From conferences to street corners Muslims are engaging in Dawah (calling to Islam) in many unique and inspiring ways. InshaAllah what will follow is not a how-to on dawah in general, but a reminder regarding what the message and focus ought to be when giving dawah. Alhamdulilah the Prophetic Sera (Biography) gives us plenty of material we can benefit from in this regard.
Mu'aadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) was sent to Yemen, as he was one of the most knowledgeable of the Prophet's companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). Herein lies the first point for us: dawah is to be based on knowledge and ought to be done by those who have knowledge. It also shows us the importance of calling others to Islam - that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent one of the most knowledgeable people from al-Madinah to Yemen.
He (may Allah be pleased with him) was not sent to Yemen solely to call people to Islam - in fact his was also allocated the responsibilities of zakaat collector, leader, judge and educator. Thus, we see a precedent that callers to Islam ought to have skills and abilities so as to benefit the community in other worldly ways as well as giving dawah. As Mu'aadh was preparing to leave (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave him advice - specifically regarding the manners and methods with which he ought to use when calling others to Islam. He (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Verily, you are going to a people who are from the People of the Book, so when you go to them, invite them to bear witness that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they obey you in that matter, then inform them that Allah has made obligatory upon them five prayers every day and night. If they obey you in that matter, then inform them that Allah has made charity compulsory upon them: wealth that is taken from the rich among them and that is given to the poor among them. And if they obey you regarding that matter, then beware of taking their best wealth. And, beware of the supplication of the person who is wronged, for between that supplication and Allah there is no veil." (Sahih al-Bukhari)Thus the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly outlined priorities and stages of dawah - an essential tool for us today in our efforts to explain Islam and call others to this diin. Not only advice and methods, but also guidance for the person calling others to Islam - that he must be just, he must be fair and he must be easy and cooperate with the people. Regarding these final matters, Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) gave advice to another companion (abu Musa al-Ash'ari - may Allah be pleased with him) along with Mu'aadh, in which he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"Be easy [with people] and do not make matters difficult; give glad tidings and do not drive people away; cooperate with one another, and do not quarrel with one another." (Sahih al-Bukhari).