When it comes to how Islam was spread universally, we hear from many that Islam was spread by sword and bloodshed. However, studying the conduct and manner of all the prophets, and especially Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), in inviting people to Allah unveils the truth about this issue.
When one decides to start a revolutionary cultural movement, he/she needs to plan for different aspects of this movement. The most important thing is the message he/she wants to convey to the audience. After that, he/she comes to how to spread this message in a way that can be vastly heard, and then it’s time to discover how the message should be said and conveyed to attract the audience. This is the most primary rule in media studies, and prophets in their era were well-aware of these rules and if they needed help regarding techniques and concepts, they received guidelines from Allah to help them spread their message in the most influential way.
The messages that prophets were going to convey to people were revealed to them by God Allah. The question ‘“how to spread this message” is discussed as a method of invitation. And the question ‘how to make the words influential’ is discussed under the title of manners of invitation in this article.
Allah (SWT) highlights the mission of His Prophet (PBUH&HP) as follows:
“O Prophet! Indeed We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and as a warner. And as a summoner to Allah by His permission, and as a radiant lamp.” (33: 45-46)
In this verse, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) is introduced as a “witness” ; a person who is present in his society and observes the problems and challenges of people on one hand, and as a person who has the best capability to testify the truth about Allah, His creation, and the hereafter on the other.
He has the responsibility to invite people to Allah, inform and remind them of the mercy and blessings of their lord and warn them of what is harmful to them. He, as a “radiant lamp” lightens the path of his people toward prosperity. .
But, has God Allah provided His prophet Prophet ((PBUH&HP) with any methods to help him guide people?
In some verses of the Quran Allah (SWT) provides the Prophet (PBUH&HP) with the following methods:
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good advice and dispute with them in a manner that is best...” (16:125)
Using this verse, the first step in inviting people to God Allah is to use correct wisdom and reasoning, and since the mission of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) is to awaken thoughts and ideas and to flourish rational treasures, the best way to achieve this goal is to use logic and reasoning.  This method is mostly used for those intellectual people of the society.
The verse introduces “good advice” as a method for communicating with the audience who have softer hearts. “Good advice” is the method in which good deeds are reminded and expressed in such a way that the listener's heart is softened by hearing that expression and, as a result, surrenders. Therefore, for some audience gentle speech is more effective than logical arguments. 
However, for a group of audience who are stubborn and have prejudice on their ideas, the Quran suggests the method of dispute and argument in a way that is best.
The definition of “best despite” can be best understood when recognizing what is a wrong dispute. A wrong dispute or argument as described by Imam Sadiq (AS) is “a disgraceful, immodest argument to deny a right, or to accept a falsehood, as a result of your own intellectual weakness, or to do so as a result of the abuse of a rival's intellectual weakness.” 
Therefore, the best dispute is the one in which both parties listen to each other with the intention of learning from and informing each other, and accepting the truth and justice even if it is against our mindset.
In another verse of the Quran Allah (SWT) Commands His prophet Prophet (PBUH&HP) to:
“Say, ‘This is my way. I summon to Allah with insight—I and he who follows me. Immaculate is Allah, and I am not one of the polytheists.’” (12:108)
In fact, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP), by the command of GodAllah, determines his religion and method to invite all people to this path out of awareness and insight. The followers of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) must also invite the people to the divine religion with awareness and insight.
Apart from all the methods that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) knew them well, it was his manner that attracted people to him and his message.
As Allah mentions in the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was sent to humanity as a mercy and blessing:
“We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations.” (21:107)
Although the great manner and behavior of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has been admired in the Quran , the difficulty of his mission in interacting with people has been so great that Allah puts mercy and gentleness in his heart:
“It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; and had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would have surely scattered from around you. So excuse them and plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs, and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Indeed Allah loves those who trust in Him.” (3:159)
This verse shows that his kind attitude and his sympathy with people has been one of the main tools he used in inviting people to God.Allah.
Other absorbing characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) are mentioned in another verse of the Quran:
“There has certainly come to you an apostle from among yourselves. Grievous to him is your distress; he has a deep concern for you, and is most kind and merciful to the faithful.” (9:128)
The verse emphasizes on the fact that the prophet Prophet (PBUH&HP) was one of the people, not considering himself higher than them. He was a man who was so compassionate to the people, and his mind was all concerned about their problems and their life in this world and in the hereafter.
Although this verse ends with the phrase that he was kind to faithful people, another verse of the Quran shows that he tried so hard to guide and help the unfaithful. So much that Allah (SWT) told him
“you are liable to imperil your life [out of distress] that they will not have faith.” (26:3)
In sum, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) used all correct logical, psychological, scientific, and behavioral methods to invite people to truth and the soul of his merciful invitation still flows all over the world through the hearts of the truth-seekers.
- Tabatabaei, M.H, Tafseer-e Al-mizan, http://www.aviny.com/quran/almizan/jeld-16/mizan-17.aspx
- Jawadi Amoli, Abdulllah, ‘the Prophet of Islam’s Conduct and manner in inviting to truth’, Pasdare-e Eslam Magazine, No. 296, (2007, July)
- Muhammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar , vol.70, p. 402.
- The Quran (68:4), Surah Qalam , verse, 4
Generosity is such an important virtue in the religion of Islam that the holy Quran says with regard to it: “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear, and whatever you may spend of anything, Allah indeed knows it” (3:92).
As perfect exemplars of this great ethical virtue, the holy prophet (PBUH&HP) and infallible Imams (AS) always recommended their followers to be unconditionally kind and bountiful with people. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) stated: “A generous person is closer to Allah, to the people and heaven” 
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“As for him who gives and is Godwary, and confirms the best promise, We will surely ease him toward facility” (92:5-7)
Generosity is one of the qualities of the soul which Allah bestows upon His beloved ones, who are not concerned about material wealth and willingly give to others to make the world a better place and reach God’s satisfaction.
In return, The Bountiful Allah has promised to provide the generous with ease and facility both in this world and the hereafter. Under God’s promise to generous people in the verse above, scientific studies also confirm the ease and happiness generosity would bring about. “A huge review of 40 studies on the effect of volunteering on general health and happiness was published in the journal BMC Public Health. The results? Volunteering not only improves well-being and life satisfaction, but it is also linked with decreased depression and a lower risk of dying early” .
One of the most eminent characteristics of the holy infallible Imams was their generosity. It has been narrated that Imam Hassan (AS) granted his whole wealth twice in his lifetime to win Allah’s satisfaction and improve the life of his fellow human beings. He also divided his property with the poor three times, granting half his wealth to the poor altogether, including his own shoes . Money was only a means for him to help the needy. “Once, he was asked: ‘We do not see you disappoint a beggar. Why?’
He replied: ‘I am asking Allah for His favors, and I love to be near Him. I am ashamed, as I am myself in need of Allah, to repulse a beggar. Allah got me used to a habit; to shower me with His bounties, and I get Him used to me showering His bounties on the people. I fear that should I stop my habit, He may stop His habit.’” 
This implies the verse of the holy Quran that says:
“Be good [to others] just as Allah has been good to you” (28:77)
It is noteworthy, however, that the infallible Imams never sought excessive asceticism. Neither did they ordain absolute abstinence from worldly delights [i]. Although they were sometimes rich, they willingly wanted to lead the life of the poorest people in the society. So that they could sympathize with them, and show the nothingness of the perishable earthly wealth compared with other eternal values.
But does it mean that Muslims have to give all their wealth away generously like their leaders? In fact, this kind of behavior mostly suits the leaders of a community. What Islam expects from the rest of the people is moderation in generosity.
Along with the social and individual benefits of the generosity in Islam for the giver proven by the researchers, ranging from a better outlook on life to having a lower risk of early death, the Quranic verses also name some more spiritual effects of this act of benevolence:
Generosity and charity make us receive the unlimited, immeasurable blessings and mercy of God:
“Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reproaches and affronts, they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve” (2:262)
God has guaranteed multiplied reward as the replacement of donation and generosity in this world and the hereafter:
“… and He will repay whatever you may spend, and He is the best of providers’” (34:39)
“The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah enhances several fold whomever He wishes, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing” (2:261)
God showers his endless blessings upon generous people. He makes it easy for them to follow the path of obedience and charity until they are granted a life free from any fears or difficulties:
“Those who give their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly, they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve” (2:274)
“Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and maintain the prayer, and spend secretly and openly out of what We have provided them, expect a commerce that will never go bankrupt” (35:29)
“Those who are patient for the sake of their Lord’s pleasure, maintain the prayer, and spend secretly and openly out of what We have provided them, and repel evil [conduct] with good. For such will be the reward of the [ultimate] abode” (13:22)
In the next part of this article, we will introduce 6 Etiquettes of Generosity and Almsgiving.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “there is no monasticism in Islam” .
Every day of our lives is filled with the moments in which we long for an anchor to whom we could rest our hopes. As Muslims, having hope in Allah is our way of dealing with such moments. Each one of us faces many issues, be it related to our financial status, problems at work, family, or any other social or personal challenge. Our friends and the ones around us might try to soothe us, giving us some hope and helping us not to give up and stand aside. Sometimes you might hear words like “Never lose your faith in God” or “Allah helps the ones who help themselves” or even “God knows that you have tried.” These words may help you at that moment and move your emotions from distress to hope. But is this a long-run solution? Are we supposed to have hope in Allah? Is that possible, with all the problems and the difficulties of modern life?
The American Heritage defines the word hope as to wish for a particular event to happen. It also gives an archaic definition as to have confidence; to Trust” . As the meaning suggests, it refers to having a positive outlook toward future events. Also, it presents trust and confidence in the one who makes everything come true with his will power.
The Holy Quran insists on the fact that the believers must never lose hope in the Mercy of Allah:
"Say [that Allah declares,] ‘O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah will forgive all sins. Indeed, He is the All-forgiving, the All-merciful." Quran (39:53)
It gives many examples of the state of the ones who were on the verge of giving up when Allah assisted them in some way. One of those examples is about Jacob, who was waiting for his dear son, Joseph, for many years. No one could even think that he might find his lost son again. When his sons went to Egypt to meet the king for the second time and saw what has befallen on their other brother Benjamin, Jacob advised them and said: “Go, my sons, and look for Joseph and his brother, and do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Indeed no one despairs of Allah’s mercy except the faithless lot.” Quran (12:87)
He has all the power and strength to do whatever He wishes to do, that’s for sure. He has invited and asked the believers to have faith in His Power, assistance, mercy, forgiveness, satisfaction, bounty, etc. All that he is trying to convey is that we must be hopeful because we have Allah on our side. The Quran gives us another example, the very first Muslims who emigrated to Medina with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), hoping for Allah to help them. Almighty Allah says that the money donated to Islam belongs to the poor, the needy, and the emigrants who left their houses to support their own prophet:
“The spoils that Allah gave to His Apostle from the people of the townships are for Allah and the Apostle, the relatives, and the orphans, the needy and the traveler so that they do not circulate among the rich among you. Take whatever the Apostle gives you, and refrain from whatever he forbids you, and be wary of Allah. Indeed, Allah is severe in retribution. [They are also] for the poor Emigrants who have been expelled from their homes and [wrested of] their possessions, who seek grace from Allah and [His] pleasure and help Allah and His Apostle. It is they who are truthful.” Quran (59:7-8)
Furthermore, He insists on the fact that he forgives the sins of those who repent, calling himself Forgiving 91 times in the Quran . His Forgiveness and Mercy are higher than any other creature, great enough to be on our side whenever we call Him wholeheartedly.
To conclude, one must remember the fact that no human and non-human power, wish, desire, etc. is higher than that of Allah. He asks all his creatures to believe in Him and rely on his willpower. So why should we doubt? Having hope in Allah can turn us into optimistic individuals who are proven to be more productive in their daily life, physically and mentally healthier, and more flexible in hard times and situations .
- American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
- Subhani, Jafar The Eternal Prism , Pp 307-308 at
- Conversano, C., Rotondo, A., Lensi, E., Della Vista, O., Arpone, F., & Reda, M. A. (2010). Optimism and its impact on mental and physical well-being. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health: CP & EMH, 6, 25–29.