Channel: Kamal El-Mekki
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Hello Haman hamdulillah horrible I mean for salatu salam ala rasulillah amin, wa aalihi wa sahbihi, a Jemaine about the title of my talk is interpersonal communication, what that means?
Great. And basically, I am required to touch upon a few things when it comes to communicating with other individuals, you know. So I'm going to go over
kind of a broad spectrum of ways of communicating. And just so that there's some benefit also throw in, like some kind of
like techniques as well, for for getting your point across or convincing people or offering advice. Now, first of all, there is obviously more than one way of communicating with someone. And the way the style that you choose depends on a lot of things, Everybody with me, this style of communication that you choose depends on a lot of things. It depends on, for example, the age of the person you're going to communicate with, whether they're male or female, the environment that you're communicating in, am I in a middle of a quiet place, or in the middle of a riot, or like a rally or something like that? And also the relationship the past relationship I have with this person? Is it a sibling? Is
it a parent to child child to parent? Is it someone who knows me, as someone who sees me as credible? Is it some, oh, these things they affect? You know, the the way and the technique we use in communicating and getting our point across to someone.
So, and a lot of times people expect that there's one way of communicating but there are many ways and you will choose the way based on the situation based on the person based on the environment.
all the first ones we wanted to look at, and there are actually a lot of questions have been coming in about aggression, aggression in either in Dawa, or in fixing a situation or in changing someone's behavior. Now, there are times of course, when someone could be aggressive. For example, the father can be aggressive with the job true. If he wants to be right. Yes or no? Yeah, he can.
How do I know what what happens in your house? You've been getting a lot of that, huh? You can get in the boat, huh? All right. I like your father already.
So for example, but you know, something, the youth can be aggressive with their parents, and I know what happens, all right, you start to pray, and go to the message regularly attend a few classes, you read a few books here and there, and your parents are not practicing. So you have a beard, your father doesn't, or you pray, your mother doesn't. So what happens, you start to be aggressive with them. Because you know, you've been wrong your whole life, and they always correct you. And now you're right about religion, and they're wrong. So now you're using this to your advantage, and you want to come and you want to harass them, and you want to make life miserable for everyone in the
house. And this happens a lot. When someone becomes practicing. He's so excited with the new information that they're discovering. And when he or she receives new information to act upon it immediately. So they assume that the parents will be in the same exact way. And then they go and present them with information, and they don't accept it the same way. So what happens, everything becomes a debate about religion, every meal turns, turns to be a debate and argument about religion. So breakfast, you argue about religion, lunch, you bring up religion, dinner, you bring up religion, and in the end, nobody wants to talk about religion anymore with you, because the family got sick
and tired of it. And it always ends up with a fight. You don't convince anyone. And what happens is something that you may regret if you don't change is that you burned down that bridge and nobody wants to talk to you about religion anymore. And and you can't give that at the house. These are the people who come to you three years later, my family cannot accept anything about religion from me, what do I do? And I have to bring someone from the outside because you burnt them out. Don't be aggressive with your parents, people. Do not be aggressive with your parents, because you have to understand something
when you weren't practicing, would you rather someone practicing would have come to you and approached you in an aggressive way and yelled at you and said look what this and look at that this is how I'm and that's Haram. Or would you rather someone would have come to you gently and pulled you to Allah subhanaw taala. And remember, this is something I have to say all the time, the definition of dharma. It's from the root to invite. An invitation is always nice. Nobody ever grabs you invites you to dinner. Nobody, you know twists your arm and says you want to have dinner. And that's not that's not the way it's done. So people invite you and whenever it's an
invitation is gentle. Right? All the time when someone's inviting, it's gentle. So if someone's inviting Islam, it can't be a fight. It can't be you fighting with your father fighting with your parents about the religion, or thinking you're better because you read a few books of Hadith. And now you're all that, and you're not. So it's not like that at all. But, of course, the father could use aggression. And there could be even times when the die would be aggressive in dour. Can anyone think of examples when the Prophet
sallallahu Sallam was aggressive in that way?
There were times like that, remember when the alum gave dollar to Omar right. But of course, the news that reached him was that Omar was coming to kill the profits of the low settler. But when he entered him, grabbed him and shook him. Some narrations that almost said he's never been shaken like that. So this was a time when the person was aggressive. Also, there was another time when the chorus were excessive in cursing and cussing the Prophet sallallahu sallam, so he said something strong to them.
But these are always exceptions. The general mode of Dawa is that it's very calm. It's very gentle, for even from the parent, if you want to guide your child towards Islam, or guide them to an act of worship. It's not done through aggression. And it's not done through forcing them to do things. And I know many people who came from families where the father was very strict, and they hate certain aspects of worship, and they link it back to a memory and their childhood of how they were forced to do a certain action. I know of one Father that wakes up all his sons and all his daughters 4pm PM, what night prayer, so what happens, he wakes them all up, they all get up, and he says Allahu Akbar,
and he starts to pray these long, longer cards. And in the meantime, what happens is his sons, they stand behind him when he says Allahu Akbar, they go sit on the beds, and some people will will roll over and kind of sleep and then when he is at the final dish, I hope they all get up and sit behind him. He says, cinemagraph Allah Salam Alaikum he turns his Mashallah all his children are behind him. He gets up again, Allahu Akbar, and they all go back to bed and they're sitting, this is a true family. I'm telling you this true story.
Because he was forcing them upon that a bad and they didn't want it. I know some people who hate waking up for fudger because of the way family members used to wake them up for fidget. And he disco was telling me that he was sleeping. His grandfather woke him up for fidget, he said, I went back to bed. He said his grandfather, he had
a big sofa, you know, the ones they use for this bit. He had a long one. He said his grandfather just came back, move the cover and he didn't care. He just whipped. it lands wherever it lands, no problem. And he landed on his stomach. And so it's not too bad, but still bad enough. Imagine you're sleeping and then somebody just whips you real hard on your stomach. So that's how he woke him up. So he hated that, you know? So also you find sometimes they'll force small children upon fasting without explaining without linking it to obedience to Allah. So even from the parents, the aggression towards the child in trying to get them to rectify their behavior or trying to get them
to do something is not the best way. And it typically backfires. It typically backfires.
There's actually, there's actually an example that I always give. So I'll repeat it, again, of how you it's not good when you have people do something out of fear. You know how some people have argued that it's better to be feared than to be loved, which of course, this is really incorrect. And if you read the seed of the Prophet sallallahu wasallam, you will become convinced of this, it is not better to be feared than to be loved. Because if people only do things out of fear, then if you're not there, they won't do it. I'll give you a simple example. This even works for animals. All right, I'm gonna give you example with my cat, if you bear with me. All right, so I have this cat.
And it used to like to sleep in the bedroom, but it was a long haired cat, so the hair would be all over the place. So my roommate said, Please don't let the cat into the bedroom. So he figured he's going to teach the cat to not go into the bedroom. Every time the cat would go into the bedroom, he would yell at it, and the cat would run out. So I noticed then when nobody's in, in the house, when I'm not there, and he's not there, and I opened the keys and I'm entering to the apartment. When I open the door, I see the cat running out of the bedroom pretending to be in the living room.
Why? Because he's trying to teach it through fear to not go into the bedroom, but when nobody's there and there is nothing to fear, it goes into the bedroom. Similarly, those of you who own cats, sometimes the cat likes to jump up on the kitchen counter. So most people the way they would approach the cat would just yell at it. It gets up on the counter.
gets down. But when you're not there, guess what it's doing is rolling on the counters, having fun. It's, you know, making dough and bread and just having fun. So one way to actually or two ways to teach the cat here is, you know, cats hate water. So just pour some water on the kitchen counter. And when you go and it jumps up, it's going and cats hate water, it's going to get wet, it's going to hate that and it's going to stop jumping up on the counter. Another one, they tell you, it's a bit more cruel. And more fun. You take a thick piece of tape, like packing tape, and you put it sticky side up on the calendar, the cat jumps and it gets stuck in tangled in this tape. You ever
seen a cat stuck in tape, it's fun, they run around trying to get it off, run, run. They think if they run fast, I think might leave, stay behind them or something. It's great. Don't Don't do that though.
So then basically now even even with animals, we're learning that it's not fear. It's not fear, that's the best motivator and it's not fear that gets people to change your behavior as parents also shouldn't use just fear all the time to get people to do the right thing to the child to do the right thing. Even though it just does not use fear all the time in the Quran. Okay, a lot of people think there is probably more mention of the Hellfire than there is a paradise in the Quran. But that's not true. Because anytime the word any number appears in the Quran, an equal number of times gender is mentioned in the Quran. Anytime day is mentioned in the Quran, night is mentioned an equal
number of times, life is mentioned death is mentioned an equal number of times. So there's a lot of motivate us using fear only know sometimes Allah azza wa jal will tell us, it will tell us the punishment that's fear of what happens, or what if you do something, or he might tell us the reward for leaving something, Sometimes he'll tell us the reward for doing something and then the punishment for leaving something. Or he might tell us stories of profits, or he might tell us benefit in this life, or that benefit in the next level. Allah subhanaw taala uses many methods in the Koran to motivate us into action. And he doesn't only use fear supanova data, but realistically,
people are motivated by fear, and they are motivated by getting something good to happen to them.
I'll ask you a simple question. Can you think of any animal that or any human that does any action for no reason whatsoever?
Probably without, you can't think of it. There is no action that's done for no reason whatsoever. So everything that any living thing does is typically to avoid some kind of potential harm, or to bring some kind of good towards itself. You might argue, well, sometimes on Saturday, I just sit like this and I on the couch, and I just stare up and I don't do anything.
Are you doing something or not? You said it, I think you're you're relaxing, alright, you're relaxing, even if it makes no that you don't know the exact, there's no actual thing happening, you're still relaxing, there's nothing that's done for no reason. So because of that, it's realistic to say there is harm further down this road. And that would be a good motivator for people. And for animals, even a squirrel that would store food. It knows why it's doing that avoid potential harm. I don't know how sophisticated the thought is, you know, it doesn't have a word we're in mid July now. And it's gonna get cold. I don't know if it doesn't like that. But it stores food, out of fear of
potential harm happening in the future. So
so now we're saying that aggression then is, is not like the this the default mode or the technique that you use when it comes to getting people to change or to motivate or even to communicate with people. Because when you are aggressive and communicating with someone, you immediately turn them off and they become rigid, so that a person who would have listened to you because you are aggressive now they have become rigid and they're not willing to listen to you, even if you bring them with good advice. That's why one of the golden rules in Dallas, they tell you if
you start if you're going to give someone advice about something don't start by attacking something they love. Like for example, someone smokes cigarettes, but he doesn't pray. So it makes more sense to call them to the Salah than to attack what they love, and they love their cigarettes. They're addicted to the cigarettes, or you know, a young man or young woman and they listen to music. They start attacking their music, don't ever attack their music. Just see what happens when Muslims are attacking. They attack Islam, in defense of their music, they attack Islam, so you don't attack something that people love. So generally when you become aggressive, you lose that individual and
you lose out a great chance of changing that person. And of course there are always situations where aggression may be the best thing but
It's not the norm. Okay? It's not the norm. I'll tell you something. There was.
Okay, let me Let's not mention names nor places. But there is a man who went and sat down with a Muslim diet. This man was the preacher. He went and sat down with a Muslim Dahlia. That day, it was very, very, very aggressive with him. And that man became Muslim. All right, and then he tells people if that if that man was not aggressive, I wouldn't have become Muslim. But does this mean we should use aggression as a general rule now? No, that was just an exceptional situation, an exceptional situation.
Okay, so that's when it comes to being aggressive. And be careful as in how you use this beak. Be gentle with your parents, be gentle with your loved ones, because remember, you you want people genuinely to be saved from the hellfire. That's your whole point of talking to anyone. So why would you be aggressive? You might lose them at that point. So be gentle with people invite them nicely. And this is one of the things about changing the more the monk or whatever reprehensible action you see, you have to change it as a Muslim right? And we all know the Hadith very popular Hadith, the profits from LA Holly who said none said non ramen commune Karen fell your ear. Whoa, B. We had a
very sunny. So whoever Have you sees a reprehensible act or a monk or something that's not right. He should change it with his hand. And if you can't, can you with his hand then with his tongue? And if he can't, then with the heart, and that's the weakest of Eman? So some people read this Hadith, and it's a very popular Hadith, but they understood that the Hadith is saying this is the order in which you change things. This is the order. The Hadith is not talking about order. And the scholars say the instrument of change depends on who and what is being changed. And I remember this when I was a young man many, many, many years ago, I was in a Masjid. And this this one man did something. And
this other old grown man, okay, not old, but grown man, maybe early 50s, late 40s. smack the other man, grown man.
So the man says, Why are you hitting me? The man said the Hadith said first with the hand,
then with the tongue. So even if I'm able to speak to you, if I'm able to hit you, I'll duck you. Because that's what the Hadith says. Now, the Hadith is not saying this is the order of things, the instrument of change will be based on who and what needs to be changed. So sometimes you can change something with your hand. But what if it involves destruction of property? Can you do it? Someone else's property? Can you change it with your hand? No, what if it? What if it involves? Yeah, and it's gonna cost someone money? If you destroy something? Can you do it? No, by the Father, for example, can he change with his hand?
If need be? And is it possible for him? You know the answer? Yeah. Right. Before was going to fix a couple of them covered tonight, I think can be great. So the Father, for example, if he felt the necessity and wanted to give the old backhand to the kid, absolutely, by all means, and he has my full support in doing so. So that's a possibility. But you can't go into someone's house and you find it, for example, to have pictures hanging or little statues and start breaking them, or anything like that. You're not allowed to do that or break someone's television, as we discussed yesterday.
So the instrument of change depends on what or who is being it needs to be changed. And so it's not the order that you start with the hand and then the tongue and then the heart. But typically, most of the situations will involve the tongue first, that you would speak to someone about changing the monka.
So, when it comes down to communicating, sometimes there's something which is really nice for and beneficial for us to know known as rapport. rapport are a pp. O r. t. Report, and report basically is that's really how it's spelled by the way. Some people are laughing like I'm being funny. So, rapport basically, is when you establish some kind of relationship with someone, I'll give you some scenarios, whether it involves Muslims or non Muslims. Basically, let's say there's a new security guard in your apartment complex, and you want to give him Dawa. But it's kind of weird that from his first day you're gonna walk up to them and start immediately do anything about Islam and so on and
so forth. So what you do you establish rapport, so you start to talk to them first about the weather, you're new here, this and that the parking whatever situation, now he knows you and you have some type of speaking relationship and then
Maybe the second time also you just talk about something else. Third time now when you want to talk about Islam or something like that, or given us the hot, it's not too sudden, because you have already established some kind of relationship with this person. I'll give you an example of rapport with Muslims. All right, and this is actually a true story. All right.
Now, what happened was at the University, where I used to be in Virginia, in the third floor, there's the muscle lower older Muslims go to pray. And there's also an that right next to them with some law. A bunch of Muslim young men and women who just sit there and play cards all day. All right, they just, you know, they're all giggling in the old lean on each other. And they're, you know, Mashallah, you know, open and all the other. So, they see people going to the muscle and they never get up and pray. So one time during one of the meetings, they brought it up, because now we're our job as the Muslim Students Association is to give data to Muslims as well. So we're like, okay,
we have these Muslims who sit right next to them with a lot and none of them get up to go pray. So what are possible solutions we could come up with. So one of the brothers and this is the actual solution he came up with. He said, I'm going to donate my time. Whenever It's time for Salah I'm going to go walk up to the table, this is on my way to them and I'm gonna walk up to their table. I'm going to look at them and I'm going to tell them all very sternly a Sala
This is how he is Mashallah going to help us out with this problem. So the hook is going to go to them who's going to walk up to him and say, oh, sola. And then after he's gonna come up to them and say, a Salah, and then Murphy is going to tell them Uppsala Alright, so now this was a solution. Can you believe that or not? So just this guy, big beard, nice frown is gonna walk up to them and say, a Sala, guess what? He's not going to be adding any new information to this group of people. They already know. They're Muslim, and they know Salah because they're sitting on the third floor on the way to the masala they see around over time. Surprisingly, all these Muslim start going to that
prayer area. And all the sisters are going to their prayer area. They wait there for about five minutes and they all come out. You think they don't know what happened. They know the people are praying. They know it's the whole time. And then after time, they see all the people going towards a masala staying there for a while praying and then coming out. So they know that people are praying. So when you come and tell them
you're not adding any new information whatsoever. It's not like they're going to be playing cards.
Oh, oh, Salah. Oh, that's why all these solo people. That's not you're not adding new information.
But what's interesting was in that scenario, we had the quote unquote, religious people, and then the non religious people. And guess what was there any rapport between the two and a relationship and communication now? The only thing the only communication between the two groups is this. You walk by you look at them and you frown. That's our to them. All right. So you walk by, you see them, and then you go away, can you imagine and he's being with that group, and you sit there and everyday about 50 or 60 religious Muslim who just come and walk away? What with religious people with a frowny every they're just sitting there and people, giving them dirty looks dirty looks dirty looks.
These dirty looks are gonna tell them hey, this is a beautiful religion. I want to become practicing so I can be like these people and give people dirty looks all the time. It's not gonna work like that.
So one of the things I suggested is why don't we mend the relationship with this establish, establish some kind of relationship with them? Yeah, and I imagine someone did this to them. So all the Muslim religious people in the good folks combined, given these dirty looks, intermingling playing cards, not praying.
They go away. Imagine one of these religious people comes to them one time just with a bowl of candy and he gives everybody one he gives him Salaam How you guys doing? What game? Are you playing? He's not interested. But he asked him what game are you guys playing? And they say we're playing this game with that guy. Then he goes away. And another time he'll come You know, just chit chat with them. Give them Salaam or give him a pass around candy again. What do you think would happen in their hearts? They'll think wow, most religious people just thrown at us. But this guy he's a religious person but he's a nice guy as well. He comes and talk to us he passes out candy even
though we're all intermingling come on we're not saying he should sit and start playing cards with them. Right? But just establishing some kind of rapport some kind of relationship. Then you think if he comes to them one time and says you know you know you guys are a nice crowd. I always like to come see you guys and give you salon but I noticed you guys never come to the masala and I just wanted to tell you come. You've seen the salon takes about five minutes tops. Just come pray and then come back to
Again, what do you guys think? Do you think perhaps he stands more of a chance that he might get his any response to this?
No doubt. Now is it guaranteed that it may not? It may work? No, it's not guaranteed, you know, and that's why, and you try, and you do your best. And if it works 100 if it doesn't work, guess what? You still get your reward and Sharla for that. Sometimes you follow all the rules, and it doesn't work. I remember one time, there was this sister in her hijab, that she was very active with MSA. And she started smoking. All right, it's still in her job that she just be puffing away, always puffing away. And she stands out with a bunch of thugs in front of everybody from the cafeteria, no smoking and being thugs and stuff. So the sisters told me, you know, you are kind of like her older
brother and Sharla, go give her advice. I said, Okay, I followed all the rules of giving advice, you praise the other person, you recognize whatever good is in them. And I tried. I did all the rules follow the rules to the tee. Oh, she let me have it. She let me have it so bad that for the rest of the night. I was just like this. And my friends would tell me what's wrong with you? I'm okay, I'm okay. She just went off. He said, You are not the man here. Who do you think you are, she just went through the whole nine yards. So.
So of course, it can backfire. rapport may not work, but you do it, you try to have some finesse, some kind of diplomacy in your attempts and in your techniques. Now.
So you know, like we were saying earlier that the earth that Allah created works through being balanced. And therefore the humans that Allah created to put on this earth also must work through a system of balance. And so you never want to be too far on any end of the spectrum, the the middle is always what will work best. So the middle is that you're, you know, you're kind, you're gentle, and you're between being aggressive, and between being too passive and too weak, and not able to speak out or say anything. And sometimes people confuse being very passive, with being having higher or having modesty. And there is a difference between the two. So and it's not necessarily also just
being humble, but allowing yourself to be humiliated by others, not when you humble yourself for the sake of Allah subhanho wa Taala. And so because the Muslim always high holds him or herself in high regard, right, because this is what we call Islam. You feel honored, you feel the dignity and honor that Allah azza wa jal made you a Muslim, so you do not lower yourself and in a base yourself and humiliate yourself in that sense. But again, it's always a good balance between, you know, whatever to extremes of emotions or forms of communication, always the balance is what will work, they will be exceptional cases. And then in that case, that's when you use it appropriately. But for the most
part, always a middle, love and hate, for example,
love and hate, you will find people also going to extremes and loving and in hating. And in Islam, it's not necessarily always black and white. You can hate something about someone and love something else in them. So for example, let's say there's a brother, who gives a lot in charity is one of the best people when it comes to helping the poor, the needy, the masjid, he gives a lot but he has some other bad traits. So most people and I know especially young people, they either just want to love him or hate him. And most of the time, they'll choose to hate him. But in Islam, you can actually love him for his generosity and dislike the certain bad thing about him. So they can be great. It's
not just black and white. And this is again the middle path when it comes to someone you know, does some bad deeds and everything but they have one good deed you can love him for that one good deed and hate the bad deeds about him. And it's not that we just go around hating everyone because the bad overweight the good or things like that, but there's always any There's your talk to always look for that like Yeah, but I think I've gone over to do some some q&a at the end.
so of course,
let me let me mention also that even then, even with with trying to be peaceful the whole time there will always be an extreme situation where you go to the to the other end, Gianni for example, in Islam, the Islam because it's realistic, it does recognize times when you have to defend yourself and sometimes defending yourself would be physical self defense, right? Even though you're supposed to be gentle. You're not supposed to fight.
But that's also more realistic than telling you to turn the other cheek all the time. That also is not realistic. So for example, if you, if someone enters into your home, they start slapping around your children, you know, the father is not just going to sit back and say, son turn the other cheek, it might be in your case, right? Father be like, Yeah, actually, I was gonna give him a beating anyway, so go ahead. But for the most part, this is a time when the father will go and want to defend the person here. Because it's not realistic to expect people to turn the cheek or turn the other cheek all the time. And that's why I'm telling every time in Islam, you will find things to be
very balanced. It's not just one way or the other. But for the most part, the middle path is what's best and chosen for us. There will be extreme situations when you go to this and or you go to the other end,
type. How about I stop here?
Okay. All right. So we'll stop here and take some questions in Sharla Jackson, lockira, Christina solomo Baraka, Mohammed