Calling to Allah ﷻ and Islam’s virtues (da‘wa) is an invitation. But I cannot invite to what I don’t know and don’t do. Da‘wa to virtue begins by knowing, and then by doing. Therefore, to invite others, I must, first of all, invite my own self (nafs) and practice what I call to. I cannot invite others to where I am not. Think of an invitation to my house. But I am not there. It is empty.
I should be someone who establishes, or at least seriously strives to establish, the virtues I call to in my own life. As a spiritual poet said, “Begin with your own self, and stop it from its rebelliousness. If you succeed, then you become wise. Only then will your words be heard and teaching will be beneficial.” That’s the beginning of da‘wa. It begins with my self (nafs) and continues with my self (nafs) for as long as I live. If this principle underlies the spirit of my da‘wa, my invitation to others will be a self-reminder, positive self-reinforcement and self-reform.
May Allah ﷻ forgive us for the many shortcomings and inconsistencies in our lives, and for our claims of virtuosity and uprightness