Activism & Civil Rights Dawah (Outreach) FAQs & Fatwas Islamic Character

The Moral Dilemma of Islamic Workers

Answered by Mohammad Mahmoud Mansour1 | Translated, Abridged, and Modified by WebbTranslators


I am seeking your advice about an important matter in my life. I was involved in da`wah (inviting others to Islam) for many years (by giving lectures, leading study groups, etc.), and I was simultaneously trying to improve and better myself. However, after many agonizing years, I have come to the conclusion that I am not fit to lead the da`wah, and I have opted to simply be a soldier for the cause. I do not want to deceive myself, and be hypocritical in front of others. Isn’t it time that I be ashamed of myself before Allah? He says: “O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? It is greatly hated in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” (Qur’an, 61: 2-3) Isn’t it time for me to make my final days right, and to tend to what I neglected in the past? I ask Allah to overlook my mistakes, forgive my sins, and grant me righteous deeds to meet Him with.


My beloved brother,

Da`wah itself is tarbiyah [nurturing and development] of the soul, so if you want to purify yourself, invite others [to Allah and Islam]. The reason is that the elements needed in purifying the soul are the same as those needed in the da`wah. If these elements come to characterize one’s da`wah, then that person is also automatically rectifying, nurturing and purifying himself. It’s as simple as that!

Doesn’t inviting others to Allah and Islam require connecting with Allah, calling out to Him and asking for His Assistance? As Allah says, speaking on behalf of His prophet Shu`ayb `alayhi sallatu wa sallam (May Allah send His peace and blessings on him): “…Our Lord, decide between us and our people in truth, and You are the best judge.” (Qur’an, 7:89)

Doesn’t it require camaraderie and coming together? As the Exalted says, speaking on behalf of His prophet Musa (as): “And my brother Aaron is more fluent than me in tongue, so send him with me as support, verifying me. Indeed, I fear that they will deny me.” (Qur’an, 28:34)

Doesn’t it require will and perseverance? As the Exalted says: “So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance.” (Qur’an, 22:67)

Doesn’t it require adherence to moral values and remaining steadfast? As the Exalted says: “So to that [religion of Allah] invite, [O Muhammad], and remain on the right path as you have been commanded; and do not follow their inclinations…” (Qur’an, 42:15)

Doesn’t it require gradual steps, facilitation, hope and optimism? As [the Prophet ] says: “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and give them glad tidings, and do not repulse (them)” [Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim].

Doesn’t it require continuity and dedication? As the Exalted says on behalf of His Prophet Nuh (as): “He said, ‘My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day’ ” (Qur’an, 71:5).

Doesn’t it require wisdom? As the Exalted says: “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge …” (Qur’an, 6:108).

Doesn’t it require dialogue? As the Exalted says: “… and argue with them in a way that is best …” (Qur’an, 16:125).

Doesn’t it require explanation and clarification? As the Exalted says: “And O my people, how is it that I invite you to salvation while you invite me to the Fire?” (Qur’an, 40:41).

Doesn’t it require encouragement and motivation rather than intimidation? As the Exalted says [on behalf of Prophet Nuh (as)]: “And I said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.’” (Qur’an, 71:10).

My beloved brother,

The self is also in need of all that is explained above.

The conclusion, therefore, is that one who invites others to Islam is using means that also nurture his self, so he is calling others and simultaneously nurturing himself.

Beloved brother, sin should not prevent one from da`wah and Islamic work.

Sa’eed bin Jubair radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him), says on this topic: “If one were not to enjoin the good and forbid the evil until there is nothing [evil] within him, no one would have enjoined any good nor forbade any evil.” [Narrated by Malik]

Instead, da`wah, my beloved brother, removes sin and its effects.
Did Allah the Exalted not say: “…Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds…” (Qur’an, 11:114)

And is there any good that is better and greater than inviting others to Allah? As Allah, the Almighty, confirms in the verse: “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” (Qur’an, 41:33)

Therefore, you should make use of the sin by becoming more determined not to return to it after you have tasted its bitterness and misery. You should also become more determined to increase your efforts in inviting others to Allah so you do not go back to sinning, and so others don’t either. That way, you may all attain happiness.

  1. An excerpt from the publication, Shizophreniya`l-Du`ah (Schizophrenia of Those Who Invite to Islam)

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  • Salam;
    awesome article.
    I’m going through the same dilemma. I had an unstable past. Not all bad..but not so good either. Imagine though, if only perfect muslims could make Dawwa. And who wants to listen to some purified, pontificating, holier than thou, preacher. Not I. In fact, it is these ppl. that I rebelled against the most. And only through empathy&compassion, was I humble enough to listen and try the way of Allah swt.
    The answers given here, are indeed very inspiring. And b/c this person was honest enough to ask, I also, benefitted from the response. I dont live near A Masjid. It’s gotta be awesome to be able to pray w/many brother muslims. But this internet has been a lifesaver for me. As I use it to connect to the words of Allah. I’m sick and tired of listening to Shaytan. So, who ever idea it was to put up this Virtual Mosque-I salute you. Jazakoum Allah Khair

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