Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam dear sister,
Ma sha’ Allah, it is so pleasing to read that you found Islam and that you have done your best to perform prayers and increase your knowledge by listening to Islamic lectures. However, you now feel that you have become more introverted and, therefore, are feeling that Islam is oppressing you.
Let me assure you that Islam is not a religion that oppresses anyone. The only time oppression occurs is when people practice Islam in the wrong way; therefore, it is important to take a step back and look at how this might be so in your life.
Certainly, upon entering Islam, there will be many changes in your life as Islam is an entire system of life. As a convert, this process is usually a gradual one as you switch the haram things in your life for those that are halal. Sometimes, at first, this could be really difficult, especially when you give up something you love such as perhaps friends who are a negative influence in your life, who encourage you to do bad things.
However, you can make friends with other good sisters who will be a good influence in your life and support you through moments where you feel down like this. The only way that you can ensure this happens is to get out there and mix. As a convert, this can feel quite intimidating as you might not feel so confident that you know Islam well enough, but if they are good sisters, they will understand, and be good friends to you and support you in increasing your knowledge.
Developing such friendships will be good for your mental health, too, providing some kind of stability in your life. There may be many things in your life that contribute to your feelings of instability, but your faith in Islam can be the one thing that grounds you and keeps you stable as Allah (swt) guides you to make the best decisions in life.
If you are feeling introverted right now, this could seem like a daunting task, so you might begin by going to a sister’s study group. There, you would not necessarily be obliged to talk or be forward in your interactions but would be in an environment where you would learn more about Islam and meet other people. In time, in sha’ Allah, people will begin to talk to you.
Be aware, however, that sometimes it’s easy to feel like people are just not talking to you, that maybe they don’t like you, but this will only contribute to your mental instability. So, you also need to keep in mind that they may see you as a new face and be shy to approach you, too. It may be that you will have to build up the confidence to speak to someone first as you get used to the familiar faces. Always remember that if they are good sisters, worth being friends with, then they will welcome a conversation with you.
There are also many such groups online. If you feel too shy to engage face-to-face at this point, you might try this first just to get used to using your social skills and mixing with other sisters. However, you must remember that it is unhealthy to only have these types of friendships. So, simply use it as a platform to get over your introversion enough to be able to go out and meet others outside.
In time, as you move through your introversion and are more engaged, you will come to see that Islam is not at all oppressive, but, in fact, quite that opposite in liberating the followers.
May Allah (swt) assist you in overcoming your introversion, and make it easy for you to integrate into the community and improve your mental wellbeing.
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