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Calling to Allah (Da’wah): Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin recounts an encounter he had with a Jehovah’s Witness representative, who was an example to those calling to Allah.

Conveying the Message

Ustadh Amjad was at home before Jum’ah prayer and there was a knock on the door. He opened the door and saw two people who are older, maybe in their late fifties or early sixties. One of them was on crutches, and handed him a Jehovah’s Witness brochure, and they had a brief, pleasant conversation. Shortly thereafter, the man picked up his crutches and walked off to the next house.

“These people are working so hard for something that’s not true,” Ustadh Amjad observed, “and we don’t work that hard for something that is true.”

The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Convey [my teachings] to the people even if it were a single verse.” (Bukhari, Tirmidhi) While going door-to-door may not be the best way to do this, the least we could do is try to push past our discomfort. By forming relationships with our neighbours, coworkers, and friends, we can be in a better place to share what we know about the Prophet and this beautiful religion. If we make an effort to establish a connection, Allah may choose to open the doors of guidance.

The Prophet is reported to have said to Ali ibn Abi Talib, “For Allah to guide one person through you, is better for you than the most precious of merchandise.”

A Dedicated Caller to Allah

One of Ustadh Amjad’s teachers, Syed Umar bin Hamid al-Haddad, would continuously think about people whenever he went, in hospitals, on the streets, in airports. He was once sitting at home, and fervently prayed, “O Allah, guide someone to Islam.” Someone then knocked on his door and accepted Islam.

He was once in an elevator with Ustadh Amjad and a group of businessmen in the United States. He told Ustadh Amjad, “Tell them where I’m from.” When he told them that Syed Umar was visiting from Saudi Arabia, he said, “From Medina, the holy city.” The men were impressed, and hoped he’d have a nice stay. Everywhere this man went, his heart was turned to Allah for guidance of others.


Bashing Other Religions

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked about the permissibility of “bashing” other religions in discussion and the best way to call to Islam.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The other day in school I was having a conversation in school with a Hindu girl about religion. During this conversation, a Muslim boy in my class came up to us and joined the conversation.

He told the girl that her religion is wrong and that she is a kafir. My question is, is it wrong in Islam to bash a non-believer and call them a kafir?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Allah Most High has taught us in the Qur’an how to deal with non-Muslims and their beliefs; He has said, “And do not insult those that invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” (Sura al An‘am 6: 108)

The only time to “slam” or “bash” false actions or beliefs, with Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is when the case against their beliefs (or actions) is very clear, and when we can see that such ostensible “harshness” would be the best way to convince them of their erroneous ways.

This is how we see the Prophet Ibrahim, upon whom be peace, deal with false beliefs of his time: he orchestrates a very clear proof against the idol worshipers such that they confess to themselves of their own folly, and then he rebukes them:

They said, ‘Have you come to us with truth, or are you of those who jest?’
He said, ‘[No], rather, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth who created them, and I, to that, am of those who testify.
And [I swear] by Allah, I will surely plan against your idols after you have turned and gone away.’
So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it [and question].
They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? Indeed, he is of the wrongdoers.’
They said, ‘We heard a young man mention them who is called Ibrahim.’
They said, ‘Then bring him before the eyes of the people that they may testify.’
They said, ‘Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrahim?’
He said, ‘Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak.’
So they returned to [blaming] themselves and said [to each other], ‘Indeed, you are the wrongdoers.’
Then they reversed themselves, [saying], ‘You already know that these do not speak!’
He said, ‘Then do you worship instead of Allah that which does not benefit you at all or harm you?
Fie on you and to what you worship instead of Allah! Then will you not use reason?’ (Sura al Anbiya 21:55-67)

So it is clear from this Qur’anic example that there is a place for “bashing’ other religions, since they are indeed false, but only when we have discussed and explained everything, and only when it is clear to both sides that the other person is in denial, or following mere caprice. And even when this is the case, we have be observe proper decorum and manners, and not attack anyone or try to pontificate: our desire should be that the truth be manifest, even if it against us, and that the other person should attain to salvation by following.

It’s well worth noting that people often need time to ”breathe.” They need to be given the chance to digest the facts and the emotional and spiritual consequences of what has just been explained to them. Repeating facts again and again, or forcing them to verbally acknowledge that they are wrong is not necessarily the best way of doing this.

We also need to make sure that we lead by example. For more detail, please see How to Bring Someone to Islam.

On a personal note, I did a lot of calling others to Islam (dawa) at school myself. It is my conviction that the best way to convince people, fellow students and teachers alike, is by being a nice person and by showing how happy you are as a slave of Allah on the true religion. Debate is often only needed with adults, and, even then, only in very specific settings.

It is also very important that we all learn more about our religion, because we might find ourselves trying to invite people to Islam while saying things about Islam that just aren’t true. (I sometimes fell into that mistake when inviting people to Islam in my days at school!)

May Allah give you success.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


How the Ihya Overcame Apartheid–Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

Mishkat Media have produced a wonderful interview with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks on the deep influence of Imam al Ghazali in Cape Town, and the Shaykh’s own role in the struggle against apartheid.

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks is among the third generation of scholars who have been teaching the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences) in South Africa. The Ihya is a 40-volume work on Islamic ethics, spirituality, and religious practice, written by the great Imam Ghazali. It has gained fame not as a manual of Islamic law, but because of its essential focus on spirituality and purification of the self. Shaykh Seraj’s grandfather was reportedly the first man to bring the book to the lands, where he was delegated to teach it.

Shaykh Seraj’s first exposure to the Ihya series, was the Book on Halal and Haram, which was when he was eighteen. He found himself fascinated by it. While studying psychology in university, he interviewed a scholar called Shaykh Mahdie, who was in his seventies. Shaykh Mahdie mentioned that he had just finished his 20th reading of the Ihya. Later on, Shaykh Seraj learned that it was part of the litanies of the Ba’lawi spiritual path, to do 20 readings of the Ihya in a lifetime.

In this interview, he speaks of the Ihya and its effects on the South African communities. Religious scholarship was established when the Dutch colonisers exiled many Muslims leaders to South Africa. Rather than cutting off the spread of Islam, ot served to establish a small community, whose leaders painstakingly kept up their religious practices. They dedicated rooms in their houses for worship, and kept up the readings of Sura Yasin and the litanies of the B’lawi tariqa, with their love for spirituality and connecting with Allah. In this way, Islam survived through slavery and colonialism. However, it still had to suffer through apartheid.

The Muslims were heavily involved in the struggle against apartheid. Shaykh Seraj himself was imprisoned briefly for his role in the movement. While in prison, he was invited by other prisoners to give a talk in the prison square. He began preaching that Muslims should not harbour hostility to others, even to the prison guards. He then turned to the prison guard in charge, and reminded him that oppression is not limited to a particular group, but is a mindset build on prejudice, and that the guard, a dehumanized being, needed their help as much as anyone else to overrule oppression. The guard got angry and threatened to shoot.

Shaykh Seraj finishes the interview with encouraging all Muslims to support institutions that teach Islam, in order to overcome personal and societal barriers.

 


Posted with gratitude to Mishkat Media. Connect with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks at Azzavia Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa.


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Day 23: Give Gifts– 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 23: Give Gifts

With Eid coming up soon, let’s talk about gifts. Not the last minute rush to the shopping centre, to get one (or more) fancy gifts for friends or family members. Of course, these things are all good. But gift-giving in the Sunnah is so much more than material things. We know that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, recommended gift-giving as a way to increase love between people.

This year, try looking a little further. Our Ramadan and Eids are a golden opportunity to share the message of Islam with others.  On your Eid list, add the crossing guard, the receptionist, and your coworkers. Add family members or friends you haven’t seen in a long time. Your gift doesn’t have to be pricey or elaborate. It can be as simple as a small trinket. But give a gift to someone, and let them see the truest portrayal of Islam.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

Day 29: Commit to Calling to Good – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 29: Commit to Calling to Good

This may be our last day of Ramadan. It’s sad that the blessed month is leaving. Some of us may have progressed a lot this month, reciting a lot of Qur’an and praying long rakats. Some of us, on the other hand, may not have done much. We may be feeling sad because of that and looking for ways to maximize the benefit.

We know that the one who calls to good, gets the same reward as the one who does it. So why not instill this one habit into your life, and carry it with you as you move forward? Choose a worthy venture, such as the SeekersHub Scholars Fund. Commit to calling others to support it. Whether it be fund-raising, speaking to friends and family about it, or sharing on social media, try to find creative ways to spread the good. And hope that Allah will count you, a caller, among those who performed that action.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

Day 9: Share the Quran – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 9: Share the Quran

The Quran. It’s the greatest gift we have, it’s our connection to Allah and it plays a centre role in the month of Ramadan. Hopefully this month, we are not only reading the Quran but also exploring its meaning through a good translation. Most of all, we are trying our best to follow it to the utmost. Through the Quran, we not only understand more about Allah, but also about our Prophet Muhammad.

This Ramadan, try to share the meanings of the Quran. Share the meaning of an ayah in a conversation with the family, or clarify a common misunderstanding with a co-worker. Spread the message of Allah in your effort to get closer to Him.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.


Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part 4 by Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people. In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women.

In the fourth segment of this series, Habib Kadhim continues to speak about the great women of Islam.heroes and heroines of Islam

Umm Salama

Umm Salama, the wife of the Prophet, was an extremely wise woman. The Prophet would seek her advice, such as the time when the Companions were heading to Mecca to make Umra. When the Meccans prevented them, the Prophet commanded his Companions to shave their heads and sacrifice their animals, to release themselves from the state pf ihram.

However, they were in a state of shock, because they though that the promise of them entering Mecca was specific to that year. When they did not begin to release themselves from Ihram, the Prophet came to Umm Salama to seek her advice. Rather than jumping to conclusions and blaming anyone, she immediately realized that they were still in shock, and she suggested to the Prophet that he begin the sacrifices himself. Once he did, the Companions immediately jumped to follow him.

This story teaches us an important lesson. When analyzing historical events, we should take care to see them from an illuminated perspective, rather than an egotistical perspective. An egotistical perspective will inherently be biased and flawed, and using it can lead to misjudging the people in question.

We live in a time where everyone wants others to follow their opinions. When calling to Allah, we should avoid trying to convince people to follow our particular sect, perspective, or school of thought. Rather, we should help the person to find their way to Allah, and not harm to speak ill of, or condemn, anyone.


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Adab of Dua 29: Times and Places When Dua Is Disliked

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186).” Yet, many of us wonder: Are my du’as being answered? Is there a certain dua I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my duas have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of dua (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by the great Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

In the closing session, Shaykh Faraz explains the times and places when dua is disliked, and gives advice on how to bring duas into one’s life.

He divided this work into the 11 concise, apt sections described below.

1. The reality of dua
2. Our being called on to make dua
3. The great virtue of dua
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of dua and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of dua
9. Explaining the religious ruling of dua
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

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How Can I Call to Allah in Non-Muslim Majority Lands? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can I call in to Allah in non-Muslim majority lands?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

In Peace: The Spread of Islam in Africa

“Islam spread through West Africa through nonviolent means.”

Our ideas of Africa nowadays consist of everything from famines, war, refugees fleeing their homeland, to the recent shootings of black people by police, and the Black Lives Matter movement.spread of Islam in Africa

But this race of beautiful, strong, and intelligent people surely had to have a noble history.

In this illuminating lecture, Dr Rudolph Bilal Ware takes us on a journey through history and gives us some lessons that we can learn from the history of the West African people.

Dr. Ware focuses on two characteristics of these people; firstly, that the spread of Islam through Africa was solely through peaceful means, and secondly, that there was less focus on convincing people and more focus on benefitting all humanity by doing good works.

Whether you’re looking for information on a history project or involved in campus dawah, or just feel the need to know more about the African people, this short talk will provide many answers to the questions in your mind.

Our thanks to Lamppost Education Initiative for this recording.

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spread of Islam in Africa