A sister in Barbados wrote the following summary of my trip to Barbados which I enjoyed very much
REVIEW: 2007 DAWAH PROGRAMME
BARBADOS, NOVEMBER 16 – 20, 2007
O mankind! The Creator has made you out of a male (Adam) and a female (Eve), and have made you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is the most God conscious. Behold, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. [Excerpt, Al Qur’an: Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:13]
Salamun alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
All the thanks and praises are for Allah, The All-Hearer, the All-Knower, Who alone is capable of all things. Alhamdulillah, we in Barbados just completed our second successful annual dawah programme.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to our featured speaker Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Director of Outreach at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, Virginia, USA, and to the Board of the Dar al-Hijrah for facilitating his release. Masha’Allah, we could not have hoped for a better speaker. Such is the qadr of Allah, He knew our limitations and He sent us someone familiar with our country and society who knew how to build bridges and needed no handholding.
The Imam certainly had a grueling schedule but alhamdulillah, on each outing he imparted a wealth of Islamic knowledge and touched the hearts of many. His first assignment was the delivery of the Friday Khutbah at the Jumma Masjid, Kensington. After Jumu’ah, Imam Johari was interviewed by reporter Trevor Yearwood from The Nation newspaper. Remarkably, this interview took an entire week before appearing in today’s (Friday, Nov 23) version of the Weekend Nation.
Under the caption “Islam has ‘some answers'” the reporter highlights the Imam’s call for “faith-based groups to work together to address the moral and social and economic problems of this society.” “The Imam said one deterrent to the growth of Islam in Barbados was the historical perception of it as an Indian religion, but Islam was part of the legacy Africans brought to Barbados and other Caribbean islands during the transatlantic slave trade. He calculated that one out of every six people on earth was a Muslim. “How can Barbadians continue to be leaders in the world if they don’t know about one-sixth of the world’s population and their traditions? … It would be better to learn more about them before we become victims of our own ignorance.” Subhan Allah, that it would take literally an entire week, until after the Imam had arrived back home, before this article could be published!
Imam Johari also appeared on a local live TV daytime talk show to promote the lecture series and had various meetings with government and officials of other faiths, and members of the local Muslim community. Unfortunately, despite our attempts before and during his visit, we were unable to get the public or university libraries to accept a gift of reference texts on Islam. Did someone say something about “victims of our ignorance?”
The first free public lecture, entitled: ‘What Everyone Should Know about Islam and Muslims (but never asked)’, gave the audience the opportunity to ask their questions up front. Imam Johari then constructed a masterful and highly interactive exposition of the topic based on the questions asked which left no area of Islam untouched. The spellbound audience refused to leave at the end of the allotted two hours and even after three hours and the official end of the lecture, gathered in clusters to learn more.
The feature lecture, ‘Roots of Islam – From Africa to the Americas’, dealt with the historical movement of enslaved Africans into the Americas during the Atlantic Slave Trade and highlighted some of them and how they kept the Deen of Islam alive in their new locales. This topic was deliberately chosen to mark the 2007 Bicentennial of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The lecture was recorded by the local television station for airing at a future date on a programme called “Say That Again”, which is shown on Sundays, insha’Allah – look at how Allah spreads His message. The comments from people of other faiths can best summarize this lecture: “WOW”. “This is the history that our children need to be aware of, it has been hidden for far too long” (from a self confessed ‘hater’ of Islam). “The lecture was excellent. I really enjoyed it, learnt a lot, and am glad that I went. I liked the way the Imam spoke. We need to have more talks like this.”
SubhanAllah, walhamdulillah, wa laa illaha ila Allah, wa Allahu Akbar, wa la hawla wa la quwatta ila billa.
What is our Aim?
We should always bear in mind the aims of our dawah efforts. The Imam gave the Organising Committee some valuable tips for the future in our briefing meeting. Under the ‘Rule of Five’, he stated the outcome of dawah events:
Shahadah: Already we have been receiving calls from some who want to meet with us and find out more about Islam with a view to taking Shahadah soon. Alhamdulillah.
Interest: Already some of the newer Muslims who embraced Islam in 2007 want to help with future dawah efforts and work on improving their knowledge of Islam, and a few persons of other faiths want to hear about other Islamic topics. Alhamdulillah.
Food/fun/fellowship: They may have been coerced inside with promises of food, but a few asked for copies of Qur’an when they left, and at least one of them attended both lectures and said he wanted to learn more. Alhamdulillah.
Not for me: This may be their position, but the knowledge that Islam is for all peoples and that it has a strong link to Africa led many Rastafari and Afro-centric persons present to laud the programme and ask for details on when would be our next event. Alhamdulillah.
Hate: Of the many comments given (all positive), one came from a self-professed ‘hater’ of Islam, who was also overheard repeating the phrase taught to the audience by the Imam; as salaamu alaikum. Alhamdulillah.
We make dua for our Ummah – may Allah help us to live as one family. Make dua for our Ummah – may Allah help each one of us to remember our duty to Him, give us taqwa and help us to work on improving ourselves and our societies. Make dua for our scholars, that they may willingly impart true knowledge of our Deen wherever they may go for the advancement of al-Islam. Make dua for all out there who seek knowledge and guidance, that Allah will guide them from darkness into Light. May dua that Allah will accept the humble efforts of all who work in His Cause. Ameen.