The burgeoning landscape of online Islamic propagation, or Dawah, is akin to a richly mixed bag, teeming with a diverse array of actors, approaches, and narratives. This varied spectrum ranges from niche specialists who anchor themselves within their area of expertise to the controversy-baiting generalists, from those who grapple with highly contentious topics to the broad majority who participate by reposting, commenting, and liking. Each constituent within this Dawah ecosystem has unique implications, posing both challenges and opportunities for the presentation and perception of Islam in the virtual realm.
Dawah Specialists: Mastery over Controversy
The Dawah scene is increasingly witnessing the emergence of specialists who prefer to concentrate their efforts within specific domains. These individuals, exemplified by channels such as Darwinian Delusions, select singular themes, such as Islamophobia, Christianity, or Atheism, and delve deeply into them. The result is a form of Dawah that is expert, nuanced, and persuasive, capable of engaging effectively with any interlocutor. These specialists, due to their focus and depth, have managed to garner widespread approval across various segments of the online audience.
The Controversy Dilemma of Generalist Duat
On the other end of the spectrum lie the generalist Duat, who engage with a broad array of topics and consequently run the risk of controversy. In their quest for viewership and engagement, some generalists may be tempted to lean into controversy, leading to sensationalist, tabloid-like content that leaves a sour taste for both Muslim and Non-Muslim viewers. Alternatively, Duat who handle potentially controversial topics with adab, or proper etiquette, often win the respect and appreciation of their audiences. Their success underscores the importance of integrity and ethical conduct in Dawah.
The Role of Content Reposters and Commenters
The Dawah scene is also populated by a myriad of reposters, commenters, and likers. While their contributions may appear less prominent, they nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining and propagating the general message of Islam. Their active participation enables the amplification of Dawah content, ensuring its widespread reach across the vast expanse of the online sphere.
Intra-communal Divisions: Madhab and Salafi Dawah
Within the Dawah landscape, one cannot overlook the divide between Madhab and Salafi Dawah. While this division seems to be primarily an intra-community issue, it inadvertently communicates a sense of discord to potential converts. It is imperative to address these schisms to present a unified and coherent image of Islam to both Muslim and non-Muslim audiences alike.
Impact of Other Sects/Groups
The influence of other sects and groups, such as Shias and Qadiyanis, although less pervasive, is discernible. They adopt surreptitious methods to infiltrate the predominantly Sunnah-focused Dawah scene, occasionally introducing deviant ideas. It is crucial to maintain vigilance against such clandestine approaches that could potentially undermine the authenticity and credibility of the Dawah message.
The Emergence of Kharijism and Liberalism
Two developments in the online Dawah scene require close attention. First is the advent of kharijism, where fringe elements espouse extremist viewpoints that deviate significantly from mainstream Islamic teachings. Second is the growing split amongst liberals, who, due to their volatile nature and inadequate sourcing from Quran and Sunnah, pose a significant challenge to Islamic Dawah.
The Complexity of Meta-Dawah Issues
The online Dawah scene, replete with its complexities and idiosyncrasies, warrants a deep, careful exploration. With its inherent challenges, it calls for a strong focus on unity, integrity, and authentic Islamic teachings to counter the potential threats and ensure the effective propagation of the true spirit of Islam.
Notwithstanding the serious nature of these issues, the Dawah scene is not devoid of lighter moments. The presence of the occasional “twirling Sufis” adds a dash of humor and color to the otherwise serious business of Dawah. These moments of levity serve as a reminder that, in our pursuit of knowledge and truth, we must not forget to appreciate the beauty and joy in our faith.