No compulsion in Religion
Da`wah is not to allure people or put pressure on them to convert to Islam. The dai`ah must be aware that his/her job is not to compel people to enter Islam exploiting their needs, weakness, circumstances, or poverty, as it is commonly practised by the Christian missionaries. Allah (Exalted be He) said:
There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. (Al-Baqarah 2:255)
He/ She is only responsible to make the ‘message’ reach them in clear and appropriate manners but not responsible of forcing them into accepting his call, against their will or inclinations.
Say to them, “Obey God and His Messenger. If you turn away, the Messenger and the people will each be responsible for their own obligations. If you follow the Messenger, you will have the right guidance”. (An-Nur 24: 54)
Moreover, one has to put in the back of his mind that they are not a guardian over people, as Qur’an says:
If then they turn away, we have not sent you as a guard over them, and your duty is only to convey (the message). (Ash-Shura 42:48)
So remind them – you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them. (Al-Ghashiyah 88:21, 22)
The dai`ah, therefore, should respect people’s freedom of thought, expression, and belief. His aim is to help them take the right decision and make the proper choice. His ultimate goal is to enable them to recognize the truth and accept it, and recognize the falsehood and reject it, without exercising any pressure over them.
He should do his best to present the truth to them in attractive and convincing manners. He should explain to them the benefits they gain from embracing Islam and the positive changes it will bring to their life.
The dai`ah should remove the misconceptions about Islam and stress its great principles such as: tolerance, equality of mankind, justice, opposition to all types of exploitations in all their forms, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
Islam works to emancipate people from all types of worldly slavery. Islam helps people live a decent, peaceful and happy life. Islamic societies have the lowest rates of social evils: crimes, child abuse, domestic abuse, incest, homosexuality, sexual diseases, premarital relationships, extramarital relationships, and the like.
Be Consistent in Your Da`wah
The successful dai`ah should stick to his da`wah under all circumstances and never abandon it. If people turn away from the dai`ah, he/she should exercise more patience and keep carrying on his/her duties with confidence that that the seed he sow, will one day prosper.
It is natural, in the course of the da`wah, to face hardships and obstacles; but this should not make the dai`ah think of him/herself as disqualified for da’wah or magnify his/her mistakes or adopt more forceful methods for da`wah.
The dai`ah has a good example in Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) who faced stubborn resistance from his people, although they were aware that he was truthful in his call.
He was sad because of their rejection but it did not make him stop his da’wah. He felt so sorry for them because they made themselves eligible to a punishment from Allah in this world; and if they die as unbelievers, they would suffer the endless torment of the Fire.
In spite of his sadness for them, frustration and despair had no place in his life; he always prayed for them: “O my Lord guide my people for they do not know.”
Sadness is a normal human emotional response to difficult life experiences, disappointments, or painful events. Prophet Mohammed was, in first place, a human being. It was natural for him to feel sad because of his people insistence on disbelief. In a number of verses in Qur’an , Allah consoles His Messenger for his sorrow over them:
So destroy not yourself in sorrow for them. (Fatir 35:8)
And grieve not over them. (An-Nahl 16:127)
It may be that you are going to kill yourself with grief, that they do not become believers. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:3)
Perhaps, you would kill yourself in grief, over their footsteps, because they believe not in this narration. (Al-Kahf 18:3)
These verses comforted the Prophet; they do not instruct him to repress his natural feelings of sadness, but rather advise him not to let their rejection trouble him by intensifying his sorrow for them.
The message included in these verses is: ‘Your duty is only to continue conveying the Message of Allah to them.
Whoever follows the right path, then he does so only for the benefits of himself. And whoever rejects it and goes astray, then he strays at his own loss. So be cautious not to exhaust yourself in grief over those who turn away.’
This message is not only for the Prophet but applies also for every da`iah. On the light of these verses and the exemplary life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the da`iah should always bring his feelings of sadness, resulted from people’s negative responses, under control.
In other words, the da`iah must acquire the skills of coping successfully with these unpleasant feelings in healthy manners and positive attitudes. He should rise above people’s rejection; and not to let their displeasing responses incapacitate him.
Source: The article is excerpted from the author’s A Guide to Giving Da’wah To Non-Muslims”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.