While all the messengers appointed by Allah were charged by Him with the responsibility to disseminate the revealed guidance with which they were entrusted, their respective nations too were called upon to share in the fulfilment of Allah’s orders. Most people would not be able to contain their excitement and would want to tell as many people as possible. They would want to tell everyone what they had discovered in the hope that they would be just as thrilled and just as excited. And that is the short and concise answer to why Muslims call others to Islam. Allah says:
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَاءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَاشْتَرَوْا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ
“And when Allah took a Covenant (from) those who were given the Book, “You certainly make it clear to the mankind and (do) not conceal it. Then they threw it behind their backs and they exchanged [with] it (for) a little price. And wretched (is) what they purchase.” (Surah Al Imran: 3:187)
Islam is what is sometimes called a proselytizing religion. That means it is a religion that attempts to convince people that its belief system is the correct belief system. Islam is a religion that not only holds all of the answers to life’s big questions but it is also inclusive in that there are no restrictions on who can be a Muslim. The position of the Muslim Ummah (nation), in this respect, is clear in the Quran, where Allah states (what means): Allah says:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“You are (the) best (of) people raised for mankind – enjoining the right and forbidding [from] the wrong and believing in Allah. And if believed (the) People (of) the Book surely would have been good for them. Among them (are) [the] believers, but most of them (are) defiantly disobedient.” (Surah Al Imran 3:110)
Islam is a religion for all places, all time and all people. No one can be barred from learning the truth no matter what their religious background is, or what ethnicity or nationality they belong to. Once a person is a Muslim, he or she is fully equal to every other Muslim and it does not matter where they are from, what they look like or what the state of their lives and hearts was before they embraced Islam. Allah says:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
“Let there be a group among you who call others to good, and enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong: those who do this shall be successful.” (Surah Al Imran 3:104)
Muslims believe that the only way to be successful in this life and the next is by living the religion that is Islam. They believe that all of life’s big questions, the ones that keep you up at night and the ones that make you daydream about an eternity of enlightenment, can be answered by Islam.
Engaging in da‛wah work is indisputably one of the best deeds in the sight of Allah and is highly commended in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. Evidence of this effect includes the following:
- Da‛wah is the means to success in this life and the hereafter, as the Qur’an states, “Let there be a group among you who call others to good, and enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong: those who do this shall be successful.” (Soorat Aal ‛Imraan,3:104)
- No one has a better speech than that of those who engage in da‛wah activities. Commending such people, the Qur’an says, “Who speaks better than one who calls to Allah, does good works and says, ‘I am sure one of the Muslims.’?” (Soorat Fussilat, 41:33) It is clear, therefore, that there is no one whose speech is better than that of a person who calls people to the truth, for he is their guide to their Creator and Lord and the one who takes them out of the darkness of misguidance into the light of faith.
- Engaging in da‛wah work testifies to one’s compliance with Allah’s command: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the best manner possible.” (Soorat An-Nahl, 16:125) A person who dedicates himself to such a noble task must invite others to Islam with wisdom, making sure that he knows the personality of the people he wants to call to Islam to choose the best possible method to carry out the task, all the while arguing with them in the kindest, most gracious manner which appeals to them.
- Engaging in da‛wah work was the very task carried out by all of Allah’s messengers without exception, foremost of whom was Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, whom Allah sent to all mankind as a witness over people, giving news to the believers of immense reward in the hereafter, warning the unbelievers against severe punishment and spreading his light to all mankind. The Qur’an says, “Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and a warner, and a caller to Allah by His permission and a light-giving lamp. Convey to the believers the good news that they will receive immense favour from Allah.” (Soorat Al-Ahzaab,33:45-47)
- Inviting people to Islam is the source of unlimited goodness; for each person, you invite to Islam, you will get the same rewards for his prayer, worship and teaching others. What a great blessing Allah bestows on those who engage in da‛wah work! The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever calls to guidance will have a reward similar to that of those who follow it, without the reward of either of them being lessened at all.” (Saheeh Muslim: 2674)
- The reward Allah has in store for those who invite others to Islam is far better than all the enjoyments of the present world, for such a reward is from Allah Himself, the Most Generous, who will recompense them abundantly for such a noble endeavour: “If you turn away from me, remember I ask no reward from you. Only Allah will reward me, and I have been commanded to submit completely to Him.” (Soorat Yoonus, 10:72)
The Prophet ﷺ also said in this respect, “If Allah guides one man through you, this will be better for you than possessing red camels.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 2847; Saheeh Muslim:2406) Camels were considered the most valuable property in ancient Arabia and the red variety was the most prized of all.
ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
“Call to (the) way (of) your Lord with the wisdom and the instruction the good, and discuss with them in that which (is) best. Indeed, your Lord, He (is) most knowing of who has strayed from His way, And He (is) most knowing of the guided ones.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:125)
The scholars of Islam agree that calling others to the way of God is a communal obligation, that is that every believer should undertake this great work, however, if in a particular place there are a sufficient number of people doing this, the others are released from this obligation. Allah says:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And the believing men and the believing women, some of them (are) allies (of) others. They enjoin the right and forbid from the wrong, and they establish the prayer and give the zakah, and they obey Allah and His Messenger. Those, Allah will have mercy on them. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:71)
The truth about God and His purpose for us, His creation, is something everybody should have access to. Thus those of us who know are commanded by God, to tell others. Thus, Allah Almighty has honoured this Muslim Ummah by appointing it to share in the noble cause of its Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) by inviting people to follow the straight path.