By Abdurraheem Green.
In late October early November 2014, my international trip kicked off with a lecture in Qatar at the Katara Masjid, which is quite stunning. I was invited by the Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) and lectured on the the importance of following the example of the Prophet Mohammed upon whom be peace. After the talk there was a lively discussion with some Christians from West Africa, which although did not result in them accepting Islam, it certainly gave them some food for thought!
I realised that many simply do not reflect on the magnificence and greatness of Allah, and how insignificant the Creation is. This is perhaps why Christians do not really comprehend how much an affront it is to the greatness, purity and majesty of Allah to claim that He has a son, and how far removed He is from that.
The next day I flew to the Maldives, famous as a high end tourist destination and most likely one of the first countries to completely disappear if the predictions about man made climate change, global warming and rising sea levels prove correct. Mohammed “Chey” Sobeh who has been my long time contact there and is an ex-pro surfer and founder of the Maldives Surfing Association who still surfs told me that although he has not noticed a rise in sea levels there has been a worrying degree of coral bleaching which is due to increased water temperatures. The constitution of the Maldives states that every citizen must be a Muslim and that the laws of the country must follow the teachings of Islam. Of course this is not quite the case. Sadly, there is a growing agnosticism among many youth, mostly it seems because its “fashionable” as opposed to any real existential anxiety. Sadly the way Islam is taught in schools follows outdated methods that fail to address many of the issues facing the youth. I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with students at a secondary school on Fuvahmulah island which is about an hours flight from the capital Male.
I delivered two lectures there, one for the students on the topic of the curse of the consumer society and the previous evening was open to all on “towards achieving our goal”, which of course is paradise!
Talking of paradise the Maldives certainly fits most peoples idea of how it might be with wonderful sandy beaches, palm tree clad island and warm balmy seas, but it also has a thriving capital, Male, which is essentially a city island. That is where I delivered my first lecture “Purpose of Creation”. Although it is normally the dry season there was rain and thunder a lot of the time and it seemed as if my lecture might have to be moved to the mosque since it was scheduled to be outdoors. Fortunately the rain held off and the lecture was very well attended with it also being broadcast on one of the TV stations which meant it reached most of the Maldives.
In the lecture I discussed not only the purpose of life, but why Allah created the creation. I discussed how every civilisation tries in some way shape or form to answer these questions and provide a myth to justify and explain itself, but many fail because ultimately these myths fail to convince us and are not in accord with our fitra, or natural and instinctive disposition. On my return from the unique and beautiful island of Fuvahmulah I had another lecture to give in Hulhumale which is a newly development and mostly a man made island next to the airport. The topic of this lecture was on “the best of generations” which of course was that of the companions of the Prophet upon whom be peace. I chose to highlight stories from the lives of three companions to show the importance of obeying Allah and His Messenger, trusting in Allah, calling to his deen and avoid innovations.
The next day we had a dawah training course which was attended by leaders of various Islamic associations from all over the Maldives many who had flown in from all over the country especially to attend. It was quite an effort to get the brothers to actually participate in discussions, but the last session was unique and special to the Maldives, where we hope to trail a new type of dawah: tourist dawah. We had a brain storming session where I asked everyone to contribute an original idea on who we could give dawah to tourists. Of course the idea here was not to frighten tourists away, but rather think how we could enhance their experiences in the Maldives to think about Allah and His deen. In the end everyone contributed and some of the brothers who where the most shy in the beginning became the most animated and contributed the most exciting ideas!
After the amazing experience in the Maldives it was back to Qatar for another lecture that proved to be a really exciting and unique event. The brothers from Ezdan Mall had put on a wonderful display about the life of the Prophet upon whom be peace in the mall itself. This attracted a lot of attention and positive publicity, with schools and government ministers coming to see the exhibition.
I was invited to give a talk and because there were a few non-muslims in the audience I focused on the subject of how we could know that Muhammed saws was truly and messenger of Allah. It was a plus that Sheikh Yusuf Estes came along and alhamdulillah that night we had three shahadas! A wonderful ending to an amazingly productive trip. A big thanks to all those involved who made my journey such a positive experience, and especially to all those making such efforts for the dawah.
May Allah reward you all greatly!