“Say: This is my way, I call to Allaah upon insight (knowledge). I and whoever follows me and Glorified be Allaah and I am not from the Mushrikeen (disbelievers, polytheists).” [Yoosuf: 108]
The obligation of Da’wah is a duty which all the Messengers had embarked upon and likewise for those righteous people who followed them. Propagating the beliefs of islam is a necessity so that the people abstain from the darkness and progress towards the light, from disbelief to Eemaan (faith), from Shirk to At-Tawheed and from the hellfire to paradise.Before we embark upon the propagation of Da’wah it is imperative that we first and foremost define the goalposts of this lofty obligation. Da’wah is based upon certain but crucial pillars and these foundations must be upheld. Whenever any one of these foundations is deficient, then the Da’wah will not be correct and will not produce the required results, no matter how much effort is put into it or how much time is lost on it. As is apparent and real in many of the modern day calls, which are not established upon these pillars and do not uphold these foundations.
And these pillars that uphold the correct Da’wah are established by the Book and the Sunnah. A summary of these foundational pillars are as follows:
 Having knowledge of what one is calling to
Knowledge is the opposite of ignorance as it is not suitable for an ignorant person to be a caller. Allaah (swt) said to Messenger Muhammad (saw):
“Say: This is my way, I call to Allaah upon insight (knowledge). I and whoever follows me.”
Having insight, means to have knowledge. This is because the caller will certainly face the leaders of misguidance, who will bring to him doubts and who will argue with falsehood so that the truth is refuted. Allaah the Most High has said:
“And argue with them in a way that is better.” [An-Nahl: 125]
And the Prophet (saw) gave instructions to Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (ra) on how to approach the people whom he has been sent to:
“You are indeed going to a people of the Book.”
So if the caller is not equipped with knowledge which he can use to turn away every doubt and debate with it, every opponent, then he will be defeated in the first instance and will stop at the beginning of the path.
 Acting upon what one is calling to
This is an important factor so that the dai’ee can be a fine example, in his actions and in his speech and so that the people who are upon falsehood do not have a proof against him. Allaah (swt) mentioned about Shua’ib (as) that he said to his people:
“And I wish not to be in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power.” [Hood: 88]
And Allaah (swt) has said to Muhammad (SAW):
“Say: Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds, Who has no partners and with this I have been commanded and I am the first of the Muslims.” [Soorah al-An’aam: 162-163]
And the Most High has said:
“And who is better in speech, than the one who calls to Allaah and does righteous deeds.” [Soorah Fussilat: 33]
For the Da’wah to become successful it is important that it is purely for the pleasure of Allaah (swt) and not to show off. Many people go out on the dawah field to gain repute or to seek leadership. This is because if anything enters into the Da’wah from any of these goals, then the Da’wah will not be for Allaah, it will only be a call to oneself or for a greedy intent. As Allaah has informed us about His Prophets, that they said to their people:
“I do not ask of you any reward.” [Soorah Hood:51]
“I do not ask of you any wealth.” [Soorah Hood: 29]
 To begin the call (gradually) with what is most important
For the call to be the first in correction of the A’qeedah, one must order sincerity and prohibit Shirk in his/her worship. Then ordering the establishment of the prayer, the giving of the Zakat, acting upon the obligations and leaving the prohibitions. As is the way of all the Messengers, as the Most High has said:
“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allaah and avoid (keep away from) At-Taaghoot (all false deities).” [Soorah an-Nahl: 36]
And the Most High has said:
“And We have not sent a Messenger before you, except that We have revealed to him: that there is no one worthy of worship except Me (Allaah), so worship Me.” [Soorah al-Anbiya: 25]
And when the Prophet (saw) sent Mu’adh to Yemen, he said to him:
“You are indeed going to the people of the Book, so make the first thing you call them to the testification that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah…and if they obey you in that, then inform them that Allaah has obligated upon them five prayers to be performed in the day and the night… the hadeeth.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
And in the way and conduct of the Prophet (saw) in Da’wah, we find the best of examples and the most complete manhaj. Where he (SAW) remained in Makkah for thirteen years, calling the people to at-Tawheed and prohibiting them from Shirk, before ordering them with the prayer, the Zakat, fasting or Hajj.
 To have patience upon the difficulties a person will encounter in the path of giving Da’wah to Allaah and upon what he will face from the harm of the people
This is because the path of Da’wah is not paved with roses; rather it is fraught with adversities and dangers. So the best of examples with regards to this are the Messengers from what they encountered (from their people) from harm and ridicule. As Allaah the Most High has said:
“And indeed (many) Messengers before you were mocked at, but their scoffers were surrounded by the very thing that they used to mock at.” [Soorah al-An’aam: 10]
And He (swt) said:
“And indeed (many) Messengers were denied before you, but with patience they bore the denial. And they were hurt, till Our Help reached them.” [Soorah al-An’aam: 34]
And likewise those who follow the Messengers will witness the harm and difficulties, in accordance with how much they stand by and uphold the D’awah to Allaah, by following these honourable Messengers.
 The caller must be adorned with good manners, using wisdom in his Da’wah
As this will lead to the acceptance of his Da’wah, as Allaah ordered His two Prophets, Musa and Haroon, that they use this when they face the worst of the disbelievers of the earth; Fir’aun (Pharaoh), the one who claimed Lordship. Wherein the Most Perfect said:
“And say to him (O Moosaa and Haaroon) a soft word, so that perhaps he may accept admonition and fear (Allaah).” [Soorah Taa-Haa: 44]
And the Most High said to Musa (as):
“Go to Fir’aun (Pharaoh), he has indeed transgressed. So say to him: do you want that you be purified and that I guide you to your Lord, so that you should fear him.” [Soorah an-Naazi’aat: 17-19]
And the Most High has said with regards to our Prophet Muhammad (SAW):
“And by the mercy of Allaah, you dealt with them gently and had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you.” [ale-Imraan: 159]
And the Most High has said:
“And you (O Muhammad) are indeed of a great (standard of) character.” [al-Qalam: 4]
“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fine preaching and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Soorah an-Nahl: 125]
 It is upon the caller to have strong hope and expectation
So he does not despair of whether or not his Da’wah will have an affect or whether his people will be guided. Nor does he despair of the aid of Allaah and His help, even if it is a lengthy period of time and its limit is extended. This is because in the Messengers there is for him (the caller) the best of examples.
Nooh (as) remained with his people nine hundred and fifty years calling them to the path of Allaah. Along with this, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when the harm of the disbelievers became severe, the angel of the mountains came to him, asking his permission to crush them between the two mountains. So he said:
‘No, rather wait for them and give them time, perhaps Allaah will bring out from their loins those who will worship Allaah alone and will not associate any partners with him.’
So whenever the caller lacks this characteristic, then he will indeed stop at the beginning of the path and will return with disappointment and frustration in his action.
Therefore any Da’wah that is not upon these foundations and does not stand upon the manhaj of the Messengers, then it will indeed return with disappointment and disappear; and there will be fatigue without achieving any benefit. The best proof for this is the modern day groups, who have placed for themselves a manhaj of giving da’wah which differs from the manhaj of the Messengers. So most of these groups have become negligent with regards to the affair of A’qeedah and have become from those who call to the rectification of secondary affairs.