Take the 2-minute tour ×
Islam Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Muslims, experts in Islam, and those interested in learning more about Islam. It's 100% free, no registration required.

*First off, I realize that in many Mulsim countries proselytize is contentious term. In many Muslim countries, for example, it is illegal for Christians to "proselytize," by which it is believed that non-Muslims are using incentives in order to convince Muslims to drop their faith. I considered using the term "Evangelize," but the root of that word is a specifically Christian word to mean "to announce the Good News." Finally, I considered asking "How does Islamic Missiology work?" but that too seemed a loaded term.

So, here's how I would describe what I am looking for - Islam is clearly a growing religion. That implies that there exists a cadre of Muslims who would seek convince non-Muslims that they should become Muslims. I would suspect that like other religions, including Christianity, that means that some even feel compelled to leave the lands of their birth in order to promulgate the religion.

From earlier questions, I have gathered that convincing one to become a Muslim does not necessarily suggesting to others that they read the Quran and then choose to follow its theology. From what I have gathered here, there seems to be a very deep level of traditional practices that are undertaken once one has become a Mulsim, but what I am trying to understand is the path by which a non-Muslim is enticed or mentored to start down that path in the first place.

Again, in Christianity, for example, a person who feels called of God to become a missionary will typically leave for distant land, form relationships with locals, and then in the course of that relationship, typically suggest that the Bible addresses the problem of sin in one's life. The concept of grace - namely that God forgives sin - is shown through the Bible, and if a person chooses to be forgiven of their sin, they are often then invited to become a Christian in order to learn how to live in the context of that freedom.

  • The method of evangelism would then be relationship driven.
  • The "What's in it For Me?" would be forgiveness
  • The first step would be to encourage the would-be convert to read the Bible.
  • The ultimate goal would be to get the convert to make a decision to continue learning about this forgiveness and grace from Jesus, typically in some kind of fellowship.

In contrast, my naive understanding of Islam seems to be that it is a highly cultural thing - that one is born into a Muslim culture, and one is expected to simply continue to follow the traditions of the culture. While within the culture a life-long learning of the Quran is praised and encouraged, that would presuppose being born into that culture. If, however, it were merely a cultural thing, then it would not be growing beyond immigration. Within America's prison system in particular, this is demonstrably false. And, since Islam is, in fact, growing, there must be a mechanism by which non-Muslims are enticed into it. I would like to know how that occurs.

So the question, again, is, how does a Muslim go about bringing a non-Muslim into the ummah? What techniques, incentives, and methodologies are common for proselytizing amongst those who were not already born into the culture?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

We as Muslims barely do anything to spread Islam. May be a Quran distribution program or a signature campaign for a mosque etc. But on the whole we do very little as compared to what we should be doing.

Many conspiracy theorist will blame "out breeding", "anti-apostasy law", "forced conversions" but unfortunately for them, our converts are mainly in non-muslims lands like North America, Europe etc where most of these things are absent.

Actually all the negative publicity about Islam in the media has raised a lot of curiosity about it. When people come to meet a muslim or come to a mosque they are expecting angry crazies but find devout docile human beings. Thats normally the starter fuel towards their conversion.

I remember a young Australian girl who accepted Islam. Her mother was not a Muslim. Her mother however mentioned something that doesnt strike muslims even. She had said that she was not concerned of her daughter being Muslim because her daughter had skipped most common teenage problems like drinking, partying, boyfriends. Who wouldnt like children like this?

In short, your answer is....we dont have a clue. Every convert has a different story. It is their personal connection with Allah. Sometimes its just hearing the adhaan or sometimes a verse from the quran. Even to our shock, most of our converts are women whom Islam supposedly oppresses.

The only proselytizers we Muslims have to offer is "random checks" at the airport, weird stares when we sport our beards or hijaabs. Branded as being "not social" when we turn down alcohol or haraam food. Even financial uncertainty as we cannot take mortgages on interest.

Along with this we have to offer is... "as-shado allah ilaha ilalaa, wa-ashado ana muhammadur rasool ilah"

share|improve this answer

I try to answer you question but doubt at the same time if what I say would be the answer you expect. Islam means submitting to one and only one God, a one that is not followed or accompanied by a second. He is the Creator, the Owner, the Leader and the Target. He has introduced Himself to His creatures, humans, from the very first day that He Made them, note that our father himself was a prophet of God, so that humans will not be lost in this tangled world of "intellect vs. desire". Then after every time that a society was going wrong He sent another prophet to remind them of the truth. All people in history were expected to be submitted to God, as He is the Needless and Wise and if he commands something the humans themselves would benefit. In this regard, Islam is not a new religion, it only came to complete all those previous versions of the one heavenly religion, so that when it came to completeness the name came to be "Islam", meaning the complete submission to Allah. Also the rules have experienced minor changes and the final rules were in preparation, but the rules of Islam would not be substituted ever after as Islam is the last religion, and when there is no other rule to be added or changed there would also be no prophet after the last prophet, the holiness Muhammad --peace be upon him--.

However, if someone asks you why you believe in Jesus --peace be upon him-- or why Jews believe in Moses --peace be upon him-- you and them would probably answer because Jesus and Moses have proved their prophecy (neglecting what Christians say about the incarnation of God in Jesus) through many miracles, we approve that, but if again you are asked how can you get assured that the miracles have actually happened what would be your answer? You have not seen them happening! You have trusted your parents and other persons to whom you can trust, they don't lie, also you have sensed faith in God and these trustworthy people were the only ones on around who were talking about what you have personally sensed, so that you could now believe in Christianity, everything that they say as there is no other alternatives. However, Islam is only different in one point. Its prophet's miracle is still in our hands, Quran the book, you can read it like you are just beside its prophet, if there is a believe in Islam that would be acquired through reading this book and then confessing that I understand this book being sent from Allah, so I come to Islam and would be a Muslim. Then if all the people on Earth come to you and try to make you doubt in everything you have your belief structure based on a firm ground, it would not shake until you choose the otherwise.

We can guide people to different verses of Quran or Ahadith for them to get familiar with Islam, but making them to believe is only put aside for Allah Himself, as he has warned us we cannot touch anyone's hearth unless He wants them to be touched. The hearths are the territory of Allah only:

It is not required of thee [or more accurately if I am right, up to you] (O Messenger), to set them on the right path, but Allah sets on the right path whom He pleaseth. Whatever of good ye give benefits your own souls, and ye shall only do so seeking the "Face" of Allah. Whatever good ye give, shall be rendered back to you, and ye shall not Be dealt with unjustly. [2:272]

And (moreover) He hath put affection between their hearts: not if thou hadst spent all that is in the earth, couldst thou have produced that affection, but Allah hath done it: for He is Exalted in might, Wise. [8:63]

Why should ye be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? Allah hath upset them for their (evil) deeds. Would ye guide those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way? For those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way, never shalt thou find the Way. [4:88]

and also see that in many other verses including these ones:

Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur) [2:7]

"Our Lord!" (they say), "Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure. [3:8]

O Messenger! let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say "We believe" with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie,- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee. They change the words from their (right) times and places: they say, "If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware!" If any one's trial is intended by Allah, thou hast no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such - it is not Allah's will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment. [5:41]

Such were the towns whose story We (thus) relate unto thee: There came indeed to them their messengers with clear (signs): But they would not believe what they had rejected before. Thus doth Allah seal up the hearts of those who reject faith. [7:101]

Therefore, according to Quran even our own believing in God is not up to ourselves, there is no guarantee for us to remain believers till our death time, so we should care about it for Allah not to take his giving back:

Even if We did send unto them angels, and the dead did speak unto them, and We gathered together all things before their very eyes, they are not the ones to believe, unless it is in Allah's plan. But most of them ignore (the truth). [6:111]

and last I should mention you a point. There is a specific age in Islam since when the humans are charged for their wrong doings, 9 for girls and 15 for boys. Note that even in Islamic cultures people are not all the same, differences exist between different Islamic cultures, be it Shia or Sunni, be it Iran or Saudi Arabia or Malaysia, and even there are differences between different inside a single Islamic culture. Allah has given a time to every child during which he can learn, first from their parents, then from their friends in schools and also from tutors, then they further and farther enter the society and can learn even more, then it is time to choose their own way and style. Today children are almost playing all their sub-9 and sub-15 ages, but this is not what is expected from them and even their parents. The time Allah has given each individual person to choose his life style and indeed, belief style, is somewhat vital but not the only opportunity for him. Since Quran has stated humans can still be guided easily until they are 40:

We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour which Thou has bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam." [46:15]

And according to Shi'ite Ahadith 40 is the age that if someone is not guided before that then there would be a very small chance that he/she will ever submit to Allah then after, maybe because he/she has generated answers (even if fake and not true) to the very important questions that would make a base for all of his/her beliefs.

Anyway, let me sum up my answer, Guiding in hearth is not something that any of us, even the prophet himself, peace be upon him, can do. We can only guide people to hear the words of Allah and He Himself would show them his signs so that they will know them, then they may accept it or not:

And to rehearse the Qur'an: and if any accept guidance, they do it for the good of their own souls, and if any stray, say: "I am only a Warner". [27:92]

And say: "Praise be to Allah, Who will soon show you His Signs, so that ye shall know them"; and thy Lord is not unmindful of all that ye do. [27:93]

EDIT.

But beside what we can do there should be a sentence that says "also we must do what we can!" So if we are not doing as much as we can we would be questioned with no doubt. Maybe this website is a place to do this then! If we can not guide anyone in hearth but we can show them the truth for themselves to decide to come and stay or to leave and stray.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.