Da’wah is a duty
Most Muslims know that Islam is a universal religion, meant for all humankind. Allah (swt) is the Lord of the entire Universe, and Muslims have been entrusted with the duty of conveying His message to all humankind. Alas, most Muslims today have become callous towards this duty! While accepting Islam as the best way of life for ourselves, most of us are unwilling to share this knowledge with those to whom the message has not yet been conveyed.
The Arabic word ‘Da’wah’ means ‘a call’ or ‘an invitation’. In Islamic context, it means to strive for the propagation of Islam.
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“Ah! Who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!”
[Al Qur’an 2:140]
Twenty Most Common Questions
In order to convey the message of Islam, dialogue and debate become inevitable. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“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:”
[Al Qur’an 16:125]
In conveying the message of Islam to a non-Muslim, it is usually not sufficient to highlight only the positive nature of Islam. Most non-Muslims are not convinced about the truth of Islam because there are a few questions about Islam at the back of their minds that remain unanswered.
They may agree with your contentions about the positive nature of Islam. But, in the same breath, they will say – “Ah! But you are the same Muslims who marry more than one woman. You are the same people who subjugate women by keeping them behind the veil. You are fundamentalists etc.”
I personally prefer asking the non-Muslim upfront, what he feels is wrong in Islam. With their limited knowledge, whether right or wrong, from whichever source it may be, I prefer asking directly, what they feel is wrong in Islam. I encourage them to be very frank and open and convince them that I can take criticism about Islam.
In the past few years of my da’wah experience, I have realized that there are barely twenty most common questions that a common non-Muslim has regarding Islam. Whenever you ask a non-Muslim, “what do you feel is wrong in Islam?”, he poses five or six questions, and these questions invariably fall among the twenty most common questions.
Logical replies can convince the majority
The twenty most common questions about Islam can be answered with reason and logic. A majority of non-Muslims can be convinced with these answers. If a Muslim memorizes or simply remembers these answers, InshAllah he will be successful, if not in convincing non-Muslims about the complete truth of Islam, then at least in removing misconceptions about Islam and neutralizing the negative thinking about Islam and Muslims that the non-Muslims have. A very few non-Muslims may have counter arguments to these replies, for which further information may be required.
Misconceptions due to media
The common misconceptions about Islam arise in the minds of a majority of non-Muslims, because they are constantly being bombarded with misinformation about Islam. International media is mainly controlled by the western world, whether it is international satellite channels, radio stations, news- papers, magazines or books. Recently, the Internet has become a powerful medium of information. Though it is not controlled by anybody, one finds a large amount of virulent propaganda about Islam on the Internet. Of course, Muslims too are utilizing this tool to portray the right image of Islam and Muslims, but they are far behind as compared to the propaganda against Islam. I hope the efforts by the Muslims will increase and continue to be pursued.
Misconceptions change with time
The most common questions about Islam are different in different periods and eras. This set of twenty most common questions is based on present times. Decades earlier, the set of questions was different and decades later too, the set of questions may change depending upon how Islam is projected by the media.
Misconceptions are the same throughout the world
I have interacted with people in different parts of the world and have found these twenty most common questions about Islam to be the same everywhere. There may be a couple of additional questions depending upon the locale, the surrounding or culture. For instance in America, the additional common question is – “Why does Islam prohibit taking and giving of interest?”
I have included among these twenty most common questions, certain questions more common among the Indian non-Muslims. For instance, “why do Muslims have non-vegetarian food?” The reason for including such questions is that people of Indian origin are spread throughout the world and constitute about 20% i.e. 1/5th of the world population. Thus, their questions become common questions asked by non- Muslims throughout the world.
Misconceptions of non-Muslims who have studied Islam
There are many non-Muslims who have studied Islam. Most of them have only read books on Islam written by biased critics of Islam. These non- Muslims have an additional set of twenty common misconceptions about Islam. For instance, they claim to have found contradictions in the Qur’an, they contend that the Qur’an is unscientific, etc. There is another set of additional replies clearing these twenty misconceptions among non-Muslims who have studied Islam from distorted sources. I have also given the replies to twenty additional less common questions among the non-Muslims.