I have always found myself interested and inspired by converts of a religion. It takes a certain courage to convert. It’s not a simple task nor is it something light. So in response to this, here’s a hopefully helpful guide for the Muslim Convert.
“He who loves my Sunnah has loved me, and he who loves me will be with me in Paradise.”
-The Prophet Muhammad (Tirmidhi)
1. Be Patient With Yourself- Set A Gradual Pace
As a newly converted Muslim, you may have trouble keeping up with the tasks set upon for each individual. This may range from daily tasks like prayers to the one month fasting period of Ramadan. The struggle that you’ll face, with the change in lifestyle, is difficult and will take some time to adjust.
Awkward moments where you don’t know what’s happening or just be confused are bound to happen, but don’t fret. You are not expected to have everything down pat. If you have problems with certain practices, take it one step at a time.
Reminder: Praying to Allah and asking Him to make it easy for you will also aid. Insya-allah everything else will come naturally.
2. Knowledge is Power
“For him who follows a path for seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the path to Paradise.”
-The Prophet Muhammad (Muslim)
Knowledge has always been paramount in how to tackle any problem. Finding a teacher to bounce ideas off is a sure way to learn more deeply about Islam. It could be someone who’s been in your shoes, or maybe it doesn’t have to be just one person!
Find a group of friends of the same faith, who are willing to teach and share with you. Don’t be shy, most times, people don’t mind sharing some know-hows and whys. Even more, you can always do some individual research online, there’s always YouTube and that handy Google search engine!
Reminder: Don’t forget to Fact-Check!
3. Don’t Sever All Non-Muslim Ties!
Just because you’ve embarked on a new journey, doesn’t mean you have to cut all your family and old friends out! As a convert, you may feel attacked or defensive, take a deep breath and try to calm down. Unless you’re sure they’re harming you (physically or mentally), you have to remember to keep a rational state of mind and be sabr.
Though some may be a little bit affronted or uneasy, Insya-allah gradually, they will gain some respect and understanding of Islam through you. So, don’t get too defensive, or attempt to debate over everything. Insya-allah, God will do the rest.
4. Maintain Your Identity
Despite the fact that being a Muslim is now a part of your identity, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a game of football or gather round for a nice barbecue with friends.
You don’t have to suddenly adapt a whole persona, and adopt a new identity. All you have to do is to just remember to keep it halal and make sure it’s not against the Muslim Creed.
5. Do Not Despair
“So know that victory is with patience, and relief is with distress and that with hardship comes ease.”
-The Prophet Muhammad
Converting to Islam is not an easy path. It’s somewhat filled with tribulations, and often can get confusing at times. Though with some faith, effort and prayer to Allah, there’s nothing that you cannot overcome. For Allah is the great planner, and He would not give you more than you cannot get through.