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Approaches to Islamic Work part 3: Interpersonal Dealings

Approaches to Islamic Work – part 3: Interpersonal Dealings
Sheikh Muhammad b. `Abd al-`Azz al-Thuwayni
Our dealings with the people around us can be a very effective means of calling them to Allah. We shall discuss some of the ways we can do so.

1. Taking the message to the people:

First of all, we must go out to the people. Our objective is to bring the truth to all of Creation and we should see it as our duty to take the message to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went out to the seasonal markets of the Arabs, like `Ukz and Dh al-Majz, to call them to Islam. He went to the clan councils and gatherings of the tribe of Quraysh.

A person who wishes to go forth with the message must be armed with knowledge, faith, and the ability to handle a variety of circumstances appropriately.

2. Accepting invitations:

When a person feels that he has the ability to benefit the people, it is better for him to accept their invitation. Indeed, a Muslim has the right to have his invitation accepted, especially when the occasion to which the invitation is given is free from sinful conduct.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are five rights that a Muslim has upon his brother: His greeting of peace should be returned. If he sneezes, blessings should be invoked upon him. His invitation should be accepted. He should be visited if he becomes ill. And his funeral procession should be followed if he dies.” [Sahh Muslim]

However, it is imperative not to monopolize the conversation on such occasions and prevent others from having the opportunity to socialize with one another. Social gatherings are essentially held so that people can have the opportunity to get together. It is a time for friends and relatives to get reacquainted, often after not seeing each other for a long time. Therefore, when someone monopolizes too much of their time, it can turn them off from what he has to say.

In order for an Islamic worker to have a positive effect on other people, he has to make himself accessible. He must be easygoing in his manner and not hold himself aloof. He cannot be overly idealistic in his use of time and devote all of it to acquiring Islamic knowledge. If he does so, people will turn away from him and take their concerns elsewhere. What benefit, then, is the knowledge that he acquires if he has no one to impart it upon?

The people whom we are inviting to Allah often have problems in their lives for which they need someone who can guide them. Is there anyone better suited to this task than those who devote their lives to Islam? Islamic workers are supposed to treat the illnesses of the heart.

3. Serving the needs of the people:

Helping others is a noble activity and a testimony that the person engaged in Islamic work is not just in it for his own satisfaction. It shows sincere concern for the wellbeing of others. People respond positively to those who help them, so fulfilling their needs is a way to win over their hearts.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever makes things easy for others in this world, Allah will make things easy for him both in this world and in the Hereafter… Allah helps His servant as long as His servant is engaged in helping his brother.” [Sahh Muslim]

Even if all that the Islamic worker has to offer to others is a smile, this simple act will have a positive effect. How much more will this effect be if they see him rushing to fulfill their needs. An Islamic worker has to give something of himself. Others have to know that he cares about them and their concerns. When someone has a problem at home, he should help that person out. When another has a problem at school, he should do what he can to help him. He must not just offer an optimistic message as the solution to all their problems.

It is also a very noble act to bring reconciliation between people who have fallen out with each other. Allah says: “No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people.” [Srah al-Nis’: 11speaking]

We encounter families wherein certain close relatives do not speak to each other. We see the same thing among classmates at school and colleagues at work. Sometimes, it falls on the shoulders of the Islamic worker to come among these people and help make peace between them, especially if they request it of him. It is bad to avoid this responsibility when one is able to shoulder it.

Once, `Abd Allah b. Sa`d asked `’ishah if the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever used to pray his voluntary prayers sitting down. `’ishah replied: “Yes: when the demands of the people wore him out.” [Sahh Muslim]

4. Speaking to traveling companions:

The time spent traveling, whether one is going somewhere by himself or as part of a group, should be capitalized upon. It does not matter what the means of conveyance is; it is a golden opportunity to speak to people. Moreover, it was the way of our Prophet (peace be upon him) with his Companions. He would speak to his traveling companions, teach them, and exhort them to righteousness.

There are so many different ways that we can use to call others to Islam. Many of them are very easy, requiring little expense and little of our time and effort. We can talk to people at the shop when we go to buy something. We might possibly be allowed leave pamphlets about Islam on their countertops. When we finish reading Islamic literature ourselves, we can leave it at a doctor’s office or a hair salon. Maybe something written inside will have a positive effect on a person who picks it up.

Though we have come to the end of this series of articles on the approaches to Islamic work, we have barely scratched the surface. Whatever good I have mentioned herein is by the grace of Allah. Any and all mistakes are my own and I seek Allah’s pardon for them.





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