Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Art of Da'wah: Shaykh Musa'b Penfound

 Shaykh Musa'b Penfound: The Art of Da'wah

YouTube Video Talk Link :

The Dawn of Mercy - Shaykh Musab Penfound - YouTube

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 

الحمد لله رب العالمين

والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

A Cognitive frame or a paradigm is the way you view the world and how it enters back to your lens. The same people can look at the same thing but the way they internalize it very differently.

Da’wah in its essence in the Arabic language means; To Invite, To Call, To Summon

They are different kind of invitation in the Arabic semantics/language construction. You can call somebody to task. That is more of a command. Or you can invite them to like how a child is asking his father for something like asking for permission, pleading etc.

Da’wah as a concept is very different, as least from the experience of having the opportunity to seeing masters of this tradition, passing down the Sanad (chain of knowledge) from mother to daughters or father to son, and then coming back to the western paradigm was kind of shocking.

In a sense that the word Da’wah, has been completely misunderstood. And I think one of the reason for why people in western society will tend to take on a different understanding is from those different type of worldviews that they come in, we revamp and synthesis that word (based on the worldviews) to some (version) Islamic terms. Thus changing the semantic fields and projecting the word now thinking this is what the word originally means in the Islamic tradition.

So to illustrate the true meaning. Da’wah in many ways it is a mode of being, rather than something that you do.

In its reality it is which every Muslim aspire to be, not aspire to do.

Now when you do a quick search on the internet one of the first few searches that comes out is “How to do Da’wah.” Which becomes sort of formulaic and very functional.

Da’wah as a relating or conveying of a truth, is not trying to convince the people.

So now the first paradigm shift is to be; in calling people to Islam and not about convincing people about Islam. (eg. to try explain Allah exists)

One of the principle of Da’wah is understanding that ultimately its not something that we have control over.

The Da’i (the one calling) is more like a vessel. So this Da’wah or this Prophetic Call is deeply related to your own personal spiritual well-being. That concept that if a person is rooted deeply to that which is Real by implication they will call to something that is Real.

One of the definition of Da’wah is; Connecting the Creation Back to the Creator.

Ultimately it’s the Creator that can initiate that Pull. Allah informs us in the Quran that the Prophet Saw as (being) the Caller to Allah by His Leave/Izin (Divine licence). And that the Prophet saw is described as this Mystical Radiant Light which Illuminates. (Sirojammuniirah)

So Da’wah is not about handing out a leaflet or even saying something. In its essence, its about having a Prophetic State of Being.

The way of that Being; is to be concern, to be connected and rooted. And to continue and deepening this process into calling people back to what is Real. (Bringing people back to Presence, relocate people back from this disharmony, dysfunctional integration of the mind, body, soul and spirit.) In their practice, in their dealings and in their worldview, back to Allah. Based on Knowledge/Insights. (Ala Basirah)

Now by implication we have to have an understanding of this Knowledge what kind of Prophetic Knowledge is being said here. Thus, as much as our following in this mode of being, in the Prophetic Way, in adopting the Prophetic world view, so to is our success in making Da’wah.

Now there are 3 components to Da’wah. 1) The Caller (Da’i). 2) The Called (Mad’u‘). 3) The Means (Wasilah).

Its amazing because as something that is incredibly mystical – its still so – it’s like a science, an art, that is codified and understood. But again, not to suffocate out the mystical part that is not meant to be grasp yet.

Eg. The prayer. There’s the Fiqh, how to bow and stand all these external actions, but is that the prayer? Is that the reality of the gift that was given directly, personally to the Prophet saw.

The closest translation to it (the prayer) is called the 5 daily connections. Like instead of saying I want to do Wudu’ for my prayer. I should say “I want to illuminate myself for my connection. “ (so in essence on one level, the Prayer is our personal relationship/connection/communion with the Creator)

The word Wudu’ is from Wada’a; Illumination. – “I’m going to illuminate myself by spiritual cleansing through water to enter into my connection and communion with Allah”.- See the paradigm shift, now how would a person with that paradigm shift going to enter into the prayer. (that’s the real reality of Wudu’ & Prayers at one level)

So that being said there are 3 core principle and this is in order to grasp some profound realities, which might be quite abstract.

1) Da’i – The One who’s calling. Is it me & you? This is another paradigm shift. In its absolute reality, it’s Allah who is calling. And that the greatest one who is invested and given this spiritual capacity to call back to Allah in everything that he did was the, Prophet Saw. And then in accordance to (his saying) ” I and who that follows me.. ” so in accordance to how we follow and emulate him in our character and mode of being, and ultimately in our Hamm (aspirations). So to is the success of being a vessel of the Light flow to people.

(Hamm is to be able to have this yearning of care, to really care for people. if you really don’t care for people it doesn’t matter what and how much you do. The core reality of calling to people is this Hamm, because that is the real sign of sincerity. The prophetic care. The Prophet Saw used to be up all night praying for people. If we can’t love and care for people, it will be ineffective. Allah is not going to call people through us.)

One of the most important thing to understand about Da’wah is that at best, it is an honour, and that we are merely a channel, a vessel, and we need to get ourselves out of the way (basically to remove our ego and Nafs as much as possible), in order for that Light to flow through. This is also an integral part of Da’wah. To know ourselves, to recognise the Ego. (eg. when is it me calling to Allah?)

Often when you hear about apostates or those disengage with the religion, its not about the principle or what it calls to. More often than not it’s because these people had a bad experience with the pseudo-representatives, even worse, as a capacity of a teacher. That is why ultimately it doesn’t call to Allah, because that is not following the way of the way of the Prophet Saw.  The gentlest of human being.

The more we understand about the Prophet Saw, that he came with Akhlak and he didn’t call to a particular, group, an order, a teacher or a sheikh, he calls to Allah. Because Islam is vast, not everything is everyone’s cup of tea.

Understand that as human beings we have our own taste. Know that Islam is vast and encompassing.  We must not be a blockage to someones path to God just because they are not following your channel, the way you understand Islam you are just calling to the way you found it, and that may not be that person’s cup of tea.

So you must have that prophetic expansiveness and magnanimity to know that you’re ultimately a vessel and in service to God to facilitate that journey for people in this Earth.

2) Then you have the Mad’u’ – the one is who being called. One of the first principle, and you need to understand this dynamic, and is that the Da’I – the one who is calling – has to believe that the person they are speaking to is better than them. If you don’t believe that, then give up. You are not going to have any effect. That is the exact reason why people feel preached to. Because it is coming from the place of high and mighty.

“ The real Servant of God (Rahman) are the ones that walk the earth delicately..” (with humility before God.)

3)Then you have the Wasilah – the means –  the connecting factor. That might be talking about the latest football match, a smile, a gift, holding the door open for someone, an act of kindness or even a restraint (of speech etc).

This is where people typically focus on the ‘Da’wah of 3 and a half minutes’. First and foremost you’re not doing the Da’wah and it is not something that you can maintain. Its not like well, I’ve given the gift, I’ve did the solid presentation or experiment about bringing to God but why hasn’t he repent or become Muslim? Because it wasn’t up to us anyway. (remember its only up to Allah, our duty is to be a means that’s all)

If anyone knew how to give Da’wah, it was the Prophet Saw. And know there were people that were close to him, Abbas ibn Mutallib RA, his uncle, and he only became Islam during the Fath Al Mekkah. (that was almost ending of the prophets life, after 20 plus years)

One of the most powerful reality of Da’wah is ultimately an act of being between you and Allah.

Its Allah showing you where you’re at and its also Allah testing you where you’re at with Him.

So Da’wah requires a huge amount of patience and care. Sacrificing one of the hardest thing to sacrifice, and money is the easiest part, but sacrificing yourself, your Ego. What you want to be doing at that time, the way you want it to be done, for the sake of someone else? That is not easy. But that is one of the most impactful things to do. Something that really speaks to people.

Now when people start to see that this person has no worldly agenda. There is no way that this people is gaining anything. The people of Da’wah has no need for our reward. That is not what they’re seeking. Ultimately they’re doing it for Allah, hoping the reward solely from Allah. Because they know it is from Him ultimately and it is an honor from them/us to be doing it for Him. And our expectation is not in the people we call, its in Allah. So we are always going to be here, till the last moment. The patience is with Allah.

So that Wasilah, if one thing doesn’t work, what it means typically, we are relying too much on that Wasilah. (means try another channel)

Da’wah is real~ in a way that you exert that Hamm, that concern & care, in a way that is mediated, in a way that is thoughtful and wise. With Hikmah. (Quranic & Prophetic Wisdom)

Most people that have come to Islam is not through an acceptance of philosophical or theological theory. Most people embrace Islam is through Love. What is mean by that is the People (Da’i) needs to be willing to embrace and change with love. And that is not an easy thing to do.

People have to like Islam before they accept it. If they see us miserable all the time, and people see us coming from a point of weakness. That is someone else projection upon us.

That marginalization towards us (Muslims) – the feeling and treating us as insignificant (from outsiders) – is not an accurate assessment of what is going on inside of us. How can someone be marginalized from strangers when the heart has in it, the reality of La Illah Ha IllaAllah. Where neither the Heavens and the Earth can contain? There is no room for people to view us insignificantly. But to allow that reality to spill and flow through our actions, the way of being, through our kindness, to be presence of that reality in us. This is something that every Muslim has to have an awareness of.

There are 2 categories/types of the Da’I. 1) The people of Knowledge. Their Da’wah in a sense that they will be relating things that requires learning. Not everybody can go and convey religious knowledge as such. But every Muslim, that understands the profundity of the Gift (of knowledge) that they have been given, knows the beauty of the Faith that they have, is an incumbency to share this in a way that is beautiful. And a failure or a weakness in recognizing this is ultimately a lack of appreciation. (the other type is not stated but i -the transcriber – believe it’s the general Muslims)

So the first person that we call to, the first Mad’u – the one that is being call – is our Ownself. You’re the first one you need to call, and if you’re not truly convinced (with this religion and its importance, beauty, necessity etc) then no one else can be convinced either.

We ask with this session that Allah make us more acquainted that with which Allah has communicated with us through His Prophet Saw and our responsibility of what this means and how we can practically flow in our daily lives, when we are with people or when we’re on our own. That we become people that are allowed to follow The Prophet Saw and mimic him in what the scholars say is the best way of resembling him, is that to resemble his Heart.

People used to past by the his (Prophet Saw) house at night and would describe his weeping making a sound like a whistling of a kettle, (like when you really cry). That is what he did for us Saw.. the real caller to Islam.

Part of appreciation of that is to carry on that reality and that concern and care for every single person. No matter how and what they call/look to you, because you’re not looking/judge at them the way they do to you. You’re looking at them with the eyes of Saiyiddina Mohamed Saw.

May Allah connect us to this reality.

And Allah knows best



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