Friday, November 13, 2009

Aggressive Da'wah

I don't think it's in the nature of most people, at least here in the US, to aggressively push their beliefs on others. And I think it's quite natural for someone to feel defensive in a situation where someone is being pushy in the matter of faith. At the same time, I think an effective da'ee avoids putting anyone in a defensive position, at least on a personal level. That's because if someone is defensive they have basically closed themselves off from your position, and they won't listen to your point of view.

Imagine, if you are Muslim, how you might feel if someone comes to you telling you about your own religion. Imagine someone who isn't Muslim telling you that Islam teaches this, preaches that, and you believe thus-and-such, and that this person is actually wrong. Because you don't believe whatever it is he's saying you do believe.

In fact this happens quite a lot--many people like to get up and say what Muslims believe. Usually it's in the context of trying to blame Islam for terrorism (or even to use Islam for terrorism.) It's popular to hear people who aren't Muslim saying "Muslims believe that..." and launching into an absurd rant about killing infidels or something equally ludicrous. Because this happens, as Muslims we should be easily able to understand the sentiment I am about to describe.

Imagine now a non-Muslim being told about his beliefs by a Muslim. In other words, the Muslim is telling that non-Muslim that he believes something in particular--and the Muslim might even cite the Qur'an--but that non-Muslim actually doesn't believe it. For example, I've yet to come across any Jews anywhere who say that Uzair (I guess in English it is Ezra?) is the son of God. And I don't mean to dispute the Qur'an on the issue at all--though it certainly doesn't say that all Jews espouse such a belief. And without bothering to really listen to our Jewish neighbors about their beliefs in the first place, it's kind of arrogant, I think, to try to prove what they believe when we are in fact the ones in error. It does nothing to strengthen the position of Islam or Muslims, or to further the da'wah.

I can't imagine it to be anything but rude or offensive to tell a person what he believes. Now that is just my opinion, but does anyone have reason to believe that such bullying da'wah techniques could ever be effective?


mezba said...

I agree. We always have to see from another's point of view. I laugh when Mormons knock on the door and tell me what their book says - coz I don't really care what it says as I don't believe in it.

I have added you to my blogroll, hope that's ok with you.

The Dynamic Hamza 21 said...

As Salaam Alaykum

I think you misundersatnd the Quranic ayah it doesn't say ALL Jews had this belief it states THE Jews have this belief. You misunderstanding the use of the article "Al" is this verse. As well as all jews do call Ezra historically the "son of God" but not in Christian context as a literal child of God but more as title of respect. Such as the Kabah is referred to the "House Of God".

btw, Mabrook on your wedding!

Amy said...

Thanks Mezba--and great, I'm glad you added me. :-)

Hamza--Actually you just reiterated my point. The Qur'an DOESN'T say all Jews have that belief, which makes it incorrect as well as offensive to declare, especially to a Jew, that they do (all) believe that.

So it's not just bullying, aggressive da'wah, it's actually using an incorrect understanding of the ayah.

Ali Zelmat said...

Salaam, Amy,
I completely agree with you. I believe that as Da'ee, we need first to establish our credibility and then we need to maintain that credibility. Trying to tell someone else what they believe or what their book says is a sure way to look like you don't have a credible argument for your case for Islam. Let Islam speak for itself and let them go home and ponder why I didn't have to attack their religion in order to prop mine up. Insha'Allah when they reason it out on their own, it will be because we gave them the Haqq, untainted.

Hamayoun said...


I agree 100%. The Quran should be able to speak for itself... we do not need to use the Bible to give dawah, as many muslims do.

Muslim Bridal Wear said...

The best dawah is by showing through one's own practice.....

Amy said...

Muslim Bridal Wear--technically, just "showing by practice" isn't da'wah at all. At best, it's a pre-requisite for da'wah, and certainly would should show Islam through our practice. But that alone isn't da'wah.

Imagine if the Prophet (saws) never told anyone about Islam, but just showed by practice. Part of the practice is talking about Islam.