The Role and Function of a Dā’ī:
Spreading dawah is compulsory upon the muslim ummah; hence, it is pertinent to have some guidelines that will guide the dā’ī in carrying out his duty. The Prophet set an example for dawah. It is for us to emulate and take lessons from, to assist us in spreading dawah in today’s world. Allāh says:
❝O Prophet Muhammad, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner. And as one who invites to Allāh (Islāmic Monotheism) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah al-Aḥzāb (The Confederates), Chapter 33, Verses 45-46
The role and function of a dā’ī in today’s world
A dā’ī (caller) is someone who do dawah (call people to Allāh ). He strives to convey the message of the Sharī’ah to the servants of Allāh . It is an obligatory for every Muslim, as Allāh says:
❝Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is Ma’rouf (right) and forbidding what is Munkar (wrong). And it is they who are the successful.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah Āl ʿImrān (The Family of Imran), Chapter 3, Verse 104
There are some characteristics which need to be present in today’s dā’ī (callers to Islām), which are:
1) Imaan : The dā’ī should have a strong faith or belief.
2) Do it for the sake of Allāh : It is compulsory that whatever we do our intention must be in obedience to Allāh seeking His pleasure, as Allāh says,
❝And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah al-Dhāriyāt (The Scatterers), Chapter 51, Verse 56
The dā’ī should have ikhlās (sincerity and purity of intentions and actions) for Allāh . The dā’ī should also love Allāh in his heart in order to be an effective dā’ī or even a strong Muslim.
3) Knowledge : To call the people to upon correct ’ilm (knowledge), and not ignorance,
❝Say, This is my path, I do call to Allāh upon knowledge.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah Yūsuf (Joseph), Chapter 12, Verse 108
4) Mildness and Gentleness : The dā’ī is to be mild and forbearing in dawah, being gentle and patient in it, as were all the Messengers . Beware of being hasty, harsh and strict in dawah, as Allāh says,
❝Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition, and argue with them in ways that are best.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah Chapter al-Naḥl (The Bee), 16, Verse 125
❝And by the Mercy of Allāh you were able to deal gently with them. If you had been severe and harsh-hearted they would have broken away from about you.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah Āl ʿImrān (The Family of Imran), Chapter 3, Verse 159
The Prophet said,
❛Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except that it beautifies it, is it removed from anything except that it disfigures it.❜
― Sahih Muslim, Volume 16, 146
And he also said,
❛Whoever is prevented from gentleness, is actually prevented from all good and excellence.❜
― Sahih Muslim, Volume 16, 145
5) Settling an example : The dā’ī must possess is acting in accordance to what he is calling to, being a righteous example of what is being called to. He should not call to do something but not do it himself, nor call to leave something, whilst engaging in it himself. Allāh says,
❝O you who believe! Do you say that which you do not do. It is most hateful in the sight of Allāh that you say that which you do not do.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah al-Ṣaff (Ranks), Chapter 61, Verses 2-3
6) Awareness : The dā’ī should have awareness of basically three principles:
– Awareness of the reality of dawah in his lifetime and place.
– Awareness of the reality of the condition of the people he is calling to Islām.
– Awareness of his personal capabilities.
7) Wisdom : The dā’ī should give the message gradually, at the level which people are able to understand.
8) Trustworthy : The dā’ī should be trustworthy. Otherwise it would be difficult to rely on such a person, especially when it involves issues of divine nature like call to Islām.
9) Morality (Good Manners) : The dā’ī must be of sound moral character and manners, a role model one who can be listened to and looked upon to. The Prophet was the best example, as Allāh says:
❝Indeed in the Messenger of Allāh (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allāh and the Last Day, and remembers Allāh much.❞
― Al-Qur`ān, sūrah al-Aḥzāb (The Confederates), Chapter 33, Verse 21
10) Eloquent : The dā’ī must be eloquent, and able to speak in a manner that will convey his message clearly without using a language that will confuse the one being called to Islām.
11) Good listener : The dā’ī must be a good listener one who is patient to hear what the audience say and ask.
12) Giving Muslims the Benefit of the Doubt : The dā’ī should give the Muslims the benefit of the doubt and respect, because if he does not, people will always have the worst interpretation of a person’s actions. He needs to show respect so that people will open their hearts.
13) Covering the Faults of People : The dā’ī should cover people’s shortcomings so that they are able to trust him, not fearing that he will reveal their flaws to their friends or community.
14) Giving Due Respect : This implies that the dā’ī gives everyone the respect which is due to their position, which means respect the scholars, the elderly, and people who have been given authority. This way the disrespect will not block the haqq from reaching their minds.
15) Cooperating with other Du’āt : The dā’ī should cooperate with others who are calling to Islām (plural is du’āt ) and this is because they are working for the same objective, and working for the same ilāh.
The absence of Dawah means the absence of a force to prevent the spread of evil and injustice on the earth. Our Prophet has warned us of the consequences:
❛At a time when people become indifferent to the spread of evil, they incur Allāh’s punishment.❜
― Imam Ahmad, Volume 1, 9
In this modern day, the challenges on doing dawah are little bit different compared to the challenges faced by the Prophet . These challenges could be more easy but could also be more difficult. It depends on the dā’ī himself. However, what had been faced by the Prophet should be used as the basic principles. In this internet and globalization era, people can get connected to other people easily, so doing dawah is getting more easy.
This is Alḥamdulillāh, a true blessing from Allāh . Uniting ummah could be more easy, getting Islāmic knowledge could also be more easy. However, this is the challenges of the dā’ī. They need to learn and get the correct knowledge before spreading it, otherwise they could misguide others.
Alḥamdulillāh. It can be concluded, that to be a dā’ī today, we must face challenges which need to face with some qualities as stated and briefly discussed above. Focus on giving dawah, as it is obligatory for every muslim. The dawah we do is to be on the sabeel or way of the Prophet Muhammad , as Allāh says:
❝Say, ❛This is my way; I invite to Allāh with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allāh ; and I am not of those who associate others with Him.❜❞
― Al Qur`ān, sūrah Yūsuf (Joseph), Chapter 12, Verse 108
May Allāh bless us with sublime character, give us the ability to strive and emulate Prophet , and may He grant us beneficial knowledge and may the knowledge be of benefit to us and the ummah at large.