"How to Do Dawah"

Learn From Those Who Spend Their Lives Calling To Allah - And His 'Way' - Islam.

Taken from an email regarding dawah from Sheik Yusuf Estes, Muslim Chaplain


Bismilah Rahman Raheem
Salam Alaykum wa Rahmatulah Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam:

Dawah is an Arabic word which comes close to the word "invite" or "invitation" in English. The understanding of the usage of the word "dawah" with regard to the faith of Islam is that it is the responsibility of the Muslims to "invite" all to the way of Islam, i.e., submission to the One True God on His terms. Dawah is incumbent on all Muslims and must be done in compliance with the methodology already established by the last prophet of Islam, Muhammad, peace be upon him. It is an order from Allah the Almighty in His Book the Holy Quran:

12.108 "Say: "This is my Way: I do invite unto Allah,- with certain knowledge, - I and whoever follows me. Glory to Allah, and never will I join gods with Allah!"
16.125 "Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance."
22.67 "To every People have We appointed rites which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way."
28.87 "Let no one turn you away from Allah's revelations after they have been revealed to thee: and invite (men) to thy Lord, and be not of the company of those who join gods with Allah."

[highlighted links will take you to the actual page from Quran]

Step by Step Dawah Lessons - [click here]


All activities, need to be planned out just as you would plan any type of affair or program which you would invite others to attend. Might I mention some of the things that we have tried to establish over the last 6 or so years with regard to setting up programs and dawah efforts?

First of all, we try to plan things ahead by at least 3 months minimum and make sure that all involved will have the chance to attend every meeting or at least have a copy of the minutes of the meetings to help them in preparing for the next meetings.

Next, we make it a strong policy never to accept last minute programs or events that might compromise the existing ones that are already scheduled and in the works.

Third, we try our best to bring in the right person for the right job. This is one of the most crucial aspects of the whole project.

Fourth, we limit the time that we use for meetings and keep to the points at hand and make sure that all of the essentials are worked out before discussing any item of lesser importance. And useless wastes of time are not tolerated during the meetings and in the phone conversations which pertain to the programs.
All the meetings and gatherings are conducted according to the Quran and the Sunnah to maximize the Blessings and to insure the success here and in the Hereafter, inshallah.

Travel arrangements are made well in advance including backup plans to assure that everyone is where he/she needs to be on time.

Timing is very crucial to the success and must never be taken for granted (please don't look at me on this issue -- I'm the worst in our organization on this point).
Also make efforts to know other conflicting events which could limit the number of attendees and speakers who might be affected by the scheduling conflicts.

Materials and any equipment that might be needed are listed, located and secured at the earliest possible opportunity.

Promotion and advertising of the events are begun as soon as the commitments are in place and this continues right up until the time the event actually starts.
Each person has his/her own particular job as well as being well informed of those jobs which effect their part of the program.

Task assignments are most important. Each person is responsible for his/her part as well as assisting those who are nearest to them in their area.
Likewise, every aspect of the program is discussed on a level so that anyone may understand what are the goals and how they are to be achieved.

Financial arrangements must be made in advance and each thing must be specifically cleared for approval of expenditure and how the funding will be arranged. This is a very serious detail and must not be left to chance. It is in fact, one of the worst shortcomings of the Muslims today.

Cooperation and ongoing encouragement is a duty incumbent on all. Everyone working within the program is accountable to all of the others as this is an interdependent operation. That is to say that, if anyone fails then in affect we have all failed to a certain degree.

Main goal should always be in sight. We must keep in mind that this dawah effort is not that we are going out with the idea that we are going to make other people become Muslims. Not at all.
Our aim is and must always be to increase our own level of faith and bring ourselves closer to Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him.

Focus the dawah from the center outward because it is like a circle or ripples in the water which surround the rock once thrown into the pond. We have to understand that the first line of dawah begins with ourselves, then our closest relatives and then our wider circle of relatives, then our friends, the Muslim body at large, our neighbors and then the general public.
This understanding is derived from the 80th surah in the Quran, Abassa [the Frowning]. We must not turn our backs on those who are already Muslim in favor of those who are not yet being guided by Allah.

So, for this purpose we always try to design our workshops into segments:

  • New Muslims
  • Existing Muslims
  • Non-Muslims

Beliefs in Islam are the most critical issue. Remember always, the number one subject at each and every program must at least be included along with the other subjects is "The Correct Beliefs In Islam."
[this is not optional]

"What? & Who?"
of Islam and the Muslims are most important  issues which must always be brought out into the light is the subject of: "What Exactly is Islam?" and "Who Are Really Muslims?"
For more on this subject you might like to visit our web site address at:

Another page we have on our web site entitled "Beliefs" could prove to be very helpful in planning the content for some of your seminars and workshops:

And also one which is linked to it at:

Naturally, the Quran is of course a major topic in Islam and should be treated with the highest of respect and consideration in the efforts of the dawah. We are linked to a number of sources for the various topics on Quran, such as:

  • Message of Quran
  • Revelation of Quran
  • Preservation of Quran
  • Science in the Quran
  • Miracle of the Quran

Follow Up
It is important when conducting these types of programs to consider how you will leave the people even before you work out all of the details of what you are going to do while you are with them. As an example you might consider even before you start, what you will give them along the order of follow up and staying touch. One very simple [and FREE] method is to use our "Big Links" page for everything on the subject of Islam at:

This is a very "heavy" page which actually contains hundreds, if not thousands of links to many other very outstanding web sites for total research of Islam.

Another simple thing to offer as a method of staying in touch is your email address and at the same time you might like to include my email address if they would have any additional considerations or concerns that perhaps you either were not able to cover due to lack of resources or due to the lack of time.

And now to return back to the presentation itself, inshallah. 

One must always keep in mind what the objectives and goals are and structure each program accordingly. This is a key issue and if overlooked can spell disaster.

Of course we can use the old cliché that we are simply "Going to make a lot of dawah." And then go about whatever we are doing in any manner and say that this is dawah. But the question will quickly arise, "Yes, but is your DAWAH getting any SHAHADAHS?" and "Is your DAWAH benefiting the Muslims?"
If the answer in both cases is "No" then your DAWAH is nothing but conversation and a waste of your time. Allah will ask you about it.

T hink things through to a conclusion in all cases. Plan your work and then work your plan. Be sure to constantly go back and check and then recheck your game plan of action, being sure to adhere to the original structure as possible unless there is some very large advantage in making any changes after the program is under way. There is an old saying in Texas (I'm from Texas, what did you expect?) that says: "Never change horses in the middle of the stream."

It should be mentioned that it is most important to keep in mind that all of those whom you are working alongside in this project are also in need of the product (DAWAH) and therefore it is essential that we do everything in a spirit of cooperation and consideration for the other brothers (and sisters).
It could never be acceptable that we would go about calling people to Islam while at the same time abusing other Muslims even in the slightest way. (May Allah save us and forgive us from these types of actions, ameen).

Quran Recitation
Reciting Quran in the programs or in presentations and then having some translation of the meaning is excellent and is founded on the teachings in Islam. Children or adults, whoever are best able to recite correctly should be encouraged to participate in this form of dawah.

Testimonials are very good as well. Those who are coming into Islam might speak a few words about the good treatment of the other Muslims, generousity, pleasure in keeping good company, etc. But not focus on putting down the former religion.

I might also like to suggest that the use of a program called "Power Point" or some equivalent be put into use to developed a professional and attractive package so that everyone concerned can feel excited and proud to be a part of the program and will be more than ready to participate in future events as well.

Specific topics can be set up and approached from various angles. But great care should be taken to allow speakers and guests to select areas that they are familiar with and are comfortable presenting. Examples include asking a non-married young man to discuss the details of "Sex in Islam" with a group of sisters or asking a person who is not strong in a particular are of Islam such as Fiqh or Seerah to speak on those subjects to those who may be somewhat educated in these areas already.

I do not like to limit a speaker by choosing his/her topic or even offering a title for the subject, such as "What the Islamic Resurgence in Scientific Discoveries Means to Muslims in Central Asia."

And for sure, it is not acceptable to change the topics and titles at the last minute and notify the speaker as he is going up on the stage (happened to me in NJ in the Spring).

All of these things are against the sunnah of the prophet, peace be upon him, as it is also logically unacceptable to be so unorganized and in disarray for such an important project as attempting to influence someone's choices in this life to prepare themselves for the Next Life.


As to planning the specific subjects for any occasion, I suggest that you consider how Islam comes in the first place and then structure your program according to those in attendance.


  • Example: A new crowd of non-Muslims should hear about how we can prove that there is a GOD in the first place and how we can come to the logical conclusion of the purpose of our lives here on this earth.
  • Example 2: A group of new Muslims and a few older Muslims should be reminded of the correct belief in Allah and how He is not ever "Everywhere" like some people might be tempted to say when trying to explain His abilities in sight, hearing and presence.
  • Example 3: Some young Muslims who grew up in this country while their parents are actually from Muslim countries would benefit in learning how to understand Islam and how to practice it without compromising religion or giving up some of the things that they might enjoy.
  • Example 4: Muslim and non-Muslim women sitting together might benefit in learning what the true prospective of Islam is on "Women's Rights of Inheritance" or "Women's Dress Code in Islam" or "Marriage and It's Benefits."

    These of course are only a tiny part of the spectrum of the topics in Islam. And I'm sure you could name a hundred more very quickly.

    I would like to caution about a few things, though.
    Subjects which are not properly researched, no matter how popular or exciting should never be presented or discussed without a scholar on hand to handle difficulties that are bound to arise in these types of situations.
    Example: Some newspapers are reporting that a certain Muslim country or government is doing so and so and everyone is stimulated and talking about it, while not even having the basic understanding of the history, direction or even if the newspaper was true.

Motto: "Stick to the Basics -- or you'll get stuck."

Please forgive me for taking so long to reply and for any mistakes I may have made.

I look forward to working with your organization anytime in the future and ask Allah to guide me to do all that I do for His pleasure alone, ameen.

May Allah forgive me and guide me to do better, ameen.

Jazakalah khair, was-As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatulah.
Your Brother in Islam,


Chaplain Yusuf Estes
Director Today Islam Project


Do you have ideas and suggestions for dawah? Would you like to assist in this most noble of efforts? Do you have any questions that you might like to have answered?
If so, please feel free to email us and explain your questions or ideas at:



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