Example of the Prophet SAW and what we can learn from it
Rasulullah SAW did not simply sit in the masjid and lecture about da'wah. He was inviting to Islam day and night. The Companions observed his actions and emulated him. Today, da'wah lessons are churned out in classrooms, but we cannot learn much from them. We have to observe those who are already engaged in this activity, and work with them to follow their actions. The Companions learnt from Rasulullah SAW by observing his actions. They were in the presence of someone who was actually doing the job hands on, not someone who was just simply talking about it.
By sitting with these people you will absorb some of their qualities. If we have no such person around us, then we should supplicate to Allah, for Allah will guide us according to what we sincerely wish for.
We have to go step by step, and find out who is in our hearts. Allah has to be the focal point in our hearts, who we think about, who we worry about, who we want to please and who takes priority.
We have to remember the power, glory, mercy, generosity, light and guidance of Allah. Allah is the one who accepts repentance and loves those who repent. This way, we invite to the quality and understanding of who the Creator is.
Their time and our time
If dealing with non-Muslims, avoid using the word "Allah". Use a neutral phrase like the "Creator" to prevent any bias on their part. Impress upon them the wonderful qualities of the Creator, how much the Creator gives and how many duties we have to our Creator. We can witness the glory of our Creator every single day. The main topic is who the Creator is and how much of Him we have in our hearts.
Remind others of death, and that we cannot take from it except the sum of our actions for the sake of Allah.
We have to love Rasulullah SAW, because we cannot progress in da'wah if we do not refer to his life, and examples, patience, generosity and forgiveness. Muslims fail because they take only portions they like and want to implement. Rasulullah's SAW life as a whole underwent many stages, comparisons and situations which are relevant and can be implemented by us.
Today, we are at the beginning of invitation which form the foundation of all else –the characteristics of Allah and His messenger. If we are not familiar with these, it is better to delay the implementation and the rules of Allah, because building of faith is crucial. Lecturing others on the rules in the first instance will not warm anyone up towards Islam.
The early days of Islam emphasised tawhid – a word that did not exist in the time of the Prophet SAW but is now an understood terminology for the oneness of Allah. The early revelations were to describe Allah, His attributes and His power.
The Companions are the best examples after the Prophet SAW. Therefore, we have to aim towards inculcating their quality behaviour, not the nonsensical behaviour that we see around us today.
We have to keep talking about the hereafter – to love the hereafter more than we love this lowly life. We have to think of the wisdom of us being placed on this earth. It is the bridge to reach Allah, His pleasure, His Mercy, and eventually the jannah promised by Him and to see His beautiful face. We have to talk about it constantly, by "inviting" ourselves first. The heart, brain and ears closest to us belong to ourselves. So at least even if we can't fully engage in da'wah, try to engage with ourselves first.
Rasulullah SAW was always in a state of invitation, and through that, we start having a vision of our responsibility. The more we understand our responsibility and trust on our shoulders, the more we start acting and preparing for the job. The preparation is between us and Allah SWT, and this preparation needs sincerity and the desire to be involved. Success lies in the hand of Allah. When Allah opens is not our concern, because it will happen in the time and way He wants, with His generosity and kindness.
Messenger and Prophets – their life experience
The Messengers and Prophets were all giving da'wah but in the early days, their call was rejected. They did not achieve immediate results, so what about us? The more we think we are capable of obtaining results, the less the results will be. It is not the technique, but the tawfiq of Allah. If you do not see the results, you have to look at yourself, and work again on your "tree" from the roots upwards. Blame only yourself and look only to Allah. Allah will put the wisdom in your heart and tongue. He will give you the knowledge in the way He wants, as long as you rely on Him and believe in Him. We seek technicality but we are not seeking Allah! Glorify Allah and discard all other partners you have in your heart.
Messengers and Prophets always observed periods of seclusion, to call out to Allah and have the level of iman and elevation, to fill the heart exclusively with Allah. Once we start this journey, with the will of Allah, our manner and behaviour will transform. Our conduct will change and the way we view others will change. We will be more merciful, kind, generous and patient to all of the creation. Once we reach this level, connected to Allah and love Allah only, then the journey of sacrifice will start. The more we sacrifice for Allah, the more sincerity we will achieve and the higher our elevation.
Once we are at the level of sacrifice, we will go through a period of testing and trial. During this time, we have to be patient, make zikr, rely on Allah, and don't blame anyone except ourselves, and be humble to Allah, others and deny ourselves. The more we keep trying, the more Allah will open for us, but it will be on Allah's time, whether during our lives, after our deaths or even in akhirah. Don't calculate the results or expect them to appear promptly.