Daw'ah Training Program
The Institute of Islamic Information & Education (III&E), began offering Da’wah training programs in 1997 under the title, "TRAIN-THE-TRAINERS COURSE" or TTC for short. Alhamdulillah, this program has been received very well and many Muslims have been trained in Los Angeles CA, Houston TX, Monmouth Junction NJ and Chicago areas. The III&E aspires to take the program all over North America and initiate many levels of training programs.
The goal of this program is to train Muslim volunteer Da’wah workers who would do two things, (1) reach out to the non-Muslim people with the message of Islam, and (2) train more Da’wah workers by duplicating themselves many times over. Anti-Islam forces are extremely active in North America and are doing everything money can buy to stop the spread of Islam and, if possible, remove Islam from the West. On the other hand, Muslims are suffering from indifference and apathy and involved only with material gains and security. Those Muslims who are "active" in Islam, are limited to establishing and running masajid and Islamic schools; these are admirable activities but they do little in providing a solid foundation to the Muslim community for it to spread and prosper. The recruitment of new converts, their training and removal of mis-information, dis-information, stereotype images and mis-apprehensions from the minds of the North American masses should have equal weight and priority with other Islamic activities. The Da’wah training program of the III&E is a significant contribution towards achieving these goals.
This course is equivalent of two semester courses of three credit hours each but given in 80-90 contact hours condensed in 10-18 days as explained elsewhere in this article. The course includes examinations, quizzes, speech making practice and sometimes mock sessions. Most of the course is handled in an interactive format, keeping lectures to a minimum. The course has seven units unequal in length. The unit titles are given below:
Unit 1. Fundamentals of Islam
Unit 2. Handling people
Unit 3. Presenting Islamic beliefs and practices
Unit 4. Areas of Clarification (misconceptions held by the Muslims)
Unit 5. Misconceptions about Islam and Muslims (held by the non-Muslims)
Unit 6. Comparative Religion (Christianity and Islam)Unit 7. Establishment and management of a non-profit organization in the U.S.
Special topics as seen relevant at the time of offering the course.
The main faculty member in North America is Dr. M. Amir Ali, Managing Director of the III&E who is well trained and experienced in the field of Da’wah. Frequently, Br. Bashir Mundi who is very well educated and a veteran of many Da’wah training programs, joins him as a trainer. Additional persons are recruited for teaching; among them they are developer of the TTC, Sr. Aisha Lemu, and graduates Sr. Mary Ali, Br. Usama Hussein Dr. Syed Sabeel Ahmad, Br. Habib Raja and Ahmad Jalloh. In addition, Islamic scholars and leaders are requested to speak as guests. Among Islamic scholars and leaders who have spoken at TTC include Dr. Muzammal H. Siddiqui, Dr. Tajuddin B. Shu’aib, Dr. Ahmad Sakr, Dr. Assad Busool, Dr. G.H. Aasi, Br. Mukhtar Ahmad Musallati, Sr. Maria Khani, Sheikh Hamad Al-Chibli, Dr. Mohammad Rashad Khalil, Sheik Zoubeir Bouchikhi, Dr. Sultan Al-Hazmi and Sheikh Hamdan Al-Saadi. The tradition of requesting local scholars to participate in the training program will continue in the future.
In the past course was conducted in many different ways, described below.
1. Once a week. The course was conducted every Saturday for eight weeks from 9A.M. to 10 P.M, providing continental breakfast, lunch and dinner with breaks for Salat and coffee. This schedule had the drawback of remembering the previous weeks material and deficiency of continuity.
2. Evening meetings. The course was conducted four evenings a week for three hours each. The meeting continued a couple of months until all the material was covered.
3. Seven days full-time. The original course was developed for this type of schedule meeting 9 A.M. to 10 P.M. with several breaks. However, for the expanded course as developed by the III&E, the time was not enough to cover the material nor enough time given for study.
4. Ten or eleven days full-time. This is the schedule that was followed July-August 2000 for conducting four program in Los Angeles CA, Houston TX, Monmouth Junction NJ and Leaf River IL. The classes were scheduled from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. daily with appropriate breaks.
Schedules (1) and (2) are suitable where teachers and students live in the same city and its vicinity where commuting is not a major problem. For those who are coming out of town this schedule is not feasible. In addition, this suffers from low attendance, maintaining motivation over a period of weeks, private and family business interference; as a result a large drop out rate has been observed. Schedules (3) and (4) suffer the disadvantage of requiring time taken from job, business or school, which only highly motivated and dedicated people would be willing to do.
A new schedule is suggested that removes disadvantages of both of the pervious experiences while keeping the best of them. This is an Eighteen Day program. According to this schedule classes will meet twelve days during the weekdays (Monday – Friday) from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. over the weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) with necessary breaks. During this period there will be three weekends (six full-time days) and twelve evenings. The program will open on a Thursday and will continue through the third weekend and concludes on the third Sunday with a graduation ceremony.
After conducting several programs with and without fee the III&E has learned some lessons. When this course is done free, the dropout rate is high, motivation to study and pass the course is low, absence and tardy rates are very high. When offered free, people suffer from Motivation Deficiency Syndrome (MDS). Naturally, the treatment is to make people pay a reasonable fee according to their affordability and a set fee minimum for others. It has been observed that those who receive full scholarship also suffer from some degree of MDS.
Normal one-day professional workshop fee in North America is $175 to $250 and twice that for two or three day workshops, which do not include parking and meals. Considering all the factors a fee has been set at $250.00 per person. However, this fee and other details are negotiable with sponsoring organizations.
Islamic organizations, Islamic centers and masajid are requested to sponsor the program, take responsibility of organizing, publicizing and recruiting trainees. The III&E will provide resource persons (faculty) and teaching material. As of January 2001, the III&E has organized eight training sessions in various parts of the country and has rich experience to share with those who may be interested in doing Allah’s work in North America.
Sponsoring / Cooperating Organizations
In the past the III&E has received cooperation and/or sponsorship of many international, national and local Islamic organizations.
World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, International Council for Islamic Information (ICII) of Leicester, England. The III&E is an affiliate of both of these International organization who organize TTC in many countries.
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) are among cooperating organizations. The III&E is seeking the support of Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), Al-Qur’an was-Sunnah Society of North America (QSSNA), Imam Warith Deen Muhammad’s Ministry and other national groups and organizations who are interested in this work.
Local and Regional Organizations
The III&E had the support of Muslim Community Center (MCC) of Chicago, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Islamic Society of Orange County (ISOG), Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH) and her North Zone Center and Islamic Society of Central Jersey (ISCJ).
Interested parties should contact the III&E by phone [773-777-7443], Fax [773-777 7199] or Email firstname.lastname@example.org and address your correspondence to Dr. M. Amir Ali, Managing Director. For more details about the III&E, visit their page www.iiie.net.
If you like what the III&E has to offer, you may do one or all of the following:
(1) Spread the word around by forwarding this proposal to all those on your Email list; print this message and distribute and/or post it on your Islamic center or mosque bulletin board.
(2) Send your tax-deductible donation (sadaqah and zakat) in the name of III&E and mail it to the III&E, P.O. Box 41129, Chicago, IL 60641-0129.
(3) Become a regular supporter by signing the monthly automatic donation deduction form. Request this form from the III&E or print it from the web site. Typically any amount from $10 to $100 per month is suggested. This is increasingly becoming the main source of support. The III&E is not fully sponsored or supported by international, national, regional or local organizations but by the people like you. You may persuade your friends and relative to join you in this noble effort.
(4) Organize a Da’wah seminar and fund raising event for the III&E. The III&E will help you in this area.