Sister Shysta from the nearby town of Redhill had organised a community event in a local park. She invited the local council ( including the mayor) and churches to come and put up various stalls.
The sister found out that we do a da’wah stall in Crawley so invited us to hold a stall, giving out flyers and removing misconceptions for the sake of community spirit.
So myself, my son and another bro held this stall in this tiny park between a whole estate. Very unique place to have an open air event. I actually appreciate the organisers that they were creative enough to organise this within a living community where they could engage with wayward youth involved in petty crime.
The highlights of my day were:
Anand the Buddhist.
Anand approached the stall, inspecting the various booklets on display. The ‘Love of God’ & ‘Forbidden prophecies’ caught his eye. After establishing niceties where he informed me he’s from Mumbai and is no working here locally, we engaged in a conversation. He informed me that he doesn’t believe in a God, but ‘good things’ , ‘humanity’ and general spirituality. I latched onto the word spirituality and as many times before, I discussed the concept of purifying the soul in Islam & that Islam is so much more than haram and halal.
Anand was a polite guy and listened carefully. When it came to existential questions, I requested that let’s put all religions, text, beliefs aside and discuss using common sense. He agreed. So I discussed the origins of the universe argument. He agreed it all made sense. So I announced earnestly, Anand! You actually believe in a creator! Anand, taken aback a little, protested, no no, I worship knowledge and teachings of Buddha. I retorted, but who created knowledge? The mind?.. and again the Universe?!
At this point I realised a general point in the dawah. That people agree when you break everything down, but when it is made clear to them, they will still protest… and cling on to their belief. This is how us humans are, we will let our beliefs blind us from the obvious truth. So this is where us duaat need to empower people and tell them that they are sincere and compliment them, in this case that Anand took out the time to come to an obviously looking Muslim stall! Especially in an age of ultra right wing Hinduism campaigns against Muslims, Kashmir and all that! He even said that Modi is evil! Again implying that he’s a nice genuine guy! But this niceness needs to be added to common sense and accept if something is made obvious to them. In this case a creator of the universe.
When pressed, he said the Universe made itself. This is when I showed him the folly of this point & he finally nodded that it doesn’t make sense. Alhumdulillah.
He then wanted to get away from this topic ( this is usual in street da’wah) and actually narrated ahadith about the compassionate nature of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). I again, appreciated his stance that his guru taught him that and then explained to him that let’s build on that. This is where I explained to him the prophetic truth. He listened and now seemed much more quite. I ended with pointing him to the direction of his research. To study the life of Muhammad (saw) and then look at what the eminent Non Muslim historians and biographers of the Prophet have said about him (saw). People like Montgomery Watt, William Draper, Edward Gibbon and the likes.
He took away a lot of the books and I make Du’a that Allah swt guides him.
The other highlight was when the main host of the event, who was blasting out loud music all day announced that if anyone has requests for music then come and tell us. I suggested to my son that this is a great opportunity to give da’wah through nasheeds!
So the nasheed we chose was the Muslim Belal/ Omar Esaa/ Kemal Saleh cover of ‘where is the love’. This was made in response to the horror of the Christchurch attack and to show the people of Redhill that Islam condemns mindless violence. As this was playing, a saw a few heads nodding and listening to the lyrics! 🙂
Alhumdulilah, I’m thankful to the sister who invited me and the great little initiative she took to get an Islamic stall in amongst 4 other church stalls and other food stalls! May Allah swt accept our efforts.