Praise be to Allah, and may the peace of Allah and His blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family, his companions and his followers.
Thereafter, we will mention the meaning of Da`wah and its subject in this episode:
First: The Meaning of Da`wah:
Literal Meaning of Da`wah: The Arabic word “Da`wah” literally denotes inviting to food. According to Arabic morphology it is a verbal noun. However, the word Da`wah and its derivative has many applications, including the following senses:
1 - Calling for help.
2 - Worship, as was meant in the blessed Verse of the Glorious Qur’an: “And your Lord said: "Invoke Me, and ask Me I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!" [Ghafir: 60]. In addition to that, the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Supplication is the worship.” (1).
3- Calling or inviting to something. And whoever invites someone to something, whether to guidance or misguidance is called “Ad-Da`I”. The plural form of “Ad-Da`I” is “Ad-Du`a’t”. Furthermore, the person who invites to an innovation or a right path is called “Da`iyah”, however, the latter noun denotes the one who exaggerates in the act of invitation.
The Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) has been called “Da`I” of Allah or the Inviter to Allah, as was mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an: “And as one who invites to by His Leave, and as a lamp spreading.” [Al Ahzab: 46] meaning: who invites to Islâmic Monotheism and to worship Him Alone, and he (peace be upon him) calls for good deeds that make nearer to Allah. (2)
However, the word “Da`wah” is used in the terminology in one of the two following meanings:
1 - Islam.
2 – Dissemination of this religion among the people. In the field of invitation the latter one is intended in general. As was meant in this Verse, Allah Almighty says: “Say (O Muhammad): "This is my way; I invite unto Allâh with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted be Allâh. And I am not of those who worship others along with Allâh)." (Yusuf: 108]. Invitation to Allah in this Verse means inviting to His religion.
The latter meaning of Da`wah has been intended in this research, whether the call is to Islam and leaving the infidelity, or the call is directed to obedience of Allah and abstaining from disobedience, or the call is related to good actions and abandoning bad actions.
Second: The Subject of Da`wah:
The main subject of Da`wah is Islam, which is submission, surrender and obedience to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds, as was expressed by the Prophet of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) in a conversation with the angel Jibril (peace be upon him) when Jibril asked him about Islam, then he answered : “Islam means that you openly state that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah; establish the prayer, pay Zakah; fast during the month of Ramadan and offer the Hajj of the House of Allah if you are able to afford journey to it.” (3).
This means that the subject of Da`wah is: to call to the true faith, and then to appeal for the application of entire Shari`ah including the worship ethics, morality, behavior, righteousness, and to reject polytheism, disbelief, hypocrisy, all kinds of sin and wrongdoings, etc.
We will mention God willing in the following episode the objectives of Da`wah.
May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family and his all companions.
(1) Reported by Abu Dawud: (1/551 Hadith No. 1481), Book of Witr prayer, Chapter on (Supplication), and by At-Tirmidhy: (5/211 Hadith No. 2969), Book of interpretation of Qur’an, Chapter on (Surat Al Baqarah) and Ibn Majah: (5/5 Hadith No. 3828), Book of prayer, Chapter on (The merits of supplication). This is an authentic Hadith that was authenticated by At-Tirmidhy.
(2) See: Lisan Al `Arab, by Ibn Manzur: Chapter of Alphabetic letter Ad-Dal, Al Waw and Al y’a, Volume IX, (18 / 281-284) with summarization by me.
(3) Reported by Al Bukhari: (1/20 Hadith No. 51), Book of faith, Chapter No. (39), and by Muslim: (1/36 Hadith No. 8), Book of faith, Chapter on (Explanation of belief and submission).