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Question: I would like to know what the limit is in inviting my friends and family to the straight path of Islam. I try to teach my family the right things when they go wrong, but they ignore me, get irritated, face the other way or change the topic. I feel degraded and sometimes feel I'm overdoing it and shouldn't be pushing them. But, I'm afraid of them doing wrong things because I can't bear the thought of my family burning in hellfire. Please help me in this matter. Should I tell them once and stop, or, keep reminding them every time. I'll appreciate your help.

Da’wah is an art.  Its essence is to expose people to the truth of Islam, while maintaining that they themselves have the choice to either accept or reject it.  In other words, we must never be overzealous in forcing Islam down the throats of people.  After all, we must always abide by the Qur’anic dictum:  “There shall be no coercion in religion; distinct has now become truth from falsehood: hence, whoever rejects the powers of evil and believes in Allah has indeed taken hold of a support never failing.  For God is all-Hearing, all-Knowing” (Qur’an 2: 256).

 While instructing the Messenger of Allah in the art of Da’wah, Allah said, “Call (all mankind) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most polite manner: Verily, your Lord knows best as to who strays from His path, and He knows best as to who are guided aright” (Qur’an: 16: 125).

 In keeping with the spirit of the above verses, let me state the following:

1) We are to use the most persuasive methods and gentle ways;
2) We are to refrain from attacking the religions or deities of others;
3)  We are to reflect the mercy and qualities of true believers in our words and actions.  Allah describes the Prophet’s mission as a mission of mercy to the whole world;
4) There is no more sure way of appealing to hearts than exposing them directly to the Qur’an, which is bound to influence those with a pure heart;
5) Once a person has been given the message, we must step back; we are not allowed to go beyond that and make them irritated.  Allah says, “(O Prophet) are you going to force people to believe, even if they don’t want to?”;
6) Finally, never stop praying that Allah opens their hearts to receive guidance.

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