Thursday, 15 December 2011
D' Apprentice: You Don't Have to Be an Ustadz to Do Da'wah
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
On the 10th and 11th December 2011, we held an event called “D’Apprentice: You Don’t have to be an Ustadz to do Da’wah”. It was held at the Marina Barrage's Courtyard Room.
I was one of the presenters for Session 1: “Intention of performing Da’wah” along with Shaykh Amin Teo. The title of my presentation was “The Concept of Da’wah - Marketing a System of Belief”. This was a summary of many of my previous posts in this blog. The following is a short summary. The actual presentation had some stories to illustrate various points and much time was devoted to questions.
We believe that Islam is the best religion; it is indeed, more than that. It is the complete way of life, here and beyond. It is a system of belief and we are ambassadors of faith. What is da’wah? Da’wah basically means an invitation. In this case, it is an invitation to the Ultimate Truth. It is a call to return to the Path and the Caravan of Hope that is Islam. It is akin to missionary activity but different. As a matter of fact, what the Christians do is also based on the sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.) although they may not realise so.
Da’wah is to shine the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.), to be a lamp in the deserts of spiritual darkness. It has little relations to what is said as opposed to what is done. It is the wisdom of applying the living faith of Islam to events that may occur as they occur. People have to realise that the Prophet (s.a.w.) took thirteen years to educate the swahabah on the nature of Allah (s.w.t.) and to build their relationship with Him. Too many Muslims talk about shari’ah and what the Qur’an says or what the hadits say. They forget that the Shari’ah does not apply to non-Muslims and the Qur’an and hadits have no relevance if they do not believe in Allah (s.w.t.) and His Prophet. They have to know God before there is subscription. And there has to be subscription before there is submission.
Da’wah is not conversion. Conversion is a process and never an event. It continues from the moment the heart is inclined to long after the shahadah is actually said. Da’wah is the introduction to the process of inclining the heart. But it is done with the humble understanding that we are only Instruments of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Will. No man has ever converted or reverted another person to Islam. Man may move mountains, but it is Allah (s.w.t.) that Moves the hearts. The heart is and has always been His Domain and it is n the heart of the Believer that He Resides.
Is comparative religion necessary for da’wah? Not only is it unnecessary, it may also be a hindrance. Spirituality is a continuous Path to Enlightenment by all vehicles. You do not slap people and ask them presents. We are speaking of God and His Truth. We are not concerned with the vehicles they have to come, be it Christian, Buddhist, Jew or any other. Too many people who engage in debate do nothing but feed the ego, engaging in meaningless discourse to show what they know without realizing that they are only showing what they have failed to realise.
Likewise, does one have to be an ustadz to do da’wah? If the asatidzah were so successful in conveying the religion, the world would be overwhelmingly Muslim. Too many times, the learned come with their knowledge without understand that we are speaking the language of the heart. Religion is of the heart. They may be conversant with the letter of the law but ignorant of the spirit of the law. They have come to the non-Muslim with the idol of the Self. They speak of worshipping God, but they are already worshipping their ego and their knowledge.