By: P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News
JEDDAH, 5 July 2007 — A large number of foreign men and women in the Kingdom are embracing Islam each year after learning more about the faith. According to one report, 4,285 expatriate women in the Eastern Province alone have become Muslim in the past five years.
Many Saudi and non-Saudi women are actively engaged in the propagation of Islam among non-Muslim women and compete with their male counterparts, believing that helping a person embrace Islam is one of the greatest achievements done by a Muslim.
Three dawa centers for women in the Eastern Province have encouraged over 3,000 foreigners to convert to Islam. An office in Al-Ahsa claimed the largest number, converting 1,298 women, followed by the Dammam office with 1,150 and the Alkhobar office with 1,100. An office in Jubail won 604 converts, Naeeriya 65, Abqaiq 50 and Ras Tanura 13.
“Women play an important role in dawa work. They propagate the teachings of Islam among foreign women working at homes, hospitals and commercial centers,” said Dr. Abdul Wahid Al-Mazroue, director of the Dawa Center in Dammam. He also emphasized the role of dawa centers in enhancing cultural and educational awareness.
Al-Mazroue called for the opening of women’s sections at all dawa centers across the Kingdom. “These sections will help our women set out their own plans and programs for the dissemination of the divine message in a manner suitable to them,” he said, adding that plans have been made to open new dawa offices for women in various parts of the region.
According to one Saudi preacher, the opportunity to learn about Islam is an extra advantage for non-Muslims living in the Kingdom. “They should make use of this golden opportunity, which would be the most valuable thing they earn,” he said.
Reports from dawa centers across the Kingdom indicate that Filipino men and women account for the majority of expatriates embracing Islam in recent years.
Muhammad Habeeb, director of the dawa center in Al-Salama district, said 2,490 people out of 3,230 that embraced Islam at the center were Filipinos. “A number of Americans and Europeans have also embraced Islam at our center,” he added.
“If you look at worldwide statistics of people embracing Islam, women represent the majority. But in the Kingdom the number of men is higher than women as they are large in number and are more exposed to Islamic programs,” Habeeb pointed out.
He noted that Saudis’ passion for dawa is inspired by the teaching of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who had said convey even a verse from the Qur’an.
“We’re not forcing anybody to embrace Islam but providing non-Muslims an opportunity to understand the beauty and noble teachings of this religion. Many people are attracted to Islam seeing the lifestyle and behavior of their Muslim co-workers. Above all, Islam’s inherent qualities are enough to win the hearts of people,” he said.
The Islamic Education Foundation (IEF) in Jeddah’s Al-Hamra district reported that 4,880 expatriates of different nationalities embraced Islam during the past 10 years as a result of the efforts of its preachers.
“Nearly 40 percent of these converts are women. It was the exemplary treatment received by non-Muslim expatriates from their Muslim employers and colleagues that encouraged them to embrace the faith,” said Badr Al-Olayan, director of the foundation.
Muslim women from the first day of Islam worked in the propagation or Dawa to Islam. If you want a man to believe in something have his wife first to believe in. Muslim women have strong faith in Islam and many time stronger than men. Women have the intuition, the inner feeling and the higher spirituality than man to sense what is right. The first to believe Prophet Muhammad was his wife Khadija. When he was even doubtful himself at the beginning that he is being contacted by God she mentioned to him his high morals and God would not lead him astray. Women in early Islam when Muslims were persecuted suffered themselves and remained strong aid to their husbands. Women are liberated by Islam and new women convert to Islam are new free women. They are submitted to God and not the false God of capitalism. Women are empowered mentally and spiritually by Islam. They are not oppressed under Islam as they try to deceive her. She is a first class citizen in Islam and every Muslim woman is the first lady of her home. Women who spread Islam they did not know only their religions but knew also how to attract other women to Islam. They know how to communicate their message of Islam and how to touch other women hearts. Islam is moving fast to the west and Muslim women are taking the lead.