Short Answer: The most effective technique for divine success in spreading the religion of Allah is to call by our character. Today, we rely on complicated philosophical arguments, marketing techniques, and historical references to those Muslims who actually lived Islam. This is simply because we are not providing a good example. We must call all people, rich or poor, educated or not, to Islam through our actions, exemplifying the true beauty of Islam in our lives.
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After reading the German brother’s words several times, I believe that you misunderstood him, and in fact, there is nothing to worry about.
He appears to suggest using reverse psychology—that is pretending that the Muslims are “above” using normal soliciting in order to generate interest in it from non-Muslims.
In the entertainment industry, it would be called “not selling out.”
Thus, instead of appealing to the average person who is, in fact, affected by advertising, fads, and psychological manipulation by the moneyed elite, we would rather create an Islamic image of anti-establishmentism and elitism to attract the sympathies of the intellectually-motivated members of society, many of whom are dissatisfied with the status quo.
In other words, if we remain aloof, people might think that we have something to say and will come to us to listen.
Effective Da ‘wah Requires Active Islam
The truth of the matter is we DO have something to say, but our job is to say it to ALL of the people. Allah says:
You are the best of the nations raised up for [the benefit of] mankind; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah; and if the followers of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them […] (Quran 3:110)
We must direct our da`wah (call to Islam) to both educated and illiterate; rich and poor; woman and man; young and old.
The most effective technique for divine success in spreading the religion of Allah is to call by our character.
The Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not speak Persian, Latin, Greek, or any of the other world languages of their age.
Nevertheless, within only a few years, vast numbers of people of other cultures and languages accepted Islam.
Simply put, the people witnessed the Truth of Islam in the temperament of the early Muslims, and this was enough to persuade their hearts.
Today, we rely on complicated philosophical arguments, marketing techniques, and historical references to those Muslims who actually lived Islam.
This is simply because we are not providing a good example.
We could dispense with all intellectual sparring if we simply implemented the most effective da`wah technique available – our character.
Islam Is Not an Exclusivist Club for the Intellectually Elite
The main problem I see with the German brother’s suggested approach to da`wah is that the inviter to Islam may make Muslims look arrogant and exclusive.
We want to project to the world the universality and inclusiveness of Islam – this is a major “selling point” of our religion.
No matter who the person was before Islam, as soon as he or she submits himself to Allah, he is our brother or sister in faith and merits the exact same rights as any other Muslim in the world.
In this way we are not elite, but welcoming.
Thus, we do not want to imitate those with elitist or discriminatory outlooks in this regards, we must have concern for their eternal status just like we have concern for the rest of humanity.
Such is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
In turn, our concern and compassion will readily translate into an effective da`wah technique in and of itself.
Thank you again for your question, Mahmoud, and please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam’s archives)