Habib Ali al-Jifri (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) explains the true meaning of calling to Allah.
Calling to Allah is an act that draws one closer to Allah. Its essence is a burning passion in the heart of the caller based upon love, mercy, wanting good for people and the desire to be a source of joy to the Prophet ﷺ. If this is ignited in the heart of the caller, he longs to attach the hearts of those around him to their Creator. Other worldly things which motivate most people then become meaningless to him.
This noble call, with its connection through chains of transmission in inward and outward knowledge going back through great scholars to the Prophet ﷺ, is based upon mercy—there is no harshness in it. It is based upon love—there is no hatred or rancour in it. It is based upon wisdom, beautiful preaching and debate in the best way.
The fruits that it has borne can be seen in the East and the West. Where did these fruits come from? They came from the people serving this call focusing completely on the purpose of the call. This focus in turn prevented them from demanding things from Allah which they had no right to demand: namely, that they swiftly reap the fruits of their own efforts. One of the things that veils many callers to Allah is hastily demanding to see results and selfishly wishing to be the one who picks the fruit. The true callers see their work as merely planting seeds. They would say:
“We have planted tiny seeds and we leave it to Allah to bring forth the crops.”
True callers know how to apply the Sacred Law to the situation in which they are in, and do not allow the current climate to dominate their perspective. The meaning of calling to Allah is that Allah chooses you to bring His slaves out of the heedlessness which they find themselves in a state of wakefulness in which they seek Allah’s pleasure.
The difference between the way of Prophetic inheritance and other methodologies built on infirm foundations is that those who follow this way seek to attain understanding directly from Allah, they seek to attain sincerity, they seek Allah’s assistance so that they can serve Allah in whatever role Allah has placed them in.
Extracts from a speech delivered in Dar al-Mustafa 1st Muharram, 1435/ 3rd November 2013. The full Arabic speech is available here.