Advice For New Muslims by Mona
Given that I have been having major problems with my parents regarding my reversion, the following advice is particularly suitable for other new Muslims having problems with their non-Muslim family members:
(1) It is very helpful and comforting to have a few Muslim friends nearby in whom you can confide, ask questions of, and spend time with during the formative and often tumultuous initial period as a new Muslim. Born Muslims are generally honored and pleased to help you improve your faith by showing you the details that help you become a better Muslim.
(2) Before you decide to announce your reversion to loved ones who are non-Muslim, make sure you are ready for their response, whether it is pleasant or horrible. Being ready means many things: understanding the basics of practicing your faith, understanding the reasons behind actions demanded of you by Islam, and being able to reconcile unfortunate world events that are attributed to Muslims with your own understanding of Islam and its inherent goodness, logic, and beauty.
(3) As hypocritical as it may be, many open-minded people cease to be open-minded when difficult issues such as religious conversion “hit home.” People who are ordinarily rational, educated, and worldly unfortunately can swing 180 degrees when a person they love converts to a religion they do not appreciate or understand. It may be in your best interest, and in theirs, to not discuss your reversion to Islam until a year or two has passed and you feel comfortable in your faith. At that point, it would be obvious to them that Islam has not made you a worse or lesser person, and has in fact (hopefully!) noticeably improved you!
(4) Most importantly, remember that the best teaching is by example. If you want to help others overcome the stereotypes bound to Islam and lessen discrimination against muslims, be a model muslim! Remember to be tolerant, patient, giving, helpful, and peaceful with those around you, be they muslim or not. Be open to questions regarding your new faith, but do not feel compelled to answer questions to which you do not (yet) know the answers. Get involved in your ummah, mind your prayer, and with time, everything will become easier for you.
Written by Mona August 5, 1998
Please drop Mona a line. Her e-mail address is: [email protected]
Advice to new Muslimas by Judi Muhammad, MA, LLP, PhD Candidate;
Vice President/ Clinical Director Islamic
Health & Human Services, Detroit, MI
AsSalaamuAlaykum (Peace be upon you)
It feels like I have been Muslim all of my life. In actuality, I probably was – underneath. But, for most of my life (50 years) I was Christian. I was raised Catholic and converted to a fundamental Christian religion, The Salvation Army, in my 30s and remained there until Allah (SWT) rescued me at age 50. AlHamdullillah!!
For many years I taught psychology and philosophy in college. In that teaching, and in my own education, I came to believe many concepts and philosophies things that did not fit with my religion. But, I accepted that there would be differences and that was OK. One of the things I knew was that while the Christian religion taught that I was (1) born in the image of God (on one hand) and (2) born in sin (on the other) – both were not possible. The first thing I heard about Islam was that we are born good.
In succeeding years, fitrah has become a favorite topic of my reading. All of my reading has proven that what I always believed in my heart was true – that man is born good and his propensity is to live within the Will of Allah.
I spent the first 8 months in Islam single – and when I did marry I was truly blessed with a good Muslim husband. I learned more in the first 1 month of my marriage to him than I had in the 8 months I tried to learn on my own. Always, however, my husband told me that, “Islam is a process. You are responsible for what you learn as you learn it. Worry about the ‘big’ things – not the little things.”
Some of the most important things I have learned are:
That I was always Muslim in my heart – that not all practice Islam the same but anyone who calls themselves “Muslim” is treated by me as Muslim – that Sisters make WONDERFUL friends ( too bad I waited so late in my life to learn that) – that being obedient to my husband has more benefits than I could have ever imagined – that women are more respected in Islam than anyone who is not a Muslimah would possibly imagine – and that the “Peace that passeth all understanding” is not a Christian reward – it is an Islamic reality.
The most important advice I can give a new Muslimah is: Allow Allah to chose your husband – make Istikharah and trust that you will learn the truth from it Do not worry about changing those around you – worry about changing yourself , into the best Muslim you can be – Allah will take care of the rest Search for legitimate Scholars – not everyone knows enough to teach you the truth When you marry, trust your husband and look to him to teach you Islam – it is his job Enjoy obedience to your husband – it will bring rewards in heaven but also on earth!!
Become friends with Sisters who are like you want to become.
May Allah bless you and make your Islamic journey as peaceful as mine.
Written by Judi Muhammad August 3, 1998
Please drop Judi a line. Her e-mail address is: [email protected]
FROM JIM (NASIR) who Embraced Islam Sat, 11 Apr 1998 at the ripe young age of 68
As advice to a new Muslim I first greet you and congratulate you on your choice and good taste. If you are like I was the road will be a little to quite rocky at first but you must remember Allah is probably testing you to see if you are truly worthy. After a while things will smooth out. You will laugh. cry, get upset and be the happiest person in the world. In time you will have doubt that you chose was the best way to live. Nobody will tell you this, you will know deep down inside.
When I started out I almost gave up many times. I was introduced to a converts/reverts group. The leader asked me if I was a convert yet. I was so fed up I almost told what to do with his group. I thought here comes a third degree. Man did I eat crow. Then again it reminded me of the years back when I went to live in Australia. When you went to get anything. It had a different name over there and if it was not on the ladies counter she did not want to know about it. After I learned my way around things settled down for me. All I can advise you is patience and perseverance. Try to find a good Muslim friend who can guide you around, but best of all be guided by your inner self. I could tell you stories of my problems but then you have enough that you can probably tell me. Why don’t you? As I look back I am reminding myself how much of Don Quixote there is in me. Also his epitaph on his tombstone which goes something like this.
Here lies a brave and fearless knight Who had the courage in his day to live a fool and die a sage.
I am not a sage yet but I am working on it.
Nasir (Jim) Written July 20th 1998
Please drop Jim a line. His e-mail address is: email address is: [email protected]
Advice from Khadeejah (Jacklynn)
Assalamo aleikum (Peace be upon you)
This is the greeting and salutation that Muslims give to each other. It is also the true blessing of Islam. The peace that comes from choosing the right path in life is incomparable! No one can tell you if you have found the right path – you will know it for yourself when you discover the inner calmness of your soul, the joy that even the difficulties cannot extinguish, and the sureness of feeling that you are home… That you have found a WAY OF LIFE – not just a religion! Al hamdolellah! (Thanks to God!)
Islam is not something that you just gulp down in one swallow. It is a lifetime of daily meals to be enjoyed, savored, tasted, and digested. If you eat too fast and try to take it all in one huge bite, you will get indigestion and probably it will come right back up again and make you sick so you don’t want to try another taste. If you eat too slowly and in tiny portions, you will always feel hungry and never be satisfied and if someone comes along offering you sweets and junk food (el shaitan does this) you will perhaps be tempted by that, so you won’t feel like eating any more of the good meal. But if you have a well-balanced meal (studying the Holy Writings, association with fellow believers, putting into practice what you learn) you will feel satisfied and healthy and in peak condition of life.
And think about it… if someone who loved you made a meal especially for you, wouldn’t that make you feel surrounded by their love? Wouldn’t you be anxious to tell everyone you know how well you were treated and how much you enjoyed the food? They would probably envy you and wish that they could also have a meal such as this. Allah loves us and has prepared spiritual food especially for us, his creation, in order for us to be healthy and happy and to know that we are loved. That food of course consists of all the Holy Writings available to us. When the opportunity arises, we can let others know how good our food is and how much our Creator loves us, so that they might see our healthy souls and want what we have. This is human nature… wanting what we don’t have.
So take things moderately, one bite at a time. Some foods take getting accustomed to, just like when we were kids and were told to eat our vegetables… as we grew up, we knew they were good for us, so we ate them as part of our meal even if they were not our favourite food. So, when you come across a “vegetable” in Islam that you find hard to swallow, just take a small nibble and leave it at the side of your plate until the next meal, or the one after that. Eventually you will grow up enough to realize that ALL “foods” in the spiritual meal are good for you and need to be partaken of if we want to stay healthy. As an example, imagine hijab as one of these “vegetables” that we might either love from the start or as something that we will only partake of after growing up and realizing that it is good for our spritual health.
May Allah grant us all the wisdom and good spritual health we need to stay on the straight path. Ameen.
Khadeejah (Jacklynn) Written July 21 1998
Please drop Khadeejah a line. Her e-mail address is: email address is: [email protected]