The importance of calling to Allah and its virtue:
Calling to Allah yields many great rewards, and it was the task of the Messengers of Allah. Sahl Ibn Sa`d, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: "The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said on the day of the Battle of Khaybar to `Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allaah be pleased with him: "Advance cautiously until you reach their open places; thereafter, invite them to Islam and inform them of what is obligatory for them from the rights of Allah because by Allah, if Allah guides even one person through you that is better for you than possessing a herd of red camels." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] This was a reference to the finest and most valuable type of camel, which reflects the virtue of calling people to Allah and guiding them to the right path.
`Uqbah Ibn `Amr, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded (with the) equivalent reward of he who practices that good action." [Muslim]
Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: "The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said: "If anyone calls others to follow the correct guidance, his reward will be equivalent to those who follow him (in righteousness) without their reward being diminished in the least." [Muslim]
Abu Umamah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: "The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: 'Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth and even the ant in its hole and the fish (in the waters) supplicate in favour of those who teach people (religious) knowledge.'" [At-Tirmithi]
These narrations and many others encourage people to endeavour in the act of worship of calling to Allah, so what more could a person ask for? The depths that people have sunk to in this regard are a result of them neglecting their duty of calling others to Allah, despite the great status of this act of worship.
When people abandoned this act of worship, evil prevailed, prohibitions spread and many people deviated.
Examples of the call of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt his mention, to Allah:
Calling to Allah proves the sincerity of the person with regards to the principles he claims to believe in as only he who truly loves his religion will call others to it. The following are some examples of the prophets and messengers calling to Allah:
The call of Nooh, may Allaah exalt his mention, to his people:
Nooh, may Allaah exalt his mention, was extremely dedicated in calling his people to Allah and he persevered in this, as Allah Says (what means): "…And he [i.e., Nooh] remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years…" [Quran 29: 14] He, may Allah exalt his mention, called them tirelessly and utilised all possible means to do so, as Allah Says (what means): "He [i.e., Nooh] said: 'My Lord! Indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day. But my invitation increased them not except in flight [i.e., aversion]. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance." [Quran 71: 5-7] Did this prevent him from continuing his mission in calling them to Allah? Indeed not, he used all possible methods to call them, as Allah Says (what means): "Then I invited them publicly. Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly." [Quran 71: 8-9]
The call of Yoosuf, may Allaah exalt his mention:
When Yoosuf, may Allaah exalt his mention, was imprisoned, he did not forget his duty of calling to Allah. Rather, the first thing he did was to practice this duty when his two cellmates requested him to interpret the dreams they saw. He promised them that he would do so, but first mentioned what Allah describes as (what means): "…That is from what my Lord has taught me. Indeed I have left the religion of a people who do not believe in Allah, and they, in the Hereafter, are disbelievers. And I have followed the religion of my fathers, Ibraaheem (Abraham), Is'haaq (Isaac), and Ya'qoob (Jacob). And it was not for us to associate anything with Allah. That is the favour of Allah upon us and upon the people, but most of the people are not grateful. O [my] two companions of the prison! Are separate lords better or Allah, the One, the Prevailing?" [Quran 12: 37-39] Note how he immediately called them, despite the normal feeling of anguish that a person would feel at being imprisoned.
The call of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam:
The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam has set the greatest example in terms of dedication and endurance in guiding people. This was very evident in his call to the tribe of Quraysh, the Arab tribes and the masses in general. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, would call to Allah whilst upon a mountain, in the Sacred Mosque, in the street, in the market, in people's houses, during Hajj season, in the desert, during times of peace and times of war, when healthy and when sick, when visiting people, and when he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, was being visited. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, was calling people to Allah all of the time.
He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, would call those who loved him as well as those who hated him. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, would approach tribes during the season of Hajj and call them to worship Allah saying: "O people! Allah commands you to worship Him alone and ascribe no partners to Him."
He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, used to approach them during the season of markets like that of 'Ukath and say: "O people! Who will protect me? Who will support me? Who would help me convey the message of my Lord?"
He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, continued to do so until Allah blessed him with the honourable Ansar who resided in Madeenah and who gave him the pledge of support in the first famous pledge of Al-'Aqabah. This marked the great initiation point for the expansion of his mission.
The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam endured, all types of torture and insult for the sake of propagating the message of Islam and calling the people to Allah. Once, riding a donkey he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, went to invite 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy, who was the chief hypocrite, to Islam, but the latter said to him: "Keep your donkey away from me, its stench offends me." Yet he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, bore this hypocrite's despicable manners and continued calling him to Allah.
Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: "Once, a Jewish boy who served the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, fell (terminally) ill, so he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, went to visit him. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, sat down by his head and said to him: "Embrace Islam." The boy looked at his father who was sitting beside him. The father said: 'Obey Abul-Qasim (i.e., the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam).' The (dying) boy therefore embraced Islam and the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, stepped out of their home, saying: "Praise be to Allah who has saved him from the Hellfire." [Al-Bukhari]
He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, went to call the people of Ta'if, but they refused to accept his call and thus he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, returned grieved and saddened. But why? His anguish was due to them not embracing Islam and refusing the message of Allah.
Distance did not stop him from conveying the message of Allah to anyone, but due to not being able to leave his followers who were in dire need of his personal instruction, he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, sent messengers on his behalf to convey the message of Allah to all those that he was unable to personally visit. He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, sent messengers to all the kings and rulers that he, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, possibly could.
The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, sent a message with Dihyah, may Allaah be pleased with him, to the Governor of Busraa, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows: "In the name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful. (This letter is) from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Messenger to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon he who follows the right path. I invite you to Islam, and if you should become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, but if you reject this invitation to Islam then you will be committing a double sin by misguiding your Areesiyyeen (i.e., peasants). He, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, then quoted a verse from the Quran as Allah Says: (what means): "…O people of the scripture! Come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah. But if they turn away, then say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].'" [Quran 3: 64]
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