A game plan is Initiating a Dawah scenario with well thought out and fun plans!
Before you want to approach someone that you feel needs solid dawah or advice. Sometimes we need an excuse to speak to them. We need to have a lead in or some sort of ice breaker. This is to ease the conversation and make it as less awkward as possible. So in an ideal dawah conversation scenario you have the intros, you have the meat of the conversation or the invitation to Allah swt, you have rapport building techniques and initiation. But before all that comes:
The Game Plan.
This is the art of Trying and think of a way of not only approaching someone, but how would you start? Especially when it comes to someone random, a famous person or that special someone that is not at all interested in the meaning of life.
This blog has been written in a way in which true stories that I was involved in are presented to you, the reader. The point of these stories is to not only make this blog a possibly good read, but for you to be motivated and inspired enough to actually make a game plan by yourself or as a team. It’s actually fun and enjoyable. Almost like a military strategy or a bunch of creatives planning their next mega movie! I also wrote this blog as a tribute to the great minds that engaged in profound life changing conversations. This was a very nostalgic look back at the last 20 odd years. I’ve combined story telling with my own experiences and tips for duaat and teams.
Reflect upon this, that If film makers, sports coaches staff and generals can make a Game Plan for the sake of a few gains in dunya.. then why don’t us budding duaat, make super game plans the world over, to save souls in the akhirah….
Veranda restaurant. Lahore. 2014
“Ok, this is what we do.
We will announce that to celebrate the reversion of our brother, all drinks on the restaurant are on us! Then one of us gets up & gives a very short speech/ naseehah, what do you think of this plan boys?!”
This was the conversation that myself, Hamza Tzortzis & Imran Ibn Mansur were involved in and ‘plotting’. I was privileged to a part of this plan amongst 2 outstanding naturally talented duaat. We were at this lavish restaurant in Lahore during the famous winds of change tour. Lahore, Pakistan. 2014. What ensued was brilliant. You can watch the full video here:
Hot spot. Islamabad.2013
So this plan is yet to come into fruition and will some day soon. I recall in 2013, Br Raja Zia, the effervescent theatre producer of old times, gave an idea. He mentioned that at this particular popular spot of Islamabad you get a specific type of youth which needs specific people and a plan. This is an area in which various Islamabad youths converge. They come for dating, for music and so on. I recall we sat down and discussed: What type of clothes are we going to wear. The perfume, the cap etc. The idea was to look like ‘one of them’ as opposed to going there wearing desi clothing, with a ‘topi’ etc. We also discussed how we will we approach different groups. I think 4 specific people were chosen for this and what was discussed was where will we stand. Then slowly slowly move towards a group of youth having fun/ free mixing and then start a conversation. I remember how much depth in planning we went into, only for the sake of Allah swt and changing the world.
Kohsar market. Islamabad.John Fontain. 2015
This is where we spotted Uzair Jaswal. The famous Pakîstàni pop star, at the popular and trendy shopping area in Islamabad: Kohsar Market. Myself, br John and Hassan were sitting around having coffee at the street 1 cafe. Hassan spotted Uzair a few tables away from us. He noted that he was about to leave. Hassan recalled that he went to the same college as him. At this, I suggested we should use that as a lead in to approach him and initiate a da’wah conversation. The game plan was thus. I call him over ( yes randomly! I think I said, hey Uzair! Salaam, long time bro! 😎😅) and although bemused, he came over towards us. Hassan then entered the scene and said, I remember you from college etc etc. We insisted he join us for coffee and he obliged. This is where we introduced our Mancunian jazz singer: John Fontain! John spoke about what instruments he used etc. We used music because Uzair was a musician! After a few minutes, I asked the question why he left music, and John went to explain how he found Islam & why he had to abandon his music career, the perils and the Fitna. Uzair listened intently and he said he’s doing some research about if Music is actually forbidden or not. Anyhow, we purposefully didn’t go to the Fiqh of it because we wanted to keep it inspirational, ie Johns story. After a while, he left and Alhumdulilah, message conveyed. The buzz was the planning before approaching Uzair, how we plotted and planned!
Musa Adnan- Atif Aslam. Lahore. 2014.
We were sitting at the PC Hotel cafe. We here are Adnan Rashid, Hamza Tzortzis, John Fontain, Raja Zia Ul Haq, Musa Adnan and other duaat. Someone spots the famous pop singer Atif Aslam. We all get together and think of a way of initiating a conversation with Atif, without much awkwardness and smoothly. This went very well. My biggest joy was seeing world famous duaat getting together and chipping in with their ideas. There was banter and amazing insights. ”Try this bro” or ”no no, do this” and so on! The game plan worked, message delivered to this famous singer. Seed sown insha’Allah!
Southall, UK. 1990s
Southall in the 90s, and probably still is, has a nefarious back alley get together of super villains. Drugs taking was rife and the Muslim youth and elders had become hardened criminals. I watched in fascination as brothers who were former gangsters themselves, dressed in such a way, Brought back their walking in a way & rehearsed the tone in such a way, that they be taken seriously by veteran gangsters. All this plan, the game plan worked. They impacted the guys on the streets brilliantly. The drug dealers listened Alhumdulilah
All I told my younger brother that you need to get all the local villains. Muslim guys, to this local community centre. Even if they were high, even if still smoking, whatever state they’re in, get them here somehow. My brother did a marvellous job. The room was packed full of all sorts of guys, some of whom who had red blood shot eyes. We had pizza and a great discussion on the purpose of life for many hours. One of the plans that ensured them coming to this event is we didn’t say this was an ‘Islamic lecture’, a talk or counselling. But FREE pizza and chit chat with an ex- rapper from London! This was one of the very rare unique events where the hall was packed full of majority non practising guys in the history of Crawley in recent times.
Kuch khaas. Islamabad. 2014.
This used to be a very niche place in the corner of Islamabad. Diplomats, musicians and generally liberal folk used to hang there. Through a sister, we managed to secure a meeting with the management to organise a unique event. Again our enterprising brother Imran as the speaker.
So we were advised that we cannot give them typical molvi vibe otherwise they won’t allow us to have an event there. So we sat down and planned our role and how are we going to do this. The plan was thus:
I’ll go in and speak only in English, then Br Imran will enter wearing his best attire, Sharp suit jacket, Gucci shades & walk in like a celebrity! I introduce him as an ex rapper from West London on a tour in Pakistan! Do note, that he was an upcoming rapper in the music scene when away from Islam, but then Allah swt guided him and he left the music industry. Alhumdulillah.
He sat down in such an ‘arrogant little manner and took off his shades slowly when asked a question so dramatically as if it’s a scene from a movie!
All this worked! After the hour long meeting we had a right old laugh. So a little analysing about the people we are meeting combined with some creative thinking brought about a successful meeting. This enabled us to have a very fruitful event at this ‘fort of a venue’. A fabulous event took place with the room full of non practising guys and girls.
Faisalabad Gloria jeans. 2014
I am always daring & encouraging brothers and sisters to randomly approach people, outdoors and within the serene and relaxed atmosphere of cafes. So whilst on a dawah tour to the city of Faisalabad, Southern Punjab, Pakistan, the brothers requested a live demo. I obliged, never one to shy away from a challenge and a bit of showboating!
After scanning the second floor of the famous Aussie coffee chain, I saw in the corner a couple of guys who definitely needed some ‘advice’. The Game plan I conjured you was that I am new to the city and would love to know what to visit and places to see. This was the excuse to sit with them and converse.Then the second part of the plan was that my friend ( in this case the protagonist being the uber cool and indefatigable Br Zia ( Yes Raja Zia Ul Haq (of YC) can offer some good conversation and advice. And so I approached these guys and asked firmly, may I join you guys and sit? Before they consented or not, I pulled up a chair and sat down 😜. What followed was an amazing discussion on addiction including smoking. Br Zia came over when i called on him, and the whole plan worked wonderfully!
Tuaha and Mohsin. F-10 Islamabad. 2015.
The way these 2 brothers in a few minutes made that solid resolve to approach a few guys sitting a few tables from us was super inspiring. Mohsin spotted that some of these guys are notorious gangsters. Mohsin knew of them when he wasn’t practising and after a little shura with Tuaha, he went and had a good chat for a while. This took place at an outdoor chai ‘nutella’ paratha place in F-10, Islamabad. I felt so proud that they did this, when they didn’t have to.
The beauty of planning. The joy that we are doing this not for a business plan, or earning money or anything Dunya related but for Allah resonated deeply within me. These are the unknown heroes of the Ummah.
IBRAHIM (as) and his strategy
One of our greats prophets Ibrahim (as) also made a Game plan to get people to think. The famous story of when he knocked over and broke the idols. On the eve of a big celebration, Ibrahim knew that the townsfolk would be leaving to share a huge feast. When they had left, Ibrahim went into their temple to carry out a prophet mission: to demolish their idols, except one, the largest idol, so that he could explain to them the error of their ways.
When the townspeople returned, they were horrified. Their idols lay in ruins. They quickly remembered that Ibrahim had been encouraging them to worship Allah alone and to submit to the monotheistic faith of Ibrahim. They asked him: “are you the one who has done this?” Ibrahim said no. “This statue, the biggest of them all has done it! Ask them about it!” The townspeople replied: “You know they cannot speak!” And Ibrahim said: “Then how can you worship things that can neither speak or see. They can’t even protect themselves. Have you all lost your minds?”
The Prophet Ibrahim made a plan in his dawah as well as the example for
Mankind, Uswatul Hasana made plans in his Dawah in Makkah in the 7th century.
Musab Ibn Umair. Yathrib/Madina. 7th Century
The great sahabi was chosen for a specific reason to be sent to Yathrib for the da’wah. The Prophet (saw) thought about this and made a plan rather than choosing any sahabah randomly. Musab had qualities that other Sahabah didn’t have. So as planned, Musab was sent to Yathrib and after a while, his Dawah was extremely successful & as a result of this paved the way for the great Hijrah!
So after reading this blog, I pray that you get together with your mates, go to a coffee shop, one of you have a paper and pen ready and have ā brainstorming session on how to approach a Muslim away from Allah or a Non Muslim.
It’s astonishing what the mind is capable of. Let human minds come together & make a super game plan to win someone’s heart for Islam and Allah.
This sitting and planning will bring our amazing ideas. When human minds come together, it can produce amazing ideas. This will be your Game Plan. The more you do this, the better plans you’ll come up!
As a structure, ideally you could try this:
Before the meat of the conversation ( Purpose of life, God, death)
comes building rapport. Before that Initiation. Before that comes the approach and then before all this THE GAME PLAN!
Jzk for reading this, I hope it has sparked some thoughts within you. Do leave a comment and ask any questions.
Happy Game Planning