Conveying The Message Of Islam


Mohammed Asim Alavi

1. Introduction to Da’wah

Islam is the religion of Fitra (Nature).  Every human on this earth is born with the inherent nature of Islam in the depth of his spirit.   It’s his upbringing and the environment that make him whatever way he chooses in his future life.   Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in an authentic Hadeeth, : every child is born in a state of nature and it is his parents who make him a Christian, Jew or a Magian (Bukhari).

When man forgets God out of heedless negligence, He, the Most Merciful, sends Prophets to remind man of his responsibilities and purpose of his life on earth.  Mankind witnessed a chain of Prophets that Allah had sent and this chain came to an end with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).   Following his demise, this responsibility squarely fell on the shoulders of succeeding generations of Muslims.

The task of inviting people to Islam or Da’wa is the collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah, of each of its members, through whatever possible ways.  The Qur’an describes this collective responsibility as follows:

………And from among you there must be a party who invite people to all that is good and enjoin the doing of all that is right and forbid the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success…. (Al Imran: 104).

The concept of ‘Enjoining Good’ in itself is very comprehensive and covers all aspects of life.  By enjoining good man can be transformed into a dignified human being.  The second stage of this Da’wah is forbidding evil from the society.  By promoting good evils can be eradicated.  Promoting good and forbidding evil come through wisdom and beautiful preaching; by explaining the underlying virtues of good and the adverse consequences of evil.

It’s a definite Islamic rule that, There is no compulsion in religion...’ (Al Baqarah:256).  Therefore the methods of Islamic Da’wah are one of persuasion and positive action, not one of force and violence.

2. The Importance of Risale Nur message in this age

Man is created with an inquisitive nature.  This has been the driving force behind all human discoveries throughout history.  The modern man, more than at any time, achieved marvellous goals in terms of science and technology.  Great material progresses have been made to make life easy.  Tools and machines have been invented so that days and nights can be spent pleasurably and with a sense of profound warmth.   However, these great leaps have failed to give the much needed mental satisfaction.  Every invention and machine, instead of contentment, has increased craving for the enjoyment of transient materials.  Instead of solving problems it has aggravated them to horrible proportions.  The modern man has lost the perception of the purpose of his life on earth.

Risale-i Nur as a thematic Tafseer of the Qur’an possesses the ability to present an unambiguous interpretation of the purpose of man’s life.  Further, its methodology and approach which blends spiritual and rational features together can give answers to all the questions arising in the modern man’s mind.

Furthermore, at a time when Islam is painted with extremism and barbarism, spreading the message of peace and love has become fundamentally essential.   The westernized materialist man needs this message urgently. Imam Bediuzzaman predicted decades ago a time when the West will commence its search for truth:

‘…..the broad masses and the great states in the world will search out the Qur’an of Miraculous Expositions, and having grasped its truths, will embrace it with all their lives and spirits, just as there are now famous preachers in Sweden, Norway, Finland and England working to have the Qur’an accepted and the important community of America is searching for the true religion.….’  (Islam-Isevi Ittifaki)

3. Turkish Tourism Industry and Risale Nur

Turkey stands as a strategically important place to spread the message of the Qur’an.  The millions of tourists visiting Turkey every year is a best asset for this mission. According to Turkey Tourism Forecast 2012, published by RNCOS, a research agency, in the year 2008 twenty six million tourists have arrived and in the year 2012 it’s expected to reach 33 million.  Most of the tourists came from Germany, England and Russia among others.  The segments include health tourism, cultural tourism, leisure tourism etc., As a matter of fact Istanbul remains a favourite location for cultural tourists.  It is the cultural tourists who generally possess an enquiring mind.  Hence the project can take off in Istanbul.

The objective of this mission is not an attempt to convert people to Islam, as it is against the basic principles of Islam.  Guiding people is the sole responsibility of Allah.  Rather, its objective is to convey the message and address the human Fitra. The content of the message should possess the power to pierce through human mind and shake his conscience; it should blast open the chest where his Fitra is preserved, so that will drive it to search for the true purpose of man’s life.  The tourists who visit Turkey with heaps of distorted information about Islam should return home with positive and polished perceptions about its beauties.  Equally they should be able to distinguish between true Islam and unhealthy practises of some Muslims.  Besides, they should also return with a renewed perception of the New Turkey not only as a leisure making destination but a centre of culture and true civilization, connecting with Turkey’s glorious past.

4. Methods of delivery

Adopting proper methods for delivering the message of Islam is very important.  Our beloved Prophet mentioned in a Hadeeth, Address people according to the levels of their understanding’ and indeed he practiced it to the full meaning.  The addressee (Muhatap) should not feel bored or irritated.   Also, direct approach should be avoided as far as possible as some people feel allergic to the word, ‘Islam’ at the outset.  People come from diverse cultural, religious and ideological backgrounds.  Prescribing the same pill for everyone will not certainly work.   For an instance, a Christian or Jew (Ehlul Kitap) should be addressed differently from a Buddhist.  For the former, sanctification of Israelite Prophet Musa and Prophet Isa and his mother Virgin Mary (May Peace be all of them) in the Qur’an can be a good starter to gain his attention for a conversation.  Whereas for a Buddhist or Hindu, who do not believe in revealed religion and life after death, the methods should be completely different.  His analytical mind should be kindled to look into the fallacies of human philosophies and necessary existence of a Supreme God.

As Imam Bediuzzaman had pointed out, Europe is no more Christian, it’s secular.  He said: …I am rather addressing the second Europe which, through the darkness of the philosophy of Naturalism, supposing the evils of civilization to be its virtues, has driven mankind to vice and misguidance’ (Lem’alar 115/The Flashes Collections) Hence, a secular and irreligious man should be addressed according to his understanding of human life and the world.

We should shy away from pre-cordial perceptions about people.  Not every non Muslim is a Kafir(Infidel) but they are ordinary human being like any others.  People are good generally until they become manifest deniers of Allah, their creator.

In deed it’s a daunting task to distinguish who is who when meeting people in our mission.  It all depends on the ability of the volunteer involved.  He should be properly trained in the mission.  However, generally non-Muslims have around 25 questions about Islam, such as terrorism, polygamy etc.,  The volunteer should be trained to answer them in the correct way.

By the grace of Allah, Risale Nur possess answers to all questions of a modern man, be he a Christian, Muslim, atheist, secularist, traditionalist or any other.

5. Proposed activities

Conveying the message of Islam is not a formal profession, rather its part of routine life of a person who responded to the call of Allah. It’s less formal and more informal.  Therefore the volunteer who commits himself to this meritorious mission is expected to commit fully.  He should be in readiness to respond to all situations.  He should always carry his ‘tool kit’ of Islamic brochures and other materials.   He should resemble ‘a walking database of Islam’. Nevertheless the following activities can be proposed in the initial stages:

a. Training of volunteers: This training should include broad areas, primarily, Risale Nur English, communication and inter-personal skills, among other aspects of their mission.  (The objective of Risale Nur English is to train volunteers to communicate Risale Nur in English language).  Apart from possessing the skills to explain Islam the volunteer should hold sufficient information to answer the general questions of a tourist.

b. Stationing volunteers in tourists spots: Information booths should be established in tourist spots wherever possible.  The purpose of this is not to load the visitors with Islam but to provide information on it, Turkish tourist information and other necessary guidance.

c. Mosque and Cultural tours: The purpose of mosque tours is to provide a glimpse of what Muslims do inside a mosque.   It should also include explanation of the greater role mosques use to play in the life of Islamic world.

d. Islamic homestays: Homestay is a popular tourism all over the world.  People travel for educational and exploration purposes and stay with families.  Their purpose is to study and experience different cultures and customs of people in faraway places.  This is a good opportunity to show them Islam in practice and engage in Risale Nur studies.

6. Preparing the tool kit:

The tool kit should consist of

Brochures : Risale Nur brochures should be prepared on various subjects, including ;

1) Introduction to Qur’an, 2) Prophethood, 3) Introduction to Islam, 4) Life after death, 5) Muslim and Ottoman history, 6) Turkish tourist information highlighting Turkish culture and traditional life styles, 7) Other relevant subjects.

Flash cards: These are pocket size cards consisting of brief information on life, death etc.,  They can be in English, French, German and Japanese initially.   

The gift pack: every tourist who visits the booth should go with a pack consisting of Islamic brochures, important tourist information and a souvenir.

Some of the tourist destinations can be linked to the brochures, for an instance, the handwritten Qur’an of Caliph Usman (May Allah be pleased with him)placed at Topkapi palace can be linked to the brochure on Qur’an.  It’s a great sign of the authenticity of the Qur’an.  Not a single letter has been changed ever since, it’s the first ever written Qur’an and today’s printed Qur’an remains exactly the same.


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