Ghulam Esposito Haydar shares his thoughts on the role of daw’ah in the UK.
For the majority, it’s street preachers and lectures delivered in mosques, universities and centres around the UK. It’s “preaching”, “debating” and if you’re really clever, “proselytising”. This is how most of us envisage Da’wah. We have reduced our Da’wah and an inadvertent consequence is that we have lost talented Muslims who would otherwise be an asset by working in other equally important areas.
University ‘Discover Islām Weeks’ and the mass outbreak of Daw’ah tables and roaming street du’at have contributed significantly to this reduced understanding and it really needs to change. Not only are some of the current popular methods reducing Da’wah, they have developed into something problematic: (www.5pillarsuk.com/…/05/08/have-dawah-stalls-lost-their-way/).
Da’wah was never exclusively about conveying the message but also embodying it too. Conveying the message is an intrinsic part of Da’wah, but Da’wah is inviting someone to Islām by demonstrating to them the holistic package of Islām. This was the Da’wah of the greatest example to have ever lived, the Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Da’wah should be undertaken with insight into successful models of the past whilst assessing the current climate. We have to understand that when groups of people flocked to the Islām, they often came to it as a result of long-term interaction with one person or a group of people. Their interest developed as a result of an already established trust. Their Islām normally came about after a period of reflection. Modern research into Muslim conversion reflects exactly the same.
If this is the case, we have to question our current da’wah strategy. Are Muslims really embodying Islām through our actions? Are we rising to tackle the societal challenges of our time like the Prophet Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam did, using Islām as the vehicle for change? Have we established the trust in our local area? Have we established a legacy in our communities? Have we created an environment for the Divine and Preserved message of Allāh to flourish?
One of the unique things about Muslims living in Britain is our diversity. Due to Britain’s colonial history and the economic prospects Britain offered post world war, many Muslims hailing from all over Africa, the Middle-East and the Indian subcontinent migrated to the UK and it is their offspring who now make up the bulk of the 4.8% of Muslims currently living in the UK. As these communities have grown, they have created their own distinctive cultural Islamic identity. Although there is nothing wrong with this, it has created an impression with many that Islām is an Arab, Asian or an African way of life. By doing so, it’s created a perception that Islām is a foreign phenomena which inadvertently creates cultural barriers which sometimes contribute to resisting Islam.
So how can we create a healthy blend of Islām in Britain which celebrates the cultural contributions of Muslims from North and West Africa, Arabia, the Levant, Asia and Europe which is inclusive of the Muslims living in Britain and conducive to the Da’wah in the UK.
These are some of the questions we must start to address if we really want to make a difference with our Da’wah. Rethinking our Da’wah strategy in the UK is a challenge and it is something we must rise to if we are genuine in this form of ibādah we have chosen. Let’s understand what it takes to be holistic and to be the example.
Re-thinking Daw’ah national conference
The Myriad Foundation are excited to announce a truly remarkable and unique event that is planned to take place at the British Muslim Heritage Center in Manchester on Sunday 22nd of March 2015 between 12-6pm.
The Myriad Foundation has long been promoting the concept of ‘Holistic Da’wah’. We feel that the holistic approach is synonymous with the Da’wah of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and that it should be brought to the forefront of our methodologies once again.
We’ll be joined by Scholars, leading thinkers and Da’wah organisations from around the UK. Speakers include:
Shaykh Abu Aaliyah – Surkheel Sharif (Jawziyya Institute)
Shaykh Zahir Mahmood (As – Suffa Institute)
Ustadh Alomghir Ali (MRDF)
Sufyan Ismail (MEND)
Ustadh Hamza Andreas Tzortzis (iERA)
Imam Qasim (Iqra TV)
Ustadh Adam Kelwick (Abdullah Quilliam Society)
Islamic Diversity Centre (IDC)
Meet Your Muslim Neighbour (MYMN)
Buy your tickets now at:
For queries contact:
Ghulam Esposito Haydar is a Muslim activist, the founder of Manchester New Muslim Network and a director of the Myriad Foundation.