Shouldn’t we focus on refuting the misconceptions and defending Islam?
How is a class offered in the masjid to Muslims related to the da’wah efforts?
Having forgiveness and positivity.
[This is a letter written to respond to a few topics]
Firstly, if you are truly saddened by the lethargy of the group, you may be partially right, but I have to say that all of us on this list are constantly involved in some activity or another, and it is not logistically possible for all of us to be involved in each other’s activities.
Secondly, the Saturday class is, to me, as essential as any da’wah activity we do. More than one have spoken about the conduct of Muslims and how that impacts the da’wah. The question is where are they going to learn about the right conduct except if we come together and study together? This particular class is also aimed at new Muslims; the need to help people after their conversion should not be debatable. It is a class that aims to reach out to the English speaking community, and the services provided to them are limited in the Twin Cities. We all recognize the need for more. It is also meant to be a social gathering, and the need for that can’t be emphasized enough, particularly that we have just lost a long time convert last year or the year before because she didn’t find the appropriate social matrix to fit in. It is meant to be 101 class, if you will, because the need for that to the English speaking community is so obvious; not all people enjoy the type of classes we offer, for example, the Awesome Tuesday. Da’wah is not about non-Muslims only, and it has never been, nor is it about the Muslims only, as I stated in a previous e-mail, (to which no one responded to). We should all value each others’ manifestations of servitude to Allah. When people have a certain conviction, they may see the world through it. I believe, they should work on it, but it is not conducive for Islamic movements and individuals to continue to blame one another for detracting from “the real work for Islam,”. Incidentally, which is according to some, reforming people’s ‘aqeedah and practice is the “real work”, while to others being politically active so as to re-establish a righteous rule in the Muslim countries, to others it is going out to herd up the lost and misguided to the Houses of their Lord, and yet, some believe it is defending the land of Islam and the honor of Muslims…etc. Why can’t we all see the good in all of that, and spend our lives working on the track/s that suit/s our capacities, and motivate/s our souls? However, I must also add that, we should, when we feel overwhelmed, limit our exposure to anti-Islamic propaganda, because of many reasons:
1- We will not be able to completely keep up with their pace and volume, so we may feel frustrated. (Too many Daniel Pipes to chase, and they have so many resources.)
2- Allah had told us that the majority of people will not believe no matter how keen we are. None of the messengers or messages convinced the majority of humanity.
3- The shaytan wants to give us grief and if we follow every website or individual that says something or another about Islam, we will be overly burdened, and we may not have time for other things, and that is, despite its apparent nobility, an easy way for the shaytan to make us distressed.
I must say though, that refuting their claims is a great act, for Allah said in reference to the Quran, “And struggle against them with it; a great struggle” but we will do of that as much as we can.
Thirdly, many times, energetic and accomplished people feel betrayed by the ummah because it doesn’t rise to their expectations. However, the ummah is moving and not static.
“أمتي كالمطر لا يدرى أولها خير أم آخرها”
“My nation is like a good rain, it can’t be told whether it is first phase (generation) is better or the latter”
Fourthly, the ahadeeth that talk about retreat from the society certainly do not relate fully to our current reality. We see the little effort of ours blossom and the small number of seeds yield large crops. But, what if the vast majority of people are in fact lethargic? I find these ahadeeth very helpful when I get those feeling:
One night the Messenger of Allah didn’t go out to ‘isha until Omar said, “the women and children slept.” He, then, came out and said to the people in the masjid,
“ما ينتظرها أحد من أهل أرض غيركم ”
“No one of the dwellers of earth awaits it but you.” The narrator said, “This was before Islam spread”. [Muslim]
He also said,
“عبادة في الهرج كالهجرة إلي.”
“Worship during the time of al-harj (trials and lack of religious commitment) is like migration to me”. [Muslim]
What an honor to be the only one working when all are dormant! This gives us a sweet taste in our hearts that is matchless, and helps one stop looking behind him and only seeing Allah awaiting him at the finish line. So, he should not get frustrated but get ahead.
Ibn al-Qayyem (may Allah bestow mercy on him) said,
فحيهلا إن كنت ذا همة فقد حدا بك حادي الشوق فاطو المراحلا
Therefore, hasten, if you have resolve, for the call of yearning [to the meeting with Allah, the Messenger and his Companions] has reached you. So, go quickly through the phases of the journey.
وقل لمنادي حبهم ورضاهم إذا ما دعا لبيك ألفا كواملا
And say to the caller to their love and pleasure, when it invites you, ’here I come, one thousand times.’
ولا تنظر الأطلال من دونهم فإن نظرت إلى الأطلال عدن حوائلا
And don’t look at the [soon to be] deserted remains of this donya, for if you did, they will become obstacles.
ولا تنتظر بالسير رفقة قاعد ودعه فإن الشوق يكفيك حاملا
And don’t defer your walk to wait for the company of one who is idle, for the yearning to them should be enough to induce you.
And then, he added the following about jannah,
” تالله ما هزلت فيستامها المفلسون، ولا كسدت فيبيعها بالنسيئة المعسرون، لقد أقيمت للعرض في سوق من يزيد، فلم يرض لها بثمن دون بذل النفوس. فتأخر البطالون. وقام المحبون…”
“By Allah, it has not become petty for the bankrupt to compete for its possession, and has not become unsellable for the broke to sell it for a deferred payment. It was put up for display in a grand auction, and no price was sought for it except the sacrifice of lives; subsequently, the sluggish stayed behind and the lovers rose…”
Lastly, I wrote some of these lines while waiting for a dear brother of mine who promised last night to visit me in my hotel room while I am out of town this morning. He has not come yet, and he may not. After I make sure of his safety and well being there will be two ways to look at this incident: I may decide to blame him for the break of promise and convince myself of the much inconvenience he caused me, which is not much and the great opportunities I missed (that is, sleeping a little more after doing my fajr prayer!) I can also say to myself that he, who happened to be an industrious da’iah, an imam of a large masjid was kind enough to squeeze this visit into his busy schedule. I didn’t expect it and he didn’t have to arrange it. However, it is his love for his fellow Muslim brother that made him inconvenience himself and schedule that appointment. I can also say to myself that I was able to answer a few questions and reply to some e- mails as well as record these very thoughts. I try to choose the second option whenever someone breaks a promise not the least of my concerns is my own emotional well being. We make these choices so frequently, sometimes after deliberation and sometimes absent- mindedly. They may seem unimportant. However, they shape our psyche, perceptions, relations with others, and spiritual health as well.