MISSION Dawah South Africa, established in 2014 by Suhayl Schroeder and Natheer Hendricks, has been taking dawah to the next level in teaching others about Islam.
They have been doing this by taking the information to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to them.
This strategy has proved successful for Mission Dawah UK, a division of the Islamic Educational Research Association (IERA), who goes out to spread dawah in the crowded streets of their city, which initially inspired Mission Dawah SA, and thus they formed the South African branch of the UK organisation.
‘We are an organisation that propagates Islam to non-Muslims. Our main aim is to interact with non-Muslims and ask them about Islam, their thoughts on their own religion and their purpose in life.
‘We tell them about Islam as an alternative to what they actually believe in at that moment,’ said Ebraheem Jabaar, chairperson of Mission Dawah SA.
The dawah that Mission Dawah SA does is considered to be different to the norm. Most dawah organisations hold awareness programmes, events at mosques and presentations that require non-Muslims to go to wherever the event or programme is being held.
Such dawah organisations also give dawah in townships and impoverished areas where knowledge about Islam is limited or even non-existent. Mission Dawah SA, on the other hand, focuses on public spaces, such as the streets in town, where there is always a lot of people walking around.
They set up a table and then interact with the people directly. The advantage of this approach is that they don’t have to wait for people to attend programmes because they are taking dawah to the community, and they believe that this is more inclusive, direct and accessible.
On the last Friday or Saturday of every month, depending on the availability of the team members, they either go to Long Street, Wynberg Main Road or Cavendish, where they’ll set up their table and stay from about 2pm until 6pm. They have also gone to parks, such as Green Point Park and Maynardville Park.
The organisation consists of six core members, and people who help out on a voluntary basis, depending on their availability. Most of their members are university students and students who are doing Islamic studies.
Basic dawah training is provided by the organisation, which equips the team members with the knowledge and necessary tools needed to approach people, ask and answer questions in both a respectful and an Islamically educated manner.
‘The dawah training is quite simple. We use the acronym Gorap, which stands for God, oneness, revelations and prophethood. This is what we use as the basis for our dawah,’ said Jabaar.
Some of the new volunteers feel a bit intimidated about giving dawah, especially when they start out. However, Mission Dawah SA offers them pamphlets which explain in simple terms how to start giving dawah.
They also have ‘dawah shadowing’ which is where volunteers can observe experienced da’i (persons who give dawah) so that they can learn from them. The volunteers start out with something simple, such as handing out flyers or pamphlets.
‘Once a man came to us and said that he was looking everywhere for something like this. He had researched about Islam for a while and he just happened to walk in the street and see the table where they were preaching about Islam.
‘To think about it, we only have a table once a month and it was like that table was set out just for that person to come there,’ said Jabaar.
The organisation has two aims – one is to ensure that the organisation does not remain stagnant but keeps progressing to achieve greater things.
Ultimately, their aim is to expand their organisation to the point that it stretches across South Africa.
Their short-term goal is to go to townships that have had little or no exposure to the message of Islam.
Their long-term goal is to cover the whole of South Africa in terms of going around to communities that Islam has not yet reached.
They are in the process of being registered as an organisation, after which they will open a bank account for donations.
If you would like to know more about Mission Dawah SA, you may contact them via their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 076 789 5419.
You can also follow them on social media – Facebook: Mission Dawah South Africa, Twitter: @missiondawahsa, Isntagram: missiondawahsa or check their website: missiondawah.co.za
This article was published in the February 2019 edition of Muslim Views.