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How to Find Your Place in Your New Community?

How to Find Your Place in Your New Community?
You are part of a huge community. A community of lovers. Lovers of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him).

Accepting Islam in your life has been a huge step towards a life of drawing closer to Allah. Becoming Muslim is the start of a life long journey of becoming more beloved to our most merciful Creator.

Accepting our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may Allah shower blessings and peace on him) in your life was the first step towards becoming a better person.

There is so much reasons to be thankful. Allah guided you out of darkness into the light. He gifted you with the light and peace of Islam. However, there are many new things to learn, many new circumstances to negotiate.

Challenges

Oftentimes, as new Muslims, we will face some kind of confrontation, opposition, sometimes even hostility from our surroundings. We will have to make new friends. We will get to know new communities, cultures and people. And we have to find our place in these communities. We have to re-negotiate our identity. And sometimes we even have to find our own selves again.

It is a process. Nothing you should be afraid about. The confusion you might experience is part of the process. It is part of converting, re-making yourself. However, that does not mean to give your old self completely up.

What Can You Bring to Islam?

Sit down and reflect on your strengths. What positive talent, skill or character can you contribute to Islam and to your new way of life?

For example, have you always been a hard worker? Then continue and contribute some of your work for the Muslim community. Has it always been easy for you to get up early? Great! Then make it a habit to get up for the special Tahajjud prayer in the last third of the night.

Have you been a good speaker or writer before coming to Islam? Then use your talent for educating others about Islam and correcting wrong perceptions about Islam.

Are you good in baking? We need you!!! Organize a food bazar and donate the profits to a good cause. Start contributing and you will also make new friends. It will become easier to become a member of your new Muslim community.

Be Yourself

Converting to Islam does not mean that you have to give up your own culture. You do not have to start eating South-Asian, African or Turkish food. Just make sure whatever you eat is halal.

For new sisters, you do not have to start wearing all black. Keep your style. Just make sure you cover yourself the way Allah wants Muslim women to cover. You can still ride the bicycle, go jogging, hiking, do painting, sewing, whatever you like to do.

Find other Muslims who like similar activities. Meet up and go for a walk and enjoy Allah’s creation. And most importantly: keep your beautiful smiles and positive outlook on life.

Find Other Converts

Converting to Islam is a very unique experience. It can create beautiful bonds of friendships, of brother/sisterhood. Find other new Muslims to share experiences and support each other. Have a regular convert circle where you meet up for tea or coffee and just talk or share knowledge about Islam. Motivate one another!

If there are no converts in your community, then find them online. Sometimes, just knowing that another person is currently going through a similar conversion process helps a lot. I had a beautiful convert community in Germany and even though I have not met many of them since a long time, I still feel connected with them. Because we share a similar story. We share a similar process. And we share similar challenges.

Be Part of Your Local Muslim Community

If you are lucky to live in a place where there are other Muslims, go and meet them. Go to the local mosque. Or go to the local Islamic center. Go to the local halal shop or restaurant. Try to meet the Muslims in your community. Say ‘Salam’ to the Hijabi on the street, give her a smile. Try to connect yourself to the Muslims around you.

It might happen that the people in your local mosque use another language. Don’t let this deter you. Go anyways! Try to be part of a regular study circle in your town. If there are no other Muslims in your town, consider traveling to meet other Muslims. Go to the closest mosque during the weekend or once a month.

Make it a regular habit to connect to other Muslims live. Yes, live. Not just in the virtual world. There is so much blessing in sitting with other pious people and it will support you in your journey.

Take Time Out to Study Islam

One more important point that will connect you more to Islam is to study it. I know, there are so many new things at the beginning. Learning how to pray, learning to read Quran, learning the basic rules and regulations.

Try to find a genuine teacher and sit with him or her. Don’t just learn from the internet. Try to find a real life teacher in your local community. It does not need to be the great Muslim scholar.

Try to find somebody with whom you feel comfortable to learn what you need and want to learn. If your first teacher cannot teach you anything new, move on. This is part of the process. Converting to Islam means you go on a life long journey. Trust in Allah. He loves you. He chose you to be Muslim.

You Are Part of a Community

You are part of a huge community. A community of lovers. Lovers of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). Allah is always with you wherever you are. He never leaves you alone. Try to be proactive in finding your place in this community of lovers. Be of service to others.

Stay Connected to Your Family

Finding your place as a new Muslim also includes to stay connected with your non-Muslim family. They might object to your conversion. They might talk ugly and hurt your feelings.

However, our beloved Prophet taught us that we should try to be kind to them. If possible, let them take part in your new way of life. Share whatever is possible and whatever they want to accept. Through your behavior towards them, show them that Islam is beautiful. And make lots of dua for them.

May Allah also guide your family and mine.

Ameen.

And Allah knows Best.


About Claudia Azizah

Claudia Azizah is originally from Germany and mother of two children, writer and Assistant Professor at the International Islamic University in Malaysia. She has recently moved to Malaysia with her family after completing her PhD in Germany about Islam and Islamic education in Indonesia. She regularly writes for the German Islamic newspaper. She is interested in Islamic spirituality and art.

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