Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahiim
Praise be to Allah I from Whom we ask help and pardon, and in Whom we take refuge from the evils within ourselves.  Verily, whoever Allah guides has no one who can lead him astray, and he whom He leads astray has no one to guide him. We testify that there is no god but Allah, and we testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.

From the Islamic viewpoint, effective public speaking is the art and process of conveying the message of Islam (to others) with certain knowledge, wisdom and beautiful preaching for the pleasure of Allah.

Allah, the Almighty, says:

"Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, know you that it is Our Messenger's duty to convey (the Message) in the clearest manner."  (5:92)

"Say (O Muhammad): This is my Way; I do invite unto Allah with a certain knowledge.  And whoever follows me (must also invite others to Allah, Oneness of Allah with sure knowledge). Glory to Allah!  And I am not of the polytheists."  (12: 108)

"Invite (all) to the Way of your Rabb with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Rabb knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance."  (16:125)

"Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, `I am of those who bow in Islam?"  (41:33)

From the above divine injunctions, we derive the following criteria of effective public speaking:

First, public speaking must be one that pleases Allah the Almighty (i.e., according to the Quran and the Way/Sunnah of Allah's Messenger r) and therefore deserves His reward.

Second, it must be done sincerely for the sole pleasure of Allah.

Third, it is effective because it invites or calls people to Islam.

Fourth, it is done with certain knowledge, wisdom and beautiful preaching.

Fifth, the public speaker must be Muslim or righteous believers.

Note that public speaking which does not meet the above criteria is not considered effective from the Islamic point of view.  Thus, no matter how eloquent a speaker is, no matter how interesting his speech and no matter how people show their applause for his performance, the speech is considered a failure.  If the speaker learns excellence of speech just to gain fame and popularity instead of pleasing Allah I; and if he speaks nothing but forged speech instead of the Quran and the authentic Ahadith, the speaker gains nothing but punishment in the life Hereafter.

Allah says:
"There is the type of man whose speech about this world's life may dazzle you and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet is he the most contentious of enemies. When he turns his back his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle.  But Allah loves not mischief.  When it is said to him Fear Allah he is led by arrogance to (more) crime.  Enough for him is Hell; an evil bed indeed (to lie on)!"   (2: 204-206)

In line with the above Quranic Ayah (Verse) our Messenger r makes it very clear that learning the art of  speaking just to get the attention and praise of the public is a sin.  The same holds true in talking forged and/or evil speeches in the public.  Let us take admonitions in the following Ahadith  :

Abu Hurairah t narrated that the Prophet r said: "On the Day of resurrection Allah will not accept repentance or ransom from him who learns excellence of speech to captivate thereby the hearts of men, or of people."   (Abu Dawud 4988)

Abu Hurairah narrated t that the Prophet r said, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)"  (Bukhari 3/127)

Malik t  narrated that the Prophet r said, "Who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from dirty and evil talk, and should think before uttering)."  (Bukhari  8/157)

Authentic knowledge of Islam and effective public speaking are taken as inseparable concepts in Islam.  Muslims who want to earn Allah's pleasure and eternal reward must strive to have authentic knowledge of Islam and be effective public speakers based on the Quran and the Sunnah.  Total personality development in Islam includes knowledge of the Quran and the authentic Sunnah (and or Ahadith  ) and effective public speaking. Effective public speaking requires that we must have authentic knowledge of Islam so that we become  righteous and that we practice what we say.

Allah says:

"Do you enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and yet you study the scripture? Will you not understand?"  (2: 44)

"O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Grievously hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not."  (61: 2-3)

We Muslims must follow Allah's Messenger r  who has the best personality and who calls people to Islam.  We must follow the Prophet r because by doing so, we please Allah I and earn His ultimate reward. We must work hard to follow the Prophet r whose mission is to convey the Message of Islam. Let us help one another in enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.  The Almighty not only praises those Muslims (men and women) who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong but also promises His Mercy to them:

"You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind.  You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah..."   (3:110)

"The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one to another. They enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil.  They observe regular prayers, pay zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger.  On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise."  (9:71)

Certainly, it is righteousness to have ample knowledge of Islam and be effective public speakers based on the Quran and the Sunnah by enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.  We Muslims must work for righteous deeds especially through effective speeches in conveying the Message of Islam so that we will be among those whom Allah I will admit in Paradise:

"Truly, Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow. They shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls; and their garments there will be of silk. For they have been guided (in this life) to the purest of speeches; they have been guided to the Path of Him Who is Worthy of (all) Praise." (22:23-24)

Let us show our love and devotion to Allah I and earn His ultimate reward by following His Messenger r. We must remember that one way by which we show love to our Creator is by following the Prophet r.  Allah I tells us:

Say: "If you do love Allah follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."  (3:31)

Let us follow the Prophet r in conveying Islam to others, as it is his very Sunnah.  To do this, we must have first of all the correct knowledge of Islam.  This is not only essential but also a divine commandment from Allah I, which we must do.   The Most High says:

"Say (O Muhammad): 'This is my Way; I do invite unto Allah with a certain knowledge.  And whoever follows me (must also invite others to Allah, Oneness of Allah with sure knowledge). Glory to Allah!  And I am not of the polytheists.'"  (12: 108)

The above injunction implies that to be successful in our Dawah, we must have the correct knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah.  These divine sources of knowledge develop us to have firm and sincere belief in  Allah I, His Book (the Quran), in His Messenger r and in Islam as a whole  and be able to do righteous deeds  for the pleasure of the Almighty.   In this way, we attain the ultimate success that Allah the Exalted promises to the Muslim believers:

"But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness.  We shall soon admit them to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, to dwell therein forever.  Allah promise is the truth, and whose word can be truer than Allah?"   (4:122)

"The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers practice regular charity and obey Allah and His Messenger.  On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power Wise. Allah has promised the believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss.  But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme success." (9:71-72)

If you are interested to learn how to be an effective writer and public speaker or to know  more about Islam in order to  attain success, click on WISDOM.

By Mamarinta Omar Mababaya and Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya

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