How Do I Overcome Abuse When Making Dawah?

07 April, 2017
Q Asalamu Alaikum, I am a person who makes dawah in the US. And I am getting burnt out. So many people are full of hate and ignorance and say horrifying things to me that I could never have imagined would come out of a person’s mouth. I know that Allah says in the Quran to not let their words grieve you. But I just don't know how to do that. I am depressed and anxious and very grieved by the things non-Muslims say in ignorance about Islam and the Muslims and even the threats they make. How do I not let this affect me? Please help.

Answer

Wa alaikum Assalam,

Thank you for sending in your question to our website, sister.

First of all, let me commend you for doing the noble and reward-worthy work of da’wah (calling to Islam) in the West, particularly in the current climate of hate and hostility against Islam and Muslims.

Surely, it is a sign of good fortune, that a Muslim is chosen to do the work of Allah’s Prophets on earth. It is surely not an easy task, though, as you have admitted yourself.

How does a da’ee (caller to Islam) remain steadfast, patient, and hopeful in doing the work of the Prophets i.e. calling non-Muslims towards Islam, without getting burnt out and despondent as a result of their negative behavior and harsh opposition to it?

There are a few steps you can take in order to prevent burnout and despondence, enabling you to continue your work with positivity and enthusiasm:

  1. Reflect & ponder upon the Prophets’ stories in the Qur’an

You have already mentioned in your question, how Allah has reassured Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Qur’an, and advised him to not feel hurt by what his opponents said about him and the religion he was preaching.

Reciting these verses of reassurance and solace, memorizing them, and listening to them results in a calm serenity descending upon the burnt-out caller to Islam who is feeling down due to the hate that he or she receives from non-Muslims during their work.

Pondering upon the stories of the Prophets in the Qur’an, which thankfully come again and again, also allows a da’ee to compare his much easier situation to the many dire ones faced by the Prophets of Allah during their lives.

Your feelings are proof of your human-ness, and your dependence upon your Creator. Take these feelings of despair as golden opportunities to reconnect closely to Allah, and to ponder upon His Divine words.

Use these times in which you feel broken and humbled, as chances for “retreating” to your Lord, preferably in the darkness of the late night hours just before Fajr prayer.

Believe me, you will feel much better!

  1. Alter your da’wah methods & schedule

Perhaps a little break is always best when a caller to Islam begins to feel overwhelmed. Da’wah can be done in various forms, e.g. online as well as in person. Public speaking, writing, video recording/editing, street conversations, seminars, volunteering at shelters, distributing materials, teaching, counseling, etc. — there are so many ways of doing da’wah.

Try to choose a schedule of activities and modes of da’wah that affords you regular breaks to breathe and take some leisure time off.

Furthermore, if you are working for da’wah 6 days a week, make it 4. Substitute some of the time off with an alternative form of da’wah.

Not all of us are meant to be up on a podium delivering a talk. The people behind the camera, the editors, writers, and organizers — all are contributing.

So, if the front-end hate gets too much for you, skip back and forth between behind-the-scenes, grassroots work and front-end, interactive sessions with non-Muslims.

  1. Connect with other da’ees for moral support

This is very important! I am assuming you must have some kind of helpers and comrades on your noble mission already.

But if you don’t, I would like to suggest that you join some credible da’wah organization that allows you to network with and meet others who are also doing similar da’wah work, especially older Muslims who have more experience.

God-willing, you will learn from them just by sporadically being around them, hearing their stories, and exchanging notes.

  1. Remember that you are blessed!

Thank Allah everyday for being chosen to work for furthering the cause of Allah’s religion, which is the only true religion in the world. Islam will eventually spread to every corner of the earth, either with or without our contribution.

Allah has chosen you to be among the lucky few who are earning humongous rewards by doing the work of the Prophets.

Reminding yourself of this great honor and privilege will make you gain the strength to get back up and go back to your work, albeit after taking a break.

  1. Take a break!

Burnout is usually a sign that you might be neglecting yourself. So, prevent yourself from being overburdened beyond what you are able to optimally do, and remember that there is nothing wrong with this.

Try to regularly disengage (temporarily) from your da’wah work, in order to spend some leisure time with your family. This includes temporarily disconnecting from technology, news, and social media as well.

Partake in educational games, read Islamic books, go to the spa, attend a masjid class, or just go off on a short holiday to admire the beautiful earth landscapes.

Relax and chill out. The Prophet did!

Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your question.

Salam. Please stay in touch.

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

https://aboutislam.net/shariah/quran/quranic-reflections/patience-dawah-6-quranic-tips/

https://aboutislam.net/shariah/shariah-and-humanity/dawah-challenges-and-keyword-solution-series/

https://aboutislam.net/shariah/shariah-and-humanity/three-challenges-every-caller-to-islam-should-expect/