How Do I Encourage Someone toward Religious Practice without Seeming Pushy?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


I know someone who, alhamdulillah, was raised Muslim and knows and understands the concept of belief and the practices of Islam. His ‘aqida is sound, yet there seems to be a barrier in that he knows what should be done and why it should be done, but he does not perform the religion.

I want to motivate him or give him some form of ‘will’ so that he acts with what he knows, but I do not know what to say without seeming pushy, and I definitely can’t just bring him to the mosque. I say ‘will’ in the previous sentence because (and I don’t want to seem like I’m insulting him) he seems to be a person who is listless and lacks a sense of ‘willpower’ behind what he does. He is like an inactive leaf in the wind.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

A person’s lack of religious practice is often not an intellectual or rational issue. As you mentioned, your friend knows what he should be doing and why but still does not act.

There can be a myriad of reasons for their lack of willpower. Many times the cause is more significant than the symptoms.

A True Friend Gives Advice

It is natural for one to be reluctant to advise another, especially someone one is fond of, out of fear that one’s advice may be taken as criticism, thus resulting in discord between them.

There is widespread fragility in the time we live in. This fragility leads to complacency and emotional sensitivity to constructive criticism and sincere advice. This is deeply related to insecurities and a lack of understanding of one’s purpose in life.

This should not, however, deter you from advising or helping your friend. Imam al-Shafi‘i (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Know that whoever gives you sincere advice (nasiha), truly loves you, and whoever flatters you has deceived you…” [Muhasibi, Risalat al-Mustarshidin]

Building the Quality of Seeking

Human Being tends to be motivated in a few specific ways:

  • By learning the benefits of something
  • By learning the harms of not doing something
  • By loving and revering that thing [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]

Through these three aspects, the Quran calls to the Believers. Allah Most High entices us to action by mentioning Paradise and warning us of Hellfire. But the most important of the above is acting out of love and reverence.

Love and reverence are produced in the heart due to intimate knowledge of Allah Most High (not merely academic knowledge). Love is gifted by Allah Most High, but can be achieved by specific means: being in the company of righteous people and attending remembrance gatherings.

One must not be lax in supplicating such love for one’s friend in addition to the advice.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.