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How to Convert With So Many Conflicting Ideas?

Questioner

Amber

Reply Date

Feb 09, 2017

Question

Hi, I want to convert to Islam or at least see more how it is but I need help. I have been given the books on Islam, all kinds of books. I tried to read them all, but I am not a reader. But I have read things. I read things in the Quran where it basically says woman are placed lower than man. Then, I have seen quotes that it says woman are equal. I’m getting mixed answers. I have claimed to be a Muslim-Christian because I like things in the Muslim belief yet I was raised Christian so I like things from that belief too. I had a boyfriend that was from Saudi Arabia and he said to marry him, I had to convert to Islam. Then I read in the Quran that a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jew. He eventually said I could be whatever religion I wanted to be, and I want to be a Muslim. But my family is being so judgmental of me not being Christian. I asked my boyfriend at that time to help me, but he never did besides saying he wanted to help me convert. He would say something that would help, but I feel I need someone to literally help me every day with the religion on what I can and cannot do. I also wonder why some Muslim woman from Jordan, for example, do not seem to have to wear a hijab or be covered up and are able to be called Muslim when I feel like if I said I was fully Muslim and did not do that then I would get judged. My overall thing is I have been trying to Google and make Muslim woman friends to help me but I have had no luck. I just want a Muslim woman to be like a mother to me and help me in what I need to do to be Muslim to help me convert, yet I feel so alone especially since I told my boyfriend I wanted to convert then wore a cross necklace the other day and he got mad at me. When truthfully I did not understand why when in the Quran Jesus is in there. Also, truthfully, I never wear a cross as a symbol of Jesus, everyone seems to, but I do not. I saw my necklace as simply a necklace not as a symbol. I am honestly tired of this world where religion is such a big deal where a symbol means so much to some people. I do not want to continue saying and doing the wrong thing I need help to be taught. I am tired of feeling. Please help me.

Consultant

Answer


Salam (Peace) Amber,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

The Quran is the continuation of the messages sent to all prophets before Muhammad, peace be upon them all, so you should expect to see much in common with Christianity, but not just a repetition.

The basic message of every prophet of God, however, remains unchanged: God is One, Worship Him alone.

I am assuming that you are reading an English language interpretation of the Quran. So, it is important to remember that very often the depth of significance of what you are reading may be “lost in the translation” so to speak.

Some of the verses and stories make reference to events in Prophet Muhammad’s life (peace be upon him-PBUH) without directly naming individuals involved or all of the circumstances surrounding the topic. And this can make it difficult to understand for someone new to Islam.

I would recommend that you contact the imam of your local mosque and request that he helps you find a wise sister who can help you better understand the Quran and practice Islam.

Perhaps there will already be a Quran study group active in the mosque as well. This will hopefully open a door for you to meet other new Muslims like you, and to ask questions, and discuss topics more deeply.

This is something that every Muslim can benefit from whether new to Islam or not.

If you are sincere in becoming Muslim, it should be for the reason of drawing closer to God not for the purpose of marrying a Muslim man. Muslim men are permitted to marry believing women from among the Jews and Christians, without the requirement for these ladies to convert to Islam.

These ladies, however, should be devout Christians and Jews, dedicated to God through regular prayer and to obedience to Him in all matters as their religions teach them.

There are many things that attract us to members of the opposite sex, but ideally, their faith and daily practice of it should be given the priority over all other reasons.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion. So, choose one who is religious […] (Sahih Muslim)

Although this is advice for Muslim men, the logic is the same for women seeking a husband. Seeking a husband who is a strong believer, putting his beliefs into daily practice is the best recipe for a successful marriage.

Wealth, social status, and beauty are all temporary blessings; and do not guarantee marital success. 

Strong faith, however, is the foundation for a successful and lasting marriage and ideal for raising faithful Muslim children.

In the end, you will have to answer to God for your beliefs and practices, not any human being. Be careful in looking to the example of other Muslims for guidance. You will find many contradictions among people, but not in the Quran or in Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) way of life.

What God has revealed to His prophet through the Quran and through prophetic traditions (Sunnah) are the criteria for how Islam should be practiced, not necessarily what other Muslims practice.

So, if you see contradictions, for example, in the wearing of hijab, refer to the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad for guidance.

With respect to wearing crosses, this is more significant than you may realize. Muslims and most other people understand this to be a symbol of a person’s faith in Christianity, not merely a nice piece of jewelry.

There is a mixed message being sent if you are trying to become Muslim while displaying a clear symbol that you are a devout Christian. People will understandably question your understanding and intentions.

At some point you will have to make a decision. Wearing a cross signifies for Christians, and others knowledgeable about religions, that Jesus (PBUH) was God, and died on the cross for the purpose of paying for the sins of mankind.

Is this your understanding of Jesus (PBUH)? Or do you believe that he was a prophet of God, who preached to his people to worship God alone? Islam teaches that Jesus was not God, and did not die on the cross:

{That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow. For of a certainty they killed him not} (Quran 4:157)

Jesus, along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad, peace be upon them all, is one of the five greatest messengers of God, but he is regarded as only a man like any other prophet, and will stand before God on the Day of Judgement like everyone else.

Unfortunately, people will always have something to say, good or bad, about everything we do. Part of the power of Islam is that it gives us the strength to be who we are no matter what anyone thinks of us.

We are dedicated to God over all others, including our parents. This does not mean that we disregard them or treat them harshly. On the contrary, living as a Muslim requires treating parents with the utmost dignity and respect, even if they are not Muslims.

This is what the Quran teaches, and what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers practiced in their daily lives. Many of the early converts of Muhammad’s time had to deal with worse persecution at the hands of their community, even their parents, than we do today, but they remained strong in their faith nonetheless.

I hope this has been helpful to you in your journey to Islam. Please keep in touch with any further questions you may have.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

3 Questions Before Converting to Islam (Part 1)

3 Questions Before Converting to Islam (Part 2)

How to Convert to Islam?

Why Do Westerners Convert to Islam?

Why We Convert to Islam?




About Waleed Najmeddine

Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine is a Canadian born Muslim and public school administrator. He is an active member of the Muslim community and enjoys educating Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. He currently holds a Master of Education degree in leadership and school improvement.

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