34.1 DAWA

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


Dawa is conveying the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. It is a communication process involving the caller, the called, the message, and behavioural change. Tauhid is the basis for all dawa efforts. The Qur’an is the main tool of dawa. Dawa indicates dynamism of the community because Islam is a missionary religion. Dawa is a collective obligation, fardh kifayat, however individual efforts even if small are encouraged. Dawa must be undertaken at all places and times. The first level of dawa is calling to accept the creed accomplished by pronouncing the kalima. The second level is calling upon individuals and families to practice and live Islam. The third level is calling upon the whole society to be organized according to the teachings of Islam. Dawa has impact on the caller, the called, and the society at large.



The caller gets the reward for calling people to guidance. The prophet Muhammad is the best model of a caller. His message is universal and clear. His behavior, patience, humility, and mercy were effective. He faced problems. The caller must have the following personality characteristics: patience, wisdom, insight, iman, ‘Ilm, kindness, consideration, firmness, commitment, good personal relations, generosity, practicality, flexibility, humility, zuhd, qana'a, and taqwa. The most important attribute is commitment, ikhlaas. The following characteristics make a caller more persuasive: being perceived as honest, personal power, attractiveness, likableness, similarity to the called, being of the same gender as the called, expertise, and credibility. A caller need not be perfect to start dawa. Dawa makes him better because of the challenge is that you have to live up to expectations of a celler. All dawa workers whether full-time of part-time must be receive training tailored to the local situation.



Everybody is targeted, Muslims and non-Muslims, all races and nationalities, all social classes, and all parts of the world. Dawa to Muslims involves calling them to practice Islam. Dawa to non-Muslims exposes the truth and positives of Islam while correcting the disinformation by the enemies. It aims at returning them to the natural state of human beings, which is Islam. Dawa to the general society involves propagating to the general public with the aim of making them aware or conscious of the presence of Islam. Dawa programs could target special populations such as women, youths, patients in hospitals, prisoners, students, laborers, and workers. They could also target special social classes such as artists and stars, aristocrats, middle class, professionals, and ordinary people. The marginalised and rejected members or classes of society are a special target group for dawa because they are so susceptible. These include: criminals in prisons, drug addicts, the socially deprived, etc. They are looking for an alternative that will take them out of their sad situation.



Aggressive and pro-active strategies are better than defensive and reactive ones. Success depends on phasing, gradualism, tarbiyah, and influence by example. Material incentives should not be used to convince but to attract people to listen to the message. Dawa requires a wise, polite, non-antagonist, non-critical approach presentation of the Islamic alternative because truth automatically displaces falsehood. Dawa may be by direct or indirect, personal or impersonal. Personal contact is the most effective approach. The message should be individualized and customized. It should be simple and direct.



The main elements that a dawa plan covers are: the caller, the called, the time dimension, resources (money, material), and program control. Dawa requires funding but cannot be professionalized. Volunteers do the legwork and have motivation and enthusiasm. Coordination eliminates unnecessary duplication and competition. Individual initiative and many organizations are encouraged. The main objective is unity of purpose and not unity of organization. Program evaluation is used to improve effectiveness. Process evaluation is easy. Outcome evaluation is difficult because results of dawa are long-term and are not quantifiable. Success depends on Allah’s will and not only the efforts of the caller. Opposition should never provoke violent reactions. Dawa is a peaceful process that targets the hearts of men and not their bodies.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004