I) Da`wah is the way of Prophet and his Sunnah
O you who covers himself [with a garment]. Arise and warn. And your Lord glorify. And your clothing purify. And uncleanliness avoid. And do not confer favor to acquire more. But for your Lord be patient. (Al-Muddaththir 74: 1-7)
The first task the Prophet (peace be upon him) was entrusted with, was to give warning to people and declare to them the greatness of Allah, their Lord. He was advised to prepare himself for this big task by keeping away from inwardly and outwardly impurities. And keep being patient and consistent in his work for the sake of Allah, his Lord. Since that time, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had started calling people to Islam and continued to do so all his life.
Furthermore, Allah, Exalted be He, addressed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying:
O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp. (Al-Ahzab 33:45-46)
Qur`an also stated that giving Da`wah is the way of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his true followers:
Say, “This is my way; I invite to Allah with Baseerah (clear proofs and evidences), I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah; and I am not of those who associate others with Him. (Yusuf 12:108)
“Say” is an important command from Allah to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in particular, and Muslims in general to declare to mankind that their way is inviting people unto the religion of Allah, the pure Tawheed, glorifying Allah, and keeping away from all forms of polytheism. This glorious verse summarizes the basics of Da`wah methodology. Da`wah should be given on baseerah. Baseerah could be translated into “strong proofs and evidences that make the truth crystal clear as if one is seeing it by his own eyes”.
Thus, it is the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to use in Da`wah all types of evidences and proofs in order to make the truth clear to the recipient of Da`wah as if he is seeing it with his own eyes. To be on baseerah, the caller should also be knowledgeable, wise, open-minded, respectful, well-mannered, modest, yet not compromising Islam.
II) Da`wah is a collective obligation on Muslims
A collective obligation is an obligation that if some people carry it out, then there is no blame on other Muslims, but if no one does it then all Muslims of the community are sinners.
As we made it clear before, since Islam is the final Divine Message to mankind, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last Prophet, the Muslims as a nation and individuals are entrusted with the heavy task of preaching this Divine Message to all people.
Scholars of Islam say that Da`wah among non-Muslims is a collective obligation on the Muslim Ummah; meaning that there have to be trained and specialized groups and individuals in every community to deliver Da`wah to non-Muslims on behalf of all others. But if no one fulfills this duty then all Muslims of the community are sinners. Furthermore, it is the duty of all Muslims to provide all kinds of support to the Da`wah work. Qur`an and Prophet’s traditions guide Muslims, as a nation and individuals, to fulfill the duties of Da`wah and regard this as a vital part of the mission of Islam. Therefore, Da`wah must be delivered as a genuine part of Islam not as an accidental or secondary activity, according to circumstances, or as a reaction to missionaries activities in the Islamic world.
a- Da`wah Obligation on the Muslim Ummah
Allah, the Almighty, says:
And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. (Aal-`Imran 3:104)
The Muslim Ummah is addressed in this verse to practice Da`wah which is inviting mankind to the truth, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. The verse is addressing the entire Muslim community to gather together and be a nation that invites to what is good, and forbids what is wrong. It is also a call for the Muslim community to prepare a group of qualified people who are capable of carrying out the duties of Da`wah until they achieve its ultimate goal of:
1) removing the worst evil, which is disbelieving in Allah and associating partners with Him;
2) and guiding to the best righteous deed, which is worshipping Allah alone.
If the Muslim Ummah fulfills the duties of Da`wah, it would indeed be eligible for the position of the best nation as Allah, Exalted be He, mentions in Qur`an:
You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. (Aal-`Imran 3:110)
b- Da`wah Obligation on Muslim individuals
Da`wah is an obligation upon every Muslim individual according to his/her ability, capacity, and knowledge. Allah, the Almighty, says:
Invite to the Way of your Lord [Islam] with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. (An-Nahl 16:125)
Allah’s Order “invite” as stated in this verse is presented in a general form indicating that all Muslims, individually and collectively, are included in this obligation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Convey from me, even one verse.” (Al-Bukhari)
Accordingly, it is an obligation on the Muslim Ummah to deliver Da`wah to non-Muslims individually and collectively. Muslims at all levels have to work hard to remove all types of obstacles from the way of Da`wah so that the Message of Islam could reach every place in the world.
To be continued…
The article is excerpted from the author’s A Guide to Giving Da’wah To Non-Muslims”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.