Should Da’ee earn and be self-sufficient while following their faith?

Prophet Muhammad PBUH was persistent in doing one thing prominently throughout 23 years of his Prophet hood. He preached, propagated and practiced Islam.  In those hostile times, initially his advocacy of the new religion was largely individualistic or with a closed circle of trusted friends. To escape the torture of the Makkan Polytheists the New Muslims he used to pray in a house to the east of As Safa hill in a narrow street; it was the home of Arqam bin Arqam RA. We are talking about the beginning.  Accepting Islam meant inviting threat to your very existence. But this could not discourage the Muslims.

Look at Bilal [RA]! His master is asking him to go lie down on that hot rock and he does just that! The temperature in this desert is above 50 degrees, if you are curious. When the new Prophet PBUH passed him by, the only thing he could do was ask him to be patient; confirming his chants; saying, Yes, O, Bilal. He is One, Ahudd, Ahudd.

How painful it must be to see his friend in that miserable condition! And where is Sumaiyya (RA)?  She turns monotheist and all hell breaks loose! Her torture is beyond one’s imagination.  Once her master got so exhausted with the beatings that he begged her to speak supporting the stone figurines Laat o Uzza wa Manaat, even if only once, to save her life. But the stubborn woman refuses!  How headstrong can, one be? The honor of being the first martyr of Islam goes to her! And that Usman son of Affan?  When he became a Muslim, his uncle wraps him up in a straw mat and thus entrapped; fills his nostrils with smoke. God, you should have seen it to believe it!  Terrible.

prophet muhammad prophet muhammad p.b.u.h quran 682585 Should a Daee Earn or Not Earn

And what about Abu Bakr,[RA] friend of the Prophet ?  Did you see him? He is to  Muhammad PBUH, what shadow is to a man. He spends every penny in his pocket for the new religion he has espoused just a few days ago! Many freshly converted Muslim slaves owe their freedom to him.  And look at Prophet Muhammad PBUH himself. At the fair at Ukkaz he can be seen rushing from one person or group to another, inviting them to Islam; ignoring the abuse and rebuke of his uncle polytheist Abu Lehab  who was following him.

Muhammad PBUH asks people to believe in a, One and the Only God, who has no form, and who cannot be seen. This idea is exactly opposite to the Makkan idea of multi God worshiping; and hence effectively speaking, he was inviting them to reject their Gods! It was a dangerous call as you can see and an invite to trouble, at a place like Makkah and at the time of Ukkaz fair, where people had gathered only to worship the very same stone Gods.

Some 1400 years ago these, ‘Da’ees’ and their leader Prophet PBUH, were doing Dawah in a unique and original way, and their  hearts, minds, bodies  and spirit were fully involved. This reflected in their conduct.  Prophet Muhammad PBUH had devoted himself entirely to the cause. At the time, some of his companions were still employed with their cruel masters; some were skilled artisans or ran small businesses. They didn’t stop earning their livelihood because now they had to practice and propagate the new religion. They had to earn their living.

The Modern Day Dawah

[Da’wah means a ‘call’ or ‘invitation’; which means to invite non-Muslims to Islam as well as the Muslims to the true understanding and practice of Islam.]

A tweet proved to be an eye opener to the issue of whether it’s important for today’s young Da’ees to become self sufficient first or devote themselves entirely to the work of Dawah?

Mirza Yawar Baig @myawarbaig
Full time Daawa is a cover up for either incompetence…couldn’t succeed anywhere so becomes Daaee. Or a way to make money. Same difference


What happens when a person invites others to Islam? After the initial exchange of greetings, the question of his profession might pop up.

What do you do for a living?

 I do dawah.  

call people to the truth Should a Daee Earn or Not Earn

24/7? Oh, you mean you ,do nothing?

Sorry folks, this might happen; strong possibility.

Of course dedication to God’s works 24/7 is indeed noble and there are  some successful examples.

But when hordes of young men, declare themselves to be Full Time Daa’ees; almost everywhere, it’s time to put our heads together. You might have seen such a bunch of suited booted daee’s with a white skull cap worn over their heads, speaking extempore.

Should a Da’ee 24/7 or part time consider some other aspects of the issue as well?

What about his cost of living [expenses] and every day bills for doing Dawah?

If he is not earning for himself, who is paying for him?

Our  young man, does he depend on his old father’s money?  Does a Dawah institute support him? In that situation he can’t say a thing against them and their approach if he disagrees with it. [ this is not to discourage him from joining an organization but just for illustration purposes]  In this scenario is he reduced to pirouetting the lines given to him? Is there a danger of him being reduced to a puppet doing just what he is told? This in itself defies the purpose of dawah. You can’t speak against the person who feeds and clothes you; normally you don’t.  If a Da’ee is constantly dictated by the one in charge over him, then may be his teachings won’t be free of the outside influences. His dawah will never be purely academic. i. e.  To go where proofs take you. And many times, it may so happen that the young Da’ee may be reduced to a mere propagandist for an organization or a group. This may cause consternation; feeling suffocated, it may hamper his work. This applies to not just the young da’ees but to several hundreds of young moulvis, fresh out of madrasas. They lack proper training and experience and have to remain at the mercy of their financer/s who is usually a rich businessman of the neighborhood.

Doing Dawah Should a Daee Earn or Not Earn

So you see money does matter and it is for us to see that it should not matter. Not at all when it comes to the works of our deen. If they do not earn their own money, then eventually they become a burden on someone….community, father or worse father in law.  There may also be a possibility of their distorting some teaching, some ruling, in order to suit the needs of the one who sponsors them. Their contributions to dawah suffer and can become counterproductive. The confidence levels of the conscientious lot among them begin to dwindle. What a loss indeed!

There have been some wonderful examples of people doing full time dawah, like Shaikh Ahmed Deedat, Dr. Zakir Naik ,Ustadh Noman Ali Khan, Yasir Qadhi etc,but they are far and few in between.  I have admiration and huge respect for full time Daa’ees or for that matter any Daa’ee, but I strongly believe one should have an independent source of income while doing Dawah.  

Its hugely helpful for the Da’ee and for his Dawa’h.

Benefits of a Financially Independent Da’ee

First and foremost it brings respect;  he becomes independent and can work efficiently with a happy natural enthusiasm and as per the proper understanding and approach to Islam. A well qualified, well educated young man is far more impressive while doing dawah. People will listen to him with more respect, and appreciate his work. This will make his job easier and much more beneficial. This is not to deny the significance of full time Da’ees, but as stated earlier, such examples are few.

The thing that I have been observing is, young boys announce to become full time Daa’ees that ultimately translates to their abandoning studies and  some other worthwhile work or job which otherwise could have brought some money and eased the burden on their old fathers. The added bonus for the boys is now no one can utter a single word of protest against them because they ask.

Dawah Should a Daee Earn or Not Earn

So you want to create hurdles in the way of Allah’s work?

And the poor audience! With fallen faces they have to beat a hasty retreat and shut themselves up.

Self defense mechanism at its best!

What is better for a  daa’ee to be self reliant or have to depend on someone else for some bites? Your guess is as good as mine.

The best solution is to earn a robust educational degree, and join a good profession or run or help in some business and then volunteer your free time for your passion of Dawah, either individually or through some organization.  Yes, it sounds  difficult but time management is the key.

Imagine a well placed doctor, engineer, a journalist or a business man talking about Islam?  Won’t people lend them their good ears more eagerly and attentively?

Important thing is to not just be financially independent while doing dawah but also try not to make your Dawa’h a source of creating wealth.

dawah 1 Should a Daee Earn or Not Earn

Won’t it be far more impressive to see a young da’ee doing his work immaculately while  not being financially dependent on anyone? Earning his own money, spending from his own pocket? Doesn’t it mean dignity?  And what is more to a man than dignity? Didn’t our Prophet Muhammad PBUH say that, the first and foremost duty of a man is to earn halal rizq for him and his family?

When I see young men trying to do dawah work while still being  dependent on others for their food and other expenses, it saddens me. Their number is increasing. These young fellas must strive hard to gain some useful employment  and  an in depth knowledge of Islam first and not rely on short cuts and[possibly] harm the cause and purpose of dawah.

Let’s imbibe the Islamic spirit in our beings, and  begin saying,

Yes, He is ONE.

Ahud! Ahud!

By Dr. Asma Anjum Khan

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