How does Islam continue to grow in the West?

Sun rays in a green forest

By Wael Abdelgawad for

Someone posted this question recently on an Islamic forum that I belong to:

There all kinds of people coming to Islam. There are some that even convert in huge masses (20+ people). It’s the fastest growing religion in the UK and USA. Just visit Youtube. How is that a religion that is put down in the media constantly is the most popular choice today?

Let me put it in marketing terms to start. I don’t want to cheapen our deen which is the most beautiful way of life, ordained for humanity by Allah. But most people in this consumer culture of the West understand marketing concepts.

In the marketing industry they say that there is no such thing as bad publicity. That may or may not be true, but I do believe it is true when you have a quality product. Islam is a quality product.

I have heard of many people who initially wanted to learn more about this “terrible religion” that gets so much bad press. So they picked up a book on Islam or a copy of the Quran, began reading, and SubhanAllah, were guided to the truth.

That’s the way of it.

Throwing a rubber ball at the ground

This deen is a clarion call, it is the sunlight through the clouds. It is manifest truth. As much as the enemies of Allah try to badmouth Islam, they only serve its cause. As Allah says (paraphrasing) in the Quran, they desired to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light, though the disbelievers may detest it.

Someone once said to me that those who try to damage Islam are like someone throwing a rubber ball down on the ground. The harder they throw it, trying to smash it, the higher it bounces back in the air.

When I say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, that doesn’t mean that I am happy about things like terrorist attacks, “honor killings”, female genital mutilation and other bad actions that bring bad publicity to Islam. I despise those acts and I utterly condemn them, not only because they damage the image of Islam and make life harder for Muslims, but because they are evil in themselves, and they bring suffering to innocent people.

No, when I say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, I am thinking more of the lies that are told about Islam. Hateful preachers who insult the Prophet (peace be upon him); or the often-made false claim that Islam was spread by the sword; or the bigoted epithets (like “Islamofascists”) that are used to try to discredit Islam in the eyes of the public. In the end, all these lies will fail, because truth is clear from falsehood.

Quran 61:8

Quran 61:8

(8) They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

(9) It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.

(Umm Muhammad translation)

The enemies of Islam think that Allah’s light is like a candle that can be blown out with the breath from their mouths, by propagating false rumors and lies about this deen. They might as well try to blow out the light of the sun. Allah’s light is far more powerful even than that.

Quran is a light

O humankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light.” (Quran 4:174)

Allah has manifested His light in the revelation of the Quran. It is an eternal book, protected by Allah, unchanged, shedding light like a lamp that never runs dry. It illuminates the souls of those who read it and practice it, and so light spreads in the world, purifying it.

That’s why the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The best amongst you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” [Al-Bukhaari] Because the Quran is the source of guidance and a light, and by spreading it we ensure the victory of Islam over oppression, we perpetuate Truth in the world, and we offer guidance to the lost.

The Quran is also a source of internal peace. Recitation and contemplation of the Quran soothes the heart and carries away the stresses of life, and it brings one closer to Allah. That’s why the Prophet (pbuh) said, “No people assemble in one of the houses of Allah, and recite and study the Book of Allah, except that tranquility prevails over them, mercy encompasses them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him.” [Muslim]

Wow. SubhanAllah.

So it’s not surprising when you hear stories from people who were non-Muslims; became curious about Islam due to the constant fear-mongering in the media; decided to pick up a Quran and check it out for themselves; and found themselves moved, and their hearts touched, so that they accepted Islam. It’s a very common story.

Trust in Allah

I started out by answering the question, “How does Islam continue to grow in the West in spite of all the negative press and lies?” Now I want to add a final message for my Muslim readers: Don’t despair when you see the forces of falsehood arrayed in all their power against Islam. When you read about Muslims being oppressed in Palestine, Chechnya, East Turkestan (a Muslim province of China) and so many other places, you should feel pain and sympathy for your brothers and sisters, but don’t let your heart be filled with rage or hatred.

Don’t despair! Hatred and despair are the opposites of faith; they lead to corruption and are the fuel that drives evils like terrorism, where people cast aside the principles of their religion, and allow themselves to be seduced into blind violence, justifying it to themselves because they are so angry.

Trust that Allah will perfect His light. Do your part to serve the cause of Islam (that is key!), and then trust that Allah will manifest the Truth over all, no matter who stands against it. Trust also that Allah will guide you, and bring you into the light, and reward you in this life and the next.

In these next two verses there is a double message, one for the People of the Book (the Christians and the Jews), calling them to the light that Allah has revealed; and one to the believers, calling on them to “pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace…”, in other words to seek Allah’s pleasure through compassionate and righteous action on the paths of peace.

“O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book; By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (Quran 5:15-16)

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including and, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project,, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , , , Read 266 articles by
2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. yusuf says:

    Salaamun alaykum wr,

    What do u think about the rise of shia Islam which also coincide with rise of shiaphobia?

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