The Work of Propagation of Islam

By: Dr. Ahmad Shafaat

(1984)


Broadly speaking, all Islamic work falls under one or the other of the following two categories:

a) Organizing ourselves, building social, political and economic systems & institutions and, through them, taking care of various affairs of Muslim communities or societies. The Holy Qur'an uses the comprehensive term of al-amr to describe this aspect of Islamic work. There are five pillars through which Islam expects us to take care of al-amr.

b) The second aspect of Islamic work, which is the subject of the present article, may broadly be described as promulgation of Islamic teachings. It consists of four closely linked parts:

  • Balagh or tabligh: This means making the basic message of Islam known to mankind.
     

  • Da'wah: This means inviting people to Islam and to all that is good (khayr).
     

  • Ta'lim: This consists of more detailed instruction in the way of Islam after a person has accepted the invitation to Islam.
     

  • Tazkiyah: This consists of instruction about Islam given to individuals with personal attention to the specific problems they face in following Islam and benefiting from it.

All the four parts of the work of promulgation of Islam mentioned above are mentioned in the Qur'an as functions of the Holy Prophet (may God bless him and his work evermore). Thus the Qur'an says:

"O Messenger! Make known (balagh) all that has been sent down to thee by thy Lord and Sustainer." (5:67)

"Invite (da'wah) to the way of thy Lord and Sustainer with wisdom and goodly exhortation..." (16:125)

"He it is who has sent to the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves to convey unto them His messages, and to lead them to purity and spiritual growth (tazkiyah) and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom (ta'lim)..." (62:2)

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