Last weekend, I was blessed by Allah (swt) to visit New Jersey. I must say, I was very impressed with their strong dawah efforts. (You might have heard that they got 15 shahadahs just during my time there). I pondered upon what made New Jersey special and far surpassing dawah efforts in other areas of the United States (and I have traveled to quite a few). I boiled it down to 6 reasons:
1. The brothers and sisters in NJ make seeking knowledge part and parcel of their dawah.
Most of the brothers I interacted with told me that they were actively taking classes with Al-Maghrib Institute or Mishkah University or something similar. In other words, they were coupling knowledge with action. One of the descriptions of the Sahabah of the Prophet (sws) was that they had knowledge built upon piety and piety built upon knowledge. Hence, this methodology is very important when it comes to taking dawah seriously. Too much of one over the other may not be good. Like Sh. Waleed Baysouni says, “Do not be like the candle. You give everyone light, but burn yourself out.”
2. They pay attention to logistics
One of the places that the brothers and sisters in NJ give dawah is Journal Square. It is this train station that brings in people from all over the place. You might think they just popped up a table and a banner and started making street dawah there. You would be wrong. They actually got the appropriate permits from the authorities in NJ which delineate times and maximum number of people. This means they can focus on dawah and not worry about what the police or other authorities will say. Actually, it may even make dawah to the police officers themselves, easier! Take home lesson: Dawah is not just randomly calling people to Islam but it takes careful planning which, by the help of Allah (swt) leads to efficacy.
3. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
The dawah table that was set up at Journal Square (and a few other places I was told) is manned every week at the same time and the same place (or places). People actually know this! I was making dawah to a young Hindu man (may Allah guide him) and one of the things he said was, “yea, let’s continue this conversation next week since I know you guys are always here at this time.” Nice!
4. They have good relationships with other organizations
The brothers and sisters of NJ Street Dawah have a good working relationship with the local Masjids and other organizations in the area. This helps greatly when it comes to things like developing New Muslims. Developing New Muslims takes a great deal of time and manpower and would be too much for any one organization to handle in it’s entirety. So, the brothers and sisters use local resources like Why Islam and other local Masjids to augment their efforts. Hey, why reinvent the wheel?
5. Dawah is not one dimensional.
One of the reasons a person makes dawah is because he or she cares for the community around them. This is not just limited to talking the talk (e.g. street dawah) but also walking the walk. I was very happy to see efforts from the brothers and sisters in NJ to help feed the poor and impoverished of their neighborhoods and provide them with clothes and other necessities. Check out the Building Blocks of NJ initiative to see what I am talking about.
And last but definitely not least:
6. Passion and Confidence!
Of course, they have a very high passion for Dawah! They understand the importance of calling people to the truth and how this is not only our job as Muslims but the fact that a lack of dawah will have severe negative consequences for future generations of Muslims in America.
They also possess confidence when it comes to Islam. I think this point of confidence is probably due to item number 1 above i.e. a strong knowledge base. If a person has doubts about Islam being the truth in exclusion to everything else, how could they call people effectively to it?
So what’s next? Time to step up your game! If you are interested in having iERA come to your community to help with your dawah efforts, contact us.
Fahad Tasleem is iERA’s latest addition to it’s line up of instructors and du’at.