By Raiiq Ridwan
In the Quran Allah orders us to call people to Islam with wisdom [Quran 16:125]. However, these days it has sadly become all too common to find dawah that is very unwise and unhelpful. Rather than bringing people closer to Islam, they actually have the potential to drive people away from the faith!
The following are four common unwise ways of making dawah that we should all be avoiding!
Talking about divisions
When I first came back to Islam, I had learned more about the multiple divisions and sects in the Muslim community than I had about how to read Quran, how to perfect my prayer, who Allah is, etc.
Divisions exist yes, and Allah has clearly and unequivocally ordered us to avoid divisions! When a non-Muslim, a new Muslim, or a person who has newly started practicing faith is coming towards Islam please guide him or her toward knowing Allah, learning the Quran (perhaps enroll him or her in Understand Quran Academy!) and perfecting their prayer.
Do not pollute their minds by talking only about divisions. A Christian boy converted to Islam in our community. He later apostasized, simply as a result of seeing how much we Muslims are divided and how we fight our lives out on Facebook!
Highlighting other people’s mistakes
This is almost like the Sunnah of the Muslim community today. Not the Sunnah of our Prophet of course, but of our community. Whenever someone gets a bit popular and is actually benefitting the Muslim community, there appears to be a concerted effort within the community to absolutely tear them down.
It is high time we remember that our scholars and preachers are human too! And every single human beings make mistakes. How is that we can go through five hours of a speaker’s lectures to find out the three minutes of it in which he made a mistake and then vilify him?
Why do we spend so much of our time, effort, and energy on putting other people down? Use that same energy, effort, and time in inviting your non-Muslim neighbours to Islam, in helping your not-so-practicing younger sister learn about faith and the Quran.
The Muslim community seems to love putting people to the sword and pronouncing judgement on whether they are going to Jahannam or not! With google-made knowledge we place the labels halal and haram on other people’s behaviour.
It is important to remember that these are the laws of Allah— and are thus sacred. It is to be left to scholars to decide what is halal and haram, not us who have zero knowledge of Arabic or the Quran and Sunnah!
We not only do just that. Sometimes we have allocated people to Jannah or Jahannam as well! We judge people based on the first look— the length of his beard, where his pants are, how colourful her hijab is, who he or she is talking to, etc.
However, it is important to remember that if we do find out something that is completely and absolutely haram for sure and we find someone doing it, then we should give them dawah. We should find a good and polite way of giving them advice. We need to use wisdom!
Shallow conversations about the Quran and Sunnah
We need to remember that the depth of the Quran and the Sunnah are deep, deep literature. When we do not discuss something in-depth, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding. Many a times, all we do is to keep quoting narrations and verses from the Quran.
This is a way of denigrating the Quran. Allah Himself narrated the Quran in parts to the Prophet, with a few verses at a time.
Sometimes we have concepts in our heads, and we try to force the verses and narrations to fit our concepts. This is one of the biggest disservices to the book of Allah. This is an insult, because we have put our concepts above the book of Allah, and we want to push the book and the Sunnah to fit into our thinking rather than us fitting ourselves into the book.
Dawah is not about quoting a lot, but rather about reaching the hearts.
A man came and asked “who is Allah?” Allah revealed Surah Ikhlas to respond to him, one of the shortest Surahs of the Quran. Allah did not reveal multiple surahs for that purpose, or a long-winded response!
Rather Allah revealed a Surah that is so deep that volumes upon volumes of tafseer have been written on this surah alone, while on the other hand even a child can understand the basic meaning of it!