Will a person who does not fulfill his duty of conveying the message of Islam to the people who need it be held responsible?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah has absolute justice. He determines the responsibility of each person according to his environment. Of course, the responsibility of someone who grows up in an environment where Islam is practiced will not be the same as the responsibility of someone who grows in a place where ethical values have been lost.

This fact should not be ignored while searching the issues related to qadar (destiny) and justice. Everybody has a separate world with his different life conditions in this realm, with the issues he faces in his relations with individuals, with his family and his relatives, with his different problems in terms of livelihood, and with distinctive structure of his country.

The results of this divine division, whose wisdom we do not know truly and which we do not doubt to be fair, will be displayed in the Hereafter; as it is stated in the chapter of az-Zilzal, "an atom´s weight of good and an atom´s weight of evil" will be evaluated there.

Many things that are thought to be useful in this world will be a burden for the slave with the weight of their responsibility there; many things that appear to be burdensome and difficult in this world will be a means of the forgiveness of sins there if one shows patience.

It is necessary for the believers to fulfill their duty of conveying the message of Islam and there must not be anybody to whom the message has not been conveyed. The fulfillment of this will free the believers from the responsibility. Indeed, Allah Almighty states the following in another verse, while mentioning some people who regarded the persistent efforts of Hz. Musa (Moses) and his followers about conveying the message useless:  

"When some of them said: ‘Why do ye preach to a people whom Allah will destroy or visit with a terrible punishment?’- said the preachers, ‘To discharge our duty to your Lord, and perchance they may fear Him." (al-Araf, 7/164)

Something like that will prove that a believer fulfilled his duty and prevent the person to whom the message was conveyed from producing an excuse like "I did not know about it." (az-Zamakhshari, al-Kashshaf, Egyp (n.d.) IV, 34)

Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, the tafsir scholar, states the following while explaining the verse above:   

"To fulfill the duty of conveying the message of Islam to people is a kind of fard for every believer until he dies. Nevertheless, it is not permissible to despair regarding any issue in the world. It is also a duty to want other people to repent and to fear Allah no matter how sinful they are. The state of humanity is constantly changing, and the secret of qadar cannot be known before its occurrence. Who knows, it is possible for some people who have never obeyed up to now to obey tomorrow and start to fear Allah; if he does not fear all the time, he will fear to some extent and his penalty will decrease. In any case, conveying the message and giving advice is better than abandoning conveying the message.  If believers abandon conveying the message completely, there will no hope. A bad deed that is not resisted will spread faster. Even if it is not possible to eliminate a bad deed, it is better to try to slow it down and decrease it." (Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini Kur'an Dili, İstanbul 1971, IV, 2313)

When the Prophet (pbuh) conveyed the basic principles of Islam to the people in the Farewell Sermon, he often asked them, "Have I fulfilled my duty of conveying the message?" When he received a positive answer from them, he said, "O Allah! Be a witness that I have fulfilled my duty of conveying the message." Thus, he experienced the happiness of fulfilling this holy duty. (Ahmad Zaki Safwa, Jamharatu Khutabil-Arab, Egypt 1962, 1, 157)

The most important duty of the Prophet (pbuh) and those who follow his way is conveying the message of Islam. Every Muslim is responsible for this duty. It is fard for believers to fulfill their duties regarding the issue.

Islam is not a religion of conflict, debate, division and fragmentation. The deep meaning of being a slave of Allah and the high meaning of being brothers of each other exist in the spirit and origin of Islam. A person cannot be a slave of another slave in the religion. The method of conveying the message of Islam should be developed accordingly.

In the religion of Islam, conveying the message of Islam is the duty of all believers, not of a particular class. There is no class discrimination in Islam. Everybody has to convey the message of Islam to others and try to make them conscious according to his level of knowledge and culture, by practicing Islam and without causing any harm.

"Da’wah" (inviting people to Islam) and "amr bil-ma'ruf wa nahy anil-munkar" (enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil), which Allah gives great importance in the Quran are issues that are closely connected with conveying the message of Islam.

Questions on Islam

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