Saturday, 24 October 2009
Who Does Any Da'wah?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
‘Da’wah’ means ‘an invitation’ or the ‘issuing of summonses’. In general, this is the Muslim equivalent of missionary activity. Before I was Muslim, I was with a Catholic missionary group. It is there that I learnt about the methodology and the means of calling. I studied Islam before I became a Muslim. One cannot preach to the Muslims if he does not know their religion. When I came to Islam and studied under my shaykh, I learnt that much of Christian missionary methodology was the sunnah of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). And the Christians are a lot better at it than we are.
It is incumbent upon Muslims to spread the message, even if only a word. But we do not do it. Far from it. Many Muslims are reluctant to speak of their faith. There are even Muslims who seem ashamed of being part of the ummah. One of the mission statements of a Muslim organisation I once belonged to is to spread the message of Islam. This includes outreach, education and events. In times past, that organisation used to have a staff whose sole purpose was to go out and invite people to Islam, and engage members of the public.
It can be said that this organisation is the only Muslim organisation that actually doe da’wah and engage non-Muslims. Other Muslim organisations, as is their purpose, address the needs of the community. This organisation was for a long time, the only Muslim da’wah organisation. But in truth, it has stopped doing da’wah for a long time. It has lost its way and become merely a corporate entity. It is a shell of what it was envisioned to be. In terms of classes for new Muslims and non-Muslims, the attendance has dropped tremendously. In the period just after September 11th, the class for those interested in Islam was so full that some people sat on the steps in the auditorium. Now, it is a different reality. The barakah has been Taken.
For a long while, this organisation was known for the quality of their public talk programme. That too, has changed. They recently had the debacle of trying to bring in Zakir Naik, who is nothing more than a Salafi fire-brand. He is not a scholar and he has nothing to do with converts. But by now, there is very little to pretend that they are even a converts’ organisation. To further embarrassment, they even promoted his son, at 16 years old, giving a talk on Christianity. What does a 16 year old know about Christianity? It was no surprise when the Public Entertainment License was rejected. The Internal Security Department did the ummah a favour.
Ultimately, the best da’wah is how we represent the ummah. It is important to be conscious with out actions so that we do not disgrace our Prophet (s.a.w.). How people view Islam is by their experiences with us. Man may think he can move mountains, but it is Allah (s.w.t.) that Moves hearts.
Habib 'Umar ibn al-Hafizh (q.s.) - How Muslims Represent Islam to Non-Muslims