|11-02-2004, 03:40 PM||#1|
The Successful Da'iy
The Successful Da'iy
by: Ali Salaah
Alhamdulillah wasalaatu wasalaamu 'ala rasulih, Muhammad, sallallahu alaihi wasalaam. Allahuma ighfirlee warhamni wahdini warzuqni
How many of us have sat at dawah tables in colleges and went a day without talking to a single person? How many of us have tried to tell someone about Islam but at the end the person walks away without the desire to become Muslim?
The unfortunate answer to this is that many of us have experience this and just about everyone who has done dawah has had many downfalls. We can look at our approach and see what cause these downfalls and see how we can fix them in order to be a more successful da'iy.
This is the purpose of writing this. I would like to offer some quick and easy tips, if followed, will make you, a successful da'iy, inshaallah. My recommendation is that you save or print this and review it many times. That way these tips can stay fresh in your mind and tongue when engaged in daily activities and talks to those who are not Muslim. The biggest mistake of all is that some of us have a lot of knowledge, but at the moment of talking to someone, have no direction in how to give the dawah.
Tip 1: Turn every possible moment of life into a dawah opportunity
The first step of giving dawah is to have the opportunity to give dawah in the first place. To be a successful da'iy, we must always be involved in dawah and turn our whole daily lives into dawah. Take for example, someone at work reads an article on food, and they come to you and say, "Did you know scientists say it is very unhealthy to eat until you are completely full?" You can respond here in many ways, with something from Islam and from the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw), such as, "This is very true. The final prophet sent by Allah, Muhammad (saw), advised us that the worst container to fill is our stomachs, its amazing that a lot of things scientist discover show us the wisdom behind things we already know from Islam."
You can choose what to say and what is best depending on the situation. Dawah is not math and it is something in which we use our wisdom to respond and explain the message of Allah (swt) to mankind. The main point is to take every opportunity to point out something in Islam that will reach and open the heart of the potential Muslim, to Islam. We must not forget when we talk that every man, woman and child is a potential revert to Islam.
There are a couple main things you accomplish with the above example. First, you point out something, which exemplifies the greatness of Islam as a perfect way of life. Second, you make a connection between the actions they do or knowledge they agree with, to something in Islam, which ultimately brings that person closer to accepting Islam. Every time you make bridges between Islam and that person’s thoughts and beliefs you make a reversion to Islam easier and more logical for that person. Third, by connecting to something they are already interested in or believe in, with Islam, you have made Islam something more amazing and convincing to them. This will help to make them even more interested in the truth of Islam, and want to eventually become Muslim, inshaallah. Finally, this could lead to the person actually responding with, "could you tell me more about Islam, or this Muhammad person?" This would be the greatest opportunity for you to continue giving dawah and with the following tips you will be completely prepared for that opportunity, inshaallah.
Tip 2: Find out the persons interests or problems with Islam at the beginning of a talk.
Many people make the mistake, when doing dawah, of not knowing what the person is interested in or not knowing how much the person already knows about Islam. When talking to someone whose interests you do not know, nor the amount of knowledge of Islam they have, you can be set to fail from the very beginning. The very first thing, after actually starting a conversation, should be to find out what they know about Islam and if they have any reservations about Islam.
There are many ways to do this. One of the best ways I have found, for example, is to ask, "Are you Muslim?" When they respond that they are not you can ask, "Why not?" From here, they may say, "I am not Muslim because I don't know who Muhammad is." When you realize their excuse or reason for not being Muslim, you can tailor your discussion to answer what needs answered for the message of Islam to reach their heart, inshaallah.
You could also ask them right after your greeting "What do you know about Islam?" There are many ways to do this and you can always use whatever works best for you, but the main point from this is to know your potential revert from the start of the conversation. If the person loves a certain thing, maybe Islam will reach their heart through that interest of theirs, inshaallah.
Tip 3: Always have focus in your discussion.
So now you have started a conversation with someone, and you know exactly what their personal barriers between them and Islam are. Now what? Now comes the part where you must explain Islam to them. The most common problem at this point is focus, in two ways. First someone may jump from point to point about Islam with no focus and not get their point across or even make a conclusion to the person they are speaking. Second they could know what they want to talk about but get stuck explaining only one point of theirs and never make a conclusion. I have seen this happen where people will get stuck on a side issue for hours and never get to the point! By that time the person is either bored or has to go, and the opportunity to bring them the message of Islam has passed.
What should we focus on then? This ties in to the second tip, find out what their barrier is and focus on that. While explaining any side topics of Islam, never stay on them to long. You always want to bring your discussion towards explaining tawhid and convincing them of the truth that Allah is One and that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was truly a prophet.
So if 'Women in Islam' is a huge topic to the person you are talking to (even if they are a feminist and firm in this ideology) you will want to take a minute or two to explain key points on the issue, but it is very important to then tie the issue into the essential beliefs of Islam. An example of a way you could do this is by ending a short explanation with "and we do this because it is commanded by Allah, and our only true purpose in life is to follow His commands in order to earn His pleasure." Or somehow tying it into why they need Islam and why they need to believe in Allah.
A good rule, when talking to someone, is to not stay on the same topic very long and to try your best to be conscious about this while talking. Two things can happen when you do this. First, the potential revert will get bored and tune you out. Second, you will lose the whole effect of your talk to them if you do not make a point and draw it to a conclusion. The most important point is to fully explain everything in a timely manner and to always bring the focus on our essential beliefs in Allah, the prophets, and so on. Never bore them during the process. May Allah help us all in this, ameen.
Tip 4: Create a sense of Urgency to become Muslim.
This tip is so important because without creating a sense of urgency many people have thought about religion on and off their whole life and dieing in that state. If you don't create a sense of urgency and point out why one must be a Muslim then after your conversation they may leave and never become Muslim. We must remember that the Prophet (saw) had a balance in his dawah. There is an extremely important balance between hope and fear in Islam and one we must use in our dawah. We tell people of the benefits and rewards of Jannah and we warn of the horror and punishment of the Hellfire. Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Severe.
It is not being to harsh if you remind people of the Hellfire in your dawah. Warning of the punishment of Hellfire is from the Sunnah, as this is something Prophet (saw) did many times in his (saw) own dawah. You must almost balance the fear with hope. Mention that when one becomes Muslim all their past sins are forgiven and in Islam if you do not know an aspect of Islam and sin out of valid ignorance (not being intentionally ignorant by never reading/learning) then it is not even counted as a sin (especially use this for the argument that they want to know how to pray and so forth before they become Muslim).
You MUST create this sense of urgency and let them know that Allah wants for us to be guided to the truth and will only accept His truth (Quran 5:3). Remind them that they could die any minute and that if they agree with you (that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (saw) is His final Messenger) than there is nothing holding them back from entering Islam except Shaytan himself (audhu billah) who wishes to bring as many of us and them (potential reverts) to Hellfire with him.
Through utilization of this technique, I have seen a handful of brothers (5 or less) give dawah and get over 20 individual shahadahs in a couple of hours. If there was no sense of urgency, then one of those brothers could have talked with one person the whole time and walked away with that person thinking there is nothing wrong with him staying a Christian till the day he dies. With a sense of urgency, the person knowing they are making a choice of Jannah or Hellfire, and the truth and logic of Islam a person will be on their way to becoming Muslim, with the guidance of Allah. May Allah guide us and them, ameen.
Tip 5: Make the disbeliever (kafr) uncomfortable with his disbelief (kufr).
An important aspect of dawah is to make a disbeliever uncomfortable with his disbelief (and make belief [Islam] comfortable in their hearts). The more comfortable and firm they are in believing that Allah is not One, the harder it is to call them to Allah's way of life (Islam). I would not recommend deep biblical debates to anyone without sound knowledge of the bible. Even with the truth if your knowledge lacks in one area a person with falsehood can still defeat you in a debate and you will in turn make him feel stronger in his disbelief (kufr). That can hurt not only his chances of becoming Muslim but make him stronger so that in the future he is less likely to want to become a Muslim.
This does not mean, though, to insult a belief they hold dear to their heart. As stated before you want to start by bridging the gaps between them and Islam and then after that destroy the reasons why they want to be anything but a Muslim. Afterwards it is a matter of convincing them that there is no time, like now (urgency), to be a Muslim themselves. This also ties in very closely with the creating a sense of urgency. After bridging the gaps and explaining how only Islam can help them, remind them that death is always very near so they will remember death. With that thought they will no longer think their religion is good enough to prepare them for death and they will see Islam as their only salvation and become Muslim, inshaallah.
Tip 6: Follow up.
Anywhere you go you can see one of our greatest problems (maybe the greatest next the lack of giving dawah in general) in giving dawah. After someone becomes Muslim no one tells them where they can go for help or education. Even the one who the new Muslim says shahadah to, often loses interest afterwards and thinks his job is done and somehow this new Muslim will be fine.
The reality is that this revert has a life and in that life everything is the same from his days of Jahiliyah as they are now that he is a Muslim. With the same friends, family, role models, and even girlfriend or boyfriend they will soon distance themselves from Islam and the Shaytan will move in fast. Their whole life will be rejecting their Islam and many times they will soon eventually leave Islam. I met someone who used to be Muslim. After they converted no one followed up, therefore that person never learned more and felt Islam had not brought anything new into his life. He then started feeling that he was a bad Muslim, causing him to leave Islam.
Islam can only change someone’s life if he learns it and implements it. This is why after someone converts we must help increase their knowledge of the pillars and how they can practice Islam in every aspect of daily life. In doing this they will see Islam change them into a better person and they themselves will become passionate about this deen, inshaallah.
Solution? I have seen a lot of success in setting up a weekly dinner for Muslims and new Muslims. In your classes where you have many of the best Muslims in your community coming for Islamic knowledge you should advertise that there will be a new Muslim dinner every week, maybe a Saturday evening or whatever is best in your area. Advise the brothers and sisters that come to bring food and not to overload the new Muslims with questions. Make them feel comfortable and feel that they are apart of the community. At the dinner the new Muslims will get to meet people who have reverted in the past and good Muslims who can exchange phone numbers and become friends and mentors. This will help put positive Islamic influence in their lives to keep them firm and protect them from Shaytan.
The dinner would not be a stand alone approach. After the dinner have a class or period of time where you do a short halaqa on what they should know as new Muslims, a brief overview of Islam. A class does not have to be done by the imam but should be done by someone who you think is best in talking and explaining things to the people, although it may be good for them to meet the imam and know who he is. In the class try to have a good portion for discussion at the end with question and answers. Then at the end instruct them on where they can go for future questions and guidance.
After the short class you can have lessons on how to make Salah and afterwards pray Isha (or whatever prayer comes) with them. It is essential that before everyone leaves from the dinner that all the new Muslims have one or two people who will be committed to tutoring them in their beginning of Islam (mentor or buddy system).
In any event that you do follow the Sharia throughout the event with such things as separation of men and women and so on. This will be the first impression of Islam for most of them and it is well known that it is easier to learn something right the first time from the beginning, then to learn something wrong and later change it, especially if it is something that is a complete way of life such as Islam where every aspect is related and tied in with other aspects. One confusion can quickly go deeply into all aspects of Islam and emensely hurt the new Muslim who is now engaged in learning and implementing something so new to them.
With any event, you want your new Muslims to make friends and feel welcomed into the community. You want them to eave with one or two people that will be personal guides (not too many and definitely not without any – you do not want them to be abandoned nor do you want them getting 20 calls a day and being overwhelmed). You also want them to leave with a basic understanding of Islam that will help them to start living their life as a Muslim. Our goal is, ultimately, that this new Muslim will be in the Fajr lines with us in the morning and the Isha lines at night. That they will one day give dawah themselves and earn Jannah, and that we will be together with them there, for all eternity.
Conclusion and Challenge.
These dawah tips are not a complete reference to learning how to give the best dawah. After reading these tips I am sure those who learn and practice these tips will see an improvement in their dawah. Consistency and sincerity in dawah are among the most important factors.
These tips should guide you through the entire dawah process. (Tip 1) Making everything a dawah opportunity will get you into the spot to do dawah on a regular basis. (Tip 2) When you find out that maybe someone is not Muslim because they disagree with cutting off the hand of a thief, you can then start your discussion saying that these are the laws of Allah and they have more right to be followed then mad made laws of nations, (Tip 3) then lead into why we need to follow Allah and the truth of the Quran being from Allah and focus your conversation to Tawhid, etc. (Tip 4) After explaining how Islam is superior and showing the absolute truth of the matter, of life, of the purpose of life you create the sense of urgency and let them know how important it is to be Muslim. (Tip 5) Show them how any way of thinking other than Islam is inferior and false and even if they don't become Muslim right now, you destroyed their false beliefs and they will leave you no longer wanting to be what they are now, and searching for the truth which means down the line, inshaallah, they will become Muslim. (Tip 6) Finally after they become Muslim (inshaallah) set up a way that you and/or others will follow up with the new brother or sister to make them strong in Islam and one day they will be here doing dawah alongside you, inshaallah. I am myself once a Christian, and after entering Islam I am here today helping the Muslims to spread Allah’s truth.
We must strive hard with all our effort. If you start today and live another 30 years, with one new Muslim through your dawah a day, you can arrive on the Day of Judgment with 11,000 people being guided to Islam by you! Oh Allah make us amongst those in the highest level of Jannah, Your Jannatul Firdaus! Ameen.
We must be careful. We must remember when doing dawah, to do it regularly and to have a sincere intention that you are doing this for Allah and no one else. This means no bragging to other Muslims about how much dawah you do and so on, so that on the Day of Judgment you will get rewarded for all of the 11,000 (inshaallah) new Muslims Allah guided through you. Not go on the Day and find your reward absent and your acts of shirk (a form of shirk for doing dawah for other than Allah i.e. Fame, etc.) earning you a Hellfire whose fuel is men and stones.
Anything that I said that is good is from Allah and anything that I said that is wrong is from the Shaytan or my ownself. May Allah accept my humble efforts, your efforts and the efforts of all those involved in dawah. May Allah increase our numbers and bring guidance and light to the people who, without Islam, are wandering in darkness and confusion. May Allah give this ummah strength and increase it through the effort of our brothers and sisters involved in dawah. Ameen.
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