At the present time, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) facilitates the issue of Da’wah through means that were not available in the past. Da’wah today has become easier through several channels, as it has also become possible to establish the proof to people by various ways, such as the radio, TV, the press, and other means. Thus, it is the duty of the people of knowledge and Iman (faith) and those who follow the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to fulfill this task, cooperate in achieving it, and convey Allah’s Messages to His Slaves without fearing the blame of any one except Allah. Moreover, they should compliment no one in this matter; rather, they should convey Allah’s Call to His Slaves as revealed and prescribed by Him.
On the other hand, this can also be an individual obligation in a place where there is no one to undertake this task but you, as in the case of enjoining good and forbidding evil, for it might be an individual or collective obligation. If you are in a place where no one has the ability to convey Allah’s Call but you, it becomes obligatory upon you to do this. If others can observe Da’wah, enjoin good, and forbid evil, it becomes a Sunnah for you. If you hasten to observe it, you will be of those who compete and rush toward offering acts of obedience. Over and above, among the evidence supporting the fact that Da’wah is a collective obligation, is Allah’s saying:
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam).” [Al-Quran, Surah Ali-Imran, verse 104].
Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir said that this Ayah means: let there be a group of people who stand erect for this great purpose, calling to Allah, propagating His Religion, and conveying His Religion. It is also known that the Messenger (peace be upon him) called to Allah and established His Religion in Makkah as much as he could. The Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) had also done that as much as they could, then after their Hijrah (a believer’s migration to an Islamic land), they intensified Da’wah. Also, as they scattered all over the world after the Prophet’s death, they continued to do this as well, pursuant to their knowledge and capability.
Thus, upon the existence of a few people who can do Da’wah and large numbers of those doing evil, and on the prevalence of ignorance (in religion) as in our case nowadays, Da’wah becomes an individual obligation for every one, each according to his or her capability and knowledge. However, if there is a small place, a village or a town for instance, where those who exist undertake the mission and convey Allah’s Call, this shall suffice. Da’wah in this case becomes a Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet) for the others, for the proof will be established by others and Allah’s Commands will be implemented by others.
However, all people, scholars and rulers should convey Allah’s Orders according to their capability by all possible means. This is an individual obligation on them according to their capability. This way, it becomes known that Da’wah being a collective or individual obligation is a relative issue, for sometimes it is individual for some people and a Sunnah for others, since there exists those who undertake this task, so it sufficed for them.
Rulers who have more power and authority, have greater responsibility to convey the Da’wah as much as they can through every possible mean and in all spoken tongues. They should convey Allah’s Religion with these languages to communicate with a wider range of people with their languages; whether Arabic or any other language, since this matter has become possible and available now contrary to the past. Preachers should also convey as much as they can of Allah’s call in ceremonies and gatherings. They should spread Allah’s Din (religion of Islam) as much as they can, each according to his capability and knowledge.
Regarding the spread of calls to subversive principles, apostasy, and the denial of the Lord, as well as the denial of Allah’s Messages, and the Hereafter in addition to the outbreak of the call to Christianity in many countries, as well as other straying calls; the call to Allah has become mandatory for all scholars and rulers embracing Islam, as it becomes obligatory for them to convey Allah’s Din with all the power they have through writing, delivering Khutbahs (sermons), radio, and any other possible means without slackening or depending on anyone, for there is dire need today for cooperation, unity, and participation in this great matter more than ever. This is because the enemies of Allah have cooperated by all means to hinder people from the Path of Allah, cast doubt into His Religion, and call people to whatever takes them out of the pale of Islam.
Therefore, it is the duty of the people of Islam to refute such disbelieving calls using an Islamic call on all levels, by all possible means, out of fulfilling the call to Allah imposed by Him on His Slaves.
Sources: Fatwas of Ibn Baz