Aug 28, 2013

How to Start a Conversation when giving Dawaah

By Umeusman


Living in the West, where there are many misconceptions about our religion such as women being the oppressed ones, I get a lot of stares. Some have pity, some show intrigue, and some have plain dislike.

I respond to most of them with one thing; well actually two.

1. Smile

2. Gracious greeting

Some reply, others avert their gaze and some actually come up and talk to me and ask questions. It is my personal commitment to spread the word that Islam is a great and beautiful religion.

A lot of people are unaware of the importance of communication when it comes to Dawaah. It starts with building your rapport with your audience. How do you build a rapport with anyone? YOU take the first step.

You initiate the conversation. You take interest in their interests. You start a conversation with them. Next, how do we start talking to a perfect stranger? To strike up a chit chat with anyone looks easy, but for most of us, it takes a whole lot of effort and courage to do so.

One of the most important things, which a lot of people ignore, is body language. And yes this also applies to hijaabis and niqaabis. This is one of the most amazing traits of Allah’a creation, we all can feel when somebody is approachable or feels hostile. It is our responsibility that we put our best step forward to represent our great Deen.

If you notice somebody staring at you, just acknowledge them with a nod. Two things can happen; either they will respond or ignore you. You on your part have done your job. Even if they ignore you, they will think in their head “OMG THAT MOOSLIM just nodded at me!!” And subconsciously they have reacted to you and just interacted with a khalifah of Allah’s Deen.

In another scenario, if they do approach you to talk, be friendly. Do not be offended if they say something which can be taken as rude or ill-mannered. Once I was shopping at a store for summer dresses, wearing my burqa and head scarf as usual. I noticed a lady constantly looking at the type of “western” clothing I was browsing. I noticed her and at first I did try to ignore her. After a while, I turned and smiled. She smiled back and came up to me looking utterly perplexed. She asked why am I looking/trying these clothes? I smiled and showed her what I wear underneath which in fact was a summer dress. She was amazed and asked the same question which numerous people before her had asked me “So you don’t wear this black thing at home?!” I replied and told her a little about why and from whom I cover. She was amazed by that information. We parted on a good note.

As I mentioned earlier about building a rapport with someone on a one on one basis, how do you do that? To start, you have to look like you mean it. Look friendly. People can sense if you are confident or nervous. Stand tall and talk with purpose. Another very important thing is to be perceptive of your audience. Reflect the surrounding in your conversation. Actually taking a cue from your environment is a great conversation starter. For example, in Canada, people can always relate to the weather, for example cold, too cold, hot, too hot, you like it, or hate it. Asking the other what they think about it, is always a great conversation starter. To make it easy on the eyes, let’s break up the whole art of conversation in point form with some sub sections.

1. Smile/look approachable.

2. Greeting (hi, hello or any local greeting):

a. Now see if they look interested enough in a small chit chat. You will be able to judge by the way they respond to you.

b. If they move backwards and look at their watch or their phones, most probably they are not in the mood to talk.

3. Open with a neutral topic:

a. If you are in a mall, ask them what they think of it.

b. If you are in a residential elevator, remark on coming back home.

c. If you are in a workplace elevator, comment on caffeine.

4. Take clues from their replies:

a. Women relate better to personal remarks. I like your purses, nail polish, hijabs.

b. Men relate mostly to facts, cars, sports, and politics.

5. Wrap up the conversation gracefully.

a. Everybody is busy rushing to somewhere.

b. Keep the conversation short and simple. Unless the other party wants to prolong it and so do you.

c. Take your leave on a positive note.

On the Day of Judgement, we all will be asked if we did our part in spreading the word of Allah. Talking to strangers with the intention of just introducing Islam in a positive light inshAllah will be counted as Dawaah. I am not a mufti, haafidha or aalima (definitely working to be one though). But we all have to work in our capacity to spread this great religion. I can leave a good and positive impression on a non-Muslim so they may re-evaluate their mental image of Islam, which is the first step towards becoming a believer!

Even though this has become somewhat a cliché but people:“Smile; it’s a sunnah!”

Please share your thoughts on how to start a conversation for the purpose of dawaah.


very nice n very informative jazakhallhu khair sis :)

MashAllah! Very Nice Information! Needed it the Most! :)
JazakAllah Khair!

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