has power over all
To explain what are the fundamentals of Islam is important but the real message of Islam will be the manifestation of how our faith transforms us and helps us to be sincere, trustworthy, and confident. To be a da'iya is to be an example, a model as the Prophet was (quduwa). Good words, books, theories do not change or guide people, the example does. To bear witness to the truth is to act as a model and it is not necessary to speak so much.
"And who could be better of speech than he who calls unto God, and does what is just and right and says "Verily I am of those who have surrendered themselves to Allah"
For this purpose, we need to live among the people, to be in touch with them and not to be isolated from the society we live in. There is an important verse, which gives us a specific teaching on how we should conduct ourselves with people. It reads:
"As for such (of the unbelievers) as do not fight against you on account of your faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves those who act equitably"
As noticed by az-Zamakhshari "does not forbid you" in this verse implies a positive exhortation. Allah gives us two keys: kindness (al-bir, same root as the word used for our parents, bir al-walidayn) and equity. The kindness is related to our heart, our sensitivity: in our day to day life, our kindness, our generosity are means through which people can understand the intimate meaning of our religion based on faith, peace and brotherhood. This is the language of the heart and it comes first in this verse. - Then, we find the language of the mind and the acts: one of the great sign of our religion is to promote, to defend and to protect justice in every circumstance. This has to be our distinctive feature: to be fair, equitable, just intellectually, socially, and financially. To be Muslim is to respect both the heart and the mind of our fellow human, to be both kind and fair, with both Muslims and non-Muslims. Our message is love, our message is justice: not only in words, but also their real internalization in our day-to-day life.
To believe is a blessing from Allah and we cannot guide aright everyone whom we love and we must be aware of our limited role. However the latter remains of a great importance and we will be called to account by Allah as to the way we bear and transmit the message of Islam to these societies in which we live.
Asked about the destiny of those who did not know anything about Islam, a scholar answered "I fear that we will be called to account by Allah for not having conveyed the message as we were supposed to". Every one of us is a da'iya - a conveyer of truth and justice and an example for our family, friends, neighbors and humanity.
Adapted from "Da'wa in the West" by Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan is a Geneva-based author and university lecturer.