The Objectives of Da`wah

In my previous post, I had shed some light on the importance of those active in the field of da`wah focusing their attention on giving da`wah to themselves and those close to them before giving da`wah to others, and also on the importance of calling and inviting people to Allah and His religion as opposed to calling people to oneself. In this post, I wish to discuss another important aspect related to giving da`wah and teaching that many are neglectful of, and that is the question of why we give da`wah and teach?

The importance of this aspect of giving da`wah and teaching can be seen in the fact that many of those who are active in this field may have a basic idea of why they are giving da`wah and teaching, but when you come to their practical life in the field of da`wah you find that they are negligent of the main objectives of giving da`wah and teaching, which ends up resulting in fallacies and deviations in their da`wah.

And so paying attention to these objectives and bringing oneself to account over them every now and then, will help one’s da`wah to be distant from the desires of one’s nafs and the dunya. Furthermore, one will see the affect of his da`wah and its fruit clearly in his own life and in the lives of others, and will also be encouraged to continue on the path of da`wah and teaching without becoming wearied, fatigued or burnt out. And above all, Allah would accept his efforts and striving in His cause.

The primary objectives of giving da`wah and teaching Islam can be summarized in the following:
  1. Worshipping Allah through performing this great rite; the rite of commanding good and forbidding evil, which is the very essence of giving da`wah and teaching others about Islam. And so when one has a sense of feeling that he is a slave of Allah, loving his Lord and loving what his Lord loves of da`wah and teaching, it is the greatest incentive that drives him to put as much effort into his da`wah as he can. And if he doesn’t achieve anything in his da`wah other than this sense of feeling that he is worshipping Allah through it, that alone would be a sufficient incentive and noble objective. Furthermore, by accompanying this sense of feeling of worship in all of one’s actions and movements, one trains himself upon sincerity and seeking to follow correct guidance, which are the two conditions for any act of worship to be accepted by Allah. Allah says:

    { فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلاً صَالِحًا وَلاً يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا }

    “So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.”
    [Al-Kahf 18:110]

    The fulfillment of the first condition (i.e. sincerity) can be seen in the fact that he worships Allah alone without associating anyone with Him, and the fulfillment of the second condition (i.e. acting according to correct prophetic guidance) can be seen in the fact that he worships Allah with righteous actions, which are those that are done according to the guidance of the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah.

    Moreover, the opposite of that is also true. And so whenever one forgets or becomes heedless of the fact that he is worshipping Allah through his da`wah and teaching, it weakens his sincerity allowing the desires of his nafs and the dunya to start creeping into his heart. The other thing that weakens is his following the evidence and seeking to follow correct guidance in his actions and movements, which ends up resulting in him becoming wearied, fatigued and burnt out, or worse than that falling into fallacies and deviations.
  2. Gaining the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise in the hereafter, which is the real fruit of the first objective; worshipping Allah. Moreover, it is the greatest objective that Allah has promised for His slaves who command good and forbid evil, giving da`wah and teaching upon insight. There are many verses in the Qur’an in which Allah has praised those who give da`wah and are patient upon what they are afflicted with in that path, and what Allah has prepared for them in the hereafter of His pleasure and eternal blessings. Allah says:

    { يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ }

    “[Luqmān said], ‘O my son, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and be patient over what befalls you.’”
    [Luqmān 31:17]

    { فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ الْعَاقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ }

    “So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.”
    [Hūd 11:49]

    { إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ }

    “Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.”
    [Al-Zumar 39:10]

    And so when one involved in da`wah and teaching constantly reminds himself of this, his difficulties are made easy for him and he proceeds upon the path of da`wah full of strength, determination and steadfastness. Furthermore, when one attaches himself to this great objective and does not forget about it, he does not pay any attention to the temporary things of the dunya, nor does he anticipate the reward of his efforts and da`wah in this life, rather he trains his nafs to be patient and not take anything from the rewards of the dunya, but rather to anticipate its reward in the hereafter from his Lord, the Most Generous. This is why no defeat or fatigue touches those who have such sincere souls, the like of what touches those who seek the reward of this temporary life; those who when they achieve their goals in this life they are pleased and continue on their path, and when their goals are delayed they begin to weary, burn out and eventually stop. As for those who have high aspirations and objectives, they do not weary or burn out, nor do they stop. That is because the time and place of their reward is not in this dunya, but rather in the hereafter; the place of account and recompense. This is why they work effortlessly until they meet their Lord.
  3. Saving people – by Allah’s permission – from worshipping the creation to worshipping Allah alone without any partner, from the injustice of religions to the justice of Islam, from the narrowness of this life and its misery to its wideness and its felicity, and from the punishment of the hellfire on the Day of Judgment to the reward of Gardens of Eternity. When the one involved in da`wah and teaching reminds himself of this daunting task and primary objective of his da`wah, it causes him to double his efforts and not sit around when he sees plain shirk prevalent in the Ummah and widespread corruption in Muslim societies everywhere, which leads people to misery, injustice and many afflictions in this life, along with a painful punishment in the next life. This is why you only see such individuals who perceive this great objective of their da`wah fearful for themselves and others from the punishment of Allah in this life and the next, and you only see them advising others, being merciful toward them, and intending by their da`wah nothing other than guiding people and saving them – by Allah’s permission – from darkness to light and from Allah’s punishment in this life and the next, as if he is repeating the words of that believer from the family of Fir`awn to his people:

    ا{ وَقَالَ الَّذِي آمَنَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُم مِّثْلَ يَوْمِ الأَحْزَابِ * مِثْلَ دَأْبِ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَالَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ وَمَا اللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِّلْعِبَادِ * وَيَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَوْمَ التَّنَادِ * يَوْمَ تُوَلُّونَ مُدْبِرِينَ مَا لَكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَاصِمٍ ۗ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ }ا

    “And he who believed said, ‘O my people, indeed I fear for you a fate like the day of the confederates - Like the fate of the people of Nūḥ and of `Ād and Thamūd and those after them. And Allah wants no injustice for His servants. And O my people, indeed I fear for you the Day of Calling - The Day you will turn your backs fleeing having no protector from Allah. And whoever Allah leaves astray - there is no guide for him.’”
    [Ghāfir 40:30-33]

    It is this type of feeling that causes one to be gentle with people and patient over their harm and their turning away, while being keen in finding every opportunity that opens for people the doors of goodness or closes for them the doors of evil. It further creates in the heart love for other reformers who are active in da`wah and guiding people wherever they be on earth, as well as drives one to put effort, planning and cooperation with all those who call to goodness and taqwa, far from intolerance, partisanship and contaminated loyalties.
May Allah rectify our da`wah efforts and help us to keep these great objectives in mind at all times, and may He grant us success in our da`wah efforts and accept it from us, granting us His reward in the abode of the hereafter.

Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
27th of Dhul-Ḥijjah 1434