Definition of Dawa
Dawa means to share the message and traditions of Islam with fellow non-Muslims. Performing Dawa involves both our words and actions.
Importance of Dawa in Islam
Quran and the hadith of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, give numerous references on the importance and the obligations of Dawa. The prophetic life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. was involved in spreading the message of Islam, and is likewise reflected in the lives of the Sahabas. Now the responsibility of spreading the message of Islam rests on our shoulders.
- "Invite all to the way of your Lord with Wisdom and beautiful Preaching" (Quran 16:125)
- "you are made witnesses unto mankind" (Quran 2:143)
- "Let there arise a group inviting to all that is good" (Quran 3:104)
Provided below would be some practical suggestion that Muslim students as individuals and as a group should undertake to accomplish the above goal.
School Students: Receptive to New ideas
Schools students are routinely exposed in their classroom to new information and opinions, hence they tend to be more receptive to new beliefs and ideas. Schools are therefore fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and expose their school mates to the beautiful beliefs of Islam.
First and foremost the Muslim students should establish themselves into a Muslim group (Muslim Students Association, Islamic Circle, Quran Study Group etc.) if they haven't yet instituted one. Organized efforts give better results and contain blessings of Allah in them. The prime aim of this group should be to evolve Muslim themselves into dynamic Muslim personalities and also to portray Islam to their non-Muslim peers and schools staff in a positive way using words and actions.
It has been proven that one to one contact with non-Muslim students in the classroom is the most effective way to share Islam. Personal contact tend to be more informal and tend to be more invitational of the questions from the non-Muslims. It is advised that brother work on the non-Muslim boys and likewise sister work on girls.
Muslims can create opportunities for non-Muslims to ask them question by performing simple conducts like: saying "insha Allah" when talking about a future activity; saying that they are going to prayer during Salaat time, not eating during fasting, brothers wearing kufi, sisters wearing hijab etc, not using swear words during conversation, not lying, using modest clothes etc. And the questions that do crop up from their peers should be dealt with in a very concise and eloquent manner. Doing this would require some basic knowledge on the part of Muslim students.
Be Prepared to Explain:
Some of the topics that all Muslim should be able to explain are:
- Concept of Tawhid (oneness of God)
- Prophet Muhammad (S) as being a real Prophet
- News reports about violence by Muslims
- Polygamy in Islam
- Reasons for wearing hijab
- Reasons for praying five daily
- Quran and Science
All students should obtain the ways to explain these topics through their study Circle, by reading articles in Islamic magazines, videos, lecture, through experiences of other students.
Dawa through School Newspaper
School Newspaper is another effective mode of doing Dawa. Muslim students are highly encouraged to become writers and editors of their school papers. Inform the writing staff to consult you before publishing articles on Islam and Muslims. Being a writer will give you ample opportunity in providing Islamically inclined articles which will insha Allah open the hearts and minds of its readers.
As a group the Muslim students should try to contribute an article on Islam in each issue of its paper. The school may not allow you to preach in the school paper, but Al-Hamdullah there are way to circumvent this problem. When your Islamic group holds any Islamic event like lectures, religious/ cultural events etc, submit an article about this event as a "news" article. Thus you are still exposing an aspect of Islam without coming forth as a preacher. Second way to circumvent the problem is to write articles about Islamic holidays e.g. the two EIDs and again submit them as "news" articles. It also helps to have a good rapport with the editor and the writing staff of the paper. Invite them to your iftar parties, gatherings, lectures etc.
Relief Booths to Help Disaster Victims
During the time of any natural and human created disasters, Muslims students should be the first one to respond by setting up a disaster relief assistance booth, which collects money, canned food, clothes etc. This gives a very positive picture of Islam and Muslims as servers of humanity, compared to the negative images of Islam portrayed by the media.
Including Islamic Holidays in School calendar
Many schools events and exams are scheduled around the Jewish and Christian holidays. Muslims students should approach the school authorities as a group and had our Islamic date to be included in the school diaries and be considered during the scheduling of important school events.
Islamic books in School Libraries
Encourage the school libraries to shelf books and magazines on Islam written by Muslim, and provide the librarian a list of recommended books on Islam. If the library is unwilling to purchase it themselves, the students should raise funds amongst themselves and from their parents and come up with the required books.
Scanning Textbook for Misinformation on Islam
Students of all grades and their parents should constantly scan the text books to detect any biased material on Islam. If any is found, it should be brought to the attention of the teachers and the school authorities, providing them with the correct information with evidence, and have the teacher announce to the students the correct information.
Starting an Islamic Newsletter
A newsletter on Islam and Muslims can be started by the Muslim students, if the school allows. This letter can be funded mostly by advertisements and donations. A newsletter on Islam and Muslims will again help in dispelling the misinformation circulating around and also portrays Muslims as being organized and proactive.
Incorporating Islam in Class Projects
Some aspects of Islam can be very well incorporated in the school projects. E.g. In the speech class, if there is a freedom to choose a topic, an Islamic topic should be selected, similar opportunities can be created in history, social science, writing and other classes.
Remember, It was always Muslim creativity, Iman and the help of Allah that has constantly won victories for the Muslims, and schools and campuses won"t be any exceptions.
Other Miscellaneous Activities
- Setting up Dawa tables with Islamic literature
- Hosting Islamic exhibitions
- Placing advertisements in the school paper with a toll free telephone number for non-Muslims
It is highly recommended that all Muslim students should carry Dawa flyers in their schools bags and purses to pass them on to their friends at school.
We should use every opportunity presented or created to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff with Islam and establish an environment in which every where a non-Muslim turns he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way and get influenced by it and eventually accept Islam with Allah"s guidance, insha Allah.