necessitate great numbers; rather the Jamaa’ah is what is in agreement with the truth – in agreement with the Book and the Sunnah, even if those upon it are few. However, if many come together and (upon) truth, then – all praise is due to Allaah- this is strength. But if the majority oppose it (i.e. the truth), then we side with the truth even if only a few are upon it”. [Ref 2][End of quote]
Allaah [The Most High] said: [ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ – Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa [virtue, righteousness and piety]; but do not help one another in sin and transgression. [5:2]
Few Reminders From Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah]
This Ayah contains all the Masaalih [beneficial affairs] for the slaves in their worldly affairs and affairs related to the Hereafter- be it between themselves or between them and their Lord; for indeed every servant [of Allaah] finds himself within two circumstances and obligations – either [required] to fulfil the obligations owed to Allaah or the obligations owed to Allaah’s creation. As for the obligations owed to the creation, they include [righteous] association, companionship, aiding one another upon what Allaah loves and obedience to Allaah, and that is the goal behind one’s search for happiness and success in the afterlife. There can be no happiness in the afterlife except through Bir [virtue] and Taqwaa [piety], for it is basis of all affairs of the religion.
As for Taqwa, its reality is to act in obedience to Allaah based on Eemaan in Allaah and hoping for Allaah’s Reward; fulfil what Allaah has commanded based on having Eemaan in that which Allaah has commanded and affirming the reward Allaah has promised; abandoning what Allaah has forbidden based on one’s belief that what Allaah has forbidden is forbidden and fearing Allaah’s punishment, just as Talq Bin Habeeb [rahimahullaah] said: ”When Fitna occurs, extinguish it with Taqwa”. So the people said: ”What is Taqwa?” He said: You act in obedience to Allaah upon a light from Allaah [i.e. Eemaan, sincerity etc] and hoping for reward from Allah. And you abandon disobedience to Allaah upon a light from Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah.”
This is the best of that which has been stated regarding Taqwa, for indeed there has to be an aim and a goal behind every deed. A deed cannot be considered an act of obedience to Allaah and an act that gets one close to Allaah until it is based on Eemaan, so that which leads to the performance of that deed is solely due to Eemaan – neither [Un-Islamic] customs nor [evil] desires, neither seeking praise nor status and other than it; rather it should be solely based on Eemaan and the aim behind it should be to attain Allaah’s reward and seeking after Allaah’s Pleasure. [Ref 3]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘I’aanah Al-Mustafeed Bi-Sharhi Kitaab At-Tawheed’ pages 97-98’ Publisher: Ar-Risaalah Publishers 1st edition 1428AH (Year 2007). Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ( لمحة عن الفرق الضالة )– pages 14 -15. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’ Vol 1 pages 307-311. Publisher: Daar Ibn Al-Jawziyyah 2nd Ed, 1431AH- Slightly paraphrased]