What takes Priority – Dawah to Non-Muslims or Islah of the Muslim Ummah?
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلوة والسلام على نبينا محمد وعلى اله واصحابه اجمعين
The Ummah seems to be split into two extremes in this issue: Some say that we need to reform the Ummah first and they underestimate the importance of Dawah to Non-Muslims, while others claim the opposite.
Allah says in the Quran:
3:104 (the meaning of which can be translated as):
Let there arise out of You a group of people inviting to All that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma'rûf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and All that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and All that Islam has forbidden). and it is they who are the successful.
3:110 (the meaning of which can be translated as):
You [true believers In Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; You Enjoin Al-Ma'rûf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and All that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and All that Islam has forbidden), and You believe In Allah. and had the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have Faith, but Most of them are Al-Fâsiqûn (disobedient to Allah - and rebellious against Allah's Command).
Let it be known, that Al-Ma’roof includes all sorts of good deeds, the highest and greatest of which is proclamation of the Tawheed of Allah and Al-Munkar includes all sorts of evils, the gravest and most despicable of them being As-Shirk (associating partners with Allah).
So the command that Allah has given us, includes the responsibilities of Dawah and Islah collectively. The Madinan period of the Prophet’s life gives us various examples, that while he was reforming the Muslim society, he was also writing letters to kings inviting them to Islam.
When a governor complained to Umar ibn Abdul Azeez (May Allah have mercy on him) that due to large number of people accepting Islam, the Jizyah tax (tax paid by non-Muslims in an Islamic state) was constantly decreasing, the great Caliph replied: “Allah had sent down Muhammad as a guide, not as a tax collector” , implying that it was a happy thing to hear that people are embracing Islam.
So the Ummah today is greatly in need of people who carry out both responsibilities without underestimating the necessity and importance of either of them.
وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى اله واصحابه اجمعين و الحمد لله رلعالمين