B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m
Calling to Allah is Everyone’s Job
Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
Calling to Allah was the essential duty of all the Prophets (peace be upon them). In the Qur’ân, Allah gives Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the following command: “Say: This is my way; I call to Allah upon clear knowledge, I and those who follow me. Glory be to Allah! And I am not of those who engage in polytheism.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 108]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) carried out this duty throughout his life. It was then taken up by his Companions and those who followed after them. The Muslims have been carrying this duty out ever since.
Calling people to Allah is an activity that is open to all Muslims. It is not restricted to any group of people. It is not some exclusive discipline that can only be practiced within a narrow conceptual framework. It is a general volunteer enterprise that can be carried out by all Muslims in all walks of life. They can call people to Allah in in the context of all their lawful pursuits.
It is a duty that should be carried out even by those Muslims who regard themselves as sinners. All people are sinners. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. If every sinner refrained from exhorting others to righteousness, then who would exhort others to righteousness after the Prophet (peace be upon him)?
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are prone to err, and the best of those who err are those who are penitent.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd]
Calling people to Allah is a duty that has been voluntarily carried out throughout the ages not only by preachers, scholars, and reformers, but by all those who care about Islam and the Muslims, and who long for Islam to spread. Today, these efforts can also be seen in people’s efforts for the uplifting and reform of society.
There is no specialist cadre or social caste with an exclusive jurisdiction over Islamic work. A person who gives good advice to others is a caller to Islam. A person who provides social services is a caller to Islam. A person engaged in humanitarian work is a caller to Islam. The same can be said for a person who does charitable work, or who supports reforms, or who works for social justice, or who seeks to dispel misinformation and misunderstandings.
Indeed, even someone who merely provides people with lawful alternatives to their sinful deeds is someone engaged in calling to Allah. This is because the person to whom you wish to present Islam needs a conducive environment to make it easy for him to accept what he is being called to. Therefore, any effort we make to bring people to betterment or to take them away from wrongdoing is a step towards calling them to Allah. Such acts are virtuous and charitable, and we are enjoined to be charitable to others.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every greeting of peace is charity. Every step taken to prayer is charity. Every reconciliation made between two people is charity. Carrying a man’s burden for him is charity. Removing an obstruction from the road is charity.”
He also said: “The smile that you show to your brother is an act of charity.”
Indeed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) even said: “The intimacy that you have with your wife is charity.”
The Companions were surprised by this and asked: “One of us fulfills his desires and receives blessings for it?”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered: “Consider, if he fulfilled his desire through unlawful means, would he not incur sin? Likewise, if he fulfills it through lawful means, he will attain blessings.”