Da’wa and Smiley People

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.


21 thoughts on “Da’wa and Smiley People

  1. I think your wrong there, the dawa thing is working, look at all the lunatics who have converted and who want to blow up stuff…every day i meet new converts to islam. I got three wonderfull swedish women who converted to islam after me, who visit my blog on a daily basis and call me a kafir, they are converts and they show that the daawa thing is working.
    So the issue is that a lot do convert, problem is that they get converted by the people you mention ( i myself call myself orthodox even though i am bad at following the religion myself) and that happens without a smile or the kind treatment you speak of, so howcome people convert when they get in contact with retarded muslims?

    • “So the issue is that a lot do convert, problem is that they get converted by the people you mention”

      I completely agree with that too. 100%. I often find those that have had positive influences from Muslims convert to be beautiful and kind Muslims… but those who’ve been exposed to the not so good kind of Islam (and maybe weren’t in the right frame of mind to begin with) end up becoming some of the worst.

  2. “So the issue is that a lot do convert, problem is that they get converted by the people you mention.”

    Good point! Hmm, well maybe if smiley Muslims were engaged in da’wa then we would have different types of converts, ones who wouldn’t so often go to the extreme (not that they all do that, but many do)…

  3. So glad to hear someone like this exists! I feel a lot like you on this issue… “Traditional” Muslims I have met have overall been very closed-minded overall and just not inviting AT ALL. Or else I know a whole lot of traditional-minded Muslims who are complete hypocrites and that is just the worst. I love to speak to someone who is open and kind and gentle and I find myself having a lot in common with the “traditional” Islam. I am just too open to really fit in with them 100%.

    Luckily for me though, my only real Muslim female friend is a Muslimah I would consider pretty traditional, but she is the sweetest and most patient woman I know and I never feel roughed up by her ideas — on the contrary! Pretty much the same experience as you with this person! She is what we need more of in Islam.

    • ” I am just too open to really fit in with them 100%.”

      I feel exactly the same, but with this guy it is completely normal. He accepts that there are different kinds of Islam and Muslims. Sounds like the woman you are talking about 🙂

  4. True… God bless this Moroccan, may he continue to be the example that he is of true Islam!

    If you look back at the roots of the word “Da’wa” in Arabic, it actually means “invitation”. You need a nice smile and a welcoming attitude to accept a general invitation to someone’s home or to an event, let alone a religion!

    Whether traditional or modern, attitude is always the key! Like the prophet (PBUH) said: “الدين المعاملة” … “Religion is treatment” (religion is how you treat others)

    Off note, I’m in love with the cucumber smile 🙂

    • If only more Muslims understood the whole inviting thing…I really think we would have more Muslims around today if da’wa was done in a kinder and nicer way, without the whole “my opinion is right, everyone else is wrong” attitude…

      Hehe I like the cucumber smile too 😀

  5. I’ve known a few people like the man you mentioned. One of the most conservative families I know are also one of the nicest. The dad is an imam at the “conservative” mosque and very, very traditional. Nicest guy though. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see him because he does wave or say salam, unlike others who wouldn’t dare even speak to a woman, even to give the salam. You can never judge a book by it’s cover I suppose.

    • That’s very true! This guy also works at a mosque, and I can imagine that people want to learn more about Islam when he’s around. Sorry but a screaming, yelling imam who doesn’t look at women is not really the best thing for Islam, in my opinion.

  6. I have had the good fortune of meeting some really beautiful conservative Muslims, in fact one of my best friends. Actually, many of my good friends are conservative, the only difference between us is our way of believing, yet the best thing about it is the conversations we are able to have that helps us understand eachother so much better; and always makes me leave thinking about how I can become a better person.

    I really think it is all about attitude. When Muslims approach Islam and other Muslims in a positive and compassionate way, they leave a lasting positive impression everywhere they go.

    And vice versa, I guess.

  7. This post reminds me of Shaikh Yousuf Estes, who smiles a lot and is very friendly! The thing is, a lot of non-believers associate Islam with violence, of oppressing women and being backwards. Now, if the person giving dawa doesn’t seem so friendly (and wont listen to the others’ opinion) then it makes matters worse. On the other hand, if someone comes across a Muslim who offers a warm smile, listens patiently and doesn’t react aggressively to others’ opinions, then this will certainly leave a very good impression to all.

    I love the cucumber smile! 🙂

  8. Sometimes all it takes is kindness to spread knowledge about Islam. People forget that. They get all self-righteous and start telling people what they should and shouldn’t do. Faith is a matter of the heart and to increase someone’s faith you must touch their heart.

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