Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Adda,
Many thanks for that question. Having a strong relationship with Allah Almighty is what we all strive for as Muslims.
Some years ago I got an email from a Muslim doctor in the UK. He told me that he was born as a Muslim, but that he wanted to become a Muslim.
I have never forgotten his remark and you remind me of it now.
Shahadah: Beyond the Words
As I tell people who come to Islam late in life, it’s easy to become Muslim, but it’s not so easy to remain one.
Being a good Muslim is a lifetime’s work. When someone becomes Muslim, there are no forms to fill in, and there is no membership fee to pay.
For a person to become Muslim they must declare with their lips and mean with all their heart that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Even with those new to Islam, though, it is easy to forget those words we once meant so dearly. It is easy for us to get into a rut and begin to take our Islam for granted.
Just as we can take our wife and husband for granted and find out, when it is too late, that we have drifted apart, so we can take for granted the gift of faith that we have been given.
If that applies to new Muslims, how much more it can apply to people who were born Muslim and never discovered the importance of Islam in their own lives?
It is true that there are in the world many “cultural” Muslims, for whom Islam never made a direct appeal to their hearts.
Many of those people go through the motions of what they are supposed to do as Muslims, but it has no effect on the way they live their lives.
Others, too, become far-removed from their religion, neither praying nor reading Quran.
The fact that you are asking yourself all these questions now, sister, is good. It shows your intention to be closer to Allah.
If taking Islam seriously makes your relatives sit up and wonder what has happened to you, then this is good.
Maybe, in time, your own example will cause them to think seriously, too, about their own faith.
As for coming closer to Allah, in the Quran we are told to “hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not disunited” (3:103).
This teaches us two things: that we must cling fast to Allah, whatever troubles or difficulties might come our way.
It also teaches us that we are not alone in this, but have other Muslims around us to help us.
Fix Yourself, Allah Will Fix Your Life
Nowhere are we promised that if we live as Muslims should live we will see rainbows and butterflies and reach the highest levels of iman.
What we are promised, though, is that by living as Muslims live we will enter Paradise, inshallah.
So, sister, you must hold fast to the rope of Allah by praying five times a day and, if you can, praying on time.
You must hold fast to the rope of Allah by reciting Quran and also learning to understand its meaning.
And there is something else. I learned long ago that we become good by doing good things.
If we do bad things in our lives this will ultimately reflect itself in the kind of person we become. Doing good, on the other hand, makes us better people.
Just remember how good we feel, for example, after a day’s fasting for Allah’s sake in Ramadan.
Helping those less fortunate than ourselves is a part of Islam. By helping others we also please Allah.
If our charity is done in secret, we please Him even more. By pleasing Allah, we are surely coming close to Him.
If Islam Is Not Improving You, You’re Doing It Wrong
I have a small test for myself that I apply when people tell me that this or that person is a good Muslim.
I ask myself if that person’s Islam is words only or does it reflect itself in that person’s life? In other words, is he or she a good person?
If Muslims are not good people then they have missed something central to what it is to be Muslim.
My suggestion to you, sister, is not to reflect inwardly on your relationship with Allah. By doing that your question revolves around you.
Instead, ask yourself each day if you are becoming a better and better person, caring for others and helping them for the sake of Allah.
If you can do this, you will have achieved something great and you will truly be one of the friends of Allah, inshallah.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)