A young brother asked me a question in regards to how he can maintain his family commitments & be involved in Da’wah projects. He also hinted that his family are opposed to his involvement, mainly due to the age old fears of ‘disruptive to studies’. In this short blog, I will attempt to give some advice and pointers in answering his query & in turn this may prove useful to other people in the same situation.
I like to answer in points or bullet points. The reason for this is that the emphasis is on practical real life tips as opposed to some deep theory.
- If your family is opposed to your Da’wah, then this could be due to a number of reasons. They are not clear about the org you are with. They don’t understand its aim. It could be that perhaps you have neglected your family & studies and placed priority for Da’wah. You may have started off in an argument, instead of winning them over. Parents naturally will always be over protective and cautious about whom their son will associate with. So them asking questions, ESPECIALLY if you kept it quiet from the beginning and they had to discover later on that you’ve been very active without their knowledge is their natural right. It should be expected! . So really ,unless you are hanging around notorious extremists, they shouldn’t be opposed at all. So from the get go, tell them Excatly what this particular org does, how it helps you as a human being. How it could acually help you academically as well as spiritually and of course, actually help you become an even more obedient child! (Yes, the parents love this one!!)
- Invite them to as many events and gatherings where possible. They need to see who their son is meeting up with. They need assurities. So think of unique ways of inviting or taking them to regular events. Additionally invite other members to your residence. Have lunch with your CEO of the org & your dad! Now that the CEO or member of your org is in the castle of the king (the king being your dad), your parents can now ‘interrogate ‘ your fellow members/ CEO to their hearts content! These face to face interactions will go a long way towards alleviating all types of suspicions and provide assurances to your family. Remember, if all your parents saw were random names on a poster or a voice on your phone or a name on social media, then the suspicions & doubts won’t vanquish until there is a face to face real meeting.
- Da’wah projects should actually help you become a better Daii and a better son at home. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself in your bedroom whilst the family gather downstairs watching TV. Even though you maybe praying or reading a book or engaging in an online Da’wah discussion, your family don’t know that! All they are thinking is that you have abandoned the family & are trying to keep away. No! Unacceptable! As a budding Daii, you should be even more involved with tedious family gatherings. You should mix even more, no matter how secular or liberal your family members are. Unless they ask you to commit open kufr or engage In a major sin, I would opine.. sit with them & watch the boring Pakistani drama’s or dinner invitations where you’ll see a lot of non bearded & non hijab personnel. But with warmth & wisdom, analyse the drama or the dinner invite afterwards, discuss its positives and negatives & subtely discuss how Islam provides an alternative lifestyle which can also be fun & entertaining.
- If you have recently begun practising & are the only one in your family, then work on your brothers and sisters. Get them ‘on your side’. This will act as a great motivation for the rest of the family to follow suit.
- Don’t ever argue with your parents. Avoid all confrontations at all cost! You have to show super human patience & be annoyingly at peace and under no circumstance raise your voice. No matter how much they insult you, the Da’wah, your fellow members, no matter how many sarcastic remarks they’ll make about Muslims & ‘maulvis’, no matter how many jibes, how angry they get or mock, you.. the budding Daii, has to sail this storm of abuse. The moment you feel an an inkling of anger, you have lost the ‘battle’. This is your test. If you can over come this with fortitude then your family will eventually respect and maybe even, God willing,join you!
- Your studies, instead of seeing a decline in marks, should actually increase! If you’re with an organisation that is always pushing leadership qualities, being productive , hard work etc then this should be exemplified within your own studies. If you are a student at university then I would advise placing priority over studies for now. As a temporary phase. You graduating with flying colours will actually help the Da’wah in the future! Today’s Ummah needs highly educated and academic duaat. So aim to become one. This doesn’t mean keep away from the brothers for months on end. It just means that term time, you’ll meet once a week for an hour. And then during holidays attend and help out more. Do make it a point to explain to your parents that you are spending so many hours a week on studies and just a mere hour with the Da’wah. This will assure them that you also have a passion for studies too.
- Always explain to your family that this organisation ( YC or similar ) actually have highly qualified people. It’s not a typical backward organisation which just rants all day & wants to cause destruction. It actually promotes leadership qualities, ambition, vision & achieving the best! Show them this side of the org and perhaps the Quran & sunnah side of things could take a backseat.. for now. Eventually after being impressed they will then appreciate the Qur’anic teachings & the sunnah. Otherwise because of the media today & world events, the moment you mention Quran, sunnah, daleel! Evidence, bidah! And so on, they’ll conjure up images of negativity. It would take time to change their mindset towards our noble sources of knowledge.
In conclusion. When someone becomes practising and changes their life style from one of sin to obedience to the creator and then involves themselves with Da’wah orgs and attends events, then your family & especially your parents shall notice this change. They’ve watched you grow from a baby into adulthood, after Allah swt, they know you more than anyone else. Naturally change in you will always come in the guise of skepticism. They’ll think all sorts of questions including ‘is this a phase’? Etc. So them opposing you should be welcomed as your first test in a life of Da’wah work. If you didn’t start off well & argued from the get go, then have a rethink and a change of ‘strategy’. All parents eventually will come round by the will of Allah swt, but there may be that hesitancy in the beginning.
Hope the above helps. There are I’m sure many other points to. Do leave questions or comments & I will try and address them.