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They live in the west and are asking about appropriate ways of calling people to Allah

 

Praise
be to Allah

Firstly:

We praise Allah,
may He be exalted, for enabling you to take an interest in calling people to
Allah (da‘wah) and in the guidance of people in the Western country in which
you live. We ask Him, may He be glorified, to bless your efforts and to make
you guides and callers to His religion and to that with which He is pleased,
may He be glorified.

With regard to
your questions about da‘wah (calling people to Islam), what we think is that
billboards do not serve the purpose in the best manner, even if you could
afford to cover the financial costs.

Nevertheless,
you could use them in an appropriate way, to give a brief message that can
be read quickly by anyone who sees it, which will help him to review his
situation and what he is doing, and include information on another place
where he can meet people who could explain Islam to him, and he can learn
correct information about the faith; or the message could tell him about
some written material, pamphlets that you have prepared, or a translation of
the meanings of the Qur’an, and so on. The point here is that when it comes
to billboards, the messages should be very short, because they are going to
be read very quickly. Thus they may serve to alert the reader or make him
shocked about how he is living his life.

As for flyers,
publications, books, audio tapes, and video tapes, they are more likely to
be of benefit and more effective in conveying the message according to the
people’s situation and what they need to know.

You should have
two different types of these da‘wah publications:

The first should
be suitable for Muslims who live in that country, to encourage them to
maintain their Islamic identity and not to be heedless about any aspect of
it, and they should raise their children to be proud of this identity, and
make them aware of the dangers that face the Muslim with regard to his
religious commitment when he is in that country, such as the dangers of
desires that surround him everywhere, and the dangers posed by specious
arguments and corrupt beliefs that may shake his faith.

The second type
of these publications should be addressed to non-Muslims in that country, to
explain people’s need for religion in general, and the need for Islam in
particular; to explain to them briefly and clearly the basic beliefs of
Islam, and the beautiful characteristics of this religion, and how it may
nourish their hearts and souls which are thirsting for this pure light.

Secondly:

With regard to
your question about the possibility of these flyers and pamphlets being
thrown away, you can reduce this problem – as much as possible – with a
gentle reminder, telling the one who does not need these pamphlets any more
to give them to someone else, instead of throwing them away, or to put them
in a special place that you have set up, or to give them to the nearest
mosque or Islamic centre, and other ways of making use of them.

But if it so
happens that the one who takes these pamphlets does not do any of these
things, and he is going to throw them away, then the interest served by
publishing and distributing them outweighs the problem of them being thrown
away.

Having said
that, we should point out that with regard to the verses and hadiths that
have been translated from Arabic into your language, if they are thrown away
the matter is much less serious than if they were written in Arabic, because
the translation does not have the same sanctity as the verses that are
written in Arabic.

Taking into
account the fact that there is nothing wrong with allowing a disbeliever to
read a book or publication in Arabic even if it contains Qur’anic verses, we
nevertheless should not allow him to get hold of the Mus-haf (Arabic-only
Qur’an).

The Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) sent to the ruler of Byzantium,
who was a Christian, a letter in which he called him to Islam, which
contained verses from the Holy Qur’an:

In that letter,
he said: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From
Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Heraclius the ruler of the Byzantines.
Peace be upon those who follow true guidance. I invite you with the call of
Islam. Become Muslim and you will be safe. Become Muslim and Allah will give
you a twofold reward, but if you turn away, then upon you will be the sins
of the peasants (your subjects). ‘O People of the Scripture, come to a
word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except
Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords
instead of Allah. But if they turn away, then say, Bear witness that we are
Muslims [submitting to Him]’ [Aal ‘Imraan 3:64]
.”

Imam an-Nawawi
(may Allah have mercy on him) said, discussing the lessons learned from this
hadith:

From it we learn
that it is recommended to start a latter with the words Bismillah ir-Rahmaan
ar-Raheem (In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), even
if the letter is sent to a disbeliever. We also learn that it is permissible
to travel to the land of the enemy with one or two verses and the like, and
that that may be sent to a disbeliever. Rather what is prohibited is for a
traveller to take the entire Qur’an or some parts of it to the land of the
enemy. That may also apply if there is the fear that it may end up in the
hands of the disbelievers. We also learn that it is permissible for someone
who is in a state of minor impurity, or a disbeliever, to touch a few verses
if they are quoted in a page other than Qur’an. End quote.

Conclusion:

We hope that you
will use all permissible means available to you, according to what you are
able to do.

There is nothing
wrong with writing verses or hadiths in publications that are to be
distributed to disbelievers, especially if they have been translated into
your language. The matter is easy, in sha Allah.

And Allah knows
best.