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Dawah: You missed a spot!

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A few days ago, I was in a bookstore doing some research and I overheard some guys discussing the existence of God. It was clear that one was an atheist and the other was a struggling Christian.

“Do you believe in God or not?” demanded the atheist customer, “and which book do you recommend to prove that God does not exist?”

“I can’t recommend a book since I don’t exactly not believe in God,” the Christian salesman stammered, “I can’t say that I believe in God or not, although I believe much of what is in the Bible.”

The two men went back and forth with the atheist pressuring the salesman into taking a stance, meanwhile, I went back to reading my book. Then an elderly lady came and took a book from the table in front of me, I offered her my seat but she declined but commented that she liked my thobe (she didn’t use that word, just said that shirt thing you’re wearing) and asked me where I got it from. I told her I got it from Dubai, she then went on her way and I returned to my book.

After I had finished reading, while I was driving home, my heart was suddenly filled with regret. “You missed a spot!” I told myself, two good Dawah opportunities presented themselves to me but I did not take advantage of them because I was too busy with my book!

How many times do we pass by these opportunities to share our views and beliefs with others? Generally, I try my best never to miss a Dawah opportunity. If I am sitting on a train, bus or airplane, then you should expect the person seated next to me to receive a dose of Dawah.

Islam is a universal message and as carriers of this message, we are duty-bound to share the message of Islam with everyone we meet. If the right occasion presents itself to you, do not hesitate to share the message of Islam with anyone. Do not repeat my mistake, seize every opportunity and spread the word of Islam!

Ismail Kamdar, a.k.a Abu Muawiyah, is the Head Tutorial Assistant of the Islamic Online University, and the host of Living Islam on Radio Al-Ansaar. He began his study of Islam at the age of thirteen, and has completed both the Alim course and a BA in Islamic Studies. He is the author of multiple books including Having Fun the Halal Way: Entertainment in Islam, Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management and Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence.

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Avatar

    alhamdulillah

    March 25, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    Jazakum Allah khaire for the reminder..and ouch…it hurts to miss an opportunity like that

  2. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    March 25, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Masha’Allah nice post, and yes it is good to know that I’m not the only one who feels bad when I miss a spot.
    Join mom’s play groups and book groups and women’s (if you are a woman)only communal kitchens because you end up sharing more than food and play. They observe and ask you sooner or later about your way of life.
    Put Islamic literature on any place with tables that promote anything (i.e why limit yourself to dawah tables )place leaflets or booklets where others have placed them and be creative what do you have to lose.
    I once gave a Chinese women whose forefathers where Muslim a Quraan with Chinese translation I would not have met her unless I made the choice to join this woman’s only communal kitchen. May Allah give us many blessed days for the propagation of His blessed message.
    Dawah is compassion to your fellow beings in humanity and a desire to usher them towards glad tidings and Allah’s beautiful paradise!
    Let us invite towards a renewed inner life and an spiritual wakening that leads to gratitude towards our creator and salvation for ourselves. As opposed to an excessive focus on the relaxation and beautification of the outer shell, a misguided worldly life and a fire whose fuel is men and stones.

  3. Avatar

    Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

    March 25, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    I seem to attract them quite often. They don’t buy the explanation from the Quran and Hadith as well as salient literature that is in abundance. So I simply ask them if they in their scientific enquiry can replicate any of the miracles in the Quran or disprove any verse that enshrine the existence of Allah and they shy away with spurious stuff like visible proof etc.

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      March 31, 2010 at 12:06 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum brother Saber,
      Your said:So I simply ask them if they in their scientific enquiry can replicate any of the miracles in the Quran .

      http://theinimitablequran.com by brother Hamza is about the nature of I’jaaz(Miraculousness)of Qur’aan which is more of a linguistic and literary nature than our “simplistic” understanding of I’jaaz. You can offer them the book by brother Hamza. I repeat that the biggest obstacles for non-Muslims towards Islam are Western science and Western philosophy which developed unfortunately in aopposition to the so-called Christianity and it abandoned the true Christian beliefs and morality in its course.

      neorient@gmail.com

  4. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    you mention a very important point and perhaps all of us at one point or another have been in…

    my comment is that some of us who have much more social personalities will find it much easier to strike a conversation as opposed to those of us who are more reserved and it may be easier for the former as opposed to the latter.

    My thinking is that if the situation allows itself to open a dialog, then alhamdulilah, if not, at least by your presence (manners, actions, appearance), you have already said something.

    case in point, my wife and I were once sitting a bus that was essentially full and these two very elderly couple walked in and there were no seats available, naturally we got up and offered them our seats. I noticed everyone on the bus was looking at us and smiling (hijab/beard) and I pray that Allah ta`ala accept that as a form of da`wa without saying a word.

    point is that da`wa is not necessarily restricted to engaging in a conversation. Wallahu a`lam..

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      March 25, 2010 at 8:42 AM

      SubhanALLAH! That is exactly the kind of Da’wah we need! :) May Allah reward you and inspire us in the same way! Ameen.

  5. Avatar

    Ismail Kamdar

    March 25, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    As Salaam Alaikum

    Jazakallah Khair for the comments. One of the reasons that I wrote this article was as a reminder to myself and others about the importance of Dawah. A few years ago I was a very active Da’ee, always carrying Dawah material (books, pamphlets, DVDs) in my bag, starting a Dawah conversation with anyone I met and of course trying to a good example of Islam.

    Unfortunately as of late, I have become more passive in my dawah. Lately, my dawah is limited to being good to people and being a good example of Islam but it has been a long time since I had a good contructive religious discussion with a person of another faith.

    I believe that both forms of Dawah are important and go hand in hand. A active Da’ee who does not practice what he preaches will do more harm than good, while a good role model who does not speak about Islam will give Islam a good name but not necesasarily give a person reason to change their religion.

    So as Muslims, we need to always carry Islam in our actions and learn how to engage people and explain our beautiful deen to them.

    One tip I would like to share is ALWAYS keep Dawah material on you, be it DVDs, pamphlets or books. You never know when you might find an opportunity to do Dawah and you will need to give them something to follow up on.

    Hope to hear more comments and tips for Dawah. The two good deeds that I’m most passionate about are Dawah and ‘Ilm.

    :)

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      March 25, 2010 at 11:41 AM

      I agree with you, I think that you need at times just to be a pleasant role model especially with chance meetings ecetera, and in other situations that are more long term you might have the ability to strike up a conversation on topics that could lead to dawah.
      Many times especially for sisters as a result of the hijab, people tend to ask us questions about our faith.
      abu Rumay s.a method is also a necessary one as brother Ismail highlighted. For example, a young man who worked at my husband’s job once saw another muslim co-worker pray in the snow and eventually after researching Islam, he accepted the faith. Alhjamdullilah
      I guess everyone is different and has unique gifts and abilities that can be put towards the service of Islam.

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      March 25, 2010 at 11:57 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum
      Quote:Unfortunately as of late, I have become more passive in my dawah

      Comment:By remaining in the company of Tableeghi Jamaa’at, I have acquire a persistence in Da’wah, and that is the best solution I can offer.

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      March 31, 2010 at 12:36 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum Akhee
      Never stop writing articles. Never stop the foremost form of Da’wah-oral Da’wah-heart-to-heart Da’wah like Anbiyaa from Aadam through Nooh,Moosaa, Eesaa, Muhammad alaihimus salaam.

      A conversation begins with a single voice. The sound of flutter of a butterfly can create a tornado halfway round the world.Chaos theory

      Da’wah in the day is like a dead body. Du’aa at night gives it life. Ask Allaah for the Hidaayah of the person you are having heart-to-heart with, after Tahajjud.

      neorient@gmail.com

  6. Avatar

    OMH

    March 25, 2010 at 6:19 AM

    How do you do dawah on the plane? Mosts of the time I have tried to have a conversation with people sitting next to me but they aren’t intersted in religion.

    JazakAllahu Khairan.

    • Avatar

      Ibn Masood

      March 25, 2010 at 7:09 AM

      Just have good character, be pleasant and have a casual conversation with them. InshaAllah be truthful and your Muslim values will show through and eventually the person will be asking “why do you think like that” etc. Or even you could simply talk about your own religious duties that you have to perform (e.g. after a casual conversation you might tell them about how you want to pray on the plane or start reading a book of Knowledge etc). Be creative in opening the door to talking about Islam.

      Allahu Alam but I feel that sometimes we may be too eager to jump into the da’wah and forget that we have to establish a connection with those we are doing da’wah with first.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      March 25, 2010 at 7:15 AM

      I always weigh the situation: If they are friendly or not interested in talking, either way I try to show Islam in my character.

      For example:

      When I sit down, I greet the person next to me and offer them assistance with anything, generally they either need help packing their hand-luggage in the overhead compartment or need help figuring out how to use the TV. Once that is done, they take a liking to me and after learning each other’s names, they ask me what I do for a living.

      My answer, “I teach Islam” :) and from there its non-stop Dawah. Although it only works if the person next to you is friendly also.

      On a flight to India last year, I sat next to an old Christian lady and after helping her figure out how to use her TV, we started talking religion. I explained Islam in detail to her, when we got of the plane she said, “It is nice to know there are young people like you are around, gives us older folks hope,” :)

      Then at Dubai airport, a fellow South African asked me to watch his luggage while he got something to eat, he was very grateful that I did so and while waiting for the next flight, we had a nice Dawah conversation.

      Those are just a few examples, there are no magic tricks to Dawah, you have to adapt to the situation and deal with each person differently. In his Dawah training course, Kamal El-Mekki taught us, “A Da’ee must be malleable” meaning he must able to adapt to dealing with different people and situation.

      Hope that helps :)

  7. Avatar

    ummahmed

    March 25, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Assalamualykum brother,

    Jazakallahu khairaa for the reminder.I joined a class and I invited almost everyone to take up this Quran class..Alhamdulillah…I missed one and she said if I would have informed her ,she would have joined the class.There it hit me ..Yah Allah , Don`t make me regret like this on the last day..If any one [my neighbors, my mail man, passengers in the train ,my friends ] question me on the day of judgement , Why I didn`t inform them about Allah? what answer do I have? I was too busy myself. May Allah forgive our short comings.

    salaam.

  8. Avatar

    BintKhalil

    March 25, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Assalamu alaikum

    What are good da’wah materials (books, online articles, youtube videos) you would recommend? I have a Jewish classmate in my Masters program who is very interested in Islam and asked me if there are any lectures, conferences, etc. that he could go to in New York. I myself have lived here for a short time and don’t really have much of a life outside of school, so I didn’t know of any to tell him. If anyone can recommend some to me (and also actual da’wah materials), it would be much appreciated.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      March 26, 2010 at 3:51 AM

      The best Dawah material in terms of DVDs is ‘The Deen Show, vol: 1 and 2″ Great stuff for Non-Muslims and Muslims alike.

      In terms of books, I recommend “The purpose of Creation” by Dr Bilal Philips.

      Of course, it also depends on their religion, background, etc, different books for different blokes!

      But the above seem to have universal appeal. Can’t recommend someone in that area because I have never been there, and can’t recommend pamphlets since every area has their own pamphlets

  9. Avatar

    Mariam E

    March 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Asalamu Alikum warahmatu Allahi wabarakatu

    Jazak Allah khair for this reminder.

    One Da’yah that is really to be admired in his keenness to take on da’wah opportunities is Shaykh Muhammad Al-’Areefy (may Allah protect him). He has an amazing story that he has repeated in many lectures:

    This story occurred when he was on a trip to New Zealand. One day, he was standing and talking with some Muslim youth outside of their school. There was a big, old church near the school, and outside the church, a young man was standing and reading loudly from the Bible. So the Shaykh asked the youth what he was doing. And they explained to him that he always stands and reads as a method of calling people to Christianity. So the Shaykh approached the young man, who was also standing with 2 priests, one male and the other, female.

    He greeted them and shook the young man’s hand, praised his voice, and began asking him about what he was doing. He asked to look at the Bible, then he asked the young man to tell him about Christianity, and he did. But the Shaykh would stop him and ask them questions, which they would not be able to answer and they would only look at one another in confusion.

    Then the Shaykh asked them if they knew any Arabic or if they had heard it before, to which they replied negatively. And they did not know where he was from either. Then he asked them to listen to him.

    They listened and he began reciting 4 or 5 ayat (in Arabic) from Surat Maryam:

    “(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariya (Zachariah).
    When he called out his Lord (Allah) a call in secret,
    Saying: “My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, And I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord!
    “And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir,
    “Who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Yaqoob (Jacob) (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.). And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”. (Maryam 19:2-6).

    Then he stopped and looked up at their faces, which he found had changed.

    Then he began making up a story in Arabic, and ‘reciting’ it in the similar manner;

    ‘Ahmad went to the store and bought an apple…………….’

    Then he asked them if they felt a difference between the two recitations. The female priest replied that the first one was different. When he asked her how, she said because her heart felt it differently…she felt it affecting her heart. She said:

    ‘It is from God…The first one is from God.’

    He asked her about the second one, and she replied, ‘I don’t know, maybe it is an Arabic song or poetry….I don’t know.’

    Then she lifted her finger pointing to the sky and proclaimed:

    ‘But the first one is from God!’

    SubhanaAllah!!

    • Avatar

      Mariam E

      March 25, 2010 at 3:02 PM

      you can watch him practicing the same da’wah method with an Italian in Germany, who also admitted that he felt tranquility in his heart with the first recitation (Quran).
      (About 2:30 min. into the video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyrLkwJD9fA&feature=related

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      March 26, 2010 at 3:52 AM

      Subhanallah! What a beautiful story, and what a brilliant Da’ee.

      May Allah bless him

      • Avatar

        Sister

        March 26, 2010 at 4:17 AM

        SubhanAllah!!!!
        What about sisters–I guess they can recite for women to practice this dawah method?

      • Amad

        Amad

        March 26, 2010 at 4:59 AM

        Shaykh al-Areefi is a BRILLIANT man… I went to his halaqat after Tarawih prayers and even with my limited Arabic, I could understand nearly 90% of what he was saying… Don’t ask how…

        • Avatar

          Muhammad Elijah

          March 30, 2010 at 11:57 PM

          Assalaamu ‘Alaikum Amad
          We should avoid using our pictures because it is unanimously Haraam according to Fuqahaa. Rasool
          (sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) told us that most extreme ‘Azaab in Naar would be given to the
          Musawwiroon. Compare it with how Rasool (sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) forgave those who stoned
          Him in Taaif, to show the seriousness of this Haraam. I hope that you would be happy to listen to my Nahi ‘anil Munkar, beacuse people with Eemaan are the ones who are happy to listen to Nahi ‘anil Munkar,.

          • Avatar

            Muhammad Awais Tahir

            May 7, 2010 at 2:20 AM

            @ Muhammad Elijah

            There is no ‘unanimous’ opinion on photographs. Most of the arab scholars deem it to be allowed and most of the non-arab scholars say that its prohibited.

    • Amad

      Amad

      March 26, 2010 at 5:04 AM

      This also reminds me of a recent incident… I had my Christian co-worker and neighbor over at my house for dinner… a solid guy. And then I was talking to him about my son’s Quran memorization and took that as an excuse to have my son recite half a page. I could see the guy’s face literally change and tears filling his eyes. If it weren’t for the fact that I knew that he didn’t know a word of Arabic, I might have thought that he was understanding every word!

      This is book, wherein there is no doubt. No doubt about that.

    • Avatar

      Elizabeth

      March 31, 2010 at 6:35 PM

      It makes sense to me that they felt peace after hearing those particular ayats. When I recite ayats about Isa al Masih there is always a stirring in my heart. I know that what the Qur’an says about him is true- he truly is one with whom Allah is well-pleased, and none of my Christian friends would disagree with this. Talking about the similarities between what the Injeel and the Qur’an say about Isa al Masih is a great way to connect with others about the things of Allah. Also, talking about the kingdom of God (the melakut Allah) is a good starting point.

      • Avatar

        Muhammad Elijah

        April 1, 2010 at 1:28 AM

        السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
        Assalamu ‘Alaikum Ukhtanaa fil Islaam/Our sister in Islam

        Are you a born Muslimah like most of us here?

        What you call a stirring in your heart is called Sakeenah سكينة in ‘Arabi.

        There is a subtle difference between Mulk and Malakoot which can be understood by studying the book Mufradaatul Qur’aan by Imaam Raaghib Asfahaani- a classical scholar of Islamic linguistics. Both of them can mean Kingdom. When al Maseeh ‘Eesaa bin Maryam(alaihis salaam, Peace be upon Him) returns with sword to kill Dajjaal/Antichrist he would establish remporal Kingdom of Allaah when righteousness would prevail on earth.Pornography,fornication,adultery, sodomy would end which Dajjaal’s forces are promoting.The historical Christendom is in the total control of the forces of Dajjaal disguised in the DECEPTIVE euphemisms of Western science and Western philosophy. Dajjaal comes from the root Dajl which means DECEPTION.

        neorient@gmail.com

        • Avatar

          Muhammad Elijah

          April 1, 2010 at 1:53 AM

          I meant Temporal Kingdom of Allaah. Even the name of one of the Soorahs of Qur’aan is Sooratul Mulk which is the 67th Soorah of Qur’aan. رسول الله Rasool of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (Apostle of Allaah, May Allaah bless Him and grant Him Peace) used to recite
          سورة الملك Sooratul Mulk every night before sleeping. He صلى الله عليه وسلم had said that this Soorah protects from عذاب القبر -the ‘Azaab of Qabr-The Torment in Grave. May Allaah protect us all from عذاب القبر
          Khaleefah ‘Uthmaan(رضي الله عنه ,radi Allaahu ‘anhu,May Allaah be pleased with Him) used to weep so
          much while visiting a Qabr, that His beard would become soked with tears. He (radi Allaahu ‘anhu)
          would say that Qabr is the first Manzil-the first station of all the stations of Aakhirah/Hereafter.

  10. Avatar

    muslimah101

    March 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    one of my christian friends wants to revert to Islam. she just dropped it on me out of nowhere and i was like ‘huh what’? she is dating a muslim guy and he wants her to convert. she is already searching for hijabs! idk what to tell her, she says she doesnt believe in Christianity so it doesnt matter if she changed her religion. she told me she always knew she wanted to marry a muslim dude cos they dont drink and sleep around. lol, yeah i wish it were true ( there are muslims who drink and commit zina)- i told her so but she has a very good image of muslim guys. im confused if i should hit her with some d’awah. she only wants to accept islam to please her boyfriend.

    • Avatar

      Rifai

      March 26, 2010 at 12:52 PM

      MashAllah , it looks as though u could be in the position to strike while the irons hot, so to speak, by relaying to this person the beauty of Islam. Hopefully , with your efforts and the help of Allah(SWT) she will love Islam and understand as much as she needs to , so that it is no longer for the sake of her boyfriend.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      March 29, 2010 at 2:41 AM

      Let her convert, befriend her and slowly work on her by showing her the beauty and truth of Islam, over time her intentions will change and she will embrace Islam wholeheartedly if Allah wills it.

  11. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    March 27, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    Wonderful post. Although I appreciate your humility a lot, Brother Ismail, I think you undermine yourself too much.
    The way you were reading that book despite overhearing that discussion between the two men, and the way you offered that lady her seat and answered her question about your dress, was probably very effective da’wah in and of itself. Sometimes, our body language and non-verbal gestures communicate more about Islam to onlookers than we think.
    I think it was wise of you not to get involved in the discussion between the two men. My guess is, they saw you sitting there reading, and you probably obviously looked like a Muslim to them, yet your lack of reaction to their statements about God could have been the very thing that might inspire them to eventually investigate about Islam more!
    Allah knows best.

    • Avatar

      Ismail Kamdar

      March 29, 2010 at 2:40 AM

      Jazakallah Khair for putting things in a positive light, ukhti. I also thought about that, but felt that I could have done more in this situation.

      Yes, insha Allah, my actions were Dawah but I could have done more productive Dawah, but Allah knows best. I try to make my every action a means of indirect Dawah, but I also feel direct Dawah through conversation is necessary, and Allah knows best.

  12. Avatar

    Mombeam

    March 29, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    as-salaamu `alaykum

    I haven’t read the comments yet but I just wanted to say I don’t think you necessariy “missed” anything. As an American myself I can tell you that many Americans do NOT like to be overtly preached to. It turns them off more than anything else. You offered a seat to the woman, that is da`wah! You were THERE, in the library,dressed as you were, acting as a human being. As many people only think of Muslims as crazed lunatics who live “somewhere else”, your mere presence is da`wah. Don’t get trapped into thinking that you must “talk about Islam” to every person you meet. In fact many people who convert do so after years and years of combined small positive experiences with Muslims which slowly plant small seeds of thought that they further investigate. If you turn yourself into a busybody who butts into every conversation with a comment about “religion”, people tend to be turned off. If you had butted into a conversation that was not yours but one that you just overheard, you could also have been a turnoff. You didn’t MISS anything. You did JUST FINE.

  13. Avatar

    Muhammad Elijah

    March 30, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum waRahmatullaahi waBarakaatuhu

    I don’t agree with those who live in Daarul Kufr with a reason other than Da’wah, but I agree with Mombeam.
    Our silence is better than wrong conversation in a wrong way like being angry/being ill-informed with wrong people like those intent on kufr.

    Science and philosophy, unlike from Muslims, is an obstacle to Deen for non-Muslims. So, Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s Bible,Quran and Science is the best book you can offer as a gift.
    hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com is the best Muslim philosopher, I have come across. He has published a book:The History of Qur’aan.

    neorient@gmail.com

  14. Avatar

    ummammaar

    April 10, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Asalamualikum ww;
    As of what i know is :Dawah means to tell Non muslims abt islam n Islah is used for Muslims!(Do correct me on this)

    My extended family bak in india swims in deep pools of shirk n bidáa, n most of the time when my husband i try to talk abt how imp it is to have correct aqeeda, everyone gets into BIG arguments n sometimes ppl even stop talking abt religion.

    we do have lotts of family gatherings but dare nyone talks abt, Islam. So heart breaking!

    The way they pray is WRONG, like men pray differntly n women different.

    we did pass on booklets abt , bidaa n shirk n Prophet”s way of salah.
    I do see some changes every year i go but its tooooooo slow—-maybe for doing Islah n dawaa work, a person needs to be in constant touch.

    jazakallah khairn

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#Islam

Swallowing Your Pride For A Moment Is Harder Than Praying All Night | Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman

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Iblees was no ordinary worshipper. He worshipped Allah for thousands of years with thousands of prayers. He ascended the ranks until he accompanied the angels with his noteworthy worship. Performing good deeds was no issue for him. He thanked Allah with his prayers, and Allah rewarded him with a lofty station in Paradise. But when Adam was created and given the station that he was, suddenly Iblees was overcome by pride. He couldn’t bear to see this new creation occupy the place that he did. And as he was commanded to prostrate to him, his pride would overcome him and doom him for eternity. Alas, swallowing his pride for one prostration of respect to Adam was more difficult to him than thousands of prostrations of worship to Allah.

In that is a cautionary lesson for us especially in moments of intense worship. When we exert ourselves in worship, we eventually start to enjoy it and seek peace in it. But sometimes we become deluded by that worship. We may define our religiosity exclusively in accordance with it, become self-righteous as a result of it, and abuse people we deem lesser in the name of it. The worst case scenario of this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about one who comes on the day of judgment with all of their prayers, fasting, and charity only to have it all taken away because of an abusive tongue.

But what makes Iblees’s struggle so relevant to ours? The point of worship is to humble you to your Creator and set your affairs right with His creation in accordance with that humility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever has an atom’s worth of pride in their heart would not enter paradise. The most obvious manifestation of that pride is rejecting the truth and belittling someone else. But other subtle manifestations of that pride include the refusal to leave off argumentation, abandon grudges, and humble yourself to the creation in pursuit of the pleasure of the Creator.

Yaqeen

Hence a person would rather spend several Ramadan’s observing the last 10 nights in intense prayer seeking forgiveness for their sins from Allah, rather then humble themselves for a moment to one of Allah’s servants by seeking forgiveness for their transgressions against him, even if they too have a claim.

Jumah is our weekly Eid, and Monday’s and Thursday’s are our weekly semblances of Ramadan as the Prophet (s) used to fast them since our deeds are presented to Allah on those days. He said about them, “The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who is not a polytheist, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other”

In Ramadan, the doors of Heaven are opened throughout the month and the deeds ascend to Allah. But imagine if every day as your fasting, Quran recitation, etc. is presented to Allah this month, He responds to the angels to delay your pardon until you reconcile with your brother. Ramadan is the best opportunity to write that email or text message to that lost family member or friend and say “it’s not worth it to lose Allah’s forgiveness over this” and “IM SORRY.”

Compare these two statements:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who boycotts his brother for more than three days and dies during this period will be from the people of hellfire.”

He also said:

“I guarantee a house in the suburbs of Paradise for one who leaves arguments even if he is right.”

Swallowing your pride is bitter, while prayer is sweet. Your ego is more precious to you than your sleep. But above all, Allah’s pleasure is more precious than it all.

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Dawah and Interfaith

Can I Give My Zakat To An Islamic Educational Cause?

Dr Usaama al-Azami

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As Ramadan nears its end, many Muslims are thinking about paying their zakat in the last ten nights. But what is a worthy cause to which we can give our zakat and, in particular, what do the scholars have to say on this issue?

A number of Islamic educational and media institutions in the West have in recent years been highlighting their ‘zakat-eligible’ status. The list of these institutions is quite long. In the US, they include this website, the al-Madina Institute, the Yaqeen Institute, Zaytuna College, and the Ta’leef Collective. In the UK, they include Cambridge Muslim College. Some of these institutions focus on covering the cost of tuition for students who would otherwise be unable to pay, but others are focused on running an institution whose raison d’etre is Islamic education.

But some might wonder how such institutions can receive zakat? A common belief is that zakat is meant only for the poor and destitute and that such institutions would, therefore, be ineligible. This is sometimes reinforced by the way that a minority of scholars, including learned ones, might deal with these issues.

Last year in the UK, a respected scholar stated emphatically that “none of the scholars” in Islamic history until modern times had ever said one can give zakat to causes like supporting institutions that promote Islamic education. He asserted that only modern scholars permitted the spending of zakat on such matters in the name of the fī sabīli-Llāh category (which I will explain below). The same British scholar reiterated a similar view in the past couple of weeks, but this time said that his view was the opinion of the “vast majority of scholars”.

The average Muslim may find such conflicting claims confusing. How is it that some scholars say zakat cannot be given to Islamic educational causes, while a large number of prominent Islamic educational institutions, presumably led by Islamic scholars, are directly soliciting zakat funds?

The main reason for this is the existence of difference of opinion (ikhtilāf) among scholars regarding who or what is deserving of zakat payment. The Qur’an (9:60) sets out eight categories of zakat-eligible recipients. While people today often think of zakat as being due to the poor and needy, they only explicitly form two of these categories.

The basis on which many of the aforementioned scholarly institutions claim zakat-eligible status is the category of fī sabīli-Llāh which translates to “in God’s path.” Historically, the more dominant interpretation of this zakat-eligible category was that it referred to jihād in God’s path, i.e. zakat was to be given to people engaged in military expeditions on behalf of the Islamic community.

However, some medieval scholars, and a remarkably large number of modern scholars, appealing to the fact that the Prophet highlighted that jihād was ultimately for the sake of making God’s word prevail (li-takun kalimat Allāh hiya al-‘ulyā), have argued for a far broader understanding of this zakat-eligible category.

Jihād, as a concept, is of course incredibly broad in Islam. For example, one finds in a sound hadith that the Prophet said: “Engage in jihād against the polytheists with your wealth, your lives, and your tongues.” Additionally, some of the verses in the Qur’an that enjoined jihād were revealed in Mecca where military jihād was not yet permitted.

Because of this, a minority of medieval scholars argued that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients could entail payments made to support any righteous acts, while others argued that the category was ultimately about upholding and strengthening Islam specifically through da‘wa initiatives that cause God’s word to prevail of which education is one of the most effective tools.

Indeed, giving seekers of sacred knowledge (ṭullāb al-‘ilm) was deemed a legitimate form of zakat payment according to all four schools of law. Clearly, the respected British scholar cited above was inaccurate in his claim that “none of the scholars,” or only a small minority of them, viewed the fī sabīli-Llāh category as referring to anything other than military engagements.

Among modern Arab ulama, the view that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients can apply to Islamic da‘wa and educational initiatives has perhaps become the dominant position on this issue over the last one hundred years. This is true of all major ideological orientations, whether Salafi, Neo-traditionalist, or Islamist.

Thus, for example, arguably the most important Salafi scholar of his generation, the first Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Āl al-Shaykh argued that the most deserving recipient of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat was the cause of da‘wa, and responding to sources of doubt about Islam. Reportedly it is also the final opinion of his most important successor, Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz. Among living Salafis, this is the position of senior scholars outside the Saudi religious establishment as well, such as Shaykh Salmān al-‘Awda and Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Munajjid (may Allah liberate them from their unjust imprisonment).

It is also the position of senior scholars of the Azhar and Egypt’s Grand Muftis for many generations from the 20th and 21st centuries. In our own time, this includes Neo-traditionalist scholars like ‘Alī Jum‘a and Abdullāh b. Bayyah. While the latter prefers a more restrictive interpretation for the category, he permits the more expansive interpretation in his fatwas.

Among Islamist (Ikhwān) oriented scholars, one finds Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, author of what is perhaps the most comprehensive work to be written on the fiqh of zakat in Islamic history, promoting such an understanding as well. His two volume work, which addresses the major debates surrounding the fī sabīli-Llāh category in great detail, has also been translated into English. Among younger Islamist-leaning scholars, the encyclopaedic Mauritanian scholar and master of the Sharia sciences, Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-Dadaw argues that the fī sabīli-Llāh category may even be used in the establishing of educational endowments.

The above is only a selection of voices among those who are supportive of promoting Islamic educational causes on the basis of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat. With due respect to scholars who would argue otherwise, it is clear that this is not only a legitimate legal opinion on this question but may well be the dominant view of many of the leading scholars of modern times.

Our communities are best served by an Islamic discourse that acknowledges the richness and diversity of our great religious tradition rather than restricts it to a narrow range of opinions. As the Prophet said to the Bedouin who prayed for God to exclusively show mercy to himself and the Prophet, “You have constricted what is vast!” (laqad ḥajjarta wāsi‘an).

Since there are a very large number of scholars who have recognised initiatives that promote the sound understanding of Islam to be eligible for receiving zakat, our community is best served by the accurate portrayal of the valid difference of opinion on such matters in which members of the community may legitimately seek to follow either opinion without claiming that the position adopted by others is illegitimate.

In an era in which the sound understanding of Islam is threatened by Islamophobic forces from without and extremist forces from within, we all recognise the importance of Islamic education as a central concern for contemporary Muslims to prioritise. May we all support this cause, whether through zakat or by some other means.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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