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6 Steps to Guiding New Muslims Without Haram-Loading

Written by Theresa Corbin

I recently got a very disturbing email from a 13 year old who just accepted Islam and has already been bombarded by the haramloaders.

Haram Loader (n.)- a person who dumps a bunch of opinions of what is haram (unlawful in Islam) onto the new Muslim’s already full plate. The haram-loader is similar to the haram police, but they tend to only target the vulnerable new Muslims. They may have good intentions, but they have the wrong methodology. 

How to Stop Haram Loading New Muslims

 

I just can’t get over it. A 13-year-old had the bravery to question, the wherewithal to think about our existence, the depth to ponder the Creator. And those around him respond to his acceptance of Islam with: “This is haram! That is haram! You are haram. Breathing is haram.”

I. Just. Can’t. It’s like so much haram vomit. It’s not anything new, but haram-loading just gets my goat every time.  

Why do we sweat the small stuff with new Muslims? This is far from the example of the Prophet (PBUH) who once defended an alcoholic’s reputation because he had faith

Sure, the small stuff can amount to a big deal, but is it really that big of a deal when someone has just accepted Islam and is trying to find his or her footing? 

Many new Muslim have a ton of stuff to deal with:

How will I tell my family?  … Will I be kicked out of the house? … Will I lose my job? … How will I be able to pray while at work or school? … How will I be able to learn how to say the prayers in a strange and difficult language? How many of my friends will I lose? … How will I make new Muslim friends? … Why do people make it so damn awkward at the masjid? … How am I going to get out of this “business” meeting at the pub? … How can I get out of/or cringe and bear the Christmas party at school, work, friend’s house, family’s house? 

It goes on and on. New Muslims are struggling with a lot. Raised Muslims, instead of facilitating this transition as they should be doing, end up putting more on their plate. Whether their intentions are good or not, haram-loading almost always happens and it just sucks. 

So what are we to do if haram-loading is insane and we really want to and know it is my duty to help the new Muslim?

1- Remember that Islam is not a list of haram and halal

This is dangerous reductionism that needs to be avoided at all costs, even in raised Muslims’ lives.

2-Put yourself in the new Muslim’s shoes

Imagine you have rejected the faith of your family. All those you love have either rejected you or your ties of kith and kin are seriously strained. Everyone you know thinks you have lost your mind and you are now the hottest topic of gossip. You may have even been fired from your job or lost your place to live.

3- Make sure the new Muslim’s basic needs are met

No one is concerned about how to pronounce the prayer when they are having a hard time feeding themselves or are homeless. There are many ways to support new Muslims until they get on their feet, but however you do it, know that it is the communal responsibility of us all.  

4-Is it a pillar of Islam or Iman?

After following Islam and showing empathy and giving charity to the new Muslim, then you should ask yourself, “Is what I am teaching the new Muslim a pillar of Islam or a pillar of iman?”

If it isn’t one of these two types, it’s not important enough to shove on the new Muslims’ plate. The six pillars of iman and the five pillars of Islam are essential for the education of the new Muslim. We have to help them understand, learn, and incorporate all of these pillars into their life at their own pace

Too much burden placed on the new Muslim is the main reason why people who convert end up leaving Islam. It’s not because Islam is hard; It’s because the Muslims surrounding them are hard on them. Or, perhaps, because the raised Muslims have the best intentions but are dangerously ignorant of what it takes to go from crawling, to walking, to running.   

5-Repeat this mantra:

Repeat this to yourself when you want to haram-load the new Muslims: I will not haram-load. I will not haram-load. Islam was revealed over a period of 23 years NOT in one day, week, or even one year. I will not haram-load. 

6- Be a good example and an even better listener

When the new Muslim sees you doing or abstaining from anything, the questions will come naturally.  When the questions do come, listen, show compassion, be a friend, and a sister/brother. 

The bottom line is that new Muslims deserve–and are in need of–our mercy. They deserve a chance to be able to grow into their new faith. The small stuff will come or not, but what is important is that they are allowed the time and space to learn how to incorporate good deeds and rid their lives of bad deeds.

If you can’t incorporate one habit or rid your life of one bad habit overnight (think about kicking nail biting or making exercise a habit) then why do we expect new Muslims to incorporate an entire religion that was revealed over 23 years? 

Repeat after me: I will not haram-load. I will not haram-load. I will not haram-load ...

 

Important Note: All of this also applies to raised Muslim who are just now learning to live Islam as adults. Maybe they were never taught or are trying to get back to Islam little by little. Let’s have some mercy on them, too.

 

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11 thoughts on “6 Steps to Guiding New Muslims Without Haram-Loading

  1. Are the teachings of islam should be like this??????
    My comment is coming from someone who lived among muslims for a long long time.

    1. Islam is all a list of harams, you need to live in an all muslim country to know that the word haram is on everybody’s mouth, haram this and haram that, you even think that dealing with non-muslim is haram, this is a sick way of teaching new muslims to isolate themselves.

    2. Everyone you know might think you are crazy, they might desert you, but they will not kill you for it like they do in muslim countries when someone leaves islam.

    3. The communal responsibility is the responsibility of all humans to help each other. Go to muslim countries and look for volunteers who help the muslims, they are all either Europeans or Americans, muslims do not even volunteer to help each other.

    4. If islam tells me to show empathy to only a new muslim, then islam is racist.

    5. Playing a mind game trying to convince yourself is exactly what they teach muslims in madrasas, how to be parrots and repeat after them, in other words teach them to think not to parrot.

    6. Yeah, sure teach the new muslims to be a brother/sister only to another muslim and forget the rest of the human race, since they are not muslim ignore them. That is sick.

    I would like to see how many of you will respond negatively.

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    1. You assume I’m saying only treat new Muslims and other Muslims with compassion and empathy. Where did I say that, exactly? Never did. Never will. Also because you think you know anything about “Muslim countries” does not mean you know anything about Islam. If you went to Bourbon street in New Orleans, a very Catholic city in a very Catholic state, do you think you will see Catholicism represented even though the majority of people hooking up, fighting, getting wasted, going from one strip club to the next are in fact Catholic? I lived among these people for a long time and still know the difference between what people do and what their faith teaches them to do. And please tell me again about how countries that have been devastated by colonizers and continue to be undermined by American imperialism only have “volunteers” who are from these colonizing nation. Finally, you misused the word “racist” in a logical fallacy.

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    2. Also, it’s obvious you only see what you choose since on this very blog I have written about the egregious error of apostasy laws, how so called Muslim countries have usurped Islamic law, twisted it so badly, and used it for their own greedy ends. I don’t know if you can understand how frustrating it is to spend years writing, researching and defending human rights, women’s rights against these unjust laws man made up and paraded around as Islamic. And then to have someone come on this blog and spew their bias without even reading much of what I’ve written. Well I’ll tell you. Its very frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post Corbin and as always good of you to tackle this “haram” tag issue within Muslim communities off course focusing on new Muslim converts.
    Now how this conversation has tilted towards some issues raised by another commentator here require some feedback so here we go:
    1. Not all Muslims living inside Islamic states and born into Islam are indulging in haram overloading obsessively, yes I agree that a significant % does that so generalization is not doable here.
    2. The laws of apostasy in Islam and how they are being used or misused in Islamic states are two different things. Yes majority Muslim nations go about deaths penalties, crowd justice and so on, once again this is a generalization that all of us that do that. The Islamic Sufi Movement has a lot to say on how Islam does not sanction killing a ex Muslim.
    3. This reeks of white privilege seriously? So you think US and Europe helps Muslims in Islamic countries, I have a lot to say on how that is just an fanciful idea. Check my blog on such issues. In my Muslim country and all those where I lived in M. East, Africa and among Muslim communities in Spain, Greece, Italy and Norway I have always seen how Muslims are involved in helping other Muslims and non Muslims. It all depends on socio-economic factors, there are war struck Muslims helping other Muslims whereas White WORLD is ga ga ga on “no to muslim refugees.” And once again see my blog on how Muslims are helping other third world Muslims.
    4. Islam teaches to show empathy and compassion to all humanity regardless of religion card.
    5. Madrassas are a side effect that has nothing to do with Islamic teachings but everything to do with distortion of Islamic education systems laid down by the religion. Once again, not all Muslim support, encourage and attend such parrot producing madrassas.
    6. Corbin’s post in specifically discussing matters for New Muslims, why do you need to drag it to the level by saying “its to ignore rest of humanity” is beyond my understanding.
    Your last comment is very illuminating within itself, I have experienced such reactions to my person, my blog and my writing many times. Creating a recipe where you expect negativity is bit irrational, let’s keep this space for constructive and healthy debate. Thanks a lot.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to educate this commenter. You are right, it’s a post about a very specific situation but of course those who cannot help themselves but to hate and be prejudice will conclude that others do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you and let’s see if our commentator will have some response. Islamwich has always been very focused in this work and this post is educational for both converts and others Muslims.

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