Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Rant for today!
I want to revolutionize Dawah! For me, and I suspect I'm not the only one, when someone asks me about Islam, I usually give some sort of response like: "Islam is belief in... (starting off with Aqeedah or Creed), and Islam prohibits... (then continuing with restrictions, whether dietary or social), and so on -if it even gets that far. It usually ends with the other person going "Hmm, I never knew that before." and politely walking away. But what did it accomplish? Yes, maybe I provided them with some more information than they had before they asked, but in reality I highlighted the DIFFERENCES between muslims and the rest of the world, and people are naturally resistent to differences. Did I arouse their interest on a personal level? Did I increase their respect for Islam? Probably not as much as I could have. Why? Because I started with the things that separate Islam from the rest of the world. And that makes people shut down and become defensive. What would have happened if I had said, "Islam is honoring your parents, respecting the elderly, visiting the sick, smiling at a stranger, helping your neighbor, keeping your promises, speaking kindly when dealing with people, protecting the weak, building communities, guarding your modesty and the dignity of your family."? Well, Allah knows but it might have caught their attention. Think about it, a devoted Christian comes to you and asks what Islam is, and within the first two sentences you say "we don't believe Jesus is God nor the Son of God", they're not going to hear another word you say, because like that you've called their intelligence into question, rejected something they base their life around. Whether they are open-minded or not, they will try to defend their viewpoint, because it's human nature to do so. I'm not saying hide Islam from them nor am I saying be "apologetic" about it. I'm simply saying, that in the beginning we can show an entirely different side of our deen, and save the stuff that creates controversy for after we've gained their respect and their ear. How much easier is it to look up to someone because of their example in society? It's a simple human fact, and Dale Carnegie knew that back when he wrote "How to Win Friends and influence People." People respond to things and change their minds when they feel they WANT to, not being forced to. Motivation is the key! If someone is criticizing and explaining Islam like an elite club that they'll never get into, or a very strict, hard regimine only the strong can maintain, then it's much easier to walk away, than to admit you have doubts about your own religion. The key to Dawah is not in telling people they're wrong, nor is it in showing the differences about Islam, it's in motivating that person to learn more, to explore, because when they do it of their own account, they are much more likely to change. So it's something to think about next time we're presented with an opportunity to explain Islam. :) peace