Today’s reminder is about the call to Allah and the attributes of the caller. Dear brothers and sisters, the call to Allah SWT is a great honour and a great blessing bestowed upon us by Allah SWT. By this we mean, the invitation to Islam upon non-Muslims.
Allah SWT speaks of the importance of this in the glorious Quran and this is referenced by the imam today in Sura Fusilat, ayat 33 which is translated to say:
And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Dear brothers and sisters, by this ayat we can see that there is no better than that who educates the ignorant in Islam to the teachings of our faith.
The imam also referenced a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.”
We need to understand that as Muslims, not only is it a requirement upon us to be a caller to Allah SWT but that we are already doing this.
Dear brothers and sisters, especially in this country we are surrounded by people who know very little of Islam and by people who know shockingly inaccurate information of Islam. From our neighbours, to our shopkeepers to our work colleagues and our teachers, there are people who will come across us on a day-to-day basis and form an opinion of us.
And most will equate a dark skin and beard or a hijab with being a Muslim. Therefore it isn’t even about talking to them and communicating your faith to them. How you present yourself is communication before you have even spoken to them. They are, in essence, already forming an opinion of Islam, of our teacher SAWS and of Allah SWT by the way in which we conduct ourselves.
What we see in our everyday lives as being human such as losing tempers with others, being rude to others, losing patience with others etc has a double effect if it is to someone forming a perception of Islam. How we conduct ourselves with others could turn out to be a critical turning point in someone’s opinion of Islam.
What concludes then are 4 attributes of the caller which can be applied today:
- To have knowledge of the topic being discussed. There are a couple of points to this attribute. Firstly, not everyone is a scholar of Islam and yet this duty is upon us all. We need to understand that the call to Islam means illustrating mannerisms that are then attributed to Islam. Charity work, fasting, praying, kindness. All these are examples of being Muslim and we ought to be able to talk about these without needing expert knowledge.
However, if asked a question that we do not know the answer to, it is perfectly fine to say we don’t know the answer and to get the answer for that person. It offers multiple benefits such as keeping ties of communication open with that person, showing humility and of course increasing one’s own knowledge of Islam.
- To be wise when talking to others. Often, especially when we are younger we see dawah as a debate with the other person. There is a serious flaw with this approach because in a debate there is a clear winner and loser.
Even if we win the debate, the other person is likely to go away and try to come back with a stronger argument and this serves no positive purpose.
We need to recognise the difference between those who just want to argue about faith and those who genuinely are interested in knowing about the faith. And above all, remind ourselves that guidance comes from Allah SWT and our role is merely to invite and not convince.
- To be soft with others. People will move away from aggression, and will be discouraged from Islam as a result of it. Of course, when it comes to this topic, we can sometimes become passionate and this can be misinterpreted as aggressive. The key here is to show empathy.
Islam dominates the news. Having said that, more and more people are coming to Islam. This ought to tell us then that misinformation on our religion isn’t a bad thing. It is presenting Islam and so our job is to clear misconceptions and let the beauty of the truth speak for itself. Yes, there will be misconceptions which may hurt but with each experience we ought to remind ourselves that this is a lesson both for the person who does not know about Islam and for us to demonstrate the Sunnah of delivering a message of truth in a patient, calm and measured way.
- To take steps and start with most important, as this is the teaching of the Prophet SAWS. This is important as most people get bogged down with attempting to rationalise some element of our faith with their subjective understanding of the topic. For example, to explain inheritance laws in Islam can be explained through the responsibility brothers, fathers and husbands have towards the women. But this is delving into rationalising the point and it then requires us to be experts on each and every area of Islam. The best way to answer the specific questions of faith is to roll them up to the important question of “the existence of Allah SWT and the truth of Islam”. Once we possess the skill of doing this and then being able to demonstrate the existence of Allah SWT and the truth of Islam through rational thinking, we can then explain that all other laws or commandments that we follow are first and foremost because of this irrefutable proof and belief in Allah SWT, the Prophet SAWS message and the nobility of the final testament of God, the glorious Quran.
Dear brothers and sisters, this skill is something that we ought to be mindful of, possess and utilise in our every day lives. Whether it is through our day-to-day action, or through dialogue with others, we should be able to count ourselves as being active callers to Allah SWT and to the truth of Islam.