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Things I find hard since coming to Islam

Printed From: IslamiCity.com
Category: Culture & Community
Forum Name: Groups – New Muslims
Forum Discription: Groups – New Muslims
URL: http://www.IslamiCity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13784
Printed Date: 22 December 2014 at 1:29pm


Topic: Things I find hard since coming to Islam
Posted By: mariacanadiana
Subject: Things I find hard since coming to Islam
Date Posted: 23 December 2008 at 4:39am
Asalamalaikum!
 
Islam is a wonderful religion, it is everything I wanted in a relationship with my creator, but sometimes things are hard, and sometimes you miss things the way they were and thats when you need encouragement.
 
Here is my list of things I miss.  Please feel free to post your list, and everyone please provide encouragement and dua for those of us who are still transitioning or having our down days.
 
Things I miss:
 
 
- Christmas shopping with my family (they are not muslim so they won't go Eid shopping or celebrate that with meCry maybe next year inshaAllah)
- Putting up the christmas lights and driving around to see all the lights
- Being a dancer, performing on stage
- Ballet class, the barre and my pointshoes
- Spending hours in the studio and in rehersal.
- Going to a salon, getting a new style, and getting complements on how it suits me well. We have no lady's only salons here so I can't even do this with my hubby
 
thats my list, please feel freee to post your own, and to encourage everyone who posts a list.
 
InshaAllah we will become stronger and these little things won't bother us.



Replies:
Posted By: Hunter
Date Posted: 23 December 2008 at 10:20pm
Hi Maria  Asalamalakium. I see you're a bit newer than me, so welcome. The things I find hard since discovering Islam really fall into one of two catagories (or perhaps they are the same): One, and for me the worst, is the relative isolation I feel in my beliefs. This is the reason I joined this website to begin with. Other than in here, I don't know a single Muslim-- never even met one. My wife is Christian, her family is Christian, my family is Christian; everyone I know is Christian, and I live out in the sticks of Vermont. I never was a praticing Christian myself, so I've never experienced religious fellowship before on any level. So although I've never had it, it's nevertheless something I miss (or miss out on). I don't believe religion was meant to be praticed alone. The second thing that's hard, is the general lack of understanding of Islam that I encounter in people I talk to (and live with). People feel very threatened by it without bothering to try to understand it. "It's evil, un-Christian, a religion for terrorists and fanatics." I've heard all these things and more. I myself thought many of these things until I read the Quran the first time. Inshallah, I'll meet other people with similar beliefs when I'm meant to. Overall, I feel as though I've gained much and lost little. No religion logically ever made sense to me until I found Islam. 

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"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"-- DrDre


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 24 December 2008 at 3:23am
Asalamalaikum Hunter!
 
I am sorry you feel so isolated. My brother is going through a simular problem. He just moved back home to small town Ontario ( and I mean small, the place consists of 1 road!) and is being harrassed about islam at home. We are shocked, very shocked because we were brought up to be tolerant. If you would like I can introduce you and you both might be able to encourage eachother and share experiences.
 
InshaAllah when  the snow clears you can take a roadtrip to a city where there is a masjid and pray salat with everyone. Keep making dua, you never know what could happen, maybe a muslim family will move in the neighbourhood or one of your relatives will come around and revert to islam.
 
I know it is hard being the only one, but you are getting so much blessings by being a living education for the people in your family and town. You will never know how your influence and just living as a good muslim may affect their hearts or minds in the long run. You are walking, breathing, living dawa. Be strong brother, and
I will make dua that Allah swt makes it easy on you.
 
wa alaikumsalam
 
Maria


Posted By: seekshidayath
Date Posted: 24 December 2008 at 3:39am
As Salamu Alaikum,
 
Hunter, i feel very happy reading your posts. Even this one. You know you have used the terms like "Asalamalaikum", "InshaAllah" --- All praises be to Allah ! You never met a muslim personally. but still only thru the studyings, you have gaining knowledge daily. May Allah swt soon bless you and your family & people around you into the folds of Islam. Ameen
 
And sis Maria, you are one of the active members here. We knew you more thru your journey into Islam. Before answering your post, can you kindly list me out the reasons, as why in Islam, you are stopped from those activities, which you are missing. And yes, also let us know, if your wear Hijab / scarf --- .
 
 
 


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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent."


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 24 December 2008 at 3:52am
Asalamalaikum  seekshidayath
 
Yes I wear hijab now, just started wearing it this past July. I stopped these activities because from what I have read, I can't do them while being a good practicing muslim. Dancing is not looked well upon, especially dancing on a stage for all to see. I use to perform ballet, classical indian dancing(baranatyum) and bollywood pieces. I can't attend ballet class as it is not a womans only environmentm and the clothing requirements are tight (so teacher can correct form and see what your doing, but its still tight) and the studio I was going to, when I started wearing the headscarf, stopped calling me and telling me when class is, and the teacher started being cruel.
 
I had always wanted to be a dancer, but like it says in the Quran, you may like a thing that is bad for you and dislike a thing that is good for you.  So maybe its better for me not to be dancing, but I still miss it.
 
As for the family shopping, those are family issues that InshaAllah will resolve someday.
As for the christmas lights, it makes me reminds me of celebrating christmas as a child so really I should be avoiding doing that because it will probably just make the whole season harder.
 
maria


Posted By: Hunter
Date Posted: 25 December 2008 at 10:32pm
As Salaamulaikum  Maria, thank you so much for your encouraging words. It really isn't all so bad for me, and this forum has helped a lot. Does your brother have a computer? Encourage him to join this forum; I'd love to meet him and talk with him. Seekshidayath-- You've been watching me and encouraging me from the very beginning. I also appreciate you very much and it's always an honor and a pleasure to hear from you. It's also nice to hear I'm making progress. The person making the progress is often the last to perceive it-- Respectfully, Hunter

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"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"-- DrDre


Posted By: Andromeda
Date Posted: 26 December 2008 at 12:07pm
Hi Maria,
 
I just found this website this evening, and found that i coould relate to your post.
 
I have not yet converted, am i still doing a lot of reading however will be converting this year.
 
I live my life now as a Muslim, however i find the idea of not having another Christmas quite hard, for 26 years i have celebrated Christmas with my family, though it has never been a religious thing for my family, its more santa is coming down the chimney. My family is really upset that i will no longer be spending it with them as am i.
 
I am too, well was a dancer, but also gave this up for the same reasons you did, which i miss so much.
 
I feel silly for missing such silly things when i know i have a very happy future ahead of me.
 
Can i ask how you found learning arabic for the daily prayers? As this is something i am really struggling with.
 
I have also been told am i not allowed to have framed photos on my wall....do you know why this is?
 
Sorry to go on abit, think i need to talk to someone who is doing the same as me Smile and you seem to think/feel the same as me!
 
 


Posted By: seekshidayath
Date Posted: 26 December 2008 at 6:08pm

Wa'laikum Salam wa Rahmatullah,

That was a perfect post sister Maria. You showed us thru your practice that a muslim entails willful submission. You submitted your will to God's way. SubhanAllah ! May Allah swt help you to be steadfast in deen likethis always. InshaAllah, you shall be rewarded for the difficulties you face while practicing Islam. If you happen to experience any such incidents like that teacher's attitude, immediately go thru the life of companions of Prophet, when Islam was new. By reading there lives, we feel so light-hearted and encouraged, that take these happenings of our life easily. You must be knowing how tough it was for those great people to practice Islam. They were brutually tortured. Anyways, may Allah swt bestow us such strong faith, as you possess.
 
Thankyou for your kind words hunter. If at all i were of any help, that was from Allah, infact i shud be grateful to Allah that He used me in His way. It was your sincerity in knowing the truth, that you are been blessed and Allah swt, opened doors for you. You said, you have been reading Qur'an. Why don't you post an ayah {verse} of the Qur'an which reflects you at this section - Quran and Sunnah.
 
 
  http://www.islamicity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=10356 - http://www.islamicity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=10356  
 
You can post them at page 7.
 


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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent."


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 26 December 2008 at 7:07pm
 
Asalamalaikm seekshidayath,
 
Thank you, but I think you give me too much credit.  I know they were very strong in the prophets day, and did so without much complaint. I cannot honestly say I am anywhere near that level.
 
Although I am doing the good thing, I still am pouting about it (obviously) and not to happy with not being able to dance. however Allah swt has his ways and I think I might be coming to a rewad for being generally good about it. Shortly after making this post my mind became busy with the thought of advertising to the muslim community to perform at the women pre-wedding parties, as well I just came into contact with an aunt I havnt seen in 10 years and her girls want to learn ballet but they can't afford any extra cirricular activities so I'm going totry to make time to teach them and get them active and health y and reconnect with my family.
 
I was so depressed not being able to dance, I didn't understand why I was talented and longed for something I can't have. Maybe these are the ways I can have it. Allah swt knows best, and plans these things before we can understand them.
 
 


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 27 December 2008 at 10:44am
Asalamalaikum Andromeda!
 
You don't have to give up Christmas completely, My new husband and I went to christmas dinner with my family.  You can celebrate it as a cultural family get together tradition, just don't go to midnight mass. You can still wish them merry christmas and give them gifts. Just because we don't celebrate Christmas doesn't mean we have to pretend like christmas doesnt exist. Private message me your email and I will send you a khutbah my husband wrote regarding how muslims should behave towards christmas :)
 
I will be honest, it take me a long time to learn language, it took me months to learn fatiha and almost 2 years to learn the entire prayer. I started off with a cheat sheet off to the side of me so I could look at it while praying and prayed with people when I could so I could get the sounds down, and listened to quran online and online recitation with my cheet sheet and practiced practiced practice. With 5 times a day it will happen, dont stress over it :)
 
There was a hadith about not having pictures of people or animals ont he walls, I don't remember the exact one byt I know seekshidayath will know it. The reason being is it could ne considered a form of worrship by being in such a high and prominate place in your home (thats one argument I remember).You can have pictures of flowers and scenery. Do your research and decide for yourself, I know muslims who have framed pictures of family, just not on their walls.
 
Please feel free to pm me and we can perhaps exchange msn contacts. I know its hard going through it on your own. I'm here for you sis!
 
Maria


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 27 December 2008 at 11:32am
Peace to you Believer :)
 
It does not say to not dance in the quran, it says to act in modest behaviour, dress modestly, and my conslusion to that means that certain dancing is therefore not modest for me. WIth some of the bollywood pieces I have performed I can honestly say they were probably over sexualized, and it didn't exactly make me feel good performing those.
 
I have been considering modern dance, I am trying to find the happy balance within myself. I wouldn't say I was a great dancer, I was denied it as a child because we couldnt afford it so I had begun my ballet training as an adult, and in 2 years got my first chance at pointe. Sicne then I have done african, classical indian and bollywood.
 
I do love to dance, but I pulled away to make sure I was doing things right, the stage and performing can be an addiction - the adrenelene, I don't want to be addicted to anything.
 
Thank you for the modern dance suggestion, inshaAllah I will find the happy middle path regarding my dance desires.


Posted By: seekshidayath
Date Posted: 27 December 2008 at 11:23pm
As Salamu Alaikum
 
Welcome to the our boards of discussions Andromeda. We wish you to stay active with us and hope you are in touch with sis Maria as well.
 
Hanging up pictures of animate beings inside houses or elsewhere deprives the people of that place of a great deal of good, which is the angels’ entering that house.
 
That hadith which is from the book of Imam Ahmad is like this :
 
Narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (RA} that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there are statues or images.”
 
If those pics are of dead, then it renews grief and serves no useful purpose; it may even lead to some kind of veneration which goes against Tawheed. Let us not forget that the shirk committed by the people of Nooh (peace be upon him) started because they set up pictures and images of some righteous people who had lived among them. If you wish to read more as how people of Noah AS, started shirk -    http://www.islamicity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13817 - here it is.
 
With regards to dancing, its not permissible since those dance movements may cause fitnah amongst other men and the audience who view it. Moreover, these bollywood numbers, {songs} do contain many words of shirk. Sister Maria, do you understand the language of those bollywood songs ? Such songs are not even heard by practicing muslims here.
 
Andromeda, as Sis Maria said, you can go for shoppings at christmas, stay in touch with your family as well. Infact Islam, teaches us to get closer to a family, after embracing Islam. So feel free and i pray you overcome these fears soon.
 
Alhamdullilah, sis Maria has extended her help, you can also contact sis Hayfa thru PM. She is also a revert and helps muslims here as how to offer salah, until you get those chapters learnt. Or i shall write to sis Hayfa. InshaAllah, she shall contact you.
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent."


Posted By: Andromeda
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 2:51am
As Salamu Alaikum
 
Thank you for informing me of the reasons as to why we are not allowed photos in the home, i understand the reasoning for this.
 
Maria has been of great help to me already. How do i get in touch with Hayfa? As the Salat is something i am struggling the most with. Any help would be very much appreciated.
 
Thank you


Posted By: Hayfa
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 3:26am

Salaams Maria, Andromeda and Hunter,

 

I can totally understand about dance, I would feel the same if I had to give up karate. It is a blessing that I do not. Our uniforms are a tad bit more covered..  But after 17 years, exercise is  a part of me. And it is not just any exercise, things like dance, karate etc. involve mental focus as well as physical exercise.  It helps me out so much mentally to do it and feel 100% better afterwards. I can go to the gym and it’s not quite the same. It may be similar for you with dance.  When I am not here I still do exercise as it is really good mentally and emotionally, not just physically.  Are you able to do any type of exercise?

 

It must be hard as it gives you so much enjoyment… can you find other activities to do that are physical?

 

Andromeda, I too find Christmas is hard. Actually not for religious reasons, for I stopped being an actually Christian a long time ago. But the shared communal activities. I still go to see some family at that time as it is really when one can as people have time off. So I tend to eat too much, same as usual… lol And yes, missing out on the gift-giving…. And when I go it is not the same, nor will it ever. Its not so much that I can’t “go back.” But knowing what I know, I cannot.  It is actually easier in a way in my family as my siblings are not religious. So no worries about going to Church.. lol Here is a scholar talking about it…

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1229951077750&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar - http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1229951077750&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar       

 

Learning about prayers.. well I have never been to good at them.. Its all Greek to me so to speak. I still am half English, half Arabic… for me, I want to remember what I am saying. Honestly if I don’t think about the words my mind drifts a lot more.  And take heart really, you know after age 12 or so, one cannot completely learn a new language as a native speaker. And unless you are fluent in many languages, and many Americans are not fluent in more than one, it is VERY hard to learn a new language. And its not like we are getting it from the ground up as you would in an Intro to Quaranic Arabic. Ww are memorizing a few words and sentences and yet nothing is tied to the greater language. So give yourself a break, take your time and go at your pace.. Smile Really, I am waiting for the "Idiots Guide to Quranic Arabic"... lol

 

Hunter, Wow you are really isolated. I think it is quite common for we “new” Muslims.  Unfortunately we cannot be transplanted in a Muslim area of the world. Of course nothing is perfect but the advantage of that is that we can find friends more easily. Not all Muslims share common values. I think the interent has been a blessing for us. I cannot imagine the isolation 15 years ago. At least we know we are not alone, especially as reverts. There are places to go to engage the mind at least.



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When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 9:15am
Asalamalaikum Seekshiayath,
 
No I do not know the language of those bollywood songs, I only knew the translation my friend at that time gave me. they were pretty innocent wedding songs. but that is besides the point, you cannot be mad at me for thing sI have done in the past or for what I didn't know at that time.
 
where specifically is "muslims here"?


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 9:22am
Asalamalaikum Hayfa,
 
Alhamdulillah I am trying my best. I work in a ladies fitness club so I am staying active, but I havn't found something to replace that feeling yet. I like martial arts but hitting and kicking people is something I cannot bring myself to do. But you are right, it is the dicipline I miss, the mental discipline, the conditioning of the body, the focus, and also the beauty and elegance. I keep praying to find something that is better for me that I will enjoy.
 
wow I didn't know that about after age 12. that make sme feel a lot better about how long it took me to learn salat. It took me 2 yyears befoe I could perform salat without my sheet with the words on it. I am just finally getting to the point of getting past distractions, you really hav to focus, the mind wanders so easily.


Posted By: Andromeda
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 9:42am
Asalamalaikum Hayfa and Maria,
 
Thank you for our guidance, and i will try and take it at my own pace. Its frustrating though as i want to be able to do it now, and not have to wait 2 years plus. Bit scary about the not been able to learn a language after 12! Oh oh! Thanks to Maria who has given me her cheat sheet :O) and a really helpful website.
 
Its hard not been surrounded by muslims, i have recently had to move away from my partner, and i have no muslim friends/relations here, and i didn' realise how difficult it would be. Plus my mum seems so against it, she has this stereotype view of Muslims, and am finding it hard to make her see that Islam is about peace, so am getting a lot of grief about it, which is making my conversion dificult and been away from my partner (who is muslim).


Posted By: Hayfa
Date Posted: 28 December 2008 at 6:38pm
wow I didn't know that about after age 12. that make sme feel a lot better about how long it took me to learn salat. It took me 2 yyears befoe I could perform salat without my sheet with the words on it. I am just finally getting to the point of getting past distractions, you really hav to focus, the mind wanders so easily.
 
Yes, after age 12 our ability to learn another language exactly like a native speaker is quite impossible. I learned about this in my class for becoming an English as a 2nd language teacher. So I keep plugging along to the best of my ability.
 
I can understand why you miss dance.. it is the discipline of the mind and body. They both go together. Karate is, at times about kicking and hitting, but our traditional aspect is art as well.. the kata or traditional movements have that. And therei s grace and focus too.  Plus to push yourself... get that mind-body release.
 
Again, I say we need more programs for Muslim women..Smile


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When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi


Posted By: mariacanadiana
Date Posted: 29 December 2008 at 9:58am
Originally posted by Hayfa

Again, I say we need more programs for Muslim women..Smile
 
I couldn't agree with you more!
 
 


Posted By: seekshidayath
Date Posted: 30 December 2008 at 2:14am
Originally posted by mariacanadiana

Asalamalaikum Seekshiayath,
 
No I do not know the language of those bollywood songs, I only knew the translation my friend at that time gave me. they were pretty innocent wedding songs. but that is besides the point, you cannot be mad at me for thing sI have done in the past or for what I didn't know at that time.
 
where specifically is "muslims here"?
 
As Salamu Alakum,
 
Am very sorry sister, if i hurted you, though i did not intend at it. I thought, you still hold your passion for it at such songs, which as far i know are n't innocent at all.
 
 
 


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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent."


Posted By: Juma
Date Posted: 12 January 2009 at 10:02pm
Assalamu alikom everyone!  I am also a recent revert and new to this board.....  and here are some things I miss or find difficult (in no particular order):

1.  Like Hunter, I am rather isolated from other muslims.  I live on an island off the coast of Georgia (USA), and the closest cities with mosques are both 1.5 hours away by car.  Although I have been a muslima for over four months, I have only been to masjid here once (and once in another state when visiting my parents).  So long story short, no muslim support group here!

2.  I miss going to movies!!  I wear hijab, and as we all know, this means more than simply covering your hair.  I really enjoyed romantic comedies and other films rated PG-13 or R, but now I do not go.  I must always remember not only what is appropriate for me to see, but also, what will others think of muslims and Islam if they see a woman in hijab going to that movie?

It is one thing for me to sin (or become more susceptible to sinning) by seeing something inappropriate, but another thing entirely to give Islam a bad name by being observed doing something (or in the case of movies, seeing something) inappropriate!  A woman in hijab in America is an ambassador for Islam whether she intends it or not, and must always be aware of this fact.

3.  There are a lot of things I miss about Christmas, and more specifically, the Christmas season.  I miss singing Christmas carols, I miss having a Christmas tree (the smell, and the soft glow of the room when lit only by lights from the tree), I miss decorating the tree with my children (remembering anew each ornament and its origin as we place them on the tree), I miss Christmas lights on the house, etc etc etc.  (One upside is the relief I feel at not having to do all that work to put lights on the house, put up the tree, bake all those cookies and pies, etc etc!)

4.  I miss the friends who unceremoniously dumped me when they learned I had reverted to Islam.  They won't return my emails.  Cry  (Perhaps reversion is the acid test of friendship?  LOL)

...and I'm sure there's more, but that's plenty for now!  Nonetheless, the peace and harmony I feel because I am muslim far outweighs all of that. 

Alhamdulillah that my mind and heart were opened to Islam!


Posted By: ayda negash
Date Posted: 02 February 2009 at 4:55am
Originally posted by Hunter

Hi Maria  Asalamalakium. I see you're a bit newer than me, so welcome. The things I find hard since discovering Islam really fall into one of two catagories (or perhaps they are the same): One, and for me the worst, is the relative isolation I feel in my beliefs. This is the reason I joined this website to begin with. Other than in here, I don't know a single Muslim-- never even met one. My wife is Christian, her family is Christian, my family is Christian; everyone I know is Christian, and I live out in the sticks of Vermont. I never was a praticing Christian myself, so I've never experienced religious fellowship before on any level. So although I've never had it, it's nevertheless something I miss (or miss out on). I don't believe religion was meant to be praticed alone. The second thing that's hard, is the general lack of understanding of Islam that I encounter in people I talk to (and live with). People feel very threatened by it without bothering to try to understand it. "It's evil, un-Christian, a religion for terrorists and fanatics." I've heard all these things and more. I myself thought many of these things until I read the Quran the first time. Inshallah, I'll meet other people with similar beliefs when I'm meant to. Overall, I feel as though I've gained much and lost little. No religion logically ever made sense to me until I found Islam. 


Posted By: ayda negash
Date Posted: 02 February 2009 at 4:59am
I just want to share to new muslims as wel to born muslims the article I obtained from http://www.turntoislam.com - www.turntoislam.com here it reads:

Warning! Revert/Convert or you want to Revert/Convert:A letter for you from a Convert


FRUSTRATIONS OF A MUSLIM CONVERT



The "miracle" of the increasing number of converts is not only that people are finding the light of Islam in an age of such darkness but that they are coming to the faith despite the actions of some of its believers.


Introduction



I have been a Muslim for over two years now. Whilst I am deeply satisfied with Islam on an intellectual and theological level, much too often I have been far from happy in my experiences with fellow Muslims on a practical level. I have faced considerable difficulties in my attempts to develop as a Muslim. Although I have made the acquaintance of many Muslims through various mosques I have attended, this has been overwhelmingly only on a superficial level. I am close only to two Muslims in the city where I live. I met them coincidentally. One is a neighbor, the other a former colleague whom I now rarely see.


Lack of Induction



Although I have a good understanding of the basic theology of Islam and Islamic history, two years after my conversion I am to some extent still struggling with the practical daily basics. According to a hadith,"The search for knowledge is an obligation laid on every Muslim."(Ibn Majah, Baihaqi). A convert needs to search for more knowledge than a born Muslim who has had a lifetime of schooling in the faith. In my personal experience, it seems that established Muslims make at best only a token effort to assist new Muslims in fulfilling their religious obligations.

To my profound disappointment, as far as my Islamic education is concerned, I have been left to fend for myself. It would seem that no mosque I have visited has a systematic induction program for new converts. The mosques in my area are all dominated by south Asian immigrants, with a sprinkling of Africans on Fridays. They are not attuned to the needs of indigenous converts. In fairness, I seem to be the only white person (i.e. convert) at the mosques I attend, so they may not perceive a need. But nevertheless, I live in a major city with a significant Muslim population and many mosques. Surely there must be somewhere where a new Muslim adult can receive training in the practical daily basics. Surely the established Muslim community should know where to refer the convert even if they are not suitably geared up themselves at the local mosque.

The Catholic Church has a thorough practical and theological induction program that is actually compulsory for people who wish to join it. The Anglican Church actively advertises its Alpha Course to attract and teach new converts. We Muslims seem to have nothing organized.

When it comes to lack of both meaningful social welcome and organized teaching of Islam for new Muslims, American convert, teacher and writer, Yahiha Emerick, hits the nail on the head in his article Ten Things Every Muslim Must Do. At number six on his list, he says:

If you see any new Muslims at your Masjid (mosque), then partially "adopt" them into your family. The convert experience is basically one of isolation and loneliness. You'd be surprised to know that most converts are outright ignored by the people in the Masjid. Beyond a few pleasantries and handshakes, they are usually never made to feel welcome or accepted. They are often cut off from their non-Muslim friends and relatives so they are doubly vulnerable. A new convert should be invited into various people's home for dinner a minimum of six times a month. Get together with others and make sure you all put the new convert on your guest list for any sort of gathering.


Internet - the good, the bad and the dangerous!



Since my conversion to Islam I have had some horrible experiences with Muslims both on the Internet and face to face. I briefly mention these experiences here as a warning to other new Muslims. The Internet can be a wonderful place for learning about Islam. In fact, since my conversion, the Internet has been my primary source of materials with which to educate myself further about Islam. There are many excellent sites, but I would caution the new Muslim
not to accept the information on all sites blindly, particularly if they have an arrogant, strident or unpleasant tone or stray from plain facts and concentrate on controversial opinion or on an overtly political agenda.

I would also urge new Muslims to avoid email forums or chat rooms about Islam absolutely. There are some nasty people lurking there - self-styled pseudo scholars preaching hellfire, doling out personal abuse and decrying sincere Muslims as non-believers. I was left utterly demoralized at one time and very, very angry on several occasions. I have now unsubscribed from all such forums. New Muslims should keep in mind the Hadith: "Verily, Allah is mild and is fond of mildness, and He gives to
the mild what He does not give to the harsh." (Muslim) If a website or e-group you come across is far removed from the above, then remove yourself from it!

There are also nice, well-meaning people who offer advice about matters of faith and practice without being in any way qualified to do so. If they get things wrong, they could unwittingly be leading the uninitiated astray and doing more harm than good. Be wary of accepting anything without a quotation from the Quran or authenticated hadith to back it up.

Having said that, if it is one of the nasty brigade who has come seemingly armed with references, firstly check the actual quotation in your Quran. Have they really only quoted what is there or have they embellished it with their own interpretation? It happens. And, if the quotation is genuine but sounds harsh to your ears, then use a commentary to become aware of the context in which the verse was revealed. Read widely. For every hard-line, unpleasant interpretation, there is usually a mild one from a serious writer or scholar.

Beware the Zealots!



Some real-life encounters can also be disconcerting. Whilst I have enjoyed an excellent rapport with some converts, the proverbial "zeal of the converted" can overflow in others. Some can turn into hard-line absolutists - a caricature of a Muslim. Also beware the political zealots. Recently while in London I had to endure a sermon at Jumma salat (Friday afternoon congregational prayers) held at a university in which the
student acting as imam was very obviously pushing the agenda of a radical minority political grouping and spoke at length about whom it was our duty to kill!

Sadly far too many young Muslim men in England - the occasional convert and, particularly, the sons of Asian immigrants - get far too worked up about this or that political agenda and are in danger of overlooking the peaceful, spiritual core of Islam. As the writer Abdal-Hakim Murad puts it in his excellent essay British and Muslim, unsettled, discontented second generation Asian immigrant Muslims in Britain tend to locate their radicalism not primarily in a spiritual, but in social and political rejection of the oppressive order around them. Their unsettled and agitated mood is not always congenial to the recent convert, who may, despite the cultural distance, feel more comfortable with the first rather than the second generation of migrants, preferring their God-centered religion to what is often the troubled, identity-seeking Islam of the young.

Amen to that! These young radicals are prone to behave in the most obnoxious and nasty manner towards those other Muslims who do not agree with them. I would simply call the following words from the Quran and ahadith to their attention:

"Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path, and who are truly guided."
Quran 16:125

"Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind."
(Muslims & Bukhari) Top

Must we proceed at the pace of the most prudish?
Whilst I have enjoyed many conversations about Islam in mixed male-female company (including with ladies who wear hijab), a small but vociferous minority of female born Muslims I have encountered have been very stand-offish and overly prudish. Despite the fact that the Quran teaches us that

"The believing men and women, are associates and helpers of each other." <Quran, Al-Taubah 9:71>

My own understanding is that what is improper is for one man and one woman to be alone together, but there should not be a problem about other mixing provided that proper Islamic behavior is maintained. I, a man, would never even have had the opportunity to discover Islam in the first instance were it not for friendships with several born Muslims (three of whom were women) prompting me to investigate the religion.

According to the prominent Sudanese Muslim scholar and leader, Dr. Hassan al-Turabi who is widely portrayed in the west as an Islamic fundamentalist, in his seminal 1973 work On the Position of Women in Islam and in Islamic Society'

"In the model society of Islam, Muslims used to assemble freely and frequently; they were mostly acquainted with each other, men and women; they conversed and interacted intensively. But all those activities, were undertaken in a spirit of innocence and in the context of a virtuous society...Islam tolerates that one may greet women or talk to them in decent and chaste language and with good intent. The Prophet used to do so."


"Muslim Name" and Attire?



Another gripe I have is the ignorance of many born Muslims about what they believe to be the necessity for a convert to adopt a so-called Muslim name. When I took my Shahada, I was asked not whether I wished to choose a "Muslim name" but what name I wished to adopt. Not knowing any better at the time, I did reluctantly choose a new name, and used it briefly in Muslim circles. However, I did not change any of my official documents. Only later did I discover that there is, in principle, no requirement whatsoever to change one's name. The original converts to Islam at the time of Prophet Mohammed usually kept the Arabic name they always had. The only exceptions were people who had a name with unpleasant or pagan connotations. So-called "Muslim names" are, in the main, simply Arabic ones or traditional names from countries that were early adopters of Islam. There is no requirement for a new Muslim to adopt one of these.

While I respect (though do not necessarily agree with) the choice of those Muslim converts who have adopted a new name, I expect all Muslims to respect the right of other converts such as myself to retain their original name. I generally now use my "real" name, not the "Muslim name" that was initially thrust upon me. Sadly I have come under pressure from some ignorant born Muslims on this matter.

To be frank, I feel that adopting a "Muslim name", makes it easier for one's existing circle of family and friends to dismiss one's conversion to Islam as an act of eccentricity which they can brush off. By changing one's name and starting to wear, say, Pakistani clothing, one confirms in their minds the foreignness or alien nature of what is supposed to be universal Islam. I believe that these actions, or dare I say distractions, make it harder for most people from non-Muslim countries to identify with Islam, the welcoming and inclusive universal religion open to all, and see how it could be relevant to their own lives.

The spiritually motivated western convert to Islam, whose Islam is centered on God not agitation, has a golden opportunity to depoliticize the widespread negative western perception of Islam and to diminish the impression that Islam is for strange, backward, sometimes frightening foreigners - Arabs and Asians - but not for westerners. In my view, this opportunity is thrown away or at the very least is hobbled by self-inflicted damage when a western convert unnecessarily adopts a foreign name and clothing, thus only reinforcing the preconceived notions and prejudices that non-Muslim fellow westerners tend to hold about Islam.


Relationship with non-Muslim parents



Again with regard to the issue of a "Muslim name" and similar matters, I think it is also important to bear in mind here the teaching of Islam with regard to one's duty to family, particularly one's parents even if they are themselves non-Muslims.

Your Lord had decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you are kind to parents whether one or both of them attain old age in your lifetime. Say not to them a word of contempt or repel them but address them in terms of honor and out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say: "My Lord, bestow on them your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood".
(Quran 17:23-24)

Indeed there was an occasion when Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) commanded a believer to care for his non-Muslim parents rather than participate in Jihad (holy war).

Abdullah ibn Omar relates: "Once a person came to the Messenger of Allah and expressed his desire to participate in jihad in order to please Allah. The Holy Prophet asked him "Are your parents alive?" The man said "Yes. Both are alive". The Holy Prophet said 'Then go and serve them well".
(Bukhari and Muslim).

I felt that it was important that my parents who are both practicing Catholics should realize that I was not rejecting them, my upbringing or most of the things they held dear. It was simply that I had come to a new understanding of theology. Rejecting the name they had given me could really have been interpreted as being quite insulting to them, which in itself would be contrary to Islam. I am thinking here of the following ahadith:

"He, who wishes to enter paradise at the best gate, must please
his father and mother."
(Bukhari & Muslim)

In my case, I felt that abandoning for no good reason the very name given me by my loving parents would have been straining the ties of relationship, creating displeasure and certainly not indicative of showing kindness to or taking friendly care of my mother and father.


So-called "Islamic Causes"



When I, a westerner and a former practicing Christian, became a Muslim, I became just that - a Muslim, a believer in the religion of Islam, i.e. someone who believes in the oneness of God as opposed to the concept of Trinity and who accepts Mohammed (pbuh) as a prophet of God. I'm the same person with the same name, wearing the same western style of clothing (though now respecting the modest dress code of Islam) and eating the same style of food (though now making sure that my meat is halal). I have not rejected my country, its culture or tradition. I simply now hold different theological beliefs.

Final Thoughts



Based on my personal experience, my advice either to new Muslims or anyone considering the possibility of accepting Islam would be simply to judge a religion not by its adherents, many of whom may fall far short of the ideal in a variety of ways (and I include myself in that!), but rather by the theology and teachings of the religion itself. To be honest, I remain in Islam very much in spite of and not because of my experiences with Muslims. Only a handful have been of any help to me and quite a few hard-line politicos and joyless, uptight puritans have been a real hindrance. However, despite my great disappointment at both the lack of organized support available to new Muslims and the widespread politically focused rather than God-centered Islam so prevalent today, plus my intense dislike of the nasty behavior and attitudes of some of the Muslims I have encountered in person and online, I have most definitely found in the religion of Islam an intellectual and theological satisfaction that I never knew in Christianity. And at the end of the day, one's beliefs about God are what truly matters.

Allahu a`lam. God knows best.


Source :salam.

__________________

The prophet said :

 

"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should either say something good or keep silent." (Tirmidhi)

 



Posted By: BelieverInOne
Date Posted: 24 February 2009 at 2:59pm

Assalamu alaikum

I have been quite lucky since embracing Islam my immediate family was fine about it. As for my friends they're still there but I have distanced myself from them as my priorities and interests are quite different from theirs.

Since becoming Muslim I don't really feel like I am missing out on anything at all, just at times I feel like I am not learning enough, or I am not learning as fast as I should. I know its not a race I just wish i knew more.


Posted By: christine123
Date Posted: 13 March 2009 at 8:09am
Maria,

Can you practice on your own or have some private lessons with a female teacher?

Maybe you could teach an all female class? I'm sure many parents would like their young girls to learn ballet.

What about Sufi dances? From what I've seen, their clothing is modest. There is a lot of spinning and, given your ballet experience, you would be quite good at!

These are just some thoughts I had.

Peace,
C


Posted By: safi70
Date Posted: 14 March 2009 at 10:55pm
salam ayda,Smile
 
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this post. I feel like you read my mind and were talking about my experiences. I am also a revert, since 2005. I find it difficult to make muslim friends because only a few have showed any interest in helping me. I even wrote to the imam at the mosque and I did not even get a reply. I make an effort to smile and say salam when i see muslimas and most of them just look straight faced or turn their heads. I felt very rejected. But, I have made one good friend who is also my neighbor and she is very kind and helpful. It is a difficult transition, but well worth it to me.
 
I also changed my name(not legally and only when I am with some other muslims) I felt fake and silly, to be honest, calling myself by a name I could not relate to, and  I realize now that I don't need to change my name. It is an insult to my parents who chose my name for me. My name has nothing to do with my faith, so I have decided not to use it  after I read your post.
 Anyway, i just wanted you to know that your post made me feel like I was not alone..Shukran.
 
wasalam
sonya


Posted By: Hayfa
Date Posted: 21 March 2009 at 7:19pm
Salaams,

Yes it was an excellent post an encompassed many of my experiences... I live in a big city and feel connected to one person here.. More friends through the internet... Going to the masjid is stressful.. i tend not to go.. women, i think more then men, do cliques.. i feel like saying, anyone want to go play basketball... just something to break the ice and not worry about 'conversing'  about something.. People talk about subjects, like their lives, but not amongst strangers..




-------------
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi


Posted By: Duane
Date Posted: 27 March 2009 at 5:11pm
as salamu alaikum
I am a new revert.  Well for a few years now.  I am from a catholic family in a mormon state.  Things I miss...  I think, feeling accepted.  I have been doing most of my learning alone.  I suppose that is why am decided to come here.  I dont know other muslims.  I have prayed at a masjid that is about 12 miles away when I can find a way there.  I have been let go from several jobs because I will not compromise my beliefs and morals but I am OK with that.  I have lost most everything in this world to this point, for the sake of the next.  I dont miss alot in the rituals of christmas and things like that.  What I do miss is the emotional human bond of religious beliefs and brotherhood.  Ya know.  Person to person.  By the way I am also a person with BiPolar disorder.  Most of the symptoms completely went away when I turned to Islam.


Posted By: Hayfa
Date Posted: 28 March 2009 at 11:52am
Salaams Duane,

Welcome to the Forum.

I agree with emotional bonding..


-------------
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi


Posted By: seekshidayath
Date Posted: 28 March 2009 at 10:51pm
Originally posted by Duane

as salamu alaikum
I am a new revert.  Well for a few years now.  I am from a catholic family in a mormon state.  Things I miss...  I think, feeling accepted.  I have been doing most of my learning alone.  I suppose that is why am decided to come here.  I dont know other muslims.  I have prayed at a masjid that is about 12 miles away when I can find a way there.  I have been let go from several jobs because I will not compromise my beliefs and morals but I am OK with that.  I have lost most everything in this world to this point, for the sake of the next.  I dont miss alot in the rituals of christmas and things like that.  What I do miss is the emotional human bond of religious beliefs and brotherhood.  Ya know.  Person to person.  By the way I am also a person with BiPolar disorder.  Most of the symptoms completely went away when I turned to Islam.
 
Walaikum Salam Duane,
 
I was very happy to read you. Masha Allah ! you possess a very strong faith.  This line of yours made me conclude that-  I have been let go from several jobs because I will not compromise my beliefs and morals but I am OK with that.
 
May Allah swt help us attain us faith. Ameen. You are ok with it.
 
May Allah swt soon, facilitate you with brotherhood. Ameen
 


-------------
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “All the descendants of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent."


Posted By: mariyah
Date Posted: 03 April 2009 at 3:48pm
Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuhu..
To all, you are an inspiration. I salute you and wish for you the best. Insha'allah you will all have the strength to prevail and insist on your rights when visiting a mosque to be treated courteously and to be respected  as a Muslim or Muslima.
I was born a muslim daughter of a Turkish mother and american revert father. I have blue eyes and a rather english build (my mother was slight like her grandmother, I have the larger frame of an English great grandmother). I was not really an active Muslima until just before 9/11 when I actively decided to start wearing the hijab. So I had rarely been to an american mosque. I had been weekly to the mosque in Ankara and Instanbul where I grew up till the age of 15, and was never treated as if I were different. After all, many Balkan muslims have blue eyes and my build. But going to the mosque here in the US was a new experience.
 I live primarily for the time being in a college town near the US/Mexican border. It is a city of a primarily democrat society which embraces 2 major languages as native: spanish and english. This is a very tolerant city as the state I live in has a high ethnic diversity rate.
When I first visited the mosque, I was disappointed. many of the sisters in the stifling room cut off from the view of the person giving the kutbah would rudely not return the customary greeting, they went on loudly in their conversation in arabic and seemed oblivious to the fact that they were not allowing others who were trying to listen to the khutbah to do so. One even had the nerve to ask me why I came to the masjid, I should go worship "with others of my kind". I was so put off i returned to traveling with my husband who is shia to the shia mosque in the city 100 miles to our north on Fridays. And the mosque I had visited was sunni, as am I.
Today, I am a member of this mosque and am a moderator for the listserve group for the converts group of sisters that live in this community.
There is currently new construction to create an open area for the sisters who wish to see the areas of the mosque.  I have furthered my education into multicultural education in oirder to fulfill this role. Just this past year 2 american convert sisters where elected to the executive commitee of this Islamic center. We have a openminded and accepting Imam that wishes to stifle the intolerance and misunderstanding and who is teaching the new "back to basics" for islam classes weekly.
Converts and those native born do make a difference. We need to educate our immigrant muslims that Islam is based on the universal Ummah, and show them how That many of the practices they embrace are of their cultural origin and are not teachings of Islam. Just as in Saudi Arabie where some cite that it is Islamic for women to not be allowed to drive a car, I challenge them to explain why the scholar and wife of the prohet, Aisha (may she be at peace) directed a war while riding and controlling her own camel. What is the difference between a car and a camel? Just time. They both are modes of transportation.
Please continue to seek knowledge and educate others where appropriate, and remember that sometimes those who seem rude are often just not educated!



-------------
"Every good deed is charity whether you come to your brother's assistance or just greet him with a smile.


Posted By: Duane
Date Posted: 04 April 2009 at 10:16am
Aas salamu alaikum.
 
Thank you Hayfa and seekshidayath for the welcome, and the words.  Welcome Mariyah.  It is to bad that some men and women are put off when they go to the masjid.  I was blessed with a great first experience.  I believe your last line about education plays a large role in what you talked about.  I am new here but have found nothing but good. 
Duane


Posted By: habibs_mom
Date Posted: 17 April 2009 at 4:46pm
Salaam,
 
First Hunter... Have you checked out the Vermont Islamic Center. I didn't find it terribly women friendly but seemed open to the guys. Even if your in the sticks, you should be relatively close. I am originally from the Central part of the state - only one Muslim family in town that i now of.
 
Mariyah, you wouldn't happen to be in Tucson would you? I heard their big Mosque was becoming more open to women - being able to see and hear. I was there a few years back and a sister closed up the partition and then the sisters talked and talked while I strained to hear the Kutbah. Yuck. We are moving there God willing in a few months and I would love to be able to attend in a setting where I can hear and see.  As a convert, I think it is important to have a sense of community.


Posted By: W.S.
Date Posted: 18 August 2011 at 2:51pm
Great article for new Muslims that was posted by ayda negash.


Posted By: meryema
Date Posted: 28 September 2011 at 3:38am
Salamu Alaikum sisters and brothers,

I am an alone muslim in my family, and they don't even know it. I am absolutely sure I am the alone in my city too and among about few thousands of all my country (Czech Republic). I converted to Islam at the beginning of this year with help of care of my muslim boyfriend, but he was in constant struggle with my sinful past and our love did not sustain this burden.

I know there are loads of stories of girls converting for boyfriend and then getting back to their bad lifes etc but I believe I am not one of them, I submissed my soul to ALLAH, not to my boyfriend. Insallah many girls with similar stories will realize this fact.

Like I said... becomming a Muslim was the best thing in my life I could do. However, it's so hard, because I don't miss anything, but I am constantly being put back to forbidden things. My parents are encouraging me to drink alcohol constantly, no need to mention big family celebrations. Or refusing pork foods and trying to find explanation for it, because I can't say I am a Muslim.

I miss my family, even though I am always with them. Maybe I miss the times when I could enjoy our lunch or family reunions without that much thinking.

Has anybody experienced such contrastive thinking? Sometimes I am lost and I dont know what to do, I want to be good with my family and respet their habbits but at the same time I am convinced that what they are doing is wrong and I wish I could warn them anyhow. And live is so short!

Maybe I miss that peace of my brain :) There was no need to think about ANYTHING before I converted haha.. Anytime I try to write meaningful response I am getting lost in my thoughts, sorry for that! I ll try to rule over my mind insallah :-) Salam


Posted By: W.S.
Date Posted: 01 October 2011 at 4:18am
Originally posted by meryema

Or refusing pork foods and trying to find explanation for it, because I can't say I am a Muslim.
 
Why can't you tell them? I've read stories in which reverts are saying that their parents/families would disown them etc. if they told them about their having become Muslim. I hope that's not the case for you.


Posted By: meryema
Date Posted: 03 October 2011 at 4:59pm
[/QUOTE]
 
Why can't you tell them? I've read stories in which reverts are saying that their parents/families would disown them etc. if they told them about their having become Muslim. I hope that's not the case for you.
[/QUOTE]

Hello dear! I'm not exactly sure what would happen but I can imagine a scenario like me locked in the basement with a metal bowl on my leg with no access to literature radio internet and any kind of media and make me say "all religion are bad and only lead to wars and conflicts" ;) I think it is half irony but half serious...


Posted By: semar
Date Posted: 03 October 2011 at 11:38pm
Salam,
 
Do things slowly, gradually including deal with family. Insha Allah everthing just need time, nothing work instantly except "tylanol" (for non US dudes, tylanol is a headache medicine/pain killer). May Allah help you to ease the process.


-------------
Salam/Peace,
Semar
The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"


Posted By: safi70
Date Posted: 04 October 2011 at 7:44am
Salam sister meryema,
 
I can relate to your story. I understand you fully and if you would like to chat privately ,my email is mailto:sonyaclaire@hotmail.com - . Insha''Allah we can talk soon. Take care sister.Smile


Posted By: mjiqbalkhan
Date Posted: 26 December 2011 at 8:20pm
Salam Alaikum,

      I know a Muslim brother who lives alone in his city. He says there is no Muslim in 75 mile sphere where he lives. But he is doing his bit by visiting Yahoo Answers and explaining Islamic beliefs to non Muslims. Even his wife died recently. He is ageing but is in high spirits.

      You know transition is difficult. But slowly and surely you will overcome the minor problems you face. May
Allah help you.

                                M J Iqbal



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