I listened to this lecture by Nouman Ali Khan and was blown away of the reality of this situation and the actions of myself in the past that have made me take a different approach with attempting to bring Muslims closer to Islam. It also reminded me a of a lecture I heard by Khalid Latif at the ISNA convention (2009 one – I think it was an MSA session), in which he highlighted some real life experiences of how “promoting the good and forbidding the evil” backfired the attempt to bring people closer to Islam.
I’ll highlight some powerful scenarios of which are have occured and that were mentioned in both of the lectures. I obviously I am not a great narrator like our narrators of hadith, but God willing, I can get the general message across.
Too Much Makeup Sister
This was a story of a sister who use to face physical abuse by her husband at home. She would wear extra makeup to hide the bruises. Iin the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, the sister was scolded for wearing too much makeup at the masjid by a brother.
The non-Muslims fascinated by the Muslim prayer
A Muslim invited his non-Muslim friend, who happened to be of a Eastern polytheist religion, to come to the masjid. When he saw the Muslims praying he said, he does the something similar and he then preforms their version. Then another brother in the masjid saw this and in the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, he removed the non-Muslim guy from the masjid and told him to learn how to pray before he comes back.
The earing-wearing brother
So a brother came to the masjid for the very first time in his adult life to pray after being uplifted by a conference he attended. In the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil, he was mocked and called a girl and not allowed to enter the masjid.
From Hijabi to Nojabi
This sister was the token Hijabi who was an excellent believer and activist, but she a great fitna of which I can’t mention which shattered her faith. This caused her to lose faith and she stopped wearing hijab. In the spirit of promoting good and forbidding evil, she was rejected by the community for taking off hijab without later finding out what happened to her and the reasons behind her losing her faith.
Lessons to learn
Don’t judge people. Communicate with them to understand them. Everyone has a situation and everyone has a fitna (trial, tribulation, problem) that is in their life and no one is unique and perfect. We need to watch what we say to those who we have no knowledge of.
Special Note: All the above stories are true, some were mentioned in the lectures above, and others were known to me based on my personal experience. I am sure others may have more to share so we can learn. I have left the narrations of these stories to be very general so that no one can narrow it down and figure out who.
May Allah forgive me for the times I chased people away from Islam in the spirit of promoting the good and forbidding the evil.
The Sunnah. Read the seerah.
Listen to this lecture provides some solutions. The answer to how to give dawah is following the example of the Prophet (saas).
An example from the sunnah from the top of my head was this one:
Anas b. Malik reported: While we were in the mosque with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), a desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the mosque. The Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Stop, stop, but the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Don’t interrupt him; leave him alone. They left him alone, and when he finished urinating, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) called him and said to him: These mosques are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah, prayer and the recitation of the Qur’an, or Allah’s Messenger said something like that. He (the narrator) said that he (the Holy Prophet) then gave orders to one of the people who brought a bucket of water and poured It over.
This is from Sahih Muslim.