Short Answer: Again, I cannot emphasize enough that I fully understand your distress when observing the behavior of other Muslims. If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to look inwards and focus on yourself and your actions and your relationship with Allah. That is, after all, all you can control. Moreover, don’t think of marrying until you are comfortable in your Islam. Once you have studied more and found more peace with your practice, come back to us with questions of marriage.
Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullah, Opara. Thank you so much for submitting your query to us. Insha’Allah, I will do my best to address your concerns.
Pursuing Non-Religious Professions
The first point I want to address is when you said you gave up a lot of dream professions – footballer, pilot, comedian – in order to pursue a religious life. While it is certainly praiseworthy to want to devote one’s life to the pursuit of faith, please know that it does not mean that you must or should abandon ideas of professions outside of religion.
Being a footballer, pilot, or even comedian is not mutually exclusive to being religious. Many people are able to be successful in those careers, while also being people of faith. There is a large number of Muslim footballers that are very famous that I am sure you are aware of. Do you think that all airplanes are piloted by non-Muslims in Muslim majority countries? As for comedians, I follow a Muslim comic named Aman Ali on Facebook. He is very funny and a practicing Muslim, masha’Allah.
Muslims do and must exist in secular society, performing secular jobs. If these careers are something you are passionate about, you should pursue them.
If you choose to devote yourself to religion, that is okay too, of course. But please know that you still have responsibilities in this world, too. Many religious figures end up getting so swept up in their work that they neglect their families. You have to have a strong foundation and a good understanding of your responsibilities to those who have right over you if you want to pursue scholarly life.
Marrying a Virgin
Brother, marrying a virgin is not an indication of being religious. A woman’s virginity at the time of marriage has nothing to do with you and is, honestly, none of your business. If a woman has sinned and repented, then her past is between her and Allah. Unless she has a disease, she has no obligation to disclose her past to her husband. The only person’s virginity you must concern yourself with is your own. Remaining chaste until marriage is an indication of devotion to Allah’s word.
If a person has sinned and repented, those sins are the business of nobody else. I do not know what happened with your wife. If you are still married, please forgive her. Her past is between her and her Lord. If you are divorced, please bear what I said in mind if you are to get married again.
Please remember that of all the Prophet’s wives, only one was a virgin. For many years, he was married to only one woman, and that was Khadijah (ra). The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was her third husband! And he remained married to her and only her until her death.
The only virgin wife of the Prophet (saw) was Aisha (ra). All of his other wives were widows or divorced – some multiple times over.
Your Mother’s Health and Your Conversion
The issue of your mother’s health is a little bit trickier. We are commanded not to be deceptive in Islam, but we also have to care for your parents. You might want to consult with a scholar on this issue, but I will give you my opinion.
I think it would be unadvisable to pretend to be Christian for the sake of your mother. But perhaps you don’t have to explicitly tell her you became Muslim, especially if you think it will cause issues. That said, if you feel your mother is able to accept you as Muslim, you should tell her, because it is best to be honest whenever possible.
Again, I do encourage you to seek further guidance on this issue.
Reconciling Islam with Muslims
This, I think, is really the crux of your concerns. You speak of people claiming to be good Muslims or Islamic scholars, but their actions not measuring up to what you expect of followers of Islam.
This is something that any practicing Muslim has come across. I wish I had an easy solution for you.
My advice to you, brother, is to focus on yourself. Focus on Allah. Do not become Muslim because of the Muslims. Become Muslim because of Islam. Islam remains steadfast, even if Muslims are not. Allah’s word in the Quran has never changed for over 1400 years. Focus on learning those words and integrating those ideas into your life.
I can fully sympathize with you finding Muslims around you to not be practicing to a degree that you had hoped. But remember, the faith does not exist in the people, but in God Himself. Listen to lectures (I personally recommend Sh. Omar Suleiman, whose lectures are available on podcast apps), use apps on your phone to learn Quran, try to learn about the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and how he lived his life.
You mentioned a sheikh who seemed to be more invested in his house building project than helping you understand Islam. Please remember, brother, that there is barakah in everything we do, if our intentions are correct. That house that the sheikh was building was to serve as someone’s shelter. In helping build it, insha’Allah, that sheikh will have reward from Allah for providing that shelter.
Devoting oneself fully to the study of Islam is not the way that the vast majority of Muslims function, nor should it be. Try to have mercy with others when you observe the way they move through the world. Remember that there are many ways to serve Allah. Flying a plane, playing football, serving as the sheikh or imam for your community, and building a house are all ways of living one’s life as a devoted Muslim, if one’s intentions are correct.
Again, I cannot emphasize enough that I fully understand your distress when observing the behavior of other Muslims. If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to look inwards and focus on yourself and your actions and your relationship with Allah. That is, after all, all you can control.
Moreover, don’t think of marrying until you are comfortable in your Islam. Once you have studied more and found more peace with your practice, come back to us with questions of marriage.
Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
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