Islamic work – calling people to Allah – is one of the most emphatic and important duties in Islam. It is one of the greatest forms of worship by which we draw nearer to Allah.
The month of Ramadan is an ideal opportunity for us to engage in this noble activity, especially with our fellow Muslims. The people’s hearts in Ramadan are humbler because they are more aware of Allah’s remembrance during this month. They are more responsive to exhortation and more inclined to repentance.
There are many ways we can engage in calling people to Allah during this blessed month. Islamic work entails elevating Islam, advancing it, and bringing it nearer to the people. It likewise entails dispelling all negative influences and false notions that turn people’s hearts away from the truth. The activity of calling to Allah embraces every word, every deed, every stroke of the pen, and every expenditure of effort or wealth that serves the religion and is in accordance with Islam’s wisdom. There can be no doubt that knowledge is at the heart of calling to Allah. Knowledge is its foundation, its guide, and its greatest benefit.
However, Islamic work requires effort along with knowledge. Everyone must work according to his abilities and strengths.
My esteemed brothers and sisters who are observing the fast, the sacred texts have come to us commanding us to call people to Allah. The Qur’ân extols the honourable status of this activity and warns us against laxity.
The texts speak of the tremendous virtues if Islamic work and the great reward in store for those who engage in it. Allah commands us in many ways. He commands us to call the people, saying: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching.” [Sûrah al-Nahl: 125] “Say: I am commanded to worship Allah and to not join with Him any partners. Unto Him do I call and unto Him is my return.” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 36].
Allah, likewise, commands us to enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. He says: “You are the best of nations brought forth for humanity. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân: 110]
Allah commands us to convey the Message: “O Messenger! Convey what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 67]
He commands us to carry out this activity with one another: “And exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to patience.” [Sûrah al-`Asr: 3]
We are told to give warning: “And give warning to your nearest kinfolk.” [Sûrah al-Shu`arâ’: 214] And to give glad tidings: “And give glad tidings to the believers.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 112] As for the virtues and benefits of calling to Allah, these are mentioned in numerous verses of the Qur’ân and countless hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
At the forefront of these virtues is the fact that calling to Allah is an act of worship and obedience. It is something that pleases our Lord. It is also something that makes us safe from His displeasure and from his punishment. This noble activity is a means of strength for Allah’s religion. By carrying out this activity, we are following in the footsteps of His Prophets and Messengers.
It is an activity that is loathed b the enemies of Islam. It offers relief to the victims of ignorance, superstition, and the shackles of blind custom. Calling to Allah is a means of multiplying the positive effects of our good deeds, both in this life and in the Hereafter. It is a means of bringing Allah’s mercy upon us and of dispelling affliction.
The best of our speech is a word uttered in inviting to Allah. Allah says: “Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, works righteousness, and says: Indeed I am of those who submit in Islam.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 33] The reward of guiding one person is better than the world and everything that it contains. Calling to Allah is the concern of the most compassionate of people, the purest of heart. They are the inheritors of the Prophets.
My esteemed brothers and sisters who are observing the fast, there are qualities that everyone who wishes to engage in calling others to Allah should cultivate within themselves. They are: knowledge, acting upon knowledge, sincerity, patience, kindness, good manners, generosity, altruism, humility, wisdom, mercy, and concern for achieving unity upon truth.
There are other qualities by which a caller to Allah should beautify his conduct. They are: forgiveness, responding to evil with good, trust in Allah, having certainty in Allah’s help, satisfaction with even the slightest progress, and striving for the utmost good. Also, an Islamic worker must shun envy, hastiness, and competition for worldly gain.
Among the etiquettes of calling others to Allah is to always be gentle of approach, concerned for the guidance of others, and cognizant of a sense of responsibility. There should be a strong and close connection between the caller and his Lord. The caller should be continually engaged in the remembrance of Allah, in supplication, and in all acts of devotion. He should always make sure to set a good example for others and look for every opportunity to call people to the truth. He should never disparage any good effort, no matter how small it might be.
Among the etiquettes of Islamic work is to deal with people on their own level. We should show concern for their problems and try to help them, while never burdening them with our own. We need to be sensitive to the sensibilities of those whom we are calling and try to understand their circumstances.
When we call people to Allah, we must avoid argumentation except within the strictest of bounds, and then do so in the best possible manner. We should establish a good relationship with people, encourage them to keep good company, and use wisdom to get them away from bad company.
We should get to know the person whom we are calling. We should know his name. We should show that we are interested in him as a person and make him feel important. We should get him involved in activities that will benefit him.
We should start with what is most important and keep our priorities in order. We should never seek to promote ourselves. We should employ various approaches in our work. Sometimes we may use beautiful preaching, sometimes we may give gifts, and sometimes an indirect approach proves to be the most effective.
My esteemed brothers and sisters who are observing the fast, this is what it means to calling others to Islam. These are its virtues, its qualities, and its etiquettes. Hasten to become callers to Allah in this noble month of Ramadan. Each of us can do so in his or her own way. One person can impart to others the knowledge that he has. Another can spend of his wealth, use his reputation, or offer his hard work. In this way we can realize all manner of good and spare ourselves the evil consequences of neglecting this duty of ours.
In this month or Ramadan, I call out to the student of Islamic knowledge and point out to you the golden opportunity that you have right now to call others to Allah. The hearts of the people are at their most receptive and most responsive to what a person of knowledge has to offer. As students and scholars, you should therefore feel your responsibility to others more acutely during this month and expend every effort in carrying out your duties. Leave no room for excuses or shortcomings.
I, likewise, call out to those whom Allah has blessed with ample means. You can bring your wealth to positive effect by supporting Islamic workers in their work, preparing them, and publishing books that will benefit the people. All of this comes under the banner of Islamic work. Do you not want to be counted among those who call others to Allah?
I call out to people of influence. Bring your influence and good reputations to bear in facilitating the efforts of calling people to Allah. I call out to those who are working in the media. Use your position to promote goodness and to share in calling to Allah with a good word. You can send the truth far and wide and share in all the vast rewards that this entails.
I call out to those who have knowledge of the Internet to employ it as a means of inviting people to goodness during this auspicious month. You have the ability to with the least effort and expense spread truth and goodness over the widest possible expanse. You speak to the world while sitting in the comfort of your homes.
I call out to all Muslims, men and women, to share in calling people to Allah. We need to do all the good that we can during this month of Ramadan. We must give advice to those who are neglectful and heedless. We need to remind those of us who forget and teach those who do not know.
“And who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, works righteousness, and says: Indeed I am of those who submit in Islam.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 33]