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Dawah and Interfaith

Weird Mosque on the Prairie #8

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Ok, ok, I know everyone’s quite sick of discussions around this program. But I was cajoled into watching the 8th episode to witness for myself the new low depths that the program has fallen into. For those who have stopped watching this a long time ago, then if you jog your memory, you will remember that we were all betting that there was something brewing between Rayyan, the doctor daughter of maniac parents, and the proggie Imam. Well, if that wasn’t bad enough, then this episode explores Rayyan’s tangle with a calendar-model-non-Muslim-fireman. Of course, after watching this, you will continue to have the usual complaints that we have had from the first episode, including the continuous mocking of Islamic tenets, making Islam seem quite impossible to practice for the average person to the point that this is probably the worst form of negative reinforcement away from Islam, or the perfect “Anti-Dawah”. However, there was actually something I took away from this episode. And this something applies to Muslims in the West, and can affect even the religious amongst us.

What I am referring to is gender relations, specifically Muslim sisters being engaged into discussions by guys who don’t share their faith. As in the episode, Rayyan was asked by her patient, the fireman, to teach him about Islam, hence this became his ‘line’ to hook a Muslim woman. This “teach me about Islam” bait can be an easy one to fall prey for. Now, I am not saying that every guy who asks this of a Muslim woman or vice-versa only has ‘hooking up’ on his/her mind. What I am saying is that there is enough fitnah (trial) in this and the potential of danger-ahead that one needs to be quite careful about how to proceed. Also, the signs become clearer when if the sister suggests a Muslim male for discussions, the guy goes “but I really want to know it from you”. If you think that horrible consequences cannot result from these perfectly sincere and good-intentioned beginnings, then read these two narratives: The Prostitute and the Atheist: Lessons in our Grief and the following excerpts from Islam-QA. The first narrative is between an atheist man and a hijabi-practising Muslim sister. The following relates to interactions between Muslims seeking ‘Islamic help’ from the opposite gender:

“I am a young woman from a very well-known family. All my life I have been religiously committed and of good character, as all will attest, but for some reason I got to know a young man. I wanted to help him because he had suffered the calamity of his father’s death, and he is responsible for his siblings and his mother, but he went down the path of keeping company with bad people. I advised (which was not even a face to face communication!) him and I felt it was my duty to stand beside him and advise him sincerely. Eventually he returned to his studies and gave up those bad friends, and he changed completely. His mother asked him the reason, and he told her. She spoke to me and thanked me for being patient with her son. One day he came for a visit to see me, and I did not know why I did not hesitate. I went to see him, and I felt as if he was my brother. We spent some time together and what happened happened, unfortunately. Now he wants to come and propose marriage to me, but it is impossible. He is three years younger than me, and he is not of the same nationality as me. Now I am pregnant and I want Allaah to conceal my sin and I want to repent. I know that I have done wrong, and you will criticize me severely, but I want to repent and I want a solution.”

I think it is important to clarify a few points related to this. We know historically that Muslimah scholars have taught men, as we are all well aware of Aisha (RD) who was one of the greatest teachers among the Companions of the Prophet (S). Hence, what I am referring to is more of the casual learnings, where there is no specific need for the guy to take his basic knowledge from a sister, or for a woman to take his basic knowledge from a Muslim guy. I also should add before charges of sexism are thrown around, that yes, this does apply both ways. However, the consequences of a Muslim woman falling for a non-Muslim guy are more significant due to the possibility of life-changing events such as pregnancy or falling in love with a guy that she cannot marry Islamically. And some of you may be aware of a blog by a woman who fell exactly in this situation and how these circumstances led her not only into rejecting the sinfulness of this situation, but ultimately pretty much forsaking the entire deen, may Allah protect us all from such trials. As for the Muslim guy having relations with a non-Muslim woman, they are not any less of haraam or less of a sin, but in the case of Ahl-Kitaab, at the least he could ultimately marry the woman.

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So, I am opening up the floor to discuss how we can deal with similar situations, i.e. whereby we don’t turn someone away who wants to learn more about Islam (whether Muslim or not) simply because he is of the opposite gender, yet at the same time protect ourselves from the potential danger that may lie beyond these good beginnings. Of course, assuming that we are not aware of the person’s actual intentions.

Here are the episodes, by the way:

[youtube w5WUwGyzQcY]

[youtube ZvAnE_H0on0]

[youtube CFeUXNVxDuw]

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Umm Layth

    April 29, 2007 at 6:25 PM

    as-Salaamu `alaykum

    It’s a great topic to start. I think that you may find some people who will think (even after your explanation,with which I agree) that ‘it isn’t fair’ for them to be put on the spot more. But you indeed raised some good points.

    Women are emotional. For that reason, a small gesture can easily win her heart over. She may allow her emotions to get the bad of her and not realize it. It is even harder when our sisters are many times a part of an environment where men & women talking for no reason is the norm.

    I think we should also mention that some women out there have issues with Ahlul Kitaab being considered mushrikeen (as the ayah uses the word mushrikeen.) So maybe discussing this topic as well would be a good idea.

    And let me think what else…

    Oh yes. Da`wah is not fardh `ayn.

  2. sister

    April 29, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Assalaam-u-Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Rabakatuhu well first of all i never liked that show i was against it i think it’s a bad example and the maker of this show doesn’t know how to show islam i think she’s just a bad example too bad!

  3. sister

    April 29, 2007 at 7:56 PM

    i do think our women need to watch out and be careful!

    “Da`wah is not fardh `ayn”
    asid who it is fard on everyone!

  4. Umm Reem

    April 29, 2007 at 8:18 PM

    As far as I remember Zarqa Nawaz didn’t create any of the first 8 episodes, so i’m not sure how much we can blame her for what has happened so far, wAllahu ta’ala ‘alam.

    But this episode surely deals with something very important, ‘fitnah’ of Muslim girls refusing non-Muslim guys…especially the ‘good’ looking ones!

    After mentoring young girls for some time, it is sad to know that some of these girls really have to fight this temptation. And believe me or not, but for some non-Muslim man a girls’ hijab and her modest clothing isn’t even a hindrance!

    It is hard for these girls especially when they go to public schools and not having a boyfriend is something ‘looked down’ upon…

    Some of them have just told me outright, ‘we know we can’t date him so let us just flirt around!’

    I really don’t know what to tell them…other then making their belief stronger in Islam through other ways so this fitnah doesn’t lead them to some other greater fitnah, inshaAllah.

    I think we should marry off our children when they are 15!! :)

  5. Umm Layth

    April 29, 2007 at 8:39 PM

    I think so too. They should be raised to be adults and we should increase our communication with them on topics like marriage and temptation.

  6. sister

    April 29, 2007 at 9:46 PM

    yes that is true i mean hey it’s not a choice we can tell our kids and that it is inappropriate it’s not like it’s a school thing that if you go to school you have to deal with this too right we can avoid it that is our job and tell people who are right!
    as far concerning the creator of this show i think it is zarqa nawaz as says so she is the one yeah right there are producers but zarqa zawaz in the main objective i think she needs to watch she have already ruin so much i think the way she’s showing muslims is just not right she’s not showing anything!

  7. Amad

    April 29, 2007 at 10:25 PM

    Just a reminder, let’s keep the comments related to the topic of gender interactions specifically the interactions based on ‘learning about islam’. I think enough has been said about how awful (mostly) or how good (a few) this whole series has been in its depiction of Muslims.

    So, we haven’t really answered the question of what to do if the opposite gender approaches you to talk about Islam…

  8. AnonyMouse

    April 29, 2007 at 10:30 PM

    “what to do if the opposite gender approaches you to talk about Islam”

    Answer them, but don’t be overly-friendly/ flirty. Refer them to someone knowledgeable of their own gender – the Imam or Imam’s wife, for example.

  9. Abdu

    April 29, 2007 at 10:50 PM

    salaam,

    A wise man once told me, ” There are 3 places for a woman, her house, her father’s house and the grave.”

    Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but how does the lady meet this guy in the first place?

  10. inexplicabletimelessness

    April 29, 2007 at 11:26 PM

    As salaamu alaikum

    Good topic mashaAllah. I think it’s a very valid concern, especially in the climate of gender relations these days.

    I go to a public high school in CA and if and when a non-muslim guy has questions about Islam, like Mouse said, I stick to the point and stay short, and if they keep asking more questions, I give them some Islamic literature/books/pamphlets (such as WhyIslam ones) or invite them to our MSA.

    If they see a sister lowering her gaze and staying firm and to the point, I don’t think a lot of these ‘flirty’ guys will persist for too long.

    may Allah protect us all, ameen.

    ” I think we should marry off our children when they are 15!! ”

    lol I agree. ;) Just imagine if all Muslim parnets raised their kids in a mature way and encouraged them to marry young. Not only would it open communication between them, not only would the youth (inshaAllah) feel less isolated from their parents and feel more like adults and feel responsible, but it would also prevent all the fitnah that goes around these days.

    waAllahu ‘alam.

  11. AnonyMouse

    April 30, 2007 at 12:15 AM

    “I think we should marry off our children when they are 15!!”

    I’m one whole year late!! :O
    But insha’Allah, not for long… at least, hopefully not!! ;)

  12. restingtraveller

    April 30, 2007 at 7:39 AM

    Allahu ‘alam, but I personally think that the boys have more trouble than the sisters–in a public school/high school setting. Yes, the girls may be swayed by a nonmuslim guy but we all know the situation of teenage boys. And especially with what the nonmuslim girls wear these days, la huwla wa la quwwata ila billah…

    I know my brothers have been approached by girls; audubillah, girls have called, gave them presents and other such things, but alhamdulillah they stood their ground, and I pray that Allah azza wa jal protects them and other teenagers from fitnah. ameen

    I think that young muslims need mentors. I know my brothers find a mentor in their Qur’an teacher, and some girls come to me with issues but they need more than that. Maybe some type of a masjid youth group, or big brother big sister program. And of course, I don’t think muslims should be in public school in the first place :-) wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam, just not the place for a growing muslim…talk about an eman-killer. subhanAllah. there’s so much haraam lingering in HS that its sickening…

  13. Amad

    April 30, 2007 at 9:15 AM

    Restingtraveller, the fitnah of high-school is unbelievable, and that is based on just my cursory knowledge of it (I didn’t go to high school here). I could not have survived it myself, and I applaud those who survive it mashallah.

    Though I don’t applaud folks sending their children to public schools, esp. if Islamic schools are an available option in the particular area. I know that may not be the case many places, but then perhaps we should look at home-schooling (K12.com is a great internet-based home-school chartered by many states– so it is free in those states). And that may also be difficult for many, but then who said raising children was easy?

    I think the fitnah of sisters being approached by guys wanting to ‘learn about Islam’ could be higher in College, when the boys are men and have evolved in their ‘pick-up lines’!

  14. AbdulHasib

    April 30, 2007 at 9:50 AM

    Bismillah,
    ‘Alaikum as-salaam wa rahmatAllah

    SubhanAllah it’s that one quote from IslamQA that sent shudders down my own spine. I remember cases like that subhanAllah every time you hear something like that you can’t help but feel that gut wrenching tug, wa nasalAllahul ‘affiyah. May Allah accept her and our tawba. Ameen.

    It makes me think that it takes cases like that to slap us all back to reality of where we live and what we face.

    Allah ‘azza wa jal says in Surat An-Nahl, ”
    ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

    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 knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided.”

    It should make us question our own intention, our steadfastness in Iman, and what guarantee do we have to die with this guidance? None. wa Allahul musta’an, to Allah we complain.

    As Allah ‘azza wa jal says in the verse, ud’oo ila sabili rabbika bil HIKMAH. Invite to the way of your Lord with WISDOM. And what is Hikmah? The ‘oolama state that this word means to “put something in its proper place.” In the tafseer, it means to say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, in the right environment, in the right way, in the right manner, etc. To put it in the right place. So when giving da’wah really we should ask ourselves and take that one step back and fix our intentions, “am i doing this with HIKMAH?” And ask again, and ask a THIRD time! Then move forward.

    As the default principle in giving da’wah is to remove evil, or to remove more harm than there already exists, NOT exacerbate the harm (firstly upon YOURSELF and then others).

    There are general principles of conduct that everyone of us know. Those are GENERAL for a reason, and the EXCEPTIONS do not make the rule.

    And we should remember, Allah ‘azza wa jal made attaining Jannah easy for the one who seeks it and strives for it, not a hardship upon hardship which is unattainable. Verily there are many routes to Jannah.

    I ask myself to fear Allah when confronted with these situations. And be reminded of these stories and remember the story of the ‘aabid who was being enticed by the woman of the village, every time she would approach him, he would stick his hand in the candle to remind him of the fire and wrath of Allah ‘azza wa jal. Though not this extreme, remember Allah ta’la is watching over us, our every actions, we are responsible to Him and remember that Day of Account, that Day of Recompense where we will all stand before our Lord and be judged for what we do and answer for what we have done. We seek refuge in Allah from Him and in His mercy from His wrath, and in His glad tidings from His punishment.

    I am reminded that Talbis Iblees (the devils deception) exists in something truly we seek the refuge of Allah from: the shaytaan can curb you from the path by making you focus on something that is less rewarding instead of spending your time with that which is MORE rewarding. Just as it was mentioned, shaytaan ar rajeem does not order for you to commit shirk directly, rather it is with steps.. and subhanAllah that story and many others alone show us what that entails.

    “The whisperings of shaytaan” are not little midgets in our ears whispering. It’s that strong powerful ‘push’ COUPLED with our OWN desires that make us commit haram. THAT is what we have to make Jihad against, Jihadun-Nafs (struggling against our soul and desires).

    And in final, I can’t help but be reminded, each and ever one of us is responsible based on our own CAPACITY to get the message of islam out. Allah ta’la does not burden a soul more than it can bear, so why should we seek outside that capacity Allah gave us and seek a burden MORE than we can bear? May Allah help us and keep us steadfast.

    Entire nations and pious people were misguided because of the dangers of this topic. Verily it’s not far from what ‘alim said in admonition to the people.. “have we all become BORED of the worship of Allah?” Da’wah is but a stage, where we have lost the pre requisites of this stage. As shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Al-Wahhab and ibnul Qayyim RahimahumAllah mentioned in the proof of surat Al ‘Asr. The important matters are 1. Knowledge of Allah, His Messenger, and the deen of Islam, 2. Action upon that, 3. Calling to that with wisdom, fair preaching/admonition, and arguing with a way that is better, and 4. Patiently perserving in that in three:

    a) patience on the obedience of the commandments of Allah,
    b) patience in staying awa from disobeying and falling into the prohibitions of Allah ta’la.
    and c) patience in Allah’s decree whether it be good or bad.

    May Allah rectify our intentions for Him Alone.

    And victory is FOR the knowledgeable obedient, submitting, worshipers of Allah alone, who act upon what they learn, and call to it with patience seeking reward in Him Alone.

    And I remember asking a brother I love, “Ya Akhi,how come there are some brothers and sisters who had understanding are leaving the true path and start committing so much open haram, and seem like they were ‘burned out’ and went astray?”

    He said, “it’s simple. they never had it in the first place. When iman truly enters your heart you will never be led astray.”

    May Allah ta’la give us steadfastness and firm Iman.

    wa Allahuma a’inne ‘ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ‘ibaadatik.

    wa nasaAllahu ta’la anyaja’lana wa iyyakum min Ahl al jannah wa nasaluka mayytatil hasanah waghfirlana wa la tuzigh qulubuna ba’da idh hadaytana wa hablanaa min ladunka rahma, fa innAllaha huwa Al Wahhab, wa salAllah wa baarik ‘ala nabiyyina Muhammad wa ‘ala aalihi wa sahbihi tasleeman katheera. Ameen.

    WAllahu ‘Alam

  15. Umm Reem

    April 30, 2007 at 12:23 PM

    It also reminds me of the true story Yayha Ibarheem quoted in one of his lecture ‘Shaytan your enemy’ about the Muslim girl who went to college, a muhajibah someone who used to write article defending Islam etc., falls in love with an atheist who approached her in the name of ‘dawah’ and the girl herself turned into an Atheist, iyyadhobillah.

    This is a very frightening story.

  16. Amad

    April 30, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    ASA, the story you mentioned is linked in the post.

  17. SrAnonymous

    April 30, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    And don’t forget that mixed Islamic Schools are not immune from boy-girl temptation.

    There can about 4 girls for every male in the Islamic high school and the hormones are there, too!

    Then there’s the oversensitization to boy-girl issues at Islamic schools, BUT the feelings are still there.

    One strategy is to acknowledge that the preteens/teens have these feelings, know how to interact with males, and know that these young women don’t need a guy to feel validated and strong.

    They need to have parents/other elders they can communicate their feelings to: especially elders who are grounded in a reality informed by the Quran and Sunnah.

    One sister I know has a great talent in communicating with young teens.When she was asked to do a halaqah: traditional style: Quran, Hadeeth, Discussion…she said no, first I need to get to know these girls and be able to communicate with them. She had them make “dreambooks” about their aspirations…she tries to peel off their layers and get them to talk more honestly. And also have them learn how to listen, you know how teen girls love to talk. So she’s having them host a tea party for their friends at the halaqah and use their listening skills.

    This sister has great talent, and I hope to learn a lot from her.

  18. AnonyMouse

    April 30, 2007 at 3:56 PM

    Sr. Anonymous, I really like the ‘dreambooks’ idea! Hmmmmmmmmm… I wonder if we could do that in my community here…

  19. Niqaabis

    April 30, 2007 at 8:19 PM

    “So, we haven’t really answered the question of what to do if the opposite gender approaches you to talk about Islam…”

    I think one way would be to always equip oneself with da’wah material, such as leaflets/tapes in your bag or in your car that you can give to them, and if they have further questions they can call the number on the leaflet

    That’s probably one way in which I would deal with that situation..

    Allaah knows best

  20. Bint Amina

    May 1, 2007 at 12:49 AM

    SubhaanAllah, I’m reminded of the ayat in surah Al Kahf where Allah ta’ala says what means:

    Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? (Al-Kahf 18:103)

    “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! (Al-Kahf 18:104)

    And subhaanAllah, how scary this is, striving in something thinking you shall receive the reward of Allah ta’ala when in fact you are incuring His Anger.

    This matter of the deception of Shaytaan in making an act fairseeming to us when in fact it is something that will lead to greater fitnah is indeed a sign, for us to be cautious in the paths we choose and question where our actions may lead us.

    More specifically remember that Allah ta’ala has not left a greater fitnah behind for the men than that of women, and the fitnah for women in turn, is the power they possess over men. Indeed a fact worth mentioning over and over, for pious ones of the past have been ruined because of it.

    Let us remember the story of Barsisa the Worshipper, the pious monk who was tested by a woman and the whisperings of Shaytaan, and he allowed this to overcome him, such that he committed zina with the women – and indeed the faahishah did not cease at that. A reminder in and of itself that such trangressions bring about more trangressions, and committing them once makes it easier for one to indulge in it – or worse even – a second time.

    May Allah ta’ala save us from fitaan, allow us to give da’wah with hikmah, and make us far-removed from that which earns His Anger. Aameen.

  21. Bint Amina

    May 1, 2007 at 12:55 AM

    As for avoiding the fitnah of the opposite gender with regards to da’wah, then inshaaAllah to refer them to another of their gender (one who is knowledgeable in deen, has experience in da’wah, calls to the way Allah ta’ala with hikmah) is better.

    Also, while on the topic on da’wah, a great book on this topic is: “Words of Advice Regarding Da’wah” by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, may Allah ta’ala have mercy upon him.

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

  22. zaynab

    May 1, 2007 at 2:31 PM

    Refering them to someone of the same gender would be ideal, but sometimes they just have a simple question that you could handle at the moment. I think Mouse had some very practical advice: keep it short and to the point.

    There is a whole lot of space between rudeness and flirting, you can have a polite conversation without giving anyone the wrong idea, in sha Allah.

  23. Bayan

    October 17, 2010 at 6:21 AM

    I haven’t read the comments, but I do think that saying ‘anti-dawah; is a bit much. My atheist English teacher has a great time watching this show and she’s always saying how good it is that they’re dispelling myths about Muslims.

  24. ~Nafiah~

    December 24, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Is this a reality show? So did she really get pregnant in real life or is this fiction?

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