By Shaykh 'Alî Hasan al-Halabî
The Loftiest Goal
It will not be hidden from the one who has knowledge of the Book and has studied the Sunnah, that the loftiest goal and the highest aim which the Muslim works to implement in himself and amongst the people is: The worship of Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic. There is no way to keep this worship pure and unblemished, except by knowing true Tawhîd of Allâh (to single out Allâh alone for worship). The dâ'î (caller) who knows this way will find it very difficult to implement, yet he does not make this an obstacle in his way, since day and night in his da'wah (call), he is an embodiment of the saying of our Prophet sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam: “The people who receive the severest trial are the Prophets, then those most like them and then those most like them.”  How can this not be the case whilst he is following his sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam's, path, taking his life as an example and following his way!
“So the ones most like them, then those most like them, are the pious who follow their method and approach in calling to Allâh, and who call to what they called to: Tawhîd of Allâh and making worship sincerely for Him alone, and rejecting Shirk (associating partners with Allâh in those things that are particular to Him). So they will meet with similar harm and misfortune as was met by their example, the Prophets. Because of this, you see many of the dâ'îs (callers) turning away horn this difficult way and rugged path. Since the dâ'î who follows it will meet opposition from his mother, his father, his brother, those whom he loves and his friends; and he will have to face the community and its hostility, its mockery and harms. Instead, they deviate and turn their attention to aspects of Islâm which do have importance - and will not be denied by anyone believing in Allah. But these areas do not carry the difficulty, hardship nor ensuing mockery and harm, particularly in Islâmic societies. Since the majority of the Islâmic Ummah (community) rally around this type of dâ'î, surrounding them with a ring of respect and honour - not mockery and harm - unless they threaten the rulers, or their authority, in which case they are restrained by force - such as the political parties, which oppose the rulers and threaten their positions. So when this is the case, the rulers show no affection for them, whether they are ones near to them or related, Muslim or kâfir
Whatever the case, we say to those dâ'î, that however much noise they make and however much they raise their voices in the name of Islâm, check yourselves, because you have deviated from Allâh's way and His Straight and clear Path which was followed by the Prophets and their followers, in calling to the Tawhîd of Allâh and making the Dîn sincerely for Him. So however much you move around and raise your voices in the name of Islâm, then still you are deviating from the way of the Prophets which Allâh laid down. Whatever your efforts to cause your da'wah (call) and your way to materialise - then you are preoccupying yourselves with the means at the expense of the end - and the means is useless if it harms the end; and is given undue importance at its expense!” 
The Prophetic Methodology
Islâm has many branches and various parts, so it is essential: “To begin with what is of greatest importance, then that which follows in importance. Thus, the first thing to give da'wah to is the correction of 'aqîdah (belief) by ordering that worship be made sincerely for Allâh and forbidding Shirk, then ordering the establishment of Prayer and payment of Zakâh and carrying out the obligatory duties and avoiding forbidden acts. This was the way of all the Messengers, as He - the Most High - says:
“We assuredly sent to every people a Messenger (commanding): Worship Allâh and turn away from at-Tâghût.” 
“Not a Messenger did We send before you, except that We revealed to him: That none has the right to be worshipped except Me, therefore worship Me.” 
The life of the Prophet sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam and his way in calling to Allâh is the best example and his method the most perfect. Since he remained for years calling the people to Tawhîd and forbidding them from Shirk, before ordering them with Prayer, Zakât, Fasting and Hajj; and before he forbade them from usury, fornication, stealing and unlawful killing.” 
Planting the Correct 'Aqîdah
Thus, the most fundamental principle is to establish the worship of Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - as He - the One free from all defects - says:
“I did not create Jinn and man except to worship Me.” 
This cannot be except through realising the Tawhîd of Allâh - the Majestic - in knowledge, action, in everyday life and in Jihâd. You will find many dâ'îs calling to Islâm - and groups and parties within Islâm - using up their lives and wasting their youth [apparently] gasping for the rule of Islâm, or seeking establishment of the Islâmic State.
However, if you examine them, you will find them immersed in acts contrary to the Sharî'ah (Islâmic Laws) and Shirk and Bid'ah (innovation), except for those upon whom my Lord - the One free from all defects - has had mercy upon. Forgetting, or pretending to forget; ignorant or feigning ignorance that: “Establishing the rule of Islâm in any land will not come about by the likes of these ways. And that it will not be except through a long and slow way - which keeps in mind the rule and not the summit; and begins with planting 'aqîdah (beliefs) anew and cultivation of Islâmic manners. This way, which appears slow and very long, is the shortest and quickest.” 
“Achieving implementation of the Islâmic order and rule by the Sharî'ah (Law) of Allâh is not a short term goal, since it cannot be achieved until whole societies - or at least a good portion of them, having sufficient weight in the society - are taken to a correct understanding. of the Islâmic 'aqîdah, then of the lslâmic system; and to correct Islâmic training upon the manners of Islâm, however long that takes and however slow the stage.” 
In summary “Establishment of the Sharî'ah, application of the Hudûd (prescribed punishments), establishment of the Islâmic State, avoidance of what is forbidden and carrying out what is obligatory, all of these things are from the rights of Tawhîd and things that render it complete; and they follow on from it. So how can secondary matters be given such importance that the primary matter is neglected?
It is my view, that the contradictions of the groups and parties to the way of the Messenger, in calling to Allâh, occurs due to their ignorance of this way - and the ignorant person should not be a dâ'î. Since the most important condition for da'wah (calling to Islâm) is knowledge, as He - the Most High - says concerning His Prophet:
“Say: This is my way. I do call to Allâh upon knowledge, I and those who follow me. Glory be to Allâh! Never will I associate partners with Him.” 
The most important attribute of a dâ'î is knowledge ... The followers of the Messenger are upon a single way and do not differ. Rather those who differ are those who diverge from this way, as He - the Most High - says:
“Verily this is My Straight Path, so follow it; and do not follow other paths, they will take you away from His Path.” ” 
The Muslim's Aim and Purpose
In conclusion: “Tawhîd is the starting point for da'wah to Allâh and is its goal. There can be no da'wah to Allâh without it, even if it takes upon itself an Islâmic name and attributes itself to it. Since all the Messengers - and at their head, the most noblest of them and their seal, Muhammad sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam - had at its beginning, goal and end of their da'wah, the Tawhîd of Allâh. So every Messenger sent to his people began by saying:
“O people! Worship Allâh. None has the right to be worshipped except Him.” ” 
This is the highest goal for the Muslim and his loftiest aim, for which he strives all his life, exerting himself and propagating it amongst the people and implanting it amongst the creation. “And the Creator, who made ready for His servants, everything required for their well-being of their world, is the same One who prescribed the Dîn of Islâm for them and guaranteed its preservation forever. And His care in preserving the Dîn is greater, since that is the purpose of this world. Allâh - the Mighty and Majestic - says:
“I did not create Jinn and Man except to worship Me.” ”
1. Taken from Ad-Da'wah Ilallâh Baynat-Tajammu'il-Hizbî wat-Ta'âwunish-Shar'î (pp.33-39) by the Shaykh - from the first chapter: “The Muslims' Aim and Purpose.”
2. Reported by at-Tirmidhî (no.2400), Ibn Mâjah (no.4023) and others - from Sa'd ibn Abî Waqqâs. The isnâd is Hasan.
3. Manhajul-Anbiyâ lid-Da'wah ilallâh fîhil-Hikmah wal-'Aql (p.31) of Shaykh Rabî' ibn Hâdî.
4. Sûrah Nahl 16:36.
5. Sûrah Anbiyâ 21:25.
6. Slightly adapted from the introduction of Shaykh Sâlih ibn Fawzân to Manhajul-Anbiyâ (p.9).
7. Sûrah adh-Dhâriyât 5156.
8. Limâdba A'damûnî (p.67) of Sayyid Qutb.
9. Limâdba A'damûnî (p.29).
10. Sûrah Yûsuf 12:108.
11. Sûrah An'âm 6:153
12. Slightly adapted from the introduction of Shaykh Sâlih ibn Fawzân to Manhajul-Anbiyâ (p.8).
13. Sûrah A'âf 7:59, 65, 73, 85
14. Manhajul-Anbiyâ (p.11) of Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahmân 'Abdul-Khâliq.
15. At-Tankîl (1/48) of 'Allâmah al-Mu'allamî al-Yamanî.