>> Thursday, September 23, 2010
I was checking something out on the Internet and I ended up landing on these “bashing Islam” websites. There’s a lot of ignorance out there. Besides, I’m sure you have heard about the recent Qur’an burning event and the ground zero mosque. It seems like everywhere I look, people are pointing their fingers at Islam. I live in the West and I really want to do some dawah and let people know the true beautiful message of Islam but I don’t know what to do. Help please!
Dear Lovin’ Islam,
Man, those ‘bashing Islam websites’ can really get you down. I was so sure you were going to say you were all ‘depressed’ and feelin’ bad; I’m so glad instead to see you still motivated and wanting to do something to Islam. Ma’shaAlla!! And you know what? There are actually a lot of simple things you can do.
First of all, be the best you can be…. When people ask you how is it that you’re always happy and smiling, link it back to Islam. When people compliment you on being so thoughtful, link it back to being a Muslim. The better person you are and the more successful, the more people are going to become curious about Islam. (You know, this goes without saying but be sure also to avoid the ‘don’t’s- meaning, don’t use bad words, don’t smoke, don’t backbite, don’t be rude, etc. When people ask you why, let them know it’s because you’re a Muslim).
Not only that, but be approachable! Especially if you wear hijab. We all get those ‘where do you come from looks’- crack a joke, welcome questions, predict what they’re thinking and just start the convo. For example, “Yeah, so let me guess. You’re wondering why I wear this thing on my head, right…” or…”So am I like the first Muslim woman you meet?”
It’s also important that you be prepared. Any day can turn out to be your dawah day. You’re not going to be told in advance when you’re going to find someone interested/ready to ask….so be ready. Have clear answers prepared in your mind to explain what Islam is at any opportunity. I mean, I don’t know about you, but how many of us have ruined/botched up an excellent dawah opportunity because we didn’t think about how to explain to others why we ‘don’t eat pork’ and how to turn that simple question into ‘what Islam means…”
Now, you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know all this, but what about concrete ‘things I can actually do’?
Well! You can…
Pass out little booklets or leaflets on the bus. If you want to write your own, I would recommend keeping them short, simple and attractive. You can for example title one leaflet the “ABC’s of Islam” and just mention what the word Islam comes from, what Allah means, how we believe in all the prophets, etc. In fact, you can try leaving interesting Islamic pamphlets or even translations of the Qur’an anywhere! Like at hospital waiting rooms- at the coiffeur- airport- and any other place you can think up of.
You should also check out your public library and see if it has a section or any books available on Islam. If it doesn’t, get the community to organize a fundraiser and get some books for it (or even ask everyone to buy a good! book and donate it to the library). You can also, hehe, leave some Islamic bookmarks inside any random books in the library (but don’t overdo it- like 3 or 4 book marks). One thing that may also work is to go to a mall and randomly survey people’s knowledge of Islam.
You could actually write up a survey and explain how you and your community are trying to combat the “Islamophobia” going on and would the person mind answering a few questions… Ask basic things like “What does Allah mean? What do Muslims think of Jesus? What do Muslims think of the Torah? How many times do Muslims pray in one day”? You can end the survey with a question like “In Islam, there’s a saying that paradise is at the feet of someone. Do you know who that person is?” Chances are if the person doesn’t know much about Islam, they are going to guess Prophet Mohammed….just imagine how interested they will be when they find out that it’s ‘mothers’!
Another thing you can do is have your community set up an Open Day at the mosque where Non Muslims are invited. Besides having a small lecture on the similarities and differences between Islam and other faiths, you can have a small competition with prizes to get people interested.
In your school or university you can…. -
- Think about starting a club-
- Take the initiative any time an ‘Islamic occasion is coming up, and ask your school/campus (whatever) to allow you to give a little lecture about it/seminar and explain all about it, like the Hajj. If you’re too shy to give a lecture, you can always pass out little ‘candies’ ‘treats’ wrapped up with nice paper and with a nice hadith written on it.
A few last ideas….
- Download the Qur’an on your ipod (if you have one). Your friends are bound to ask you what you’re listening to. Let them listen to it, first- and then, you can tell them something like “I’m listening to “God’s words”. Be sure to translate for them whatever they listened to. (I would suggest surat al ikhlas, al ma’un, etc.)
- Try to put up something Islamic in your facebook status every once in a while. For example, you can put up a favorite verse from the Qur’an/hadith/etc. It would be really great if you do that during a day like “World Equality Day” or something like that- put up a Qur’an verse that reflects the value being celebrated that day.
- Put up an Islamic bumper sticker on your car. -Whether you’re a student/ you work, mention when it’s time to pray so you can add a few tidbits about prayer and Islam.
- Start your own Islamic blog or join a Muslim forum (one that’s gender segregated, of course!). OH and if you’re already a member of a forum, but not an Islamic one, like a scrapbooking forum, graphic designs one, ‘mommy forum’, etc., put something up about Islam in your signature/avatar. Have a link to a good ‘dawah’ website such as www.islamreligion.com
- Donate to dawah websites and initiatives! (Donate to Islamic relief agencies as well.)
These are just a few ideas to get you started. I can’t wait to see what you come up with or the other readers suggest! One thing I do want to stress though is to keep making dua and remember that sometimes, it takes years to happen..
All you have to do is plant a seed!
I mean, remember what the Companions used to say about Umar radiya Allah Anhoo before he converted? They used to say that it was more likely for his donkey to convert than for him to turn to Islam….SubhanAllah! You just never know!
Lovin’ Islam, too,
The Little Aunties
P.S. if anyone creates/designs a leaflet or something, we’d love to see what you come up with and we’ll definitely put it up here for others to pass around.