In the spirit of Islam Awareness Week, I wanted to recount some da’wah experiences I’ve had, starting with the most recent one (today).
- I’m sitting in the musallah at school doing my work and listening to Sudais. From my peripheral vision, I noticed this woman walking back and forth behind the divider so I looked over and smiled. I guess she took that as an invitation to come over and talk to me :p. A couple things before I get into the encounter: 1. Okay, you can’t speak English, that’s fine..but if you’re going to try and spread your message or convince someone, please learn the language! 2. If you can’t say Muhammad (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) properly, don’t try. 3. When you say you understand what I’m saying, don’t lie…I can tell you were planning a counter argument the entire time! fail. 4. Don’t give me baseless arguments for why the trinity is logical. 1+1+1=3, not 1…your intellect should not go out the window when it comes to religion. So anyway, the first thing she says is “You’re beautiful” (umm, okay..thanks) and then she jumps right into it.. “I know you all pray five times, but Jesus Christ is son of God and he died for your sins, why you don’t believe that?” I asked her to repeat that a few times cuz I only got bits and pieces of proper English. So I got all excited because I thought, “wow, awesome da’wah opp!” But it turned out to be not so great because every time I tried to say something, she opened up a new Bible. After a while, I got bored and a little disappointed in myself because I gave up (mostly cuz of the language barrier though). The convo lasted about 20 minutes in which I just went through the five pillars and explained why Jesus cannot ever be the son of God and why shirk is sooooo horribly wrong. She couldn’t seem to understand that if God had a son (Nauthubillah), that would mean that He would have to depend on another being to have the son, and therefore, He would not be All-powerful (Nauthubillah). She also couldn’t understand that by saying Jesus died for our sins (Nauthubillah), they’re basically making an excuse so they won’t be held accountable for their action/sins. I kept going back to tawheed, and she just kept opening Bibles so I said I had to get to class and left. She thanked me for my time and went to talk to some other people.
- A couple months ago, Abbu invited a friend over for lunch and he was Christian. It was Friday afternoon and I had just finished my Al Huda lesson so I was on an iman high afterwards :). Luckily, he brought up the topic of Hajj and my da’wah lightbulb started flashing. I got so excited but I let Abbu explain most of the Hajj stuff. We got into some theological discussions about the attributes of Allah and the idea of accountability in Islam and he was totally buying everything Alhumdulillah. Right when I was explaining why shirk is the biggest sin in Islam, a few uncles and brothers walked through our front door. I looked to see who it was and realized the jamaat from bmore had come a little early. I thought to myself, if this guy doesn’t walk out of here as a Muslim (inshaAllah), i’ll be shocked. I had given him about 30 minutes of solid da’wah, and as soon as he (tried to) leave, the uncles asked him to sit down again lol. They started from where I had stopped..shirk.. so I was happy he left with a clear sense of why shirk is soo soooo SO wrong and punishable by hell. :) Though, I think he’ll think twice about having lunch with us again lol. One thing of noticed about older white men who are interested in Islam (yes, I know this is a generalization) is that they are really concerned with Muslim women not being able to pursue their dreams because their “fathers and husbands force them to wear thick black clothes” (i laughed when he said that)
- Before, I had a really bad strategy (if you can call it that) for da’wah. I pretty much did like a knowledge dump and threw random Islamic facts out there to see which one would strike the person as interesting lol. Horrible strategy. After seeing that method fail many times, I moved on to another phase where I would bluntly ask my classmates how much they knew about Islam or if they had ever thought about the purpose of life. Another faulty strategy because I noticed it just made the other person uncomfortable. Then, I had this crazy idea of leaving random da’wah pamphlets in random places..can’t say how well this worked but it may have been effective (inshaAllah). I also remember dropping Qur’an CDs here and there with high hopes that someone would listen to it and be so amazed that they would actually pick up the phone and call the Why-Islam phone number on the back. Around the same time, I started my twitter da’wah tips account, which went well for a few months…it’s dead these days cuz I haven’t listened to any new da’wah lectures. Anyway…I noticed that da’wah is essentially about getting to know the other person and tailoring your talk based on who they are. Often times, we worry so much about not knowing what to say, but if you think about it…so many Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them) were able to convert entire tribes even though they only knew the 5 pillars at one point. Obviously nowadays, people have so much more junk in their heads that you have to get past in order to help them realize their fitrah, but for the most part, sticking to the big 5 is simple and effective. The rest is secondary. Whenever someone asks me about hijab (which rarely happens anymore), I take the conversation straight to tawheed. Simple. One time though, this guy asked me about the Islamic economic system and inheritance laws and I literally went… =O …the good thing about questions like these however, is that they make you do some research on your own and once you get the answers, you feel like such a ding dong for not sounding intelligent when you had the opp! Yesterday, an older Christian man came to my friend and asked her how the Qur’an was compiled, when, in which order, and who determined the order. It’s a rare occurrence when a non-Muslim has that much background knowledge on Islam, so she was caught off guard completely. She came and asked me about his question and I answered from my limited knowledge but I definitely would not have been able to give him a perfect answer if he asked me. I have some more stories too and some other thoughts on da’wah, but i’ll save them for later. It’s late.