Posted by: Dawud Israel | October 20, 2007

How to make dedicated MSA/ISoc Members FAST!

In reflecting over my MSA (Muslim Student Association, or ISoc as they are called in the UK and Australia) and the Dawah on campus I’ve seen and tried out a few strategies that I’ve seen work nicely. This may not apply to all MSAs but it certainly did to mine. I’m going to go through a few.

How to get more sincere MSA Members–FAST!

The one thing that I used to wonder while doing Dawah to non-Muslims, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a legions of Muslims handing out pamphlets and talking to people about Islam?” It’s funny because when you actually start doing that Dawah–you start to think that all the dawah has to happen now. That this is the time and no other time is better. Not to say, that this isn’t true (one should live in the present) but people deligate as this to be the only time to do dawah.

So what happens. You have a core group of brothers and sisters who handle just about everything. They organize the event from start to finish, they are at the Dawah booth all day, hand out pamphlets all day and may even end up giving talks. When a Muslim sees them at work they think, “They don’t need any help,” and this may be true, they are doing fine, but they are being exhausted and all the dawah is in the hands a few brothers. The core group complains that no new people join or help out and it’s hard to find volunteers.

So what is the solution? The one solution you would think isn’t the solution: Not volunteer. If you are one of those brothers and sisters who is there always at the booth(s)–the MSA will rely on you. They will call you for everything. But if you tell them that you will not be there, (you can still show up and surprise them and help) then the core brothers and sisters will be forced to find someone else. They may try and persuade you saying, “There is no one else,” or “We need someone experienced,”but you be straight-forward and say no.

So what happens from there is they will find someone else who may not be very experienced but they will find a brother or sister who everybody seemed to forget about. And this person will do the dawah–they may not be perfect, but now they are developing. After one or two events they will be developed and into it by now. This is something that I know works and if it were even applied to our masjids, it could strengthen the Ummah greatly.

The whole concept of this is to make space for others and give others a chance. Do not let shaytaan make you think that no one else can do it better than you–because Allah replaces people all the time. Now when the time comes that you need 5-10 religiously-strong brothers for a certain event they will be there, ready.

Dawah Booth(s) Caution

The one thing that I must say about doing any sort of Dawah at a booth is to never argue or criticize Muslims at the booth. If you know someone is doing this or that wrong, keep quiet on it until when you are alone with this person. Scenarios occur where Muslims criticize each other all the time (it’s a hallmark of a Muslim) but this is the one place where you simply must say, “OK now is not a good time for this. Can we discuss this later?” Even if the other brother is being a total fool, you remain firm. And if you feel you are in a rotten mood, just walk away. There are times when I’ve had arguments with brothers walking by to the point, I had to walk away and leave the booth for my partner to handle. It’s simply quicker and easier for you to leave and let your partner to figure out things, even if you leave him in shock rather than have them spend time on trying to calm you or persuade you that could be used in Dawah.

So in summary, the basic premise for these strategies is to toughen up Muslims and get them to become more sincere by placing them in situations where they are forced to be sincere, smart and mature. Obviously these strategies apply to those brothers who are at least practicing Muslims, not the “I-pray-once-every-year” Muslims and it serves to get them to go from practicing Muslim to actually being involved and getting them interested in Islamic work. Insha Allah, these will work for most cases, but there may be some that escape you and we are reminded that Allah has total power and in comparison we have close to none.

OK I just realized I have more strategies. I only mentioned the ones with actually interacting with Muslims. I’m going to write more soon, Insha Allah!

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdik ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.

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