The new Muslim convert has definitely
entered into a wonderful new phase in his life. By adhering to Islam, he will
be able to receive the blessings of this life and the Hereafter.
In reality, though, for many converts,
there are numerous distractions to deal with. In fact, there may be many forces
trying to drag the convert back into his previous way of life. A convert’s own
family and friends may be dissatisfied with the life choice that he has made.
The convert feels that he has found the path of truth and right guidance and
yet, even though he realizes that, those pulling him in different directions
may be very influential upon him. Indeed, he may have many difficult and
emotionally wrenching choices ahead of him.
In the face of all of these distractions,
the individual must keep in mind his ultimate goal of converting to Islam: the
pleasure of his Lord and Creator. He must remind himself that although there
may be fleeting pleasures in this world, in reality, there can be nothing more
satisfying to the soul than worshipping God. He has to raise himself above
lowly desires and accept the true nobility that accompanies being a true
servant of God. This ultimate goal can be refreshed through attending to the
prayers, reading the Quran and increasing one’s knowledge of Islam.
This leads to another important issue. The
Muslim convert should not think that he will be able to fight off numerous
temptations all on his own. He is still new to the faith and his level of
understanding and attachment probably still needs a great deal of support.
Hence, he should cling to the Muslim community and the local mosque. These
should be his sources of refuge during times of toil and difficulties. It is
with the other Muslims that he will be able to strengthen his faith, learn more
about Islam and see how Islam is truly to be applied.
The Muslim convert, however, should not
expect perfection from the Muslim community or local mosque. There is no official “church” in Islam and many of the
mosques, especially in the West, are run by volunteers who have plenty of other
preoccupations. It would be wonderful if the mosque would appoint a learned
Muslim to look after each individual convert but, unfortunately, such is often
not feasible. In general, though, every Muslim community is happy to add a new
member to its fold, whether a convert or a Muslim new to the area, and does
want to help. Allah willing, with patience, the convert will be able to find
good Muslim friends who will help him along the path.
The Muslim convert should not even expect
excellent Islamic behavior from all Muslims. There are pious Muslims; they are
less than pious Muslims; there are knowledgeable Muslims; they are ignorant Muslims. Thus, every Muslim,
the convert included, has to deal with a whole range of Muslims. For example,
sometimes a new Muslim is very exuberant about his new Islam and he wants to
express his feeling of brotherhood with the other Muslims. He enters the
mosque, giving the greetings of peace to the others in the mosque. Some Muslims
are simply not used to that behavior and they look at the convert as if he is
very strange, without giving any reply to his greetings, even though it is
obligatory for at least one of them to reply to his greetings. One can just
imagine how deflating that could be where one enters with such enthusiasm and
joy and has his exuberance deflated by his new brothers and sisters in Islam.
There was no evil intent on the part of the Muslims but the result can still be
In sum, many Muslims that the convert meets
may fall very short of a convert’s expectations. At the same time, the convert
must realize that he has his own shortcomings that harm his interaction with
the other Muslims. He himself probably still has a long way to go. He may still
have many diseases in his heart left over from his pre-Islamic days. A new
Muslim may also unwittingly do things very offensive toward Muslims. For
example, the convert may still speak in lewd ways about the opposite sex or
joke in manners considered inappropriate by Muslims. Thus, for both the convert
and the other Muslims there may be some uncomfortable moments.
perseverance are definitely required. The convert should remind himself that he
is a new Muslim and that there may be many aspects of the faith that he yet
understands or applies properly. He must remind himself that other Muslims are
simply human as well and all humans will have some shortcomings. First and
foremost, though, he should remind himself of his ultimate goal: pleasing his
Lord. The minor problems and issues that one encounters in this world should
never deter the individual when he realizes that enduring such things are
definitely well worth it in the end.
Every Muslim should expect to face some
trials and difficulties in this world. The goal that one is seeking—the
pleasure of Allah and His infinite reward of Paradise in the Hereafter—is very
dear and precious. One should not
expect it nor demand it of his Creator without some effort, patience and sacrifice
on his own part. Thus,
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, [although Allah knows all that before putting them to test]”
“Do you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near”
Every Muslim, including the convert, should
prepare himself mentally and emotionally to be able to undergo any type of
trial for the sake of Allah. A Muslim should use all of the means at his
disposal to improve and strengthen himself. This would include, as noted above,
finding one’s local mosque and clinging to the best people who are living their
lives according to the Quran and Sunnah.
Finally, every Muslim should continually
turn to Allah and ask Allah for guidance and to be confirmed upon the Straight
Path. A Muslim is required to recite soorah al-Faatihah at least
seventeen times a day in his prayers. In this soorah, one prays to
Allah, “Guide us to the Straight Path.” This
supplication includes both being shown the Straight Path as well as being
helped to remain along that Straight Path. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him) taught the Muslim Nation a very important
supplication. The Companion Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him) would make the following supplication often, “O [Allah,] the One who Turns the Hearts, confirm my
heart upon Your religion.”
- In the same way that every individual has shortcomings, he should not be surprised that others also have shortcomings. If someone is very willing to overlook his own shortcomings, he should also be flexible, to some extent, with others’ shortcomings.
- The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily, Allah’s merchandise is dear and precious. Truly, Allah’s merchandise is Paradise.” Recorded by al-Tirmidhi. According to al-Albaani, it is a good hadith. See al-Albaani, Saheeh al-Jaami al-Sagheer # 6222.