Written by Kaighla Um Dayo and Theresa Corbin
This is a real sticking point for a lot of new converts. We are so excited, most of us, at having finally found the path we were meant for that we are spilling over with faith-y goodness. There’s just one problem: most of the people in our lives have no clue what we’re talking about.
It’s good you want to share your new-found faith with people, but make sure you understand the religion and good manners really well (so, give it a year, at least, of committed study) before you start telling all your friends and family about Islam. And then your only job is to deliver the message. It is up to them to accept or deny it. It is up to Allah to guide or leave astray.
One of the greatest failures of Kaighla’s life has been cutting several people from her life as soon as she converted because they stated openly they didn’t support her choice. If she had let them hang around the sidelines, they may have softened up a bit later. But she didn’t give them the chance.
One thing Theresa regrets greatly is going to extremes in faith as a new Muslim with not much knowledge. She ended up scaring her family away from the faith with her overboard zealousness.
First, focus on fixing you, then worry about them. If they see Islam changing you for the better, they’ll be interested. This is not Christianity. It’s not your responsibility to make people want Islam. Allah guides whom he wills (Quran 10:25, among tons of other ayat (verses)).
And it’s certainly not our job to make Islam seem attractive to people.
If you need help telling your friends and family that you have chosen Islam, consider sharing this article with them from OnIslam.net
Also, know that you don’t need to refute every single claim that comes across your newsfeed or every tweet by every ignorant bigot you come across, and for God’s sake don’t apologize for every crime committed in the name of Islam. You represent you. Make your stance known once, and leave it at that.
Allah will guide those whose hearts are pure. Just don’t get in the way by shoving it down their throats. Also, your real friends will be your real friends no matter what your religion is.
If they love you, they will love all the parts of you. And Islam–if you do it right–brings out the best in you, not the worst, which brings us to my next and final point …
Never forget why you chose Islam
You, brave soul, made a choice that few, if any, of your family members and friends were likely to understand or embrace. You stopped eating bacon and broke up with your cute-but-non-practicing-Muslim-boyfriend/girlfriend. You started donning hijab in 98° weather (That’s Fahrenheit for you non-American Muslims).
You made yourself get out of bed when it was still dark and in winter, when the bed was warm and the floor was freezing, all to pray to Allah in a language which was new and foreign to your mouth and mind. And why did you do it?
That, my friends, is the question you should write in huge letters on your mirror, or hang in front of your front door so you see it as you leave the house.
You sacrificed so much, and if you were sincere in your reasoning, you did it for God and God alone.
Don’t lose sight of this as the years go by. If you do, the rules will become heavy, the people will make Islam harder than it should be by burdening you with their own cultural interpretation of things, and you will become brittle.
If being a Muslim has made you harsh and unyielding and unkind, it’s not Islam you’re following. Take a step back and review how you got here, and when and why things changed for the worst.
The best thing to do when you get lost is to go backward to the last time you remember feeling like you were on the right track. It’s for this reason we ask God so often to keep us on the siraat al mustaqeem (the straight path).
Friends, the reason we have been given Islam is to attain nearness to God. That is really it. It’s not to save us from the hellfire, though that would be, admittedly, a major perk. Getting blessings is great and being granted Jannah (Paradise after death) would be awesome. Of course, we all want these things, but they’re not the point. Getting and being closer to Allah is the point.
Kaighla chose Islam because she wanted to be near to Allah, nearer than she was as a Christian. She also chose it because it offered a practical means to this end, e.g. the salat, the structure of prayers which were not based on her feelings or the ‘moving of the spirit’.
When things got in the way of this goal and when Kaighla got sidetracked by other things and saw the evidence in the hardening of my heart, she had to go back to when she knew her heart was purely dedicated to nearness with God: when she was just a baby Muslim, like you!
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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.
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