Things to remember when calling others to Islam

megaphone-620x330The scholars have stated that giving dawah (the call to Islam) is a communal obligation (fard kifaayah), with regard to the area in which the daees (callers) live. Since dawah is incumbent upon all members of the community, it is required that every area/ region should have active daees. Although, if there are a sufficient number of daees undertaking this duty within a locality, the obligation is lifted from other Muslims in that region, thus any dawah these Muslims undertake becomes a Sunnah (Sunnah mu’akkadah), a praiseworthy and highly rewarded deed.
If dawah is non-existent within a specific area, the burden of the sin rests on the shoulders of all the Muslims residing in that locality, then it becomes obligatory on all of them to call people to Islam, in accordance to his/her ability.
Allah subhanahu wa ta ala says,

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): “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”
[Yoosuf 12:108].

Here, Allah tells us that those who inform others of Islam and monotheism are the followers of Muhammed (peace be upon him) and thus have understanding. Our noble Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most active in calling others to Islam. He would reason with others using wisdom, gentleness and sound advice. He didn’t just give dawah to the average layman, rather he invited kings and rulers of lands by way of letter invitations too.

Unfortunately, today, we see many Muslims going about dawah in the complete opposite way of rasooloolah (peace be upon him). These individuals use foul language, mockery and humiliation as means to enlightenment people. They are seldom successful in their efforts and only convey an aggressive and distorted interpretation of Islam, and as a result they push others further away from the blessed guidance of the deen and the Sunnah. The following is some advice to remember when calling others to Islam so that you maybe successful.

Do not speak without knowledge

Speaking without knowledge is a very dangerous thing that many of us take lightly. We forget that our words can be the cause of someone else’s success or destruction. Allah warns us against speaking without knowledge when He says,

“And follow not (O man, i.e., say not, or do not, or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allâh)”
[al-Israa’ 17:36]

Thus, it is incumbent upon all of us to seek knowledge, as knowledge precedes action. This is evident from the first ayaat that were revealed from the Qur’an commanding us to ‘read’, which is key when attaining knowledge.

“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists)…. [al-‘Alaq 96:1]

Seeking advice and knowledge from the scholars becomes incumbent on one who has no knowledge in Islam. Allah has elevated their status above the average layman in this life and the next. He informs us of those who are more knowledgeable in the Qur’an.

“Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge”
[al-Mujaadilah 58:11]

Because of the importance of knowledge in Islam, Allah advised us to ask Him for more of it.

“and say: ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge’” [Ta-Ha 20:114]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated this dua in a hadeeth in Sunan ibn Maajah (authenticated by Shaykh Albaani rahimahullah):

اللَّهُمَّ انْفَعْنِي بِمَا عَلَّمْتَنِي وَ عَلِّمْنِي مَا يَنْفَعُنِي وَ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
Allahumma-infa’nī bimā ‘alamtanī wa ‘allimnī mā yanfa’unī wa zidnī ‘ilmā
O Allah, benefit me from that which You taught me, and teach me that which will benefit me, and increase me in knowledge.

Do good actions

As Muslims, how we behave reflects Islam as a whole and even others Muslims. People will not take our dawah seriously if we are known to be loud mouths, liars, cheats or those who are involved in haram (prohibited) activities. It is important then, that we try to display good moral conduct and behavior at all times.
We should never feel that we are too unimportant or insignificant to set an example or initiate dawah by way of good actions. Taking the initiative is often what makes people successful and doing good actions is often times the best way to call others to Islam, especially for those who have little or no knowledge of Islam.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
[al-Nahl 16:97]

Be sincere

Sincerity is often what sells. If you give dawah to appear knowledgeable or simply to win religious/ political arguments, then your true intentions will eventually be seen by others. Such intentions are dispraised by Allah and He has warned us of its punishment.

“Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire.” [Quran 11:15-16]

Sincerity is the basis on which good deeds will either be accepted or rejected, therefore it is the cause of our success or failure in this life and the next. One of the most profound prophetic narrations by Muhmmed (peace be upon him) is that,

“Deeds are but with intentions.”

Argue in a way that is best

Sometimes our passion and zeal for propagating Islam can lead to us beoming critical and argumentative. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would advise others so they would benefit and take heed, not merely to prove his point or win arguments. Therefore, one should not be harsh and aggressive when calling others to Islam. Rather, we are expected to use kind words and good reasoning. Allah says,

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best…” [Quran 16:125]

This also goes for the way we deal with disbelievers, as Allah has commanded us,

“And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them…”[Quran 29: 46]

Know who you are dealing with

If you are giving dawah to people you personally know such as family or friends, it’s advisable to deal with them in a way in which they will be more inclined to accept your message. If you are aware that someone doesn’t appreciate being spoken to about Islam at great lengths, keep conversation short and sweet. If another person doesn’t like being spoken to about Islam at all, it’s probably best to give dawah by way of sharing informative leaflets and displaying kind actions. Every induvial is different and quality is better than quantity. It maybe that the few kind words you speak of Allah could cause someone to take their shahada some time down the line.

Use pamplets/leaflets

The spread of Islam is supposed to take place by disseminating the message by written or spoken word. If you do not possess knowledge or the affluence in conveying Islam, you can do so by way of distributing literature.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in his letter to the Roman governor Heracles:

“I invite you to accept Islam. If you accept Islam, you will find safety. If you accept Islam, Allah will give you a double reward. However, if you turn away, upon you will be the sin of your subjects.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

This is proof that written dawah will suffice when conveying the message, after which the duty of the Muslim is done.

Do not get emotional

Giving dawah requires we put our emotions aside and work more on our sincerity. If someone isn’t susceptible to our advise, getting upset and emotional will not change matters. One of the fundamental truths as proved by the Qur’an is that no one can be compelled to the religion. Allah says,

“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

It is our duty to convey the beauty and truth of Islam to the people, after which, whoever accepts islam may do so and whoever rejects Islam, will do so. No one should be forced or coerced into becoming a Muslim. Allah reaffirms this when He says,

“So if they dispute with you, say ‘I have submitted my whole self to Allah, and so have those who follow me.’ And say to the People of the Scripture and to the unlearned: ‘Do you also submit yourselves?’ If they do, then they are on right guidance. But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message. And in Allah’s sight are all of His servants.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 20]

Give gifts

Everyone loves to feel appreciated and giving gifts is a great way to do this. Our Messenger advised us on the benefit of giving gifts to others as it strengthens relationships between the giver and recipient. He (peace be upon him) said,

“Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” [Al-Bukhari]

If you wish to give dawah, the key ingredients are to seek knowledge, sincerity and to improve your character. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you have a bad character your message may fall on deaf ears. Similarly, your efforts in giving dawah could be rejected by Allah if you lack sincerity. It may suffice to remind others of Allah, His oneness, names and attributes and of His forgiveness and blessings. Keeping things simple makes for a more effective approach and helps to avoid political arguments and debates.

Please share this article to benefit the believers-BarakAllahu feekum!

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