Last year at around the same time, I wrote an article on this very web site on how to spread Da`wah to our Japanese friends during Ramadan; I guess now is the time to revisit some of the ideas we had discussed and add some new ones so that we can revitalize our spirits and get ready during Ramadan to change our lives and those of others who are not yet Muslims in Japan (anywhere in the world actually).
To my understanding, giving Dawah is something you can give the best way if you deeply understand the community, their culture, their concerns, their prejudices, their likes and dislikes, their language, and, above all, a burning desire and strong will to change your life and those of others around you.
There is no doubt that visiting Muslim scholars may give a boost to Dawah activities in your community. However, the number one problem I have faced while listening to our foreign guest scholars on Islam is that they do not have much knowledge about our local cultures and thus do not necessarily know the best way to spread the beautiful message of Islam the way it should be in our communities.
This is especially true for societies like Japan where people are generally averse to talking about religion, have certain stigmas attached to the very idea of being religious and thus need entirely different Dawah techniques than a visiting Islāmic scholar may suggest. So, the best way to spread Islam in Japanese society, in our case, is for us to take the charge, become active and actually `do` something to spread the word of Islam in the circles of our influence.
What You Need to Do To Get Ready For Dawah in Japan or Anywhere in the World?
- Seek knowledge: know the fundamentals of Islam, find relevant examples to support your basic belief system
- Spare some time every week, if not on daily basis, go visit your non-Muslim friends, acquaintances and explain in simple terms what our Deen stands for and why it is important to believe in it and what benefit they will get by embracing Islam
- Visit the needy, the poor, the depressed, the young and the old who might need your help in whatever way possible. Help them remove some of the stresses they may be having in their lives and offer them some bits and pieces of the information on Islam while providing them support of any kind.
- Continue this practice without quitting, establish rapport with them while doing so and clarify any misconceptions they may have about Islam and the Muslims
- Meet with your local imam, other knowledgeable Muslims to discuss the practical aspects of Dawah in the context of the community you are living in and then go back to your fellow non-Muslim friends to further discuss any issues or misconceptions they may have about Islam
Characteristics of a Caller to Islam
Knowledge: A daa`ee (caller) should have a sound knowledge of what one is inviting others to. He does not need to be a religious scholar or an Alim. However, he needs to have a clear understanding of what he is trying to preach to others and how to back up his statements
Kindness: It is essential for a daa`ee to be soft spoken as his harshness could easily discourage to shun him in the community or simply stop listening to what he says about Islam
Wisdom: A caller to Islam should also be wise in that he should be able to adjust his arguments depending on the situation at hand and bring Quranic verses or ahadeeth to explain the fundamentals of Islam
Patience: Da`wah work needs patience and preservance. It is natural that the non-Mulims who are being called upon are different stages of their minds; they generally undergo a spiritual and mental journey before deciding whether they would like to be Muslims. The period may vary from person to person. So, the Daa`ee has to be patient till the right time comes for the other side to decide about this.
Your character and the way you behave with others and the way you actually spend your days and nights have a lot to do with how other perceive you and how seriously they will listen to you.
The basic aim of the above thoughts is to trigger the minds of concerned Muslims in Japan and in other countries who have a burning desire to spread the peaceful teachings of Islam, but, are either distracted in one way or the other, or simply do not know how to start giving Da`wah to their non-Muslim friends in their communities.
Please share your experiences on how you think Da`wah should be given to your non-Muslim members of the communities we live in.