Why People Accept Islam?

The topic ‘The Necessities of Da’wah in the Light of Current Conditions’ is

extremely vast in its scope. People are accepting Islam in the West (USA, Canada,

UK, France and Germany), in the Middle Eastern countries (Saudi Arabia, the

Gulf States, Jordan), in Africa and the Far East (Malaysia, Philippines, Hong

Kong, etc.). Each region has its own peculiar characteristics and the reasons for

conversion vary accordingly. Furthermore, in each of these areas, the reasons for

conversion differ depending on the point of contact with Islam. In fact, the

numbers of reasons are probably as many as the number of people who have

accepted Islam, as each person has his or her own special reasons why they

decide to accept Islam. However, if the subject is considered from the general

perspective of the shared characteristics of human beings, the reasons may be

narrowed down to a few general groups of reasons.

    If one assumes, as Islam proposes, that the nature of human beings has not

changed since the time the first human being was first created, then the reasons

for conversion in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) should essentially be the same

reasons as found in the present age. According to Islam, there is only one

revealed religion which has been repeatedly revealed from the time of Adam

until the last of the prophets, Muhammad (pbuh). Consequently, the essential

message of all the prophets was one and the same:

“Verily, We have sent to every nation a messenger (saying), ‘Worship Allaah and

avoid false gods.”1

There was no difference in their basic messages also because the purpose of

creation has only been one; to worship Allah.

“I did not create the jinn and mankind except for My worship.”2

This message addressed a fundamental need in human beings to worship. That

primordial need was created in all human beings at the time of Adam’s creation.

Allah addressed this need saying:

“When your Lord drew forth from the loins of the children of  Adam their

descendant and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not

your Lord?’ they said, ‘Yes, we testify to it.’ (This) in case you say should say on

the Day of Judgement, ‘We were unaware of this.” Or in case you should say, ‘It

was our ancestors who made partners (with Allaah) and we are only their

descendants. Will you then destroy us for what those liars did?’”32

Man’s Natural Disposition : the Fitrah

Since Allaah made all human beings swear to His Godhood when He created

Adam, this oath is printed on the human soul even before it enters the fetus in

the fifth month of pregnancy. So when a child is born, it has with it a natural

belief in Allaah. This natural belief is called in Arabic the fitrah.4 If the child were

left alone, it would grow up aware of Allaah in His unity, but all children are

affected by the pressures of their environment, whether directly or indirectly.

The Prophet (pbuh) reported that Allaah said,

“I created My servants in the right religion but the devils made them go astray.”5

The Prophet (pbuh) also said,

“Each child is  born in a state of ‘fitrah’, but his parents make him a Jew or a

Christian. It is like the way an animal gives birth to a normal offspring. Have you

noticed any (young animal) born mutilated before you mutilate them?”6

    So just as the child’s body submits to the physical laws which Allaah has put in

nature, its soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allaah is its Lord and

Creator. However, its parents try to make it follow their own way and the child

is not strong enough in the early stages of its life to resist or oppose its parents.

    The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and

upbringing, and Allaah does not hold it to account or punish it for this religion.

When the child matures in youth and clear proofs of the falsehood of its religion

are brought to it, the adult must now follow the religion of knowledge and

reason.7 At this point the devils try their best to encourage him to stay as he is or

to go further astray. Evils are made pleasing to him and he must now live in the

midst of a struggle between his fitrah and his desires in order to find the right

road. If he chooses his fitrah, Allaah will help him overcome his desires, even

though it may take most of his life to do so; for many people enter Islam in their

old age, although most tend to do so before that.


    During the Prophet’s era, as in the modern era, people may be divided into

two main groups with respect to their preparedness to receive the message:

1. Those searching for the truth who are dissatisfied with the religion followed

by their contemporaries, and3

2. Those not searching. This second group may be further divided into those not

searching because they are content with their religion and those not searching

because they have rejected belief in God. The second group has been a minority

throughout history.

    The first group also consistently represented a minority as the majority of

people tend to accept the cultural norms of society without question. In the

Prophet’s time, that minority was called the hunafaa’ . Most of them converted to

Islam as soon as the message reached them. A few, due to tribal jealousies

rejected the message. Thus, the first group responded to the clear truth of

revelation. On the other hand, the second group based their response on their

trust in the Prophet’s (pbuh) character. They knew him to be truthful and honest

throughout his life, therefore, there was not reason to doubt his claim to


   1. The Role Model

The first converts were from the Prophet’s household

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib

  Zayd ibn Harithah

    They were followed by the Prophet’s close friend and confidant, Abu Bakr.

        Their conversion was due to their intimate contact with the Prophet (pbuh)

and their unquestioned belief in him his truthfulness due their personal

experience with him. This reason for conversion may be called the “role model.”

   2. Da’wah to Islamic Monotheism (Tawheed)

The next five converts embraced Islam as a result of Abu Bakr’s invitation.

    ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan

Az-Zubayr ibn al- ‘Awwam

    ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf

    Sa ‘ad ibn Abi Waqqas

Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullah

        Their conversion was a result of the message being taken to them.8 This

reason may be generally called the “Da’wah”

    3. Truth Seekers

        Among the converts was ‘Amr ibn ‘Absah who had rejected the idolatry of

his people and sought the truth. Like him was Salman al-Farisi who journeyed 4

from Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity to Islam. The reason for the

conversion of these companions and others like them may be called “truth


    4. Reading the Qur’an

        ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab’s conversion is authentically narrated as a result of his

hearing the Prophet (pbuh) recite Surah al-Haaqqah.9 The Najashi’s was due to

his hearing Surah Maryam. These and others like them may be referred under

the general reason of “Reading the Qur’an”.

    5. Marriage

        Abu Talhah al-Ansari was offered a dowry of accepting Islam by Umm

Sulaym (Mother of Anas ibn Maalik). She also gave him logical da’wah

concerning his idol worship.

        Abul-‘Aas who was married to the Prophet’s daughter, Zaynab, was

separated from her by the Prophet (pbuh) and was later ransomed from among

the prisoners of Badr by Zaynad. In both of these cases, marriage to a Muslim

woman was a factor in their conversions.

    The following eleven surveys of reasons for conversion were done in April,

2001, in different parts of the world. From the surveys, it is evident that the

above-mentioned factors continue to be the main reasons for people accepting

Islam in the 21st century.

    It should be noted that in the Middle East, one of the biggest factors in

conversion is the religious example of employers. This is especially the case of

Far and Near-Eastern women working as domestic helpers in Arab homes. This

is the role model reason which constituted the first major reason for converts in

the Prophet’s era. See surveys 2 and 3 of Discover Islam /Bahrain and QCPI of

Qatar. In the West, living with Muslims is a minor factor because contact with

Muslims is much less frequent and Westerners do not usually work as domestic

helpers in Arab homes. However, the role model reason is still significant in so

far as it comes from contact with Muslims on the job, in universities, in the

neighborhood, etc. See survey 6 of the convert community in Detroit, Michigan,

USA, where the majority of converts were introduced to Islam by someone


    From the survey results it appears that the most  critical conversion factor in

the West seems to be the availability of information.5

    In India, where the caste system is dominant, the oppressed classes find in

Islam social justice and respect. Consequently, as indicated in survey 7 Islamic

justice and equality is among the biggest attractions.


    Having understood many of the reasons why people accept Islam in this

century and the way they differ relative to the environment, it is necessary to

develop some methods of effectively dealing with giving da’wah to them.

1. The Role Model


First, the factors shared by the Prophet’s time and the modern era should be

looked at to determine what efforts are needed to make them most effective. The

first method is the “role model” method. In  the Middle East, those families

having servants should be informed through the media, tapes and pamphlets

about the importance of setting a good example for those who work for them.

Too often cases of abuse of maids are reported in the local newspapers. Such

adverse publicity will decrease the effectiveness of the family role in da’wah. On

the other hand, in the Western context, Muslims have to develop a stronger

outreach program for the communities to meet the Muslims. This can be

achieved by regular open  house days at the local mosque or Islamic center,

during which non-Muslim neighbors are invited to visit and to share some

“Eastern cuisine”. Free exotic food is always a good attraction for non-Muslims.

Islamic weeks at universities in West have become some of the most vibrant

means to reach the student body.

2. The Da’wah to Monotheism

The essential message of  Islam needs to reach the masses of Westerners. The

majority of Westerners today do not have the slightest inkling of what Islam

teaches. The vast majority of converts in the West are a product of family da’wah

based on Allaah’s instruction to the Prophet (pbuh):

“And warn your close family members.”10

    When a person converts, he or she immediately attempts to invite all of their

family members to  Islam. In this way, the numbers of converts increase

exponentially. However great this individual effort may be, it cannot supplant

the basic need for da‘wah materials in sufficiently large numbers to reach the

general masses. Likewise the impact of TV and Radio da’wah cannot be

underestimated. There are already a number of Islamic programs in Arabic being

broadcast on sattelite, however, very little in the way of English da’wah is taking 6

place. More useful da’wah tracts need to be developed. The Deedat approach has

become outmoded with its harsh rhetoric. Alternative materials need to be

introduced internationally.

3. Truth Seekers

As in the Prophet’s era there are people in our times seeking the truth. In many

cases it is due to dissatisfaction with the dogmas of their religions. These seekers

find that their questions are unanswered in their inherited religion and blind

faith is insisted upon by its priests. This conversion factor is very prominent

among Westerners as indicated in surveys 5 – 12 as well as QCPI and Discover

Islam – Bahrain surveys among their Western converts. The Detroit survey gives

86% of Americans who converted from Christianity while having difficulties in

their belief system. Consequently, more literature, tapes and programs which

present the Islamic solutions to religious mysteries needs to be developed.

Literature which demonstrates that Prophet Jesus was in fact a prophet of Islam

and that his message was Islam needs to be widely distributed.

4. Reading the Qur’an

A large number of Western converts embraced Islam due to reading translations

of the Qur’an. This mirrors those who converted in the Prophet’s time due to

hearing readings from the Qur’an. The two most wide-spread translations of the

Qur’an’s meanings are those of Yusuf Ali and Muhsin Khan. However, both

have serious problems with regard to getting the message across. Yusuf Ali’s

translation is in old-English and his footnotes contain much mis-information.

Muhsin Khan’s translation, on the other hand, while accurate has so much

explanatory material between brackets that the average reader loses track of the

verse. There needs to be a good clear translation in modern English with

sufficient footnotes to explain unclear passages and references.

5. Marriage

Many Western converts in Muslim countries convert for marriage purposes as is

quite evident in the surveys. In a number of cases, the conversion is not genuine,

but merely a ritual conversion. Although this situation is abhorrent, one cannot

refuse to convert others due to suspicions. The solution is to develop programs of

study, which prospective converts must go through before conversion, to insure

that the basic teaching have been learned. This approach was taken by the

Muslim Convert’s Association in Singapore, where they were faced with the

majority of its converts being for marriage purposes.7


    The factors leading to conversion are basically the same the world over. They

are not limited to time periods, but can be found from the earliest of times until

the present. Those involved in propagating the religion and inviting others to

Islam, must familiarize themselves with these and other factors in order to

develop the correct strategies to deal with them. Furthermore, Islamic

organizations need to keep more accurate information concerning conversion so

that researchers can analyze the material and benefit those in the field. Most

organizations internationally do not have proper records. Some only have names

and while others have little more than that.  Follow-up programs cannot be

effectively implemented without proper records. Perhaps the greatest problem

facing converts is the lack of follow-up. In the Prophet’s time, converts were

integrated into the Muslim community and way of life with the full support of

the community. Today, converts are congratulated and left to fend for

themselves. As a result, when many are faced with difficulties, they revert to

their former faiths, if they do not find support from the Muslim community. In

the West, there is a big need for institutions and Muslim social workers to cater

to the needs of the new converts. Many who accept Islam in the prisons end up

in their destructive life-styles and back in prison like their non-Muslim

counterparts. Although their numbers are fewer, they are too many for the

community to ignore.

    The other major problem facing convert Muslims, especially in the West, is

that without a Muslim community to support their families, their children often

leave Islam by the time they graduate from high school. Consequently, among

the da’wah strategies necessary is the development of Muslim schools to

preserve the identity of Muslim children of the converts. Those children did not

choose Islam, and they lack strong cultural ties to Muslim culture. As a result,

every decade or two, a new wave of Westerners convert and during the same

period, most of their children leave Islam. Those children sometimes go on to

become major stars in sports like Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball), or Rocket Raghib

(American Football), who have no allegiance to Islam what so ever.rasoulullah.net

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