Why should we learn to give Da'wah?
"There is no god but Allah, And Muhammad
is the Messenger of Allah."
This simple statement is the most powerful declaration
ever devised. For beyond the words themselves lies a powerful concept and a compelling ideology. Whole societies, cultures
and empires have been elevated with its application or ruined by its rejection. And yet, away from
grandiose movements and campaigns, the lone spiritual wanderer can attain to the highest levels of wisdom and insight, in
the contemplation of its mysteries. This declaration of faith, the Shahada, captures the essence of what Islam is all
about: peaceful surrender to the will of the Divine.
Islam, however, is not a new religion that began
in the seventh century with a great Prophet. Islam is, rather, the latest installment of a Message brought by all the previous
If, over the course of time, a people came to forget, ignore or change the teachings bequeathed by their
Messenger, Allah, in His Mercy, would renew His Message by sending fresh guidance. In this way, every age had access to Divine
precepts. This process of revelation and correction went on unabated through human history.
Allah says, "Certainly, We have raised among
every nation a Messenger who declared, Serve Allah and shun false objects of worship.' Thus were some guided by Allah, while
ruin was justified on others. Travel over the earth and see what befell those who rejected their Messengers."
The scripture revealed to Muhammad, may he be blessed,
the Holy Qur'an, contains directions for every important aspect of life. It also includes instruction in wisdom, ethics, philosophy,
economics, politics as well as science.
Furthermore, the recorded deeds and sayings of the Blessed Prophet provide
us with additional, detailed information about the specifics of living life properly and peacefully. The requirements of our
faith, however, are wider than our merely practicing it ourselves.
Thus, we see that promoting good in society and
forbidding wrong are also requirements of the faith. Allah makes it clear in other verses that only by following His Laws
can true justice and order be established. We must therefore give the call to those around us that they might desire to lead
lives of goodness and faith. With this understanding in mind, how do we go about our task?
Allah says in this regard: "There should be
a number of you who actively call people to righteousness; who encourage goodness and forbid evil. These are the ones who
[surah ali Imran; 3:104]
No Muslim is required to leave his or her job and
family and shout on street corners. All of us are capable of making our own small contributions in the cause of Islam. A small
percentage of the work of one hundred is more effective than one hundred percent from one. So do not feel that Islamic da'wah
is a daunting task best left to the "professionals." There are no priests in Islam, only a society of men and women united
by the bonds of a potent ideology. An important saying of the Prophet is that, if there are at least three Muslims in an area
away from the Muslim community, then they must make one of them their leader.
Allah, the Exalted, gives us direction by saying:
"Call people to the path of your Lord with
wisdom and inspiring speech. Reason with them in a superior and respectful manner. Certainly, your Lord knows best who strays
from His path and who is guided."
The community that fails to promote its values ceases
to exist. That much is universally recognized, and Muslims are no different. But we are not interested in da'wah just because
we have a sentimental attachment to Muslim culture. Our main concern is obedience to the commands of Allah and to follow the
example of His Messenger. What is the evidence that da'wah is really essential to our faith?
We find that Allah has said: "This is a reminder
for all humanity, for those who desire the straight road." [Qur'an 81:27-28]
Our lives are filled with choices, and it is even
a choice for us to deny our Creator. Indeed, many people have sought to forget, so to speak, their dependence on Allah. But
it is the plan of Allah that His creatures should have ample opportunity to remember themselves and their true nature.. That
is what da'wah is about.
Allah also said: "And We have made you a moderate
community that you may be a witness to humanity even as the Messenger is a witness to you..." [surah al-Baqarah; 2:143]
Every Muslim, man or woman, is bound by the injunctions
of Islam and must, therefore, make da'wah an important part of their lives. If you say you are committed to your job or your
family you will do things unquestioningly and without hesitation. Why? Because you have a vested interest in the enterprise.
Is serving the Preserver of the Universe any less important? For many people it seems like a task of gargantuan proportions,
but it really is not. It is rather a duty of responsibility, not of hardship. Be happy about sharing your faith with others.
The Blessed Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)told
us about da'wah: "Convey this Message, even if only one sentence (ayah)." "Learn the required precepts of Islam and the Qur'an,
then teach them to others, for I will not live forever." [sahih al-Bukhari]
It's important to you and you know it will benefit
the spiritual void plaguing this land. In the issues to come we will proceed to take a look at our fitness to do da'wah. Are
we properly qualified, and what are those qualifications?