Da‘wah (also transliterated daawa(h), means the proselytizing or preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means “issuing a summons” or “making an invitation”- a gerund of a verb meaning variously “to summon” or “to invite” (whose triconsonantal root is d-ʕ-w دعو). A Muslim who practices da‘wah, either as a religious worker or in a volunteer community effort, is called a dā‘ī (داعي, plural du‘āh/du‘āt ).
The Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) urge the importance of inviting mankind to worship Allah alone and bring others out of the darkness of disbelief and into the light of Islam. “Thus you are appointed as the model community so that you may become witness against mankind and the Messenger is witness against you” (Al-Qur’an 2:143) It is through Allah (SWT)’s mercy that we are all Muslims and it is a Muslim’s obligation to convey the message of Islam according to his ability and knowledge- “Convey from me, even if it is just one verse.” [Sahih Bukhari]
As we live in a society which increasingly shows Islam in a negative light, it is a Muslim’s duty to separate the negative images people might associate with Islam, from the actual belief system. “And do not debate with the People of the Book except with the best words, except for those who remain obstinately upon unbelief and would rather wage war.” (Al-Qur’an 20:46).
Some Methods of Doing Da’wah
- Setting: Any heavy traffic areas
- Goal: hand out as much material as possible
- Requires a plan for canvassing the area
- Not much talking
- Cover the entire pathway so you don’t miss a single person
- Have a catch phrase to arouse interest
- Setting: Giving a talk or lecture to a group of people
- Stick to the point
- Keep within the announced topic
- Example: Interfaith forum.
One-on-one style street Da’wah
- Approach people by asking them basic multiple-choice questions about Islam.
- Intoxicated – move on! Argumentative – move on!
- If conversation is getting long: make an appointment
- Setting: use email, chat rooms to propagate Islam or send letters to prisoners.
- Send links to websites in the end
- Stick to the point
One-on-one sit down Da’wah
- Setting: A detail oriented theological discussion
- Usually pre-planned
- Begin with how much the person knows about Islam.
- You may have time, but still use it wisely!
- Listen; don’t interrupt and let them finish
- Common Problem: If they repeat an argument, rephrase and say it back to them
- If the person has studied Islam find the core issue that is keeping him away
- Effective way of learning about religions within a safe environment.
- Choose a topic so that the parties can come prepared.
- Ideally find speakers to talk about the chosen topic.
- After listening to speakers, form segregated groups to discuss the topic further.
Importance of Da’wah
- Regular & continuous contact point
- One way of being in contact with non-Muslims who do not usually interact with Muslims & give them the chance to ask questions.
- Helps dispel any stereotypes through interacting with the students.
- Most effective way of interacting with a wide audience
- An opportunity to talk to people who might not usually attend Islamic talks or lectures.
- An interactive way of creating a setting for Islam to be seen and explored, as people get the chance to have one-to-one conversations.
- It can initiate friendships for the sake of Allah (SWT), which can lead to further discussions and meetings
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