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Can I Convert in Secret? Must I Announce My Choice?

Questioner

Tom

Reply Date

Mar 22, 2018

Question

I am 15 and fascinated by Islam. I really want to convert, but I have two major problems that make me hesitate. • I come from a strongly atheist, left-wing family. My mother is tolerant of other religions but definitely does not believe in the existence of a God. My father, on the other hand, is extremely intolerant of religions. He frequently makes comments on and ridicules religions, especially Christianity and Islam. He often refuses to interact with strongly religious people, believing that they are of a lower intellect. I am terrified of their reaction if I convert to Islam. I'm young, and don't want my relationship to break down with my family, but I can't see that they will support me in my decision. And because of the prayers and Ramadan, I can't keep it secret from them. • The other problem is the fact that there are no mosques in close reach of where I live. Most of them are in the concentrated Islamic regions which are on the outskirts of my city, and you can't reach them by public transport. Won't it be very hard to be a Muslim when there are no other Muslims near me? I really need some help, as I don't know what to do. Thank you.

Consultant

Answer


convert secret

Salam (Peace) Tom, 

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

I am happy to hear that you want to convert to Islam, but I also hear how difficult it is for you at this point in your life.

May Allah Almighty guide your steps! 

Take Comfort in the Struggles of Our Forebearers

You may take comfort in reading some of the stories of the early Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them all.

What they suffered for the sake of their faith was so great.

The problems you anticipate with your parents, though very real, are nothing compared to what some of the Companions endured.

The father of Salman Al-Farisi, for example, locked Salman in chains when he announced his wish to become a Christian years before he learned of Islam.

It is highly unlikely that your parents would actually do anything physically harmful to you as a result of your decision, God willing. 

Salman managed to escape and run away to Syria, where he spent years in the service of various Christians to learn their religion.

Eventually, he sold everything he had to join a caravan headed to Madinah, where he was told the last Prophet would appear.

He was betrayed and sold into slavery on the way, but when at last Salman met Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he immediately embraced Islam

Family Bonds are Extremely Important

But you are still a minor and dependent on your parents, and you are also correct in not wanting your relationship with them to break down. Family bonds are very important in Islam. 

My advice is that you accept Islam in your heart and do your best to learn and practice the rituals like ablution and prayers, but not tell your parents yet.

The prayers can be performed in secret in your room; since you live far from a mosque, you do not have to perform them in congregation.

And you have time until you have to worry about fasting Ramadan. Even that can be done in secret, though with difficulty. 

Alhamdulillah, (all praise to Allah) you have access to the internet, through which you can learn the basics of Islam

Between now and then you can do your best to perform the prayers and to develop yourself as a person—academically, socially, morally, etc.—and also as a Muslim.

Your being a Muslim does not have to be a source of conflict with your parents.

You can avoid discussing religion with them all together, if necessary, and if they see that you are continuing well in your studies and other areas, you can later break the news to them that you have been Muslim for so many months or years. 

Dealing With Isolation

Yes, it will be difficult not being able to have much contact with other Muslims at this point. But difficult is not the same as impossible.

You might make telephone or e-mail contact with some brothers at the mosque and at least be able to ask questions or seek advice when needed.

Perhaps the mosque can put you in touch with a Muslim brother or family near you that you might occasionally visit. 

However, I would caution you not to attempt to have so much contact that it may arouse suspicions in your parents. You don’t want them to think that you are doing something behind their back.

When you are old enough to drive and borrow the car, perhaps you can occasionally visit the mosque on your own.

And when you reach the legal age—only three years away—you can become independent of them, if need be, even if it means working your way through university. 

If you do choose to embrace Islam, you should avoid drinking parties and hang out with other well-behaved, righteous young men, no matter their religion.

The important thing is to spend as much time as possible with good people, even if you can’t spend time with fellow Muslims.

You should work to develop an Islamic personality—one that is honest, generous, forgiving, hard-working, etc.

If you do this, your parents should notice a positive change in you (unless you already have such a personality!).

Later, when you choose to tell them that you have been Muslim for some time, you can tell them that your improved personality is a result of your Islam.

That should certainly reduce their objections. 

May Allah guide you to the right path.

Contact us if you have more questions or if we can help you in any way.

Thank you again for contacting us and please keep in touch. 

Asalam Alaikum! 


(From Ask About Islam archives)

Read more:

A New You: A 21st Century Guide for New Muslims

 

Can I Convert If My Parents Are Against It?

 

New Muslims Keeping Faith in the Face of the News

 

Paving the Middle Path: Supporting New Muslims

 

6 Tips for New Muslims to Overcome Isolation

 

Are We Giving New Muslims Their Rights?

 




About AElfwine Mischler

AElfwine Mischler is an American convert to Islam. She has undergraduate degrees in physics and English, and a master's degree in linguistics and teaching English as a foreign language.

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