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Reverts: Don’t Turn Away – Keep Your Faith Strong!

Reverts: Don’t Turn Away – Keep Your Faith Strong!
When new Muslims feel their faith is low, and they are alone, it is their Muslim friends who can encourage and motivate them.

I reverted to Islam almost five years ago.

AlhamdulillAllah, I was always very stubborn when it came to religion and never thought for a single moment to go back to my old lifestyle and leave Islam.

The more my classmates and the people on the street treated me in a bad way due to my religion the more I buried myself in the books of Islam to strengthen my faith in order to never ever be like them again.

However, unfortunately, I have seen many people who entered Islam with such enthusiasm, after a few months completely turning their back on Islam.

Step by Step

Based on my experience, I believe that the most common problems of leaving Islam just after converting are the followings:

Many reverts forget about the golden rule of “step by step” in Islam and instead, they try to do everything at once. For example, someone starts wearing the hijab, praying five times a day including Fajr prayer, which I think is the hardest one for a new Muslim, getting rid of music, staying away from certain friends, and taking care of every single, tiny rule in Islam. Well, that sounds a good thing, right?

However, without a strong faith, you know what will happen?

You will very soon give up all of these acts and even lose your enthusiasm towards Islam because you feel it is just too hard. Let me tell an extreme example: one of my good friends actually ended up in the hospital because of such accelerated attitude.

No, Islam is not hard at all when you keep that golden rule: “everything must be taken step by step”.

Focus on Faith

You know, at the beginning of your journey, you are just like a Muslim in Makkah at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): Islam is completely new for you, therefore, you must strengthen your faith in God and make sure deep inside your heart that Islam is the right path before you start dealing with the rules in details, what is halal what is haram. Try to learn and slowly implement what you’ve learned.

How?

For example, you know hijab is obligatory upon every Muslim woman, right, but you do not feel yourself ready to take it on yet? Read the words of God regarding this issue, read the hadiths of the Prophet, listen to lectures of knowledgeable sheikhs who wonderfully explain the beauty of the Muslim veil and encourage you to take this step.

And the most important: don’t forget to pray to God to make wearing hijab easy for you, to help your parents and your friends accept it. You will find a few weeks later that you can’t step out of your home without hijab and disobey God again: you will feel you must wear it no matter what.

That goes actually with everything else: quitting smoking, stopping drinking alcohol, beginning to pray…etc. Some reverts find it easy to get rid of certain haram stuff, but find it difficult , for instance, to wear more modest clothes or pray five times a day. Others work the opposite way.

Everyone is different, but you must work on those issues which are hard for you, and if you are really sincere, you really want that God be pleased with you and reward you, He will surely help you, do not doubt it! God says in the Quran:

{Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 155)

Don’t Worry About What Others Say

Some new reverts just get fed up because they cannot bear the criticism from their close friends or their family anymore. Consequently, they feel embarrassed to meet other Muslims or go to the mosque to avoid more problems. The situation gets even worse when the person finally decides to attend a lecture, but in the mosque no one cares or even recognizes him. If a new Muslim cannot find that peace and warm brotherhood even among Muslims and feel that he can take refuge from the people’s bad treatment, then would you be surprised if he turns back to his old ways?

On the gray weekdays, when there is no one who is in the same shoes as you, who shares the same way of thinking, then it is pretty hard to win the battle. So, I would advise to meet Muslims frequently, keep contact with them on a daily basis.

I know, not everyone seems helpful and friendly in the mosque, but there will be surely one or two nice and smiling sisters/brothers who you can make a closer friendship with. That’s exactly the same as if you would be in a new class or in a new workplace: if they don’t open up, you need to make the first step.

If you live in a small city or a village where there is no Muslim community around, find Muslim friends on the internet. There are nowadays so many websites and forums where you might meet righteous brothers and sisters. You can try to search for those who live nearby your town, so you might even meet with them from time to time. Criticism is a very tough test, when you are all alone and everyone else is just attacking you or making fun of you. But always remember why you do all of this.

Remember that God is watching you and is so proud of you that you do not give up your faith.  Read the stories of the Prophets and remind yourself at times of hardship: they received far worse treatment from the people around them than you get from your friends right now.

Remember the Muslims of Makkah, how cruelly they were tortured not only verbally but physically as well, how many of them actually died just because of saying: la ilaha ila Allah. Some people might say you are an idiot or a terrorist or stay away from you, but would you really bow down for their will to please them while turning away from God and His eternal reward, Paradise? What is more important?

“The amount of reward is in accordance with the amount of suffering. When Allah loves some people, He tries them (with affliction). He who then is content (with Allah’s decree) has achieved the acceptance (of Allah), and he who is dissatisfied (with Allah’s decree) will attain the anger (of Allah).” (At-Tirmidhi)

Have Righteous Friends & Seek Knowledge

Some reverts see that Muslims around them are easy-going with religious issues and they take it as an ideal example, therefore, they don’t feel compelled to continuously seek knowledge and to take this matter seriously. They feel it is enough to believe in God, and His Messenger and pray sometimes. That is it. That is why it is very important to have friends, who are better and more knowledgeable than you.

My best friend, Hannah, was always strict, truly encouraging, she watched many lectures and read a lot about Islam. I remember that she always shared with me the new information she just got to know.  Seek knowledge continuously, because:

“The more knowledge you have, the greater will be your fear of Allah.” (Abu Bakr)

Don’t pass a day without reading at least two pages of the Quran even in your language, listen to lectures by well-known scholars.

When you go to school or work, read books about Islam or listen to the Quran because even if you don’t understand, it does soften your heart. This way, you can even memorize some short chapters to read in your prayer. Stay away from bad companionship. I lost all my so-called friends after becoming a Muslim, because I refused to go to parties and doing all haram stuff I used to do and I no longer wanted to listen to gossip about others. I lost a group of people because of Islam, but I got some good friends, by the mercy of God, who are much precious to me than anyone before!

So be strong, keep my advice and pray to God sincerely because He gives glad tidings to the ones who turn to Him seeking help:

{When My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they May walk in the right way.} (Al-Baqarah 2:186)


About Aya Timea

Timea Aya Csányi pursues her BSc. degree in Psychology and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She is a freelance writer and editor of the Ask the Counselor section.

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