Lecture given Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. at the Friendly Comparative Religion Program organized by the Nuqaba Management Secretariat and the Student Development and Co-Curricular Activity Center on 24th-25th April 2004 at the Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Malaysia.



Dawa is conveying the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. It is a communication process involving the caller, the called, the message, and behavioural change. Tauhid is the basis for all dawa efforts. The Qur’an is the main tool of dawa. Dawa indicates dynamism of the community because Islam is a missionary religion. Dawa is a collective obligation, fardh kifayat, however individual efforts even if small are encouraged. Dawa must be undertaken at all places and times. The first level of dawa is calling to accept the creed accomplished by pronouncing the kalima. The second level is calling upon individuals and families to practice and live Islam. The third level is calling upon the whole society to be organized according to the teachings of Islam. Dawa has impact on the caller, the called, and the society at large.



The caller gets the reward for calling people to guidance. The prophet Muhammad is the best model of a caller. His message is universal and clear. His behavior, patience, humility, and mercy were effective. He faced problems. The caller must have the following personality characteristics: patience, wisdom, insight, iman, ‘Ilm, kindness, consideration, firmness, commitment, good personal relations, generosity, practicality, flexibility, humility, zuhd, qana'a, and taqwa. The most important attribute is commitment, ikhlaas. The following characteristics make a caller more persuasive: being perceived as honest, personal power, attractiveness, likableness, similarity to the called, being of the same gender as the called, expertise, and credibility. A caller need not be perfect to start dawa. Dawa makes him better because of the challenge is that you have to live up to expectations of a celler. All dawa workers whether full-time of part-time must be receive training tailored to the local situation.



Pro-active strategies are better than defensive and reactive ones. Success depends on phasing, gradualism, tarbiyah, and influence by example. Material incentives should not be used to convince but to attract people to listen to the message. Dawa requires a wise, polite, non-antagonist, non-critical approach presentation of the Islamic alternative because truth automatically displaces falsehood. Dawa may be by direct or indirect, personal or impersonal. Personal contact is the most effective approach. The message should be individualized and customized. It should be simple and direct.




Medics and paramedics have unique opportunities for dawa that other professions do not have. This is because of their intimate contact with patients. The patients are very receptive to dawa because they are dependent, anxious, and think of death and the hereafter. The patients are removed from the daily chores of life and actually have time to think about their present life and their destiny. The healthcare worker makes dawa by example. In his behavior and dealing with the patient he must display the highest standards of conduct. This will open the heart of the patient to ask about Islam and seek to know more. The patient will be curious about the motivation for the good conduct. The patient discovers teachings of Islam can motivate health workers to be kind, empathetic, caring, efficient, and helpful. This is then the beginning of a long journey of searching for Islam. The healthcare may help in the search and follow-up or may leave that to other dawa workers outside the hospital. The essence of this is that the health worker can be a catalyst for the dawa process that may end in conversion to Islam. The remainder of this paper will discuss the recommended etiquette of a healthcare worker that helps the dawa process.



The physician-patient interaction is both professional and social. The bedside visit fulfills the brotherhood obligation of visiting the sick. The human relation with the patient comes before the professional technical relation. It is reassurance, psychological and social support, show of fraternal love, and sharing. A psychologically satisfied patient is more likely to be cooperative in taking medication, eating, or drinking. The following are recommended during a visit: greeting the patient, dua for the patient, good encouraging words, asking about the patient’s feelings, doing good/pleasing things for the patient, making the patient happy, and encouraging the patient to be patient, discouraging the patient from wishing for death, nasiihat for the patient, reminding the patient about dhikr. Caregivers should seek permission, idhn, before getting to the patient. They should not engage in secret conversations that do not involve the patient.



The caregiver should respect the rights of the patient regarding advance directives on treatment, privacy, access to information, informed consent, and protection from nosocomial infections. Caregivers must be clean and dress appropriately to look serious, organized and disciplined. They must be cheerful, lenient, merciful, and kind. They must enjoin the good, have good thoughts about the patients, husn al dhann, and avoid evil or obscene words. They must observe the rules of lowering the gaze, ghadh al basar, and khalwat. Caregivers must have an attitude of humbleness, tawadhu'u, They cannot be emotionally-detached in the mistaken impression that they are being professional. They must be loving and empathetic and show mercifulness but the emotional involvement must not go to the extreme of being so engrossed that rational professional judgment is impaired. They must make dua for the patients because qadar can only be changed by dua. They can make ruqya for the patients by reciting the two mu’awadhatain or any other verses of the Qur’an. They must seek permission, isti' dhaan, when approaching or examining patients. Medical care must be professional, competent, and considerate. Medical decisions should consider the balance of benefits and risks. The general position of the Law is to give priority to minimizing risk over maximizing benefit. Any procedures carried out must be explained very well to the patient in advance. The caregiver must never promise cure or improvement. Every action of the caregiver must be preceded by basmalah. Everything should be predicated with the formula inshallah, if Allah wishes. The caregivers must listen to the felt needs and problems of the patients. They should ask about both medical and non-medical problems. Supportive care such as nursing care, cleanliness, physical comfort, nutrition, treatment of fever and pain are as important as the medical procedures themselves and are all what can be offered in terminal illness. Caregivers must reassure the patients not to give up hope. Measures should be taken to prevent nosocomial infections.



Visits by the family fulfill the social obligation of joining the kindred and should be encouraged. The family are honored guests of the hospital with all the shari’at rights of a guest. The caregiver must provide psychological support to family because they are also victims of the illness because they anxious and worried. They need reassurance about the condition of the patient within the limits allowed by the rules of confidentiality. The family can be involved in some aspects of supportive care so that they feel they are helping and are involved.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. April 2004