I was listening to a lecture by Shaikh Jehad Esmail during Arbaeen, and he gave a very good example on how to defend Islam, but at the same time, call people to Islam. He said that when we have a sweet, say, a piece of chocolate, and we tell the people around us how delicious that chocolate is, but we eat it without sharing, what did the others learn?
"Call people [to the Truth] without using your tongues." – Imam Ja'far Sadiq (peace be upon him)
One of the most important reasons, if not the most important reason, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) was sent to this world was to perfect our moral character. He came to this world to call us to the Truth, but how did he do that? He did more than just call people to the truth with his tongue. He called people with his tongue, with his actions, with his habits, and with every single inch of his body and soul. The Prophet was a manifestation of the Truth in every single way we can imagine. The hadith above, by Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, is a very important one to remember and to act on.
Today, the Muslim Ummah suffers from many problems: Islam is seen as an impractical, misogynist, and medieval faith with inhumane laws and beliefs. Muslims are viewed as violent, angry terrorists who oppress women and carry out suicide bombings. Now, there are many reasons why Islam and Muslims have such a bad reputation in the eyes of many people, and I cannot even begin to elaborate on these reasons. However, one thing I notice that does not help us at all is our lack of moral character.
Go to YouTube and search for a video clip related to Muslims. Any clip, even a pro-Islam one. Scroll down to the comments section and read. A lot of profanity, eh? Just the other day, I was watching a clip where Glenn Beck was ranting on about "Islamofascism" and how political correctness will destroy us all. After watching, I decided to comment on the double standards of American foreign policy. Later on, I received a personal message:
"Go Islamo**** yourself you ****sucking pedophile worshipper!"
That's the message I received. It doesn't even make any sense. I have no clue why this guy even sent me the message, because I didn't insult anyone or call anyone names. I don't even know what he aimed to achieve by sending me such a message.
Initially I was quite annoyed, and I thought of replying to him, but I realized that that would just start a competition on who knew more swear words. I ignored him and deleted the message. However, if you look on the comments section just under the Islam-related clip you just watched, you will see that some people are actually trying to "defend" Islam thusly:
"Man **** anyone who thinks this video is funny. people die in ashur for Imam Hussein SALAM ALLAH ALAH…..And u sons of ******* put music in it…..Allah EW Akbar"
This is how we defend the religion of Truth?! The Prophet taught us to be civilized even in front of barbarians, yet this is how we act? That's pretty messed up: that we choose not to rise above the angels (as we should), but stoop to a level below animals. Yes, we must defend Islam, but defend it with not only our words, but with our actions as well. Just because someone calls us "ragheads" doesn't mean we have to call them "crackers".
I was listening to a lecture by Shaikh Jehad Esmail during Arbaeen, and he gave a very good example on how to defend Islam, but at the same time, call people to Islam. He said that when we have a sweet, say, a piece of chocolate, and we tell the people around us how delicious that chocolate is, but we eat it without sharing, what did the others learn? They didn't get to taste the chocolate, so how do they know whether it tastes good or bad? On the other hand, if we take that piece of chocolate and cut it into equal pieces and share it with the people around us, we don't even have to tell them how good the chocolate tastes. They'll see for themselves! Similarly, when it comes to Islam, we can promote Islam as much as we want with our tongues and say that Islam respects others and is a tolerant religion, but we won't get a single follower. If we actually respect others and actually ACT according to Islam's teachings, we don't even have to say a word. Our actions will do the talking. This is what Imam as-Sadiq means when he says "Call people [to the Truth] without using your tongues."
We have to cultivate a positive, Islamic identity. We have to be the most hardworking, respectful, cleanest, and devoted people in our communities. If we become good Muslims, not only will we attract people to Islam, we will be setting a good example for our younger brothers and sisters to follow. When they see the religion being practiced as it should be practiced, they'll grow up strong Muslims who hold up the flag of Allah and His Prophet with pride.