"Da'wah" literally means invitation: It is the word Muslims use when referring to proclaiming, passing on and spreading the word of Islam (with wisdom and kind exhortation).
The Prophets are the first callers, proclaimers of Islam. Almighty Allah created us, the earth for us to live upon and the means for our sustenance. However, He did not leave us without any clues as to why we are here. Allah sent clear guidance and revelation in order that we may lead a life that is wholesome and which will, if we succeed, lead us to paradise.
The responsibility of Da'wah was not just left to the Messengers and Prophets. However, once any person has grasped an understanding of Islam, there comes the responsibility to share that knowledge and truth.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu-Alayhi-Wasallam) has said:
Now we know that Da'wah is the responsibility of each and every Muslim, the big question is, "how to go about it?"
First, we have to learn from authentic sources before we can pass on knowledge. Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim. The blueprint for an Islamic life is laid down in the Holy Quraan and Sunnah. They cannot always be understood by just the reading of the translation, but the Ulama (learned scholars) should be consulted who have spent many years of their lives in this field.
When we start to follow the blueprint we will be a living example to all those around us. Whether we like it or not people will judge Islam by what they see of us. If people only ever see hypocrisy, fighting each other, debating and cheating each other they will dismiss Islam out of hand because of the Muslims. They won't stop to think that "Muslims", who are after all only human, may not always be "Islamic!" Nevertheless, if they see us in our Islamic dress, humble, decent, hardworking, striving to bring in our lives firstly the blueprint, they may stop and think in consequence make enquires about Islam. Almighty Allah says:
"O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not (practise)?" (Surah As-Saff: 2)
This is a warning about merely paying lip service to Islam, an attitude which can quickly undermine any Da'wah effort. Remember the proverb: "Practice what you preach."
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