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I Want to Convert to Islam, What About My Son?

Questioner

R (34-Male-US)

Reply Date

Mar 12, 2018

Question

I am exploring the possibility of following Islam, as Islam has had the most sound answers to every question I have yet asked of it. I was born to Christian parents and considered myself Christian by proxy, as I attended church, was baptized, and believe firmly in one God. I have had several questions about religion in general and have had the most open mind. Islam feels right to me. My issue is one which bothers me greatly. I want to convert to Islam and cease delaying my relationship with Allah and doing His will, but I am concerned as my wife is Catholic but open-minded. Her parents are devout Catholic and my parents are Southern Baptists. Both of them would frown upon my reversion and I don't want to hurt my family. I want my baby boy to have his choice about what he wants to believe, but I want to teach him Islam instead of him having to go learn on his own as I have, by reading the Qur'an alone at night and in secret. What can I do to be fair in this circumstance and since my wife is open to my opinion on Islam, how can I best show her she needs to consider it? Please advise me. I read your site daily but I have never asked a question. I live in the worst place to be a Muslim—rural southern Alabama in the United States. Should I keep my beliefs to myself? It is so hard to bear hearing the ignorant opinions of coworkers and family members who think Islam is a violent religion, Israel is right to take Palestinian land, and the war in Iraq is just.

Counselor

Answer


In this counseling answer:

 About your child, as a Muslim, your duty before Allah is to raise your child to know Allah and his relationship with Allah. In a marriage of a Muslim man and non-Muslim woman, the children are expected to be raised as Muslims. Because your wife is currently of another faith, you cannot stop her from teaching the child about her faith, though you should do everything within your ability to clarify any misconceptions that the child may have.”

 

As-salamu `Alaikum,

We are pleased that Allah has blessed you so that you turn to the path of Islam and that you recognize its significance in your life. Al-hamdu lillah, when we come to Islam our past bad deeds are wiped out and our slate is cleared.

However, it was a practice of the Companions of the Prophet to look back at their past, to remember and be thankful for the guidance of Allah.

The path that many converts to Islam have to follow is at times lonely because of the situation with their families.

They must make difficult choices that alienate them from their families and at the same time they may face barriers from within the community because of perceptions or biases that may exist among Muslims. In your case, you live in an environment where, at times, ignorance can be willful. So it is important that you carefully choose your battles and at times prefer silence and remember that Allah’s will is not bounded by the uninformed opinions of His creation.

With regards to this, as well, it is important to remember why you accepted Islam and the fact that it was solely for the sake of Allah Most High. At times, converts have to struggle, like many of the prophets who struggled because they chose service to Allah over any other superficial relationship in this world. In these times, my dear brother, I urge you to be patient and remember that not all Muslims are perfect and neither are we, but Allah Most High encourages us in the Qur’an by saying

“Oh you who believe be steadfast in patience and prayer, verily Allah is with the patient.”

With regards to your wife, the best that you can do for her is for you to show her the benefit of Islam in your own life. In other words, preach very little and show her more through kindness, humility, and fairness. Once Islam becomes the guide to all your actions and she recognizes the peace that you have found in your heart, it will be easy for her to look into Islam for herself. Furthermore, you may want to make books and other materials readily available—not to preach to her but for her to understand your own motivations.

Always let her be able to see, hear, observe that your actions are connected to your divine relationship with Allah. Sometimes it is easy to feel agitated or anxious and in our desire to share what we have found in Islam we can become impatient or self-righteous. Do everything in your ability to avoid this.

Finally, about your child, as a Muslim, your duty before Allah is to raise your child to know Allah and his relationship with Allah. In a marriage of a Muslim man and non-Muslim woman, the children are expected to be raised as Muslims. Because your wife is currently of another faith, you cannot stop her from teaching the child about her faith, though you should do everything within your ability to clarify any misconceptions that the child may have.

However, when the child is old enough, he will be wise enough to choose. It is important to remember that when the child is exposed to the light and wisdom of Islam, this will be an easy choice, if Allah wills, as Islam will be seen as the synthesis of the faiths that preceded it and the choice that will lead to justice for all and eternal success in this life and the next.

And Allah knows best.


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About Jeewan Chanicka

Jeewan Chanicka is from Toronto, Canada, and has been involved in working with youth, education, and social services issues since 1993. He graduated with a bachelor's degree with honors in individualized studies at York University with a focus on conflict resolution and culturally appropriate forms of mediation. He has done much work with both youth and adults, especially around parenting, teenage and youth issues, and bridging the gap between generations.

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