What do these years have in common— 629 CE, 641 CE, 648 CE, and 661 CE? These were the years during which prominent companions (sahaba) of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, went out to different parts of the world to share Islam and give dawah. SubhanAllah, it is due to the sacrifices of these noble companions that Islam reached forward in time to us. The sahaba, when they traveled to different parts of the world, didn’t know the languages or the cultures, yet, through patience, sacrifice, and good conduct, they shared Islam with the inhabitants of the new lands. You may wonder what motivated these individuals to travel thousands of miles to the new lands. The answer is simple: the sahaba, as they read the Quran and saw the noble life of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, realized that Islam’s guidance is not only for the Arabs, but for all of humanity. Additionally, the sahaba realized that dawah is as much of an obligation as praying, fasting, zakat, and hajj. As Allah SWT says in the Quran, “Invite all to the way of Allah, with wisdom and fair preaching; and converse with them in ways which are best and most gracious…” (Quran 16:125).
The Three Objectives
To fulfill the above obligation, a few brothers from ICNA Chicago met in 2009 to start the GainPeace dawah project. GainPeace had three objectives:
• train and empower the youth and all Muslims on how to give dawah
• follow up and support new Muslims after they embrace Islam
• share Islam with non-Muslims through both conventional and creative projects
The bus project was a signature project of GainPeace, with dawah messages on the sides of buses. The project created a buzz around the nation, and many ICNA teams, CAIR, and various masajid initiated the bus project in their cities.
Accomplishments to Date
Since its inception in 2009, GainPeace, with the help of Allah SWT, has been able to accomplish the following:
• offering GainPeace’s services to all ICNA chapters and masajid throughout the U.S.
• mailing out 300,000 dawah postcards to Americans in rural areas
• answering 40,000 calls from non-Muslims on the GainPeace hotline, 1-800-662-ISLAM
• hosting 150 masjid open houses for neighbors and local residents
• putting up 90 billboards including the very successful hijab billboard, the Truthful Man billboard, and the Free Quran billboard; these three billboards received national media attention and generated hundreds of calls from non-Muslims curious to know more about Islam.
• printing 16 brochures and 8 different one-minute-to-read cards to assist in the sharing of Islam
• organizing and holding 120 dawah training workshops in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe, training 8000 Muslims to share Islam effectively with others
• hosting and witnessing an average of one shahada a day, mostly through the dawah hotline; an 18-month roadmap was created for new Muslims to empower them, mentor them, and train them to be on the front lines of civic engagement, activism, and dawah
• publishing the Teachers Guide for Muslim Students; this guide is targeted towards public school teachers and staff members, helping them to understand and accommodate Muslim students in the following areas: prayers, fasting, Islamic holidays, Islamophobia, bullying, co-ed swimming, dancing, sports and physical contact; the aim is to provide the guide to all teachers and other school staff throughout the U.S.
• developing the CONFIDENT YOUTH workshop to protect them from the influences of atheism, agnosticism, and evolution; this workshop also aims to inspire in the youth confidence in Islam, strengthening of their iman, and empowering them to become activists and daees
• creating a sense of passion and commitment to dawah in the hearts of Muslims, and especially in the youth; this is arguably the greatest accomplishment of GainPeace
Long-term Planning and Legacy
As part of its long-term planning, GainPeace aims to establish a dawah academy to train full-time daees who can share the beautiful and peaceful message of Islam with all of humanity, insha’Allah.
We must always keep in mind, however, the primary mission of sharing Islam with our fellow Americans. And just like we relate stories to our children of the sahaba and their dedication to dawah, our descendants, insha’Allah, will share stories about our generation. They may say that despite the challenges and hurdles of this era, the Muslims organized and developed their resources and, with united hearts and minds, shared the message of Islam. Yes, we must do our part to help make American a just and a peaceful nation. That is the legacy we at GainPeace would like to leave for our children; and that is the legacy that will place us into eternal paradise, with Allah’s (SWT) mercy, insha’Allah. Ameen.