What is Da’wah? 

By Ibn Anwar

    Da’wah literally means “Invitation”. However, in its complete and wholesome definition, Da’wah means an Invitation to the truth. It is an invitation to Islam.

    During the Prophet Muhammad’s s.a.w. life, his biggest and main job was Da’wah and he did it for 23 long years until the age of 63 in which he returned to God. The Prophet s.a.w. went through hell in his efforts to convey the message of Islam to his paganistic people(the Quraisy). He was bombarded with a barrage of ridicule and insults, physically abused, almost assassinated and assaulted militarily, yet never did he give up or laid down his banner.  In an incident where the pagan Quriasy had really gotten tired and annoyed of Muhammad’s s.a.w. preaching while he was still in Mecca, the leaders of the city convened and sent the Prophet’s grandfather who was then his guardian and protector to persuade his grandson to cease preaching. They formulated a bargain that if Muhammad s.a.w. would stop, they would be willing to make him their over lord, give him the keys to the Ka’bah, give him all the riches in Mecca and all the women he would ever want. His grandfather presented the offer to his grandson. In response the Prophet s.a.w. said,”Even if they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand I will not renounce my religion or stop preaching it until it has prevailed or I die trying.” This was the spirit emanated from the mighty messenger of God in which we ought to emulate! As Muslims we know that it is imperative that we follow Muhammad s.a.w. our Prophet both in teaching and action, so far as we are able. In the Prophet’s s.a.w. Farewell Sermon/ Khutbah Hajjatul Wada, he said,’ O people; reflect on my words. I leave behind me two things, The Qur’an and my sunnah(way)[found in ahadith], and if you follow these you will not fail. Thus we are instructed to follow the Prophet’s s.a.w. path. If Da’wah was what he lived by and one of the major things he committed to then it necessarily implies that we must also do da’wah, each and everyone of us(with the exemption of children and the mentally ill and handicapped).

      It is important that Muslims realise that Da’wah is incumbent and an obligation upon us. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Invite all to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best….”(An-Nisa’, 16 : 125)

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting all to righteousness by enjoining that which is good and forbiding that which is wrong.(Al-Imran,3 : 104)

As you can see from the above quoted Qur’anic ayyah, we are all obligated to spread the deen of Islam.
    In the following verse, Allah S.W.T. admonishes those who do not do Da’wah or convey the message-hiding knowledge- is disobedience to Allah S.W.T. :

” Verily, those who conceal clear proof, evidence, and guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people of the book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.”(Al-Baqarah, 2 : 159)

According to the ayyah above, those who do not share guidance are blatantly disobeying God and will be punished for it. So what are we waiting for?

Why Da’wah?

        Allah says in the Qur’an that Muslims are the best of people(khaira ummatin) because we enjoin that which is good and forbid that which is evil and we believe in Allah. If this is our qualification then we are the best of people. The way to enjoin good and forbid evil is to do Da’wah. It is an honour for us to be the best of people, but honour does not come cheap nor free. With honour comes much responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is Da’wah. If you do not harken to God’s command on amar ma’ruf nahi mungkar then you forfeit your right to be the member of the best of people i.e. Muslims.
For more on why Da’wah click here
How to do Da’wah?

   It’s a very common misconception that the job of Da’wah is the special privilege of an elite groupd of people known as the ulama'(learned men/scholars/clerics) Only they can propagate Islam, one might say. Well they probably could propagate Islam better than most of us with more insights and in depth explanations and exhortations but they are by no means the proprietor of Da’wah. Nobody has the right or privilege to monopoly anything in Islam. As I have illustrated earlier, we are all suppose to do Da’wah, not just the ulama’. However, the question that comes to mind now is how do we go about it?
    The Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has said ” Convey this Message, even if it is only one ayah(verse)”( Sahih Bukhari). Very simple isn’t it? To do Da’wah, the least one should know is ONE thing about Islam. Which grown Muslim does not know even ONE thing about Islam?!?! If there is such a person, than he or she is no more a Muslim than Queen Elizabeth. How can a Muslim not know at least the Shahadah and the rest 4 pillars of Islam??? The least a Muslim can do verbally or written is by sharing the Shahadah ! Share with people ‘ There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.”

Yahya Emirick has this to say regarding the Shahadah:
”  This simple statement is the most powerful declaration ever devised. For beyond the words themselves lies a powerful concept and a compelling ideology. Whole societies, cultures and empires have been elevated with its application or ruined by its rejection.
     And yet, away from grandiose movements and campaigns, the lone spiritual wanderer can attain to the highest levels of wisdom and insight, in the contemplation of its mysteries. This declaration of faith, the Shahada, captures the essence of what Islam is all about: peaceful surrender to the will of the Divine.     
     Islam, however, is not a new religion that began in the seventh century with a great Prophet. Islam is, rather, the latest installment of a Message brought by all the previous Prophets.
     If, over the course of time, a people came to forget, ignore or change the teachings bequeathed by their Messenger, Allah, in His Mercy, would renew His Message by sending fresh guidance. In this way, every age had access to Divine precepts. This process of revelation and correction went on unabated through human history.”


Methods of Da’wah can be identified or divided into four main points :

1. Da’wah bil hal

– Da’wah through one’s own character.
The least one can do besides sharing one’s knowledge is to behave in accordance with the precepts of Islam. This in turn will offer a much needed positive projection of Muslim life and attitude in comparison with the negative sketches of Muslims and Islam in the media. If we as Muslims could achieve this, anyone at all, even the most prejudiced may insha-Allah come to realise that the negative portrayals of Islam on the media are false. So, behave people !

2. Da’wah bil lisan

– Da’wah through speech.
We’ve already covered this, but an additional point to be noted is that if we see something wrong, we should try our best to rectify it, if not with our hands then with our lips. Speak up. If we all remain silent before an error this either signify deafness, muteness, dumbness or worse tacit approval.

3. Da’wah bil kitab

– Da’wah through writing.
This article is an example of Da’wah bil kitab. You don’t really have to produce ideological writings for this though. You could also write about your experiences as a Muslim and share with people as to what Islam has given you. Sometimes experiences speak clearer than mere theories and explanations.

4. Da’wah bil amar

 – Da’wah through wealth
If you have some extra cash in your pockets, please do not hesitate to support Da’wah efforts and institutions. By financing Da’wah efforts you make it possible for the people doing the Da’wah to continue with their efforts and to advance further. It is an immeasurable and immense contribution to Islam. Remember how wealthy Abu Bakr As-Siddiq became poor by supporting the spread of Islam. I’m not suggesting that you should give all your money to the last farthing ! No, just give whatever you can with an open and honest heart. There are about 16 to 17 million Muslims in Malaysia currently. Imagine if each and everyone of this 16 to 17 million Muslims contribute 10 ringgit for Da’wah. There would be over 170 MILLION in the fund to be used in conveying the message of Islam.

Isn’t it time that we ALL commit ourselves to Da’wah?

May Allah ‘azza wajal make us steadfast on His deen.



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2 Responses to “Da’wah”

  1. missmuslimah says:

    Assalaamu alaiykum wr wb…

    Masha’allah brother! This is very good and inspiring. May Allah (swt) reward you abundantly fro your efforts ameen.

  2. Zayed Ahmed says:

    brother ibn anwar

    i apreciate your effort in writing this article…muslims should try to do dawah …. but unfortunately that’s not happening today…they stick more on worldy pleasures!what can be more sad than that

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