Dawa in public schools
Definition of Dawa
Dawa means to invite non-Muslims to accept the truth
of Islam. Performing Dawa involves both our words and actions.
Importance of Dawa in Islam
The Quran and the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace
and blessings be upon him) give numerous references on the importance
and the obligations of Dawa. The prophetic life of the Prophet involved
spreading the message of Islam. Dawa is also reflected in the lives
of the Sahabas (the Companions of the Prophet). Now the responsibility
of spreading the message of Islam rests on our shoulders.
- "Invite all to the way of your Lord with
Wisdom and beautiful Preaching" (Quran 16:125)
- "you are made witnesses unto mankind"
- "Let there arise a group inviting to all
that is good" (Quran 3:104)
Provided below would be some practical suggestions
that Muslim students as individuals and as a group should undertake
to accomplish the above-mentioned goal.
Students: receptive to new ideas
Students are routinely exposed in their classroom
to new information and opinions, hence they tend to be more receptive
to new beliefs and ideas.
Schools are therefore fertile grounds where the
seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students.
Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity
and present to their schoolmates the beautiful beliefs of Islam.
First and foremost the Muslim students should establish
themselves into a Muslim group (Muslim Students Association, Islamic
Circle, Quran Study Group etc.) if they haven't yet instituted one.
Organized efforts give better results and contain
blessings of Allah in them. The prime aim of this group should be
to evolve Muslim themselves into dynamic Muslim personalities and
also to portray Islam to their non-Muslim peers and school staff
in a positive way using words and actions.
It has been proven that one-to-one contact with
non-Muslim students in the classroom is the most effective way to
share Islam. Personal contact tends to be more informal and invites
more questions from non-Muslims. It is advised that brothers work
with non-Muslim boys and sisters work with non-Muslim girls.
Muslims can create opportunities for non-Muslims
to ask questions by simple actions that reflect living Islam like
saying "Insha Allah" (God willing) when talking about
a future activity; saying that they are going to prayer during Salaat
time; brothers wearing Kufis; sisters wearing Hijab;
not using swear words during conversations; telling the truth; wearing
modest clothes etc.
The questions that do crop up from peers should
be dealt with in a very concise and eloquent manner. Doing this
will require some basic knowledge on the part of Muslim students.
Be prepared to explain:
Some of the topics that all Muslims should be able
to explain are:
- The concept of Tawhid (oneness of God)
- Prophet Muhammad as being a real Prophet
- News reports about violence by Muslims
- Polygamy in Islam
- Reasons for wearing Hijab
- Reasons for praying five times daily
Quran and Science
All students should obtain the ways to explain these
topics through knowledge gained from their study circle, by reading
articles in Islamic magazines, watching videos, attending lectures,
and through experiences of other students.
Dawa through the school newspaper
The school newspaper is another effective way of
doing Dawa. Muslim students are highly encouraged to become writers
and editors of their school papers. Inform the writing staff to
consult you before publishing articles on Islam and Muslims. Being
a writer will give you ample opportunity to provide Islamically
oriented articles which will Insha Allah open the hearts and minds
As a group, the Muslim students should try to contribute an article
on Islam in each issue of its paper. The school may not allow you
to preach in the school paper, but Alhamdu lillah, there are ways
to circumvent this problem.
When your Islamic group holds any Islamic event
like lectures, religious/ cultural events etc, submit an article
about this event as a "news" article. This way, you are
still presenting an aspect of Islam without coming across as a preacher.
The second way to circumvent the problem is to write
articles about Islamic holidays, the two Eids
and again submit them as "news" articles. It also helps
to have a good rapport with the editor and the writing staff of
the paper. Invite them to your Iftar parties, gatherings, lectures
Relief booths to help disaster victims
When natural and human created disasters occur,
Muslims students should be the first ones to respond by setting
up a disaster relief assistance booth, which collects money, canned
food, clothes etc. This gives a very positive picture of Islam and
Muslims as servers of humanity, compared to the negative images
of Islam portrayed by the media.
Including Islamic holidays in the school calendar
Many school events and exams are scheduled around
Jewish and Christian holidays. Muslims students should approach
the school authorities as a group and get Islamic dates included
in the school diaries to be considered during the scheduling of
important school events.
Islamic books in school libraries
Encourage school libraries to shelf books and magazines
on Islam written by Muslims, and to provide the librarian with a
list of recommended books on Islam. If the library is unwilling
to purchase the books themselves, Muslim students should raise funds
amongst themselves and from their parents and come up with the required
Scanning textbooks for misinformation on Islam
Students of all grades and their parents should
regularly scan textbooks to detect any biased material on Islam.
If any is found, it should be brought to the attention of the teachers
and the school authorities, providing them with the correct information
with evidence, and have the teacher announce to the students the
In this area, the Council
on Islamic Education can also help.
Starting an Islamic newsletter
A newsletter on Islam and Muslims can be started
by the Muslim students, if the school allows it. This newsletter
can be funded mostly by advertisements and donations. A newsletter
on Islam and Muslims will again help in dispelling the misinformation
circulating about Islam and encourage Muslims to be organized and
Incorporating Islam into class projects
Some aspects of Islam can be incorporated in school
projects. For example, for a speech class, if there is freedom to
choose a topic, an Islamic topic should be selected. Similar opportunities
can be created in history, social science, writing and other classes.
Remember, it was the Will and help of Allah, Iman (faith) and Muslim
creativity that won victories for the Muslims. Schools and campuses
are no exceptions as places where Islam can be victorious.
Other Miscellaneous activities
- Setting up Dawa tables with Islamic literature
- Hosting Islamic exhibitions
- Placing advertisements in the school paper with
the toll-free telephone number for non-Muslims
It is highly recommended that all Muslim students
carry Dawa flyers in their schoolbags and purses to pass them on
to their friends at school. To obtain free Islam brochures for distribution,
contact the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) at 718-658-1199.
The bottom line
We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim
peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment
in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed
in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam
with Allah's guidance, Insha Allah (if God wills).