Understanding the Islamic Dawah in Todays Reality

Many Islamic activists suffer a confusion that causes in them a paralysis in action. In this age that has gone beyond political correctness many are confused. They need not be however. Should we always be polite and not upset people’s sensibilities? The other extreme of course is to unnecessarily cause offence, be brash, or egotistical. What’s the point of dawah in the West, isn’t it better to sign up a few courses and collect money on Saturday for charity. The concept of dawah is not at all clear.


It is true that the nature of Islamic dawah, has not changed after all it is based upon how the Prophet (saw) carried his call. Yet many fail to understand the Prophet’s (saw) call and often equate it to missionary work and individual reform – thereby completely misunderstanding the point. There needs to be absolute clarity on what dawah is so that the Ummah can adopt the correct concepts, criteria and convictions so that there exists and actual ideological support base for the state that is being sought.


In this article we go through some of the key concepts from Nizam al Islam chapter 4 The Way to Carry the Islamic Da’wah, by Sheikh Taqiuddin Nabhani

The purpose of the Islamic dawah


There is a misunderstanding about the purpose of Islam. Many understand it be individualistic, to live on an individual basis whilst the world around them is of no relevance. This clearly is a mistake as it defies the reality of what the Prophet (saw) brought , what he (saw) and the sahaba (raa) struggled for was to implement Islam and then expand it to the rest of the world. So today in a world where Islam is not implemented then we must direct our dawah to the restoration of Islam to life via implementation as a state. Many lose themselves in so called dawah activities that tinker around areas that can only be secured and implemented by a state. These merely serve to perpetuate the status quo.

“Therefore, the Muslims must resume the Islamic way of life if they want the revival (naHDah) to occur. However, they will not be able to resume the Islamic way of life unless they carry the Islamic da’wah by carrying the intellectual leadership of Islam, and establish, by this da’wah an Islamic State which in turn will carry the intellectual leadership of Islam by carrying the Islamic call.”

A more detailed discussion of what is meant by the term intellectual leadership can be found here

Therefore, carrying the Islamic da’wah in the situation where there is no Khaleefah, should include the call for Islam and the resumption of the Islamic way of life by working to establish the Islamic State which implements Islam and carries its message to the world. Thus, the da’wah is transferred then from a call within the ummah to resume the Islamic way of life to a call to the world carried out by the Islamic State, and from a local da’wah within the Islamic world to a universal da’wah.

Accordingly, the Islamic da’wah should carry to the people the system by which they are to solve their daily life’s problems. This is because the secret to the success of the Islamic da’wah is that it is vivid and addresses man in a comprehensive manner as a human being, thereby bringing about a comprehensive and radical change in him.

The Prophet (saw) only accepted Islam and did not a Compromise with the reality around him.


Many Muslims are happy to live according to the systems that are applied, which without exception are non Islamic. Many Muslims in an attempt to be smart say well we live in the West (including some that profess to carry dawah) the call to khilafah is not pertinent here it’s for the Muslim world.


On this basis they divert their dawah to activities that have no bearing on the purpose of the dawah which is to revive the Islamic way of life by restoring a state. The dawah today should be carried as it was by the Messenger (saw) regardless of time or place otherwise it is a diversion from the entire message of Islam. The work of course should be linked to the reality a dawah carrier finds himself in but the aim has to be one, the restoration of the Khilafah state.


The Prophet (saw) opposed all that was in contradiction to Islam. Today many silently accept other than Islam and it’s thought. This is nothing but a surrender of the Islamic dawah to the forces opposing it and seeking to continue their hegemony over the Muslims.

The da’wah should be carried today as it was delivered in the past and should proceed in compliance with the example of the Messenger _, without the slightest deviation from that method in its general and specific details. No regard should be given to the difference in time, for this difference amounts to nothing more than the means and forms. However, the essence and the reality of life has not and will not change, regardless of the passing of ages and changing of peoples and places.

Thus, carrying the da’wah demands frankness, courage, strength, thought and to challenge all that contradicts the fikrah and tareeqah (idea and method) of Islam by facing it and exposing its falsehood, irrespective of the situation and its consequences.

Carrying the Islamic da’wah necessitates that the ultimate sovereignty (siyadah) belongs to the Islamic ideology, regardless of whether it agrees or disagrees with the masses and whether they accept it or reject it and oppose it, or whether it is in accordance with the people’s customs or not.

Accommodation is a form of Compromise


We need to accommodate other Muslims, let them do what they do and we do what we do .


This goes against the understanding of the Islamic way of carrying dawah. It is also a surefire way to melt into mediocrity and become another voice amongst voices. A Muslims should never compromise his concepts and he should seek to convince others, he cannot accept erroneous ideas even though all he can do is discuss them with those who hold them. Many accept that people calling for charity work, advocacy , lobbying and spiritual reform are legitimate forms of activism and put them on par to restoring Islam to society. These activities are permitted (in most cases) in Shara , but they can’t be considered to be dawah that absolves people from the fard of carrying dawah for Islam.

Often people that are carrying dawah accept this as an itjihadi difference. Only it’s not, these activities in most cases have no linkage to establishing the state and are entirely different activities to serve some need that a segment of Muslims may have. The reason to discuss with the activists of such projects is not to denigrate them but to remind them that their efforts too are required for the monumental task of re-establishing the state, if they are serious about working for Islam. They are no more than shuffling the deck chairs on the titanic in their current activities.


So such people need to be educated and not flattered or given plaudits for their efforts in the cause of Islam. They need to be re-oriented to the work for restoring Islam. They need to be reminded that Islam is a complete way of life and in a situation where Islam is not implemented that it is their duty to carry dawah for changing the reality .

The da’wah carrier (hameled da’wah) does not flatter the people, is not courteous to the authorities or cares for the people’s customs and traditions, and does not give any attention to whether the people will accept him or not. Rather he must adhere to the ideology alone and solely express it paying no regard to anything except the ideology. It is not allowed to tell the followers of other ideologies to adhere to their ideologies. Instead, they are invited without compulsion to embrace the ideology (of Islam) because the da’wah requires that there be no other ideology alongside Islam and that the sovereignty be for Islam alone.

Delivering the da’wah requires a concern for the complete implementation of the rules of Islam without the slightest concession. The carrier does not accept any truce nor concession, negligence or postponement. Instead, he maintains the matter as a whole and definitively settles it immediately. He does not accept any intercession which would obstruct the truth

Completeness of the call


Another confusion that exists is that it is ok to call for Islamic ideas or rebut capitalism in general terms. So someone may talk about the life a companion, or an ayah of Quran, yet not make it clear why he was talking about this and what connection it had to explaining change. If he were not to link that to nature of Islam in its entirety, then his speech could not be considered as part of carrying the Islamic dawah. Rather a motivation and the aim would be preaching or guidance rather than reviving the Islamic way of life. Just as an Imam may talk about motivational subjects on Jummah , these would provide motivation and guidance to the attendees but this could not be conflated with dawah to revive Islam. One celebrity scholar said his job was to make people feel good about Islam (i.e. entertainment)


Therefore, care must be taken in delivering the Islamic da’wah to preserve the completeness of the idea and the completeness of its implementation without any compromise in the fikrah and Tareeqah. There is no harm in using any wasa’il (means) it demands.

Working For Objectives


It is very dangerous for a dawah carrier to work for no or vague objectives. He must get clear on what he is doing. That is to say that he understands that Islam is not present in the world and he needs to contribute to the reviving of it. He must then break this down to what the aims of his activism are, therefore he must set objectives for his dawah. If he were not to do this and just follow the dawah like a groupie then this would be very dangerous to his dawah. If the purpose is not clear then one can fall into a spiral of despair and abandon the work. This can happen, often after years of activity for the sake of activity. For this reason he must be thinking and always assessing effectiveness of his actions reviewing them and perfecting them. If he is a mere follower then he cannot be assured of continuity in dawah, as he would not understand or bear the possible storms that he may encounter and not deal with them when he does.

Carrying the Islamic da’wah necessitates that every one of its actions be undertaken for a specific objective. The carrier should always be aware of this aim and work towards achieving it, exerting himself relentlessly to fulfil it. Therefore, the carrier would not be satisfied by thought without action and would deem it to be a hypnotic and fanciful philosophy. Likewise, he would not be satisfied by thought and action devoid of any objective, considering this to be a spiral motion which ultimately ends in apathy and despair. Instead, the da’wah carrier has to insist upon connecting the thought with action and uniting the two in working for a specific objective which will be fulfilled in a practical manner and be brought into existence.

It is impossible for the da’wah carriers to carry out the responsibility and to effectively discharge their duties unless they rooted within themselves the motivation towards perfection and completeness. They should constantly search for the truth, continuously scrutinize all that they know in order to purify their understandings (of issues) from any alien thoughts, and remove away from these understandings anything close to them (in meaning) that might possibly stick to them. This will keep the idea they carry, pure and clear. The purity and clarity of the thoughts is the only guarantee for Islam’s success and the continuity of this success.

The Why of Carrying Islamic Dawah


Why would anyone choose to carry the dawah in this day and age? The path of carrying dawah requires sacrifice of one’s time, energy and resources. It also can put one in the path of perils , rejection by people and treachery. It however is a grand bargain because in return for being steadfast, facing the challenges, dealing with the problems – lies the pleasure of Allah (swt) and that is the greatest source of strength if a person truly believes.

The da’wah carriers have to carry this duty as an obligation from Allah . They have to embark upon it enthusiastically and delightedly expecting the pleasure of Allah . They must not seek for their work any worldly reward or expect praises from people. They must acknowledge nothing except the pursuit of the pleasure of Allah_.

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