Internet as a medium of da’wah

24 04 2010

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful…

Da’wah in the US

Almost 2 years I have been exposed to the way da’wah is done here. Although I’m not directly involved in the da’wah movement (I hope I can do so when I start my PhD), they are being quite open and direct in propagating Islam despite this country labeled as mistreating Islam. The aggressiveness and positiveness mostly comes from former Christian priests who converted to Islam. Maybe because they are used to do the work of propagating Christianity before they became Muslim, these leaders of da’wah have no problem in doing their job. They are also at a better end than others because they know the bible.

The interesting thing about this work in the US is that, they maximize the use of the internet. I would like to take Sheikh Yusuf Estes for an example. He was a former Christian preacher. He grew up in a ‘good Christian’ family, practicing Christianity and had some family business involving the religion. Not just that, his father was a Christian minister, very much involved in the work of the church. The story of how he converted to Islam can be read here.

He has done a lot of da’wah work both in America and the rest of the world. The issue that I want to emphasize here is how he and others use the internet extensively to propagate Islam. The website that he very much helped to organize, www.islamtomorrow.com, is an example of this. Almost everyday there will be an event or classes for anyone who wants to learn more about Islam (click here). Some of the events are online events. They organize this via chatrooms, where the speaker will speak to the chatroom and the audience listening, but they can’t speak to the speaker. The only way to interact with the speaker, if they have questions, is to type and send to the chatroom just like any other chatroom. How fascinating! The first time I joined one of the event in the chatroom, I witnessed how two people were converted. When it was the time to take the shahadah, the new sisters were able to talk to the speaker via the chatroom and they were given resources on how to practice Islam.

Sheikh Yusuf Estes also helped to organized an internet talk show on Islam which is called ‘The Deen Show’ (click here). It is full of free videos on various topics on Islam. The show is a great resource for anyone, from those who would like to know what is Islam to those who are already Muslims. There are a lot more of the da’wah websites especially from the US (click here, here). The ‘911 Bible’ (click here) is one of my favourites. Readers should also read ‘Islam Cracks the Code’ (click here), which talks about the history and confusion of Christianity. You might want to visit ‘Bridge to Faith'(click here) and you’ll love the episode that Yusuf Estes had in KLCC (here).

Da’wah in Malaysia

I have never been involved in the da’wah movement in Malaysia. I hope I can do so in the near future. But I am sure that all those who are involved in the da’wah work are doing the best they can. Sincerely, I think we need to do some adjustment as to how we do the da’wah work, especially to attract the young generations to join the movement or to make sure that they are not afraid when people come to them to talk about Islam.

The adjustment that I am suggesting is to use the internet as a medium to get the message over to them. This includes the extensive use of YouTube and websites explaining Islam. There should also be websites informing the work of da’wah around Malaysia, schedules of classes/events/talks, resources to learn more about Islam and videos of talks from various speakers. I see this as a future of da’wah and the way to reach out to the ummah and other non-muslims.

There should also be print bulletins on the work of da’wah around Malaysia or at least every state should do this. The point that I’m trying to make here is that, we should use the media, both online and print to the max. Imagine that if these media have a reach to the millions of Muslims in Malaysia, we can easily get the message over to the ummah. Perhaps this will become a reality soon.

As more and more issues challenging the ummah arise, it is extremely important that we get the Islamic scholars’ opinions about the issues as soon as possible to the ummah so that Muslims, at least in Malaysia, will not be misled by irresponsible parties who wanted to take advantage of the issues. We have seen this in the issue of the use of the kalimah ‘Allah’. Because we didn’t have a sound medium to get the message across to the ummah, a lot of our brothers/sisters made their own judgement. Imagine if we have a strong medium of communication, we will have one voice that can vibrate the whole nation.

We have a lot of Islamic da’wah movements/NGOs in the country, but I don’t think that we have a common communication platform. Don’t just rely on the government through various organizations to do the work of propagation and spreading the truth of Islam, as the work of spreading the truth of  Islam is the work of all Muslims.

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