What is da’wah?
The word da’wah is an Arabic word that literally means “invite (to something)”. Even though this word or derivatives of this word can be used broadly, in Islam it is commonly used when Muslims extend a direct invitation to non-Muslims to accept and believe in the message of Islam by declaring that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah”. It can also used when Muslims invite other Muslims to correct their actions and stay on the straight path.
So why is da’wah important?
The first reason why giving da’wah is an important action for Muslims is because it is a command from God. God says in the Qur’an:
“And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” (3:104).
Just like all the prophets (peace be upon them all) of God have been commanded to give da’wah to the people in which they were sent to, we as Muslims have also received this command to invite others to the path God intended for us. Da’wah can also be done indirectly through righteous actions of a Muslim as they perpetuate a positive image of Islam. Righteousness and morality are important principles of Islam and in the teachings of the prophets of God. For instance. in a hadith the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Whoever among you sees an evil action, then let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith” (narrated in Sahih Muslim).
The second reason why it is important to give da’wah is because it would expel all of the misconceptions and misunderstanding people may have about Islam and expedite the understanding and acceptance of Islam as a peaceful religion. Nowadays, partly due to the false depictions of Islam in the media, Islam is seen by many as a violent religion when Islam actually advocates for peace and justice; nowhere in the Quran does God order the killing of innocent lives. One of the teaching of Islam is interacting justly and gently with other regardless of race or gender. For instance, God says:
“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” (Qur’an 25:63).
To further promote this message, the Prophet Muhammad taught Muslims that,
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (narrated in al-Bukhari).
Therefore, the very fact that some non-Muslims believe Islam to be a violent religion should encourage the adherents of Islam to give da’wah. In order to do this task we should ask ourselves these question: what will the state of Muslim Americans in 10, 20 or 30 years from now? Will the hatred against Muslims subside or will it intensify? If it subsides, then what was my contribution? And if it intensifies, what could I do to prevent it?
What people forget is that the treatment of Muslims would have been a lot worse after 9/11 if the African-American Muslims such as Malcom X and Warith Deen Muhammad had not done the dawah back in the 60s.
So in a way, doing dawah, is going to make it easier for our children and grandchildren.
Nice job Mohamed 🙂
Subhallah, after the 9/11 hit I did notice some changes around me. I used to work at the mall, this was a month after 9/11. I went to grab a sandwich for myself during my lunch break. As I walked inside the resturant and white lady pulled her five year old doughter to the side and told her ” those are the kind of people that I want to stay away from. Do you see her”, pointing at me”. the lettle girl had so much fear in her eyes. Wallahi it broke my heart into pieces. So now I always think of that little girl and what she thinks of Muslims, or when she sees a muhajaba.
Our daily attitude also says a lot. always have a smile and do as much good as you can for the non muslims around you. This is the simplist contribution that we can do.
I totally agree with Sister Nargis. The most simplest form of dawah that we can all do is to always be good-natured and good-tempered, to help out as much as we can, etc. As much as it is incorrect to assume that any Muslim speaks for all Muslims about what Islam is, this is usually how people will see it. Especially when it comes to girls who cover their hair because often times they become the banner for what Islam is.
Can’t wait till part 2 of this series!
Excellent piece. I also think an important part of this is what do we as Muslims do to educate ourselves about other religions/groups. I am amazed at how little we know as a community about Christians and Jews and their religious books and beliefs (not to mention Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, etc). I agree it is our duty to spread the message of Islam by our words and deeds, but an important component of this is overcoming our own ignorance of others!
The Dawah is a long journey in itself…!
Gazaka Allaho khayran , nice article .
This is a great reminder about our moral obligations as Muslims. Thanks for the wonderfully written article!
waiting for the 2nd part!
I like sister Nargis and Sumaya’s point. Due to the popularity of muslims in the media we are being watched to see what we do. The best way we convey the message of peace and tranquility that is the essence of the religion is by having good character and being good muslims.
interesting article =)
dawah givers should be more and more paying attention to their behaviours since others sometimes take them as an example..
in others words, dawah givers should also give dawah to themselves.
Part 2 of the series coming next week, inshAllah!
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