Communication in the Qur’an (08/11)
The Communicator’s Qualities
1. The knowledge that faith is Allah’s gift
Believers who present religion to others must realize that only Allah puts a person on the right path and brings him or her to faith, that only He decides who will believe and who will not. As He told the Prophet (saas): You cannot guide those you would like to, but Allah guides those He wills. He has best knowledge of the guided (Surat al-Qasas: 56).
Believers prepare themselves to communicate Allah’s religion by developing expertise in many areas; this is their act of worship. However, guidance becomes possible only by Allah’s will Who holds control over a person’s heart. This knowledge also helps believers to be more comfortable and sincere, both of which add to their effectiveness.
2. Openness and sincerity
Allah judges believers on the basis of their sincerity. For this reason, sincerity is one of the Qur’an’s principle themes. Sincerity is an important feature that brings believers closer to Allah, improves their ability to communicate religion and makes them successful in this endeavor. Believers should communicate the message, aware that Allah guides people to the right path and that the believers’ sole task is only to communicate. While communicating the message, a similar candid and open style is essential.
Patience is the surest sign that a person’s faith is sincere. Despite all hindrances and adversities, believers keep trying to please Allah. In the Qur’an Allah stresses the importance of patience in many places, among them:
So be steadfast. Allah’s promise is true. Do not let those who have no certainty make you impatient and shake your firmness. (Surat ar-Rum: 60)
Spreading Islam is one of the major areas in which believers show their patience. As long as believers see the light of faith in another person, they must be understanding and allow the other party to improve his or her views of Islam and the Qur’anic moral values. They must be patient with that person’s wrong actions and ideas and fatuous conversations, as well as with his or her lack of understanding of the good that is being offered. But believers take great pleasure in doing this, because it is important for them to be the means whereby even one person’s heart is softened toward Islam.
Believers may experience a reaction from unbelievers, both as individuals or as a group. But they must continue spreading the religion despite all the difficulties and lack of results. For example, Nuh (as) lived for 950 years (Surat Al-‘Ankabut: 14) and spent centuries telling his people about religion. In fact, he is one of the greatest examples of patience. According to the Qur’an, Nuh (as) told his people:
He said: “My Lord, I have called my people night and day, but my calling has only made them more evasive. Indeed, every time I called them to Your forgiveness, they put their fingers in their ears, wrapped themselves up in their clothes, and were overweeningly arrogant. Then I called them openly. Then I addressed them publicly and addressed them privately. I said: ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly, He is Endlessly Forgiving.’” (Surah Nuh: 5-10)
4. The art of speaking wisely
The ability to speak well, that is, speaking to the point, expressing the issue’s essence, saying only what is necessary, being convincing and pleasing, and having the ability to influence others is an art. Allah has given this special ability to His beloved servants. For example, He says of David (as): We made his kingdom strong and gave him wisdom and decisive speech (Surah Sad: 20). In another verse, He explains this art in the following words:
He gives wisdom to whoever He wills, and he who has been given wisdom has been given great good. But no one pays heed but people of intelligence. (Surat al-Baqara: 269)
Those who call people to religion must be able to speak well: Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition... (Surat an-Nahl: 125). Therefore, believers must pray to Allah and, in addition, think as much as they can about this matter and assess themselves. The main aspects of effective communication are clear:
Those who call others to Islam must determine the other party’s needs and provide the clearest and most effective answers. While speaking, they should avoid having an imposing and ambiguous style. Without engaging in an artificial effort to show knowledge, employing a clear and plain style that will comfort the listener’s heart, that is, speaking wisely is a very important feature of a person who communicates Allah’s message.
The believers’ effectiveness in this area can be judged according to their mastery of the Qur’an. Allah tells us that the Qur’an has an answer for every distortion put forward by the unbelievers: They bring you no similitude, but We bring you the truth and the best of explanations (as against it) (Surat al-Furqan: 33). Based on their knowledge of the Qur’an, they sift through it to find an interpretation of an event, answer questions, and counter logical distortions in a concise and effective way.
5. Strength, nobility, and modesty
A believer is a person to whom Allah has breathed His spirit into, with whom He is pleased and exalted above all created beings. No matter how physically and materially strong unbelievers may seem, believers have an insuperable superiority over them. This is related in the verse: Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers (Surah Al ‘Imran: 139). If a believer continuously feels this superiority, he reflects it in his attitudes, which also naturally impresses others.
A believer who serves only Allah also has a morality similar to the character and morality of prophets. He has no weakness and his sole goal is to earn Allah’s pleasure. Thanks to his maturity endowed to him by faith and his great goals he always have noble thoughts. Therefore, he does not engage in anything base or humiliating. This nobility, together with his candid and pleasant manner, leaves a positive impression over those who want to learn about religious morality.