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The new Muslim convert has definitelyentered into a wonderful new phase in his life. By adhering to Islam, he willbe 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 forcestrying to drag the convert back into his previous way of life. A convert’s ownfamily 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 andyet, even though he realizes that, those pulling him in different directionsmay be very influential upon him. Indeed, he may have many difficult andemotionally 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: thepleasure of his Lord and Creator. He must remind himself that although theremay be fleeting pleasures in this world, in reality, there can be nothing moresatisfying to the soul than worshipping God. He has to raise himself abovelowly desires and accept the true nobility that accompanies being a trueservant of God. This ultimate goal can be refreshed through attending to theprayers, reading the Quran and increasing one’s knowledge of Islam.
This leads to another important issue. TheMuslim convert should not think that he will be able to fight off numeroustemptations all on his own. He is still new to the faith and his level ofunderstanding and attachment probably still needs a great deal of support.Hence, he should cling to the Muslim community and the local mosque. Theseshould be his sources of refuge during times of toil and difficulties. It iswith the other Muslims that he will be able to strengthen his faith, learn moreabout Islam and see how Islam is truly to be applied.
The Muslim convert, however, should notexpect perfection from the Muslim community or local mosque. There is no official “church” in Islam and many of themosques, especially in the West, are run by volunteers who have plenty of otherpreoccupations. It would be wonderful if the mosque would appoint a learnedMuslim to look after each individual convert but, unfortunately, such is oftennot feasible. In general, though, every Muslim community is happy to add a newmember to its fold, whether a convert or a Muslim new to the area, and doeswant to help. Allah willing, with patience, the convert will be able to findgood Muslim friends who will help him along the path.
The Muslim convert should not even expectexcellent Islamic behavior from all Muslims. There are pious Muslims; they areless 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 toexpress his feeling of brotherhood with the other Muslims. He enters themosque, giving the greetings of peace to the others in the mosque. Some Muslimsare simply not used to that behavior and they look at the convert as if he isvery strange, without giving any reply to his greetings, even though it isobligatory for at least one of them to reply to his greetings. One can justimagine how deflating that could be where one enters with such enthusiasm andjoy 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 bevery disheartening.
In sum, many Muslims that the convert meetsmay fall very short of a convert’s expectations. At the same time, the convertmust realize that he has his own shortcomings that harm his interaction withthe other Muslims. He himself probably still has a long way to go. He may stillhave many diseases in his heart left over from his pre-Islamic days. A newMuslim may also unwittingly do things very offensive toward Muslims. Forexample, the convert may still speak in lewd ways about the opposite sex orjoke in manners considered inappropriate by Muslims. Thus, for both the convertand the other Muslims there may be some uncomfortable moments.
Patience andperseverance are definitely required. The convert should remind himself that heis a new Muslim and that there may be many aspects of the faith that he yetunderstands or applies properly. He must remind himself that other Muslims aresimply human as well and all humans will have some shortcomings. First andforemost, though, he should remind himself of his ultimate goal: pleasing hisLord. The minor problems and issues that one encounters in this world shouldnever deter the individual when he realizes that enduring such things aredefinitely well worth it in the end.
Every Muslim should expect to face sometrials and difficulties in this world. The goal that one is seeking—thepleasure of Allah and His infinite reward of Paradise in the Hereafter—is verydear and precious. One should notexpect it nor demand it of his Creator without some effort, patience and sacrificeon 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]”
Allah also says,
“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, shouldprepare himself mentally and emotionally to be able to undergo any type oftrial for the sake of Allah. A Muslim should use all of the means at hisdisposal 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 theirlives according to the Quran and Sunnah.
Finally, every Muslim should continuallyturn to Allah and ask Allah for guidance and to be confirmed upon the StraightPath. A Muslim is required to recite soorah al-Faatihah at leastseventeen times a day in his prayers. In this soorah, one prays toAllah, “Guide us to the Straight Path.” Thissupplication includes both being shown the Straight Path as well as beinghelped to remain along that Straight Path. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace andblessings of Allah be upon him) taught the Muslim Nation a very importantsupplication. The Companion Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessingsof Allah be upon him) would make the following supplication often, “O [Allah,] the One who Turns the Hearts, confirm myheart 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.