In my MA program, there is the nicest man I have ever met. He is really so unbelievably sweet. He’s in his early thirties, Moroccan, and has lived in Holland for the past 15 years. He’s married with 3 gorgeous daughters, and he is really conservative, orthodox, and traditional. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, I’m sure you’ve noticed that conservative, orthodox, and traditional aren’t really my thing. But with him it’s so different, and I didn’t understand why till a few weeks ago. it’s because he’s SO NICE.
When I first saw him I thought he would be really close-minded and not listen to me and not be interested in different viewpoints (like all other orthodox traditionalists I’ve met). I also heard that his wife wore niqab so I though that he must be very orthodox. But the first time we talked was great! Not only did he listen to my opinion, but he asked me questions! And he actually asked me about what I thought!! It was revolutionary for me!
Since then we’ve actually talked quite a lot, and he’s actually managed to change my opinion on quite a lot of things…especially certain hadith. Now whenever I want to understand something problematic, I always think of asking him. He’s not only nice and welcoming but also really really smart.
And yesterday it hit me: if all Muslims acted like he does, then Islam’s image would be so much better. Seriously! If Muslims are really interested in spreading Islam (like so many are) and in da’wa (spreading Islam), then why aren’t they nicer? More polite? More open to other views? When I talk to this guy, he makes me want to listen because he makes me want to be like him – kind, nice, smart, educated, generous. And the way he talks about his wife and daughters…its just amazing!
But the reality is: most orthodox, traditionalist Muslim men are not like him. They’re opinionated, not very polite (especially not to women) and not very nice. And they don’t smile a lot.
So yeah. I wonder why the da’wa thing isn’t working. Hmm.