Posted by: Dawud Israel | September 22, 2007

How to Remind the Believers: Baba Ali Style

I’ve been dealing with some very different Muslims lately. And I’ve been getting into arguments with them, thinking myself to be hating on them. (Despite the fact I use 🙂 and 😀 ). So I tried a different approach. I call it the Baba Ali Style because Baba Ali of Ummah Films uses it the best.

Essentially, it involves approaching things from a purely Islamic frame of mind. So rather than me pointing out the flaws and whatnot we return to the basis of our belief system–Islam. If not right at the start, you can also use this when things begin to deteriorate which is more common, but its better to try it right off the start. I thought this one brother to have the same mind-frame as me–but everything I said, somehow came off as mocking and negative to him (which happens over the Internet because of Shaytaan) so I realized there was something wrong and I used the Baba Ali style. Shaytaan can’t fight that and it got the brother right back on track with the conversation and made him much calmer. I didn’t expect him to apologize or whatever–but at least he become more level-headed. So my experience with this technique has been positive.

Indeed when the temptation (to do evil) from Shaytaan reaches those who fear Allah, they remember (Allah and engage in Dhikr, thinking about His punishment and recalling the rewards from abstaining from sin) and their eyes instantly open (they realize Shaytaan’s plot and ignore the temptation). (Araaf 7:201)

The thing is that I had dismissed this tactic thinking it wasn’t really necessary–especially among Muslims who, as I presumed, know all this. But it is important and the Qur’an mentions it over and over again–telling the believers to ‘remind’ and be ‘reminded’. (Some people don’t want to be reminded because of who is doing the reminding–but it is better to hear the words rather than the person). And for good reason–we are very forgetful. It is because of forgetting that we sin over and over again, just as Adam (as) sinned when he came to Earth. It was not because he didn’t know, he more or less forgot.

And the key time to remind is when people least expect it. I remember one brother reminded us right after Maghrib prayer, which was good alhamdulillah. But I felt that it set the notion in my mind and others that there are certain times for reminding and then it’s over with. Baba Ali does it regularly, by that I mean at all times, in his videos and in the conversations I’ve had with him. And so it makes you feel as if, Islam is for all times.

The other thing that Ali does well that others don’t is to come off as very humble. (Stereo) Typically any Islamic discussion is seen as being more lecture-like with one person speaking and others listening. This may has it’s pros and cons but I think at times it simply can’t be helped. It might remain the same for a long time, but when the person doing the reminding acts humble–it shows that this brother indeed submits before Allah. If he acts as if he is the best, the Mumin feels that he is not willing to submit under Allah despite what words he may say. This is all body language and how we perceive things knowingly and unknowingly.

Saying things like ‘I’m reminding myself before anyone else’ and ‘Allah only wishes the best for us and we should strive to please Him, Insha Allah’ works nicely. But the key to remember is the tone in which it is said. If it is said in your normal speaking voice–it works because it seems natural and shows that Islam is truly natural. But if you do it with a quiver or in a real fast (as if wanting to get it over with) warning tone it feels irregular. As if something is off. And people sense that this isn’t you and so you kind of look like a hypocrite. It may be simply because your new at this whole reminding thing and this is not to judge the intention of the one doing the reminding–but merely to point out what it gets perceived as.

The other important thing is to use repetition. If at first you get a bad response, keep at it and they will soften and be receptive. And this will make them think twice the next time they wish to challenge. You don’t need to be repetitive all at once. Maybe everyday once is enough. The best way to know if you are succeeding with this is if others are responsive in a positive manner. There really isn’t a foolproof way of knowing. If they are silent willingly or they agree it’s a good thing. It’s very hard to judge. If they counter-remind its also good. But if they are deathly quiet it might mean you have killed their spirits and they see the reminding as negative. I probably will bust heads with the whole negative perception of reminding later.

This is what I have noticed in others and in myself and so I want to try this new Baba Ali style of saying things fully and normally. Insha Allah, it will make things better.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdik ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk. Ameen.


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