Preaching is Not a Game - Who Should Preach
A sage once said that the desire to preach should have the same compulsive quality about it as the desire to satisfy any other normal human urge. Preaching is not like playing a record; nor should it be aimed at eliciting applause from an appreciative audience. Preaching is an externalization of inner conviction. It is communication to others of a discovered reality to be a living witness to a truth long hidden from people’s eyes. This does not mean just putting a few words together; it is an extremely difficult task. One can only accomplish this task when one feels so desperate an urge to convey one’s message that one is ready in the process to face unpopularity and self-sacrifice. The same applies to writing. Before putting pen to paper, one should study so much that knowledge of itself starts overflowing from one’s mind. It is only after sifting through all the available material on any relevant topic, and feeling an irresistible urge to add something of one’s own, that one should begin to write. Those who write without experience or inspiration are only defacing the paper on which they write, and those who speak without feeling the compulsion to do so are only adding to noise pollution. Preaching is not a game: it is representation of God on earth; it is only those who have effaced themselves before God who qualify for this privilege. Those who try to preach without such qualifications do greater harm than good.
Quran Chapter Abraham 14:24-26
24- Do you not see how God compares a good word to a good tree? Its root is firm and its branches are in the sky,
25- it yields its fruit each season with its Lord’s permission—God makes such comparisons for people, in order that they may take heed—
26- but an evil word is like an evil tree torn out of the earth; it has no foothold
In the present world Almighty God has appointed outward symbols for different realities. For example, a good tree is a symbolic representation of the believer.
It is the special characteristic of a tree that it makes the whole world its ‘dining table’, and in this way develops from the stage of a seed to establish itself on the earth as a majestic tree. The tree absorbs from the earth water, minerals and salts in order to grow: at the same time it obtains nourishment from the air and light from the sun. It takes nourishment from below as well as from above.
Using all these through the process of photosynthesis, the tree is able to make food throughout. This is what is meant by yields its fruit all the time.
This is also true of the believer. While the common tree is materially a tree, the believer is a conscious tree. The believer observes in the world God’s creation and, looking to the system governing it, derives from it a proper lesson and guidance. Moreover, he continuously receives God’s blessing from ‘above’.
Fruit ripens on the tree in the proper season. Similarly, a believer adopts such behavior as is proper for every occasion. Whether it is under economic constraints or in economic prosperity; whether it is in a moment of happiness or sorrow; whether it is a matter for complaint or commendation, whether it is in a condition of strength or weakness, on every occasion his language and behavior express the reverence which he is expected to show as a true subject of God.
The opposite example is that of the evil tree, i.e. the wild bush. Its appearance suggests that it is provided with extremely unwholesome food, as a result of which it is covered with thorns, and bitter fruits with an unpleasant taste grow on its branches. It receives anyone who goes near it with a bad smell. Nobody likes such a tree. Wherever it grows, it is uprooted and thrown away.
This is the case with the unbeliever, who from the beginning has always been persona non-grata on this earth. To him, the universe, despite its superlative features, has no argument in its favor and teaches no lesson. Though there is no end to the liberality of God’s blessings, he has no share in them; God’s magnanimity is not reflected in his character or his dealings.