There are indeed many forms of dawah.
Conveying the call of Tawheed can be done by numerous ways and styles.
I for one am very partial towards street dawah or the dawah stall form of dawah. There are many reasons for this and one of which is being espoused in this blog. It is actually a sunnah and a legacy that the best of creation and the best generation that humanity ever saw also used the streets and markets of Makkah and Madina to call people to Allah swt. The following has been extracted from Dr Fazl Elahi’s book on dawah. He had a chapter dedicated to ‘street dawah’ and the following narrations have been presented in English.
Da’wah at Fares and Bazars
Prophet Muhammad PBUH used to give da’wah at festivals and bazars. After him, it is reported that his companions followed his example in this. The following are six occasions as examples:
Imam Ahmad has reported from Rabi’ah bin Abad Al Dili, who was a revert Muslim. He narrated:
I saw the prophet (PBUH) with my both eyes in the market of zil Majaz saying:
“O people! Say there is no God but Allah and you will be successful.”
The prophet (PBUH) was entering small gatherings and groups of people. And I did not hear anyone else saying anything while the prophet PBUH was repeating:
‘O people! Say there is no God but Allah and you will be successful.”
Da’wah in the Streets of Ukaz
Imam Ahmad has reported from Ash’as bin Sulaim whom related the following:
‘ I heard a person in the rule of Ibn Zubair (ra) who said “I listened to a person in bazar of Ukaz saying;
“O people! Say there is no God but Allah and you will be successful”.
There was another person chasing him and saying:
“This person wants to stop you from your deities.”
These (two men) were the Prophet and Abu Jahl.
Da’wah in the Bazar of Majinnah
Imam Ahmad, Imam ibn Hibban and Imam Hakim has reported from Abdullah bin Jabir
Prophet PBUH kept chasing people to their houses in Majinnah, Ukaz and Mina.
He used to say, “Who will give me shelter and assist me until I convey the message of my Lord, and for him is paradise”. ‘He did not find anyone who helped or gave him shelter, even if a man would travel from Yamen or Egypt to his relatives, his people used to go and say to him “beware of the Quraishi guy, so that he can’t put you in trouble.”
And he (PBUH) used to walk in between their cottages, calling them towards Allah swt whilst they were pointing fingers towards him.
Some points pertaining to above mentioned narrations:
The prophet PBUH continued his endeavours for the da’wah in the markets after migration. There are many examples of da’wah in the bazar of a Jewish tribe banu Qainuqa’.
Imam ibn Dawood and Baihiqi has reported from Ibn Abbas (ra) that:
“When Prophet PBUH came to Madinah after defeating Quraish in Badr, he called the Jews of Banu Qainuqa’ and said O community of Jews, embrace Islam before you suffer something as the Quraish suffered.
From this incident, it is evident that the prophet PBUH gave da’wah to Jews after gathering them in their bazar at Banu Qainuqa’.
Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja has reported that Qais bin Abi Ghazarah said;
At the time of the messenger of Allah we used to be called brokers,
but the messenger of Allah PBUH passed by us and called us by a name that was better, he said; “O merchants, selling involves false oaths and idle talk so mix some charity with it.”
It is clear from this hadith that the prophet PBUH advised the merchants to give charity when he passed by them.
Imam Tibrani has written about Abu Hurairah:
He went through a bazar, stopped there and said: ‘O people of marketplace, How lazy are you.’ They replied, “What are you referring to, O Abu Hurairah?”
He said, “There is the inheritance of the prophet being distributed and you are here? Will you not go there and take your share of the inheritance?”
Imam Baihaqi has reported from Mugheerah bin Sha’ba (ra) that he said:
The first day when I knew the messenger of Allah PBUH was when I was walking along with Abu Jahl in a street of Makkah when we met the messenger of Allah PBUH and he said to Abu Jahl:
‘O Abul Hakam! Come to Allah, the exalted, and his messenger.
I am inviting you to Allah.’ Abu Jahal said, ‘O Muhammad wouldn’t you desist from slandering our gods? Do you desire anything other than that we witness that you delivered the message and we witnessed to that? By Allah, if I knew that what you are saying is true I would have followed you.
This is noticeable from this story that Prophet PBUH gave Da’wah to Abu Jahl in the streets of Makkah.
Some lessons from this:
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim reported from Abu dharr that: I was walking with the prophet on the stony ground of Al Madinah when Uhud mountain came into Sight, he said: “O, Aby Dharr” I said, “O messenger of Allah, I am here for you.”
“If I had as much gold as the weight of Uhud, it would not please me with the passage of three days to have a single dinar out of it with me, but I would hold something for the repayment of a debt. I would distribute it among the slaves of Allah like this and like this.” And then he pointed towards his right and his left and his back. Then he walked a little and said: And the rich would be poor on the day of resurrection except those who spend like this and like this and like this. And he pointed towards his right and his left and his back. And said such persons are few.
It is clear from the hadith that prophet told Abdu Dharr about his desire to spend in charity and the loss of those who don’t give it, while he was walking on a stony ground.
So these are just a few handful of reports and incidents showing that the call to Allah swt was made at all times and places. I am sure there are even more ahadith and incidents to show how the sahabah and the prophet used the streets to engage in dawah.
Every opportunity was used to promulgate the prophetic mission. Let’s take inspiration from these and get involved in street dawah, campus dawah or put up a stall in a place where the crowd could gather.
Do share more incidents in the comments!