<p>Guide to giving dawah to Non-Muslims</p>
(By Zeinab Hassan Ashry-Islam presentation committee, Kuwait).
I still remember the words of a man who contacted me inquiring about Islam. He said "I have always believed what Muslims believe, but I never knew about Islam until now:' He and his family had contacted me to continue their quest for knowledge. They had been in Kuwait only two months when the father, an engineer working with local petroleum Exploration Company, had first been exposed to Muslims. He was greatly affected by their hospitality and warmth. As he spent more time with them, he came to understand that what was inviting about them was their faith. He began to ask questions about Islam and eventually began reading the Qur'an.
He was so impressed by the Qur'an, that he accepted Islam with his whole heart without any hesitation. For the first time in his life, he felt contentment and inner peace. He then began working hard to guide his family to Islam. His wife and children noticed the positive changes that Islam brought into their life, and embraced it themselves.
They were all practicing Islam together and continuing to study. Today, Islam makes them stronger and happier. On the day I met them, they told me that they came to discuss a few issues and ask questions. Before they left, they told me that when they returned home, they would make Dawah, telling people about Islam in hopes that they too would convert.
Does this happen every day?
Millions of people around the world are sincerely searching for the Truth but have no true guidance. Why? Muslims are not doing enough dawah. Unfortunately, Dawah is no longer the center of the Muslim lifestyle. Today, Muslims are so absorbed in their own lives that they have become totally indifferent to inviting people to Islam. Somehow, we have forgotten that dawah is an essential part of being Muslim. It is essential for the Muslim Ummah to restore its leadership position in the world by giving dawah its due place-at the top of the Ummah's priorities, in fulfillment of its mission of Tawheed.
What is Dawah?
Dawah is to invite mankind to worshiping Allah alone, follow His Straight Path, and keep away from all sorts of disbelief and evil. The Qur'an tells us, "And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, 'There is no deity worthy of worship except Me, So worship Me.''' (21:25) And of all the issues and conditions which must be maintained when we do dawah, the following two are of utmost importance:
First, when we give dawah, our main concern should be to make sure Allah's Message reaches people in a clear, proper and convincing way so that they are targeted according to their level of understanding, background and culture. Our sincere aim and focus should be to deliver dawah with wisdom and good manners. We should not be concerned with the results of our efforts, for that is in Allah's Hands. And He, subhanahu wa ta' ala, has taught us in the Qur'an that it is not part of this responsibility to ensure that people be guided to the truth, and that there is no compulsion in religion ," " [2:255)
Second, inviting people to Islam should be deeply and strongly rooted in compassion. The motive behind it has to be love of people and concern that they follow the truth and be saved from disbelief and its evil consequences. This was beautifully summarized by the Companion Rib'ee ibn Aamer when the King of Persia asked him why the Muslims came to Persia. Rib' ee then told the King, "Allah has sent us, with His Message to mankind, so that we release whomever desires, from the worship of people, to the worship of the Lord of people, from the injustice of man-made religion to the Justice of Islam, and from the strangling of this world, to the disburden and grace of the Hereafter."
Dawah is an obligation for every Muslim according to his/her ability and knowledge. Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, said, "Invite to the Way of your Lord (Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better." [16:125). Allah's order "invite" as stated in this verse is presented in a general form indicating that all Muslims, individually and collectively, are included in this obligation. To this end, the Prophet, sallallahualayhe wa sallam, has said: "Convey from me, even one verse ." (Bukhari)
Calling people to Allah is one of the noblest acts and one that results in great reward, "And who is better in speech than he who invites people to Allah and does righteous deeds, and says: 'Iam one of theMuslims.''(41:33) The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, has said: "Whoever guides (another) to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it." (Muslim) and, "By Allah, if Allah were to guide one man through you, it would be better for you than the best type of camels." (Bukhari and Muslim) It is the duty of all Muslims to remove obstacles from the way of dawah so that the message of Islam, the last message from Allah to mankind, could reach every place in the world.
Levels of dawah
Alike previous prophets, no prophet will be sent for dawah after Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallarn . Allah has entrusted the Muslim Ummah, with the heavy responsibility of calling mankind to Allah's last Message. Therefore, we all, collectively and individually, exert every possible effort in for dawah.
Role of the muslim Ummah
The Muslim Ummah is expected to reach great heights, to be an example to mankind enjoining right and forbidding wrong; Allah says, "You have been the best Ummah (nation) ever presented to mankind, enjoining what is right, for bidding what is wrong and believing in Allah." (3: 110)
The Muslim Ummah must provide leader ship in faith and project strong virtues. It should motivate people to do good until good prevails. To do so, the Muslim Ummah should set the best example in justice, equality, adopting system of consultation, and the protection of people's rights. It is narrated that when Saad ibn abi Waqq as conquered Hems, a city in northern Syria, he collected the Jiziah (taxes for militar y service ex emption of non Muslims) from its people, who were Christians. Then he was ordered to leave and go to another city. Before he left, he returned the taxes back to the Christians saying: "We collected this money in return for your protection. But now we are leaving and we cannot protect you anymore, so we are returning it." Amazed at this honesty and justice, many said: "No one has ever treated us like this, neither the Romans nor the Persians." Many conver ted to Islam as a result.
The Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was a bright example of a just ruler. During his Caliphate, poverty was eradicated, maybe for the first time in history, and Muslims could not find poor people to distribute the Zakah . At his time, so many non -Muslims entered Islam that some of his governors complained of the lack of Jizyah revenue. He sent them a letter reminding them that Allah had sent Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, to mankind as a guide, and not as a tax collector. In fact, the Ummah's role in dawah is the most effective way of spreading the Message of Islam. Therefore, Allah warned us that if this Ummah turns away from this job, He will replace it with another Ummah who would do better in establishing Allah's Rule and calling people to His Message, "And if you turn away, He will exchange you for another people and they will not be the likes of you." (47:38). Many scholars point out to the absence of dawah as one main reason that the Ummah has the present -day situation o f weakness and inability.
The role of organizations
To effectively achieve dawah, the Ummah must develop means for doing the best possible job. Allah, subhanahu wa ta' ala, says: "Let there arise from among you a community of people who invite others to all that is goo d, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Such are they who attain the true success." (3:104)
Scholars have interpreted this verse to mean that the Ummah must provide dawah with all the organization and support its needs. This can actually be the best way the Ummah fulfill its obligations towards dawah. This verse, therefore, directs Muslims to preparing enough places and qualified professional people to carry on all of the tasks of dawah, such as scholars, Imams, reformers, social workers, universities, institutes, dawah center s, etc. Their responsibility should include delivering dawah, research and planning, and serve as a reference for workers in dawah so that they turn to them for guidance and consultation.
The role of individuals
As was stressed before, every Muslim man or woman is obligated to call to Islam according to his/her capacity. Conducting dawah is essential for maintaining one's faith and keeping away from disbelief. Allah says, “ ... and invite to your Lord and be not of al- Mushrikeen (those who ascribe partners to Allah)." (28:87)
Furthermore, dawah is the way of the true follower s of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam . Allah, subhanahu wa ta 'ala, says: "Say (0 Muhammad): 'This my way: I do invite unto Allah, on evidence clear as the seeing with one's eyes, I and whoever follows me; Glory to Allah! And never will I be of al-Mushikeen’." (12: 108)
Personalized dawah can be a very effective way of delivering the message of Islam. But individuals must possess knowledge, be aware of certain conditions and must develop some good manners for their dawah to be successful.