Life is not a game with the objective to have the most toys at the end, but rather to profess that there is no deity worthy of worship, except Allah Almighty. Allah, the Merciful, the Just, Creator of all, Unto Him we will return.
I remember participating in Islam Awareness Week (IAW) at my local College last year. We, the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) were ecstatic!
“We are going to convert people by the dozens,” we thought. After all, we were equipped with English-translated copies of the Qur’an, pamphlets, and posters. However, in the midst of all this preparedness, there was only one thing missing. None of us actually knew how to call to Islam, or in Arabic, to give Dawah! And so, with a lack of knowledge and awareness at hand we forced pamphlets down the throats of our non-Muslim classmates as they passed by our IAW booth.
When anyone would come up to the table, we would put up our defensive shield, ready to react to anything thrown our way. However, negative connotations that are falsely related to Islam were not on their minds at all. They were mainly interested in inquiring about the fundamental beliefs of Muslims, which ironically, had never been explained to them. When they respectfully challenged our beliefs or asked simple questions, we turned into a gang. It became a 3-on-1 argument instead of a 1-on-1 discussion! Unfortunately, our purpose became argumentation, and not to actually get people thinking about Islam.
Regrettably, I have made many mistakes when giving Dawah to friends, coworkers, and strangers. These mistakes must be taken seriously and I now understand that I am reprehensible if I lack the basic knowledge to explain Islam in the correct manner. We have only a moment, one opportunity, to ensure we use wisdom in sending a message and inviting people to this beautiful way of life. We must see ourselves as the representatives of Islam in-line with idyllic Muslim behavior and humbleness.
2. The Weekend Course
If we were given the opportunity to purchase a brand new BMW for $1000, most of us would accept the bargain instantly so long as the main components functioned (i.e. ignition, engine, etc.). So why is it that when we explain Islam, we do not begin with the main functions like Tawhid? The instructor prompts the audience to reflect on the various questions asked by non-Muslims. We just need a strategy to recognize where certain questions arise from and get people thinking about their origin and destination. In other words, why were they created?
Dawah, or the ‘Call to Islam’ is a powerful mechanism that is scarcely practiced in the Ummah today. It is obligatory on every able-bodied sensible Muslim. The “Essential Weekend Dawah Course,” presented by NYM Ink (a Western Canadian Dawah organization) not only brought upon the topics of Dawah techniques, but embodying the spirit of Dawah as a whole. Our instructor was Br. Syed ibn Iqbal, currently a final-year dentistry student and Muslim Chaplain at the University of Saskatchewan.
I was impressed with the professionalism and superior organization in which this course was presented. The Dawah workshop takes advantage of the technology around us, so do not be surprised when you see videos embedded in the PowerPoint visuals. The course’s case studies were particularly enjoyable. In one study for example, we watched a video of a Muslim sister on Fox News trying to defend Islam, but instead appeared severely apologetic. Her attempts were horrendous! In the case study we each assessed what she could have done better and how the Fox News interviewer obliterated any arguments put forward by her. These interactive cases allowed us to be creative, along with the opportunity to ask the instructor about different Dawah approaches that could be used in such a scenario.
Another important aspect of the course is that one cannot give Dawah without possessing the characteristics of a Da’ee (pronounced “Daa-ee”). A Da’ee is someone who invites to the Deen of Allah (SWT). Ikhlas (sincerity), Adab (etiquettes), Neeyah (intention), are just some of the topics I will briefly mention that are covered in this workshop -all vital factors one should seek when doing Dawah work. Professionalism, assertiveness, control, and clarity are all characteristics a Da’ee must display. We all laughed when the instructor gave the example of how Christian Mormon’s dress up in suits when they give Dawah and MSA members wear their $10 novelty t-shirts. In the end, there is not any universal formula for giving Dawah. A Da’ee must tailor their invitation to the individual(s) in front of him/her. An Essential Weeknd Dawah Course would not have been complete without Halal fried chicken during break and the benefits of obtained through congregational prayers.
Yes, this Training Day was 10X better than Denzal Washington’s 2001 Oscar movie. Moreover, our exam was simple: make the intention to do Dawah to you neighbor, coworker, or family member. Towards the end of the workshop, the audience made a special request to the instructor to continue lecturing and answering questions for an additional two hours out of the their own fascination. Every brother, sister, student, and professional must experience Training Day. Imagine a scenario, where Allah subhana wa ta’ala guides someone to Islam through your words. How many times has that happened to us? Maybe I’ll just wait until you take the course for yourself.
Written by Basil, for NYM Ink