By: Dr. Norlain Dindang
Da’wah requires effective planning and strategy formulation. We should never do Da’wah hastily. We have to plan it with great deliberation and care. This is in line with the following Ahadîth:
‘Abdullah Bin Sarjis
narrated that the Prophet
said, “A good manner of conduct,
deliberation and moderation are a twenty-fourth part of prophecy.”
Al Wazi bin Zari’
narrated that the Prophet
said to him (al-Mundhir al-Ashajj), “You have two characteristics which Allâh
likes: gentleness and
deliberation.” He asked, “Have
I acquired them or has Allâh created
(them in) my nature?” He
replied, “No, Allâh has created
(them) in your nature.” He then
said, Praise be to Allâh Who has
created in my nature two characteristics which Allâh and His Messenger
We have to plan how to do Da’wah to various kinds of peoples coming from different backgrounds. We need to plan especially if we are organizing Da’wah for groups through lectures or seminars. We have to plan ahead of time; plan for the theme, topics, venue, time, participants, speakers to be invited, and the like. If we want to have effective and successful speakers, we have to invite them at least three weeks before the lecture. We have to inform the speakers also of the nature (e.g., age, sex, educational level, profession, cultural background) of the expected participants in order to suit the lectures according to their level, needs and interests. Speakers need more time to plan out what to say and how to deliver their lectures.
As Du’ât, it is imperative for us to effectively plan for Da’wah programs and projects. In planning, we have to acknowledge that Allâh I is the best of planners (3:54 and 8:30). Thus, we have to pray for His help to bless our plan because “when He has decreed a plan He but say to it ‘Be’ and it is!” (3:47). We have to acknowledge also the fact that He does command according to His Will and plan (5:1). We have to ask Allâh the Almighty to bestow us knowledge and wisdom to come up with effective planning strategies for our Da’wah programs. The following are some useful guidelines on planning Da’wah programs:
▀ Meet key people in your organization(s) or Da’wah group(s) to identify plans (short-term or long-range plans) for Da’wah programs (lectures, seminars, conferences, symposia, workshops, etc.) and projects.
▀ Start every plan meeting with the praises and invocation to Allâh . Remind the group to always purify their intention that the planning meeting is for the pleasure of Allâh . Remember every deed is rewarded based on our intentions:
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (r.a.) said “I heard Allâh ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) saying, ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allâh and His Messenger, his migration had been for Allâh and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or take some woman in marriage, his migration had been for that for which he migrated.’” (Bukhari 1/1 and Muslim 3/ 4692)
▀ Prioritize programs/projects based on their urgency, importance (effects or impact to the participants and the society) and feasibility.
▀ Plan to implement each program one at a time. Focus your meeting(s) to one feasible program.
▀ Plan every da’wah program in terms of the needs of the participants, not on the basis of the available resource persons. This means to have needs assessment or prior knowledge of what the participants want to know of Islâm. This can be done by observations, survey (questionnaire and/or interview) of some of the prospective participants. Islâmic topics must be designed based on the results of the needs-assessment.
▀ Involve the key persons who will implement the program in the planning stage.
▀ Make a record of the planning process as a basis for evaluating the success or failure of the program. This will serve as guide to improving future programs.
▀ In the planning process, consider the following important points:
1. Time Schedule of Activities: a) Duration of days and time when the Da’wah Program/project will be implemented; and b) Timeframe covering deadlines for completion of tasks and activities needed to execute the program.
2. Participants: Identify the nature of your participants (whether professional or non-professional, mature or youth group, men or women, students or out-of-school youths, etc.)
3. Contents and Objectives of the Program/Project: Specify the theme of the program, identify objectives in measurable terms, and enumerate the topics of the lectures in line with the theme and objectives.
4. Committees and Leadership: Create various committees needed, assign members and a leader for each committee capable to implement tasks and responsibilities. If possible, establish linkages with other Da’wah groups or community leaders and seek their cooperation. Involve them either as members or leaders in the various committees. Choose leaders on the basis of their competence and experience to carry out committee tasks.
5. Venue and Facilities: Choose and reserve the venue or place accessible and conducive to the participants and the resource persons or speakers. See to it that equipment and facilities needed for the program are available.
6. Resource Persons/Speakers: Identify and contact/invite prospective qualified speakers who are known for their knowledge of the Qur’ân and the Sunnah or right Islâmic Aqeedah and can successfully deliver the topics few months or at least three weeks before the program. Give each speaker necessary information about the program. Inform him/her of the place, date, time or duration of his/her speech/lecture, nature of the audience, whether or not there will be open forum, etc. Inform him/her also of the possible expectations from the audience like the reproduction of his speech for distribution or to discuss a particular topic on Islâm , etc.
7. Materials and/Souvenirs: Obtain in advance the materials/handouts or souvenirs to be distributed at the program.
8. Food and Accommodation: If the program requires more than three hours, the group needs to plan for food (snacks) to be given to the participants and speakers/guests during break time. If it is a live-in program, food and accommodation must be planned out properly based on the availability of funds.
9. Financial Requirements and Resources: Estimate the budget for the program (determine the minimum cost, most probable and maximum budget requirements). Identify possible sources of funds. Set up the most reasonable budget based on the availability of funds. Plan according to your means. Do not be extravagant in carrying out a Da’wah program. Remember that Islâm teaches us to be moderate in spending and not to waste resources:
“...But waste not by excess:
for Allâh loves not the
“O children of Adam!
Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and
drink: but waste not by excess, for Allâh loves not the wasters.”
“Those who, when they spend,
are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those
10. Program: Make the program of activities as accurate as possible and incorporate it in the invitation that will be given to the speakers and guests days before the start of the program. If possible (if resources permit), copies of the program must be given also to the participants on the start of the program. Be ready to have an alternative activity or contingency plan of action if a certain part of the program can not be implemented for some unavoidable reasons or circumstances. For instance, in case a speaker fails to come, find a substitute or an alternative action.
11. Announcements and Invitation: There should be public announcements and invitation to inform and get the expected number of prospective participants to the program. This can be done through distribution of flyers/invitation in various media and other means of communication.
12. Certificates of Attendance and Appreciation: If possible, give certificates of attendance to participants in a Da’wah program or Islâmic lecture that involves, say, five hours or more. This will motivate more individuals to attend Islâmic lectures. The certificates of participation will distinguish them from those who do not attend Islâmic programs. Allâh the Almighty says:
“...Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?” It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition.” (39:9)
Certificates of appreciation must be given to the speakers and the members of the organizing group or members of the community/elsewhere who have actively contributed to the success of the program. This is to express our gratitude to them for the pleasure of Allâh the Almighty. We must take guidance from the following Hadith to express our gratefulness to Allâh by thanking those who have done favor to us:
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that Allâh ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “He who does not thank people does not thank Allâh.” (Tirmidhi 3025 and Abu Dawud 4793)
13. Evaluation: Identify criteria for assessing the success or failure of the program and make an evaluation sheet based on the criteria. Reproduce evaluation sheet for distribution to participants and guests before the end of the program. This will guide the group to plan more effectively in improving future Da’wah programs.
▀ Construct an action tracking chart or a checklist which enumerates the various committees or tasks needed, the person(s) responsible for each committee, the resources needed, cost, funding sources, deadlines and remarks. The remarks will show the status/progress of each task/committee. On the whole, the tracking chart will help monitor progress of all various committees/tasks. If possible, there should be coordinator of all the various committees who is qualified to check or follow-up the progress of all activities. He/she must report any deviations from the planned activity to the over-all chairman of the group who will call the attention of the concerned committee leader(s) for positive actions.
Example of an Action Tracking Chart:
▀ Finally, supplicate to Allâh to bless our plans for indeed Allâh the Almighty is the best of planners. When He has decreed a plan He but say to it ‘Be’ and it is! (3:47). He does command according to His Will and plan (5:1)
[Da'wah] [Ideal Muslims]
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