I seek refuge in Allah from my own misunderstandings of Islam, and from the misunderstandings of those around me.
This post, I think, will be pretty much useless. But after watching a video which claimed to be about da'wah (in a humorous way), and having a conversation with someone who has very different views than I have, I just feel an urge within me to actually express my viewpoint. It might be wrong. And if I am wrong, please correct me.
It has bothered me for a little while that some people consider da'wah to just mean talking to people about Islam. That is, da'wah to Islam--just talking to someone about Islam? For example, Person A says, "I'm giving da'wah to PersonB." Asking about how PersonA is giving da'wah, he shares some of his statements to PersonB, like this one, "Your KKK grandfather must be rolling in his grave knowing you're working with a Muslim!" It escapes me--how is that da'wah?
Here's another one, PersonC is maashaaAllah strongly opposed to dealing with usury (riba), and while conducting a financial transaction (among non-Muslims) makes a point to explain that he cannot do this for religious reasons. Now first this caused a tremendous amount of heartache to everyone involved until, and alhamdulillah, Allah resolved the issue in such a way that PersonC would not have to deal with riba in the transaction. The non-Muslims noted how simple and sensible the response was, and PersonC reports this as da'wah. Please--how so?
And another example, where PersonD explains that he won't be having lunch with non-Muslim PersonE because he is fasting, and then later describes the conversation as giving PersonE da'wah. I don't see it--do you?
I have this idea--and really, I might be wrong!--that da'wah is not telling someone about Islam. Or more precisely, telling someone about Islam is not necessarily da'wah. Because one non-Muslim could tell another non-Muslim something about Islam. For example, "Yeah, Ramadan starts in September so the Muslims are going to be fasting. This means they can't eat or drink until sunset." Is that da'wah? I wouldn't say so--it's just a conversation between one non-Muslim and another. Nobody is inviting anyone to Islam. What if the person repeating the line was a Muslim? Would it be da'wah then? I actually don't think it would. So at least in my opinion, someone talking about Islam doesn't make his speech da'wah.
And I have another opinion--that everybody is entitled to receive da'wah. Whether they ask for it or not. Whether they are our bosom buddies or not. I've heard someone say that Muslims shouldn't give da'wah (and they might even consider some of the above to be da'wah... ouch) unless they have been solicited for it. Like, don't tell them about Islam unless you're good friends. Don't tell them that Allah created them unless you've known each other a while. Don't mention what you believe unless they are comfortable with you, and they are asking you. Why, why, why?
And no, I'm not advocating in the slightest that a Muslim should hammer strangers with the shahadah and if they reject it to cut their necks. And I think I have to even say this because some people might actually think I'm suggesting this extreme, when I'm not.
I just don't see the point in putting up barriers (which I consider to be excuses) that prevent us from giving da'wah. I can't tell him about Allah because it might hurt our friendship??? I mean, doesn't that show some distorted priorities? Some people might not understand this the way I do--and I repeat, that maybe I'm just wrong--but I understand that we give da'wah because that is what our Creator has told us to do. And because that is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saaws.)
And I'll say it again... this is my opinion, and it might be wrong. If you know better than I do, by all means I beg you to correct me.