The Muslim Ummah is expected to reach great heights, to be an example for mankind. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an, “You have been the best nation ever presented to mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah.”(Al-Imran: 110)
From these verses, Allah (SWT) makes it clear that every Muslim must provide leadership in faith and project strong virtues. We should motivate people to do good until good prevails. To do so, we should set the best examples in justice, equality, generosity, modesty, speech, forgiveness and kindness.
When we come across a non-Muslim friend or neighbor, the first thing they notice is our appearance. Our appearance leaves a lasting impression on those we meet. If we are well dressed, clean and presentable, our neighbor or friend will be impressed.
After we make our impression, we should invite our non-Muslim friends and neighbors to our homes. Showing generosity to guests is indeed a vital aspect of the Muslim character. Even the prophets showed this noble trait. Generosity is known to greatly soften the hearts of the non-Muslims. Many American soldiers stationed in the desert during the Gulf War told stories of bedouin men calling them over to share coffee and tea. Even though there was a language barrier, this simple act of kindness and generosity touched many hearts. Many who reverted to Islam cited the Muslim generosity as the key to opening them to the message of Islam.
Thoughtfulness and Kindness:
Thoughtfulness and Kindness is another wonderful way to bring our non-Muslim friends closer to Islam. Giving gifts is a good way to show generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness. It is Sunnah to give gifts to our non-Muslim friends and neighbors to bring them closer to Islam. Being thoughtful and showing kindness is also very important. If our non-Muslim friends or neighbors become sick, we should inquire about their health and help them in their time of need, if necessary. It was the practice of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to visit the sick and needy, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. Words are not enough if our kindness is not shown through actions.
Tolerance and Justice:
We should try to exercise justice and peace. Allah says in the Qur’an, “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” (60:8)
We can show tolerance to non-Muslims by overlooking their faults and avoiding criticism, and by not hurting their feelings with words or actions. No one is going to listen to our teachings if we are unfair to them or hurt them. Showing justice with non-Muslims helps them understand that we are a fair and just people. This is a very important aspect of projecting the true image of Islam.
To conclude: Islam should be presented in a simple, clear and wise way. In these times, especially in the west, one should keep in mind the misconceptions and stereotypes associated with Islam. So using the etiquettes mentioned earlier, we can introduce the following concepts to our non Muslim friends and neighbors. They are: Allah’s existence, oneness and attributes; the Prophet’s (PBUH) biography; the miraculous nature of Qur’an and its agreement with scientific facts; challenge from Allah to produce a book similar to Qur’an; the hereafter and proof that there is resurrection; uniqueness of the Prophet’s companions, and lastly the impact Islam had on the world.
A successful caller towards Allah should be a just person who is dutiful towards Allah and is fair and honest with those around him. To project Islam is a lifetime commitment. It requires dedication from the caller. Ibraheem (AS) once said, “Say: Lo! My worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him).” (6:162,163)