The propagation of Islam was the mission of all the prophets and messengers of Allah. There was never a prophet who was not a preacher and teacher. All of them preached the same message: ‘Worship Allah, you have no other god but Him.’ They all called to their people saying: ‘I do not seek any reward from you for this work.’
Allah Almighty says: ‘Call thou [all mankind] unto thy Sustainer’s path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner.’ (16:125)
He ordered His Messenger: ‘Say [O Prophet]: "This is my way, resting upon conscious insight accessible to reason, I am calling [you all] unto God – I and they who follow me." And [say] "Limitless is God in His glory; and I am not one of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him!" (12:108)
Having ordered his servants to employ useful knowledge and good deeds, Allah confirms: ‘And who could be better of speech than he who calls [his fellow-men] unto God, and does what is just and right, and says, "Verily, I am of those who have surrendered themselves to God?"’ (41:33)
There are five premises to the Islamic call, it has five approaches, and its results are also five.
The five premises
First: sincerity and truthfulness with Allah, and to seek His favour. Allah says: ‘And withal, they were not enjoined aught but that they should worship God, sincere in their faith to Him alone.’ (98:5)
The Prophet, sallallahu ?alaihi wa sallam, foretold that the first with whom the fire of hell will be lit are three; among them a scholar who acquired knowledge so that people would say he is learned. And it was indeed said of him.
Second: to practice what one preaches. Actually it is a scandal and disgrace that a person’s actions contradict his words. Allah derides such people in His Quran: ‘Do you bid other people to be pious, the while you forget your own selves – and yet you recite the divine writ? Will you not, then, use your reason?’ (Qur'an 2:44)
Third: gentleness in presenting the message. Allah advised Moses-Moosa(aliyhis salaam) and Haroon(aliyhis salaam)-Aaron to adopt this measure with Pharaoh, the greatest tyrant of his time: ‘But speak unto him in a mild manner, so that he might bethink himself or [at least] be filled with apprehension.’ (Qur'an 20:44)
And to Muhammad, He also cautioned: ‘And it was by God’s grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers; for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee’ (Qur'an 3:159).
Hence it was on this basis the Prophet, sallallahu ?alaihi wa sallam, declared: ‘Make matters easy and do not make them difficult. Give glad tidings and do not drive people away.’
Fourth: adopt a gradual approach to propagation. Do as Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ?alaihi wa sallam, did in his mission by beginning with the most important matters; then follow them up in order of priority. This was clearly demonstrated in the advice he gave to Mu?adh(radhiyallahu anhu) before he sent him to Yemen. "You will come upon a People of the Book (Jews and Christians), the first thing you should invite them to is to bear witness that there is no God save Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. If they respond positively to this, then inform them that Allah had ordained for them five prayers each day and night.’
Fifth: address every people with what is suited for them and their needs. There is a special approach to the people of the cities and another approach to the villagers. Similarly, there is a special approach to the bedouin. The intellectual has his position and the ignorant has his position. So too, there is a style for the argumentative and an entirely different one for the submissive. ‘And whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted wealth abundant.’
The five means of propagation
First: the individual method; that is, to invite the person individually if the matter pertains to him specifically.
Second: public or mass propagation such as in lectures or exhortations that benefit the generality of people.
Third: private lessons to students each in his specialty. This is the task of the scholars who specialize in their disciplines.
Fourth: propagation through writing, correspondence and authorship with guidance and benefit for those who are called.
Fifth: propagation using modern means of communication to advance the cause of truth or any means within your own individual capacity.
The five results
First: to attain the position of inheritors of the prophets, for they were the first callers and beacons of light in the field of propagation.
Second: to obtain prayers for your forgiveness from the creation for having taught the people goodness. Even the whale in the ocean will pray for the caller to truth.
Third: to gain great rewards equivalent to that of those invited. The Prophet, sallallahu ?alaihi wa sallam, said: ‘Whoever calls to a good tradition will have the reward as the one who followed it without reducing from their reward.’
Fourth: the development of the caller from being on who is called to one who calls. He influences others and is not influenced by others who call to evil.
Fifth: the caller will become a leader among his people ad they will follow him. Allah Almighty describes the righteous and notes that they call upon Him saying: ‘Cause us to be foremost among those who are conscious of Thee!’ (Qur'an 25:74)
Source: Thirty Lessons For Those Who Fast by Shaykh Aa'id Abdullah al-Qarnee
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