Writing a speech
How to choose a topic:
a) Look at lists of lectures delivered before by the Ulama.
b) Look at different books, whatever interests you, speak on it.
c) Look at your weaknesses, and speak on them. For example, one may be a habitual liar, so, speak on the harms of lying.
d) Or, an event has taken place, for example an earthquake, to speak on it within a week of occurrence would be ideal, linking the event to an Islamic teaching or moral.
e) You might read a certain Quraan ayah or hadith filled with advice, figure out the main message in that text, and speak on it.
f) If you are reading books of ahaadith in the alim class, then it is a very good idea to speak on the chapter you are studying, using all the quraan aayahs and hadith related to this topic.
g) Consult your teachers and peers.
h) Another excellent manner in choosing topics is to sit down and think of all the different topics you know, and begin to jot them down, and then simply just choose one. You will have a topic ready for yourself and a range of topics to use for the future.
i) Read the news, if a hot issue is being debated, maybe you can explain this issue through an Islamic perspective, for example, the rights of women, the ‘credit crunch’ and the harms of interest.
j) If you sit in a lecture of a scholar and the topic appeals to you, then use his topic but rephrase his speech. Try to approach the scholar and ask him the name of the books used for research. Then, add a new flavour to the topic and find all that could be said from books.
k) Keep a catalogue of books, scroll through the titles, as they indicate to different topics. For example, the Bolton bookshop list.
After choosing a topic:
a) Make sure your topic is sensible and appropriate for the venue and audience.
b) Now, get a blank piece of a paper, and put the title of your topic on it, this will help you focus on that subject.
c) Jot down on a paper all that you know about the topic in brief bullet points.
Now, you will have a brief idea on what this topic involves…
Time to add some meat to the speech:
By now, you will have a skeleton, a frame of your topic. But it will be lacking depth, what is known as ‘the meat’. This includes different aayaat related to this topic, ahaadith, poetry, quotes, stories etc.
a) Quraan Aayaat:
Look for verses from the Quraan that relate to your topic and then read the books of tafseer to see the commentary on this aayah. Many a time, the books of tafaaseer have many lessons and stories in the commentary of an aayaah.
The ideal English Tafseer for lecture preparation is Ma’ariful Quraan by Mufti Shafi sahib. As for urdu, Tafseer Usmani is appealing! As for the Tafaaseer in Arabic, there are countless, from which Tafseer Qurtubi, Tafseer ibn Kathir and Ruhul Ma’ani are very helpful.
Gather as many ahaadith related to the topic. Try and learn the Arabic to each hadith and translation.
The best reference with regards to ahaadith is Riyaadus Saliheen, which has ahaadith categorised under different topics.
Poetry really spices up lectures and gets the crowd on a vibe. Urdu poetry is probably the most effective as very few understand Arabic poetry. To improve a lecture, include verses of poetry. Many start a speech with a couplet and end with a couplet.
d) Quotes/ Malfoodhaat/ Khutubaat:
Most traditional lecturer’s speeches are compiled using ‘malfoodhaat’ and khutubaat of the pious predecessors. You will find jaw dropping quotes, advice, stories and much more in these books. Many a time, a whole lecture is written based on these books.
As for which books or malfoodhat, Khutubaat Faqeer in urdu is an indispensable asset for a student! Also, Islaahi Khutubaat bu Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib is an excellent source, this is available in the English language.
e) Other sources:
Facts and figures, newspaper articles, surveys, studies and non Islamic material which are related to your topic are also a great innovation in your speech, as they are very interesting.
Hopefully, at this moment, you should have a bulk of information staring at you in the face, it’s time to put some structure and shape to your speech….
Structure and shape:
This is a crucial aspect in a speech, as a good structure keeps the audience tuned and focused. A speech which is well structured will most definitely leave an impact on the listeners and give them something constructive to take away with them.
As to how to give a speech a structure, usually there are four sections in every speech, under which the information compiled is scattered. The four sections are:
a) The Intro:
This is the ‘punch line’. This is the very first sentence or the first few lines said by the speaker. This HAS to be eye-catching and stunning which leaves the crowd drooling!
b) The Starter:
This is there to get the ball rolling. Include here all the information which is good to introduce the topic.
c) The Main Course:
This has all the exotic, appetizing and lip-smacking information. This is usually that information upon which the crowd erupts and says ‘subhanallah!’ Most of your intriguing and captivating information gathered should be mentioned here, stimulating the crowd and absorbing all their senses. This area is also the peak and pinnacle of your speech, after which you begin to conclude.
d) The Dessert:
This is the conclusion to the speech and a round up of the evening’s meal! Just as you get cakes, sweet dishes for dessert, similarly, in a speech, the last few lines should melt the crowd!
So, you have lots of information, it is in a structure, it is referenced, seems like you are ready! So, what next?
All your efforts will go down the drain if you don’t memorise your information! The best way to memorise information for a lecture is to read it couple of times, then close all the books and cover all papers, then speak to yourself, bear in mind, you might appear to be nuts to others! Even then, say what you can remember aloud.
Now that you have successfully completed the previous tasks, it would be a good idea to practice your speech a couple of times, as this increase confidence and fluency. As for a beginner, it is vital he practices, as for an individual for whom speaking in front of a crowd is second nature, he doesn’t need to practice, as he always hits the bull’s eye in the first attempt!
in the next part, its time to deliver!