The public forum is the public areas where the general population interact or gather. Such places as public libraries, County Fairs, Neighborhood Street Parties, State Fairs, Craft Fairs, College campuses, etc.
Muslims have only begun to address the public and to openly discuss Islam, and the various Muslim Cultures within Islam. Too often we as Muslims have set back expecting someone "more knowledgable" to teach Islam. Yet this is not how the first Believers taught Islam. With each piece of knowledge, that they learned, they took it back to their own people, and taught that piece of knowledge.
We as the present day Ummah must follow the Sunnah & do the same.
A Muslim or Muslimah does not have to be gifted in public speaking, for bringing Islam to people can be done in a variety of ways.
* Leave Islamic Magainzes in Doctor's Clinics for patients to read while they wait.
* Design a bulletine Board display for a public library regarding some "cultural" aspect of Islam (i.e. hijab, prayers, motherhood, etc)
* Become a donor to A local Library, providing books that show Muslims & Islam in a positive light.
* Volunteer to read to elderly in a nursing home.
* Buy Soup & Bread, then serve it to homeless people where they live (travel with it in a thermos to keep it warm)
* Choose school paper topics which deal with some aspect of Islam. Then research the subject & write your school paper on that subject. In this way you are teaching your teacher something new too. (i.e. Cross-gender non-verbal communication & the effect veiling has on it)
* Take your Out-of-fashion or No longer worn clothing, and deliver it to an area of homeless people (i.e. a shelter or kitchen) Give it to individuals directly whenever possible.
* Arrange for local stores you regularly shop at, display a rack with brochures on Islam.
* Cooperate with inter-religious organizations to have Muslim speakers as guest speakers.
* Participate in your LARGER community. Islam is best taught by example, so don't try to isolate yourself. It was not the sunnah of the Prophet to live in isolation.
It is important to Remember the Quran tells us that Allah has blinded some from the truth & made some people deaf to the words. So don't expect everyone to convert, or to be interested. It is not our job to MAKE people Muslim. It is our responsiblity to offer Islam.
So in a way, we must first BELIEVE in what the Quran tells us.
Dawaah in the Work Place
Often Muslims are reluctant to do dawaah at their job site. This doubt is often the biggest stubbling block to defeating the stereotypes about Muslims, as well as one of the biggest LOST opportunities that exist for Muslims in providing dawaah to others each day.
Often Muslims work to participate in dawaah trips, choosing to travel elsewhere to perform dawaah, where they can feel SAFE since no one will be able to "follow them home".
Yet it is our daily actions as Muslims that teaches people little things about Islam. In fact it is because of the actions of individual Muslims that many of the sterotypes exist in America.
Too often Muslim blame the ignorance of the non-Muslim population, yet more than not, the stereotype began as the action of a handful of individuals who where known to be Muslim & who's behavior was assumed to be related to their religious ideology. Since those individuals, and to a large extent generations of Muslims after did not correct the assumption, the stereotype was assumed to be true.
If Muslims begin to open their own minds to the possiblities that exist in providing dawaah, insha Allah, we will find that many will have the opportunity & willingness to learn more.
You might ask, how one can go about providing dawaah, especially in the work place where they are supposed to be working.
The answer is simple. Coffee Breaks!!
How many times do you sit by yourself during coffee break? Instead, do you sit with other co-workers?
How often have you mentioned things like weddings you've attended, or the fun you had at the latest Muslim gathering? You don't need a formal degree to provide dawaah!
Just talk. People are often willing to ask questions, once they realize that Muslims are willing to talk about the "secrets" of the religion.
Muslims need to remember that there is an unwritten rule of social ettiquette in America....."Stay way from the topics of politics & religion"
Though this rule exists, it is only partly followed. However, religon is seen as a private matter & people will not, in general, tread where they are not welcome. So it is the Muslim co-worker's duty to open the door and welcome them into a conversation. Invite them to Eid, discuss Islamic concepts such as modesty & rights of privacy & polite behavior.
If we don't do it, who will?