“You can’t drive a 1980s car in 2013” – unless it’s a classic.
While there’s a certain charm to doing things the old-fashioned way, when times change, we need to roll with it.
When it comes to da’wa, the Qur’an is for all ages, all situations, and all times, that is true. But the audience today isn’t patient enough to listen to us preach, to sit through a one hour lecture, or to extract lessons themselves from beautiful tales of old. The food is fast, technology is faster and life is a race. We need to keep up if we want to catch them.
A talk by Brother Ahmed Saleem was so refreshing, so eye-opening and so amazing, because it taught us to look beyond what we’ve always seen. To think for ourselves, not conform to what we’ve always known, and to turn roadblocks into stepping stones.
When scholars give answers so perfectly from the Qur’an and hadith, they sound so brilliant and knowledgable. But to achieve that status takes a lot of work, time and effort. It’s a whole other level. So for those of us who are learning ourselves – because that’s a process that never ends – how do we impart our knowledge to the general public?
How are we going to change the world? as everyone seems to want to do.
The first step is to actually connect with the person. The doors of da’wa are not automatic doors that slide open the moment they sense a presence. You have to knock, wait, be peered at through the peephole, and wait again before being granted permission to enter. It’s a whole process. We wouldn’t want to be shoved in, would we?
So how do we connect with them? This is where we need to broaden our minds, be up-to-date with current events, be well-read, or in any way possible that we have topics to approach our subject with. Which means we actually need to be informed of worldly events, whether you are a person who reads the front page of a newspaper, a magazine, books, subscribe to news apps, googles random things, watches documentaries on YouTube.. Whatever works for you. Broaden your mind.
I watched a movie about firefighting recently, and minus the fitnah that you see in it – which Alhamdulillah, was not much – I thought about how great it would be if us Muslims could produce something like that. It was different because it’s not something we think about a lot, yet something we need to see to truly comprehend the intensity of. Watching people run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out, the structure falling to pieces around them, watching them struggle to breathe, to stay cool against the heat, and in the end, knowing that there is only so much a human can do against fire. The realisation that steam, with enough force, can melt the skin off your face; that no matter how fast you run through it, you can’t escape it. Watching it consume so greatly that you know they’re not going to get out alive.. The pain of being burnt alive would be unimaginable.
It was as horrific and terrifying as it was amazing to watch that, because for the first time that I remember, it made me visualise Hell so clearly, I was petrified. SubhanAllah. Words cannot justly portray what you need to see in order to feel.
The world today is one that is glued to their laptop screen, their tabs and their TV screens. And instead of criticising them for it, I think we should use it in our favour. If the non-Muslims can use media to brainwash the rest of the world without them even realising it, why can’t we use it as a platform to stand our message on too? It’s not just about lectures and talks these days. We have to be more imaginative, initiative and intuitive when it comes to spreading the word of Islam.
There is a beautiful example of using media to our advantage, using famous scenes from movies that people would recognise, but to get the message across in a spine-tingling way.
So be bold. Put yourself out there, talk to different people, get to know different mind-sets. We have to set higher goals for ourselves and get rid of the box that we’re always thinking inside or outside of. Like the brother said, we don’t want people to think we’re religious dumb nuts, do we?