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Page last edited on 12 March, 2003

Individual Dawah in Islam

By: Abdul Badei Saqr


In individual Da’wah the address is made to one or a few persons and to no multitudes. Apart from this, most of the times it is performed without any pre-plan; for example, this opportunity is obtained in incidental meetings, social get-together or friendly tete-a-tetes

2. Characteristics 

This type of Da’wah has different characteristics among which the following are very obvious:

(a)It is an oft-recurring thing and every man finds an opportunity for this Da’wah many times a day.

(b)There is no need of particular labour and efforts in it. Moreover it is often performed along with other works. Not much time is spent in it. For example, its opportunity can be procured on the occasion of condolence or visiting a sick person or going for lending congratulation on the birth of a child.

(c)This Daw’ah is easy. It needs much less mental labour than the collective meetings or discussions and in this the caller to Islam is free also from every kind of critical blindigs.

(d)It is very easy. Everyone who keeps faith in Daw’ah can participate in it whether he is uneducated and has no specialization in it. In this way, this method of convocation is also an excellent field of practice and exercise for the work of Daw’ah in which many opportunities of testing abilities occur.

(e)Since this Daw’ah is performed in a secret manner, the instigator is guarded against every kind of hypocrisy and show. So it comes to general observation that many orators and callers to Islam and propagators suffer from the mania of “loud speaker” and “Sickness of presidentship”.

(f)In this kind of Daw’ah many new ways of meditation and deliberation open up, because every person gets an opportunity of conveying his view points; accordingly he often comes across many new problems, and questions arise in his heart in this connection. No one available in the general crowd, who may give answer to his question. Hence he keeps continuously groping for its answer, till he gets the answer to his question at least.

(g)Again, a man presents his doubts and suspicions very freely in the discourse which takes place in a free atmosphere, and may remove them by mutual interchange of opinions.

Undoubtedly, this method of discourse is very useful and beneficial and the atmosphere of brotherhood and love is also created in such discourses.

(h)Its paths are never blocked. The Daw’ah continues advancing even under the hardest circumstances and difficulties and keeps stepping forward with full earnestness. The more the authorities try to suppress it, the more it rises quickly, because in such situations the call of all hearts is only one and the problems and difficulties of people are nearly similar. This is a time when the forces of tyranny and violence fail miserably.

(i)It also has the blessings of apostlehood, for, the beneficent prophets started their Da’wah in the same manner and it was their way throughout their lives. 

3. Effects 

In the beginning it is felt that the effects of individual Da’wah are very slow and its results seldom prove fruitful. The critic can also say that in this vast society it is not within the capacity of a few hundred or a few thousand people to be able to gain the expected benefit by their limited Da’wah. Their objection is correct to a limit, and this is an accepted fact that when the opportunities are provided, the collective Da’wah is also very important, but in the long run, only the individual Da’wah plays the basic role in the success of Da’wah. And those people who come closer after gaining satisfaction from individual Da’wah prove to be the real essence of every Da’wah. Only such persons have been playing an important role in reformative movements of the past centuries. Their example is similar to the disciples of the prophets and the followers of reformers. In this way, the example of individual Da’wah is like a foundation on which the edifice is erected but that foundation is concealed beneath the earth, and he example of collective Da’wah is like the building itself and both of them are interdependent. Also, it is not necessary that the efforts of individual Da’wah are limited in every case.  Contrary to this sometimes it so happens that this is quicker in effect than the collective Da’wah, and is far from failures.  

4. Etiquettes. 

In the proceeding lines we have said that the individual Da’wah is extremely delicate. Hence, it is extremely difficult to introduce Da’wah and avoid its adverse results.

The Propagator commits a blunder when he thinks that he has convinced the addressee, though he should not be satisfied in any way, for it is not necessary that he who has the great capability of expression will necessarily be able to present his opinions in the best way, and it is also not necessary that he who has expressed his opinion in the best way, might also have convinced the addressee too. Again, it is also not certain that he should expect any good result from him whom he has succeeded in satisfying well. For, the task of turning all the abilities of thought and deed of human beings towards good is very difficult. Because human nature tends to escape to other paths, and human beings are equally impressed by their inneremotions as well as wisdom. 

So, in this connection, we would like to mention the following things:

Mildness and Forbearance

It is essential for performing the task of Da’wah in the best manner that the instigator should manage it with mildness and forbearance, and since he is in dark about the nature of persons, it is necessary that he should first understand them and find out their inclinations towards virtue and vice. 

For performing the task of Da’wah , possession of its knowledge is very necessary. He should not tell such a thing to him, the consequence of which he may not know. Surely the caller to Islam has such a message which is unfamiliar to most of the people of society and there is also an attraction in this for them, nor have they strength to bear this burden in themselves. So it is sometimes unavoidable to have any opposition from their side. It is, therefore, our responsibility to know the quality of the land before ploughing and sowing seeds in it, for some land is absolutely barren without any capacity of growth. 

{Therefore give admonition  
In case the admonition  
Profits (the hearer).    [A’la: 9] 

Consideration of Addressee’s Sentiments

Another thing should not be ignored is that you should regard addressee’s feelings fully, although he may be opponent, also because difference in opinions is natural and it is not such a thing for which mutual relations may be broken. So it is essential that you should listen to others just as you want others to listen to you. You should be your own critic and keep thinking about the vices of your own. Do you speak very much? Does your voice rise while talking? Is your method of discourse bitter? Are you proud of your knowledge? Do you use harsh words? 

Again, if you are aware of your mistake, adopt the true path without hesitation even if you have to apologize for that. Be an ideal man so that the enemies who are always deeply tracing your faults may not defame you; and deviating from the main topic do not be diverted towards personal gains, because you will have to take the support of wealth and property, rank and dignity also. Then this will reach the government and the court and in this way the Satan will have an opportunity of taking a firm footing. 

Contrary to this, if you adopt the reasonable way from the beginning, your discussion will be good and uncomplicated. If you bear in mind the respect and regard of the Ulema, mutual differences will not get an opportunity to crop up. Your opponent who differs from your viewpoint will have now only two ways – he will either agree with you or set himself apart from you in a good way. He will either be thankful to you or beg your pardon. Being impressed by your way of speaking, he may be desirous himself to see you again, which will be the proof of the fact that you are successful to some extent. 

Analysis of Circumstances

God has given knowledge and wisdom to every nation. As some scholars said:

Every nation possesses knowledge. 

And considering the conditions of a nation, the knowledge which is very necessary for it may be absolutely unnecessary for other nations. So it is not suitable for any one to think of calling other deviators from the right path. Because of this, Deen has been made easy and flexible, so that it may adjust itself with the changing circumstances. No one ever has the right of thinking that religion has only one form for all the times. Undoubtedly “Truth” is one but it has many angles and various aspects. And as knowledge will continue to increase, the differences among the people will keep on increasing. 

(Of Religion): it was only  
After knowledge had been  
Granted to them that they  
Fell in Schisms.   (The Qurán - Jathiya: 17)

No doubt, knowledge is the field of the solution of difficulties but the evolution of knowledge itself produces many complications. So it is necessary for the caller to Islam  that he should learn this art, and maintaining relations with people he should understand their views. He should keep searching for truth amidst doubts and suspicions and finding an opportunity of serving in a new society he should try to understand the society patiently and quietly for some time. This may take much more time, in knowing the society fully. Finally, he should start his work only after he has learned the way of working in the society. If he starts working without knowing the society, he will have to face many troubles which will cause many impediments to come in the path of Da’wah. 

Abiding by the Basic Principles 

There are some basic aspects of human thought which may take enough time to understand. There is no harm in it because when the caller understands the basic rules of discussions, only then it will be possible for him to benefit himself and others. For example, if you want to converse with anyone on the topic of Islam you should know the basic points of it: faith in Allah, belief in the invisible (God, Angel, Hell, Heaven etc.), confirmation of traditions and perception of intellectual things. But if the addressee has no faith in these things, you should not carry on this discussion but try to converse from another angle. The same is the matter with that person who has chosen someone as his leader and out of his admiration does not take care even of the Truth or public expedience. Now if the caller to Islam is aware of this, he should converse with him in the manner that he may be brought gradually to his aim without causing any objection to his beloved leader. 

The caller to Islam should always be awaiting such an opportunity in which he may introduce his addressee to Truth without opposing his beloved leader during that period. If he succeeds in doing so, it were as if he has his heart and after this he will be having full opportunity of sowing the seed of Truth in him by utilizing wisdom and patience and uprooting falsehood. 

Acknowledgement of Truth 

The etiquette of Da’wah includes also the fact that the caller to Islam should be an open-hearted man with high morals. It is not suitable for him to presuppose that he himself is correct and fit, and the opponent is an atheist, illiterate and a sinner. Instead, the base of discussion should be examined upon facts, and as soon as the caller to Islam feels weakness of his viewpoint, he ought to agree with the addressee without exhibiting any obstinacy and present his opinion from another angle. 

It is also compulsory to distinguish between Fiqh (theology) and Shariah (Islamic law). For, Shariah is that base, the soundness of which is above every doubt and suspicion. As far as Fiqh or theology is concerned, it is a thing which we have understood from Shariah itself. Presenting it before the people and deciding according to its commands require “Ijtihad” (comprehension of fundamental things of religion in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah), in which there is probability of both the mistake and rectitude. For the caller to Islam, accepting defeat in some affairs or at least exhibiting it is very beneficial for convincing people about his own opinion. Again, he should never start discussion, Until he is well aware of the basic points of debate and knows well those points which he has to use in convincing his addressee. It is clear that while the caller gives many things to the addressee, he also takes many things from him. 

Mutual Assistance in Indisputable Affairs 

It is also one of the requirements of wisdom that the caller to Islam should try to bring his addressee round to the demands of practice. Because discussion is not required which is just a means to some purpose and what is actually required is action and not mere discussion.  

It is also wise that he caller to Islam should work up a favourable atmosphere regarding the basis of his ideological relation with his addressee, so that in future this relation may help in developing mutual co-operation. For example, your addressee considers one thing justified from a national view point and you consider it correct from the religious view point. The target of both is the same. Both want to get rid of the same enemy. In such a case it is more important to cooperate with each other rather than to engage in trivial differences. And no obstacle should be allowed to this mutual co-operation. 

Say: Everyone acts  
According to his own disposition:  
But your Lord knows best  
Who it is that is  
Best guided on the Way.     [Bani Israil: 84] 

Abstinence from Sometimes the caller to Islam, during the course of his discourse, adopts an emotional or political attitude, and considering his own opinion correct hurts the feelings of others due to his selfishness. This is often harmful, because in this form of address, no concession is made for others while it is the only thing satisfying which the whole personality can be mended. In this connection sincere love and sacrifice are the two weapons which impress others. Hence, it does not suit a caller to Islam to kindle the fire of hatred within his addressee’s heart and start debating with him. Nor should he make any effort to compel his addressee to agree with him. For a caller to Islam it is extremely unbecoming to let selfish emotions cross his mind at any stage. The work of Da’wah is only for Allah Who is independent of all. 

[From: How to Call people to Islam?]

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Last updated on 12 March, 2003

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Seek Understanding from Knowledge/ Information
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