Most Muslims know that Islam is a universal religion, meant for all mankind. Allah (swt) is the Lord of the entire universe, and Muslims have been entrusted with the duty of conveying His message to all mankind. Alas, most Muslims today have become complacent towards this duty! While accepting Islam as the best way of life for ourselves, most of us are unwilling to share this knowledge with those to whom the message has not yet been conveyed.
The Arabic word Da’wah means a call or an invitation. In Islamic context, it means to strive for the propagation of Islam. Thus Da’wah means conveying the message of Islam to Non-Muslims and inviting them to Islam.
The Arabic word Islah means to improve, correct, rectify or repair. In Islamic terminology, Islah means correcting a Muslim or providing more knowledge of Islam to a Muslim.
It is sad to note that most of the activities, which we label as Da’wah, are actually Islah. Activities such as classes, seminars, talks, forums and other religious gatherings are meant and targeted to Muslims only.
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“Ah! Who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!” (Al-Qur’an 2: 140)
Allah swt gives the Muslims an honour in Al-Qur’an 3:110;
“You are the best of people evolved for mankind”. But honour comes with responsibilities! As an example, a principal of a school has more honour than a teacher and that principal also has more responsibilities. Similarly, this honour from Allah swt to Muslims also comes with responsibilities as the full verse reads; “You are the best of people evolved for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah...”
Therefore it is the responsibility of every single Muslim to be an individual of “amar ma’aruf nahi munkar” or “those who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong”. This means as a Muslim it is our duty to do Da’wah and Islah.
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“By (the token of) time (through the ages), verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy” (Al-Qur’an 103:1-3). These are the 4 minimum criteria to attain salvation, one of which is “(join together) in the mutual teaching of truth”, i.e.; to do Da’wah and Islah.
In Shahih Bukhari (4:667);
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (ra): The Prophet (saw) said, “Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single verse (from the Qur’an or the Sunnah)...”. This Hadith clearly states the duty of Da’wah is not rest upon those with sound knowledge of Islam, i.e.; scholars, Ustadhs or Imams alone but every single Muslim. As a Muslim, we surely know at least about “La Ilaha Ilallah”. There is no excuse for us not to do Da’wah!
Allah further warns us in the Qur’an (47:38);
“ Behold, ye are those invited to spend (of your substance) in the way of Allah: But among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls. But Allah is free from all wants. And it is ye that are needy. If ye turn back (from the path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!”.
On the contrary, the reward for spending our substance in the way of Allah is 70,000% as mentioned in the Qur’an (2:261);
“The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it groweth seven ears, and each ear hath a hundred grains. Allah giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth...” Is there any other business in the world that guarantees you a profit of 70,000%?
The Qur’an practically guides us on how Da’wah should be done; “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious...” (Qur’an 16:125).
The master key to do Da’wah is as mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an (3:64);
“Say: ‘O people of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah”.
In the study on ‘concept of God in major religions of the world’, we will find several verses from the Bible, Hindu Scriptures or Sri Grant Sahib (Sikh’s Holy Scripture) that speaks about oneness of God, i.e.; Tawheed.
We must start doing Da’wah and stop giving excuses such as;
Religion is personal and we shouldn’t mind other people’s business.
We live in a multi-racial country and Da’wah will create disharmony.
Wait until I become a perfect Muslim or I have higher knowledge of Islam.
Da’wah is the job of the Religious department, Ustadhs or the Imams.