How Can I Introduce Islam to a Buddhist?

24 February, 2021
Q Assalamu alaikum Warahamthullahi wabarakaathuhu! I am from Sri Lanka! and I have a friend who is a practicing Buddhist. But, since Buddhism shows a good path for humans, it is hard for me tell her about even a simple thing in Islam. Could you please suggest how to tell her about Islam? And she is very afraid of her parents. Please give me a solution. Because teaching Islam to a Christian is easier than to a Buddhist. Buddhists don't believe in God!


Short Answer:

  • Our duty is to awaken the people to the truth of their origin as God’s creation. Ask them: where do you come from in an ultimate philosophical sense.
  • Another point about Buddhists is that they do not believe in heaven or hell. And the concept of karma and rebirth as believed by Buddhists is quite different. They also deny the existence of the soul.


Salam Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

How Can I Introduce Islam to A Buddhist?

Inviting people to the Path of Allah is the duty of every Muslim, and Allah commands us to do this duty in a pleasing and diplomatic manner:  

{Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.} (Quran 16:125)

I understand that you recognize the significance of the above verse, as you wish to live up to it in your own life. This certainly is a positive step forward in the path of da’wah (inviting to Islam).  

You should find a way to diplomatically direct your conversation with your friend to the topic of Islam. Your objective in the first place should be to convey to your listener the fundamental truths of Islam in clear terms.

A person who undertakes the task of da’wah should also have a basic knowledge of his or her addressees. 

It is quite understandable that Muslims have difficulty convincing Buddhists about God, as their religion does not give any significance to the belief in the existence of God. 

But we know every human, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, knows of God in the depths of their hearts, possibly in a half-forgotten manner. This is the reason why Allah Almighty commands us to remind the non-Muslims of Allah:

{Remind then, [others of the truth, regardless of] whether this reminding [would seem to] be of use [or not]} (Quran 87:9)

Awaken People to the Truth

The foregoing indicates that our duty is to awaken the people to the truth of their origin as God’s creation. Ask them: where do you come from in an ultimate philosophical sense.  

Whether they give you the right answer or not, you may begin by giving them the Islamic answer. And if your friend is willing to listen, you can give an idea of God as described in the Quran too.

Another point about Buddhists is that they do not believe in heaven or hell. And the concept of karma and rebirth as believed by Buddhists is quite different. They also deny the existence of the soul.

You can counter the above beliefs by telling them of the psychological need felt by all of us for rewards after good actions. If there is no God, what seems to exist is dangerously unreliable, and there is no real incentive for doing well either.

Is it wrong then to have the desire in us for a better life, for a better world?

Without such a desire and the expectation of good results for our efforts (which is our reward here and now), the world will be a desert of dried-up dreams.  

As for the soul, it is our self that gives us the feeling of “me”; and without that feeling, we have no real identity and we are nowhere. As humans who live in the world of the body and the soul, we strive for satisfaction at both levels.

Islam is a religion and a philosophy that addresses the human condition in this life and promises a future world of happiness to those who lead a meaningful life here.

By way of da’wah, you may also begin by seeking the common ground between Buddhism and Islam.

Gautama Buddha (or Tathagata) taught that he was not the only Buddha (meaning, the Enlightened One) leading people along the Right Path.  

In answer to a question by Ananda, Gautama said:  

‘I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last.

In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of mena master of angels and mortals.

He will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, and glorious at the goal, in the spirit and in the letter. 

He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and pure; such as I now proclaim.’ 

Ananda said, ‘How shall we know him?’

The Blessed One said, ‘He will be known as Maitreya, which means ‘he whose name is kindness.’ (Paul Carus: Gospel of Buddha – chapter 96- emphasis added)

Anyone who has studied the life of the Last Prophet can see that the above prediction of Maitreya is about a Buddha (an enlightened one) of the future, who could very well be Prophet Muhammad himself.

Prophet Muhammad proved to be the supremely enlightened one as he received the whole of the Quran as Divine revelation.

He was the incomparable leader of men as his directives and instructions were followed literally by hundreds of thousands of people belonging to all tribes, races, and nationalities.

And he proclaimed a religious life wholly perfect and pure which can be described as Gautama Buddha’s teaching extended and perfected to guide humans in all areas of life, such as the social, financial, and political spheres.

One notable aspect of Buddhism is its opposition to the social distinctions (the caste system) prevailing in the society. Buddhism offered a code of practical ethics and established the principle of social equality. This aspect of Buddhism brings it closer to Islam.

Buddha’s teaching to renounce the world – in effect to suppress human desires and aspirations – is tempered by the Islamic teaching of ‘seeking the other world through the blessings of this world’ (See Quran 28:77).

At the same time, the Prophet repeatedly emphasized the transience of this world and the permanence of the other. Islam is a middle path reconciling this temporal world and the next world of eternity.

Buddhism too is not just renunciation; it does not ignore the practical world of everyday reality; rather it points towards the Middle Path of Maitreya, the merciful one. And Allah Almighty calls Prophet Muhammad “a Mercy for all creatures” (Quran 21:107)

So, pray to Allah for guidance and begin the da’wah to your Buddhist friend with confidence.
May Allah the All-Merciful help us and guide us in all our efforts in His Way!  


(From Ask About Islam Archives)

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About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.