Prophet Muhammad: Our Model of Da`wah
It is essential for Muslims to follow the supreme model of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); he stayed in Makkah for thirteen years, calling people to the Oneness of Allah (Exalted be He).
1- Prophet’s Da`wah was Gradual
When he (peace be upon him) sent Mu`adh Ibn Jabal to Yemen he instructed him to teach people the pillars of Islam step by step, in the order of their importance and according to their response, otherwise, they may refuse the whole matter. He said,
“Invite the people to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and I am Allah’s messenger, and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has enjoined on them five prayers in every day and night, and if they obey you to do so, then teach them that Allah has made it obligatory for them to pay the zakah from their property and it is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor.” (Al-Bukhari)
2- The Prophet’s Da`wah was in Stages
We have in the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the best example. His da`wah to Islam was gradual and went on in phases with unwavering will and determination till Islam was deeply rooted in Arabic and started to make its way into neighboring countries.
First Phase: Secret Da`wah
After the first three years of Islam, a small community of sincere believers emerged as a result of these constant efforts. They had strong faith; detached themselves from the deceptive pleasures and desires of life. They were ready to do everything possible for establishing and propagating the call of Islam.
Second Phase: Open Da`wah
Allah commanded his prophet to conduct his da`wah openly to the people of Makkah, particularly to those who are very close to him, his relatives and tribe.
As a result, the early followers of Islam faced a wave of persecution. Some of them had to leave their homeland, Mecca, to Ethiopia. In spite of this Islam was growing stronger.
Third Phase: Da`wah beyond Makkah
In this stage of da`wah, Islam propagated outside Makkah to Madinah. Near the end of 10th year, Prophet Muhammad made a treaty of alliance with people of Madinah. Muslims started their migration to Madinah.
This migration was a turning point in Islamic history. A new Muslim society was established. Islam gained power and respect, and a new state based on Islamic principles emerged.
Fourth Phase: Da`wah beyond Arabia
After the peace treaty of Al-Hudaibiyah, Prophet Muhammad intensified his ceaseless efforts in propagating the Islamic da`wah. He initiated some sort of correspondence with kings and princes of the neighboring countries to spread the message of Islam beyond Arabia.
The following is a list of these letters:
1- Letter & deputation to Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
2- Letter to the ruler of Egypt, called Muqawqas.
3- Letter to Emperor of Persia.
4- Letter to Caesar, King of Rome.
5- Letter to Mundhir ibn Sawa, Governor of Bahrain
6- Letter to Harith bin Abi Shamir Al-Ghassani, King of Damascus.
7- Letter to the King of Oman, Jaifer, and his Brother ‘Abd Al-Jalandi.
The article is excerpted from the author’s A Guide to Giving Da’wah To Non-Muslims”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.