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How to Perform Dawah?



Reply Date

Oct 21, 2016


Assalamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters. I have a question that deals with performing dawah (by which I mean giving lectures). I am sure Islam gives some approaches. I am particularly interested in dawah in the Netherlands for Muslim youth, students at High School and Universities and also for the non-Muslims. May Allah bless your fantastic work. Give my greetings from Holland to the whole staff. Salam.



How to Perform Dawah?

Salam Dear Brother,

Thank you for this question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

May Allah help us to accomplish the task of conveying the message of Allah, Amen.

First of all, I would like to start with an explanation of what dawah is, for knowing the nature of a task helps in accomplishing it. Dawah is to invite people to Allah, to call them to know the truth and to follow it. This can be done both by word and by action.

Your words are used when you give lectures, sermons or circulate books, pamphlets, etc., that help people understand Islam. Your actions are used when making dawah through your manners, i.e. being a role model and bringing into practice the noble teachings of Islam.

Both methods (dawah by words and actions) were applied by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) setting for his Ummah (community of Muslims) a distinguished example to emulate.

Once asked about the Prophet’s manners, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) replied that his actions were the living example of all the noble teachings and principles embedded in the glorious Quran. (At-Tirmidhi)

Consequently, a Muslim is supposed to advise others using a gentle approach in an attempt to attract thirsty hearts and souls to the path of Allah. Indeed, people nowadays are keen to apply Islam more than ever, but they lack the example to follow.

Brother, the problem is not in making dawah; the problem is in the way we present it to people. It is sad to say that many people who call to Islam have ruined the image of dawah itself, through the rigid methods which they apply, thus giving a bad impression about Islam and its followers.

Thus, in the light of all the propaganda that is going on against Islam and Muslims these days, Muslims have to exert efforts in applying wisdom, good preaching and sound arguments.

When calling people to Islam, especially in the West, part of the approach you need is to make a clear distinction between “Islam” and “Muslims”. You may ask why this is so important.

The more the non-Muslims get attracted towards Islam, through its noble teachings and humane precepts, the more the bad manners of some Muslims scare off those non-Muslims. So you need to make them realize that as there are non-practicing Christians, whose acts run in sharp contrast to the dictates of Jesus Christ, there are also some people who call themselves “Muslim” while not actually practicing what it means.

Many non-Muslims wrongly identify Islam as being simply “what Muslims do” and this is a big problem when we have non-practicing Muslims.

So all in all, you need to adopt gentleness and politeness in presenting your arguments. Allah the Almighty addresses His Prophet, saying:

{Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.} (An-Nahl 16:125)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Indeed, gentleness adds more beauty to the atmosphere it reposes therein.”(Muslim)

Actually, nothing is more needed now, in making dawah, than gentleness and wisdom. The reason for this is to dispel all the superstitions and lies spread against Islam. All this needs wisdom, patience and perseverance, and such polite methods bring quick results and have rapid effect on the audience.

This reminds us how the Prophet’s gentle manners and wise approach softened the hearts of the Quraishi idolaters, such as Hind (Abu-Sufyan’s wife). She was the one who chewed Hamza’s liver and fought Islam vigorously until the 8th year of Hijrah. She did not really know the Prophet.

However, when she knew him and saw his lenient manners, she told him “I never wished someone on the face of this earth to be abased more than you and your family. Now, I do not see someone on the face of this earth more honored than you and your family.”

You see how the Prophet’s kindness and sympathy changed the hearts of the people around him? Thus, the callers to Islam of today need to learn from the noble Prophet in order to draw people to Islam, instead of driving them away.

There is also a need to change the language of dawah itself. Observing many Friday sermons nowadays, will give one a quick impression that the majority of attendants do not follow the speaker.

Actually some take Friday sermons as a suitable time to take a nap or read a newspaper, for the speaker fails to attract their attention as the audience. The Friday sermon, as a form of dawah, needs to be presented in a very compelling way and must serve the purpose of educating people and conveying the true message of Islam to them.

It is also important for you to consider your audience. You should always know what type of message they would easily grasp. Addressing the youth in a university campus actually demands extraordinary accuracy in presenting arguments, more than what will be needed when addressing another forum.

Each situation calls for a certain approach. Always try to choose a suitable time for preaching. Not all the time will you find attentive ears.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.


About Kamal Badr

Kamal Badr holds a Masters Degree in International Law & Shariah from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, with a thesis written on "Modes of Reparation in Sharia & International Law -- Comparative Studies". He is working on His Ph.D. He has been an editor-in-chief for prominent Islamic websites.

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