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Monday, December 06, 2004

“Shock and Awe” Vs. “Overawe”

By Maqsud Sobhani

Salam alaikum,

Often time we (that is Muslims) have a tendency to think of others
(that is Non-Muslim) as hopeless, as far as their accepting Islam. We just
feel that these people are so far outside of the reality of Islam that
there is no chance what so ever of them ever accepting Islam and
becoming our brothers and sisters in faith. We often like to use the word
“Kuffar” in the most derogative manner; certainly not in the manner it is
used in the Holy Quran to refer to people who had been hiding or
attempting to hide the truth of Islam. I strongly believe that we often turn
people away from Islam with our own behavior. Instead of becoming part
of the solution, we become part of the problem!

I know there are many enemies of Islam, but in reality, are they any
worse than the many enemies of Islam that the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad
(upon whom be peace and blessing of Allah) had encountered and
eventually won the hearts of? I seriously doubt that and this is why. Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) was the greatest of all creation and certainly Allah had
reserved the greatest of the challenges for him (to elevate him in
status). We, on the other hand, are nothing in comparison to him.
Therefore, our challenges logically should be lesser than what he had to endure
and suffer.

I only wanted to share one wonderful news that I heard the very first
day I came to Bangladesh. What I wrote before is only a prologue.

A long time back, a woman started to come to the chatroom. For those
who do not know me well, in the past (pretty much stopped doing it for
the last 6 months or so), I used to spend most of my day in yahoo Islamic
chat rooms. More precisely, in a user created chat room created by me
often named Islam, Peace and Understanding. I did this for about 3

She was interested to learn about Islam. From the very beginning, she
didn’t have any ill feeling towards Islam. She also had, a lot of
marital problems and forewarned me about her husband who might be a “hater”
(This is a common term used to refer to people who often violently
disrupt the chat room with their extreme prejudice against Islam) and a
trouble maker.

Sure enough, one day her very suspecting husband came to the room
following her (my recollection is bit blurry how it all happened). He was
suspicious of his wife, thinking she was having an affair among other
things. His wife was very afraid of him. She said that he would be rude
and not understanding of Islam. Anyway, somehow I made a connection with
him. He became curious, most likely because he wanted to find out what
his wife was up to. We talked few more times in the span of a few
weeks. I offered to send him a Quran and probably some CD’s about Islam.
However, in spite of all these, their marriage was still falling apart. I
added both of them in my yahoo messenger, among the 300+ others that I
had in my messenger. (By the way, if any of you would like to add me to
your yahoo, you are welcome to do so, only condition is I cannot
promise to do chit chat very often but you can leave messages if you have any

Not long after, I lost touch with both of them and didn’t hear from
them at all, except maybe a rare offline message.

This was a while back.

The day I arrived in Bangladesh, after settling down, I went online
using my cousin’s computer. I found a bunch of messages from someone,
thanking me for sending him/her (I didn’t know who that was) the Quran and
that he/she has taken the shahada recently. There are bunch of other
offlines from this person thanking me for various things that I do not
deserve any credit for. I just couldn’t recall at all who this person
might be, because over the years I have sent Quran to many people and with
most of them I have no contact at all. Luckily, that person was still
online. After making some courtesy messages, I politely asked him/her to
remind me who he/she was.

I was given a reminder who he is and boy was I surprised! He was of
course as you all can tell the estranged husband of the woman who used to
come to my chat room.

I guess you never know whose heart Allah will guide and the power of
the Quran that over the human mind, even a simple, translated Quran
without any real explanations/commentary. I have made a promise to myself
that I will never doubt the intention of anyone and will always send
quran or any other material about Islam with an open heart. It may be
years, but it is always possible that Allah will change heart of someone
whom we would otherwise have not imagined to be inclined toward Islam.

I was tired after 2 days of traveling and I was missing all my family
who I left behind in USA, especially my 2 nieces and a nephew. Not to
mention the whole different atmosphere in Bangladesh and the uncertain
future, but at that moment I was overjoyed with the good news of this
person becoming a Muslim. I thanked Allah for bringing him to Islam and
giving me the ability to make a small contribution in the process.

As I was reciting the Quran after Fajr, I was also reading the English
translations from chapter Qaf. The last verse of the chapter really
struck my mind and it couldn’t have been more appropriate for the present
time the Muslims are facing world wide.

“You are not one to overawe them by force. So remind them with the
Quran such as fear My warning.” 50:45

We don’t need to use “shock & awe” tactics by massive bombings. All we
need is to use the words of the Noble Quran to “Overawe” them to the
simple truth of Islam.

May Allah keep us in the straight and middle path of Islam.

Maqsud Sobhani


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