Praise be to Allah.
After examining the obstacles of despair, fearfulness and laziness -- which are among the most serious obstacles faced by daa’iyahs (those who call people to Allaah) -- we can suggest two important remedies that will help in facing these challenges.
Remembering the immense rewards and great virtue that there is with Allaah (May He be glorified and exalted). The one who is certain that Allaah is the one Who has guaranteed this reward for him, and that He is looking at him, when he is guiding people to Him and showing them the way to Allaah, will not hesitate for a day or even for a moment to persist in his efforts and strive to continue on his way, and to overcome everything that calls him to despair, laziness and fearfulness. The wise daa’iyah is the one who bears in mind constantly the verses which give glad tidings to the daa’iyahs and those who teach the people good, such as the verses in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(The believers whose lives Allaah has purchased are) those who turn to Allaah in repentance (from polytheism and hypocrisy), who worship (Him), who praise (Him), who fast (or go out in Allaah’s Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (on people) Al‑Ma‘roof and forbid (people) from Al‑Munkar, and who observe the limits set by Allaah. And give glad tidings to the believers”
“Verily, those who say: ‘Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!
31. ‘We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner‑selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask.
32. ‘An entertainment from (Allaah), the Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful.’
33. And who is better in speech than he who [says: “My Lord is Allaah (believes in His Oneness),” and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allaah’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: ‘I am one of the Muslims’”
Reading biographies of daa’iyahs who called people to Allaah, and focusing on the biography of the leader of all daa’iyahs, Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him), in order to find out about the high ambition of these great daa’iyahs, learn from them and follow their example, and how they were not lazy or afraid and did not despair. Rather the slogan of all of them was what the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said when the angel of the mountain thought that he had despaired of his people, and offered to destroy them by Allaah's command, but the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) answered him with confidence and certainty: “ Rather I hope that Allaah will bring forth from their descendants those who will worship Allaah alone and not associate anything with Him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3231) and Muslim (1795).
What despair can remain after the daa’iyah sees this great determination? What fearfulness can remain after he sees what the noble Sahaabah, those who followed in their footsteps and the noble scholars faced in order to convey this religion to us today. Were not thousands of the very best of the people killed for the sake of this? Were not thousands of the righteous persecuted? Were they not tested with imprisonment and deprivation in numbers known only to Allaah? What virtue can be hoped for by the one who sits in his house and fails to spread the religion of Allaah and support truth and justice on earth? Does he think that he will be equal to those who enjoin justice and follow the right path? Or does he think that the scales on the Day of Resurrection will not show people’s good deeds, when many generations have gone before us who showed their resolve in this field? The one who studies their life stories and ponders their exploits will be motivated to strive, and he will be inspired as the early generations were inspired. Khaalid ibn al-Waleed (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “May the eyes of the cowards never sleep.” Narrated by Ibn ‘Asaakir in Tareekh Dimashq.
Dr. Sayyid al-‘Affaani (may Allaah preserve him) said:
Ahmad ibn Dawood Abu Sa’eed al-Waasiti said:
I entered upon Ahmad in prison before they beat him, and I said to him among other things: O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, you have dependents and young children and you are excused. It was as if I was encouraging him to say something (when interrogated) to save him trouble. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said to me: “If this is how you think, O Abu Sa’eed, then you will be safe!”
How often such things are said to the daa’iyahs today, and how many people have knowledge of Islam yet tell themselves something similar, then feel fearful and withdraw, and do not follow in the footsteps of the daa’iyahs. Rather these are the words of one who wants to play it safe, as Imam Ahmad said. As for the one whose heart is touched by the situation of the Muslims, how can he play it safe? How can he allow his wife and children to be the cause of his resolve becoming weakened and refrain from supporting the call to the religion of Allaah?
Is death anything but something definite that will come at the appointed time?
“And no person can ever die except by Allaah’s Leave and at an appointed term. And whoever desires a reward in (this) world, We shall give him of it; and whoever desires a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give him thereof. And We shall reward the grateful”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:145]
Working for Islam will not hasten death, but it will raise one to Firdaws (the highest level of Paradise).
If the Muslim is not with Ahmad, or the heirs of Ahmad, and he is idle because of some excuse or quasi-excuse, than he is expected to feel sorry for himself or look down upon himself at least, because he is not with people who are striving to call people to Allaah. As it was said to the ascetic Bishr ibn al-Haarith al-Haafi, on the day that Ahmad ibn Hanbal was punished, “Ahmad ibn Hanbal has been given seventeen lashes so far.” Bishr stretched forth his leg and started looking at his calf and saying: “How ugly is this calf, because it does not have chains around it in support of this man.”
The sincere Muslim, if he finds an excuse for himself and allows himself to stay behind and not join the venture of the daa’iyahs for fear of fitnah and the persecution of the tyrants, or because of some legitimate excuse or weakness that he sees in himself, or confusion, then he should acknowledge what he should do and show humility and stop attacking the daa’iyahs; he should continue to criticize himself and the conclusions he has reached, and speak well of those who are patient, courageous and dedicated to da’wah. As for the one who is controlled by his whims and desires, and argues and waffles, using harsh words lest anyone accuse him of staying behind, by his argument he combines the error of lagging behind with the error of criticizing those who are doing good work – Allaah forbid. End quote.
Salaah al-Ummah fi ‘Uluw al-Himmah (2/100-102)
For more information, please see the chapter entitled Kayfa ta’lu al-Himam in the seventh volume of the book Salaah al-Ummah fi ‘Uluw al-Himmah (p. 285-367), in which are mentioned 33 means that help to increase one's resolve and overcome causes of incapability and laziness.
We advice you to read the chapter ‘Uluw al-Himmah fi’l-Da’wah ila Allaah (2/141-5), and also the essay al-Hawr ba’d al-Kawr by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Duwaysh (may Allaah preserve him) and the essay ‘Ajz al-Thiqaat by Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Moosa al-Shareef (may Allaah preserve him).
And Allaah knows best.