A question is often asked, "How can one manage his time between seeking knowledge, working for da'wah and jihad? Where should one start?"
It seems a troubling issue suffered by many young men knocking the doors of da'wah whilst being surrounded by others calling for seeking knowledge or for jihad.
But why should one consider Islam as separate issues and then use them one against the other!
Why don't we follow the good example of the earlier Muslim generation?
One would perform the fajr (dawn) prayers with the Prophet, may Allah send His prayers and blessings upon him, then join a study circle which would go on till sun rise and then proceed to earn his living. Later on in the day you would find him hosting a bedouin to teach him the fundamentals of Islam and should there be a call for jihad you would find him in the forefront.
All of this constitutes Islam. All of this constitutes din (a complete way of life) and there is no call to separate those issues as all of them are divine injunctions and requirements.
They had learnt that from the great teacher, Muhammad, may Allah send His prayers and blessings upon him, who told them, "Convey (my teachings) to others, be it a (single) statement." [This statement is recorded by al-Bukhari]
So, a man would learn a surah (chapter) from the Qur'an, then would go and teach it to his family, the neighbours and then, may be to the rest of his tribe.
He realised, if he is to see the fruit of his efforts, having learnt a chapter in the day time he is to stand the night (or part of it) in prayers reciting what he has learnt and later on implementing it to the best of his capabilities.
He didn't see any contradiction between this and him working to earn his living, which is essential to his life.
One's life was a continuous harmony of balanced events, interconnected without double standards or contradictions.
This is not to say that you wouldn't find one of them (the companions) who excelled in a particular field which could have possibly resulted in him lacking in some other duties, as for example was the case with Khalid bin al-Walid, may Allah be pleased with him, who is reported as saying, "Jihad has kept me away from (learning) the Qur'an."
There are however, some prerequisites to be adhered to if someone for example is to preach, he is not to preach ignorance and he must preach what he has learnt of Allah's din, Islam.
Also, a person who fights for the sake of Allah should not do so unless he has learnt the necessary rules concerning jihad. He should know who he is to fight? Why he is to fight? How he is to fight?
They (the Companions) did not find in the above issues contradictions or objections, to the contrary those issues as a whole formed the particulars of their active life.
This is why when Jibril (the Angel Gabriel), may Allah send peace upon him, came to the Messenger, may Allah send His prayers and blessings upon him, - in the form of a man - asking him about Islam, iman and ihsan, the Messenger, may Allah send His prayers and blessings upon him, having answered him, then informed them (the Companions) that it was Jibril, may Allah send peace upon him, who had came to teach them their religion, as all that represented din and obedience to Allah, the Most High and far from imperfection.
It is rather wrong for someone justifying to himself his lacking in doing good, using this excuse or that. If you didn't have the opportunity to do an intended task, then the least you can do is to abstain from criticising and belittling others, who have embarked on doing that same task.
Instead, you should be supportive - helping with ideas, gently advising or (at least) making du'a (supplication) for them.
Do not let Satan lead you astray by making you think high of what you do and belittling the efforts of others. You may find yourself looking down at someone seeking knowledge about his din, because, you think, he is engaged in unnecessary details, too busy to find solutions to the society's ailments, too busy to join in Jihad.
In another instance, you might find yourself looking down at someone who is involved in Jihad because, in your opinion, he has not done enough effort to learn his religion.
Or you may find yourself looking down at someone involved in youth activities preaching to them during a trip or at the masjid (Mosque), looking down at him because, you think, he is too busy to seek knowledge from the learned scholars.
Surely all those in the above examples are good doers and the activities and tasks they have embarked on are something each one should strive to do and if someone lacks the knowledge of the other, then they should be complimentary to each other and be supportive to one another as Allah enjoined on us, for the Believers should be friendly with each other.