Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tools for Da'awa Part II

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Let us continue with the highlights sharing, insha Allah...

7. Psychology to Help Others

Psychology is important for each da'ie. When performing da'awa we need to know the individual that we are targeting to help in order to spread charity and chastity to him or her. In this term, we have to act with mercy and compassionate as what has been recited in the Holy Name of Allah. If we do not know how to deal with people emotion, feeling and psychology then it would be a da'awa in vain. At least when performing da'awa we would leave some effects in the sentiment of the target audience of da'awa. 

As per my experience dear brothers and sisters, I mingled with naughty and problematic youngsters. They became my friends because nobody wanted to be their friends. When I was an undergraduate student in Universiti Sains Malaysia for example, I mingled with Amir. At that time, I was under the period of keeping the Covenant with Allah. I would not mingle with people around if I made promises and renewing it again with Allah. But when a needy person approached me, I would have to be merciful and compassionate to him. Does not matter if he is problematic, scary like a Yakuza member or non-religious watching obscene movies. I never show up my worship to others or even calling the "friend" to mosque nor looking at them strangely like some of Mahasiswa Islam or Tabligh Jama'at members. But I would ask them to wait for me when I wanted to perform salat if I spend my time with them. I would give them all sort of non-religious reasons to leave them for a moment such as excusing myself to the toilet. In the beginning perhaps they thought that I was one of them, but when spending time longer with me they began to realize that I was an orthodox Muslim guy who happened to be unorthodox in approach to deal with them. I never say anything, but they slowly performing salat in their rooms. Other than that, I would stop them from paying in the restaurant counter because I know they would leave the restaurant without paying. I helped them to pay without asking them to pay me back. But in the beginning I usually pretend that I was also not paying and running with them. But I circled the restaurant and going through the kitchen to see the workers paying for all the expense for everyone. Just not to make those "friends" losing their dignity in front of others.

When performing da'awa, we need to see the level of thought in the society. There are many kind of people in the society. We need to set where our level need to be at the range of people we mingle with. If we are mingling with the Yakuza member, we should not act like a preacher. But trying to find the way according to their way of thinking and speaking to them in their language. When talking to village folks, we do not have to show off like a scholar in front of them because it is useless. They would not understand us. That is why I feel quite weird to listen to some of Tabligh Jama'at members using jargon such as hidayat, bayan, takazah, ghasht and others. I asked them again what are those meaning? I understood Urdu and Punjabi language, I spoke in the language fluently when I was a little kid and now I just could understand them. But what I mean by asking them is that why do they use those terms to people who don't understand them? Village folks in Malayan Peninsula were not all ignorant about religion. They have their own mosque, local religious mission orders and local religious teachers. Why are we using foreign terms when talking to them? I would convey what those folks would say when they heard some local jama'at members utter the words here. These people are bunch of show off. What the hell those words mean? Just because they mingle with foreign Hindustani made them forget local norms and way of speech? They might be trying to impose their influence on us? Do they think that we are bunch of ignorant who are about to testify sahadat?

How do I know this? I mingled with all sort of people in the society. From village folk thugs which also include my father, Bangladeshi or Pakistani migrant workers, foreigners, town boys, naughty kids, non-Muslim Chinese students and elders, liberal art lecturers, feminists, gay groups, transvestites and others. The way we deal with these people is actually different and quite diverse. They could be Muslims, they could be non-Muslims. We could not view them as the same in term of emotion, feeling, thought, speech, and daily norms. Some people already has the basis of receptor to accept new knowledge but not all people posses that such as the "orang kampung" or village folks or maybe those random people in the street. Say, if a knowledgeable professor in Petro-Chemical discussing with them about certain concept and using jargon of the field. What would happen to those audience who happens to be village folks? They would just sleep or wandering on what the hell is this crazy guy talking about? We don't even know how to pronounce those words he is saying. So, one needs to know psychology when dealing with others or spending time with them. Try to put our selves in their shoes and not looking in the view of individuality though we claim that we are acting collectively.

8. Morality

This is what is known as ihsan. When we perform da'awa, we would not only talking about this idolatry or that idolatry. We would first need to know what is meant by idolatry? It is not as easy as bombing others or destructing any building. The basis of idolatry is materialism. Just check our heart, if we think that material is more important for us so we had already committing shirk (polytheism). For me how would I look up at people? I would look at them from their "heart". Not from the eloquence of their speech or the way they dress up their selves. There are ways to know this whether if we look it up at their appearance, their speech or their writings but I am not going to explain it here because it is not really easy to be expounded in words. This has nothing to do with mystical stuffs. I am sure certain kids would come to me and ask this and that. I don't like mysticism and I don't get revelation from Allah like a prophet. The only revelation is contained in al-Quran and in the Sunnah of noble prophets of Allah. These two sources are accessible by everyone no matter what rank you are in your society.

There is no need to prolong the ethics taught by Aristotle. One need to know to explain on the right and wrong in acts. I was not exposed to Greek studies but I was exposed to Buddhism studies. What I know was that our deed is influenced by our thought (heart). Quite long explanation too but as to say morality is not only to be recorded in documents. It is to be practiced as lessons for the others as what has been taught to us by Hassan and Hussain r.a. What is better for us is to follow the examples of prophet Muhammad s.a.w, his family members, his companions and all the jurisprudence schools in term of morality and conveying da'awa to others. We learned from them and we practice them right away. No need to talk about this figure or that figure but we are just talking around and still far from practicing. Usually I don't really talk much in front of people. I speak only when it is important I am just using common sense on the basis that I had already know to act and observe the effects more. 

Other than that, I don't really agree with some Tabligh Jama'at members' bayans regarding the previous nations to magnify their da'awa movement. Da'awa is certainly a good thing but we should know that it is not the morality of a Muslim to downgrade the contributions of previous prophets, messengers of Allah and their nations. The nations of prophet Jesus a.s had already performed their part in their era as what has been mentioned in our glorious Quran. Some part of the nations of prophet Moses a.s also had performed their part when they entered the land of Cana'an under the leadership of sage Yushya' bin Nun. We should not compare our selves with them as there are gaps of era, difference in time period, society and region. Problem always risen when we consider that everything should be the same as what we think but the fact is unlikely the same. 

Other simple thing is that Quran is to be practiced and not only to be memorized and recited in prayers or in Quranic recital contest to see whose recitation is the best in its poetry sound style. When we recite Quran, we ponder the verses and we jot down what Allah suggests us to do in order to go through this life. It also includes our daily morality and how we interact with society and nature. Quran is for those who are alive and not for those who were dead. There is no need for a religion to those who had already dead. Death is the time to be laid into rest for another period to come.

9. Contemporary Political System Knowledge

This is according to the time where we live. As what I had already mentioned in International Relation studies and Global Political Economy about theories such as liberalism, realism, marxism and constructivism. This were taught in the West and around the world. How they evaluate the world is through these theories. We can talk about political structure of empires in the past but we need to also know about nowadays because we live in today's life not in the past.

When performing da'awa in Europe, the method would be changing as Europe is not the same as Bangladesh. If we think that Europe or Russia is the same like Pakistan, then it would be a huge gaps and problems. Political system in Europe for example is different than Pakistan or Bangladesh political system. 

When brothers and sisters are living in Europe or Russia, brothers and sisters should be acknowledged on what are the policies in European Union or Russia. Then check back what is the policy of your home countries say Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia. You cannot impose the system of your country in others. To change the system without conforming to local and natives agreements would be a huge disaster as respecting each other is part of the Sunnah in Islam.

10. Local Language

Then brothers and sisters need to know the language where brothers and sisters needed to perform da'awa. It is to make sure that the dai'e could understood the feeling and the emotion of the speakers. No matter how 'aalim is a person, he would be like a mute person if he does not speak in the language spoken around. Many religious scholars in our country who lived in Mecca and Egypt for many years and speak in fluent Arabic but they are not fluent in their own language. I had seen this too. So, they would just stay in their academic circle perhaps in university or certain region without the knowledge that they sought being conveyed to others. That is why I tried to do some translations in Chinese as an ordinary person who were educated in Islamic studies stream. Many people in our country condemn about Chinese communities who are ignorant about Muslim traditions but they did nothing in order to solve the problem rather condemning.

11. Arabic and Global Language 

It is also important to master Arabic language. Sources about Islamic sciences are mostly in Arabic. In Malaysia, those sources are also in Malay because our elders had initiated the writings in Malay. A dai'e must also know English as it is a global language. If we only speak in Malay, then our target audience of da'awa perhaps is only in domestic ranging. If we wanted to spread the mercy of Allah, we need to conform to the multilevel system. That was what had been done by apostles of prophet Jesus a.s in the part of the past nations. They spread their faith across borders as far as China and Japan in the East. Being a translation and interpretation student, I was also exposed to the translation of Bible and translation theories proposed by figures such as E. Nida, Basil Hatim, Cicero and the Language of Law. I do not join any institution because I am just devoting myself for Allah and not for money. Many people do not understand my principles so they think that I am crazy, haha. I do not study anything for myself. I studied them for Allah and yes... They are torturing moments and not fun at all. I have no time to build good lifelong friendship with proper people like what I had seen when I was in the university. I could just be a mere operator in factories. End up my life just like others.

There are another two points in my notes. I'm trying to simplify them and burn the note... hehehe. I don't need them but I can share it with people.


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