The role and function of a Daa’i in today’s world with specific reference to the life of Prophet Muhmmad PBUH in Makkah
Written by Asim Nazir
Student of Master in Islamic Studies
Islamic University Qatar
The purpose of this essay is to define the role of Daa’i in our current world explaining the characteristics he/she should possess in the view of Prophet Muhammad’s life PBUH. I will be covering Prophet’s social and religious condition in Makkah and I will enlighten his different approaches he took in regards to the Dawah mission by facing severe challenges. It will also consist of important characteristics of Daa’i in reference to present days and how his/her role and function develop by learning historical aspects of the Prophet’s life in Makkah.
First of all I will describe the meaning of Dawah and Daa’i which are the following:
Dawah is derived from the Arabic verb which means “to call, to invite and to supplicate” (Philip, IOU edition ). As mentioned in Quran:
Islamically Dawah means conveying or calling people to the message of Islam.
Daa’i is referred to the individual who as accepted the duty of calling others to Islam.
Prophet (pbuh) life is a best example for us to derive all the basic principles of Dawah. Prophet faced some remarkable challenges in his early age of prophethood in Makkah. To practice Islam in that era was huge trial for any human being. First three years of prophethood, Prophet Muhammad PBUH used to call the people towards Islam secretly due to hatred and animosity of Quraish (people of Quraish) for Islam. They used to ridicule and torture new muslims in different ways, few of them were beaten physically like Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, Ammar ibn Yasir etc, and few of them even were killed out of hostility for Islam like Sumayyah and Yasir who were first woman and man to be martyred for Islam. Quraish left no stone unturned to oppose Islamic beliefs and persecute whoever entered it. Muslims were so oppressed that Prophet Muhammad PBUH allowed them to migrate to Abyssinia in 5th year of prophethood but he stayed in Makkah and continued preaching. Quraish also tried to negotiate with Prophet PBUH by offering him wealth, high status, girls etc, but Prophet PBUH stood firm and continued calling people towards Islam. When Quraish used all the strategies then they decided to do social boycott with Prophet’s family. They made an agreement with other tribes neither to trade with the Muslims nor to intermarry with them. Prophet PBUH and his family were forced to spend whole three years in seclusion of Banu Hashim valley where they were almostly starved to death. One sahabi Yunus reported from Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas who said: “I went out one night to pass urine and I heard a crackle under the urine, it was a piece of dried camel’s skin. I took it and washed it, then I roasted it and crushed it in water, and I gained strength from it for three days.” (Al-Ghazali, 1998:138). This boycott came to an end in 10th year of prophethood, in same years Abu Talib and Khatijah (prophet’s wife) also passed away which proved to be catastrophic time for him but after one month of this tragedy he decided to go out of Makkah to Taif (50 miles from Makkah) to preach. This visit also proved atrocious experience for him as he was disgraced by the Taif leaders and got injured when the youth of Taif bombarded him with stones.
Inspite all of these difficulties and hardships Prophet PBUH remained steadfast in his mission and continued calling people towards Islam. He was patient and kind towards people throughout his time in Makkah. While people of Quraish used to ridicule and disgrace muslims, for example Al Aswad ibn al Muttalib and his associates would, whenever they saw the Prophet’s PBUH, wink at each other and say, “here comes the kings of the earth who will tomorrow conquer the kingdoms of Khosrau and Caesar.” Then they would whistle and applaud (Al-Ghazali, 1998:125). Whenever Prophet PBUH used to recite verses upon them, they always mocked at him and called him sorcerer, mad or poet etc. Allah (SWT) always consoled Prophet PBUH in Quran on many places in Makki chapters, for instance Allah (SWT) said, “And Behold! Those who disbelieve would like to upset you with their stares when they hear the reminder, and they say, look! He is indeed mad.” (Quran 68:V51). Prophet PBUH never gave up and continued his mission day and night. Similarly when social boycott was done against Prophet’s PBUH family, he faced enormous psychological pressure from every side but the reality of truth made him more strong and firm. Even in his sorrow days when Abu Talib and Khatija passed away and he lost his emotional and external support, he decided to expand the message beyond the Makkah and faced severe opposition in Taif and even got injured there but he replied to Gabriel when he asked him to give permission to bury Taif between two mountains “I would rather have someone from their descendants who will worship Allah” (Al-Mubarakpuri, 1996:138). He tolerated all those atrocities with smile and humbleness and never abandoned his Dawah mission. He continued his preaching secretly at the beginning, but when he had reasonable gathering around him, he openly called the people towards Islam and when oppression of the Quraish fall on to Muslims he held his ground and showed firmness by rejecting all their worldly offers and succeed to spread the message beyond the Makkah.
It is very important for us to adopt similar Prophet’s PBUH attitude when it comes to Dawah. We need to have certain characteristics to effectively convey the message which are the followings:
Daa’i must have sound knowledge of what one is inviting others to, if he himself is ignorant, his message will appear weak and illogical. It does not mean that he should have whole knowledge of Islam but he should have certain knowledge of the area he calling to as Quran said,
Daa’i must analyse the situation and should choose most appropriate material for that particular circumstances. As mentioned in Quran:
For instance, if calling an atheist (who does not believe in God existence) to Islam, then lecture on rituals (prayer, fast, hajj etc) would not be good idea, instead it should be concentrated on the logical aspects of the God existence. Prophet Muhammad PBUH also choosed the same approach, he pbuh focused on the oneness of Allah in his Makkhi period and all the rituals and prohibition revealed in Madni period.
Islam has placed great stress on moral character; Daa’i should be able to be role model for others so that other can get influenced. Quran said,
So, we should follow every step of Prophet PBUH that how he presented his moral character even in his hardships. People of Makkah were against him but they still called him Ameen (trustworthy) & Sadiq (truthful).
Patience is a key element in Dawah. We can observe now days that some time Daa’i gets irritated and starts argument with other people. It is very important to understand that guidance only comes from Allah. Also, we should learn lesion from Prophet’s life PBUH that how patiently he pbuh tolerated their mockery and hostility. Also its very important to show kindness towards people while giving Dawah, as Prophet PBUH never shouted on them, he never showed attitude to them and he never got aggressive in discussion. These are very significant points which we need to ponder upon while spreading the message of Islam.
Prophet’s life PBUH of Makkah gives us a complete map of success in Dawah mission. If we closely analyse the historical aspects of Prophet’s life PBUH then we can get a perfect structure of Daa’i which can be following:
Structure of Daa’i based on historical aspects of Prophets life PBUH
- First of all having only fear of Allah.
- Having appropriate knowledge.
- Building moral character.
- Focus on your message.
- Firstly giving Dawah to the people who are close to you.
- Changing approaches and methods while facing opposition & hostility.
- Being firm in his/her stance without compromising the message due to some worldly gain or status.
- Never abandoning the Dawah due to its hardships & difficulties.
- Using different tactics and approaches to convince people.
- Observing the situation before giving Dawah.
- Being patient in every situation.
- Showing kindness towards people.
- Being role model for others
- Continuous asking forgiveness from Allah
- Conveying message only and leaving guidance to Allah.
- Avoiding pride and vanity.
Every Daa’i should have these aforesaid qualities to convey the message of Islam effectively. Also Daa’i should be aware of the challenges and issues he/she may faces during his/her Dawah mission. Dawah techniques may differ from country to country and from one situation to another. To overcome this challenge, Daa’i should have appropriate knowledge of the condition. For instance, if Daa’i is going to give Dawah in western english speaking countries, then he/she should have adequate knowledge of that language so that his/her communication could be effective. Sometime he/she may face illiterate audience regarding about Islamic knowledge or generally, so in that condition, Daa’i may have to change his/her Dawah approach and starts from the basic rather than giving complicated lecture which can be problematic for them. Also modern Daa’i should be familiar with new technology and computer literate as it has become necessity of the modern world where presentation are being delivered via high tech projectors and digital devices have become basic elements of delivering lectures. Daa’i should also have suitable knowledge of the community culture so that he/she could relate it in his/her speech for better understanding of the audience. I personally feel that the most important challenge Daa’i faces now days is to be patient in the talk and don’t let the discussion turn into quarrels. Most new Daa’is try to convince people on the spot and end up with heated arguments and anger, they must understand it that our duty is to only convey the message and guidance comes from Allah as He (SWT) explained in the Quran: “Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” (Quran 28:V56)
I conclude that the best role model for any Daa’i is a Prophet PBUH; he/she should learn how Prophet PBUH gave Dawah in several different occasions. Makkan life of the Prophet PBUH proved to be the best roadmap for any Daa’i for building his/her character in Dawah’s perspective and we can only be successful if we follow our Prophet PBUH in every way because indeed he pbuh was best example for us.
Al-Ghazali, M., 1998. In: Fiqh-us-Seerah. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, p. 125.
Al-Ghazali, M., 1998. In: Fiqh-us-Seerah. Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House, p. 138.
Al-Mubarakpuri, S. R., 1996. In: The Sealed Nectar. Saudi Arabia: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publisher, p. 138.
Philip, D. B. A., IOU edition . In: Dawah Course, Module 1 Introduction. s.l.:IOU edition, p. Pdf1.