Posted by: Dawud Israel | January 5, 2008

Dawah Booth Tactics

The traditional Dawah booth is something that is very common now in Dawah worker circles and especially in MSAs. However, there are some basic how-to’s and “fiqhy” issues that need to be addressed and known.

Below there is a diagram of a typical booth. (Click on the Picture to view it enlarged) The green dots are non-Muslims who are walking by the booth. The red dots are obstacles to successful Dawah, while the blue dots are good examples of dawah booth etiquette.

-The most common dawah method and least effective is hiding behind the booth and being completely dazed when someone comes up to speak to you. People know you are Muslim–your behind a Dawah booth (duh!) so there’s really no point in just sitting around, but rather go and engage people.

-Muslims may stop by and ask this or that or ask for something free and it’s best to use them to help advertise the Dawah events going on campus by getting them to take a few fliers and hand them out or scatter them in place (just a few fliers, because most Muslims are too lazy to even do this). Also ask them for Sadaqa and remind them of how their small donation will become a Sadaqah Jariya (an ever-lasting charity, that will earn them rewards even after they are dead).

-The other thing that is sometimes underused is having a person engaging people on one side of the traffic and ignoring the other traffic that is going in an opposite direction. Make sure you get someone on the other side, even for a little while.

-Having a sign up in the middle where everyone, coming from all directions can clearly READ it and understand what it says. This alone can save plenty of dollars for printing fliers advertising lectures or other events.

Dawah Booth Strategy

(Click on the Picture to view it enlarged)

Now that is one situation. Here is another where you encounter some competition. In this scenario you have to start using some strategic tactics. You see back in the old days one of the strategies was to create a funnel-like shape so that the enemy would have to go through this narrowing tunnel and incur more losses. What happens here is that the booths surrounding you on the left and right will be trying to hand out fliers to people or try to sell them something to them. People may avoid them or they may not but if they’re structure and set up is correct you can use that same funneling tactic. The yellow dots are the competition whoever they maybe. As traffic moves you get to take advantage of this narrow but fast stream of traffic and thus save time. It would be a good idea to have a few more people set up in the area depending on the traffic. Also you could use Muslims to create an funnel all on their own. (Click on the Picture to view it enlarged)

Dawah Booth Strategy 2

I will probably revisit this issue again but I think this is enough to mull over for now. Hope you enjoyed my drawing skills. 🙂

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


Responses

  1. As salaamu alaikum,

    I am a fellow dawah worker here in Houston,TX (USA). One of the activities that I am involved in is mentoring MSA dawah activities. As you well understand the Dawah table/booth is a very effective dawah activity which all MSAs should establish and take seriously throughout their school experience. In terms of the above topic a dillema that I experience sometimes with dawah tables is that they become centers of distribution and nothing but that. What I mean is that interaction with the non-muslims becomes minimal to the extent that what the table has accomplished is hundreds of leaflets being passed out. Having performed street dawah and constantly sparking up dawah discussions in bookstores and cafes I’ve ironically become kind of blurry a bit on how to engage the passerbys of the dawah table. I’ve encouraged the table volunteers to pitch the passerby with , “Information on Islam? Information on Islam? or something similar (with a leaflet in hand)” The response from the volunteers along with myself has been that this pitch is rather boring and unattractive for sparking discussion or brief dialogue and has not yielded much response beyond their acceptance to taking the leaflet (not undermining the goodness of distributing information that could have an effect on the readers).

    My question is, what can we do apart from making the table presentation appealing and marketable to make the dawah table experience a hot bed for invitation to Islam?

    Jazakullah Khairun

    P.S. I would like to correspond with you via e-mail to share and collaborate dawah ideas and projects if you’re open to that.

  2. Hmm yeah…I know what you mean. This is how it went for me. When I first started I was shy (Muslims are a shy people, it might tie in with with out inferiority complex) and to be frank, I was totally NEW! I didn’t have anyone to imitate because well we were all kind of shy. And I think the same thing happens in MSAs…your average Muhammad may barely practice Islam and even if he does, he may not have the fire of eeman blazing yet. Another factor is that on campus you have your friends, teachers and bosses around so you naturally will want to be more low key.

    But when I do street dawah…there was no one I knew in sight and the heartfelt and suppressed emotions came out. Walk up to random strangers and let it out. What can they do to you? Muslims forget that we have the power to say ANYTHING! If you want to be a wuss, be a wuss. But if you want to start talking like Malcolm X (which I do from time to time) or use a Latino accent (if your brown they may like you more cuz of that) and tell them if they could die any moment from now and they better get ready for the After Here…than do it! You have that freedom and it’s not against the law! LOL! I guess it’s just when you love the deen, everything else follows.

    One brother in Toronto said it nicely, “You gotta have fun with it!” You can’t just stick to boring strategies because it will take a toll on you too…show the human spirit in Islam and be a little different. We were giving away candy and we said, “Free candy, free books, Knowledge is SWEET!”

    Another group that is called “Free Hugs” came to our table asking if we can give a free hug and I said, “I can give you a free inner hug” and they all said, “Ooohhh gimme” and they all took Islamic DVDs. Another time, an elderly woman was walking by with a sad look on her face and I just said to her, “Ma’am this can make you happy” and she smiled and took the Dawah material.

    So, experimentation and creativity in this area is needed because if you keep doing what you have always done, you get the same results but if you try something with potential, than may Allah put His Baraka in it, Ameen.

    So to summarize:
    -Don’t be shy
    -Experiment and be Creative
    -Be animated and have some fun
    -Get close to the Deen and the rest falls into place

    Hope that helps, if not, let me know.

    P.S. Email me: muslimology@gmail.com

  3. As salaamu alaikum,

    Alhamdulilah, I appreciate your words on that. I recall a statement from Kamal El-Mekki, a popular daiya in the U.S. saying , “Many of the tactics in dawah are not hard and fast.” What he meant was that there are many ways to do effective dawah and its not as simple as one single response like how many integrals are there when performing ablution. I forget sometimes that we have to relax a bit and let our minds open up to creativity. Dawah is an extremely dynamic task that requires dynamic thought and action. Just think of the common issues people bring up in dawah and the wide array of correct , effective responses one can give.

    Great discussion, I’ll try to chime in more inshaallah.

    Jazakullahu khairun


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