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somebody else
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Quote somebody else Replybullet Topic: Looking for some guidance
    Posted: 26 August 2010 at 7:41am
Assalam alaykum,

I've lurked around for a little while, and I finally decided to register today and make a post. I know this is kind of a big thing for a first post, and I'm sorry. I just really need some help and I don't feel like I have anyone to turn to.

I have been Muslim for almost 5 years now, so I don't know if I still count as a "new" Muslim or not. I guess it's all relative. In any event, I still feel like a new Muslim. No, it's worse than that: I feel like I haven't made any progress, and actually I've regressed. I don't do all my prayers on time, and I've missed far too many. I've done many bad things since become Muslim that I just can't forgive myself for, even though I try hard not to despair of Allah's mercy. In the past I have made so many of the same mistakes over and over again. I am at the point where I think I'm past that, but honestly I'm afraid I'm not. I want to repent, but how can I trust that I'm sincere in my repentance when I've tried to change but failed so many times before?

I've met other women who have converted to Islam, and to be quite honest, I'm jealous of them. They make it seem so easy. If they're struggling, they don't show it. They put on hijab right away and don't have any problems, whereas I am still not even convinced it's the right thing to do. I think about it sometimes, but I'm afraid if I wear hijab it will be just because I want to convince myself I'm a better Muslim than I am and not because I believe in it. I feel like a hypocrite.

I think some of my problem comes from the fact that I've found it so hard to try to integrate myself into the Muslim community. I live in a big metropolitan area, and there's no shortage of other Muslims around. But I feel so out of place and… inadequate. Not to mention that I suffer from what has been in the past crippling social anxiety (at one point several years ago I remember I went days without eating because I was literally too afraid to leave my home), though alhamdulillah I have done a lot of work on that and it's a lot better now.

You might find it hard to believe after all that, but my faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Qur'an and everything is strong, and it doesn't waver. When I am praying and I say the shahada, I feel so strong in my faith. But there is just such a gap between my faith, which I think is strong, and my expression of it, which is severely lacking.

It is Ramadan again, and I am really trying to make this the starting point for a "new me", so to speak. I want to change, I am desperate to change, I don't want to be like this. But I am really struggling. Other people say they feel peaceful and happy during Ramadan, but honestly I just feel more lonely.

Jazakallah khair if you've managed to read all this. Thanks in advance for any advice you have to give.
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Hayfa
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Quote Hayfa Replybullet Posted: 27 August 2010 at 12:55am
Walaikum Salaam,

First welcome to IC Forum.

Second you are not alone! I would say I "fall on my face" often... And sometimes it is painful to have to pick myself up again and again.

This is what it is about.. struggle. We all struggle. And yes there are the sisters who look "so peaceful" but one you don't know them internally and two, comparing yourself to others won't help much.. Hard to do I know.

And sister... you HAVE come so far. As you said you had social anxiety you have, subhanallah, you have dealt with in a positive manner. 

And as people we are ALL different. You are unique. You have your strengths and weaknesses. We all do. Work on your weaknesses and just keep going.

I am not a "ritual" person and have struggled with these aspects. Other people struggle in other areas. Pray to Allah for help. And you care... there are sadly, thousands of Muslims who have lost Allah and Islam. They don't care.

Ramdan: I have felt WAY lonelier in Ramadan than in other times. It is such a "community" time and if you aren't connected it just can feel terrible.  for me, sometimes I just need to acknowledge to myself "I feel terrible" It is what it is. Especially as you sound like me, you REALLY want to improve and you want it better. At some point you need to love yourself and not beat yourself up. Allah knows your heart, your intentions, and your struggles. We all need rest dear sister.

And find balance for yourself. Extremes within ourselves is not healthy. For instance for me, I focus on fasting and my 5 prayers. I don't worry about all the extra prayers or reading a translation of the Quran. I can only do where I am at.

And a friend said you are a "new Muslim until you are 20 years in...lol... I study karate.. and we are like yellow belts, we are not black belts. Some get to black belt in a few years others take 3 times as long.. We are in elementary school dear sister... its okay.

I truly, truly do believe in Allah's mercy.


When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 27 August 2010 at 7:24am
Wa'alaikum salaam Dear Sister!

I really don't have much to add after Hayfa's post... but I just thought I'd chip in and voice my support - because like Hayfa said so correctly, Sister you are not alone!!!

I think our Imaan (faith) is just like the economy, it keeps fluctuating! lol :p. It is not humanly possible to maintain a stable state of Imaan all our life, it keeps going up & down.... the hardest part I personally find is to maintain Imaan and keep practicing... its very easy to fall back into old habits.

You shouldn't be too hard on yourself, you are a new Muslim - and its no easy life change. We have to make a lot of sacrifices. Reverts like you are not the only new Muslims, some of us "birth" Muslims feel like "new" Muslims too, once we try to revert back to practicing Islam and touch base with Allah. If it can feel overwhelming to birth Muslims - you are still new to this!

I heard a lecture sometime back, and the scholar said that some of us get too zealous when we undergo an Islamic transformation (old & new alike) - we try to be perfect like the sahabah and implement 100 things in our life at once... while that is to be encouraged and is not a bad thing at all ... it is impractical .... in the beginning when everything seems new & interesting, it seems easy - plus our imaan is all fresh & warm. But once we pass that initial zealous phase - we sometimes undergo a "burn out"... and slowly start losing grasp until we fall back into old habits...

Sis I have also gone through similar battles, of trying to implement maintain & retain that Imaan. Not Imaan/Faith per se - but the implementation part of it... and it can be a struggle at times. So I can totally relate too. Everyone has a personal and different Jihad throughout their lives, for some of us - it is simple things like Salaat, reading Qur'an... for others it may be Hijab, or dealing with Boy/girl issues, some have bigger problems like alcohol or addiction etc. . . . all of us have to struggle with something. Nobody is a perfect Muslim. Life as a Muslim is all about struggling to get to the next best level in Islam! It never ends!

So... what you're going through is only human. The GOOD NEWS is that your Nafs (conscience) won't allow you to fall back into the old routine, and that is motivating you to do something. Alhamdulilah! This guilt trip is a blessing from Allah, because He is bringing you closer to Him. There is a hadith Sis, that we only need to walk towards Allah - and He comes running to us. So we just need to make a teeny bit of effort, and inshAllah He shall do the rest!

Btw, whenever I go through that phase, reading Qur'an with translation always helps. Alhamdulilah. Don't set an ominous target of a chapter etc, just randomly open the Qur'an and pretend Allah is talking to You. (Which He is). Read even 2 verses if you can.... most of the time you'll feel it's relevance to your current situation. Also, listening to good lectures helps... especially helpful to lazy/procrastinating Muslims like me...

It suddenly struck me that I started off by saying I don't have much to add!!! lol, so I better stop typing now. (Big hugs)
 




Edited by Chrysalis - 27 August 2010 at 7:26am
"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 27 August 2010 at 7:47am
I have two suggestions Somebody Else.  Join an Islamic class given at the masjid and volunteer at an Islamic school or Islamic center.
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samirfaithful
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Quote samirfaithful Replybullet Posted: 28 August 2010 at 11:55pm
essala aleykoum sister somebody elsSmile
 
be sure u are not alone and u follow the truth way of unic god allah, and be sure to that allah will not let u alone he will protect u inshaallah so be optimist ur around sisters and brothers in god.
 
 
 
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Quote somebody else Replybullet Posted: 06 September 2010 at 4:59am
Thank you everyone for your responses. It has taken me so long to reply here because I have been looking for the words to express how I feel and I just haven't found them. Honestly I cried when I read your responses, it made me so emotional. I can't tell you how much it helps me to know that other people struggle with the same things I do. I think I have a tendency to overreact to all of the small problems I face in life, I think that the main thing I need to work on is being patient and consistent. I wish I could explain how much your words have helped me, but all I can say is thank you so much. :)
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 06 September 2010 at 10:40pm
Originally posted by somebody else

I think that the main thing I need to work on is being patient and consistent. ...
 
I read your thread only today. Would like to make a longer post than the present one, but for now one thing -  Islam is a highroad - to stay on it is a tough job, so when you said your faith is strong - you are already on this highroad doing a tough job.
 
Believe it or not everyone falls, but one who reaches the destination is one who never gives up. When you fall, get up, brush off the dust and give it another try.
 
No matter howmany times you fail, if you never give up, you will succeed!
 
 
 
 


Edited by Nausheen - 06 September 2010 at 10:44pm
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 06 September 2010 at 11:13pm
Originally posted by somebody else

Assalam alaykum,
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah
Hope Ramadan was a blessing for you and your family. Eid is round the corner, so my post is terribly late on this thread, still want to share some thoughts with you, khair inshAllah.

Originally posted by somebody else

I have been Muslim for almost 5 years now, so I don't know if I still count as a "new" Muslim or not. I guess it's all relative. In any event, I still feel like a new Muslim. No, it's worse than that: I feel like I haven't made any progress, and actually I've regressed. I don't do all my prayers on time, and I've missed far too many. I've done many bad things since become Muslim that I just can't forgive myself for, even though I try hard not to despair of Allah's mercy. In the past I have made so many of the same mistakes over and over again. I am at the point where I think I'm past that, but honestly I'm afraid I'm not. I want to repent, but how can I trust that I'm sincere in my repentance when I've tried to change but failed so many times before?
 
You do not have to be sure of futiure events in order to repent. Just say astaghfirullah, and that is it.
If you make the same mistake again, then again say astaghfirullah.  You never know which time is the last time you have sinned - because it is easy for Him to prevent you from wrong actions - never dispair of His power, and never dispair of His mercy.
 
We are all incapable in many ways, and if we accept this Allah loves to see that the slave sees herself as a slave, and not someone with might and power, because might and power is the domain of Allah.
 
Allah has said in the Quran that He loves those who repent. The word in arabic is " tawwabeen" which is the intensive form of "yatub" It means He loves those who are constantly repentant.
So you see, Allah did not say He loves those who may-have-repented, rather He loves those who repent again and again and again ...
Now I m not suggesting that one should deliberately fall into sin and continue in the cycle of sin and repentance! However, staying in a continous mode of repentance is a good thing. It is said in a hadith that had there not been anyone who would make a mistake or repent, then Allah would creat a people who would fall in sin then turn to Him for forgiveness!!
He does not love the sinner, but He loves to forgive and He loves those who seek forgiveness.
 
It is the shaytan who tells us "you are not good at it, so forget keeping your commitment, and if you cannot keep your commitmnet, then what is the point repenting". Know that every act of repentance is a seperate act and every time you repent you have a reward for doing that - so never be weary of it.
Remember that prophet used to repent 70 times in a day - and he was free of all sins!! so do not let the shaytan tell you its no good repenting ...
no matter how many times you fall on your face, your repentance is a fresh turning to Allah - a new means for you to draw near to Him and a new opportunity to seek His forgiveness.
 
Imam Ghazali has said if you have made it your custom to sin, then make it your custom to repent! He meant if the frequency of your sinning is high, then make the frequency of your repentance high. 
 
As for your salah/prayers, just make a good estimate of how many you have missed, keep a log and strat making them up. I have a log of more than twice the number of years of missed salah than you have been muslim.  When I have the courage to catch up the total, then you definitely fair a better chance than myself! 
 
Find good muslim company and hold fast to them. If you cannot, then find one online.
http://www.SunniPath.com is a thriving global community imparting authentic islamic education online. If you have some money to spare, try taking a course or two this fall - am sure it will change you and you will love the newly found confidence in yourself !

 
Originally posted by someone else

You might find it hard to believe after all that, but my faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Qur'an and everything is strong, and it doesn't waver. When I am praying and I say the shahada, I feel so strong in my faith. But there is just such a gap between my faith, which I think is strong, and my expression of it, which is severely lacking.

 
In a hadith it is said that a strong muslim is better than a weak muslim, but there is good in both.
So never underestimate the value of your faith. Even when we are weak muslims, the faith in our hearts is a precious thing.
 
Our pious predecessors have said: No action is great that comes from a hauty heart, while no action is small that comes from a humble heart.
 
Allah loves the humble, He raises them in ranks those who humble themselves before Him. You have already shown so much humility in talking about your shorcommings to a public forum - now do not underestimate your rank before Allah. - Just work on yourself and seek Him for guidance ...
 
Allahumma inni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika:
O Allah grant me honor to make mention of you, to give thanks to you and to worship you well! ameen
 
 
 


Edited by Nausheen - 06 September 2010 at 11:29pm
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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