I have given a look of thought on the subject of “da’wah”, or what I prefer to colloquially term, “religious persuasion”, especially after taking the position as Religious Director at the Islamic Center of Inland Empire. Many of my appointments are for concerned parents whose children have wondered off the beaten path, as it were. And after a recent talk I delivered at ICIE, as well as a discussion with Dr. Sherman Jackson, as to the state of affairs with Muslims in America, I jotted down a few thoughts regarding this topic:
Our attempts at (religious) persuasion tend to be rooted in the presumption of an inherent quality that is possessed by the very thing in which we are calling for: religiosity; ideology, etc. However, such attempts are often fallacious, as they are often carefully disguised circular arguments; the choir preaching to the choir. Rather, a new approach, one in which the concepts themselves are promoted by habituation, such that the concept is delivered to the subject in its “simplest version”, to quote Inception,
“in order for it to grow naturally in the subject’s mind.”
Once having taken root, such methods would, God willing, have a much greater efficacy of achieving the end result (religiosity, morality, a life pleasing to God, etc.).
This may sound easier said than done: I am sure it is. However, my intuition tells me that we cannot continue to proceed with the same old rhetoric.
And to God belongs all success.