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Last Updated: 2011/08/02
Summary of question
Is it obligatory for Muslims to promulgate Islam (i.e. teach or convert non-Muslims)?
Is it obligatory for Muslims to spread and promulgate Islam (i.e. teach or guide non-Muslims to the right path)?
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Detailed Answer

Islam is a universal religion; it is the most perfect and the last of all the religions. Therefore, people from all tribes and nations must get acquainted with it. The only way to make others acquainted with this man-making religion is to propagate the realities, instructions, rules and manners of Islam. That is why, great importance has been attached by different Quranic verses to propagation of the religion. The Quran says:

"Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam"?[1] Also, the Quran says: "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.[2]

Although the duty of propagation of the religion is not restricted to a special group of people, the Quran has ordered that a group of the momeneen should prepare themselves for this task. It says: "And it does not beseem the believers that they should go forth all together (for Jihad); why should not then a company from every party from among them go forth (an another stays in Medina) that they may apply themselves to obtain understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they come back to them that they may be cautious?"[3]

According to the foregoing verse, propagation requires scientific preparation. Whoever has acquired religious knowledge is under the obligation to preach and propagate the religion. Imam Sadiq (a) says: "Whoever narrates our sayings profusely and strengthens Shiites hearts with it is better and more virtuous than one thousand worshippers."[4] One of the best manifestations of assisting the Imam of Time (atf) is to defend the tenets of Shiite Islam, confront the opponents and answer the spurious arguments. He who is religiously zealous should get scientific preparation and should, as far as he can, meet the scientific and propagational needs of the religion. There is no doubt that religious propagation is not restricted to oral and textual propagation; in fact, the best and the most effective method of propagation is practical and behavioral propagation.[5]

[1] - Fussilat: 33 " وَ مَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلاً مِمَّنْ دَعا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَ عَمِلَ صالِحاً وَ قالَ إِنَّنی‏ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمینَ ."

[2] - Aal-e Imran: 104 " وَ لْتَکُنْ مِنْکُمْ أُمَّةٌ یَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَیْرِ وَ یَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ یَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْکَرِ وَ أُولئِکَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُون‏"

[3] - Al-Tawbah: 122 "وَ ما کانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِیَنْفِرُوا کَافَّةً فَلَوْ لا نَفَرَ مِنْ کُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طائِفَةٌ لِیَتَفَقَّهُوا فِی الدِّینِ وَ

ِیُنْذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذا رَجَعُوا إِلَیْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ یَحْذَرُونَ "[4] - Al-Kafi: vol.1, pg.33 hadith 9. الْحُسَیْنُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ عَنْ سَعْدَانَ بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ عَنْ مُعَاوِیَةَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِأَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع رَجُلٌ رَاوِیَةٌ لِحَدِیثِکُمْ یَبُثُّ ذَلِکَ فِی النَّاسِ وَ یُشَدِّدُهُ فِی قُلُوبِهِمْ وَ قُلُوبِ شِیعَتِکُمْ وَ لَعَلَّ عَابِداً مِنْ شِیعَتِکُمْ لَیْسَتْ لَهُ هَذِهِ الرِّوَایَةُ أَیُّهُمَا أَفْضَلُ قَالَ الرَّاوِیَةُ لِحَدِیثِنَا یَشُدُّ بِهِ قُلُوبَ شِیعَتِنَا أَفْضَلُ مِنْ أَلْفِ عَابِدٍ "

[5] - Al-Kafi, vol.2, pg.10, hadith 60: :"....عَنْ أَبِی عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ کُونُوا دُعَاةً لِلنَّاسِ بِالْخَیْرِ بِغَیْرِ أَلْسِنَتِکُمْ لِیَرَوْا مِنْکُمُ الِاجْتِهَادَ وَ الصِّدْقَ وَ الْوَرَعَ "

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