How should we convey Islam through ways like the Internet, television and radio? What are the features that need to be present in conveying the message of Islam and the person who conveys it?

Details of the Question
How should we convey Islam through ways like the Internet, television and radio? What are the features that need to be present in conveying the message of Islam and the person who conveys it?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

One of the main responsibilities of Muslims is conveying the message of Islam to people. While fulfilling this duty, it is necessary to be equipped with the teachings of the Quran and take the Messenger of Allah as a model.

A Muslim individual should be aware of his responsibility to try hard to correct people and to make oneness and justice dominate the world; he should show in the best way that this responsibility necessitates explaining the people what is good and making them avoid what is bad. A Muslim must explain the people what is good and make them avoid what is bad as a necessity of his belief. This responsibility is valid for every individual of the ummah – based on the situation, knowledge and qualities of every individual.

The activities of conveying, proclaiming and correcting were carried out by prophets from the first man/prophet to the last prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). After Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), the last prophet, this responsibility was transferred to Muslims, who followed his way. The individuals and communities of Muslims who do not fulfill their duties of conveying the message of Islam are regarded to have lost the reason of their existence and no to have fulfilled their mission.  

Explaining the people what is good and making them avoid what is bad is the main aim and an indispensable element in the process of building the Islamic community. Every individual who has the responsibility of conveying the message must be very careful regarding every issue, must not be neglectful and must show patience and persistence.

The rude and wrong acts and attitudes of a Muslim individual, especially a young Muslim who is honored by Islam and crowned with belief, against his family and the community become manifest in the form of an illness.   

At this point, it is necessary to have a look at how the Quran, which encompasses every moment of the life of a Muslim, determines the form of conveying the message of Islam:

“It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them. Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted they would have broken away from about thee.” (Aal-i Imran, 159)

“Speak fair to the people.” (al-Baqara, 83)

“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (an-Nahl, 125)

As it can be understood from the verses, no matter what the thought, creed, characteristics and rank of the individual to whom the message is conveyed are, it is necessary to tell that person about the beauties of Islam in a kind and gentle style if that person has not declared war against Islam. We should not side against the people who act in a non-Islamic way due to their ignorance; we should warn them in the best way. Islam aims the revival and guidance of people. A Muslim who conveys the message of Islam should regard himself as an inviter not as a judge.

We should express this clearly: The person who will convey the beauties of Islam should have a scholarly and scientific background, should know the rules of good manners very well, should have the ability to explain the truths in a nice way and should fulfill this duty under the light of the revelation and the leadership of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

Therefore, the following points should be taken into consideration in conveying the message of Islam and in jihad no matter what way or method is used:

1. It is stated that the most consistent and effective way of conveying the message of Islam and jihad is to approach people with wisdom and beautiful preaching. (see an-Nahl, 125)

2. Speaking mildly. To approach people without hurting and offending them and by showing respect to the personality of people. There are many lessons to be taken from the following verses: “"Go both of you to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah)."” (Taha, 20:43-44. Even if the person to address is a person who has transgressed all bounds like the Pharaoh, it is necessary to speak mildly while conveying the truth. 

3. “Speak to people in accordance with the degree of their minds” (see Suyuti, ad-Durar, p 12) is an order of the Prophet. It is emphasized by the order that it is necessary to speak to people by taking into consideration their age, understanding, degree of comprehension and cultural level. When the characters of the people of this age are taken into consideration, it is necessary to satisfy the minds of people first. Therefore, the method of conveying the message of Islam makes it necessary to address people using science, ideas, evidence and proof.  

4. The vital point of the call to Islam is to show the beauty of Islam in one’s life, to show the beauty of Islam through the tongue of disposition, to practice it and to share this beauty with the people one loves and other people along with the profound knowledge and ideas.

5. Conveying the message of Islam is an activity toward both Muslims and non-Muslims; it means to teach the truths of the Quran to Muslims and to preach to them; to convey the message of Islam to non-Muslims means to inform them about the religion of Islam and the divine message and to show them the true way.

6. While conveying the message of Islam, Hazrat Prophet worked very hard and he almost fretted himself to death so that people would turn toward the true religion and believe in Allah. His sincerity is stated as follows in the Quran: “It may be thou frettest thy soul with grief, that they do not become believers” (ash-Shuara, 3), “Thou wouldst only perchance, fret thyself to death, following after them, in grief, if they believe not in this Message.” (al-Kahf, 6) We should convey the message with the same sincerity and sensibility.

7. When we examine the verses that explain the subtleties regarding the call by the Prophet, we see the following essential messages: The prophet does not use force against people (see al-Ghashiya, 22; Qaf, 45); the duty of Hazrat Muhammad is to convey the message of Islam to people. (see Aal-i-Imran, 20; al-Maida, 92; ash-Shura, 48) We should fulfill our duty to convey the message of Islam without forcing, scaring and making people hate and by endearing, giving good news and addressing the spirits and hearts of people.

8. When the practices of Hazrat Prophet regarding the issue are examined, it is seen that his method of calling to Islam is very reasonable, realistic, coherent, consistent, systematic, appropriate to the development of the events and in compliance with the nature of man.   

It is not at all coincidental that Hazrat Prophet became so successful in a short time, in 23 years.

The following truths underlie his work and efforts:

- Hazrat Prophet is sincere in the religion that he conveys because he himself obeyed the rules that he conveyed more than anybody else and he himself practiced Islam without any exceptions.   

- And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character (al-Qalam, 4).

- Hazrat Prophet was trustable; nobody heard him tell any lies or practice a deceit. Even his most ferocious enemies confirm his loyalty and honesty.

- Hazrat Prophet showed value and respect to all people, whether black or white, he embraced people with sincerity without discriminating between tribes and clans and showed respect to the dignity of man.

- Hazrat Prophet preferred pardoning, tolerance, lenience, compassion and mercy to hatred, fury, tyranny and enmity and never treated people rudely or harshly. (Aal-i- Imran, 159)

- He never led the people around him to despair and pessimism; (see al-Fath, 1; an-Nasr, 1-2) he carried out his work and efforts with determination, patience and resolution.

- Hazrat Prophet did not think of getting any material or personal interest from people while fulfilling the activities of conveying the message of Islam and did not ask any reward or money from people. (see Saba, 47 ;Yunus, 72)

- He did not break off his social relationship with people and he continued to take care of his relatives whether they were Muslim or not. (ad-Duha, 9-10; ash-Shuara, 214)

- He continued his activities of conveying the message with wisdom and patience in places where people came together (at home, in the markets, bazaars and fairs) (al-Maida, 67). He sent the message of call to Islam to the heads of the neighboring countries and called them to Islam and peace.

Therefore, we must carry out the duty of conveying the message of Islam using all of the legitimate ways. From this point of view, a person who is conveying the message of Islam:

- must know the true Islam and the truth in compliance with Islam and preach it to people.

- Knowledge-deed and conveying the message are three faces of the same truth. It is impossible to separate them. Knowledge is essential in conveying the message; Deeds are the life of conveying the message of Islam.

- He must know the Islamic truths and the age he lives in very well. A person who does not know the age he lives in is regarded as if he is living in a labyrinth.

- His heart must be set based on the Quran and the Sunnah. It is very difficult even impossible for a person whose heart is not set like that to speak on behalf of Islam and to inform people about the Islamic truths.

- He must make sure that all of the ways he uses while conveying the message of Islam are legitimate. One cannot reach the truth through illegitimate ways and methods. A Muslim is not a militant that regards every way that can take him to his target as legitimate; he is a conveyor with a spirit like the Companions of the Prophet that scrutinizes the way he uses very carefully to make sure that it is legitimate and then applies it.  

- He must do as he says. If he does something contrary, it is regarded as a sign of being a hypocrite; a Muslim must be very careful about it. The words of the people who do not practice what they say are not effective, they are like a flash in the pan; they sparkle quickly but then they die quickly. They do not have any ability to heat others.

- He must always maintain the state of humbleness and modesty. It is a deed that is peculiar to noble people. Belief itself is nobility. Then, a conveyor should act nobly like every Muslim.   

- He must be persistent in conveying the message. This persistence is an expression of his respect toward his own cause.

- He must not be in conflict with the laws of nature. He must always be prudent when conveying the message. It is never appropriate to overlook some weaknesses and desires that are present in man. What is necessary to do is to channel those weaknesses and desires into what is good.    

- He is a hero of compassion. He must never resort to using force in order to make people accept the truth.

- One the most important feature of his is altruism.

- He is a man that becomes integrated with supplication. Supplication is the essence of sincerity.

- He is a man of reason and reality. He becomes successful to the extent that he acts in accordance with reason and is accepted by the community he lives in.

- He fulfills the duty of conveying the message with love and enthusiasm.

- Inner profundity must be his indispensable feature.

- He must have a pure spirit and clean heart when he conveys his cause. He must lead a life as clear as his cause in order to be able to find Allah and His messenger as his supporters. Such a life can only be realized by a pure and clean heart.  

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