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Sharing Mercy In The Month Of Mercy
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Sharing Mercy In The Month Of Mercy

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Click below to explore some of the conversations we had across the UK:

CRAWLEY – CARD TO CALIFORNIA

LEEDS – A DAWAH TEAM PAVING THE WAY

LEICESTER – VOLUNTEER POWER

LONDON – OPEN IFTHAR WITH NON-MUSLIMS

LUTON – A PROMISING FUTURE

OXFORD – THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

SHEFFIELD – WALLS BROKEN, BRIDGES BUILT

Ramadan 2018 saw the iERA unveil its new online and on the ground campaign which was designed share who the Mercy To Mankind was – Muhammad peace be upon him. Every town and city we visited had its own unique dawah context. Online, a new ‘Word of Mercy’ was shared via iERA’s Instagram every day, paired with carefully selected hashtags for maximum reach.

When choosing locations for the Mercy To Mankind Campaign, iERA’s pool of outreach specialists conducted an extensive analysis of the state of dawah in the UK. This involved surveying groups/organisations that are already active in holistically sharing the message of Islam through both community engagement and direct outreach activities.

Loaded with iERA’s brand new materials, ‘Words of Mercy’ and ‘Cards of Mercy’ our tour took in Crawley, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, London, Oxford and Sheffield.

These locations were specifically chosen to build relationships and have longer-term strategies for the local community to continue the Prophetic Mission.

Online, through iERA’s Instagram alone, our campaign had 50,503 impressions and counting! On the ground, we interacted with and had meaningful dawah conversations with close to 100 people, as well as giving out almost 700 copies of our ‘Words of Mercy’ booklet.


CRAWLEY – CARD TO CALIFORNIA

The iERA team visited the Crawley — in the country of West Sussex — and the hometown of iERA Outreach Specialist Nadeem, where he has been diligently developing a team. The team arrived in the City Centre and displayed the “Words of Mercy” alongside the Dawah table which has an assortment of other Islamic literature explaining different areas of Islam to the Non-Muslim public. The visible sign ‘ FREE Gift cards’ caught the eye of many and a steady stream of locals came and happily took away these cards to share with their loved ones. [Order your cards here].

‘Mum, I’m Here For You’
Our Mercy To Mankind card

One intrigued passerby was Stephanie, a tourist hailing all the way from California, USA. Gatwick International Airport is the local airport, and Crawley is a hub for such tourists in transit. Stephanie spoke with Nadeem, enquiring about the ‘catch’ behind the free cards. Nadeem clarified that there was explained no catch and explained the whole theme behind the ‘Mercy to Mankind’ campaign, emphasising the extremely clement nature of the final Messenger sent to Mankind. Upon hearing the honest explanation Stephanie scanned through the trove of cards on display, selecting: ‘Mum I’m Here For You’. She bought a stamp and posted to it to California hoping the card would reach her mother before she returned home to California from her travels.

Bad Experiences With Muslims

iERA Outreach Specialist Imran Hussein spoke to Patrick, who unfortunately over the years has had many negative interactions with Muslims. After learning the basics of Islam — it’s beautiful universal message — he left with a refreshed outlook and along with some of our materials to further his reading and open his mind.


Future of Dawah

One of the local duaat in development is Salman Haq who attended iERA’s UK Dawah Leaders Specialist course in Autumn 2017 at the iERA Headquarters. Since then, he has been consistent in regards to outreach activities within the area. Another addition to the team was Ubaydullah who is the ‘dawah leader’ from Middlesex. This was his first experience of outdoor outreach work and while being young, he shows a lot of enthusiasm for conveying the call to Islam peacefully and compassionately.


LEEDS – A DAWAH TEAM PAVING THE WAY

When choosing locations for the Mercy To Mankind Campaign, iERA’s pool of outreach specialists conducted an extensive analysis of the state of dawah in the UK. This involved surveying groups/organisations that are already active in holistically sharing the message of Islam through both community engagement and direct outreach activities.

Murtaza with Isa

Leeds has such a team which give dawah consistently throughout the year on the weekends. IERA has developed this team since 2016 with our dawah training course which includes how to welcome and empower new Muslims. Some members of the group were also invited in July 2017 to attend iERA’s Specialist Dawah Training Course for imams and leaders in London. This regular training and contact with the team have paid dividends over the last few years in their growth, both as individual callers to Islam and as a budding organisation.

The City Centre

The iERA and local Leeds dawah team distributed close to 100 copies of our ‘Words Of Mercy’ booklet in just one afternoon. The majority of which were accompanied by meaningful interaction and conversation about Islam. One such engagement was with Jamie who approached iERA’s Outreach Specialist, Imran Hussein to ask a few questions.

Jamie was very animated in his manner and expressed a lot of his confidence in his atheistic ideology. However, his passive-aggressive approach and strong stance against religion, in general, was dealt with calmly by Imran who surprised Jamie with a deep understanding of the atheist worldview and its grave implications.

Imran’s calm and gentle manner throughout the discussion made Jamie rethink his perspective on Islam, and he left agreeing to engage with the Qur’an.


LEICESTER – VOLUNTEER POWER

iERAs relationship with various teams and organisations in Leicester made it an obvious choice for our Mercy To Mankind Campaign. After delivering dawah training and hosting iERA’s Jesus Exhibition at the City Retreat, we followed up with the active group of volunteers that for this very special Ramadan campaign.

The general culture and trend amongst this group of people in Leicester is that they have a zeal for volunteering with various charities such as; elderly old peoples homes and Age UK. This has culminated in a strong grassroots mentality. When the iERA team arrived in Leicester City Centre, there was plenty of manpower to help aid the cause of running a smooth campaign.

In addition to our Mercy To Mankind campaign literature, booklet sand gift cards, iERA Outreach Specialist Murtaza Chaudhary spearheaded a new initiative which was to create gifts for the growing homeless population that were specific for their summer needs. Items included nail clippers, combs, sanitary items etc. all in a sturdy bag for them to keep. The local volunteers worked very hard alongside the iERA teams to distribute close to 50 of these packs and created an atmosphere of interaction, tolerance and love amongst the community.

iERA Outreach Specialist Nadeem Ashraf spoke to one particular local youth worker who was very impressed with the homeless gifts and the Mercy To Mankind campaign and enthusiastically took away a lot of material to distribute personally later. The local team are eager to establish regular dawah efforts, and the general feeling is that there is an opportunity for it to flourish.


LONDON – OPEN IFTHAR WITH NON-MUSLIMS

One of the busiest locations in Central London, with thousands of people passing through it every hour, is the famous Leicester Square. As it was the first week of Ramadan, the iERA team decided to invite passersby to break bread with them for an ‘Open Iftar’ this is the time when Muslims open their fast at sunset.

A few hours before sunset the iERA team arrived at the location to set up and began handing out our beautifully designed booklets and gift cards material for the’ campaign. As always there were many fantastic conversations and people took away a large number of our dawah materials.

Something Sparks Theo’s Interest…

Amongst the fantastic conversations that took place, iERA Outreach Specialist Nadeem Ashraf conversed with Theo, and he took one of the ‘Words of Mercy’ booklets that the team were handing out which sparked his interest into at what we had set up.

Nadeem Ashraf setting up the ‘Mercy To Mankind’ cards

Nadeem approached Theo and asked for his opinions about what he was seeing. Theo at first was polite and said this was very interesting. Nadeem, from experience and intuition, probed him further and insisted that there is a question hovering around in Theo’s mind that he should feel free to ask. Theo finally caved in and queried how can we confirm whether all these statements in the booklet were said by the Prophet peace be upon him.

Nadeem exclaimed that was an excellent question and assured him that he can ask any questions without hindrance. Nadeem spoke briefly about how the Prophetic traditions were collected, and Islam had an in-depth verification process which preserved them. After listening, Theo seemed impressed about the methodology of safeguarding Islamic history and its sources, Nadeem was then prompted to discuss a few prophecies of the Prophet namely the Mongol invasion and the construction of tall buildings. Theo listened tentatively,  Nadeem concluded the conversation by encouraging Theo to research further for himself and to look also into the Prophetic truth.

By the time iftar arrived, we had laid out sheets on the ground with all the food for people to sit and break fast with Muslims who had been fasting for eighteen hours. As soon as the fast opened, people sat cross-legged on the floor and enjoyed the available food. The response was overwhelming, the locals were appreciative and were grateful for this gesture.

The beautiful aspect of doing such activities and incorporating them into the Dawah is that they leave a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of people. It goes a long way in correcting the misconceptions of Non-Muslims have and presenting the true and compassionate message of Islam.


LUTON – A PROMISING FUTURE

The overarching objective of iERA is to train and empower duaat to convey the message of Islam in a more compassionate manner which was intertwined with our Mercy To Mankind Ramadan campaign. The iERA team visited a large town just north of London – Luton, Bedfordshire. As a hotbed of far-right extremism Luton in dire need of positive public relations, specifically with regards to Islam and Muslims.

Imran Hussiein delivering Dawah Training to attendees in Hockwell Ring Masjid

Imran Beg is a Lutonian Da’ee, for the past several years he has the typical dawah stall set up within the Town Centre. However, his issue in regards to conveying the call is a lack of growth and consistency. In our attempt to rectify this issue, is by injecting some enthusiasm and passion to Luton, iERA held a Dawah Training workshop at Hockwell Ring Masjid. This Masjid is the epitome of what a Mosque in the United Kingdom should be concerning their active involvement with the immediate community. From setting up an initiative picking up litter around the town to inviting more than 60 Non-Muslims to the Masjid to open their fasts with Muslims, this is the model of a Masjid to be followed!

For such activities to occur between a Masjid and the Non-Muslim community is an extremist’s worst nightmare, the only way they can grow and become more influential is by feeding on the lack of understanding, such community engagement only serves to curtail such hatred.

iERAs Outreach Specialists Imran Hussein and Nadeem Ashraf conducted the dawah training, and it was well received. Plenty of discussions took place throughout the training including many from a young 15-year-old participant. The team then had a ‘practical session’ to practise what they learnt earlier in the day. Handing out the #MercyToMankind cards and words of mercy.

Through this workshop and general meeting, we inspired at least three new members to the become active with local dawah team. This is a positive sign and there are plans to conduct more training sessions in the near future, based on the foundations laid by this campaign.

Imran Beg, one of the local dawah leaders and supporter of iERA engaged in a few conversations including with Bob. Bob approached the stall curious about what’s going on. Imran Beg explained the stall and why we are here. Bob believed in a creator but not didn’t want to say, God. So Imran spoke about the belief in a creator and the nature of the creator. We hope that Bob has more clarity about the concept of a creator. There are many people in the world who claim belief in a ‘higher power, something out there, some being ‘. As callers to Islam, the more we can convey the concept of one God effectively, the better we can espouse this to anyone who has these vague beliefs.

We pray that the masjid continues this very positive spirit of Dawah and we look forward to more dawah training and specialist training taking place at this Masjid and in turn inspire more callers to Islam.


OXFORD – THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

iERA Outreach Specialist Nadeem Ashraf had the opportunity to discuss with Sandip (pictured) and went through the whole iERA trademarked framework — the GORAP!

Sandip hails from Nepal and raised with the values of Tantrism — is a movement within Buddhism. This faith is a combination of Hinduism along with Paganism, magical and mystical elements — but Sandip identified to Nadeem he was not wholly convinced by the faith he had been brought up in and whether there was a creator at all. This was a good segue for Nadeem to the rational basis of Islam.

Murtaza Chaudhary speaking to a local

Nadeem used conveyed the call the compassionate and peaceful message of Islam and Sandip listened earnestly to his reasoning and arguments of why God exists. However, with a little foreshadowing, the conversation with Sandip was cut short, as he was dragged away by his friends. Before he left, Nadeem wanted to get agreement from Sandip that he does now believe firmly that a creator exists, to which Sandip nodded in the affirmative with enthusiasm! Alhumdulilah, the seed has been sown! Sandip did take some iERA dawah materials with him, and the research shall continue, God willing!

iERA Outreach Specialist Subboor Ahmed spoke to a very friendly Theology student from Sweden called Kevin, who was studying to become a Pastor. The discussion revolved around how Christians and Muslims need to be more tolerant towards each other. Especially, in the light of the rise of aggressive Atheism. It was a very long conversation, and we hope that when Kevin does take the pulpit as a Church leader, he will be of those that would develop friendly relations with the Muslims and open doors or interactive discussion.

Finally, iERA Outreach Specialist Murtaza spoke to Bradley, a tourist from the USA. Bradley was awe-struck with amazement about the multiculturalism he was experiencing upon his travels — unlike where he lives in the States where have everyone has the same beliefs and backgrounds.

Coincidentally, he was given booklets about Hinduism and showed them to Murtaza. This gave Murtaza a gateway to explain the concept of the one sole Creator and made a comparison of what the ‘Bhagavadgita’ teaches about God. Bradley agreed with what Murtaza laid out the argument of there being one sole Creator with no partners — instead of ‘multiple gods’ vying it out to become the ‘Supreme God’ — by reflecting on this verse in the Qur’an:

‘If there had been in the heavens or earth any gods but Him, both heavens and earth would be in ruins: God, Lord of the Throne, is far above the things they say’ [Qur’an, chapter 21, verse 22]

By using common sense pertained within the Qur’an and Sunnah, Murtaza was able to articulate the correctness of Islam’s logic in a kind and compassionate manner.

Bradley left with iERA book, the Eternal challenge and a translated copy of the Qur’an. We pray that Bradley keeps a sincere heart when searching for the truth and perhaps this discussion with the iERA Dawah team may garner further interest in Islam.

This was an immensely fruitful trip. One of the key highlights other than the conversations was that Kabir, who attended the U.K. specialist training in 2017, held at the iERA classroom is now keen to start regular activities in Oxford. He has to travel there for work and could incorporate some activities while he is there and build a team. Kabir has been a long-term volunteer and has participated in many of our previous campaigns. This is a natural step up for him to become a campaign leader in the Oxfordshire region.

Make Dua and watch for this space, God willing!


SHEFFIELD – WALLS BROKEN, BRIDGES BUILT

On the cusp of Ramadan, Outreach Specialist Murtaza Chaudhary made contact with iERA’s local Dawah leader in Sheffield — Abdullah Okud. The plan was to hold a group iftar for Non-Muslims to come and break bread with the fasting Muslims.

Abdullah is only 20 years old; however, he is the Head of the Students Union at Sheffield Hallam University — previously, he was the head of the ISOC. Being both well connected and an organised individual, Abdullah swiftly helped with sourcing a local contact Imam Muhammad Ali and a suitable venue, the Imam’s mosque, Masjid At-Taqwa in Andover Street.

Our day began with conveying the call of Islam in Sheffield City Centre. iERA Outreach Specialists Murtaza Chaudhary, Imran Hussein and Nadeem Ashraf engaged with what are some of the most amicable and open-minded people in the UK. A large number of people stopped by to chat about Islam, and we took the opportunity to invite them to the evening meal. The generous offer of kindness genuinely warmed people.  At the same time, we made sure a good number of Dawah materials were distributed to those who were interested. Our ‘Words of Mercy’ gift cards went to many people too. One lady who was the manager of the local Specsavers store came to our stall

She was in awe of the work we were doing and was overjoyed with the outreach efforts. She took many ‘Mercy To Mankind’ cards for all her staff at the shop.

The word of the evening’s sumptuous meal was getting around, and we decided to shift our focus to the preparation of the event. We arrived at the mosque, which was preemptively stocked with iERA dawah materials. The plan was to give as many of these books to Muslims breaking fast so that they could give them out as Dawah. We had copies of our Jesus Book, Eternal Challenge, Words of Mercy, Know God, Know Good and Qur’an a Short Journey.

[All are available for free from our website iera.org/shop]

Non-Muslims began to stream through the doors of the masjid, and soon they were enjoying the food provided. The Muslims attending were able to have intimate conversations with our Non-Muslim guests.

Murtaza spoke to one kind gentleman called Jamie. Jamie was born and raised in London but had moved to Sheffield many years ago. He was a homeless man who dearly appreciated the meal. Some of the attendees at the mosque also gifted him a box of dates to take away with him. Jamie believed that there could only be one God. Although he was brought up in a Christian family, things of the religion didn’t add up. How could God be a man? Aren’t humans imperfect? Didn’t Jesus have needs such as the need to drink, eat, sleep, clothing, shelter and the need to relieve himself?. Murtaza explained that Allah is ‘The All-Powerful’ and is free of such requirements such as food and sleep. All of it resonated with Jamie. Finally, Murtaza gifted Jamie a selection of books to further study Islam.

May Allah bless Jamie and guide him to Islam, Ameen.