Giving Dawah to the culturally rich City of Oxford
Uniting against Hate
Susan had a Christian upbringing and is of Irish descent. When conversing with her I did not overwhelm her with over mentioning “God” but rather had a nuanced discussion of bringing Susan to think – what Muslims stand for as a whole.
She spoke a lot about people and the way values have changed so much in recent times. She noted the youth feel unsafe in the streets with high levels of crime and violence. She was in agreement that Muslims should unite with other communities – with all humans – to fight against these social ills.
As an Irish Woman, she was able to empathise with the racism Muslims receive in recent times and believed in co-operation with Muslims to fight any common threats such as vices, crimes etc.
Forming a new Dawah Team
I arrived at Oxford with a determination of motivating the native Muslim Oxfordians to continue their dawah efforts in the area after the iERA Outreach had come and gone. One of our attendees from the UK Dawah leaders 3-day training, Faris, enthusiastically took it upon himself to undertake regular dawah efforts within the Oxford area. My primary objective during my visit was to communicate to the resident Muslims, about the efforts of the newly formed Dawah team and encourage them to join. From the get-go, I met a Muslim businessman and spoke about iERA, where the bulk of our conversation mainly centred on the topic of giving dawah and how to give it. I invited him to join the team, and he responded enthusiastically by committing to join Faris on the noblest of ventures. Details were exchanged, and alhamdullilah it’s good to see this team growing on a weekly basis.
As the day was dwindling down, a well-spoken gentleman stood upright beside the stall and intriguingly asked a few questions. Lawrence was a Christian ex-teacher in his 60s. Lawrence spewed out his laundry list of typical and cliched questions in regards to; the Prophet peace be upon him and the Jewish tribes, the verses in the Quran which prescribed fighting, whether Christians can preach the Bible in Saudi Arabia and so on and so forth. I was able to provide him with comprehensive answers to each one, but he seemed to, albeit very politely jump to one question after another, after the umpteenth question it dawned on me what was happening here!
Lawrence charmingly asked all the typical questions which orientalists and newspapers regurgitate about surrounding the topic of Islam. His questions perked the ears of the Oxford dawah team members who surrounded us, where they began to chime in. Therefore, unable to satisfy his insatiable desire to answer I opted for a more tactful approach and went on the offence by asking him questions such as; the nature of Allah’s concept of love in Islam, the Prophet’s peace be upon him amazing and deep compassion and integrity. Lawrence smiled and declared that myself and the other Oxford dawah team members as the politest Muslims he has ever encountered. So I think the lesson for us as duaat is always to bring the conversation back to the roots of Islam and not always be on the defence! May Allah guide Lawrence to the truth of Islam.
Lastly, my “dawah lines” of the day were dedicated to the cyclists (Oxford is famously popular destination for people who enjoy pedalling bicycles). I would ask the cyclists, do the brake’s work? A few stopped and practically showed me that they did and I promptly handed over them the KGKG booklet!