Da’wah – An Obligation

06 May

Sections in this article –
* Definition of ‘Da’wah’
* Difference between Da’wah and Islaah
* Is it compulsary?
* Not fulfilling this duty
* What to call at and how?
* Excuses for not doing Da’wah
* Rewards of conveying the Message
* Final words

Definition of ‘Da’wah’:
‘Da’wah’ means an invitation. In the Islamic context it means an invitation to Islam. Thus Da’wah means conveying the message of Islam to non-muslims and inviting them to Islam.

Difference between Da’wah and Islaah:
Usually people use the word ‘Da’wah’ for the act of conveying the message of Islam, without differentiating whether the person being addressed is a muslim or a non-muslim. Many consider ‘Da’wah’ and ‘Islaah’ to be one and the same activity. The appropriate word used for inviting a non-muslim to Islam is ‘Da’wah’ and for providing correct and additional knowledge of Islam to a muslim is ‘Islaah’.

Is it compulsary?
Today most of the Muslims are unaware of the fact that doing Da’wah is COMPULSARY (Fardh). In fact Allaah says in Surah Al Asr:
“By the Time.
Indeed! Man is in a loss.
Except those who have faith and do good works and encourage one another to Truth and encourage one another to patience”
[Al Qur’an 103:1-3]
Allaah (SWT) in these verses is saying that Man is in loss i.e. man will go to hell; except those who believe and do good works, ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER TO TRUTH and to patience. Hence, a person will not attain Paradise if he/she does not Invite people to Truth (i.e. Islam) according to Surah Al Asr. No wonder, Imam Sha’fi (R) said: “If the people were to ponder on this Surah, it would be sufficient for them (for their salvation).”
Not fulfilling this duty
The obligation is further emphasized by the following verse which explains that not conveying the message – hiding knowledge – is disobedience to Allaah that causes Allaah’s curse to descend upon such people, which shows that such a sin leads to the Hellfire.
“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the book, they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by the cursers.”
[Al Qur’an 2:159]
In the same connection, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has stated, “Whoever hides knowledge, Allaah will brand him with the branding iron from the hellfire.”
Individual Da’wah or Da’wah in Group?
One can do Da’wah at an individual level or in a group. As the following verses make it clear:
“And who is better in speech than he who invites (all) to Allaah and does righteous deeds and says, ‘I am one of the Muslims’.”
[Al Qur’an 41:33]
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and it is they who are succesful.”
[Al Qur’an 3:104]
The verse quoted above from Surah Fussilat (Surah 41) addresses single person whereas the second verse quoted from Surah Aal-e-Imran (Surah 3) advises of working in group. Thus, one can make his/her efforts either at an individual level or in a group.
What to call at and how?
The caller (Daee), should be very clear to what is he calling at. The first thing that a caller should call others at is, La ‘ilaaha il Allaah i.e. [There is] no god but Allaah. All the Prophets of Allaah (SWT) called their people to believe and worship only ONE GOD! Rest all things come after this.
It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that Mu’adh said:
The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and (at the time of departure) instructed me thus: You will soon find yourself in a community one among the people of the Book, so first call them to testify that there is no god but Allaah, that I (Muhammad) am the Messenger of Allaah, and if they accept this, then tell them Allaah has enjoined upon them five prayers during the day and the night and if they accept it, then tell them that Allaah has made Zakat obligatory for them that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor, and if they agree to it don’t pick up (as a share of Zakat) the best of their wealths. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no barrier between him and Allaah.
[Sahih Muslim :: Book 1 :: Chapter 8 :: Hadith 27]
Thus the first thing to be called to is to testify that there is no god but Allaah.
“Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preachings and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.”
[Al Qur’an 16:125]
Here, Allaah (SWT) is not only reminding us about our duty [Da’wah], but also advising us how to do it. One needs to use his wisdom to call people to Islam, and preach and argue in best possible ways.
An important thing worth mentioning here is, that our job is to deliver the Message of Islam. It is Allaah (SWT) who guides. Allaah says:
“Your duty is to convey the Message.”
[Al Qur’an 42:48]
and also,
“The Messenger’s duty is but to convey the Message.”
[Al Qur’an 5:99]
Thus our job is to convey the Message of Islam, we should not be worried if the person (to whom we are doing Da’wah to) takes heed of it or not. If he accepts it, it is for his own good; if he rejects it, it is for his own bad. As for those who ignore your call, Allaah says:
“If thou callest them to guidance, they hear not. Thou wilt see them looking at thee, but they see not. Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant.”
[Al Qur’an 7:198-199]
Excuses for not doing Da’wah
Generally people give certain excuses to skip the duty of conveying the Message of Islam. These excuses are very repetitive.
(1) I am not a scholar.
Some people make use of these words so as to escape from this duty. They say, ‘I am not a scholar, I do not have enough knowledge to do Da’wah’.
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has said: “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence.”
[Sahih Bukhari :: Vol 4 :: Book 56 :: Hadith 667]
Thus, this excuse is not vaild as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) commanded to convey even if it is one verse. One need not be a scholar. Even if it is basic knowledge, even if it is one verse; its the duty of a Muslim to propagate it. Every Muslim, atleast knows that God is One. Its his duty to propagate it.
(2) First we should improve the Muslims.
Many say, that we should first improve the Muslims i.e. first do Islaah. I agree that Islaah is important but to say that I will totally ignore Da’wah is unacceptable. Our beloved Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) never ignored any of the two. He did Da’wah and Islaah both. And we all know how much trails he underwent, when he called people to Islaam but yet he never abandoned his duty. In Madinah, at the time of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) there were Muslims who did not use to come to the compulsory Prayers and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said “I feel like setting their houses on fire”

Even in Madinah, there were such Muslims who were not good practicing Muslims. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did not say that I’ll just make them good Muslims and stick to them only. Yet he wrote letters to other non-Muslim kings, asking them to embrace Islam.
Da’wah and Islaah both are important. But if we see (logically) Da’wah is MORE important because the non-Muslims are involved in the sin of shirk i.e associating partners with Allaah (SWT). This is the most henious of sins as Allaah has made it clear in the Qur’an as:
“Allaah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.”
[Al Qur’an 4:48]
(3) Some are worried about relations and other worldly things.
Some people are worried of worldly things, they fear that if they do Da’wah they may loose their loved ones, a bussinessman is worried about his bussiness. Allaah (SWT) warns such people:
“Say: ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allaah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allaah executes His command. And Allaah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.’”
[Al Qur’an 9:24]
(4) When we do Da’wah, the non-Muslim says ‘Mind your own business’.
This also is a very common excuse presented by our dear Muslims. It is the business of every Muslim to mind other people’s business where faith is concerned. Da’wah is a compulsory duty of every Muslim. Therefore, when the person says, “Mind your own business”, he is right, that is what you are doing. You are minding your own business only.

There are various such excuses, which people give to justify their act of not fulfilling their duty.
Rewards of conveying the Message
With regards to the reward, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has said: “Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it.”
[Sahih Muslim]
Also, “By Allaah, if Allaah were to guide one man through you it would be better for you than the best type of camels.”
[Al Bukhari, Muslim]
Final words
Da’wah is compulsary on every Muslim and we should ensure that we perform it. Allaah (SWT) does not need us to establish His Religion, He is more than enough for doing it; but He is giving us an opportunity to earn some Blessings. He is giving us a chance to do the job of Prophets’ and hence earn the Rewards. Its high time we realise our duty and act on it.
I hope this article will help us realise, understand and motivate us to do our job. The topic is pretty vast, but I tried my best to keep it short.

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