Short Answer: With respect to your mother’s claims, and the claims of others in the Christian community, that the Holy Spirit is in them, or that they “speak in tongues” that they themselves do not understand, they have no real proof, and there is no way anyone can know what is truly happening to them. It is almost impossible to convince someone that has had an emotional experience, that it is something other than what they believe it to be.
Assalamu ‘alaikum sister Kayley.
Thank you for placing your confidence in us to help you with your concerns.
There is no doubt that what you are facing is difficult. As a Muslim in a non-Muslim family you are being tested in ways that those of us born into Muslim families will usually never face.
I ask Allah to grant you patience and steadfastness in the face of these difficulties. Ameen.
Since Allah has blessed you with Islam, you must do your best to share it with your family as they are the most deserving of your love and kindness, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Like Prophet Muhammad’s uncle Abu Talib, there will be those who do not object to Islam, but will find it too difficult to change their way of life and belief system. His uncle loved him like his own son and protected him against his enemies, but unfortunately, never could bring himself to follow his nephew’s pleas to accept Islam.
Islam & Non-Muslim Parents
The faith of Prophet Muhammad’s own parents was unknown to him. He never knew his father, and his mother died when he was very young. This troubled him deeply, but it did not sway him to do anything that would displease Allah, so he never prayed for their forgiveness, even though he was the Messenger of Allah.
So you should at all times avoid harshness with your loved ones and always pray that Allah guides them to Islam, while they are still alive and able to change their ways. After death, however, we are not allowed to pray for their forgiveness unless they died as Muslims.
Allah has commanded kindness to our parents even if they call us to abandon our beliefs. Because they love us, they will try every means at their disposal to convince us of the “error” of our ways. But we must not be deterred from the straight path of Islam.
“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years — give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination. But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.” (31:14-15)
Angels and Jinn
Most of us are intrigued by the unseen worlds of the Angels and the Jinn.
Angels continue to act in this world, but only upon the commands of Allah and according to His Will. They have no free will of their own.
The Jinn continue to live and act in this world upon the choices they have made to either be believers, or not.
The world of the Jinn is largely unknown, but Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught us much about them, how to treat them, and how to protect ourselves from the mischief of the unbelievers among them.
Speaking in Tongues
With respect to your mother’s claims, and the claims of others in the Christian community, that the Holy Spirit is in them, or that they “speak in tongues” that they themselves do not understand. They have no real proof, and there is no way anyone can know what is truly happening to them. It is almost impossible to convince someone that has had an emotional experience, that it is something other than what they believe it to be. “Speaking in tongues” is not something I have personally witnessed, but I understand it to be something that certain Christian devotees claim to experience when overcome by some “divine” presence.
There is no evidence that this is anything Jesus went through, peace be upon him, and if it were a real communication between Allah and servant, or between a believer and “other worldly” beings, prophet Jesus or prophet Muhammad, peace be upon them, would have taught us about it, displayed it, or encouraged it.
“O people of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah anything but the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, was a Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary and a spirit created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not “Three”. Cease. (It is) better for you. For Allah is One, Glory be to Him (He is) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.” (4:171)
I cannot know what exactly your mother is experiencing, but since it is not something Jesus himself practiced, I am inclined to think that it is either her own self convincing her that she is experiencing something “divine”, or that some mischievous Jinn are fooling with her and her fellow worshipers.
The Jinn, as mentioned above, continue to be players in this world, but some of them who have sided with Satan, can decide to try and trick people (who truly desire to have a deep religious experience or connection to Allah) into believing they are blessed or favored by Him above other people.
Mischievous Jinn may speak to people by appearing to them as animals, trees, rocks that talk, taking the form of deceased people, possessing the bodies of people, making objects appear and disappear, and other trickery. All this is done to fool people and to lead them astray from Allah’s Path. It is very important, therefore, that we stick closely to what we know for certain is from Allah and from Prophet Muhammad, and to avoid those things which make us doubt:
Al-Hasan ibn Ali, may Allah be pleased with him reported; “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt. Verily, truth brings peace of mind and falsehood sows doubt.” Imam at-Tirmidhi #2518
So you are 100% correct in asking, “…how do they know what they’re saying is good and not bad or evil while it seems to take them over?” I would ask the same questions.
I recently watched a video of a woman who recorded herself speaking in tongues to “share her gift” with others. She started out by talking about the first time it happened to her.
She told the story of how she was alone in the bathroom late one night. And she was reading/praying, when she began speaking in tongues.
She naturally assumed that since she was praying, that the experience had to be of a divine nature.
Subhanallah, as Muslims, we understand that prayer is for clean people worshiping in clean places. Prophet Muhammad taught us to seek refuge in Allah from the evil of the Jinn before entering the bathroom.
Following the Example of Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the final prophet to mankind. Allah’s revelations to mankind ceased with the completion of the Quran.
The only other prophet to be sent to mankind will be Jesus, peace be upon him. But he will not be sent with new revelations or a new book for mankind to follow. Rather, he will be returned to this world near the end of days to affirm the message that Muhammad brought. And he will defeat
the Dajjal, or false messiah, the greatest threat that believers will ever face.
Anyone claiming to be a prophet of God/Allah after prophet Muhammad is an impostor to be rejected.
We must do our best at all times to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad in all things. Allah commanded in the Quran:
“Say, (O Muhammad), “If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (3:31)
True spiritual experiences should be sought out by following the example of Prophet Muhammad. He did not leave a beneficial knowledge or practice except that he taught us about it. And he did not leave any harmful or shameful practice, except that he warned us about it. I pray that Allah will guide us all to what pleases him. And I pray that He continues to guide you, sister Kayley, upon His Straight Path. Ameen.
I hope you have found this helpful. Please keep in touch.
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