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A Field Guide for New Muslims Part 4

Field Guide for New Muslims 4

Written by Kaighla Um Dayo and Theresa Corbin

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 5

Nothing is more important than the prayer.

It’s the very first thing you’ll be asked about on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger told us in an authentic hadith

The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah will say to His angels (even though he already knows) : “Look at my servants prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete It will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers, If he has them Allah will say: Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner. {Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa’i, and Al-Hakim}

Literally. It won’t be whether or not you cooked a mean biryani or whether or not you washed your behind with your right hand or your left hand, and it won’t be whether you gave enough of your money in charity.

prayer

Prophet Muhammad taught his companions that the only thing separating them from disbelief (and, therefore, hellfire) was the prayer. The Prophet said “The difference between a Muslim and shirk and kufr is the abandoning of salaah” (Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147).

If the religion is getting too heavy for you, or you find yourself absolutely unable or unwilling to hit the mat in prayer, you need to sit down with yourself and search your heart for the reasons.

When Kaighla first converted and then, unfortunately, married a man who wasn’t good for her, she often noticed that when things were not going well in her marriage, she didn’t want to pray.

She had this sick notion that if her husband was mad at her, so was God (of course, he taught her that). Don’t let anything stop you from seeking nearness to God in prayer. It is our direct route to Him and He interacts with us in the prayer (Hadith Qudsi 8)

Don’t be embarrassed to say you need to go pray. Your non-Muslim (or non-practicing Muslim) friends may not understand. But if they love you, they will support you. And some may even respect you for it.

When Theresa first explained to her family that as a Muslim she will need to pray 5 times a day, they didn’t get it. But now they are so used to her running off to pray, they will even remind her if they think she is slipping. Kaighla’s non-Muslim sister used to harass her if her phone made the athan (call to prayer) and she didn’t go to pray immediately.

We will not have anyone to defend us in front of God on the Day of Judgement. The messenger of Allah– Muhammad– said

Allah will talk to everyone directly, without a translator. The person will look to his right, and will not see anything but his deeds. Then the person, will look in front of himself and will see nothing but the hellfire facing him. So protect yourself from Hellfire even by giving a charity of half a date. {Reported by Imam Bukhari}.

So saying our friends stopped us from praying won’t cut it.

in a house, on a rock, in a box, on a train, in the rain, next to a fox would you, could you pray, pray, pray?
in a house, on a rock, in a box, on a train, in the rain, next to a fox would you, could you pray, pray, pray?

Also, don’t be afraid to pray at work. It’s your legal right to pray (and have a space in which to do so) at work, even if you have to clock out to do it.

When it’s time to pray, don’t get too worried about direction and such. Most of us have a smartphone nowadays, and there are literally hundreds of apps for reminding you when to pray, and using your phone’s complex brain to determine the direction to pray in. When in doubt, do the best you can, and then pray.

Learn how to pray first, before anything else. Learn from a qualified person, and watch Youtube videos on praying like the Prophet did (see end of post). I emphasize again: nothing is more important than keeping your prayers on time.

Proof, Sources, Evidence

Everyone and their mom will have an opinion on how you’re not Muslim enough. This comes from a culture they grew up with. It’s not about you. If anyone tells you that you ‘must do x’ or ‘it’s haraam to do y’, ask for proof. This is not you being rude; This is you taking the necessary steps to ensure your religion remains untainted by outside forces.

quran

Our Prophet Muhammad taught his companions that any deviation from his teachings and actions was misguidance and being led astray. And that all such misguidance would eventually lead to the hellfire (recorded in Sahih Muslim).

If something someone tells you is based on a hadith, and if that hadith is not an authentic hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad traced across the centuries in a chain of unbroken and reliable narration), toss it out. If someone tells you that such-and-such ayah (verse) from such-and-such surah (chapter of Qur’an) means such-and-such, don’t take their word for it.

Study and learn from authentic, respected sources (and you’ll find a few at the end of this article). How can we find out if something is authentically Islam or not? By studying and seeking evidence when people advise us.

Also, if someone tells you something or gives you a book that seems strange, research it. Ask qualified people, even Google if you must. Finally, trust your gut. If it doesn’t sound or feel right, get to the root of it.

Check out our podcast, here, where we discuss these issues further

Preventing Bitterness a New Muslim's Guide 4

Resources:

Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDit-zlSp7g

Quran: www.quran.com

Hadith: www.Sunnah.com

Explanation of the Quran: http://qtafsir.com/

Learning Arabic: http://bayyinah.com/

Answers to tons of questions: http://www.ifoundislam.net/revert-supports/

New Muslim Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RevertSupportGroup/

Find Prayer times and a Mosque near you: http://www.islamicfinder.org/

Ask a question: http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-about-islam.html?start=1420

Ask us: islamwich@yahoo.com

New Muslim Care: http://newmuslimcare.org/

Theresa Corbin is the founder of islamwich. Look her up on the About page, or on Twitter @islamwich

Kaighla Um Dayo is a writer and story-teller extraordinaire. You can find more of her work, as well as her podcast, at her blog, Lemonade For Bitter Souls. Her work was also published in Al Jumuah Magazine, in 2011 and 2012. She is a momma of four, currently living in small-town Egypt. Before embracing Islam in 2009, she was an evangelical Christian who attended Bible college before traveling the world as a missionary. Her favorite things are procrastinating, eating chocolate, fixing things, making things and taking risks.

Follow us (upper right of the page). Email us (islamwich@yahoo.com). Like our face with your face on Facebook (facebook.com/islamwich). Tumble with us on Tumblr (islamwich.tumblr.com). Pin with us (pinterest.com/islamwich). Follow us on twitter (@islamwich).

Like the post, share it, pin it, comment on it, and/or do whatever social media magic it is that you prefer. Find out more about us in the understandably named “About Us” page and browse other posts in “Table of Contents”.

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3 thoughts on “A Field Guide for New Muslims Part 4

  1. Well said, well written, mashaAllah.
    As the prophet -salla Allah aleih wa sallam- said, if one’s prayer is good, the rest of his work is. If the prayer is not, the rest is not! SubhanAllah!

    Oh, and yes, always ask for proof. If every one does I am quite sure most of the practices that have spread all over the world as ‘Islamic’ will be dumped away!
    Quran, and authentic hadith ONLY. The rest is subject to opinion. Even the interpretation.
    And always remember that Islam is all about USING YOUR MIND. Being critical. The attitude of “this is what we found our fathers doing and we are following their track” haas never done any one any good!

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    1. So true! “If every one does I am quite sure most of the practices that have spread all over the world as ‘Islamic’ will be dumped away!” I wish people would starting doing this. But we are so shy to hurt other’s feelings. But we have to realize if feelings are hurt it is only because egos are too big. Again great addition and thoughts!

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  2. Came from yahoo and cnn where you article was featured. Refreshing perspective. I only had a chance to get a quick read as i’m sneaking at work to read this lol. But your hard work at shedding light on Islam is being shattered daily by those who thinks whatever they do is right if they utter god’s name repetitively, when they actually forgot it is forbidden by god in the first place. In their race to buy themselves into heaven they forgot the real thing.

    One thing i found what the western community or even the middle eastern themselves forgot is they always equate the arab culture with Islam. This gives other muslims around the world a negative impression.

    Sorry would have talk more but had to go >_< Thank you for your work maam.

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