A translation of a classical treatise on Da’wah by one of the leading Islamic scholars
Annotated Translation by
The Path to Happiness and Success
“Say: This is my way, I invite to Allaah with certain knowledge, I and whoever follows me. Allaah is glorified and I am not among the pagans.” (12:108)
Allaah created Muhammad (saw) as the most perfect of humankind, made him humanity’s example, and made following him obligatory. Humanity cannot escape destruction, achieve happiness in this world or the afterlife, or attain their Creator’s forgiveness and pleasure, except by following his footsteps and traveling his path.
As a result, Allaah commanded His Prophet (saw) to make his path clear to people, so that the Right Way will be apparent to those who are guided and the evidence will presented to those destroyed. He commanded him to make it crystal clear, such that it can be transformed into a scene visible to the eyes, which can be pointed out, in the same way other (physical) scenes are. He said to him:
“Say: This is my way…” Then He clarified his path by three characteristics:
Then he said: “I invite to Allaah with certain knowledge, I and whoever follows me. And Allaah is glorified and I am not among the pagans.”
The Call to Allaah Continual Da’wah
“By Allaah, I have left you on what is like a clear plain, the day and night of which are equal.” 
And it was visible to the eyes, as was indicated in the verse.
He called to the Allaah’s religion, explained it, and exemplified it. He invited people to worship Allaah alone, maintain His unique unity (Tawheed), and obey Him. People used to witness this worship, Tawheed, and obedience within the Prophet (saw) as he was himself a complete invitation to Allaah.
He did not call others to himself. Instead, he died and his armor was held in lieu of a debt. 
Furthermore, he did not call to his people, instead, he said:
The Comprehensive Mission
The Prophet (saw) used to call all the people, as he was the Messenger of Allaah to all humankind. Thus, he would write letters and send messengers, in order for his message to reach the various nations and their rulers.
He used to call the disbelievers as well as the believers. He would call the former to enter Allaah’s religion and call the latter to establish Allaah’s religion. He did not stop, not even for a day, warning and giving glad tidings, preaching and reminding.
Da’wah with Knowledge
The Messenger of Allaah (saw) used to invite to Allaah based on clear evidences and proofs, thus enabling the minds to completely grasp the message, such that the matter would become as clear as something visible to the eyes. He had knowledge and certainty about everything he said and did and in every aspect of his da’wah to Allaah. He maintained this knowledge and certainty throughout his life and in all circumstances.
Thus, his clear invitation was based on evidences and contained only the truth. He used the intellect as confirmation (of the truth) and supported it with knowledge. He also used emotions to aid his call. Furthermore, he would use as proof Allaah’s retribution of the previous nations, stories about them that have been handed down, as well as the remains of the earlier civilizations, which people pass by at night.
Every Muslim Must Invite to Allaah
Muslims are Missionaries/Propagators
“I invite to Allaah with certain knowledge, I and whoever follows me.”
Thus, Muslims as individuals and groups are obliged to invite to Allaah. Furthermore, their invitation should be based on clarity, evidence, belief, and certainty, and should be according to and following his example.
What is the Invitation Composed of?
What Constitutes the Invitation?
The following are among the components of the invitation to Allaah:
1. A study of all the fields of Islaamic knowledge that make the caller knowledgeable about Allaah’s religion, make him aware of Allaah’s greatness, signs, and power, and point to Allaah’s mercy and His various types of blessings. Thus, the legist (faqeeh) who clarifies Allaah’s rulings and His wisdom (behind the rulings) is an inviter to Allaah, and the surgeon who explains the details of an organ and is a benefit to people is an inviter to Allaah. Like them is everyone who clarifies matters in any field of knowledge or work.
2. Clarifying the evidences of Islaam, removing doubts about it, and spreading information about its merits to those unfamiliar with it, in order for them to enter it. [And to also do so] among those whose faith has been shaken among Muslims, in order for them to become firm in it.
3. Gatherings of admonition and remembrance of Allaah to inform Muslims about their religion, and educate them regarding Islaamic beliefs, character, and deeds, according to what the Prophet (saw) brought. Furthermore, in these admonitions, [the daa’ee] should endear all of this to them by explaining the goodness and happiness in it for them. He should also warn them about the innovations which have entered into the religion and which are the causes of all sufferings and evils that befall them. He should explain that there is nothing that will bring happiness to humankind, individuals and nations, except that the Prophet (saw) clarified it for them and invited them to it. And there is nothing that will bring misery to humankind, individuals and nations, except that he clarified it for them and prohibited them from it. 
One must also clarify the fact that, were it not for the Prophet’s creed which is rooted in [his ummah ], its remnants that still remain with them, and its external effects upon them, and nothing would have remained of them, for they are in fact powerless. And even the relics of their ancestor would have disappeared among the living nations.
4. Commanding goodness and prohibiting evil, which is an individual responsibility (fard ‘ayn) on every male and female Muslim without exception. The obligation varies according to the level of ability: it is obligatory with the hand, and if unable with the tongue (by speech), and if unable with the heart, which is the weakest form of faith and the minimum form of deeds. 
5. The appearance of Muslim individuals and groups implementing the decency, virtues, goodness, mercy, knowledge, righteous actions, truthfulness, and trustworthiness taught by their religion. For this is one of the greatest incentives causing non-Muslims to embrace Islaam. Similarly, its opposite is one of the greatest deterrents from Islaam, preventing them from accepting it. Furthermore, Islaam initially spread among the various nations only as a result of its propagators calling others by their actions as well as their statements. The fact remains that actions are the assessments of statements.
6. Sending out delegations to non-Muslim nations, publishing books in their languages, and sending propagators to the capitals of Muslim nations to guide and educate the people regarding the religion.
All of this is a part of the call to Allaah, and its foundations are established in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) the righteous predecessors, and those after them.
It is obligatory for each Muslim to do as much calling to Allaah that he or she is able in every one of its ways. He should know that calling to Allaah with clarity is the way of his prophet, as well as his brothers among the previous prophets – may Allaah’s peace be upon them all.
It is not befitting that a Muslim abandon any part of this noble position – the position of successors of the Prophet (saw). Since this position is established for every male and female Muslim, and since the responsibility of undertaking it, according to ability, is an obligation on every male and female Muslim, then the people of knowledge are even more obliged and responsible. They are the ones in charge of it before all other people.
The problems that have afflicted Muslims only took place when the people of knowledge retired from this obligation that was on them. If they return to fulfilling it, and they have, al-hamdu lillaah, then the afflictions on Muslims will soon be removed from them.
|1.Collected by Ibn Maajah, and authenticated in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, vol. 1, pp. 18-9, no. 5.
2.Narrated by ‘Aa’ishah and collected in Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 106, no. 165.
3.Taqwaa is commonly translated as piety, God-consciousness, or fear of Allaah. More specifically, it is to do acts of obedience, desiring Allaah’s reward, and leave disobedience of Allaah from fear of His punishment.
4.Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5, p. 411, with an authentic chain of narration, according to Shaykh ‘Alee Hasan. Al-Hadeeth ash-Shareef CD, no. 22391.
5.As mentioned in Soorah as-Saaffaat, 37:136-8.
6.Such as lectures, etc.
Al-Muttalib ibn Hantab reported that Allaah’s Messenger said:
“I didn’t leave anything which Allaah commanded you without commanding you to do it. Nor did I leave anything which Allaah prohibited you except that I prohibited you from it.” (Collected by Ash-Shaafi’ee in al-Umm, vol. 7, p. 299 and al-Bayhaqee in his Sunan, vol. 7, p. 71 with an authentic chain).
9.Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree reported that he heard Allaah’s Messenger say,
“Whoever sees evil should change it with his hand. If he is unable, let him change it with his tongue. If he is (still) unable, let him do so in his heart, and that is the weakest (level) of faith.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, p. 33, no. 79)