On social media today, Dawah is often portrayed as an exciting path full of great luxuries and perks. Glamorizing and romanticizing Dawah has distorted the perception of this noble act of worship in the minds of many. The result is that many people are getting into Dawah for wrong reasons and causing a lot of harm to the Dawah in the process.
The process, purpose and results of Dawah have been poorly portrayed in recent times. This has attracted too many showmen, hypocrites, fame-seekers, and copycats who lack the correct purpose, vision, goal and drive to truly make a difference in this ummah. There are so many wrong perceptions of Dawah that need clarification. These are some of the major ones.
Dawah is NOT a path to fame
Dawah does NOT lead to fame. If you see a famous Da’ee, know that is the exception, NOT the norm. For every Da’ee with one million Facebook followers, there are a dozen that nobody knows about. There are so many things wrong with thinking Dawah leads to fame, including the following:
That individual may have gone through decades of struggles and being hated by society before gaining millions of followers. All you see are the millions of followers today, and not the years of struggle without any followers.
You may think there is a shortcut to get the respect they have, but there isn’t! They sincerely worked hard for decades, wanting nothing but Allah’s pleasure and the followers are simply part of the Barakah from Allah. It was never the goal.
If Dawah led to fame, every prophet would be the most famous person of their time. Reality is that some Prophets had many followers and others only had a handful. What they had in common was not fame, but trials.
Dawah is NOT fun and easy
Where in the Quran will you find a story about a da’ee who had it easy and whose life was a fun adventure? Every story of every prophet is one of struggle, hardship, courage and often isolation. The same can be said of the stories of the sahaba and famous scholars throughout history.
So where did this idea come about that the Dawah is fun and exciting? Social Media! The selfies of duaat on business class flights staying in five star hotels and enjoying everything in this dunya has created a false image of what the life of a da’ee is. The truth is that the da’ee in that photo has his own struggles, but because only the good times are shared on Facebook, we have a distorted image.
The real Dawah is not a fun ride. It is a struggle to promote the truth in a world that hates to hear it. You will make more enemies than friends, and will find yourself in constant trouble for speaking the truth. The Dawah does not need people looking for fun and excitement, it needs people who are dedicated to the cause and willing to sacrifice everything for Allah.
Dawah is a form of worship
Dawah is an act of worship. It is from the great acts of worship and obligations done by the prophets and great Muslims throughout history. They never did it to rack up Shahadah High Scores and swap statistics. Nor did they do it for the money, the fame, or the attention. They had only one goal: to spread the message of Allah. The question we need to ask ourselves is why are we doing Dawah?
Your Intention is crucial
This leads to a key point. If you are choosing to join the Dawah world, you need to be very clear about your intentions. Dawah is only an act of worship when it is done to Allah for Allah with methods allowed by Allah, without any distortion to the message. It is a huge responsibility, and we are responsible for everything we say and do on this path.
There is no room in the Dawah world for attention seekers, fame seekers or gold-diggers. If you are in it for the wrong reasons, you are only harming the Deen and it will count against you on the Last Day.
Dawah is a form of Jihad
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most virtuous form of Jihad is to speak the truth to a tyrant ruler.” (Abu Dawud)
Dawah means speaking the truth, even if it upsets people. In this day and age, almost every aspect of Islam is controversial to secular minded folk. This makes it an even bigger struggle to speak the truth, and as a result some compromise their message, while others give up doing Dawah altogether.
If you are serious about Dawah, you have to get used to being politically incorrect. You have to be brave and speak the truth, even if it gets you in trouble. You have to a pillar of strength for the Deen, even when the world is crumbling around you. If not, then you are not doing Dawah to Allah, but just to yourself.
The results of Dawah in this world are not guaranteed
For some strange reason, every year I end up meeting a naive young da’ee who thinks he/she is going to be the one to turn society around completely, and that it is only a matter of time before people are following him/her. Many of these people fall completely off the Dawah within a few months when they realize their Dawah is drawing criticism, instead of change.
Newsflash folks: That is exactly how Dawah works! Dawah means telling people what they don’t want to hear. What do you think will happen when you do that? Criticism, haters, trolls, and obstacles are norms in the path of Dawah.
Reality is that there is absolutely no guarantee that you will see any results to your Dawah in this world. It isn’t sales or marketing, it is Divine Guidance. You may try new methods and new audiences but nothing is guaranteed. Throughout history, there have been Du’aat who did not gain any real following during their lifetimes, yet they are rewarded by Allah for their effort.
This is the key point to understand. If you are doing Dawah for Allah, then you are not hear to win a popularity contest. You are hear to spread the pure message of Islam to as many people as possible. Whether people accept that message or not is not in your hands. We are not here to rack up Shahadah High Scores or gain a specific number of social media followers. We are here to serve Allah, and if Allah chooses for people to come to Him through us, then that is His Mercy and Blessing. Either way, we must continue doing our Dawah for Allah.
End of Rant
Let us stop portraying Dawah as this fictional perfect life. It isn’t the reality for any Da’ee. Dawah is a duty and responsibility, and with it comes many trials. If you do it, do it for Allah. Do not expect any worldly rewards, and stay focused on the real goal: spreading the message of Allah without distortion.
May Allah keep us all steadfast on the truth and protect our hearts from deviation.