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How Can I Make Dawah in the West?

12 October, 2022
Q Salam. From your own experience of talking about Islam all over the world, can you give some hints and good ideas about how to make da`wah in a way that suits the people of the West who are not Muslim?


Short Answer:  Be very courteous and very cheerful. Show people that being Muslim does not mean you have to stop being human. When you talk to Islam to others you are an ambassador of Islam. Show them that Islam is very beautiful. If you are good at speaking, then speak in a clear, confident voice. If you are not a good public speaker, use other methods to tell others about Islam.


Asalamu Alaikum Yusuf,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Your question is often asked by so many Muslims.

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It is a wonderful sign that so many Muslims love Islam so much that they want to tell others about it.

So many, though, are full of good intentions, but are not quite sure just where to begin.

What Is Da`wah?

Da`wah is one of those religious words we use that often takes on something of a mysterious meaning.

Its meaning is really very simple. It means calling others to Islam.

Now what does that “calling others” really mean?

Does it mean going out into the streets and persuading people to become Muslim?

Does it mean standing on a box in the middle of the High Street and shouting about Islam to those who are passing by?

In my opinion, certainly not!

Calling others to Islam simply means telling them what Islam is really about, and then leaving them to make up their own minds.

In Cairo, where I live, you can walk along a busy street in the center of the city and you will find young boys selling socks. “Three pairs for ten Egyptian pounds,” they will shout in Arabic. Passersby then have the chance to look at the socks.

If they are going to make a sale, the boys do not just dump the socks in a heap by the side of the road. They arrange them very carefully, perhaps in order of color.

Similarly, they do not just hope that the passersby will take a look, but they actively call out to attract their attention.

Telling people about Islam is something like this. We make what we have to say very attractive (which is not hard because Islam’s message is attractive in itself). And we call people by our cheerful words and attractive countenance.

We read in the Quran:

{Invite all to the Way of your God with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.} (An-Nahl 16:125)

A Book By Its Cover

First of all, then, if we are to talk to others about Islam, we must be presentable ourselves. This might sound obvious, but not everyone observes such a rule. By being presentable, I mean we should be clean and well dressed.

Muslims who talk about Islam to others are ambassadors of Islam and they should present themselves in such a way to others. You might be the only Muslim someone has ever met, so show them that Islam is very beautiful.

We also need to recognize that as Muslims we have different gifts and talents. 

So, be honest, and work from your own strengths. If you are good at speaking, then speak in a clear, confident voice.

If you are not a good public speaker, use other methods to tell others about Islam, and leave others to be the public face. The Internet, for example, is one way you can talk to others.

What to Say

What should you say when people ask about Islam? Well, first of all, if they ask you a question and you do not know the answer, apologize to them and admit as much. Explain that you will get back to them with a full answer to their question.

Islam is perfect and it has the answer to every question in the minds and hearts of men and women. The problem is that, because we do not read and study enough, we do not always know what that answer is, so we make Islam seem inadequate, when we are really the ones who do not know.

Never imagine that you have to persuade anyone to become Muslim. This is not da`wah. Our duty is simply to proclaim the message, and we then leave others to make up their own minds.

What a terrible thing if we were to persuade someone to become Muslim, in the heat of the moment, and then leave them without any support so that they quickly gave up their good intentions.

One very useful way of talking to others about Islam, especially if they have misconceptions about different aspects of it, is to talk about things from our own experience.

For example, if someone brings up the whole thorny issue of Muslims being terrorists, you can tell them that you are not a terrorist and that you do not know any Muslim who is. No one can argue with your personal experience without calling you a liar.

Make Dawah with Wisdom

It is important, too, to speak to people in a language they understand. There is no need to go into special religious jargon just because your talking about Islam.

Chances are that the one you are talking to will not know what you are talking about. Use language and reference things people are familiar with.

Similarly, do not expect to prove a point by quoting them chunks from the Quran. The Quran will not have a value for non-Muslims until it has been proved to have a value. Do not expect them to be bowled over with your quotes.

Finally, always be very courteous and very cheerful. Show people that being Muslim does not mean you have to stop being human. A cheerful expression and a very polite manner will go a long way to give a very good image of Islam.

And if, in the end, the ones you are talking to choose not to accept your words, then just as cheerfully and courteously wish them well and say goodbye.

You certainly do not need to lose any sleep on their account and, who knows, your words might have an effect at a later date.

I hope that these ideas are helpful.

Walaikum Asalam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Is Giving Dawah Obligatory?

What Are the Characteristics of Islamic Dawah?