Thank you for the much-needed wake-up call. God-Willing, I and all Muslims reading your question will take it to heart.
Muslims Are Called to Share Islam
In fact, Muslims are obligated by their religion to convey the message of Islam to everyone they can. Allah (SWT) says in Surah 16, verse 125:
Invite [all] to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best.
According to the Islamic creed, there will be no more prophets, for Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the seal of prophets. This is until the second coming of Jesus (on whom be peace), who the Islamic creed states that he will also follow Islam.
Thus, Muslims are responsible for conveying the message of Islam to the succeeding generations of people, and we will be questioned as to how we conveyed that message.
Allah says in Surah 2, verse 143:
Thus, have We made of you an ummah (nation) justly balanced – that you might be witnesses over the nations and the messenger a witness over you.
Also in Surah 7, verse 6:
Then surely We shall question those unto whom [Our message] had been sent and surely We shall question the messengers.
Calling vs. Forcing Conversion
It is noteworthy here to realize that Muslims are ordered not to try to force anyone to accept Islam. The Quran states in Surah 2, verse 256 that:
There is no compulsion in religion.
In fact, we Muslims do not have a paid troop of missionaries/evangelists, in the way Christians do. Yes, there are scholars and da’ees, but Muslims are to show Islam initially by example.
The Best Da’wah is Living Islam
They should live their lives in accord with Islam and give information based on the Qur’an—the word of Allah—and the sunnah—the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Sadly, Muslims are not living up to their responsibilities of calling to Allah and His message. Some Muslims believe there are higher priorities, while others seem to believe it should not be done. Others lack the necessary skills, language, and knowledge.
What Muslims Are Doing:
Yet, to be fair, something is being done here in the UK – though, it’s not enough:
- Table Da`wah (calling to Allah): manning stalls in the market place.
- Speakers Corner – Hyde Park, London: there is a group based at Regents Park, Islamic Center.
These two points above are – perhaps – examples of ‘standing on the street’, as you’ve said.
Also, Muslims in the UK are involved in these other methods of da’wah:
- Mail drops: volunteers distributing information packs to houses.
- Advertisements: in newspapers/magazines and follow up to any inquiries.
- Internet: websites explaining Islam and answering questions.
- TV stations: There are some Arabic digital channels transmitting programs about Islam in English, part of the time. For example, al-Magd 2 was airing during the month of Ramadan, along with Iqra.
- Schools and universities: Muslims speaking in schools on Islam and characteristics of Muslims, under the general category of citizenship, along with assemblies and lectures.
- Churches: Muslims speaking in churches and demonstrating prayer.
- Interfaith dialogue: general discussions giving the Islamic perspective.
- Town Halls: exhibitions, dinners, and talks, etc…
In some countries, Muslims are helping teach people about Islam through courses like Islam 101. This was started in Canada, for example, by a group called Muslims Against Terrorism.
Misunderstanding Is a Barrier to Da’wah
In fact, I totally agree with you that misunderstanding is the key factor in anti-Islamic sentiments. The media, Church, politicians, and others have all given false information, or have even distorted Islam so that the average person certainly does not understand Islam.
Nevertheless, I need to mention that Muslims have also contributed to this confusion. Their practice of Islam has often fallen far short of what is actually required. For example, walk down any main road in any large town or city and you will see Muslim businesses selling alcohol, which is prohibited for Muslims.
Some Muslims are not aware of their responsibilities of prayer, for example in schools, universities and their place of work. There are also the questions of dress, drinking alcohol, ‘pubbing and clubbing’ and so on.
Actually, I really welcome your comments and I wonder if you have specific ideas as to how Muslims can approach non-Muslims in this country? We would certainly appreciate your comments on this point.
To sum up, I need to remind you that the duty of Muslims is only to convey the message of Islam; to call to Allah. We must speak the truth. However, who becomes a Muslim is not in the hands of the person doing the calling. That is with Allah alone. Our duty is only to convey information, Allah will then decide who does or does not become Muslim.
May Allah help us to do more for Him, ameen.
I hope this answers your question.
In light of recent events in the UK targeting Muslims coming out of the Masjid, Muslims walking down the street, and just going about their lives, we want to emphasize that the best sort of dawah is to live one’s life in the best way, and model Islam. Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t unnecessarily risk your life or well-being to call to Islam by standing on street corners and approaching people in unsafe places.
This response is from About Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date
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