Dawah in History
In Islam; there is no compulsion to convert-people have always entered it willingly. The historical presence of non-Muslims minorities among Muslims is evidence of tolerance in Islam.
Islam spread in the most populated Muslim countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Africa through the contact between native people and Muslim travelers, merchants who brought with them not only goods but also values of Islam such as straight dealing, honesty, and generosity.
The impact of Muslims upon these communities was tremendous. In Singapore, near the port where the Arab traders used to land, the residents say that the natives used to prefer to buy from Muslim merchants because they expected good treatment and fair prices.
In my opinion it is unfair to compare the spread of Islam in Asia and Africa with the spread of Islam in the West, and blame Muslims for not effectively promoting Islam in the West. Unlike the modern western world their history was free from hostility and enmity against Muslims, and therefore, their conversion to Islam was natural and easy.
Could Dawah Fail?
Allah will guide, through dawah, those who are qualified for His mercy; those who have good hearts and are sincerely searching for the truth. And, he will turn away from it those who do not deserve His mercy; those who chose to divert from His way. All of this is decreed according to His perfect wisdom and knowledge.
The success of dawah is guaranteed as a fulfillment of Allah’s promises, “… and who is more truthful than Allah” (4:87)
Due to all of these reasons, the dawah could never fail; that is why Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, expected his followers to outnumber the followers of other prophets. He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “None of the prophet before me but was given (physical) miracles because of which people believed him. But the miracle which has been given to me is indeed a revelation Allah revealed to me (Qur’an and Sunnah). So I hope, on the Day of Judgement, my followers will outnumber the followers of other prophets.” (Bukhari)
In order for dawah to be effective, the caller must have sincere intentions and, above all, a strong sense of taqwa. If a Muslim truly lives to please Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, dawah is effortless. In order to share Islam with people, we must develop strong relationships with in our Ummah to support these efforts with dawah centers and well-written material. Each of us has a gift from Allah and we should not ignore our obligation in fear of rejection or failure but join together to contribute our talents and resources to share the gift of Islam, truly a mercy from Allah.