Farah Zahidi-Moazzam defines Dawah – the responsibility of each and every Muslim
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.” (An-Nahl 16:125)
The Prophet (sa) has said: “Convey from me even one verse” (Bukhari). Conveying the message, therefore, is not the responsibility of the scholars only; it is, in fact, a responsibility of each and every Muslim, according to his or her ability. This call towards Allah (swt) is called ‘Dawah,’ and the one, who calls towards Allah’s (swt) Deen, is a Da’ee.
To understand the role of a Da’ee, think of him/her as a smaller road leading to a bigger, clearer path. A by-pass that in itself is not as important as the road (Sirat-e-mustaqeem) to which it leads others. Yet, the Da’ee is a like a connecting wire, which transmits the high voltage power it is connected to. In so doing, the Da’ee illuminates countless hearts and souls and connects them to the power of recognizing Allah (swt). One candle results in thousands of others being lit. Wondrously enough, the light of the candle responsible for lighting up other candles does not lessen. In fact, it glows and grows — the reward of the Da’ee’s work is reaped in this world and stored for him in the hereafter.
Calling towards Allah (swt) is a job that does not require you to give up your existing assignments. You can continue being a parent, a child, a spouse, an executive, a teacher…whatever it is that you are doing with your life. Yet, the time and energy a Da’ee invests brings rewards like no other line of work. It guarantees a sure success!
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) Yet, when weighing career choices, we hardly ever think of Dawah as something we want to do in our practical life.
Calling people to Allah (swt) means completing our own worship, because of which we are created. It is one of the noblest acts, which entails a high reward.
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)
The Prophet (sa) has said: “Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it” (Muslim). Also, “By Allah (swt), if Allah (swt) were to guide one man through you, it would be better for you than the best type of camels.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Dawah is an obligation on every Muslim, young or old, male or female. All it requires is the love of Allah (swt), a conviction in your purpose, and correct knowledge of Deen. One can call towards Allah (swt) in so many different ways. Writing a book, giving a talk, teaching someone, how to pray or recite the Quran, providing counseling or good advice to someone, who needs it, distributing cassettes or books, helping someone actively involved in Dawah, doing social work, gifting to someone a Quran… there are countless ways, in which we can perform Dawah. No matter which method or path of Dawah you choose to travel on, your destination is the same – Allah’s (swt) mercy in this world and in the hereafter.