( importance of dawah / methods of dawah )
Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e., Islam) with wisdom (i.e., with the Divine Revelation and the Quran) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best, who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those, who are guided.” (Surah An-Nahl, Verse 125)
Often Muslims who aren’t acquainted with Islam and how it functions, ask questions like – ‘Why does everyone expect us to answer serious questions all the time?, Why are we the centre of attention anywhere we go?’. They tend to forget that as Muslims, we play a greater role in shaping the society around us, as compared to those who are yet to discover the true purpose of this life.
Many Muslims tend to get annoyed and frustrated because random questions are thrown their way. As a result, they either prefer not being questioned about Islam or prefer giving wrong answers like – ‘I am a moderate Muslim and I don’t dig too much into religion.’
Once a Muslim classmate of mine was annoyed because our professor asked her to share views on ‘Islamophobia in Western culture’. Her complain was that other students were given lighter topics like ‘Your favourite childhood memory’ or ‘Some rules for personal development’. To her, it seemed really strange that Muslims, even if they are students, are constantly expected to answer religious questions. Why so much of responsibility on those who are not studying the Quran ?
The answer is that whether a student of Quran or not, every Muslim who has reached an age of understanding, will be used to spread the word of Allah (swt). Willingly or unwillingly, they will have to play their part in the spread of Islam. For every Muslim, it is obligatory to gain knowledge of Islam, practise it in their own life and spread the word to those unaware of its blessings.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Let there arise out of you a group of people, inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma`ruf [i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained] and forbidding Al-Munkar [polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden], and you believe in Allah (swt).” (Al-Imran 3:104)
Though, the call to Islam is such an essential part of Islam, Muslims when weighing career choices, hardly ever think of ‘dawah’ as something they want to do in their practical life. Calling people to Allah (swt) completes a person’s worship. It fulfils the very purpose for which humans are created. It is one of the noblest acts, which entails a high reward.
What makes this form of worship unique is that one can practise it in any profession. For example, a person can be a teacher and also use the same skill to teach others and spread the word of Islam. A person can be a business man and reach out to those who he deals with, with the word of Islam. No matter what a person’s background, both personal as well as professional, they can use it to reach out to those who are unaware or misinformed.
‘I meet clients who ask me about Islam,’ stated a friend, who is self-employed and runs a small business. ‘Every time, I answer their questions about Islam, it makes me happy that I am putting in some effort in this direction and clarifying misconceptions.’
What is important is that ‘dawah’ should be treated as it is – ‘an invitation’, ‘a call to share.’ It merely means the conveyance of the message of Islam to people. Itshould not be understood as the struggle to convert people into the faith. Islam never declared the conversion of people to the faith as an obligation on Muslims. Dawah is an act entirely directed by Allah (swt). He has his unique ways in which he connects people, invites people to His chosen way of life. A person only needs to share an intention to be a part of this guidance, to be a part of calling people from darkness to light.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And who is better in speech than he who [says: ‘My Lord is Allah (swt) (believes in His Oneness),’ and stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah (swt)’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: ‘I am one of the Muslims.’” (Fussilat 41:33)
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