Dawah to family is delicate.
The best is by your own good manner, respect and good conduct, to win the heart of the person in front of you. You cannot win someone's heart with a sermon or a speech. The best way is to do it with action, because action is more powerful than speech. Once the action is performed, with good manner and patience, accompanied by du'a, after a while Allah will join the hearts. After that, He will open the heart towards you and if Allah opens the heart, now you can start the proper da'wah.
Da'wah to the neighbours, colleagues or other non-Muslims, is based on the same principle. We have to be patient and trust in Allah. Study the conduct of Rasulullah SAW and the Companions, including how they dealt with their families and other tribes.
If Allah does not give the green light which opens the hearts of others towards you, you have to be patient and wait. You cannot confront your friends and say that they are wrong – this is a taboo word and should be avoided when talking about Islam.
We now lack respect for the elders, and we think that if we attend a talk or read a book, we get a ticket to Paradise even though we don't implement what we have learned. The correct way is to learn the knowledge, be steadfast in its implementation, try to invite towards what we know, and finally, practice patience, especially when dealing with parents, relatives and the elderly.
We only invite with kindness and generosity. It is not right for us to simply preach the rules and then judge those we have spoken to for failing to abide by then. A rich person may complain about the state of poverty whereas he is not spending a cent to alleviate the suffering of the poor. It is the same with the people of knowledge, who claim that they know everything, but are not responsible in passing that knowledge in the correct way and manner, and instead become very harsh on others.
We are just inviters to goodness and have to discharge this duty carefully. We start by inviting towards Allah, not imposing the commands of Allah. Invite towards the love of Allah and the love of Rasulullah SAW. When the faith is cultivated in their hearts, now it is time to feed the regulations and injunctions little by little. The hijab came into force about 15-17 years after the first revelation. If we have given someone da'wah for a month, we cannot rush them or download more information that they can handle. Salah, fasting and hajj were introduced progressively according to the spiritual readiness of the Muslims at the time.
Once a Companion spotted a group of people giving a hard time to someone who was drinking alcohol. He reprimanded them for being too harsh on the man, because their job at that time was to remind him how merciful Allah is, not to condemn him.
Majority of those who engage in da'wah are in need of da'wah themselves. They perform da'wah in an impatient and arrogant way, which has nothing to do with the sunnah. Remember that the one who considers himself pious might die in a state of sin, whereas the other person who is looked down upon might die in a state of repentance.
Don't feel satisfied just because you have spread knowledge of what is right. It has to be done with wisdom, with looking down on ourselves and up to others.
Da'wah to the family needs a lot of humility, patience and kindness while waiting for Allah to open for you. Muhammad SAW cried over his uncle who died without embracing Islam, and Allah reminded him that He does not give guidance to whom one loves, but to whom He wants. We are merely inviters, spreading goodness. We are like farmers, and have to accept that some seeds will grow and some others won't. When we forget who we are, we will forget to continuously build our iman. Only Allah knows who will die in the right state of iman, with a good and happy ending. This is why we have to be very watchful of how we conduct ourselves.
Guidance, like food and shelter, is a gift from Allah. How can you be arrogant over something that does not belong to you? If you think that you are guided because you are a good person, you have already committed a sin.
Spread mercy, not harshness
In relation to non-Muslims – we can hate the disbelief, but not the disbeliever. Otherwise, how can you pass da'wah to those you hate? It is this love of humankind that allows us to deal with others with compassion. Look at how Rasulullah SAW dealt with others, even the Jews and the non-believers. He even extended his kindness to those who were oppressing him.
Neighbours in general, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, have rights over us. If we observed the protocol in treating our neighbours, people will surely be attracted to Islam.
We cannot teach others in a hasty or arrogant manner, or pick up a new piece of knowledge which we demand everyone else to implement immediately. Sometimes, we have the knowledge, but we don't have the manner to spread it. We should ask Allah to give us the manner and wisdom, and even the rights attached to the knowledge, according to our level and the level of the people that we talk to. Allah may have given us, but we cannot expect that Allah will allow us to give others exactly what He has given us. You can invite another to a good deed, but in the meantime, he may not be ready to implement it. You then get impatient, start backbiting and cut off the relationship. What is the gain in that?
A man used to drink alcohol in the time of Rasulullah SAW. Umar RA wanted to punish this man severely. Rasulullah SAW cautioned Umar RA to leave him alone, because this man loved Allah and his Messenger (SAW) even if he was in a state of sin. Look at the mercy.