Jul 7, 2014

5 Steps for Giving More Effective Dawah

by Sabina Giado


Many of us are actively engaged in the activity of Dawah (invitation to Islam), both to Muslims and to non-Muslims. Since this was the ultimate purpose of our prophet Muhammad’s (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) life, let us examine some of the best practices for giving Dawah.

The below points are raised by Br. Abdelrahman Murphy and Br. Nouman Ali Khan.

1. Check yourself first

Why do so many of us born Muslims love to hear convert stories? Is it because we need reassurance that we are indeed on the right path? Is it because the edicts of Islam are sometimes difficult to the point of frustration?

We should examine and purify our relationship with our Rabb. While difficulty on the road to Ibadah is to be expected, if we have not accepted our role as slave, we cannot expect others to do so.

2. Build on similarities, not on differences

The Noble Qur’an never shamed or belittled the words or works of Musa or Isa (alaihis salam) or any of the other prophets (peace be upon them). We are taught to respect them; in fact, it is an article of faith that we cannot be Muslims without believing in it. We should not be approaching non-Muslims with the message of “You’re wrong. We’re right.” Rather the message we should be giving is, “What you have is right. We have the final step towards becoming slaves of Allah (Subhaana Wa Ta’aala).”

Even with those who are not from the book, we should be building on what they already know about faith, spirituality or the world, not trying to tear it down and start again – since this by definition, is a more difficult task.

3. Love and serve people; do not preach to them

The reason the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)’s message had credibility in Makkah is because everyone knew what a great man he was even before he became a Messenger. This is why even Khadija (radhiAllah anha) could not fathom the idea that Allah (Subhaana Wa Ta’ala) would punish him as he was so generous, helpful and upright.

We need to show how Islam makes our lives and the lives of the community better, not worse. It is a better act of Dawah to see a Muslim regularly helping at food drives than to simply hear a message about Islam being peaceful.

4. Drop the agenda. Our job is simply to remind

  فَذَکِّرۡ اِنَّمَاۤ اَنۡتَ مُذَکِّرٌ

So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. 

 لَسۡتَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ بِمُصَیۡطِرٍ

You are not over them a controller. 

(Surat-al-Ghashiya, 21-22) 

Even though he often became very anguished over their fate, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not have any control over the minds and hearts of the people he was preaching to. His job was simply to remind. Br. Nouman Ali Khan says that the word ‘them’ was not included in the ayah above because Prophet Muhammed (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was not supposed to worry about them at all. His focus should always be on the reminder.

We should adopt a similar focus inshaAllah.

This changes the way we act in dawah situations immeasurably. We are no longer trying to ‘convert’ someone. We can always tell when someone is talking to us just to get something or just to tell us something they think we should know.

In dawah situations, our objective is to remind them of their fitra, their true nature, and the way they should truly worship their Creator. And that reminder comes best when it is shown rather than told.

5. Do not expect immediate results

The decreasing attention span of the current generation is beyond the scope of this article.

However, the fact is, we have just started on that road to correcting the bad reputation of Muslims around the globe. It might take us a very long time and an honest effort to get us back to the place Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was in, where even his sworn enemy was happy that his daughter married him. InshaAllah, let us try to be patient even when the going gets tough.

Everything good in this article is from Allah (Subhaana Wa Ta'aala) and all mistakes are from me.

I'd love to hear your view on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!


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