Friday, November 14, 2008

Pushing them Away

What would you say to someone who pushed away a convert to Islam? To someone who pushed away someone who was interested in Islam?

I mean, suppose some non-Muslim is visiting the mosque--and someone comes up to the guest and tells him or her to leave, while fussing about the way he or she is dressed. What do you say to that person, who did the anti-da'wah?

Another example: a sister has recently decided to embrace Islam but is on her own, without any network of Muslims around to help her out. She wants to learn how to pray, so she calls the mosque and tries to get in contact with someone. She does make contact and decides she wants to attend a class offered by the imam--she just needs a ride. So the volunteer to pick her up talks to her, and discovers that she is a new convert, and thus concludes that the class she wants to try out is too deep for her and that she shouldn't go. What do you say to the person who discouraged her from learning Islam?

Both of these situations are real, unfortunately, and it breaks my heart to see people snubbed in this fashion. In the second case in particular, I guess I'm surprised that there are people around whose knowledge makes them arrogant. When someone wants to learn about Islam, they have to start somewhere--praying is the best start. But to discourage someone from attending a class because they are too new to Islam? That mentality just makes me sick. We as Muslims should be more welcoming--especially when people are knocking down our doors to learn--and not turn them away because they don't meet our artificially high standards. Time to open our doors, and open our hearts, and invite the people in. Why isn't it happening?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

mashAllah ibnatalhidayah...a good post......I have had my share of the trouble.......new muslims are very eager to learn and they want as much information as possible........its hard to strike a balance by telling them so much so as to scare them off and not telling them at all so as to scare them off......I think the masjid/local muslim community should arrange a special class for new muslims and have a whole process for them.......wallah u alam

Ayesha said...

It breaks my heart too! I had taught a friend of mine in school, few things about islam. She was eager to learn and convert, unfortunately she did not, for some reason. I wanted to be some1 who taught a friend about islam, wanted that "sawab-e-jariah" even after i died!

Anonymous said...

Amy,

This is sort of a tangent to your post, but your first example? Of the non-Muslim visiting who gets driven away? My fear of that is why I've never visited a mosque. I know that my social paranoia is a personal issue, but I've heard too many stories about things like that happening for me to feel even vaguely comfortable visiting a mosque.

We actually, in the town I work in, have the only mosque for three towns. It's right down the street from where I work. But, until I accidentally found out it was there? I didn't know there were even Muslims in town. I now assume that there are, because of the mosque (it's relatively new, only a few years old apparently), but I've never seen one.

I say that knowing that Muslims look just like everyone, and that chances are good someone I've walked past in a store, spoken briefly to, etc. is a Muslim. What I mean is that the mosque seems to have no interest in having a presence in the community. I know that Muslims don't go out and proslytize like other faiths, but I would think they would at least want people to know that they are there.

A little blurb in the local paper, in the religious section, anything. It just comes off as very uninviting. As though they don't want people to even know that they exist.

Of course, this only applies to the local mosque. I have no idea how other places may be.

-Amber

Amy said...

Salaam Anonymous -

Having been a very new Muslim, I think that more knowledge is better, in any case. And a person has to start someone. It would be nice for introductory classes on Islam to be widely available, but they're not--not every new Muslim has that option. But whenever there is a teacher, and a class, unless it's highly sophisticated, I don't see why a new Muslim should be turned away.

The only way to cover a blank slate is by starting somewhere--even in the middle. Everything will make more sense when more knowledge is available, but when there's always something to learn, I don't know why any doors of learning should be closed.

Amy said...

Salaam Ayesha -

You know, guidance is from Allah. It might be that your friend will convert to Islam many years in the future--you could still get reward for that. And you can always try to be even more active in da'wah, to tell more people about Islam. You never know whose heart Allah will turn towards Islam--but no matter how small a role you played, you might still find reward from Allah for that.

Amy said...

Amber,

The first time I went to a mosque was traumatic, for me. It's tough. Especially not knowing anybody. I make a point to try to make the mosque more inviting whenever I see non-Muslims around, but most people don't. They feel kind of protective, I think.

The mosque here doesn't advertise much in the paper--mostly because, despite all our volunteers, we're not very organized. There's a lot of dispute and no central objectives for the mosque operation.

I wish that Muslims were always inviting towards their mosques, but for some reason... I dunno. They're not. I hope that you can find a way to visit that mosque near you soon, though. And I'll pray it was a more pleasant experience than my first visit to a mosque. :-)

Ayesha said...

Walaikum salaam Amy. Thank you for encouraging, i appreciate! :)

Ayesha said...

Well let me tell ya... she even kept few rozas during ramadhan to see how it feels like, isn't that wonderful??!!

david santos said...

Great and pretty week for Malazyan people!

medgirl said...

Knowledge is better, but to what extent? To the point of being arrogant and pushing others away from Islam? To the point of convincing yourself that you follow Quran and Sunnah and think you have a right to say that others follow a watered down version of Islam? To the point of condemning others as imitators of the kuffar just because they have less knowledge? To the point of even pointing out in the first place about who has more knowledge and who doesn't??

Amy said...

Thanks Medgirl.