By Dr. Sabeel Ahmed
Did you know that at one time, as you move up on your pedigree, one of your ancestors was a pagan, worshipping creation and idols? How did our ancestors accept Islam? Well, Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the Sahaba (ra), struggled with their time, wealth and lives, to make sure that the message of Islam could be delivered to our pagan ancestors in regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. It is due to these immense sacrifices that we can call ourselves Muslims today.
Sahaba (ra) could have been content with believing and practicing Islam and being part of the best generation of mankind. They could have stayed in Madinah, holding annual conferences, or isolating themselves in the Masajids, doing zikr etc, but they knew that the message of Islam was meant for all of humanity and they made sure that it reached far and wide. Saad ibn Waqaas, not knowing a single word of Chinese, went to China to spread Islam, Amr bin Al-Aas was dispatched to Egypt, Uqba bin Nafi went to Algeria and other Sahaba travelled to other parts of the world with the message of Islam. Their outreach rally was the following verse: “And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you…’ (Quran 2.143)
Us, we don’t have to struggle with any barriers to come here to the USA. We, or our parents, came here in the comfort of a plane, now residing amidst 300 million of our fellow Americans waiting to hear the message of Islam. What are we doing about it?
Some of us may be saying that we don’t have the time, ability or talent to do dawah. To perform dawah, we don’t need to be scholars or Aalims, no need to obtain a four year degree in Shariah or wait until we are 40 years and beyond. Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said: ‘Convey from me even if it is one single verse’. (Bukhari). Thus, even if we know only one single truth about Islam, it is still incumbent on us to share it with our brothers and sisters in humanity. For example, we all know that ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad, pbuh, is His messenger’, so go and share this with your colleagues, neighbors and classmates. If you don’t know the answer to a question, then come home, do research, consult with scholars, go back and convey the message.
Remember, 46% of the USA’s population associates Islam with violence. They are spoon fed a negative image about us day in and day out. Who will correct this misinformation about Islam? It is you, me and the Muslim Ummah in this part of the world. If we don’t fulfill this obligation of dawah as mentioned in the Quran 16:125, 2.143 etc, then don’t be surprised if the number of hate crimes increase, our liberties become even more restricted, our Masajids closed and practicing of Islam banned altogether! Scary? Yes, and our Muslim Ummah has passed through such calamities many times throughout history. The Spanish Inquisition of 1492, when Muslims, who ruled Spain for 750 years, were banned from practicing Islam, forcefully converted, were burned at the stake or thrown out into the sea. Not too long ago was the ethnic/religious cleansing in Bosnia where Muslims, who were living with non-Muslims for centuries, but due to lack of Dawah and practice of Islam and an increase of hatred against Muslims, were devastated when catastrophe descended on Bosnian Muslims and the whole world sat back and watched. May Allah (swt) protect us from such shame and disgrace.
My dear Muslims, with or without us, Allah’s (swt) Deen of Al-Islam will be spreading far and wide as is prophesized in the Quran (61:9).If we become helpers of Allah (swt), we will be rewarded in this life and the hereafter, if we neglect our obligation of dawah we may be held accountable in the hereafter and we may be humiliated with the hands of non-Muslims in this life.
Thus, what can we do on individual and team levels to share Islam?
- Learn the answers to commonly asked questions.
- Open-House – Arrange open houses in the masajid inviting neighbors, businesses, religious institutions, school and colleges.
- Host dawah booths whenever possible.
- Go to busy public places like bus and train stations, downtown and street corners and pass out brochures on Islam.
- Support those organizations and individuals who are performing dawah.
Let us pray to Allah (swt) to assist us in fulfilling our obligation of learning, practicing and conveying Islam. Aameen.