Ibn Katheer writes in his commentary: “Those ‘of determination’ among the Messengers are Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, `Isa and the last of all of the Prophets, Muhammad (sa).” (Tafseer ibn kathir – Surah Ahqaf 46, 35)
All of us yearn to learn our subjects of interest from the best teachers around, experienced and knowledgeable in their fields. Why not spend some time along with Nuh and learn from him the core tips for Dawah. He was a teacher certified by none other than the Lord of the Worlds, and had an experience of more than 900 years in the field!
The Message of Nuh : It was simple and clear; La ilaha illallah! (There is none worthy of worship but Allah). We must also be straightforward and clear in our call. Our call should not be towards a worldly benefit, a tribal, national or regional cause or a specific religious faction or sect. It should be towards true monotheism and the clear path of Islam. To Muslims and non-Muslims alike, let us present the fact that true success lies in abating all deities beside Allah , and submitting to Him willfully in all fragments of life.
“And We had certainly sent Noah to his people, and he said, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him; then will you not fear Him?”” (Surah Al-Muminoon 23, 23)
Utilize Every Resource: “He said, “My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day. But my invitation increased them not except in flight. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance. Then I invited them publicly. Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly. And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.” (Surah Nuh 71, 5-10)
Nuh put to use every possible means for dawah. He called the people in public and in private, at times he warned them and at times he encouraged them. In the same manner, we should utilize all possible methods in spreading the message of Allah . Meet people individually and address them publicly. Spread the call through internet, mobile technology, social media, audio visual aids, etc.
Brainstorm about all the people you can call to the religion and make a list of the different ways in which you can do so, for e.g. I know of some people who make use of a free phone package and impart the knowledge of Quran over it. Some people still write letters to their family members giving them naseehah.
Soft and Humble: Despite the behavior of his people, Nuh’s tone did not change. Imagine yourself being scorned at, and people putting fingers in their ears or covering their faces as you start speaking to them. Will you not be angry, or taunt them or at least have bad feelings and never call them again? The prophets of Allah were true well-wishers of the people and did not lose their calm. When people criticized Nuh he responded in the noblest manner, always addressing them as ‘my people’. As callers towards Allah , we must reflect the same manners, and not come down to name calling, ill feelings and character assassination.
“[Noah] said, “O my people, there is not error in me, but I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds.” I convey to you the messages of my Lord and advise you; and I know from Allah what you do not know. (Surah Al- A’raaf 7, 61- 62)
Draw Attention Towards the Creation of Allah: Nuh turned the attention of his people towards the creation of Allah , inviting them to ponder over it. “What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur. While He has created you in stages? Do you not consider how Allah has created seven heavens in layers. And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp? And Allah has caused you to grow from the earth a [progressive] growth. Then He will return you into it and extract you [another] extraction.” (Surah Nuh 71, 13-18)
One does not have to give difficult analogies and examples. The deen is close to fitrah and simple enough for an illiterate bedouin to understand. For those who are already Muslims, when they contemplate on the creation of Allah their faith and trust in Allah increases. For non-Muslims, the signs are a proof of the existence of a creator, His might and life after death. Whoever is your audience, children, young adults or adults, Muslims or non-Muslims, talking about the wonderful signs in Allah’s creation will always be beneficial.
Patient Perseverance: What was the fruit of 950 years of Dawah? According to different reports, the followers of Nuh range from 8-80. According to Ibn Abbas, in all these years, only 80 people believed in Nuh ! (al bidayah wan nihaya).
Sometimes, we face situations where one is working hard but there is no response. Do not be discouraged! We are only responsible for our work and doing it properly in accordance with Sunnah. We are not responsible for the outcome. The whole story of Nuh teaches us patience and that we remain steadfast no matter what the results are. Our success lies in reward from Allah and His pleasure.
“That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (Surah Hud 11, 49)