As-salamu `Alaikum Dear,
No offense taken at all. We thank you for coming to us regarding this matter. You are actually expressing feelings which are shared by many non-Muslims who have also come to learn about Islam and are struggling with the decision of whether to choose their family over Islam.
First, we want you to be serious about your spiritual journey. If in fact Islam appeals to you, then you will have to forget about your Muslim girlfriend. Distance yourself from her and immerse yourself in the study of Islam. Once you are ready, go ahead and locate an Islamic center or masjid in your area so that you can officially enter into the fold of Islam. Do not delay this decision even if you intend to keep it secret from your parents and others. If Allah has opened your eyes to the truth and your heart is ready to submit, then do not delay becoming a Muslim today.
Second, remember that changing one’s religion is a life transforming process both for that person as well as their family and other acquaintances. Therefore, you alone can best make the decision of whether to inform your parents or not. In the early days of Islam, many youth like yourself had to practice their religion secretly out of fear of the backlash from their parents. With regards to respecting your parents, there is really no contradiction in doing so even if you become a Muslim. You will always respect your parents but you will not have to obey them if they ask you to denounce your faith or make it difficult for you to practice it freely. If you choose to become a Muslim, you could practice much more freely once you got to university.
With regards to respecting your parents, there is really no contradiction in doing so even if you become a Muslim. You will always respect your parents but you will not have to obey them if they ask you to denounce your faith or make it difficult for you to practice it freely. If you choose to become a Muslim, you could practice much more freely once you got to university.
Third, be gradual in your study and application of Islam. Do not be overwhelmed with how much you need to learn and how many changes you need to make in your life right away. Learn something new and do your best to implement it. When you have perfected it or feel you have a good grasp of it, you can move on to another new topic. You are making a major change in your life when you accept a new religion.
The last thing you want is to become frustrated with yourself thinking that you do not know everything. You will often hear that Islam is a way of life. Do not expect that you can change your way of life overnight but do your best. Especially stay away from fornication, drinking alcohol, and eating pork. These areas will be a starting point towards living a spiritually healthy new life.
Fourth, visit the following sections of our website to help you get started. The first section is a collection of stories of people like yourself who became interested in Islam. It is entitled, My Journey to Islam, next try Introduction to Islam, which assumes that you have taken the shahadah, and guides you through topics such as prayer, fasting etc.