“(O Prophet!) Call men to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and reason with them in the best manner possible.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 16:125)
In calling people to the truth one should bear in mind two things – wisdom and good counsel. Wisdom requires that in calling people to the truth, one should be conscious of the predilections and biases as well as the mental capacities and circumstances of the people to whom the message is being addressed. One should also be sensitive to the context in which the message is given to the people. Nor should one fail to note the diversities between different individuals and groups. Instead, when one comes into contact with an individual or a group, one should try to understand the background of that individual or group. This should be followed by a reasoned discourse that penetrates the hearts and minds of the person concerned.
As for ‘good counsel’, this denotes two things. One, that one should not be content with merely trying to convince people with the help of rational arguments. Instead, one should also appeal to the nobler emotions of man. For instance, one should not merely muster rational arguments so as to negate and show the falsity of erroneous doctrines or unrighteous behaviour. In addition, one should also evoke the instinctive repugnance to evil which is embodied in human nature and shake people into realising the horrible consequences of their misdeeds. An attempt should also be made to create a relish for them.