Tuesday, 24 May 2011

How to Deliver a Good Bayaan (Islamic lecture)–10 Tips

Many brothers and sisters who are more religiously inclined than others are always held in high regard in university/college Islamic societies etc. As a result, they are relied upon to give Islamic talks/lecture/advice etc. And so it should be! However, to stand in front of one hundred people is incredibly scary! Sometimes, a person has good knowledge but as soon as he stands up in front of a group of people, the legs begin to become like jelly! At other times, a person repeats his talk 100x to himself in private but when he stands in front of the audience, he goes completely blank! Whatever the case may be, the following is mere advice on how to deliver a good talk:

1) Be Sincere – this particular point is repeated all the time! Many people become sick of hearing it again and again but it is of the utmost importance. Many people are such that they look forward to giving a talk so that people will say, “Vah vah! Shaabaash! (Well done!” and that they will be labelled with the glorious title of being, ‘knowledgeable’. This is not something that we should want, our main objective should be the happiness of Allah Ta’ala. In one Qudsi Hadith, Allah Ta’ala says, “That person who joins Me with someone else (in his intention) when doing any action, then I separate myself from that person as well as the work he is doing. I accept only those actions which are done solely for Me.” When a person performs an act for only Allah Ta’ala, then Allah Ta’ala will fill that act with blessings and He will make that person a beacon of hope and knowledge for others. When a person performs an act in the hope of then Allah Ta’ala leaves his speech void of blessings and that person is disgraced. Hazrat Fudhail ibn Iyaadh rahimahullah mentions, “If you can get by without being known, then do so. What does it bother you that people will not praise you, and what does it bother you that you may be blameworthy in the sight of people if in the Sight of Allah you are praiseworthy?” Likewise, Bishr ibn al-Harith rahimahullah would say, “I do not know a single man who loves fame except that he loses his religion and becomes disgraced. No-one who has fear of Allah, loves to be known amongst the people.” Much more could be said about this topic but it is enough to simply say, a person will go as far as his intention. If his intention was strong, he will sore and reach the heights of the stars and if his intentions was corrupt, he will crumble at the first hurdle.

2) Prepare well – it is highly important to prepare well when giving talks! When a person prepares well, confidence exuberates through his speech and body gestures. There is no stemmer in his speech but rather, there is a sense of solidity and cleverness. Many people feel that they have learnt enough and they can simply sit on the chair and waffle away. This isn’t correct, a person might sit on a chair and be able to waffle away but there will be mistakes in what he is saying as it has not been revised over. When dealing with Qur’an and Hadith, a person has to be very careful! A person who relates from these sources incorrectly with a muddled translation and explanation will be treading along the banks of Jahannam. Thus, when preparing a talk the following must be done:

3) Prepare your opening Arabic khutba correctly. This can be very embarrassing when you don’t know the meaning of the Arabic but are just saying it for the sake of it and there is a person in the audience who catches your mistakes! This can happen to anyone but mistakes help a person become better. The manner in which the Arabic should be is as follows: Praise of Allah Ta’ala, Durood on Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam, Qur’anic verses pertaining to your topic, Ahadith pertaining to your topic.

4) Practise all the Arabic Qur’anic verses and Ahadith you will be using before hand so your tongue becomes use to it.

5) Try to reference all your work as much as you can as we live in a time where people want proof as soon as possible.

4) Have a proper structure – an introduction where you introduce the topic, a main body where you discuss the possible harms etc and always try to provide a remedy. Many people are good at saying, “This is haraam! And that is too!” but that is of no benefit to a person who is addicted to cannabis! Provide some good advice on how a person can be remedied. Finish with a piercing message.

5) Make abundance of dua – a person who is speaking to a group of people must make dua for their guidance! The dua of a sincere person can at times be more affective than his speech. Before and after you have delivered the talk, make dua to Allah Ta’ala that He accepts your efforts, helps your speech, guides your tongue and makes you a means of guidance for the people. This is incredibly important!

6) Be confident and charming – a person should not be hesitant and ‘stuttery’. This makes it seem as if the speaker doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. A person should be confident and firm upon what he is saying. Sometimes, the audience can seem bored but liven it up with some nice, funny and halal comments. Try to bring smiles on the face of the people and not to scream too much. I know of one person who was screaming in his bayaan and the people said to him, “bhaisaab! We are not deaf!” Also, it should not be so jokey that it becomes stand up comedy. Keeping a balanced approach is imperative. Smile at times and be serious at times.

7) How to deal with a mistake – if you make a mistake, immediately correct it. Don’t ever feel that people will think you are stupid. If you do not correct yourself when you know you are wrong out of pride and arrogance, you will be considered stupid by your Lord! However, always be mindful of making a mistake but at the same time, don’t worry about making mistakes. This is to say, don’t be so nervous that you force yourself into making mistakes. Sometimes if you have not prepared properly, it is good to read 2 raka’ah nafl salaah before your talk and then beseech Allah Ta’ala for His help and guidance.

8) Use a paper & Don't be nervous – there is no shame in using a paper. If you feel that there is much to say then use a script. This is not shameful, all the big politicians and people of the world today read from a script. Never feel nervous! If you do, then take a few deep breaths and speak slowly at first. If you speak to fast at first, you will confuse yourself. Be calm and in control of what you say. Always look to Allah Ta'ala as the provider of your strength. Keep Him in your heart always and use Him as a means of spurring you on. When you speak then imagine the room is empty and that only Allah Ta'ala is there with you, listening to you and being proud of you.

9) Look at your audience – Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam would advise people to speak to others in accordance to their intellect. If you are speaking to a group of young people, then speak to them in ways they can relate to you. Thrown in a few slang words here and there. Don’t try to sound too eloquent and flowery to the extent that the only person in the room that understands you is yourself. Similarly, when speaking to an elderly audience, speak to them with respect and humility. No slang words should be used! It is really embarrassing coming out with statements such as, “You mans gotta be propa on salaah get me?!” when there is a seventy year old chacha with a white beard sitting right in front of you.

10) Choose the right topic – choose a topic which is appropriate for the time. If you have been invited to a marriage to deliver a talk, then deliver a talk on the benefits of marriage etc. Do not talk about the coming of death and how to perform a Janazah!

May Allah Ta'ala give us all the ability to speak what is true for His sake and make us a means of guidance for others. Ameen.


Anonymous said...

Salaams, i have a question, alot of brothers (and sisters!) these days have taken to youtube to do bayaans and islamic lectures with comedy, or funny small clips reminding them about such and such islamic topic (like baba ali)...an example i have is Humza from diary of a badman vids on youtube (My moulana done a bayaan on this btw saying don't watch him as he is making fun of islam by making unecessary jokes, i think you should do a post on this, he has become very popular amongst muslims, little do they know that wat he is saying is actually curbing on the boudaries of kufr, and when muslims hear wat he is saying they laugh and repeat it to others on facebook, it makes me so angry coz he is brainwashing them, and they love it because no one had guts to say that before, and think its ok because he is muslim just like us!) anywho my question is - is it ok to make videos on youtube if you yourself dont have that much knowledge..? like if your not hafiz or alim but passionate about telling people what islam really is? And not jokingly but the true islam from the good old days

Abu Huzayfa said...

Assalamu Alaykum,

Jazakallah for your response. In relation to your request for a post, inshallah if time permits we will try to write something but we will try to keep it general as we don't like to single out people.

In relation to your question; first and foremost it must be highlighted that the matter of delivering a talk and spreading 'ilm is a very sensitive one. Dispensing the knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith aren’t small matters and both sources need to be handled with care otherwise a person is at risk of not only deviating himself but others as well. Delivering talks and lessons etc is a big deal; the scholars of the past were incredibly fearful of delivering lectures and would only do so out of necessity. It wouldn’t be a source of entertainment for brothers and sisters where the entire intention of seeking knowledge is lost. Imam Sha’bi rahimahullah mentions, “We tried incredibly hard to get Ibrahim al-Taymi to sit down in the masjid and narrate to the people but he refused” and in the same way it is related about Hazrat Sufyan ath Thawri rahimahullah that he wouldn’t allow more than three people to sit in his gathering. One day, more than three came and he saw his gathering had increased so he stood up in fear and said, ‘By Allah, we have been taken and we do not even feel it! By Allah, if the commander of the believers, Umar radiallahu anhu were to see someone like me sitting in this gathering he would make me stand up and say ‘The like of you is not worthy of this!’

It is reported that when he sat to narrate hadeeth, he would sit in fear and terror. If a cloud passed over him, he would become silent until it passed then he’d say, ‘I feared that it contained stones with which we would be struck with.’ Such stories can be found in Ta’tirul Anfas min Hadithil Ikhlas.

Thus it is established that giving knowledge is an incredibly sensitive matter and bayaans etc should be seen as something which is done out of necessity for the sake of helping the people and not something which is done for entertainment or plaudits.

In relation to whether a non-alim, a hafiz or a passionate person should be giving lectures. Hazrat Muhammad ibn Sireen rahimahullah mentions, “Ilm is a matter of religion so take a good look at the people from who you take knowledge.” (Muqadamatul Muslim). The reality of this matter is that a person who is not learned in Qur’an and Hadith should refrain from giving lectures. This is because he/she does not have the correct knowledge and his lack of understanding could prove be extremely detrimental to a person’s imaan. A poem that comes to mind:

نیم ڈاکٹر خطرہ جان
نیم عالِم خطرہ إيمان

“Half a doctor is a threat to one’s life, Half an alim is a threat to one’s imaan!”

Thus if a person is a non-alim etc, he should try his best to refrain from giving talks. There are exceptions to this, for example when a person is a student of knowledge and is in constant consultation with his ustaadhs etc.

However, in our day and age, many times a non-alim, hafiz etc is required to give a bayaan in college or uni. In such a circumstance, it is best if the topic being discussed is taken from the works of an actual alim or copied from a speech of an alim rather than from one’s own accord. As for making you tube videos, there is no need. Alhamdulillah, the Ulama are doing a lot of good work and much of it is being posted on youtube.

One friend of mine had asked me once to write a post on a matter similar to this, perhaps you will find it beneficial: http://jamaluliman.blogspot.com/2011/04/following-any-old-isoc-fruitcake-in.html

Wallahu a’lamu bis sawab

Anonymous said...

JazakAllah for your response, may Allah reward you abundantly

Anonymous said...


its quite funny that now the very people who were supporting diary of a badman have left him!

i thought it would be uesful to put this video here as the old members from the old old videos have come out to speak against humza.

please everybody check it out: