In this post i would like to share my Dawa’h experience. This experience is related to a specific event which is a kind of a learning in dealing with potential “state agents” “state intelligence officers”, “undercover agents” or “spies” you may call, who often disguise themselves as common civilans and try to probe people. I believe that this is good, as it helps in knowing potential trouble makers, terrorists or people with extreme ideologies who can harm fellow human beings. However, i also believe that, at times these tactics are used to fix vulnerable people in crime and carry out specific acts which helps state’s foreing policies in home policies and abroad.
In this example the conversation i am presenting and the person [referred Mr. X] i am referring is not confirmed to be associated with any state authority. This is just an assumption that he could be a spy and doing a regular investigation for potential security threats in the country. For some reason i am not disclosing the name/identity of this person.
The reason for such a discussion with you guys is to make people aware on how should we approach Dawah and avoid any situation of confrontation. As we all understand and practice the commandments of Holy Quran which command us to convey the message only and do not try to force, or take any means which is against the peaceful engagement. Though we practicing muslims who read and understand Quran understand these points, many people not, and hence these tests come while in Dawah.
Its worth reminding and explaining here why we do Dawah to a “larger audience”. There are few obvious questions which come in mind when people see muslims in field distributing Quran and Islamic literature.
- Are they here to convert people?
- Do they have any political agenda?
- Do they hate non-Muslims?
- Are they terrorists?
- Do they have any ulterior motive?
We are not doing Dawah to go and convert people to Islam. Period. The affair of hearts belong to Allah and it is Allah’s divine wisdom that we have so many religions, phoilosophy, race and culture. We consider this life as a test for human beings in myriad of diverse situations which are not in human control and is a part of overall destiny of this universe. The diversity we see around is a part of the same wisdom and test and we should respect the status quo. We do dawah with a simple purpose to “convey the message of Islam” only since it is commanded to do so. It helps in dealing Islamophobia, interact with people and share common understanding.
We do not have any political ulterior motive. We do Dawah since we believe that there is a creator of this vast, precise and beautiful universe and the creator commands believers to convey the divine message to humanity. We believe in the message of Quran and the prophecies of prophet Muhammad pbuh which is taking the shape of relaity every day. Dawa’h is a common practice till the end of time for all muslims to practice as we believe that there is no more further prophet to come. We believe that in the day of judgement Muslims will be judged on the basis of how much they practiced and conveyed the message of Islam.
We can not invite people to the message of Islam unless we love, respect and understand people. Some people get this idea that we are boasting the superiority of Islam over other religion or religious superiority of muslims over non-muslims. This is not the case. What we are doing is first to “present the Islamic message” and then “to invite people” to true monotheism, which is an integral essence of all world’s major religions. Invitation and boasting superiority are two diffferent attitude. We believe that the concept of monotheism and the “word of Almighty God” is intact in its pure form, preserved in the Holy Quran. We are neither terrorists nor sympathises with any crime committed in the name of religion or any other non-religious ideology. We do not have any anti-state agenda in mind or any ulterior motive to participate in any unlawful activity against the state. Islam grounds you in humility, gratefulness and peace. Our believe and conviction is sourced in the divine message of Holy Quran.
Holy Quran says:
“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.”
(Qur’an: al-Nahl: -16:125).
Further it says:
“There should be no coercion(compulsion) in religion’
(Qur’an: al-Baqarah -2:256).
It also gives us specific limits of discourse as:
Holy Quran, Al-An’aam (6:107)
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكُوا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا ۖ وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِوَكِيلٍ
But if Allah had willed, they would not have associated. And We have not appointed you over them as a guardian, nor are you a manager over them.
Hence, it is very clear with these verses that what we do is “to convey the message” of “submission to God’s will” only. We do not have any other intention. If people accept the message, reject the message, mock on us, abuse us or even harm us physically, we are not commanded to retaliate in any unlawful way in the course of Dawah. People who carry hate, will never be coherent with the message of love. We always pray for those who throw stones to our messages.
In situations where we face violent, abusive and coercive response we are commanded to practice patience (as in video above taken in one Dawah session).
Holy Quran, Al-An’aam (6:68-72)
وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ يَخُوضُونَ فِي آيَاتِنَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَخُوضُوا فِي حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ ۚ وَإِمَّا يُنْسِيَنَّكَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَا تَقْعُدْ بَعْدَ الذِّكْرَىٰ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversation. And if Satan should cause you to forget, then do not remain after the reminder with the wrongdoing people.
وَمَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ وَلَٰكِنْ ذِكْرَىٰ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
And those who fear Allah are not held accountable for the disbelievers at all, but [only for] a reminder – that perhaps they will fear Him.
وَذَرِ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَهُمْ لَعِبًا وَلَهْوًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَذَكِّرْ بِهِ أَنْ تُبْسَلَ نَفْسٌ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ لَيْسَ لَهَا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيٌّ وَلَا شَفِيعٌ وَإِنْ تَعْدِلْ كُلَّ عَدْلٍ لَا يُؤْخَذْ مِنْهَا ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أُبْسِلُوا بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۖ لَهُمْ شَرَابٌ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَعَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ
And leave those who take their religion as amusement and diversion and whom the worldly life has deluded. But remind with the Qur’an, lest a soul be given up to destruction for what it earned; it will have other than Allah no protector and no intercessor. And if it should offer every compensation, it would not be taken from it. Those are the ones who are given to destruction for what they have earned. For them will be a drink of scalding water and a painful punishment because they used to disbelieve.
قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنْفَعُنَا وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا وَنُرَدُّ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ كَالَّذِي اسْتَهْوَتْهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِي الْأَرْضِ حَيْرَانَ لَهُ أَصْحَابٌ يَدْعُونَهُ إِلَى الْهُدَى ائْتِنَا ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۖ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Say, “Shall we invoke instead of Allah that which neither benefits us nor harms us and be turned back on our heels after Allah has guided us? [We would then be] like one whom the devils enticed [to wander] upon the earth confused, [while] he has companions inviting him to guidance, [calling], ‘Come to us.’ ” Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds.
وَأَنْ أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّقُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
And to establish prayer and fear Him.” And it is He to whom you will be gathered.
Holy Quran, Al-Maaida (5:105)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is you return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do.
Holy Quran, Aal-i-Imraan (3:20)
فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُلْ لِلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوْا ۖ وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ
So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to Allah [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and [to] the unlearned, “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then upon you is only the [duty of] notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.
If we study Holy Quran, we will notice in numerous places Allah tells believers that the guidance is Allah’s affair and Muslims are only commanded to present the message in the best way possible. This is Dawa’h and this is what we do.
Holy Quran, Al-Baqara (2:213)
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it – after the clear proofs came to them – out of jealous animosity among themselves. And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.
The person i am referring here (let’s call him Mr. X) was one individual who used to come to our Dawah table regularly. He used to discuss variety of subject. Religion, economics, prophecies and end of times. Long interesting conversations, sometime argumentative however it all turns in a graceful end almost all the times as our discussion were never personal and the open points were always discussed in next meetings.
Let’s look into the message exchanges now, and how it went further.
One night, i got a disturbing video from Mr. X. In this video a lady was harassed and eventually someone was teasing behind her. If you notice the discussion as in image above, you can notice the provocation he is trying to generate. If you give a benefit of doubt, you may call the person too zealous, but a person in his 50s do not behave so impulsive to my experience. This was clearly an exercise to test the water. The reason i can think of (i may be wrong), is to test how this person reacts to such information.
It may look a bit cowardice response, but this is how we should deal with whatsapp or any social media forwarded message. What can be done if an incident of such nature has occured. In Islam it is not advised to retaliate in a situation to satisfy self, but the action should be for the sake of Allah. Of course, if you are in the bus, seeing such incident happening, you will try to intervene. Any decent person, whether muslim or not, will try to protect a lady being harassed or molested. But, once the incident has happened the best we can do is to report it to proper authorities and assist police in finding the culprit and cooperate with judiciary.
You may also see from the content of message that he is trying to probe me and finding my response, that if i am anti-western or not. A person practicing Islam can not practice favoritism across any human being. Islam makes a person neutral to race, culture, country or color. The only boundary a muslim cares is the one drawn by Almighty which separates believers, hypocrites and disbelievers. Muslims do not have luxury to feel proud and practice hate. In Dawa’h we should be very careful to the intention and only if we are sincere to what we speak, will be able to stand in these tough situations.
Mr. X stopped communication after few days and he disappeared and i do not see him since then. His phone is not reachable.
May be Mr. X got the message that the Islam these guys on streets are talking is really a religion of peace.
I wish all the best for Mr. X. May Almighty guide you, me and rest of mankind in practicing peace.