Courtesy of Islamzine
Why should you, a young Muslim, be helping to bring your friends
closer to Allah?
After all, you've got your own struggles to deal with: trying to
explain why you pray to hostile teachers, Hijab discrimination,
standing up in class when the professor attacks Islam, dealing with
parents who think you've gone nuts because you're growing a beard,
or all the other difficulties faced by a number of practicing
Muslim youth? Islam was never meant to be an individualistic faith,
reserved for the "chosen few". Muslims have a duty to spread the
Deen, and practicing Muslim youth, whether beginners, activists or
leaders have a crucial role to play.
"Allah has put them in a position that perhaps no one else is in,"
notes Sheema Khan, former Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA)
advisor for eastern Canada. "They have the means to communicate
with their peers, they have an understanding of what they're going
through plus they have the guidance of Islam."
Who is your childhood friend, who would rather spend Fridays at
MacDonald's than the Masjid, or your classmate who is Muslim in
name and only knows that "Muslims don't eat pork" going to listen
to: the nice Imam of the Masjid who would freak out if he saw the
way they were dressed and talked or you who may have grown up with
them, joked with them, or see them everyday in school?
The answer is obvious: you.
Don't panic. Here are some tips and advice which can help from
other Muslims, many of whom have been there and done that:
Tip # 1 : Make Your Intention Sincere
All work we do should ideally be for the sake of Allah. That
includes the task of bringing someone closer to Allah. That of
course means this should not be connected to arrogance, thinking
you're the teacher and everyone else should be lucky you've
embarked on a crusade to save them. Guidance is from Allah. Make
Dua and make sincere efforts and remember Allah can also misguide
you if He wills (we seek refuge in Allah from that).
Tip # 2 : Practice What YOu Preach
Not practicing what you preach is wrong and you will lose the
confidence of anyone, young or old, once they figure you out. Don't
Tip # 3 : Use The Quran & Seerah (biography of the Prophet
peace be upon him) As Dawa Guides
Read and understand those chapters of the Quran which talk
about how the Prophets presented the message of Islam to their
people. Read the Seerah (for some good Seerah books)to see
especially how the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
him) brought Islam to so many different people, including young
As well, talk to Dawa workers, and check out manuals they may have
written, like Yahiya Emerick's How to Tell Others About Islam.
Tip # 4 : Talk To People As If You Really Dont Know Them
Don't assume you know someone just by looking at them. You
don't know that the Muslim girl in your homeroom who walks through
the school's hallways as if they were fashion show catwalks (see
Ambe Rehman's perspective on this) is not someone you can talk to
about Allah because she looks like a snob. Or that the Muslim guy
who you've never seen at Juma at your university is a "bad Muslim".
Maybe he was never really taught Islam and has no idea what
importance Friday prayers have in Islam, especially for Muslim men.
Tip # 5 : Smile
Did you know the Prophet was big on smiling? But many
"practicing" Muslims seem to have "their faces on upside down" as
one speaker once said-frowning and serious.
Smiling, being polite and kind are all part of the manners of the
Prophet, which we must exercise in our daily lives. If we want to
approach others with Islam, we have to make ourselves approachable.
Smiling is key to this.
But note that being approachable does not mean being flirtations
with the other gender. There are Islamic rules for how men and
women should deal with each other which have to be respected. Dawa
is no excuse to have long and private conversations and meetings
with the other sex, for example. Set up a system where someone
expressing an interest in Islam is referred to someone of the same
Tip # 6 : Take The Initiative & Hang Out With Them
Take the first step and invite someone you may have spoken to
a couple of times to sit at lunch together, to check out a hockey
game or invite them over for Iftar in Ramadan. Also, share
difficulties, sorrows and frustrations. Help with homework, be a
shoulder to cry on when depression hits, or just plain listen when
your friend is upset, discuss common problems and KEEP THEIR
SECRETS. There are few things as annoying as a snitch and
backstabber. But an important note: if the problem is of a serious
nature,(i.e. your friend is thinking of committing suicide or is
taking drugs), notify and consult an adult immediately.
Tip # 7 : Show Them Islam Is Relevent Today, Right Here, Right
Young people may think Islam is too "old fashioned" and not in
tune with the modern age. Prove this wrong. Show how Islam is
really about relating to Allah, which any human being can do,
anywhere, anytime. Allah is always closer to you than your jugular
vein and He hears and knows everything. Encourage friends to ask
Allah's help during tests, exams, and in dealing with problems at
home with parents and siblings. Also point out how Islam relates to
teenagers: Islam gives you focus and an understanding of who you
are and where you are going, which most of "teen culture" does not.
Tip # 8 : Get Them Involved In Volunteer Work With You
If you are already involved in the community, get your friend
to help out. Ask them to make a flyer for one of your youth group's
events or brainstorm for ideas about activities to hold this school
year. This involvement makes them feel part of the Muslim community
and deepens your friendship, since you are now working together on
something beneficial for both of you. Make sure you thank them for
Tip # 9 : Ask Them 4 Fundamental Questions
As your friendship develops, you will notice the topics you
discuss may become more serious. You may be discussing, for
instance, future goals and plans. Khan recommends four questions to
ask that can steer the topic to Allah and Islam:
a. Where am I going in life and what would make me really happy
deep down inside?
b. What do I believe?
c. Who should I be grateful to?
d. Did I get to where I am today without the help of anyone?
Tip # 10 : Emphasize Praying 5 Times A Day Before Any Other
Aspect Of Islam
A person's main connection with Allah, on a daily basis, is
through the prayer five times a day. Don't emphasize any other
aspect of Islam until your friend starts making a real effort to
pray five times a day. Emphasize the direct connection one has with
Allah in prayer. If they are facing a problem, tell them to pray,
and to ask Allah for help in Salah and outside this time. When
possible, make it a point to pray together during your "hang out
time". If your friend begins to pray, that is the first step to
other aspects of Islam like giving up swearing, treating parents
with respect or dressing Islamically.
Tip # 11 : Help Instill Confidence In Adults
Adults, like Bart Simpson's dad Homer, are considered bumbling
idiots in the eyes of "teen culture". Your job as a young Muslim is
to help turn the tables on this false and unIslamic belief. All you
have to do is this: when a Muslim adult does something good (i.e.
saving someone's life, donating money to a worthy cause, the Imam
gives a good speech, taking good care of his/her family) bring it
up in the course of your conversations with your friend and praise
the adult in question. Doing this regularly may not only change
your friend's perspective, but could lead to them seeing their own
parents in a more respectful way.
Tip # 12 : Support Them Even When They Become More
Remember, just because a person starts practicing Islam more
regularly, this does not mean everything will be okay from this
point onwards. There will still be hard times, difficulties. There
may be times when your friend may have doubts about his or her
newfound practice of Islam. Be there to reassure them.