How To Set Up A Dawah Table
As with starting any endeavour, the most important thing is the intention behind it. As the Prophet (SAW) said: "Indeed, actions are based on intentions. For every person is what he intended." (Bukhari and Muslim) First make sure that the intention for this effort is only to please Allah (SWT). We need to ask ourselves this question again and again.
Dua to Allah
While we may have many shortcomings, still, the power of dua is great. Imagine our humble, but sincere dawah effort turning into a major dawah movement in this country! Just imagine it! And us, reaping the reward of everyone who accepts Islam through this movement, through years to come... Think and plan big: Allah's powers are not to be underestimated:
"And when My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me; let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in me; that they may be rightly guided."(Qur'an 2:186)
"O Allah, bestow on us, mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way." (Qur'anÂ 18:10)
Step 1 - Preliminary fundraising
Asking family and friends, Food sales, Collecting money after Friday prayers, Fundraising lectures and dinners ,T-shirts and poster sales, Direct funding from your university. You would need from about £50 to £250 to start up.
Step 2 - Obtaining the dawah literature and Qurans
Start the search for dawah literature and Qur'ans early, so that there is enough time for materials to be sent to you. If you want to start a table right away, you may want to photocopy what you can for a start. Dawah literature and further information sources are also available here. You will also need to buy a dawah table, a couple of chairs and a banner. Dawah tables and chairs can be purchased online, at Argos or other DIY stores. You can contact other local dawah teams to get information on where they printed their banner.
Step 3 - Reserving the table and obtaining peripherals
Contact your local council to inform them of what you are doing, they may give you some locations to put your stall. If you want to put the stall on private property then ask the permission of the owner of the property. If organising the stall for your university contact the appropriate department office in your university in advance to find out their deadlines if any for reserving a table for daw'ah purposes. Reserve your table early for the whole semester. This is to ensure getting a good spot for your table. You may also want to reserve or purchase two or three stands or easels to mount posters as well as have some business cards printed so that interested people have a contact to follow up later. From a coordinator's point of view, it is convenient to have a weekly table consistently on the same day of the week. However, in order to reach the maximum number of people, switching to another day in the middle of the semester may not be a bad idea.
Step 4 - Getting the Volunteers
Getting volunteers requires creating a motivating vision for your table and good man management. You will need minimum two people however a good number would be to have around 10 volunteers so that two different people can manage the table each week with 2 for backup. The amount of volunteers you will need depends on how often you want to have the dawah table running. As mentioned you also may need some back up volunteers encase some volunteers are unable to attend a specific day.
Make a signup sheet and pass it around at your university or mosque. Have one person in charge of calling or texting all the volunteers a few days before the dawah table every week to remind them of their shifts. Arrange for wake-up calls if needed and encourage people to find a backup if they cannot make their shift. However, the coordinator should be prepared to deal with occasional absenteeism and be available on call (if possible) for the duration of the table.
Step 5 - Making signs and posters
Attractive signs and posters can go a long way in encouraging people to stop by the table. Also, putting up posters with Quranic verses and other information about Islam is dawah in itself, as people who don't stop by the table will also learn something about Islam. Short Qur'anic verses and a hadith written clearly and attractively seem to be the most beneficial.
Political issues also attract attention, but are NOT good dawah tools. It is advisable to keep the dawah table away from politics as the goal is to call people towards Islam with hikmah (wisdom), which will be better achieved by removing the focus from political issues and bringing it to Tawheed.
Step 6 - Advertising for the table
It may be a good idea to put up posters and use email and other means available for advertising the dawah table. Encourage people to tell their non-Muslim friends about the table. You could even find facebook pages focused on your area and use that to invite non muslims to the table.
Step 7 - Procedural meeting of volunteers
Before starting the table, have a meeting where the volunteers are informed of policies concerning the daw'ah table and also given a briefing on the basics of doing daw'ah. Procedural things to go over may include the following among others:
The use of a log book. This should contain the names and particulars of the volunteers along with their assigned shifts, any specific instructions that you may want to give them, and a section for special requests, such as if someone wants to be informed of Islamic events, or wants a copy of the Qur'an, or anything that you can provide but may not have handy at the table. It can also be used to keep track of how much literature is being given out and how many people are stopping by the table. Delegate responsibilities. Have specific people in charge of photocopying, calling up the volunteers, following up on special requests, ordering Qurans and daw'ah material as needed etc. Organise a dawah training course for all the volunteers. Contact us to organise a dawah course.
Step 8 - Ready to go
The procedural meeting should mark the completion of the preparations for the table. The night before the table, tie up any loose ends, make sure all materials are packed ready to go and call up volunteers to reconfirm their shifts. The materials you will typically need are: Dawah brochures; Qur'ans; Selected Posters; and basic information for the Da'ees; Tape and scissors (or something to put up the posters); Stands or easels (if needed); Log Book; Chairs. Insha Allah, have a successful dawah table the next day.