Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (Quran 2:5)
Everyone’s journey to Islam is different. Some reverts to Islam fall in love with the faith after spending time with Muslim friends while others are attracted to it after a long search of their souls.
However, for many new Muslims, they come to Islam after escaping from a past that is steeped in vice or far removed from any type of faith.
Many reverts to Islam have faced great hardships and struggled in every aspect of their lives. Yet, by the Mercy of Allah, they’ve stood up to be counted amongst the Muslims.
Breaking bad habits from the past is always difficult, especially when those habits are deeply set or based on norms set by a familial bond.
The key to finding success, as a new Muslim, is breaking the bad habits from the past, and forming new ones that align with the Noble Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Alcohol and any other intoxicants are completely forbidden is Islam. Anything that alters the mind or removes you from your senses is not allowed. But for new Muslims, who may have grown up in a family that normalizes drinking or regularly consumed alcohol themselves, it’s difficult to simply stop cold turkey. As Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran:
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. (Quran 5:90)
Breaking the habit of drinking alcohol can be achieved with determination, steadfastness and complete faith in Allah Almighty. It might even require specialty treatment depending on the depths of one’s reliance on alcohol. This habit can be replaced with something healthful to the body such as consuming fresh juices instead that benefit the body.
Quite notably, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was once given a choice between an alcoholic beverage and a healthful one. He chose the latter.
Abu Hurairah narrated:
On the night Allah’s Apostle was taken on a night journey (Mi’raj) two cups, one containing wine and the other milk, were presented to him at Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the cup of milk. Gabriel said:
“Praise be to Allah Who guided you to Al-Fitra (the right path); if you had taken (the cup of) wine, your nation would have gone astray.”
The Practice of Dating
It might seem like much ado about nothing as the practice of dating is so rampant in Western societies that has become the norm. However, according to the Islamic faith, dating is completely forbidden. Instead, young couples seek the help of their parents to find suitable spouses to ensure a good match built upon a foundation of piety and common interests.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the divorce rate is so low in the Muslim community and higher in the non-Muslim community. The latter chooses to get married based on attraction or financial stability instead of the things that build a marriage to stand the test of time, such as honor and mutual respect.
So what’s the perfect solution to breaking the habit of dating? Get married!
As the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a shield for him. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Indulging in Gossip
It might seem like gossiping about an ex-friend or even an annoying neighbor is harmless. However, all speech has consequences in Islam and controlling the tongue is a noble deed. As it was revealed in the Noble Quran:
O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful. (49:12)
Talking about others behind their back is a bad habit that can have even greater consequences based on the depths of the gossip. Oppression and slander are both sins that are rooted in gossip. These sins in speech eat away at the soul and bring harm to all involved. Giving up the habit of gossip in favor of speech that uplifts others is a habit worth forming!
As a new Muslim, making a break from bad habits to good ones will help you pave a path to success in this life and the next. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it to seek the pleasure of your Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer.