You know that thing when two people have some sort of emotional connection?
I think the best way to affect someone is by forming a relationship with them. In the process you learn so much about yourself too. The Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings be upon him) once said, "'The best among you are those who have the best manners and character." Growing up I never really understood this. I was always taught at Sunday Schools (which I hated going to) that Islam is all about the five pillars. That's it. Wonderful...now I can list them off the top of my head: declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca. Seriously people I think that's the worst way to tell a person about Islam.
So why is it that so many people were turning to Islam during the Prophet's time? People were drawn to him, not necessarily through his teaching of Islam, but by his beautiful character. I read books about him and different stories and it amazes me how much he actually cared for people. There's this one story where the Prophet was on his way to run some important errands. On the path he came across a little boy who was sobbing and grieving over the death of his bird. So the Prophet stopped to console the child and tried to make him smile. He didn't leave the boy until he was smiling again! In this day and age I feel like many of us (included me for sure) are so self-absorbed. We're always busy, always have a million errands to run, and always on the go. When was the last time we stopped, took a deep breath, and thought about someone else?
Relationships with others, how we treat each other, whether we think about each other in each others absence... those are the important things. God is all Merciful and as such we should spread mercy throughout the world. Imagine what a difference it makes when you smile at random people on the street? Its truly contagious. Once I was in an elevator and this lady looked at me and said with a huge smile, "You have a great day!" and left. It was simple but it totally made my day.
So lets go back and start reconnecting with people...our family, our friends, our neighbors, even that random kid you walk past everyday on your way to school/work.