iERAs vision is to advance the Prophetic Mission across the globe. To achieve this, we have a clear roadmap and objective for each continent. Our European plan looks to take the message of Islam to every single country on the continent over the next few years. As part of that plan, we develop relationships with local imams/leaders and thinkers who we can work with to continue conveying the call.
iERA reached out to Muhammed Idrissi who is a well known Spanish Imam who studied in the UK before returning to Spain. He is half Spanish and half Moroccan so has a good understanding of Spain and Spanish culture. As a student of knowledge, he also has a good grasp of Arabic and is fluent in English. As the local Imam, he is well known to the Muslim and Non-Muslim community in his hometown of Seville. He has a strong working relationship with organisations like charities and the local council/government bodies.
The Non-Muslims of Seville generally have a good relationship with the Muslims. Although the Muslim community is small, familiarity and contact with Muslims is growing. On one occasion the imam overheard a lady on her mobile phone saying when asked where she was, she said she was on the street where the mosque is – “it seems it’s a well known local landmark for my part of Seville.” said Imam Muhammad.
Imam Muhammad visited iERA in London to plan out what is needed on the ground in Seville for the Prophetic Mission to flourish. It was decided to have a motivational talk on the first day, followed by dawah and new Muslim mentorship training, with a session of community outreach in between. In short a good mix of theory and practice to help the Spanish community engage with their neighbours.
The weekend of activities planned for the 16th – 19th February 2018 commenced on Friday evening with iERA Founder Abdurraheem Green delivering a motivational talk. The Al-Andalusia centre, where the talk took place, was packed full of people, keenly listening to try and gain as much useful knowledge for dawah.
How To Convey The Call
The iERA Dawah Training course took place the following day, Saturday, at the Al-Andalusia centre. The course was delivered by iERA Outreach Specialist Murtaza Chaudhary. Once again there was a packed room, a spirit of excitement, and eagerness for reward.
The course began with a discussion about the motivation and rewards of dawah.The beautiful reward of unending charity (sadaqah jariyyah) was mentioned as one of the gifts of being involved in dawah. Murtaza then went on to highlight the important characteristics of the da’ee (caller to Islam). Gentleness is paramount. The hadith was cited which explains that gentleness only but beautifies any matter. Going to extremes was also warned about – focusing too much on theological controversy or political matters are examples of this mistake. Similarly, all hate speech is condemned in dawah – there should be no criticising towards people of differing religions, races or sexual orientation. Allah has created human life as a gift, and we are here to convey the peaceful call to Islam and not harm any individuals.
Community Outreach in Seville
The evening was designated for community outreach activities that took place not far from the centre. The vast majority of the Spanish people took either a book or leaflet, which indicates the open-mindedness and great nature of the people. Conversations started springing up everywhere as the engagement took off. Imam Muhammad spoke with an elderly gentleman for around 10-15 minutes. Initially, he denied God’s existence but by the end of the short dialogue, he went away convinced with a new mindset that there must be a Creator of the universe.
The highlight of the evening was Henry, a young South American in his early twenties. Henry was from a Christian background and believed in God all his life. His Father is an atheist and Mother a Christian. Henry never really felt like practising religion or had any closeness to religions. Although he believed in God, he did not know what was the true path to follow.
One of the attendees of our dawah training course, Musa, who is originally from South America like Henry, but living in Seville) went through iERAs GORAP dawah conversation method with Henry.
Henry agreed there must a God and that He must be One. Then Musa went on to talk about revelation – he described the Qur’an and there was a discussion about the bible. Some of the interesting scientific observations mentioned in the Qur’an were also discussed. Musa also mentioned that in the Qur’an, Allah mentions that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is a Prophet – testimony from the Creator Himself. Henry said all the information Musa kindly shared was exactly what he was looking for and they answered all his unanswered questions about life, God and religion. By the great Mercy of Allah, Henry accepted Islam with Musa and proclaimed his Shahaadah!. Allahu Akbar. Musa took Henry’s contact details and his next step will be to welcome, teach and empower him to grow as a New Muslim. So our second day ended with the extremely good news about Henry.
How to Welcome New Muslims Training
The third and final day of the trip was our New Muslims Mentorship training. The course was just in time for our new Muslim brother Henry who took his shahadah the night before.
It began by discussing how one feels when someone accepts Islam – there is great emotion, happiness and excitement. However, people tend to be unaware of the large list of problems that reverts actually face. The input from the attendees was brilliant – there was much discussion and insightful information was elicited. iERAs key three-stage methodology of mentorship was taught. That is ‘Welcome’, ‘Teach’ and ‘Empower’. These are the three essential ingredients for a holistic and comprehensive approach to new Muslim mentorship.
New Muslims need love, care and attention and that is exactly what the ‘Welcome’ stage teaches. They then need knowledge which is where the important ‘Teach’ stage comes in. Finally, we are not here to hand-hold new Muslims, this is where the ‘Empower’ stage gives the converts the tools, mindset and vigour to become strong community members.
We ended the course with a discussion on some key tools a new Muslim mentor needs. These include ‘Active listening’ (ensuring you have fully concentrated, understood, responded and remembered what is being said by the new Muslims in relation to their concerns/issues). ‘Empathy and Trust’ (put yourself in their shoes. Look at it from their perspective – this is what the Prophet peace be upon him did). And finally, ‘Empowerment’ (give them the information/advice/guidance for them to empower themselves, so they can move forward and get past their concerns/issues).
Next Steps For Spain
Our next steps for Seville includes working further with Imam Muhammad to set up a number of iERA Jesus exhibitions in Spanish. These will take place at prestigious locations such as government/council buildings, museums, and conference suites. We will also continue to develop Imam Muhammed with further training and support to allow him to grow his activities in Seville and across Spain.
Want an iERA Outreach Specialist to visit your city?
Get in touch today at iera.org/request.