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Types of Preaching: Between Warning and Bringing Glad Tidings

Types of Preaching: Between Warning and Bringing Glad Tidings

Published in January 26, 2017

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 

 

Introduction:

1- Because preaching aims at bringing glad tidings on the one hand, and warning on the other hand, it makes real believers increase their belief and piety so that they enter Paradise, and it also makes disbelievers pay heed to warnings so that they may repent and save themselves from eternal Hell.  

2- Of course, disbelief contains little faith; it is not devoid of faith completely. This little faith means that however stubborn or adamant some persons are in their atheism or in their lack of faith, in times of calamites and ordeals, they scream to invoke God's aid. Others who have little faith are polytheists who deify and sanctify tangible items or intangible names of dead mortals, beside their inner faith and belief in the existence of God as the Creator. This type of belief/faith is little: it is belittled by polytheism, which is in its turn a type of cursed disbelief in God. We read the following in the Quran, about a type of them: "… But God has cursed them for their disbelief; they do not believe except a little." (4:46). This little faith will be of no use to them on the Day of Judgment (which is called also in the Quran as the Day of Victory, denoting the final victory/triumph of the Truth over falsehoods): "Say, "On the Day of Victory, the faith of those who disbelieved will be of no avail to them, and they will not be granted respite."" (32:29). Thus, such a type of disbelief means to believe in God as well as other deities/gods beside Him. This is why polytheism and disbelief are synonymous in the Quran and are deemed unacceptable in Islam. Islam here means the faith/belief within one's heart that there is no God but Allah, without partners, 'saints', associates, wives, or progeny ascribed to Him: this is total submission to Him. Hence, polytheists are disbelievers because they never dedicate their submission, belief, and faith in God 100%. Indeed, God receives from them a tiny percentage (1% or less), while the rest (99% or more) goes for and distributed among the false deities, names, godheads, mausoleums, dead or alive mortals, deified imams/clergy, 'holy' family members of prophets, etc. This is why such polytheists who had this little faith during their lifetimes are punished in the Hereafter. Real faith deemed acceptable to God must be devoted to Him 100% sincerely an in piety. This is the real sense of monotheism, as per the Quran.            

3- Some believers in God are monotheistic indeed and dedicate their faith, deification, sanctification, and glorification to Allah alone; yet, they are addicted to committing major, grave sins. Such addiction inevitably makes their faith dwindle and thus, they move away from God and His Path, and their hearts are filled with sinning and disobedience of God, which make them, in fact, disbelievers in God: "…Their hearts have become corroded by what they used to earn." (83:14). This type of people may commit the sin of hypocrisy by justifying their sinning and disobedience and thus fall into the trap of denying or mocking some of God's Quranic verses: "Then, evil was the end of those who committed evil. That is because they rejected God's revelations, and used to ridicule them." (30:10). Such people tend to forget that not all believers are among winners on the Last Day; see 23:1-12, as Paradise is only for the pious ones among them; see 19:63.   

4- Therefore, since one's belief/faith may increase and decrease and one's behavior and stances tend to occasionally change, preaching is of vital importance in order to increase the faith of believers and to urge disbelievers, polytheists, and sinners to repent. Preaching in the Quran entails both warning and bringing glad tidings, especially by talking about Hell and Paradise, respectively. In all types of preaching in the Quran, it is NOT addressed to certain persons by the name; rather, it is addressed to certain descriptions, acts, and stances of people. No human being is infallible, and to err is human, and yet, the pious repentant ones are the real winners eventually. The Quran-believing preachers must address ad tackle descriptions, acts, and stances of their era, while bearing in mind that everyone is free to choose and will bear full responsibility for their choices in the next world.   

5- Let us examine below the types of preaching (i.e., bringing glad tidings + warning) that we find in the Quran.

 

Firstly: bringing glad tidings to real believers, with indirect comparison to disbelievers:

1- God says the following in the Quran: As for those who avoid the worship of Taghut, and devote themselves to God-theirs is the good news. So give good news to My servants." (39:17). This means that the start of correcting one's faith is to avoid Taghut, never to follow it, and to disbelieve in it, and the second step is to devote one's belief and faith to God exclusively. We find here an implicit comparison between deniers of Taghut on the one hand and polytheists who believe in it on the other hand. As we have mentioned before, the Quranic term "Taghut'' (literally: tyranny) refers to any man-made narratives of falsehoods ascribed to God, and regarded as 'holy' scripture beside the only source of God's Word: the Quran. These fabricated narratives include, of course, the so-called hadiths and man-made sharia legislations of the imams/clergy Muhammadans.     

2- We read the following about those who had accused Muhammad of authoring the Quran himself: "And if you are in doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like these, and call your witnesses apart from God, if you are truthful. But if you do not-and you will not-then beware the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, prepared for the disbelievers." (2:23-24). We find here preaching by warning against Hell, and this is followed by glad tidings of Paradise for real believers: "And give good news to those who believe and do righteous deeds; that they will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with fruit therefrom as sustenance, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before," and they will be given the like of it. And they will have pure spouses therein, and they will abide therein forever." (2:25).

3- The glad tidings follow the comparison between Qorayish polytheists who control pilgrimage in Mecca and the real believers among the immigrants who performed jihad for God's sake: "Do you consider giving water to pilgrims and maintaining the Sacred Mosque the same as believing in God and the Last Day and striving in God's path? They are not equal in God's sight. God does not guide the unjust people. Those who believe, and emigrate, and strive in God's path with their possessions and their persons, are of a higher rank with God. These are the winners. Their Lord announces to them good news of mercy from Him, and acceptance, and gardens wherein they will have lasting bliss. Abiding therein forever. With God is a great reward." (9:19-22).

4- The difference between believers and believers on the Day of resurrection is also followed by bringing glad tidings for the real believers: "You will see the unjust terrified of what they have earned, and it will befall them. As for those who believe and do good deeds, they will be in the Meadows of the Gardens; they will have whatever they please in the presence of their Lord; that is the supreme blessing. That is the good news God gives to His servants who believe and do good deeds…" (42:22-23).

5- When Moses' Pharaoh persecuted the Israelites severely after Moses came back to Egypt as a prophet of God, the Israelites complained to Moses, who in his turn advised them to rely on God if they are really among believers and to perform prayers. "And We inspired Moses and his brother, "Settle your people in Egypt, and make your homes places of worship, and perform the prayer, and give good news to the believers."" (10:87). This made God bring them glad tidings that salvation was near, as they will get rid of Pharaoh, as Moses and Aaron invoked God's wrath and punishment against Pharaoh and their prayers were answered; see 10:84-93.   

 

Secondly: bringing glad tidings to real believers without comparison to disbelievers:

1- Within God addressing the patient ones: "We will certainly test you with some fear and hunger, and some loss of possessions and lives and crops. But give good news to the patient ones. Those who, when a calamity afflicts them, say, "To God we belong, and to Him we will return." Upon these are blessings and mercy from their Lord. These are the guided ones." (2:155-157).

2- Within God addressing the pious believing ones: "… And fear God, and know that you will meet Him. And give good news to the believers." (2:223); "Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who journey, those who kneel, those who bow down, those who advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and those who keep God's limits-give good news to the believers." (9:112).

3- Within God addressing the pious devout charitable ones: "…Your God is One God, so to Him submit, and announce good news to the humble. Those whose hearts tremble when God is mentioned, and those who endure what has befallen them, and those who perform the prayer and spend from what We have provided for them." (22:34-35); "…And give good news to the charitable." (22:37).

4- Within God addressing the ones who obey god and follow His Path: "O you who believe! Shall I inform you of a trade that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in God and His Messenger, and strive in the cause of God with your possessions and yourselves. That is best for you, if you only knew. He will forgive you your sins; and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, and into beautiful mansions in the Gardens of Eden. That is the supreme success. And something else you love: support from God, and imminent victory. So give good news to the believers." (61:10-13); "God has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties in exchange for Paradise. They fight in God's way, and they kill and get killed. It is a promise binding on Him in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran. And who is more true to his promise than God? So rejoice in making such an exchange-that is the supreme triumph." (9:111). Within the glad tidings of victory in self-defense fighting against aggressors: "God made it but a message of hope for you, and to reassure your hearts thereby. Victory comes only from God the Almighty, the Wise." (3:126).

 

Thirdly: warning the disbelievers to preach them:  

1- Within warning those who murder and kill reformers: "As for those who defy God's revelations, and kill the prophets unjustly, and kill those who advocate justice among the people-promise them a painful retribution." (3:21).

2- Within warning those aggressive polytheists who commit military attacks and violate peace treaties: "A declaration of immunity from God and His Messenger to the polytheists with whom you had made a treaty. So travel the land for four months, and know that you cannot escape God, and that God will disgrace the disbelievers. And a proclamation from God and His Messenger to the people on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage, that God has disowned the polytheists, and so did His Messenger. If you repent, it will be better for you. But if you turn away, know that you cannot escape God. And announce to those who disbelieve a painful punishment." (9:1-3). 

3- Within warning those disbelieving polytheists who adhere to false narratives in religion, such as Al-Bokhary and his likes and their books: "Among the people is he who trades in distracting tales; intending, without knowledge, to lead away from God's way, and to make a mockery of it. These will have a humiliating punishment. And when Our Verses are recited to him, he turns away in pride, as though he did not hear them, as though there is deafness in his ears. So inform him of a painful punishment." (31:6-7).

4- Within warning those polytheists who believe in any other discourses (in Islam) beside the Quran: "These are God's Verses which We recite to you in truth. In which message, after God and His revelations, will they believe? Woe to every sinful liar. Who hears God's revelations being recited to him, yet he persists arrogantly, as though he did not hear them. Announce to him a painful punishment." (45:6-8).

5- Within warning those who disbelieve in the Quran: "What is the matter with them that they do not believe? And when the Quran is read to them, they do not bow down? In fact, those who disbelieve are in denial. But God knows what they hide inside. So inform them of a painful punishment." (84:20-24).

6- Within warning those imams/clergy of disbelief who spread falsehoods and drive people away from God's Path in order to gain and hoard money: "O you who believe! Many of the rabbis and priests consume people's wealth illicitly, and hinder from God's path. Those who hoard gold and silver, and do not spend them in God's cause, inform them of a painful punishment." (9:34). 

7- Within warning those who ally themselves to aggressive disbelievers who terrorize and commit violence against innocent peaceful believers: "Inform the hypocrites that they will have a painful punishment. Those who ally themselves with the disbelievers instead of the believers. Do they seek glory in them? All glory belongs to God." (4:138-139).

 

Fourthly: announcement of either Hell or Paradise to dying souls:

1- When one is dying, one's faith and deeds are the factors by which God decides if the dying human being has been one of the allies of God or the allies of Satan, and the fate of the dying one is sealed. Angels of death announce to the dying person, as they take the soul from the body, that Hell or Paradise is the fate after the Day of Resurrection, as per deeds and faith/belief: "Those wronging their souls while the angels are taking them away-they will propose peace: "We did no wrong." Yes you did. God is aware of what you used to do." Enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein forever. Miserable is the residence of the arrogant." (16:28-29); "Those who are in a wholesome state when the angels take them-will say, "Peace be upon you; enter Paradise, for what you used to do."" (16:32).   

2- These verses tackle good news brought to the dying real, faithful believers: "Unquestionably, God's friends have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and are aware. For them is good news in this life, and in the Hereafter. There is no alteration to the words of God. That is the supreme triumph." (10:62-64); "Surely, those who say: "Our Lord is God," and then go straight, the angels will descend upon them: "Do not fear, and do not grieve, but rejoice in the news of the Garden which you were promised. We are your allies in this life and in the Hereafter, wherein you will have whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you call for. As Hospitality from an All-Forgiving, Merciful One."" (41:30-32).

3- These verses tackle terrible news brought to the dying disbelievers, without using the term ''announce'', as the fate is proclaimed in a practical way: "How about when the angels take them at death, beating their faces and their backs?" (47:27); "If only you could see, as the angels take away those who disbelieve, striking their faces and their backs: "Taste the agony of the Burning." "That is because of what your hands have committed, and because God is not unjust to the servants."" (8:50-51).

 

Fifthly: glad tidings by those who were killed while striving for the sake of God:

  Their glad tidings in Paradise is to wish to those who were around them in life to follow them in paradise: "Do not consider those killed in the cause of God as dead. In fact, they are alive, at their Lord, well provided for. Delighting in what God has given them out of His grace, and wish the same grace for those who have not yet joined them; that they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve. They rejoice in grace from God, and bounty, and that God will not waste the reward of the faithful." (3:169-171).

 

Sixthly: how glad tidings are realized in the Hereafter:

1-  God preaches to us by bringing good news about the pious ones who will enter Paradise: "On the Day when you see the believing men and believing women-their light radiating ahead of them, and to their right: "Good news for you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. That is the great triumph."" (57:12).

2- God warns disbelievers by telling them about their status in the Hereafter if they die as disbelievers: "On the Day when they see the angels-there will be no good news for sinners on that Day; and they will say in vain, "A protective refuge!"" (25:22).

3- A comparison between both parties is found in these verses: "Faces on that Day will be radiant. Laughing and rejoicing. And Faces on that Day will be covered with misery. Overwhelmed by remorse. These are the faithless, the vicious." (80:38-42).

 

Seventhly: ''good news'' between the perception of disbelievers and believers:

1- People of Lot, who were homosexuals, thought that the angels who took the form of men as human guests that could be seduced, and thought that their coming to Sodom was good news, but indeed, the angels brought bad news of their destruction: "And the people of the town came joyfully." (15:67). 

2- We read this Quranic comparison between believers and disbelievers in terms of perceiving what may be good news or glad tidings: "Whenever a chapter is revealed, some of them say, "Which of you has this increased in faith?" As for those who believe: it increases them in faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is sickness: it adds disgrace to their disgrace, and they die as unbelievers." (9:124-125); "When God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with resentment. But when those other than Him are mentioned, they become filled with joy." (39:45).

 

Eighthly: glad tidings of a new born to believers, and to disbelievers:

1- Abraham received glad tidings of his first-born Ishmael: "They said, "Build a pyre for him, and throw him into the furnace." They wished him ill, but We made them the losers. He said, "I am going towards my Lord, and He will guide me." "My Lord, give me one of the righteous." So We gave him good news of a clement boy." (37:97-101).

2- Abraham and his barren wife received glad tidings of Isaac: "They said, "Do not fear; we bring you good news of a boy endowed with knowledge." He said, "Do you bring me good news, when old age has overtaken me? What good news do you bring?" They said, "We bring you good news in truth, so do not despair."" (15:53-55); "…They said, "Do not fear," and they announced to him the good news of a knowledgeable boy. His wife came forward crying. She clasped her face, and said, "I am only a barren old woman!"" (51:28-29); "His wife was standing by, so she laughed. And We gave her good news of Isaac; and after Isaac, Jacob. She said, "Alas for me. Shall I give birth, when I am an old woman, and this, my husband, is an old man? This is truly a strange thing." They said, "Do you marvel at the decree of God? The mercy and blessings of God are upon you, O people of the house. He is Praiseworthy and Glorious." When Abraham's fear subsided, and the good news had reached him, he started pleading with Us concerning the people of Lot." (11:71-74); "And We gave him good news of Isaac, a prophet, one of the righteous." (37:112). 

3- Zachariah received glad tidings of begetting his son John: "Then the angels called out to him, as he stood praying in the sanctuary: "God gives you good news of John; confirming a Word from God, and honorable, and moral, and a prophet; one of the upright."" (3:39); ""O Zachariah, We give you good news of a son, whose name is John, a name We have never given before."" (19:7). 

4- Mary received glad tidings of bearing her son, Jesus: "The Angels said, "O Mary, God gives you good news of a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, well-esteemed in this world and the next, and one of the nearest." (3:45).

5- Disbelievers feel sadden when they receive glad tidings of their wives giving born to females, as disbelievers in the 7th century Arabia thought wrongly that God's angels are female daughters of Him, whereas humans are to have more male infants: "And when one of them is given news of a female infant, his face darkens, and he chokes with grief. He hides from the people because of the bad news given to him. Shall he keep it in humiliation, or bury it in the dust? Evil is the decision they make." (16:58-59); "Yet when one of them is given news of what he attributes to the Most Gracious, his face darkens, and he suppresses grief." (43:17). 

 

Ninthly: winds bringing glad tidings of rain water to make life spring from earth:

God says the following in the Quran: "And it is He who sends the winds, bringing good news of His mercy; and We send down from the sky pure water." (25:48); "Or, who guides you through the darkness of land and sea, and who sends the winds as heralds of His mercy? Is there another god with God? Most exalted is God, above what they associate." (27:63); "And of His signs is that He sends the winds bearing good news, to give you a taste of His mercy, and so that the ships may sail by His command, and so that you may seek of His bounty, and so that you may give thanks." (30:46); "God is He who sends the winds. They stir up clouds. Then He spreads them in the sky as He wills. And He breaks them apart. Then you see rain drops issuing from their midst. Then, when He makes it fall upon whom He wills of His servants, behold, they rejoice." (30:48); "It is He who sends the wind ahead of His mercy. Then, when they have gathered up heavy clouds, We drive them to a dead land, where We make water come down, and with it We bring out all kinds of fruits. Thus We bring out the dead-perhaps you will reflect." (7: 57).

 

Tenthly: preaching outside religious warning and bringing glad tidings:

This is when a human beings feels or brings glad tidings, as we read in the Quranic story of Joseph in the Quranic Chapter 12: "A caravan passed by, and they sent their water-carrier. He lowered his bucket, and said, "Good news. Here is a boy."…" (12:19); "Then, when the bearer of good news arrived, he laid it over his face, and he regained his sight. He said, "Did I not say to you that I know from God what you do not know?"" (12:96).  


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