In its literal sense, dakwah means ‘to call’. Dakwah is the act of spreading Allah’s message to people, either by directly speaking out the verses of the quran, or by showing good examples.
Throughout history, artists have been a great tool in conveying a message. By artists, I mean writers, novelists, filmmakers, musicians. For instance, Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tanggere inspired the Philippines to fight against the colonial Spaniards. Syed Sheikh al-Hadi’s Hikayat Faridah Hanom is not only about the love story of two people, but also brings out the message of intellectual and technological reformation, as the Malays were very regressive in knowledge and technology during the era of the British colonization. There are also Eurpean philosophers like Voltaire, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, and Kierkegaard have all written novels and the like that help to better demonstrate their philosophy. The same thing can be applied to a dakwah mission.
Songs… who doesn’t like songs? Songs can have a great impact in the society. Notice that most songs on the radio are love songs and also, right now young kids are always looking for their ‘one true love’ (like how i used to be too). Look at it’s impact. It’s not a good thing actually. Songs can be used for the right purpose, like how Black Eyed Peas released their song Where is the Love? that is trying to wake us up and tell us that “People killin’ people dyin’ ” – meaning that oppression and violence are happening even if we don’t see them. Songs can deeply touch the soul, if the song has God’s message in it, it can be a great tool for dakwah.
To my view, films are the pinnacle of today’s artistic technology because the visual and audio collaborates in touching someone’s heart. Today in this age of CGI, anything- ANYthing can be visualized on the screen. Dinosaurs, to space aliens, guns, germs, abstracts, anything you can think of. That’s why films have a huge potential in dakwah.
So don’t look down on artists, they’re the ones who are playing a big role in spreading a message on a large scale. Too bad most novels, songs, and films today are actually drifting us away from remembering Allah. Support artists who fight in the way of Allah.
Yes, arts rarely change someone from bad to good, but arts act well in the first stage of changing someone. This is because arts can touch a person’s heart. This will give them inspiration or at least awareness. People are not aware of the Creator’s divine message and now it should be up to us to spread them. Without the awareness in the first place, it definitely is going to be hard to spread other teachings of the Quran. Without arts, it would be hard for people to actually know that the world is currently in a state of huge mess. Even if they know, most humans don’t care especially those who are living a luxurious life. There is where art comes in, to bring out the compassion in themselves. This is because too often we watch a sad story, we will have compassion for the character in the story. Artists can apply the same on those who are oppressed today. In fact, almost everyone are oppressed nowadays. Goods prices are soaring, many people are in debt with the throat-cutting bank, justice is abandoned in court, crime rates are increasing, major powers are preparing for war that might wipe up humanity on the face of Earth- the world’s a mess. Once people know that, and realize it is something serious, they will start to seek the solution, which is the way of life of Islam that will save humanity.
The things we see and hear everyday shape our subconscious mind, meaning we become what we see or hear. By constantly reminding people of Allah and the way of life pleased by Him, the people will change the way they think, insya Allah.
ادعُ إِلىٰ سَبيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالحِكمَةِ وَالمَوعِظَةِ الحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجادِلهُم بِالَّتي هِيَ أَحسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعلَمُ بِالمُهتَدينَ
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.
Surah Al-Nahl, 16:125