As a Convert, I understand the intuitive desire to talk to people about Islam and encourage them to accept Islam as their Deen. For converts, it’s probably counter-intuitive not to.
Among the communities I’ve known, and the success/failure rates of convert retention within these communities, it should be obvious that inviting people to Islam, in unprepared communities, is not only an exercise in futility, it’s actually a misnomer. I’ll explain the misnomer first, then get onto the more relevant issue of the failure rate.
Allah ta’ala tells us in Surat Yusuf: قُلْ هَـٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي “Say, this is my Way. I call towards Allah ‘ala Baseera (with Baseera), me and whoever follows me.” So, what is Baseera ? Those who suffer the delusions of book knowledge, having stuffed themselves with themselves, say that Baseers is “knowledge”, which is probably less than 10% correct, if at all. The Mufasireen (those who write commentaries of Qur’an) have always explained Baseera as Yaqeen, though even this single word falls short. Translating words from Arabic is often misleading. Arabs themselves don’t understand their language anymore. So, we end up with misleading notions like “Iman” means “faith”, which is less than 1% of what Iman is !
Whatever Baseera may be, Rasulullah s.a.w had it and he had a lot of it ! On his first meeting with Jibreel a.s., he saw Jibreel in his true form, stretching 600 wings that covered the sky from East to West. Rasulullah s.a.w used to receive Ayaat of Qur’an on a daily basis, under Revelation so heavy it forced his riding animals onto the ground. In one night, he had his chest opened by Jibreel, his heart washed with zamzam, traveled to Bait al Maqdis where he led the Anbiyaa in Salah, ascended with al-Buraq through the levels of the firmament, spoke with Prophets on each level, saw the people of hellfire and their torments, gazed with wonder on the Furthest Lote Tree, passed through as-Sidrat al Muntaha beyond which Jibreel could not travel, and was drawn before The Presence of the Almighty, to receive the Divine Order of Salah directly from Allah ta’ala ! Whatever the result of all this was on the heart, body, and mind of Rasulullah, I’m sure we don’t have any of that.
The Sahabah r.a. used to say that sitting in Rasulullah’s presence and listening to him speak, they were filled with such Iman that it was as though they could see the Afterlife before their eyes ! In the Battle of Uhud, there was a woman whose husband, father, and brother had all been killed. Upon receiving the news, she asked to see the Prophet s.a.w., and upon laying her eyes upon him, THE GRIEF OF HER LOSSES WERE FORGOTTEN AND HER HEART WAS INSPIRED WITH STRENGTH !
So, now show me the difference we see today. A man shaves his beard, puts on a suit and tie, goes passing out book-words by lecture or pamphlet, and calls himself “da’iya ila Allah” ! That is NOT Yaqeen !
And what shall we invite people to? The Islam that doesn’t exist ? Where can someone go to SEE Islam ? The Masjid? phbbtt ! What do we tell people? “Well, we don’t have any Islam, and nobody really knows what the heck it is, but you’re welcome to some of our “Islamic information” if you like ! ”
And then, getting back to the other issue: THE FAILURE RATE AT RETAINING CONVERTS. This is really sad. In most cities, the failure rate of keeping converts within the community is around 80%. In my own town of 20,000 Muslims, it’s actually a 95% FAILURE RATE to keep converts within the community.
Some reasons for this are obvious, some aren’t. We know that 90% of “muslims” actually have nothing to do with islam. The other 10% are horribly confused about what Islam looks like and how it works. Again, it doesn’t do any good to invite people to an Islam that doesn’t exist in people’s lives. People who enter Islam have to live in a community of Mumineen, not Ghafileen, not Jahileen, not Haramieen. Human beings can’t be expected to become spiritually and philosophically separated from their non-Muslim family, friends, and countrymen, then learn Islam on their own, live Islam on their own, tolerate the Ahwaal il-Ummah, and deal with life in a cut-throat capitalist society ALL BY THEMSELVES !
So, in my belief, the people whom Allah ta’ala has blessed with Islam are those whom He has favored, but also that He has brought out to be witnesses against the “muslims” Yawm-ul-Qiyaama. It is also possible that he is fulfilling one of His Promises in the Qur’an:
لَّا تَنفِرُوا يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّوهُ شَيْئًا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ “If you will not go out (to strive in the Path of Allah) He will punish you with a severe torment and replace you with people other than you.”
هَا أَنتُمْ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ تُدْعَوْنَ لِتُنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَمِنكُم مَّن يَبْخَلُ ۖ وَمَن يَبْخَلْ فَإِنَّمَا يَبْخَلُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ ۚ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُم “You are those who are asked to spend in the Way of Allah. Yet among you there are some who hoard. And as for him who hoardeth, he hoardeth only from his soul. And Allah is the Rich, and ye are the poor. And if ye turn away He will exchange you for some other folk, and they will not be the likes of you. ”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not waste words in The Qur’an !
Hence, the purpose for Required Programs to build an environment in which converts can stay in Islam, AND establish their lives in strength to be the benefactors of Humanity. The premise of my own program is that communities have to establish enough functionality to act as organized human society for converts who leave our families and our people when we enter Islam.
Keep in mind: Rasulullah used to send many newcomers back to their tribes after they accepted the Kalima of Tawheed. He told them he was afraid they would not be able to tolerate the existing conditions, and they should return to them when they received word that Allah ta’ala had opened a way for the Muslims. Also, after only the 5th year of his da’wa, Rasulullah sent more than 70 Sahabah into asylum in Habasha. Understandable that their conditions were horrible, and their lives were literally under threat, but they also were in the company of the Best of Creation. The principle is that there are conditions that are too tough for humans to handle. Living in the absence of organized human society, to me, is just such a condition. The threat is not from outside the Ummah; it’s from within.
In the title, I mentioned “obvious cause” for inviting people into Islam.
- If someone is asking about Islam, we are required by Allah ta’ala to inform them.
- If you know someone well enough to believe they could tolerate the Ahwaal of the Ummah, and live independently, then by all means, invite them.
- If you know someone with terminal illness, or on their deathbed, Rasulullah s.a.w. used to implore such people to accept the Kalima.
Wa salaamun ‘ala man ittaba’ al-Huda