Asalamwalikhum (Peace Be Upon You). You are now a Muslim or a practicing Muslim and the people that are in your life are either in support of your new found spiritual form of happiness, that is by turning to tawheed (oneness of Allah) and doing the acts of worship, ibadah, coming closer to Allah SWT or just confused as to why, you’ve turned your life around? In many situations when people do turn their life around, there is always going to be pro’s and cons for it. People will either support you or not support you and their reasons for not supporting you has to do with their own whims and desires not being allowed to be fulfilled as you also give them dawah (invitation) to coming closer to Allah SWT or accepting there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah SWT.
Through this journey of coming closer to Allah SWT, you will be called several names, even names by the Muslims themselves or within your own family. They see a new person who is coming to closer Allah SWT by wearing the hijab, growing the beard, performing the salah (5 obligatory prayers), doing acts of sunnah which Im sure everyone does without knowing them and several other things which you are being rewarded for and your eman (faith) is being strengthened through these things. You will be labeled extremist, salafi or wahabi and a lot of times, many people don’t even know where the terms salaf and wahab originated from but, it is usually the blind following the blind, like how children do name calling in elementary at recess time, not knowing the truth. You will even have your own mother or father against you turning your life around, even though it has or will make you a better person in the short term and long term. If we look at the stories revealed in the Quran and there are several stories about the Messengers and how when they attempted to turn their life around, come to closer to Allah SWT, call people to worship only one God, there was backlash.
We look at the story of Prophet Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him), his own father was against his son worshipping Allah SWT and would rather have worshiped idols instead. Ibrahim (Peace Be Upon Him) says to his father, as Allah SWT reveals in the Quran, in Surah Maryam: “O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all? O my father, indeed there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you, so follow me; I will guide you to an even path. O my father, do not worship Satan. Indeed Satan has ever been, to the Most Merciful, disobedient. O my father, indeed I fear that there will touch you a punishment from the Most Merciful so you would be to Satan a companion [in Hellfire].” and his father replied to him and said: “Have you no desire for my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time.” [Verses 42-46]
And there are so many other Surahs in the Quran, which Allah SWT had revealed the stories of the Messengers of Allah being mocked, disobeyed, their people not believing in Allah SWT or being hypocrites. In our lives, we also see the same thing, whether they are within our own family, friends or even our parents whom we think would be understanding. What a lot of us don’t realize is, it is not us that guides others to Islam, we can only spread the message of Islam. As those of you who have been guided to Islam, to be aware of the Oneness of Allah, tawheed, doing your best to practice to the best of your ability you should say Alhumdulilah (Praise Be To Allah). Allah SWT says in Surah Al’An’am: “So whoever Allah wants to guide – He expands his breast to [contain] Islam; and whoever He wants to misguide – He makes his breast tight and constricted” [Verse 125] There is also the story of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) uncle who did not accept Islam even though this is the Messenger Of Allah. There was also Prophet Noah (Peace Be Upon Him) whose own son and wife did not accept Islam.
You will be met with backlash just as the Messengers of Allah were. Your friends will begin to distance themselves from you as you start practicing Islam even more, as they begin to see you as they would say or think “Better Than Us.” You will even hear people tell you, “yesterday you weren’t practicing, today you are and tomorrow or next week, you will be back to doing the same thing again, this is only temporary!” The believer has to understand, that your eman (faith) will constantly be up and down but as long as you strive to be the best you can be, Allah SWT will guide you the straight path. People will constantly have something to say about you, whether you are doing something good in your life or doing something bad in your life. No matter how hard you strive to better yourself there will be a critique from amongst your friends or family and even worse, the whispers in your head by the shaytaan.
These things are of no benefit to you but only a test to bring you closer to Allah SWT. It sounds like an oxymoron but if you think about it, when people constantly doubt you, you want to prove them wrong, don’t you? So prove these people wrong that you are not a temporary Muslim or a part-time Muslim. Yes, you will commit sins, there will be days where you will struggle to pray your salah. There will be days where sisters will not want to commit to the hijab anymore and just be “free” as people will tell them or say “show off your beauty, don’t hide it.” All this is not a relationship between you and them. You don’t know whether tomorrow these so called friends or even family will abandon you after you’ve listened to them. It’s sad to see how people are unsupportive when they see others do good but as soon as they do bad, they want to speak ill about them and not correct their errors or even so, join them in sin. All this is for Allah SWT and no one else. These things you are doing now as a Muslim or even a practicing Muslim is for you to open the doors of Al-Jannah (heaven) and meet Allah SWT with rewards that are mountains upon mountains high. So when you meet Allah SWT, everything you’ve done was for the sake of Allah SWT and no one else. Your friends will not come to your aid that day nor will your family or those who told you to oppose of the Sunnah or oppose of you practicing your religion because they see it as “extreme” or “traditional.” Be proud of who you are and that is a Muslim. Don’t be ashamed of who you are and what Allah SWT has blessed with and that is being a Muslim.
My brothers and sisters in Islam, continue to improve yourself. Learn the proper acts of worship because there are lot of things you will come across that may seem like it’s an act of worship but it is not. Correct your aqeeda (beliefs). Is Allah SWT truly every where or is Allah SWT above his creation, over his throne? The correct belief is Allah SWT is above His creation, over His throne. Now, my first thought was to allow you, the reader, to find out which is correct but I don’t want any confusion, so the correct belief, in your aqeeda, is Allah SWT is ABOVE His creation and His throne. There are several verses which reveal that , look them up and educate yourself, just dont believe everything you hear. Don’t just take in every act of worship people tell you to do unless those acts of worships have been established within the Sunnah Of The Messenger Of Allah and the Quran. Every single act of worship needs a proof, an authentic proof, not fabricated or weak and if there is no proof, those acts of worship will not count. You as a Muslim will have to answer for everything you do, so do the best you can do. Remember these 3 as you continue your journey to better yourself.
When you are given, you are grateful
When you are tested, you are patient
And When you commit a sin, ask forgiveness.
Ill also leave you with one of my favourite hadiths that makes me feel at ease whenever I commit sins because we ALL will. No one is perfect.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings Be Upon Him) said: “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.” [Tirmidhi]