Islamic Studies

The Seven Conditions Related to Successful Dawa

Things are distinguished by their characteristics. The caller to Allah should have the best attributes and qualities as the message he/she brings is from his/her Lord. Inshallah, this article will touch on seven conditions for successful dawa. But first, a few words on the importance of dawa.

Dawa is so important that Allah (swt) described His Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] as a “caller to Allah.”

Allah [the Most Exalted] says:

“And a caller to Allah and a torch spreading light.”
Surah al-Ahzab 46

In fact, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hassan Walid Dodo al-Shanqiti said, “The importance of dawa can be seen the even Allah [the Exalted] describes Himself as a caller!”

Allah [the Exalted] says:

“Allah calls you to Paradise and forgiveness by His leave.”
Surah al-Baqara 221

The role of the caller is no less great when met with a number of challenges and difficulties. Although there are a large number or external obstacles, the greatest challenges are those from within the Muslim community. Thus, the caller must juggle many different objects and, at the same time, maintain his/her own balance.

This article is one of grave importance and it is hoped that it will be used by MAS, YM and other organizations, studied, built upon and developed so it can serve as an important piece in the total tarbiyah process. I’ve left things out on purpose hoping that you will fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle with your own ideas and thoughts.

    The Seven Conditions Related to Successful Dawa

These conditions for success are found in the following verses:

“Say: This is my Way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge. I and whosoever follows me – Glory be to Allah! – and I am not of the idolaters.”
Surah Yusuf 108


“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way.”

    The First Verse [Four conditions]

“Say: This is my Way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge. I and whosoever follows me – Glory be to Allah! – and I am not of the idolaters.” Surah Yusuf 108

1. The statement of Allah, “With sure knowledge”
This entails knowing what one is calling to, who one is calling to and the environment which one lives in and taking time to understand its norms, customs and cultural nuances.

2. The statement of Allah, “I and whoever follows me”
One cannot go it alone. One of the greatest challenges of dawa work is to listen to others ideas, share and put up with peoples stuff. However, there is a blessing in group work and this makes it one of the conditions for successful dawa

3. The statement of Allah, “Glory be to Allah”
This is an interesting clause that seemingly comes out of nowhere to rattle the reader. However, the scholars have stated that a few points can be taken from this:

The caller does not rely upon anyone other than Allah
The caller does not expect rewards from any other than Allah
The caller is a Rabbani (person connected to Allah). Meaning after the knowledge and the group work there is still a strong spiritual presence about this person. They mind their prayers, stand in the night while others are sleeping and weep for Humanity’s guidance. It could also imply that they don’t get caught up in the means forgetting the ultimate objective. Many movements lost their course when they were intoxicated with attracting the large crowds. However, the truth is the truth and it must stay the ultimate goal. Let us not forget that some Prophet’s had 0 followers. Thus, this principle insures quality over quantity. Allah says, “Who created life and death as a test for you to see which of you is best in actions.” Commenting on this a scholar said, “Allah said, “Best in actions” not most in actions.”

4. The Statement of Allah, “And I am not of the idolaters”
Thus the caller is does not engage in acts which are immoral or seen as repulsive. No, he/she is different in his/her moral standing. He/she is not ostentatious, but the caller’s righteousness is like a merciful spring that makes others around better. Recently rookie Daniel Gibson said, after the Cavs closed out the Pistons, that Lebron James told him, “Just keep shooting” the result was a 31 point game and a 19 point 4th quarter. The caller is not a indicter but an inviter. He/she give others strength and motivation; building others.

    The Second verse [Three conditions]

“Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way.”

1. The statement of Allah, “With wisdom”
Wisdom, according to the Arabic language, means to put something in its proper place. Thus, when it is time to be soft, one is soft, when it is time to be firm one is firm, when it is time to play, then it is time to play, and when it is time to work, it is time to be serious. The Prophet [may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] said, “There is a time for this and a time for that.”

2. The statement of Allah, “With fair exhortation”
It is important to communicate in a way that others can understand and appreciate. In addition, methods style and body language all play and essential role in delivering a good message.

3. The statement of Allah, “And reason with them in a better way.”
Here reasoning in a way that is better is not related to style alone as that was addressed by the previous condition. Here reasoning in a better way is related to the content of one’s argument. Insuring that one has sound knowledge and proofs related to the discussion at hand.

    Thus, the conditions for successful dawa are:

1. Knowledge
2. Team effort
3. Rabaniyah (Connected with Allah)
4. Sincerity in doing what one says and distinguished character
5. Wisdom
6. Fair preaching (style and method)
7. Reason in the best way (content and knowledge)

It would be great if MAS and YM could discuss this article and fill in the areas that I left blank. Practical examples, stories and other verses and hadith are awaiting your discovery. Also, anyone is free to comment or add any points they feel will enhance the post.

Suhaib Webb

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

Add Comment

  • Salam, brother. I wonder if you could have on article discussing dawa from one person. Sometimes, a person comes across a nonbeliever in spiritual trouble and they ask for help. It happens often on the internet, there are many lost souls out there searching for guidance. What are the best things to say and do in such situations? How does one get them interested at least? Jazakumulallahukair.

  • Salaam Alaikum,

    I just wanted to add that I think the best dawa is done by shwing a good example. Live our lives in curtousy to our non-Muslim bretheren so that they can see how Islam can make them a better person.

    I have an example I think I heard this story from Siddi Osama Cannon about a man he knows….

    There was an older non-Muslim couple who’s love for eachother had faded long ago. They stopped sharing a room, and virtually the only bond that was holding their marriage was their kids. They both felt they had a moral obligation to stay together until death, living in a civil manner towards eachother (but with no love) in order to keep the family together.

    One day the man in his late 50’s was walking his dog through a park and there was a group of Muslim brothers having a picnic on the grass. The Muslims saw him watching them and they invited him to come eat with them. Because the man was one of these eclectic fellows, who loved experiencing new foods and cultures he accepted. And so they all started eating and talking.

    The Muslims out of respect and love for eachother were all serving eachother food and putting food for eachother on eachothers plates and feeding eachother, and they did not spare the non-Muslim of this hospitality. So the non-Muslim man asked what the significance of serving eachother was. The Muslims replied, “We feed eachother because it increases the love we have for eachother.”

    The man that night contemplated on this, and the next meal with his wife, he turned off the TV and fed her her entire meal. She was very pleasantly surprised. From then on, he made it an effort at every meal to feed her. Her happiness increased with time and she began feeding him back.

    Sobhanallah this simple act ended up rekindling all the love and romance they had for eachother in their lives and their marriage was happier than it ever was. After a time, the wife asked her husband, “What made you decide to feed me that day?” And to which he told her the story of the Muslims he had had lunch with. She said, “Imagine if this one detail of Islam has brought so much joy and good into our lives, imagine what Islam can do for the rest of our lives?” And so they converted together MashALlah and they now live out their lives as happy Muslims. 🙂

    So, this is just to show you that for some people they don’t need proof, they don’t need doctrine, they may not even need explanations… just a simple kind word, a smile, a friend… something to show them how they too can find happiness with the gift of Islam.

    Akhtukum fel Deen
    Zawjat AbdulRahman

  • Assalamualaykum,

    SubhanAllah that is a great story sister HanoonaMuslimah. May Allah fill our hearts with iman and amal of the righteous people. May Allah reward all you people.

  • AsSalaamu alaykum Shaykh,

    What advice would you have for someone who is active in da’wah, and having a hard time with praise/compliments? If you are say “the face” of some youth da’wah group and people are constantly tell you how good you are, etc.

    I’m fearing riyya’ and, as a sister, the attention makes me even more uncomfortable.

  • MashAllah!! I really wish I had read this when I was in university. We used to have a weekly da’wa stall, and one of the most important things was to connect to people on a human level. We’d serve free coffee, so caffeine-addicted students would always stop by. The conversations would begin on a sort of social level, and then they’d look back at the stall and say “so… what are you guys doing here?” and the topic would move to Islam. It was great to have especially in my final year, when all the controversial news stories like the saudi rape case and the teddy bear case were constantly in the media, and people just wanted to ask “Is this really in your religion?”

    May Allah help everyone who is involved in the work of da’wa, ameen.

  • there's another point to this story which is mash'Allah incredible, the fact that the man was open-minded: he accepted the Muslims' invitation. he wasn't so influenced by the media etc. he cuoldn've said no… but imagine, he said yes, why not? he let his heart, went with the flow i guess…
    You get one inch closer to God, He comes miles closer to you…

  • Assalamu Allikum,
    Thanks just got to your site today.After salla the next thing is dawah in islam. to do thjis we need constantly upgrading knowledge and i hope your site will also help. Regards YF.

Leave a Comment