Hadrat Nu’man bin Bashir (R.A) narrates that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Those who remain in the limits ordained by Allah and those who break them, their likeness is like those people who, by a process of draw, divided the parts of a boat. Some people got the upper side and some got the lower one. The lower ones used to go upward for taking water. They thought that they should make a hole in the lower side to get the water, so that the people of upper side will not get irritated. Now if the people on the upper side will not stop them and let do the job of making the hole then the water will come inside from the hole and the boat will be capsized and all the passengers will get killed. But, if the people of upper side will hold their hands from doing this, and if they will prevent them from making a hole then they will be saved and all the people on the boat will remain safe” (Bukhari).
Upon contemplating this Holy saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the importance of Da’wah is evident. The people in Kufr, Shirk, and evil doers are in fact destroying this world in the same manner as the people in the lower side were making a hole in the boat. Now, if the people of truth will not prevent the wrong doers from evil and if they do not try to pull them towards the right path then there will be a lot of chaos and confusion in the world. There will be different kinds of imbalances.
By not doing Da’wah, not only the wrong-ones, but those righteous men and women will also get affected who were mere spectators and who did not preach and propagate the true path of faith and good-deeds. Even if, these righteous people were not themselves engaged in wrong doings, but they did not rebuke the wrong doers. So, the way of salvation for both kinds of people is that they should keep the wrong-ones away from satanic beliefs and deeds. By acting in this way, they not only will save the evil-doers from destruction by they will make a way for their own salvation also.
Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has commanded to enjoin right and to forbid wrong in various verses of Qur’an. For example Allah says: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity” (3:104). Another verse in which Allah has summarized the principles of Da’wah: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance” (16:125). Abdullah Yusuf Ali has laid down principles of religious teaching, which are good for all time: “We must invite to all to the Way of Allah, and expound His Universal Will; we must do it with ground and discretion, meeting people on their own ground and convincing them with illustrations from their own knowledge and experience, which may be very narrow, or very wide. Our preaching must be, not dogmatic, not self-regarding, not offensive, but gentle, considerate, and such as would attract their attention. Our manner and our arguments should not be acrimonious, but modeled on the most courteous and the most gracious example, so that the hearer may say to himself, “This man is not dealing merely with dialectics; he is not trying to get a rise out of me; he is sincerely expounding the faith that is in him, and his motive is the love of man and the love of Allah”. It may be that the Preacher sometimes says to himself, “What is the use of teaching these people? They have made up their minds, or they are obstinate, or they are only trying to catch me out.” Let him not yield to such a thought. Who knows how the seed of the Word of Allah may germinate in people’s minds? It is not for man to look for results. Man’s inner thoughts are known best to Allah.
In reality the Da’wah or the presenting, propagating and preaching of the truth is a process by which the Din of Allah gets strengthened. Anything or idea, however great, needs to get presented continuously and beautifully that idea should get acquainted with the people; otherwise they will not be able to know its greatness. Hadrat Sahl bi Sa’d (R.A) narrates that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told Hadrat Ali (R.A) “By God if only a single man will get guidance through you then it is better than for you than getting Red camels” (Bukhari).
In fact, Da’wah or Tabligh is a kind of charity. Its merits do not end with death but continues to shower its blessings or Barakat. If by means of Da’wah a man will bring another man towards the right path he will get the merits and rewards of the Mad’u and nothing will be subtracted from the merits of that Mad’u. And if that Mad’u will himself become a Da’i (preacher) and he will also bring the ignorant people towards righteousness the first originator will also get the merits of all those people who came close to the religion of truth by his initial Da’wah. And it will create a chain reaction.
So, the process of Da’wah is primarily important for a Da’i and then for all humanity. By means of Da’wah a Da’i tries to save his fellow human beings from the eternal damnation in hell. And this is the highest form of service towards humans.
The author teaches at the Department of Islamic Studies, GDC Pampore. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org