Da'wah to Allah is a duty on every Muslim in every age, and in our time this Da'wah is particularly important in light of the vicious attacks the enemies of Allah are waging to remove the importance of Da'wah from the hearts of Muslims. Da'wah to Allah is a great honor for its carrier. Allah says in the Quran: "Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, works righteousness, and says: I am of those who bow in submission?"
Da'wah to Allah promises great reward for its carrier, and the Hadith of the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam confirms the reward. Prophet Muhammad Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam said: "For Allah to guide one man through you is better for you than all that the sun has shined over". Da'wah to Allah and the call to the straight path is the way of moderation amidst different calls, ideas, confusion, and ignorance. Da'wah to Allah is an important step in serious Islamic work. It serves Ta'reef (the spreading of Islamic ideas) which proceeds Takween (the establishment of organized Islamic work) and Tarbiya (the moral, spiritual, and physical training of individuals and groups). There is public Da'wah in the form of a book, a magazine, a publication, or a tape. There is also individual Da'wah which is just as important. In this book we will examine individual Da'wah in detail.
Our examination will address two aspects: the first deals with the method and progression in the form of steps; and the second deals with the benefits of individual Da'wah and the qualities of the Da'iya who performs it. The method and the steps: We must understand the realities in which the Muslims who receive our Da'wah live (note that we will limit our discussion to Da'wah to Muslims only), so we can change the realities in which they live, limitations in their understanding, weakness in their commitment, or extremism in their views into a complete, pure, and robust understanding of Islam as described by the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam. We must also explain the complete Islamic requirements and the way to fulfill these requirements in a satisfactory fashion. With some studying and analysis of our societies, we find that weakness of Iman or the sedated Iman in the people's hearts, coupled with a lack of understanding of the realities of this Dean and ignorance of the cultural and social invasion of Muslim minds are plaguing the hearts of most Muslims and are facilitating to the enemies of Allah the manipulation of some Muslims to fight the Dean visibly and invisibly.
We should not expect pure understanding, activism, or productive work for Islam from those who are plagued. We can expect proper understanding, activism, productive work, and elevation of the souls to the levels of the righteous workers only when Islam awakens in the hearts and motivates towards change. We must emphasis that the adherence to the order of the steps is important and essential to protect callers and the called from despair and rejection. To clarify the way to make individual Da'wah, we will start this Da'wah with a person who is unaware or neglectful of his duties, and we will attempt to elevate him methodically step by step. Generally, there are individuals who are in better shape and who are more receptive, and we should start with them to save time and effort. For many of the Muslims, their lives are preoccupied and distracted from the worship of Allah. The distraction has made Muslims like people who are deep in their sleep, and there is a blazing fire that is approaching to devour them if their situation continues.
Among those who are sleeping is a group of people who are awake and who are witness to the situation and they can not stop the fire. Duty dictates on those who are awake to wake up those who are sleeping so each one of them can realize the gravity of the situation and protect himself from the fire. Any attempt to warn the sleepers before waking them up will be useless because they will not respond. Therefore, awakening the sleepers before warning is essential. Very often, when one attempts to wake up a sleeping person, the sleeper will ask to be left so he or she can continue sleeping. In this situation, the sleeper is enjoying his sleep and does not want any disturbance. The sleeper asks to be left alone while he or she is sleeping, because if he or she was awake and would see the fire, he or she would have departed quickly away from the fire. Furthermore, if a person claims that he or she is awake, then an attempt to escape the fire is the only proof to the truth of the claim.
The similitude of this fire example is like that of a Da'iya among those whom he is calling to Allah. Therefore, the Da'iya must be patient in his Da'wah and he must patient in the face of any mistreatment from those whom he calls. He must embrace the example of the beloved prophet who was patient and continued in his Da'wah despite being harmed. The Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam used to say: "Oh my Lord, guide my people for they do not know." Along this meaning, Imam Al-Banna said to the Muslim Brotherhood: "Be like trees among people. The people would stone the trees, but the trees continue to produce fruit."
We start with the first stage in individual Da'wah: which is establishing a friendship with the recipient of Da'wah and making the recipient feel that you are genuinely concerned with him. You interact with him without indulging in any issue of Da'wah until the heart of the recipient is comfortable to receive useful instructions. The reception of the recipient is directly proportional to the concern and emotion devoted to him. Any talk with the recipient about Da'wah my turn away the recipient. The first step may take several weeks. The second stage: is an attempt to revive the sedated Iman in the heart of the recipient. The talk might not be about Iman directly, but rather the talk should seem natural as if it is unintended. You might utilize the chance of seeing a bird, a plant, an insect, or any other one of Allah's creation to talk about the Ability, the Magnificence, and Power of Allah. For example, you might explain how all the plants emerge from soil and water, yet they are different in their stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, colors, smell, taste even though all are irrigated with the same water and in one soil. Allah says in the Quran: "The creation of Allah who [Allah] has perfected everything." "This is the creation of Allah so show me what others have created." Can all the scientists with all their knowledge create a grain of wheat in their laboratories that can grow into a wheat plant if it is put in soil and watered? They will not be able to because the secret of germination is only in the knowledge of Allah alone.
Therefore, no human an put the secret in an artificial seed. Also, if all the people on earth gather to create a fruit fly, they will not be able to, because creation and giving life is for Allah alone. Therefore, with continuing dialogue and with contemplation upon Allah's creation, the recipient's heart will bloom with the glorification and remembrance of Allah. The Quran says: "And they ponder upon the creation of the heavens and the earth. Our Lord, you have not created this in vain, All Glory be to you, so protects from the punishment of hell." This ayah clearly illustrates that the fruit of contemplation is the glorification of Allah. This glorification is raised to the remembrance of the day of judgment and what is in it from reward that pushes the believer to ask Allah's protection from the hell fire.
With the awakening of the belief in Allah, His Oneness, His Might, and His Perfection, the heart lives on the path of Allah, rises from its sleep, and prepares for the completeness of belief in the Hereafter and what is in it from resurrection, judgment, and reward and punishment. Further, the heart will understand the mission that Allah has created us for, which is the worship of Allah, and that Allah has not created us in vain. It might be important to explain the issue of the honor that Allah has bestowed upon humans when He breathed life into them. Many people have ignored this honor and concentrated on the physical aspects of creation and on the needs of the bodies. Truly, the Islamic Aqeedah (creed) is essential to the well-being of the soul and its happiness in this life and in the hereafter.
In this manner, the dialogue should continue about the issue of Iman. When Iman awakes, the person will start reviewing his life and he will feel that if he continues in his negligence, indulgence in sins, and disobedience to Allah, he will face a severe punishment from Allah on the day of judgment when there is no escape or avail. At that point, leading him and instructing him with his Islamic duties will become simpler and easier. Next, the third stage begins. This stage deals with helping the recipient of Da'wah to realize his situation by learning about obedience to Allah, compulsory worship, the regularity of practicing the teachings of Islam, staying away from the sins, and acquiring Islamic manners. It might be best to supply him with simple reading material in Aqeedah, Ibadah, and Akhlaq (manners) and to invite him to attend lectures and circles of knowledge where he can meet good and righteous people and avoid people of mischief.
Moreover, he should not be left alone for prolonged periods of time without follow up. Following up with him will help him continue on the straight path, and it will help to protect him from the causes of diminished commitment, laziness, and excessiveness. This stage may continue for several weeks or months until his personality is a solid Islamic personality that is difficult to shake. At this point, we must be aware that there are many different kinds of people who are at this stage and we can start with them in the fourth stage directly provided we have fulfilled the first stage which is establishing a strong relation with them to insure continued dialogue and commitment to the Da'wah.