Why am I Muslim? I first pondered over this question at the age of fifteen. Before that I rattled off the basic 'I'm Muslim because I believe in....' A Christian friend and I were speaking about religion, when she threw this at me. "You're Muslim because your parents are Muslim." I disagreed with her, but reflected deeply when I got home. Why was I a Muslim? Was I just following blindly without knowing why I believed as I did? Why did I believe Islam was the perfect religion, the true way of life?
Growing up, I thought it was almost heretical to ask questions. This was due to conditioning by my teachers and elders.Yet it's only when we know the wisdom behind the reasoning that we can understand and truly submit to the teachings of Islam in totality. To ask is to grow in knowledge.
There was never a doubt in my mind about my deen, I just needed to affirm my choice to be Muslim. Which I did. I'm not going to expand on my journey of introspection and understanding here though.
Two weeks ago I attended a da'wah course which had a huge impact on me. I've mentioned in a previous post 'If I were ever to fall for a non-Muslim guy, I'd walk away because it would be arrogant of me to ask him to convert, and also I wouldn't want a guy converting because of me, but because he truly wants to be Muslim'
Now I ask myself 'How is this being arrogant?' Do I not believe that Islam is sublime in its perfection?
Surah An Nisaa Verse 16:125 says "Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord kows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided."
What is the purpose of life? As a Muslim, it is to worship Allah. And it is every Muslim's duty to call people to Islam. Yet many feel they do not possess the skills to give da'wah, and that they are not strong enough in Iman. However, all one needs is belief in the five pillars of Islam, and the 6 pillars of Iman. Allah gives hidaayat (guidance) but there are two kinds. Hidaayat ul irshaad: to direct someone to the truth. This is the duty of Muslims. Hidaayat ul tawfiq: when Allah opens a person's heart to Islam.We can do da'wah in so many ways, be it directly or non-directly.
When people ask us questions about Islam, let's not be afraid to invite them to accept Islam. I think of my friends who've converted and their stories, and how some say they probably wouldn't have come to Islam if not for Muslims who invited them. One of the American ladies at halaqah once told us of an old woman who lived next to a young Muslim couple for a good few years. One day she angrily banged at their door, and when the husband opened, she asked 'Why didn't you tell me you're Muslim?' ' He was flustered, (being post 9/11) and replied 'Well I didn't think it was important' The old woman told him 'Why did you not want to share the truth with me? I only found out about Islam today, but today I am Muslim.' There are so many stories to relate. But this one plays on my mind...
Another story is the one the teacher of the course told. He was giving da'wah at a march in Washington by handing out pamphlets. "I passed by a big-built man wearing a sleeveless black shirt with black leather trousers, tattoos running from his neck to the breadth of his arms, wearing white contact lenses. And I thought he won't be interested in Islam. A few minutes later my friend called me. He had just given da'wah to that man who immediately took shahaadah. The man told us, "This morning I woke up wanting to search for the truth." Subhanallah!
When giving da'wah to Muslims (or non-Muslims) it's important not to use fear to admonish the people. It is related in Bukhari, 'Make things easy and do not make things difficult, give the good news and do not turn people away.'
Unfortunately, we are consantly preached to and from childhood taught to fear Allah, rather than to love Allah. 'Don't do that-you'll get ghunaa (sin). Make tawba tawba-and we'd tap one cheek then the other with our forefinger as we said 'tawba tawba astaghfirullah' How about we teach children not to commit wrong out of love for Allah?
I think MJ mentioned this after the ILM concert last year where Dawud Wharnsby performed and spoke so refreshingly on reforming Muslim youth. 'So what if he has an earring, or she doesn't wear hijab, or their hair is purple. Don't frown at them when they come to the masjid. Be glad they're there. Speak nicely to them and they'll respect you and will practice the deen' (Baba Ali has a great video 'Haraam'. Why do some people insist on making everything haraam thus turning people away from the practice of Islam)
The best da'wah I ever received was from my Portuguese convert friend Sonia. We returned home from Alexandria just before 11pm. It had been a long day as we left Cairo at 7am. I was tired & thought I'd pray qadhaa of Esha the next day. Sonia said smilingly 'But Beebs, it will only take a few minutes to make wudhu & about ten minutes to pray salaah. We'll pray together in jama'ah.You'll feel so much better, why put it off?' I complied, and Alhamdulillah have never felt lazy to pray salaah after that, or intentionally made salaah qadhaa (with the exception of Fajr as per post below which isn't intentional)
So from Dawud Wharnsby's nasheed 'Colours of Islam'
'Your paint will be Qur'an
Your brush will be Iman
So fill the world with colour
Every colour of islam'