It is reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that Muadh said: The Messenger of Allah sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and (at the time of departure) instructed me thus: You will soon find yourself in a community one among the People of the Book. So first call them to testify that there is no god but Allah, that I (Muhammad) am the messenger of Allah. And if they accept this, then tell them that Allah has enjoined them five prayers during the day and the night and if they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made Zakat obligatory for them that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor, and if they agree to it, don’t pick up (as a share of Zakat) the best of their wealth. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no barrier between him and Allah.
The People of the Book believed in the existence of God. But as it was alloyed with so many wrong conceptions and mistaken notions, their belief in God was not correct. Their mere faith in the existence of God was not enough. Therefore, the Holy Messenger (may Allah bless and greet him) asked Muadh to call the People of the Book to testify God according to the teachings of Islam. It should be Tauheed (Monotheism), pure and simple; and no one and nothing should be associated with Him in His Godhead. Similarly, calling to the prophethood of Muhammad is indicative of the fact that belief in his prophethood is an integral part of the faith.
This hadith throws a good deal of light on the practical wisdom with which the Divine Faith should be taught to people. First, the preacher should winnow out the mistaken notions which had taken roots, and correct beliefs about God, apostlehood of His Messenger should be inculcated in their minds. Then on the basis of God-consciousness religious practices should be enjoined upon the people. An attempt should also be made to weed out all those evils which undermine God-consciousness in man and thus hamper his spiritual and moral growth.