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Selling Islam: It's Song, Words, and Dance

As an avid watcher of Mad Men; if there's one thing I've learned about advertising and sales, it's that you have to know who your audience is, and what they are looking for in your product.

Now when it comes to Islam, I don't think the idea needs to be sold; but I do think there needs to be better public relations in the face of disasters.

One thing I learned when I worked in retail was that the 3 keys to enticing someone to your product are your song, your words, and your dance.

Allow me to explain.

Song is what brings the people in. It's when you might hear Mozart or Beethoven and think "hmmm...let me see what this is."

Words are the actual content. Without it, your are presenting empty noise void of anything meaningful.

And dance; the flow of everything together. The mastery of something so wonderful, it resonates through your body and soul, and keeps others coming back for more. In the same way, Muslims need to synchronize the song, music and dance of Islam.

This isn't to say Islam needs 'repackaging' or 'reform'. This is to say, the Muslims of the world need to realize what it is that the world needs and lacks and show them that Islam has the answers. It has what people want and need.

Muslims can be provide a lifestyle and a structure for society that can leave everyone happy and satisfied.

Right now Muslims are in complete disarray. There are only a small contingent of Muslims who are following a true, practical version of Islam.

I've met too many people who are dedicated Muslims, but when it comes to them as just human beings, they show a side that is bigoted towards others who do not share their views and speak in ignorance about those who they don't know.

Just surf some of these Islamic Message Boards. Some of these people who participate in online discussions, while living as benefactors of the system in nations like Britain, Canada, and the United States, espouse hate against them, cheer violence, condemn their society, and ironically, deem their accomplishments worthless.

If Islam is a proselytizing religion, how can you claim to be acting in your own, and Islam's, best interest if you are disgusted and repel from that which doesn't necessarily feel thr same to you? And even if it does, so what? Must you sink to a lower level? This is what I mean by song. You can't piqué peoples curiosity in Islam if, as it's representative to those people, you are unengaging and unbecoming of the type of behavior others wish to emulate. If you are rejecting of others, others will reject you too. If you are nice in public, but vitriolic in private, you are removing trust and confidence. But if you behave in a manner that is accepting, open, friendly, yet principled, how can others not follow your lead? Islam's lead.

It's only when people want to emulate you that you can show them thr word, and allow others to understand the true nature of Islam. The full teachings of Allah (swt) as revealed in the Quran and enacted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This of course also means Muslim youth need to spend more time practicing the basics of Islam, like praying salat, reciting Quran (in both Arabic and your native tongue), and remembering to say prayers before performing routine tasks (like entering your house, beginning a meal, etc). A lot of Muslims who proudly assert themselves as Muslim either don't know or don't care enough about actual Islam to show others what it is.

Finally, dance. The flow of everything together. The understanding of the need for Islamic teachings in our lives. The understanding that there doesn't need to be an either/or mentality amongst Muslims. There doesn't need to be a personality shift when you move closer to Allah. You don't need to dichotomize your daily life from Islam, and you don't need to see your devotion to Islam as irreconcilable with living in Western society.

So to conclude, I think that proselytization of Islamic ideals could be done if Muslims themselves look at the song, words, and dance of Islamic ideals, and compare them to their own behaviors, and change accordingly, so that in the non-Muslim worlds eye, Islam is not seen as thr cause of problem (or blamed as the cause), but rather, is seen as thr solution. And ultimately, religiously or non-religiously, aren't we all just looking for solutions to our problems?

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