Converting is no easy issue. After the takibirs, hugs, gifts and love, one still has to go home to a large non-Muslim family base. 100 lb. dogs, homies smoking blunts, holidays, clubs, x lovers, old friends, expectations of other Muslims, marriage, financial issues and a host of issues tower over the new convert.
My idea is simple, wont take much of your time and, inshallah, if we’re sincere, can help serve our communities. What I need is your questions. My plan is to collect your questions, sit with 3-4, still unknown convert scholars fresh form overseas, research, answer and write a book providing answers that, inshallah, will support, build and encourage the new convert.
Answers will be cross checked by other towering scholars in the Muslim world, published and, inshallah, serve you. This is the first in a series of books which we plan to write that will offer functionality to our communities.
Future titles include: single parent mothers/fathers, sexuality, mothers, fathers, family,teens, high school, college, young professionals, retires [baby boomer Muslims], the arts, drugs and civic duty. Imagine a collection of fatwa written by local qualified muftis covering these topics!
Now the dice are in your hand. So start asking!
If one feels his/her questions are too personal, or too long to post on line, please email the webmaster. All names will be changed for publication in order to insure privacy.
As Salaam 'Alaykum,
I am not a convert, but I think that this is an excellent idea, and I hope it reaches fulfillment. May Allah help you to achieve this Imam Suhaib, and may He reward you and make it a source of guidance and encouragement for many!
Let me know how I can help inshaAllah!
AsSalamu Alaykum Wa Rahamatullahi Wa Barakatu.
I am no convert either, but I have many many friends that are, Most of them I have debated with and I gave them shahadah….I can give you the most common questions that they have always asked me, I don't know if that counts as something. I have two other friends right now in the process of converting inshaAllah (if that makes any since) 🙂
And MashaAllah your idea is very good. InshaAllah it will be successful! May Allah swt bless you always! Ameen!
Please post them.
Assalamu Alaikum Br. Suhaib,
MashaAllah, excellent project! It would be cool too if you asked some of the more well known convert muslim scholars to contribute short essays or stories about their time as new muslims. We see them now mature in their deen, and I think it would be inspiring and heartening to see how far they've come.
One question a lot of converts have is how to deal with the family and holidays, especially christmas. Everyone still expects you to show up at christmas, exchange presents, even go to church. What should one do? What responsibilities and duties do we have to honor our parents, while at the same time remaining true to our religion and our Lord?
This is a great idea!
this is an awesome idea!
One question is when it comes to marriage, since a converts family isnt muslim and wont exactly know how to go about it islamically how should a convert go about trying to find a marraige partner in an islamic way?
One issue that pops up often:
1) Muslims are encouraged to keep-up family ties, however- oftentimes family events with non-Muslims (reunions, picnics, birthdays, etc) will involve alcohol consumption or loud music/dancing. Which takes precedence: keeping up family ties, or avoiding these haram activities by not attending?
Assalamu alaikum Shaykh,
I think this is a great idea! I think that this would benefit all Muslims, not just the converts. I would encourage people who were born muslims to read this since it might help bridge the gap and allow for better understanding. Work like this could empower our communities to better serve those that have converted.
Jazakallahu Khair and May Allah reward you for your efforts and increase you in good.
MashaAllah, beautiful idea. may Allah grant you tawfeeq in completing this project and make it beneficial for our brothers and sisters.
what if you are a muslim by birth, and you have a brother and a sister, and the brother becomes revert to a christian or another religion? Can you still live with him? what is our attitude towards him, if he is arrogant to keep away from his religion? Can mom and sister still live in the same house without hijaab?
Basically the fiqh of converting out of Islam in The West, and how practicing Muslims should handle such things.
Which method of prayer should I follow?
Which organization, madhab should i join?
I converted about 2 and a half years ago and here are some of the questions that have come up since my conversion:
1. What are some resources, both online or in my local area, to help me as a new Muslim learn my Fard 'Ayn (Obligatory Knowledge)? What are some techniques I can use to help me differentiate between what Islamic information online is accurate, valid and mainstream and what is false, biased or fringe/extremist. Where can I get trustworthy Islamic information?
2. My parents are, unfortunately, republicans who watch FOX News religiously. How can I explain my conversion to them when they've been so indoctrinated with the Islamophobic views of the extreme right wing?
3. Isn't it true that according to Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah one should be of either Ash'ari or Maturidi Aqeedah and follow one of the Four Madhabs (Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanafi, Hanbali) under the tutelage of a Shaykh of Fiqh and Aqeedah? Is it also true that it's recommended to join a Tariqa and take a qualified Shaykh of Tasawwuf? How is it justified for other Muslims, including scholars, not to follow Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah in Aqeedah, Madhab or Tariqa?
4. What can I do when born Muslims who practice cultural Islam, which many times incorporates unIslamic practices, try to correct me when they see I'm not practicing Islam exactly like them? How can I, using adab, inform Muslims, who are many times ignorant of their own deen, that the Islam they learned and have been practicing, many times from their parents, is incorrect? Should I even bother when there are so many brothers and sisters that don't even know, for example, what a madhab is or what is fard in the prayer?
5. How can I keep from being discouraged when I see so many unIslamic practices and non-practicing Muslims in Muslim majority countries? When I see corruption, incorrect implementation of Shari'a, drugs, prostitution, unIslamic cultural practices, oppression, racism, the caste system and the myriad of other problems that are so contrary to the teaching of Islam I am disheartened. How can one rationalize the disconnect between the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the way Islam is practiced these days?
I have a question…
I am a sister about to get married inshAllah and my father is actively involved in the marriage process. So when it comes down to the Nikkah ceremony, can he still get to be involved even though he is not Muslim? It would be awkward for him to see another man (the shaykh) act as my wali instead of my him… I too want my father to act as my guradian in the marriage too, since he has been my guardian my whole life- not the shaykh.
For all converts these two letters are a brilliant introduction and summary of the issues one will have to deal with. please have a read:
Fantastic project requiring tremendous effort.
I'm sure many of us have experienced this to a certain extent, either as converts or spouses of converts. Insha' Allah you'll be granted success and may he grant you reward based on your intentions.
Yes! And how do you explain to your spouse the importance of maintaining family ties and possibly attending these functions?
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
First off, I want to thank you for undertaking such a project. I converted about 3 years ago, and I have always appreciated the points of view of convert scholars (not to put down those born into Islam) as they are often more perceptive to the situations converts are put into. I have a few questions:
1. How does one choose a madhhab? My impression has been that one chooses a madhhab based on the madhhab followed by scholars in your area… However, when there are multiple madhahib being followed by scholars in one's area, does one select based on one's preference? Or should one take certain rulings into consideration when selecting a madhhab (for example, my family own two young, very hairy, large dogs who want to lick and jump upon everything, leaving hair almost literally everywhere; should I then become a maliki, when there are only very few maliki scholars around)? What other factors should be taken into consideration?
2. What can be done by Muslims to affect change in their political situation? Do great differences of opinion exist when it comes to politics? My impression, from reading works of fiqh and asking some scholars in my area, is that, essentially, the Muslims must wait until the tyrants ruling their countries die, and then hope for someone better to take his/her place – is passivism the political doctrine of Islam?
3. I have read, in Reliance of the Traveller (translation by Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller section w12.2), that one should follow the strongest position in one's school. However, sometimes, the strongest position in the school may seem strange, antiquated, etc. to non-Muslims. Oftentimes, when doing talking to non-Muslims about Islam on my college campus, Muslims present minority opinions to explain away seemingly harsh opinions (such as those regarding apostasy or taking/making pictures). So, we are put in a situation where we must follow the strongest opinion, but due to its strangeness to Western values, we either avoid the subject or offer minority opinions when doing da'wa. Is it permissible to offer minority opinions in response to questions from non-Muslims?
4. I apologize for the trivial nature of this next question, but I thought only a convert scholar would understand – Although I am nearly 21, I can't grow a beard. I can grow sideburns, but letting my sideburns grow looks pretty ridiculous. Can I use an electric razor to shave my sideburns? Also, is there any difference, in Islamic law, between shaving with a razor (which gets very close) and shaving with an electric shaver (which does not cut the hair so close)?
First off, thank you for undertaking this task, may Allah grant you success. I converted to Islam about 3 years ago, and there are a few questions that have always nagged me:
1. How does one choose a madhhab? My impression is that one selects based on the scholars in one's area, but if there are many scholars representing different madhahib, how then does one choose? Should one take certain rulings into consideration (for example, my family has two large, young dogs who are very hairy and lick everything, should I then become Maliki, even though there are few Maliki scholars in my area and even fewer resources for following that madhhab)? What other factors should one take into consideration?
2. What can Muslims living under oppressive government do to change their political situation? My impression is that they are basically required to wait until the tyrant dies, and then hope someone better takes his/her place… is passivism the political doctrine of Islam?
3. I have read, in Reliance of the Traveller (translated by Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller section w12.2) that we are required to follow the strongest opinions of the madhhab we adhere to. However, sometimes these opinions may seem very strange or outdated to non-Muslims living in the west (for example, the rulings that apply to apostates). Sometimes minority opinions exist which are more in line with western values. Many times, on my college campus, we present these minority opinions when challenged by non-Muslims regarding these rulings. Is it permissible to use minority opinions when answering questions raised by non-Muslims, even though we ourselves are required to follow the strongest opinions? Or are we not required to follow the strongest opinions?
PS I apologize if my post appears twice on the website as the first time I wrote it, it didn't appear so I tried again.
I believe these questions/answers should be compiled on a website for non-Muslims in the west. This is exactly what is needed to get those converts who do no have easy access to mosques for other Muslims for whatever reason to be able to join an online forum and have scholarly guidance on issues SPECIFIC to new Muslims.
Maybe there is a site or two, do mention them.
One of my very good friends is a convert, and so is her sister. They are from the UK, and because of the very strong anti-Muslim press, their mother is very much against their decision and even sees it as a betrayal of the way she has brought them up. While my friend's sister has continued to practice Islam despite her mother's oftentimes harsh objections, this has led their mother to even further deny that my friend has accepted Islam. So my friend cannot actively practice Islam in front of her mother, and has to pray quickly and secretly if she is ever in the house, and would never be able to wear the hijab as this would, in my friend's words, 'kill' her mother.
What advice could one give and what would be the islamic legal standpoint?
As salaam alaikum.
How do I not lose identity? Whenever I do stuff I like, I'm not as a Muslim I can't do that. I have a friend that is literally trying to follow everything by the book and is constantly surrounding herself with Muslims. While there's nothing wrong with that, she's trying to drag me into it as well. I'm not a particularly social person and I've always had trouble making friends especially with people I don't have anything in common with. The only common thing I and many other Muslims around have in common is the fact that we are Muslims. It's really hard. I can't hang out with my old friends and I don't want to hang out with other Muslims because I feel bored. My Muslim friends are like the majority of things I do is haraam like, watching anime or stuff. Okay, I know I'm not perfect but there are a lot of things I'm just not ready to give up yet. How do I deal with other Muslims who pressure to give up my lifestyle? I'm not married, I have no children. If I listen to them, I'll be staring at the wall all the day. No music, no television unless it's Islamic, no going to clubs/bars/or any place that sells alcohol, no dancing, no singing, no acting silly! I can't even get some Muslim women to come exercise with me!
No one told me that being Muslim was equivalent to being in prison…. I feel lied too actually. And very bored and angry at my Muslim friends. All they talk about is being married and having children and going to school. And all they do is eat. Being Muslim is not fun – not fun at all.
How can I refrain from being perceived as the “crazy, bakwarded, anti-(family) traditions, anti-normalcy” Muslim in front of my family without compromising the truth?? My phase of trying to follow the deen correctly began in college, walhamdulillah, It's been fairly easy trying to do this away from home. I generally tend to say what I feel straight up when asked why I'm not going to the club, or any other questionable act that–to non-muslims–seem harmless (and these are friends I had when I did engage in these acts). However, this becomes a problem when I get home. I find myself refraining from answering questions straightly. For example, the regular question that's asked jokingly in families of my background is “so how about the girls? any girlfriends? how come?”. To a friend, i would explain my answer with relative ease. But to my family, I find it hard and I kind of just say “no, I'm not interested in that right now, school is my girlfriend, (cheesy laughter)”. I know it's a cop out. It took a year and a half to spit the answer out just to one sibling of mine. I have five (two of which are Christians via my stepmother). Other issues include growing the beard, gender relations, etc..issues that many people just don't see as issues of religion (even Muslims in from my background). I think I'm worried that they might think I've gone “too far”, or I'm just not me anymore (i suppose converts must go through the same). The problem is, this has to come up sooner or later, because as of now, a music-blaring, gender-intermingling wedding party is expected, and it would be a huge failure on my part to say something then.
I can think of lots of questions… some that have been my own, and some that I've heard from others.
1) Is it allowed for a person to conceal their Islam from their parents/siblings/spouse, for fear of how they will react? What if that means missing obligatory prayers, or not covering one's hair (for a woman)?
2) If a woman's family refuses to allow her to attend their gatherings after she has embraced Islam if she covers her hair (but they allow her if she uncovers), should she refuse to attend, or should she attend and uncover in order to maintain the ties and try to ease them into accepting her hijab?
3) May a new convert begin to learn the prayer in their native language and follow that immediately with Arabic so that they know the meaning of what they are praying first? Or, how should a new convert start praying, when they don't know any Arabic?
4) If a woman converts to islam and is not married, if she travels would a brother, son, or father count as mahram for you? Would such a woman be able to travel (inside the country) in general without a mahram?
5) Do converts need to change their given names to something Arabic? Is it better to do so, even if they don't have to?
6) Does a woman who converts to Islam while married to a non-Muslim need to divorce him?
7) Are converts eligible for zakat money, and under what circumstances?
8) Are women allowed inside the mosque if they aren't covering their hair?
9) How can a new convert know which scholars to follow, or which books to read, to avoid following a “deviant” path?
10) Why can't a woman pray while she is menstruating? May she touch the Qur'an?
11) If a community is large and/or the imam refuses to help women in finding a spouse, how is a woman who has converted to Islam supposed to find a (good) husband? (Or a man, to find a wife?)
12) How much about Islam is it necessary for a person to learn after converting? If the person doesn't know any Muslims, how can he learn while avoiding teachings from deviant sects?
That's all I can think of right now, as some other questions I might have posted have been asked by others.
Wa alaykum salaams wa rahmatullah Sister,
As a convert I've also had simliar experiences. You don't have to leave all of your old friends. I still have many non-Muslim friends. If I were to cut them off with a 'holier than thou' attitude, what kind of dawah would that be? It might alienate them even further. So long as they don't vehemently oppose your faith, or ask you to do anything unlawful, you can keep ties with them.
As far as your Muslim friends claiming that most of what you do is haraam, just ask qualified people about these issues. Ask trustworthy, educated individuals in matters pertaining to deen, and never feel embarassed or ashamed. The Prophet(saw) in a close meaning said, “There is no shyness in matters of religion.” This deen was not meant to be a burden to us, and you should not be made to feel overwhelmed. Do we struggle? Yes, but these changes surely don't come overnight. Kindly remind your brothers and sisters that you are new to this religion. Perhaps they were born into it, and can't quite relate to the changes you're experiencing. We all have good intentions, but we have to be gentle, and non-judgemental especially with converts. I've personally seen a number of brothers driven away because of overzealous individuals, who probably didn't mean any wrong. May Allah(swt) protect us.
Find out what is fard[obligatory] upon you, and just start there. Anything beyond that, you aren't obliged to do. When that becomes easy, you may find yourself wanting to do more. But for the time being just take small steps, and ask Allah(swt) above all else for help.
And don't let anyone tell you that there is no room for fun, or silliness in Islam. Our own Prophet(pbuh) had food fights with his wives! He even raced with S. Aisha(rah), several times according to certain hadiths. We are human, and we need room to breathe. There's a time for seriousness, and a time for laughter. In Islam, we try to strike a balance, inshaAllah.
Please Sister, don't judge Islam by the state of the Muslims…We have many faults and shortcomings, and many of us have too much dunya in our hearts. You never have to give up your identity, stay true to who you are. Islam is just as much yours as it is anyone else's.
Please forgive any of my mistakes, and correct them if I've given wrong information…
May Allah(swt) protect us, and protect our Iman, inshaAllah
How can I truly embrace Islam when I am surrounded by drugs, alcohol, cursing and arguing non-muslims addicted to nicotine and hip-hop completely destroying my Imaan. (there's no moving out, these are my kids i'm talking about)… HELP!! If there were a Khalifah somewhere on a deserted island i'd run away! It's soooo hard but Alhamdullilah I keep praying and hoping for the best but at times my Imaan is shattered by it. My sisters don't understand because they don't have these problems…
Not all Muslims are like that. Everyone I know goes to the movies, plays Rockband, goes out to restaurants (and they all sell alcohol but we don't order it), and has non-Muslim friends also. That doesn't mean you have to stop praying and reading quran, or start eating pork or drinking. You can still refrain from backbiting, and you can do charitable deeds, do dawah, etc. I find people with kids boring in general, no matter what religion they are. All they ever talk about is kids.
Becoming Muslim has it's ups and downs and I wish I knew alot now what I didn't know then which would of made practicing Islam alot easier for me with all the do's and don'ts but what I'm having problems with is that I have a huge sexual appetite and I need my fix on a regular basis. I'm not really considered marriage material around the mosque but I can pull hella girls outside the mosque. Ladies and blunts is my issues for sure.
As-salaamualaykum wa rahmatullah.
Many of us know the well-known answers for a lot of questions. I think what we need is hikmah and cultural awareness combined with a deep knowledge of the religion.
I know that I shouldn't sit with someone drinking alcohol. How should this ruling be applied if it means sitting in my father's home where he may drink a class of wine with his dinner. It is his home. He cooks either halal meat or fish when I come and makes a point to respect my religious practices. He also provides a room in his house for me to pray when I visit.
I remember reading something from our beloved shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah on this topic. How about if my children accompany me to visit their grandfather? Once he visited my home and brought wine, I wasn't shy to tell him that wasn't acceptable to bring to a Muslim home. However, I am shy to tell him not to drink in his own non-Muslim home.
How should one conduct oneself if a close non-Muslim relative dies? Should we attend the funeral or wake?
How should one conduct oneself is a close non-Muslim relative (like your brother) is getting married? Should we attend the ceremony (in a church) or reception?
How should one conduct oneself in relation to non-Muslim religious holidays? Many Muslims treat non-Muslim cultural holdiays with great disdain. How should we regard these holidays?
When living in the West, it can be sometimes difficult to pray every prayer in its proper time. For example, during the winter months prayers are very close together and this may make things difficult especially when one is out of his home. What is the ruling on combining prayers for situations like these?
Sometimes Muslims used to tell me not to put my money in the bank (even in a non-interest checking account). They didn't offer me a better place to keep except under my bed. It was also mentioned that a credit card is totally prohibited. It may be very useful if you need to rent a car or stay in a hotel. What is the ruling on this?
How should Muslims dress in the West? I feel most of the time it is not a good idea to wear “Islamic” clothing like a thawb but better for the Muslim and dawah to dress in modest culturally appropriate clothing, what is your opinion on this matter?
What shoud be our main priorities when we become Muslim? What would be a good first book that can help us learn the basic beliefs and practices of Islam? What are a short list of a few must have books for a new Muslim?
These are a few questions. As I think of more, I will post them insha Allah.
Is it okay to have health insurance? This is another issue I was advised against upon converting to Islam.
What about the issue of isbal (lowering garment below the ankle)? Shaykh Yasir Qadhi had a really nice discussion on the issue (on Islam Channel) around a month ago. I would love to see this discussion in written form.
What about the issue of having a beard and the length of it? A nice overview of the issue would be great for new converts.
What about hijab and niqab? Should Muslim women wear niqab in the West? Is it a bad idea and perhaps dangerous? How should Muslim women dress in the West? Perhaps, a black abaya wouldn't work well for many of them. How can you encouage a new Muslim woman to dress modestly and correctly without totally feeling estranged?
How is music viewed in Islam? I know that most madhahib don't approve of musical instruments. However, I have heard that the Maliki madhab has a more liberal position on the issue. Maybe this would help new converts understand the whole issue. Afterall, most of us come from backgrounds that really enjoy music?
How about the issue of slavery in islam? Many new Muslims may not understand the existence of slavery in Islamic history and equate with the slavery that occured in the US?
What about wiping over regular socks? There is a lot of confusion on this issue. More Salafi orientated scholars fully endorse the practice yet some more traditional madhab based scholars seem to be against it and insist on leather socks. I have read that the Hanbali madhab fully endorses wiping over regular cotton socks with the one condition that they are not see-through and cover up to the ankles.
What about taking an Islamic first name? Is is a good idea? How about changing your family name? Is it prohibited?
What about inheriting from a non-Muslim relative? How about if you are named in your non-Muslim relative's will?
How about the issue of your lineage? What is you were born out of wedlock but grew up knowing your father? What if you were conceived in zina but born into marriage? Can we ascribe ourselves to our fathers?
A few more questions.
What about circumcision? For men (and women)??
How should a new Muslim convert go about getting married?
How does one deal with unrelated members of the opposite sex? How does one deal with unrelated members of the opposite sex that one must interact with?
I think this book should have been written 20 years ago or at least 15 years ago. It's so sad it has taken this long for these issues to be dealt. Although I love idea of this book I'm deeply disheartening by questions being asked by fellow commenters. Many of same questions have been asked many times before and it's so sad to see so many people still deal with same issues.
Many of questions come from converts (like us all) who don't have an understanding of purpose of Islamic rituals and principles. If they (we, I) did we wouldn't need to ask such questions..How long should a beard be ..can you pray in your native language until you learn the prayer in arabic.
If one understood the purpose of action then they would clearly see how and what actions fulfill this purpose of not.
So how long should beard be? What's purpose of a man having beard? You understand that you'll know the answer to the original question. And if one can't figure it out on their own there's always the alim to help them out. Islamic principles are not so undigestable and understandable one needs bow down to religious person figure out what's the right course of action in most situations. Which why in Islam we don't priests or rabbis. Only teachers and judges.
In closing i hope this book answers these questions in a clear concise manner. Not “hadith hurl” as Shaykh Muhammad Al Ghazali refer to it. Bringing forth hadith to proof correctness of a position is one thing. Doing so without fully explaining the overall purpose and principle of actions indicated those hadith is another thing. Which what routinely happens by scholars.The overall message being the Prophet did such as action and you must follow action to the letter and without question or understanding.
I could go on but you get my meaning.
However I would add I would like to see section dealing upon the difference between imitating the Prophet and emulating him. I love how brother Faheem Shuibe touches upon this subject here:
If many converts were taught this at time of convert many wouldn't have the problems we are dealing with.
It took me awhile (8yrs) to realize I needed “more” than just the minimal, MINIMAL, basics of Islam. A check list of sorts would be great for what comes next. It would be very helpful to have this list put into order by priority. I have trouble figuring out what to work on first, and then get very disorganized and loose steam. Having a prioritized list of sorts would help keep things reasonable.
One important thing for converts to have help with is when they get depressed by all the fitnah around them, which may be part of a typical “funk” that happens to all of us after some time. Disillusionment. This has been one of my motivators to try and refresh my deen, but prior to choosing the right direction, I nearly gave up on Islam. When you are in such a state, it is not helpful being told you are Kuffar just for thinking or questioning things you have issues with….FYI for anyone who is totally secure in their deen.
I wasn't too aware of the diversity of Muslim thought, but as I tried to learn more I realized that there were differences–madhabs, wahabi, sufi, cultural, submitters, quranists, etc. It is frustrating to try and place yourself in the right hands (if at all) to get help to make sense of it all without hating or dismissing others. I can see it being dangerous to even try and define the pros and cons of each, and their intentions, but on the other hand it would have been helpful to have a better idea knowing what's what, and which fatwas to take. Dangerous because it might just foster more animosity amongst Muslims, and more detrimental to a new Muslim who might jump to conclusions too quickly and loose their friends. Again, perhaps this is a learning process that is unique to each new Muslim, and you just have to sift through all of it on your own to find your place.
More subtle and considerate advice needs to be geared towards converts and their dealings with their non-muslim families. Some of the best advice has come from Imam Luqman in Sacramento. I am not sure that many scholars who were born Muslim, know the reality of converts living in the U.S. It needs a totally different way of thinking about things.
is it OK to but around alcolhol if your family drinks? what if they are always drinking and it would be impossible to be around them if not.
what about if you family has dogs – how do we get around this.
basically where do we draw the line between maintaining ties with the family and avoiding haram?
There is a group of Muslims in the north of England that have produced material for converts.
Might be worth getting in touch with them.
Salam, As a new convert after a while all the things one has to do in Arabic with as yet no understanding of why.. gets wearing.. If anyone has seen the movie Hook.. when Peter (robin williams) sits down with the lost boys and they are all eating with their imagination and he is looking at an empty table. He needed their help to use his mind to see the vast amount of food available for the taking but so often the new convert dies of starvation because no one is available to help them see the feast..
I wish someone would write about the fact that if you are a new muslim woman they all try to get you married. Without ALL the understanding of what goes into marriage most find them self struggling, not only with married life but understanding the basics of religion.There is so much that goes on in that first year or so that someone should really be looking out for all these new muslims instead of dropping them off in the masjid to either sink or swim.
My next topic that I would love to see someone write about is once the rose colored glasses come off and you realize(5-10) years later that Islam is perfect but muslims are not. So many of us converts struggle here in the usa , with our kids , families,coworkers,ect. That it's easy to lose site of that which we first saw as beautiful.I have been struggling for three years since my convert husband left islam and the only books I could seem to find that are there to help are the 3 by Jeffery Lang.I couldn't even find any dialog on- line! Please write for us who are here in the non- muslim society fighting to stay on our deen.Fighting the staytan.We need advice. sometimes it is somthing someone says that is so simple but so helpful.When you feel lost sometimes your not sure where to look to find the answers you need and with new muslims sometimes your to embarassed to ask thinking the question might not be understood or might seem foolish. My Allah guide you in writing this book.
I had another burning comment to add. I am not sure how to even bring it up or ask… As a non-muslim, you may have had many gay friends. You may have grown up thinking it is normal, and that it is healthy to be “out” rather than keep such things hidden. Then you become muslim, and have to start changing your mindset, deal tactfully with friends, gradually figure out a way to put distance between you and them…etc… As much as I can believe that this is haram, I still have a hard time accepting that some people are not born that way—-and why would Allah even put a person in such a predicament? This is such an unmentionable topic, I have never been able to hash out and process any of it. I fence sit between being horrified by such things as the first Gay marriage in Morocco, and wondering how negative it is to ask people (who sincerely believe they are gay) to repress themselves. I am not quite sure how to put things in perspective these days…
I am an American female convert, married to a Turkish Muslim (not secular, actually practices). We have a son who is almost 2. I don't have a specific question, but rather a situation that I believe many other converts share. I often run into an uncomfortable and patronizing attitude in various Muslim circles. Unless a halaqa is primarily comprised of American born Muslims, I can expect to have my comments, questions, opinions and knowledge discounted or responded to with an extra gentleness and overly basic content, or curtly shut down. This is by no means my universal experience, but I have never encountered this kind of diminishing response except in Muslim circles. My Arabic is by no means perfect and I am not a scholar of an Islamic science, but my Arabic is not non-existent and I have more than a decade of studying Islam behind me, though not always rigorously. Aside from that, I have a lifetime of believing in God and my lifestyle didn't require any major changes to conform to Islamic ideals. Believe it or not, long skirts and long sleeves were already my wardrobe, completely separate from an interest in Islam. Christianity does not leave its adherents high and dry spiritually and morally.
I also find it deeply worrying to frequently encounter what amounts to a serious lack of intellectual integrity when discussing religion. There is a lot of fear regarding honest inquiry–Why not question a scholar? Why not investigate the validity of rulings from different madhabs? Why not seriously study the history of the Muslim world and try to make sense of its mistakes within a religious context and rejoice at instances of justice, freedom, and beauty? Why not try to sift through the intersections of culture and religion? Why not at least consider that some practices are not necessarily religious, but rather religiously inspired rulings, purely from human hands? Why not question and/or discard hadiths from respected collections (i.e., Bukhari, Muslim) that contradict the Qu'ran? A willingness to challenge is not a symptom of a lack of faith, but rather a love for the Faith. I want Islam to be accessible for people in America in general, not just those who have the time, academic training/ability and cultural chuzpah to adopt it as one's own. In order for this to happen, it needs to make sense, it needs to be open to scrutiny, to not have unnecessary roadblocks that trip people up and there needs to be a space that respects the integrity of the best aspects of American culture so that people can be themselves.
Aside from details such as beards or no beards, what does hijab really mean and whether or not people should listen to music, embracing Islam does not effect any more changes in lifestyle than converting to a conservative denomination of Christianity (Salat is an obvious difference, but some forms of Christianity have something similar, i.e., reciting the Hours). I would venture to say that the greatest difficulty is not that one is encouraged to dress more modestly, to give up alcohol or to remain chaste (although these might be so for individuals), but it is the superficial reception from the Muslim community as a whole. If someone is interested in converting to a new religion for other than political or social reasons, she is usually looking for depth and truth. How can we, as Americans, create a community that provides this without requiring that we adopt another country's culture to feel like we belong? How can we address the fear of questions or drawing conclusions based on one's own knowledge if not a scholar? After all, everyone is drawing their own conclusions, making their own decisions, even if it is to follow a madhab to the best of one's ability, but people don't want to see it that way. The intellectual approach in this culture makes it difficult to just sit and memorize what comes from someone else's mind, especially if it seems lacking.
Overall, please address how to handle cultural conflicts within the Muslim community, intellectual integrity and the American enthusiasm for questioning. Also, address the fact that not everyone is dramatically changing their life when they become Muslim. Yes, there are changes and inevitably we will learn an often (to us) new aspect of world history, but it's not always a rescue case.
I knew what I was getting into when I officially converted (part of why I didn't before three years ago) so did not have the rush experience many converts experience, but I have known quite a few women who immediately start wearing clothes from another culture (sure, why not, but it's not about religion) and who leap into marriages, harm their relationship with their families because of culture, not religion and then later on down the road, are terribly disillusioned. If a person is looking for community along with religion, it's a lonely road for a convert.
Sr. Aischa, my wife is in the same predicement and I hope this answer will help a little bit with your thought process about this.
Neurogenetically speaking there is no such a gene as “gay” gene no matter how much they talk about it in the media. Geneticist will tell you that you have, and this is based on Drosophila studies, a “sex” gene. We are born with sexual desire but that desire whether is for man or woman is formed by post-translational modification.
Meaning the “sex” protein produced is influenced by the actions of the person.
Always remember, لا يكلف الله نفسا الا وسعها (Allah will not burden a soul more than it can handle) and will never create you with a defect and then ask you to overcome it.
Allah knows best
asalam alaykum i was born muslim and i am more proud of my convert brothers and sisters because i believe that allah has hand selected you guys. you guys really study the deen before hand. wallahi i have seen some convert brothers and sister that mashallhapractice the deen so beautifully i just say subhanallah. my first advice is that the daily dikhrs are life savers especially the ones after fajr and the one after asr prayer. Cds by shaykh muhammad yaqoubi are really good because he tells you specific dhikrs with beautiful stories that inspire you so when my iman gets low i try him. go to a website called islamic tube and it has alot of good lectures also go on light upon light and that website also has good lectures. for working on your heart try hamza yusufs purification of the heart and his others lectures they will soften your heart and inspire you. shaykh anwar awlaki has alot of stories of the prophets and the prophet muhammad and heavan and hell and umar khattab and abubakr siddiq. his stuff is like story telling you will love it. just type in islamic bookstore and under audio their stuff will pop up and you could order online. as far as books Dar us salam books which is also a website has many islamic books in english translated from the arabic it has biographies of the prophet pbuh and the sahaba and you will find so much islamic material written in english and now they even have arabic hadith books translated into english. there is also you tube islam. you could also go on zaytuna website and they have podcasts and lectures and also classes. please email me if you need to talk i would be more than happy to try my best to help you inshallah you will do fine. wassalam
Your question are good, mashAllah.
I have myself similar questions. Well I am a woman and all the issues related to traveling, and independence from family are important to me!
Hope they will be answer; inshAllah.
I am a born muslim!!!. I know lots of muslims who are not fully practicing or half time or quarter time muslims who were born into the faith but people are less concerned about them than those reverted to islam. Why do we expect the reverts or converts to be perfect all the time while while we dont expect that much from old/born muslims?
I like all of us to be perfect to get the best in this dunya and akhira. Dont get me wrong !!! But don't we see sometime double standards in looking at old and new muslims. Are we justified in doing so?. May be one may say new muslims have searched and studied before they arrived at the truth and so they should have greater convictions while old muslims are born into the faith.. Well not sure I am thinking right though. We also have old muslims who were born into the faith but realized the beauty of islam later in their life and they not much different from the reverts. So the classification of old and new muslims may be not appropriate at all, is my point I think…
May allah guide us all and bring us all in the Jennah and make our life this dunya easy for us to pass the test of life and get Allah's ridha insha allah. For new muslims and old muslims I say I love you and keep up the good work in fighting the shaitan and we are all in the same struggle and no point in differentiating between us as there is no basis for doing that,. Only islamic criteria for any difference should be 'inna akramakum indallahi atqakum'.
Allah knows best.
I believe you have greatly overstated the issue here. Converts are just that – people who were once another religion entirely and have come to Islam of their own volition. No one has made a distinction in this “born vs. convert” but you and that is unfortunate.
Every group of people have specific needs and up until recently no one was addressing them. People were coming back from Pakistan and Saudi with fatawa SPECIFIC to their region, their particular situation and trying to apply them here (I'm in the US). It was a hot mess and is what has many convert muslims half-way crazy with their deen and their families.
Brother Suhaib, I have no questions for you to ask. Thinking back to so long ago, I guess the biggest question I would have asked would have been about attending college – going to college on a partial scholarship/student loans. That was my biggest issue. Second would have been traveling without a mahram to study the deen overseas – at least viable options could be suggested; i.e. places that have a “women's dormitory” like the sister school to Dar al-Mustafa – Zahra.
The other non fatwa related questions were how to wear hijab, how to pray, how to go to the masjid when no khutbah,class,'welcome party' was in English, how to avoid 5percenters, Ansaars turned Nubian cowboys (now defunct alhumdulillah!) and the biggest……Salafiyyah – and stay in the middle; you know the regular.
May Allah make this a worthwhile and beneficial project Ameen.
In the name of Allah Arrahman Arrahim,
I'm a convert myself, I embraced Islam about 13 years ago, I'm 32 now. I'm from Belgian origin, and I am teaching at Sunnipath Academy at the moment, and I think this academy provides a lot of useful information (not mentioning this to make any way of publicity ) but it has a nice question and answer forum where well educated people answer questions. (this is completely free) : )
The answers have been published on the following link:
May Allah bless you all,
Sulayman Van Ael
Actually, my experience has ben the exact opposite.. most converts I know looked up to the born muslims and were nitpicked half to death by born muslims. Neither should be the case, both groups need to have patience with each other and to know that everyone is on their own path to Islam and are at different stages of development. The main problem you might be seeing is the point of time where the “new” muslim becomes disallusioned by the fact that yes, born muslims are just as prone tomaking mistakes as the rest of humanity and no one is completely comfortable on the pedistal. Too easy to fall off… Born Muslims tend to mix up Traditions with the Deen of Islam and when they explain the traditions to a new muslim the new muslim might well be taken aback and wonder where “that” came from… Some portions of Islam are better left for later too.. For me the idea of Jinn, seems like the stories of Ghosts I grew up on… Very hard to believe but not something I would leave the Deen over. I choose not to concentrate on that aspect of Islamic thought as it is a definate stumbling block for me and rather than cause brain fitnah over it, I leave it as one of those things i am not prepared in Iman for yet.. This type of issue is where new and born muslims often butt heads.. I can't tell you the number of time a born muslim (my husband included) would explain to me something and would be offended when I asked how do you know this is true are you sure thats deen? I grew up with one set of stories and my husband has become actually angry when I try to compare what I grew up knowing to what he knows in order to have a distinction between the common stories..
Anyway I am wandering in my thoughts … In essence What I am trying to say is that born muslims have an advantage, God blessed you with being born into a muslim home.. Those of us who are new muslims are babies in your world and go through all the stages of development a child goes through as they mature in high speed (can be very difficult time and very confusing). The one you seem to be noticing is the teen stage.. the one where you think you know it all, and have boundless arrogance to match.. This stage passes fast but just as trying to take a teen down a notch just alienates them so too trying to take a new muslim in this stage down can cause a lot of damage. Kindness goes a long way… when they finally reach the adult stage of realizing that all they thought they knew was a drop in the bucket, they will remember the kindness and patience of the older muslims and spend a lifetime making Dua for them..
Asalaam alaikum,im a revert and still learning with each day Alhamdulillah but one question never get clear answer:if your a muslim revert and move to another country with your husband to be near his family who other than your husband would be her mahram?non of my family muslim and they'd be in different country&realistically cant alway go out with husband if he works.jazakallah khayra
I would like to begin by thanking you for providing this opportunity to raise questions. I am a recent convert to Islam of around two years, and, coming from an intolerant Catholic family, this has proven to be a difficult and lonely endeavor. I am going to graduate school for Urban Planning in London in the fall and I have decided who inshAllah I want to marry. My great fear is that my parents won’t bless me and wish ill upon me. Although they are educated people, they have enormous amounts of ignorance about Islam, as they equate it with the “religion of the terrorist” in thoughts and deeds. My question is, in this holy month of ramadan, how do I go about forgiving my parents for their ignorance? Why have my parents wished ill upon my marital plans when they should be blessing me? To me this has bern the most difficult part of converting. How can one honestly honor one’s parents if they have next to no respect for your decisions in life?
May Allah’s blessing be upon you all
Hello and Salaam wa alaykum!
My name’s Daniel and I have recently returned to the path of acceptance of God’s/Allah’s Will.
The suggestions & topics that NEEEEEEEEED to be addressed urgently, in my estimation, are:
– Name changes when you convert/revert (this ties in with identity and bridging the gap with your family when you convert/revert.
– Family relations with non-Muslim family
– The divisions that are in the Ummah (very serious and almost killed my Niyah)
– The history of our planet (many people are guided by scientific theories and when they convert/revert, they don’t lose those theories easily)
– Human evolution and other humanoids who died out (Neanderthals). Where does one draw the line on human beings and their collective history? This is very important, and unfortunately I found that some brothers were not patient enough when I asked these types of questions. May Allah make me and them patient.
– Culture and Islam >> Major League Question for many converts/reverts.
I have many more that I’ve sub-divided into groups and connected them for easier reading for the convert/revert.
I also teach English and come from a strong literary English background (both parents). I am studying English at university and I write a lot in my own capacity. If I can volunteer whatever abilities the Lord of the Throne has given me, then I hope I can be of assistance.
One question though: Where is the contact address for the website? Can I email you my email address?
With the warmest of greetings,
Your (new) brother on the path of tranquil surrender,
I think this is a great idea. I am starting on my conversion and this would help a great deal, considering that my entire family is christian and I will have no support from them. Having a resource to go to, in my position, not having much to go to, would be great.
God bless you for taking the time to help others who need it.
Jazakh Allah Khairun!
I am a convert Muslima born and raised in America. I took my Shahada in June 2007-A7hamdulillah!
I was laughing at the reference to “homies smoking blunts, clubs, x lovers,” ect.
It was really funny. You are keeping it real. It’s true. Converts face these issues, and I am no different. SO how do you go from a culture of excess into a more Islamic and balanced way of living? I have no answers. I am struggling. It is not easy. But A7hamdulillah, Allah guides me. I have made a few small positive changes in my life. I hope to make more.
Thank you, and please, keep making Da’wah.
Your sister in Islam,
great idea ma sha Allah.
My broad questions are about:
1) female converts without walis (and when I approached the local masjid imam with the thought that he was my wali because I had read that in the books – well that was a joke).
2) finding a real sense of community and real friends
3) raising up muslim kids whose family, school and environment is practically all non-muslim
4) how to have the “first” conversations with old friends, family, neighbors etc. about being muslim
Since many of our issues have a wide variety of proper responses to it, it might be good to also include anecdotes from non-scholars about how they have dealt with the issue.
For example, give a few stories of how folks have dealt with Christmas. I’m sure there are a variety of ways of dealing with it, and a variety of responses from non-muslim relatives.
I also think there should be latitude and circumspection on these things. Our families are all different. Our regional differences are there. Etc. I don’t think there’s 1 version of america or the american family that we come out of, so that has to be taken into consideration.
I know many converts have issues about being told not to celebrate christmas at all, to break ties with relatives, etc. and then had problems with offended family members. i had the opposite experience.
I was literally screamed at with what I can only describe as hatred by the imam – who was foreign and never celebrated x-mas in his life, and had no christian relatives – because I had told my parents I was not celebrating x-mas with them. He berated me about showing my parents disrespect, etc. No doubt he had me labeled as some kind of fanatic.
But actually, my parents had been really cool about the whole thing. There had been no rift between myself and my parents. In my america, folks like to be told straight. Straight talk IS politeness. It was not like they were unaware I had become muslim, and they were engaged in the process of understanding where I was coming from as a muslim.
But then I did an about-face because of this imam. One year, I found myself in a harried state, dragging the kids around the mall, humming the x-mas tunes blasting out of the speakers, doing last minute christmas shopping for all the relatives – because it would be rude in my family to just give presents to my parents and ignore everyone else, plus my kids had to give presents to everyone too. And I thought, “I am a muslim but I am doing christmas, and my kids are doing christmas.” It was exactly as if I was still a christian. And now it’s not only christmas, but birthdays, and all the hallmark holidays in between. Now it would be really hard to reverse myself with my parents and the rest of my family.
I’m not living up to my conscience as I once had been, and I feel terrible. I lack the initial confidence I had. All the things I had initially been firm on – prayer, hijab – I have kept alhamdulillah. And my parents even remind me to make salaat when at their house!
But the things I was bullied on – the x-mas thing is but one example – I feel my confidence was undercut and never recovered from that.
So it’s not one-size-fits-all. And I think any advice on these kinds of subjects should take into consideration a wide variety of situations.
Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh 🙂
I know I am kind of late to this conversation but I thought I’d add my two cents.
When I converted to Islam, there were two major things that I would have loved help with—–>
1) how to deal with the rigidity present within our Ummah (e.g. only focusing on halal/haram and not one’s personal/spiritual development and kindness…….the focus on the black and white issues kind of zaps one’s iman after a while) and avoiding deviant or hardhearted sects.
2) How to deal with social issues such as loneliness and isolation as a convert……even after years of being muslim, it still sucks to ignored/eyed suspiciously at masjid events…even if you are actively trying to be outgoing and friendly. But I guess this is more of a human element rather than an islamic issue.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala help you to write and publish this book 🙂 Its sorely needed!
Your sister in Islam,
Subhan’Allah, amazing idea Sh. Suhaib. I’ll try to think of some thoughts/questions and send them to you.
Asalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Should I avoid socializing in the homes of family and friends who drink alcohol? If I have a family, is that something to be concerned about introducing them to an environment where there is alcohol or where alcohol may be consumed.
Socializing with family/friends that drink. Question: do you drink? answer is probably no. Funny thing is that drinkers want everyone to be drinking so as not to feel guilty, but we are admonished to not drink. so don’t. and don’t feel obligated to run with a big long explanation. just say, no thanks. the smell of alcohol in the air won’t ruin your deen, it’s about moderation. I don’t drink. I don’t serve alcohol at functions that are in my home or arranged by me. I don’t feel obligated to serve people that do drink alcohol. If you can’t enjoy yourself without an ‘adult beverage’ well, we’ll miss you. If I am at a function and there is alcohol served, I simply don’t drink it. If a fellow guest gets obnoxious, I avoid that person, or leave, as it suits me. You know what your boundaries are, enforce them.
I know this is late, but the first sister said somethings that I believe are an issue as well as the second sister. Many new converts feel that Muslims are so busy telling you rules and how you should be/act/ etc that you lose your iman. I agree with this. The hijab “issue” is always brought up as well.
My main question that I would love for you to answer, even if not in the book is.. How do sisters who have converted protect themselves for marriage. How does the marriage contract work, what should we ask for, how much is too much money, what if the brother wants to marry us but is going through financial difficulties? Do we still marry him even if he cannot give us what we ultimately were wanting as part of the marriage contract?
Asalamualaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barkatu,
Masha’Allah! Have been waiting 12 years for this book! HURRY!
P.S. Was starting think I’d have to write my own. Raising kids is a full time job, and I was unable to do the source checking you are promising to embark upon. May allah make it easy.
May Allah bless your work! InshaAllah this project is coming along well!
As a teen convert, I found it hard to give up haram relationships.
How can a women being a single parent and a convert be accepted into a Muslims mans family as his wife?
Was the book ever finished? I would love to read it as I’m looking up info to convert.