Da'wah or Islaah? 

Q42. We are doing part time Da'wah in villages near our city in Tamil Nadu. But we are not sparing anytime for Islaah. I would like to know which of the two is more important, Da'wah or Islaah? A friend of mine said that it is Da'wah that is more important and not Islaah.

          -H. Mohamed Riaz, Tirunelveli Islamic Voluntary Association, (TIVA),
           Tamil Nadu. riaz@vsnl.net

Ans. At the outset let us first understand the meaning of the words ‘Da’wah’ and ‘Islaah’. Da’wah means a ‘call’ or ‘invitation’; which means to invite non-Muslims to Islam as well as the Muslims to the true understanding and practice of Islam, but many a times, in context, it refers to the invitation of Islam extended to those who are yet to believe in or accept Islam.

‘Islaah’ literally means ‘to repair’ or ‘to improve’. In an Islamic context, it refers to efforts to improve Muslims or to correct them. It also refers to their moral rectification. Allah says :

  “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord, with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious !”

(Al Qur’an 16:125)

  With regards to your question, which is more important, the simple answer is that both Da’wah and Islaah are equally important. One should not concentrate only on one and ignore the other. Therefore, to say that those who do Da’wah should not do Islaah or those who do Islaah shouldn’t do Da’wah is wrong.

  However, by looking at the scenario of the Muslims today, we realize that there are many Muslims who are doing Islaah and have completely ignored Da’wah. Thus the people dedicated to do Da’wah are very few as compared to those doing Islaah. Therefore it is more of our responsibility to concentrate on Da’wah in order to fill this vacuum, but while doing so, Islaah should not be ignored. And Allah knows the best.