By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
One wouldn’t naturally expect that a Muslim needs to be called to Islam. However, as Muslims, our state of imaan (faith) is never constant. It is affected by our experiences in life, knowledge, daily struggles, and so on, and we have to strive to keep its level up at all times. Some people slip in their worship and may find it difficult to get back up again till they stop practising altogether. A family member who is not practising as he or she should needs support and encouragement from us in the form of dawah (call to Islam) that appeals to the heart. Fo
llowing are some ways to do that:
Be a reminder yourself
I get very motivated by watching how people around me worship Allah (swt). I bet you do too! The people who motivate you and me engage in dawah through their actions. The way we see them practise Islam makes us want to be a better Muslim. We did not live during the time of Prophet (sa) and his Sahabahs (Companions), but the way they practiced Islam was, and still is, the major motivation for Muslims.
This is what we should be for our family members who are not practising. Maybe dawah doesn’t have to mean you sitting them down and lecturing them on the benefits of observing the salah (prayers) on time. Maybe dawah is in them seeing you getting up joyfully, five times a day, at the right time, to observe your salah.
I call this subtle dawah, and it may be the most effective way of helping someone boost their imaan and start practising as they should, without them realising it. Even if you get them to attend lectures that try to convince them to be better Muslims, they still need to see you walk the talk before they are inspired. Only a person who does not drink alcohol because it is haram (forbidden) can inspire someone else to give it up. A person who is not practising sees someone else who is striving to refrain from what is forbidden and doing what is encouraged, and this way of life slowly starts to inspire and rub off on him or her.
The Prophet (sa) tried to convince people to worship Allah (swt). However, some people willingly came to him to declare their shahaadah (testimony of faith) simply because of the way they saw him practice Islam. (Bukhari)
Being a reminder benefits us too. Because we know that we are are trying to help someone improve upon their faith, we are more aware of our actions and thus strive harder to improve upon our imaan.
Share beneficial resources
Outside of ourselves, many resources can help inspire a person to start practising Islam. From authentic Islamic books, to audio and video lectures by reputable Muslim speakers, articles and blog posts, there is a wide pool of dawah resources for Muslims. Exposing non-practising family members to these helpful resources will help them on their journey to improve their faith. If the family member lives with you, having these resources handy at home will increase the chance that they will read it and find it beneficial.
Even if they are not, a simple but helpful email, tweet, or sms every now and then, sharing useful resources that you have come across and thought will be of interest to them, can do the trick. They can study these at their own pace, and find enrichment in them.
Organise halaqa (study) sessions
This applies the most to the family members who live together. In Ramadan, we took turns to give dawah after the night prayers. Each speaker was expected to take any topic of his or her choice and share what he or she knew or had researched about with other members of the house. This motivated everyone to go deeper into the Qur’an and hadiths, and inspire us with gems that they had read. I find this method of dawah to be very effective in reminding people about how to worship Allah (swt) and what Islam is all about. The lectures serve as a reminder of what a Muslim should be doing and what they should be staying away from.
Because these types of lectures are close-knit and non-preachy, they usually do not meet with resistance from non-practising family members. As they become a family custom that requires everyone’s participation, you find that non-practising family members are drawn into the spirit of the halaqa. They want to pick their own topics, read on them, and share them with everyone. From this seemingly simple habit, they are reigniting their relationship with Islam.
Pray for them
This may not be a way to give dawah to someone who is currently not practising Islam, but it is definitely the key to ensure that our efforts succeed. As we try to help them find their way and improve their practice of Islam, we should ask Allah (swt) to bring the light into their hearts and reignite their faith in ways that is beneficial to them in this life and in the hereafter.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2016