In Arabic, da`wah (inviting people to Islam) is one of the most emphatic and important duties of Muslims. It is one of the greatest forms of worship, by which Muslims can draw nearer to Allah. The month of Ramadan is an ideal opportunity for engaging in this noble activity, especially with our fellow Muslims. People’s hearts in Ramadan are humbler because they are more aware of Allah’s remembrance, more responsive to exhortation and more inclined to repentance.

Muslims can adopt many ways in calling people to Allah during this blessed month. The activities of da`wah include every word, every effort, every stroke of a pen, and every expenditure of wealth that benefit Islam.

However, working for Islam requires both knowledge as a base and a guide as well as it requires sincere efforts. Every Muslim must work according to his or her abilities and knowledge. Almighty Allah says,

(Say, “This is my way: I call to Allah, I and those who follow me being certain, and glory be to Allah, and I am not one of the polytheists.) (Yusuf 12: 108)

Da`wah Is Allah’s Command

Muslims are commanded in the Qur’an as well as the Sunnah to make da`wah. The Qur’an extols this activity and warns Muslims against laxity showing the fruitful benefits of da`wah and the great reward for those who join it.

Allah commands Muslims, in many ways, to call people to His path:

(Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation.) (An-Nahl 16: 125)

He also says,

(Say, “I am commanded to worship Allah and not to join partners with Him. Unto Him do I call, and unto Him is my return.”) (Ar-Ra`d 13:36)

He, likewise, commands Muslims to enjoin good and forbid evil as much as possible:

(You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.) (Aal `Imran 3:110)

Allah also commands His Prophet and consequently all Muslims to convey the Message worldwide:

(O Messenger! Proclaim what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message.) (Al-Ma’idah 5:67)

Moreover, He commands Muslims to carry out this activity among themselves:

(Most surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do the good and enjoin on each other truth and enjoin on each other patience.) (Al-`Asr 103:2–3)

Muslims are required to warn their relatives:

(And warn your nearest relations.) (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:214)

They are also required to give glad tidings:

(So proclaim glad tidings to the believers.) (At-Tawbah 9:112)

Fruits of Making Da`wah

In fact, working in the field of da`wah has many benefits and blessings for those who practice it in this life and in the hereafter. These fruits and benefits are mentioned in numerous ayahs of the Qur’an and in many hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Some of these benefits are listed below:

1. Da`wah is an act of worship and obedience to Almighty Allah that pleases Him. It also saves Muslims from His displeasure and from His punishment.

2. This noble activity is a way to support and strengthen Allah’s religion, as it was the mission of all Prophets and Messengers (peace and blessings be upon them all).

3. It is an activity that is loathed by the enemies of Islam as it provides relief to the victims of ignorance, superstition and the shackles of blind customs.

4. It is also a means of multiplying the positive effects of our good deeds, both in this life and in the hereafter. It is a means of gaining Allah’s mercy and of dispelling affliction.

5. Da`wah is considered the best word of a Muslim’s speech. Allah, the Exalted, says,

(And who is better in speech than he who calls (men) to Allah and works righteousness and says, “I am of those who are Muslims (surrender unto Him)”?) (Fussilat 41:33)

6. The reward of guiding one person to Allah is better than the whole world and what it contains.

Qualities and Etiquettes Required

However, da`wah has some requirements before being practiced. These are: knowledge, acting upon knowledge, sincerity, patience, kindness, good manners, generosity, altruism, humility, wisdom, mercy and concern for achieving unity upon truth.

There are other qualities with which a da`i (Islamic preacher) should beautify his or her conduct: being lenient, responding to evil with good, trusting in Allah and in His help, being satisfied with the slightest progress, and striving for the utmost good. The da`i must also shun envy, hastiness, and competition for worldly gain.

The da`i should also give due care to the following points:

Being always of gentle approach, concerned for the guidance of others, and cognizant of a sense of responsibility. There should also be a strong and close connection between the da`i and his Lord.

Being continually aware of Allah’s remembrance, sticky to supplication, and dedicated to all acts of devotion, setting a good example for others, taking every chance to call people to the truth and never disparaging any good effort, however small might it be.

Dealing with people according to their own levels, showing concern for them, helping them overcome their problems, and never burdening them with their own problems.

Avoiding argumentation except within the strictest of bounds, establishing a good relationship with people and encouraging them to keep good company and abandon bad company.

Knowing well the persons whom he or she is calling, showing them their due interest, making them feel how important they are to the da`i, and getting them involved in some beneficial activities.

Keeping priorities in order never seeking to promote oneself, employing various approaches such as using good preaching and giving gifts; sometimes an indirect approach proves to be the most effective.

A Collective Responsibility

Getting these qualities and etiquettes, every Muslim should hasten to become a da`i to Allah in the noble month of Ramadan. Each Muslim can do so in his or her own way.

Muslims can teach one another, give charity out of their wealth, use their reputation, or offer their hard work. Those whom Allah has blessed with ample means can bring their wealth to positive effect by supporting those who work for Islam by preparing da`is and publishing books that benefit the people. All these acts come under the banner of working for Islam. A Muslim should do this to be one of those who call to Allah?

Muslims of influence should make good use of their reputations in facilitating the efforts of calling people to Allah. Those who are working in the media should use their positions to promote goodness and to share in calling to Allah through their means.

Those who have the talent of using the internet should employ it as a means of inviting people to goodness during this auspicious month as they have the ability to spread truth and goodness, with the least effort and expense, over the widest possible expanse. They speak to the world while sitting in the comfort of their homes. Gathering efforts and using capabilities of each other can do miracles in the field of da`wah.

All Muslims, men and women, should share in calling people to Allah by

Giving advice to those who are neglectful and heedless.

Reminding those who forget.

Teaching the ignorant.

May Allah accept the efforts of all Muslims who call people to His way.

By Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hamad