Borhras and reform
Dawoodi Bohras - Borhras and reform

Code of conduct for the Dai

The Fatimid Khalifas have on various occasions declared that they are ordained to protect the Shariat. They were not Sahib-al-Shariat, and did not have the authority to make Shariat. Hence, what must one think of a Dai claiming to be over and above the Imams.

Had the Dais been equal in status and in no way subordinate, then the Imams would not have laid down the qualifications and conditions for their behavior, conduct etc. This conclusion can best be drawn by what is stated in the “Risaals-tul-Mujizat-al-Kafia”, written by the Dai Ahmed Bin Ebrahim Nayshapuri of the time of the 8th Fatimi Khalifa (Eighteenth Imam) Al-Mustansir Billah (H. 487/A.D. 1094).

To prove that this "code" is also applicable during the period of seclusion of the Imam it is quoted in “Tahfatul Quloob” by the third Dai-Al-Mutlaq Hatim Bin Erahim Al Hamidi (H. 596/A.D.1199) in Yemen and further quoted in India by Sayyedi Hassan Bin Nuh (Ustad of Sayedna Yusuf Najmuddin) (H. 939/A.D.1533) in the second volume of his “Kitab-al-Azhar”). Thus we have an unbroken tradition - from Fatimid Egypt right down to Yemen and India - of laying down the code of conduct for the Dai.

There are in all 94 qualifications detailed in 94-paras in the “Risaals”. Some of these qualificatons are abstracted below:

  • That the Dai should possess the qualities of trust and trustworthiness because he is the trustee of the religion of the God. His treasures and soul are of his followers.
  • He must believe in the Imam towards whom he calls and in the Prophet of God who is the essence of Din and Dawaat.
  • He must believe in the Unity of God because the man whose belief is not right though he is learned and a devotee and performs the duties of Din with hypocrisy and show, is a hyprocrite and his followers cannot derive any benefit from his knowledge. The mission and the Dawaat will therefore suffer.
  • A Dai must observe Takwa, he must fear God, he should not attach any quality of God to himself.
  • He should refrain from the forbidden things in the religion. A Dai must be chaste and unpolluted.
  • A Dai must be kind to the believers, must have compassion for them and must look at them with love. God says “Oh Mohammad (SAS) we did not send you but as mercy for the world (17-7)”. The true believers whom Allah is pleased with are merciful towards each other. They constantly seek Allah's mercy and kindness upon the followers, even though they be disobedient, commit sins and trouble them, because the Quran says, “If Allah would have wished to punish the people for their misdeeds there would not have remained any living creature upon the surface of the earth” (14-14), in the same way Allah says, “Pardon and take the good action and turn your face from the ignorant”(9-14).
  • A Dai should be humble and should not be proud. Imam Jafar-us-Sadiq says, “Don't be oppressive towards a learned man”. The Holy Prophet (SAS) says “Exaltation is the dress of Allah if somebody wants to share it, Allah will break his back i.e. punish him”.
  • A Dai must speak the truth. If he is not a true man - how can they accept his works and how can they accept his words and how can they have confidence in him.
  • A Dai should possess modesty which will prevent him from committing such things which defame the religion; through modesty he will treat the people with politeness.
  • A Dai should have good policy as by bad policy he may commit mistakes in the affairs of Dawaat, it will corrupt Dawaat and the believers will be ruined and it will be most difficult to get rid of it either with reason or with any cause. When a Dai is faithless and deceitful the people will follow his example and act accordingly and consequently the Dai will be corrupted.
  • A Dai should treat the believers kindly and mercifully, he should not be malicious and should not be enraged with revenge, prejudice and contest, quarrel because the believers always commit mistakes and if on their repentance, they are not forgiven, they become hopeless. Allah says, “Oh my servants, whoever have committed sins, be not hopeless for my mercy, I will forgive all your sins” (14-3). The Holy God says to His Prophet “Adopt forgiveness, and with fervor and turn aside from the ignorant people” (7-199).
  • A Dai should be patient and mild because men of different understandings come to him. Allah says “If thou (O Mohammed SAS) were hard-hearted the people would go away from you” (3-159).
  • A Dai should behave obligingly with the people. Maulana Jaffer says “Behave with the people according to their natures and do not call them pigs, make ourselves be loved by the people and do not make ourselves to be hated by them”.
  • A Dai should not be greedy and licentious. Greediness and licentiousness tend to satisfy the pleasures of the body and by doing so the soul is neglected. Greediness and licentiousness results in mercilessness. Love for the money is created and ambition increases. Ambition teaches dishonesty and the one who misappropriates is driven out of the religion and the covenant.
  • A Dai should not blame the believers falsely and have wrong suspicion about them. To have wrong suspicion about people and distrust them is the work of mean persons and the low persons lean towards base things. This is departure from religion and excellence.

If a Dai doesn't possess the above mentioned qualities in reality and is called Dai, then he is a Dai in name only without any meaning. It is useless to hope for any spiritual benefits from such a Dai. The assumption of the name of Dai, for such a Dai is a sin and it is a sort of burden over him.

From the above conditions and qualifications it is plain that the Dai is required to be very careful in conducting himself in regard to the essential tenets of Islam, then only he could be in a position to preach others to follow the tenets of Islam.