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A New You: A 21st Century Guide for New Muslims

Take It Slowly

(Part 2)

Take It Slowly
Take your time establishing this new relationship with God. Read Quran in your native language, the next step would be to read the translation while listening or watching the recitation of Quran in Arabic.

Part 1

In the previous article we discussed the fact that embracing Islam allowed the new Muslim to begin again with a clean slate. It is a new start; a chance to build a life centred on worshiping God. This is an exciting time filled with endless opportunities but the best piece of advice I can give you is to take it slowly.

In those first hours, days and weeks it will be very tempting to shout your new found happiness from the rooftops.

Before you do this, try to think about what you are doing and who you are talking to. It is important to recognize that every person you tell will have a reaction. And those reactions will not always be what you expect them to be. It might be that the people you fear telling will hug you and that those you had thought had your back will react with horror.

Keep in mind that every person is on their own journey and that not everyone is as fortuitous as you are. Being guided to Islam is a gift, a bounty, and some people have not yet recognized their bounties from God.

It seems quite mystifying that in some places across the globe becoming Muslim is not a cause for celebration; however that is the state of the world today. In fact it is not so different from the world in the time of Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

You will find solace in the stories of the companions. Many of them feared telling their families, lost their jobs, homes and children. Others were blessed immediately and their families quickly followed them into their new lives. This is human nature, people are different. The way we perceive and understand things is different for each and every one of us.

There is no need to rush into things such as changing your name or taking intensive Arabic classes. If somewhere along the path you feel the need to change your name then do so.

Prophet Muhammad only changed the names of his companions if their names held some sort of meaning contrary to Islam or had an ambiguous or bad meaning. Having an Arabic sounding name is in no way obligatory. Take some time to think about your name, does it have a good meaning? Because Prophet Muhammad liked a person’s name to evoke good qualities[1].

Islam not rulesYou will need to learn a little bit of Arabic because the five daily prayers should be said in Arabic. However as with the entire journey take it slowly. Don’t expect too much of yourself. One step at a time is all that is required and these can be baby steps if that is what you need to have a safe and happy journey into your new life.

Take your time establishing this new relationship with God. Read Quran in your native language, the next step would be to read the translation while listening or watching the recitation of Quran in Arabic. Many translations have the most common Arabic words in the text.

If you delve too deeply, too quickly Islam can appear to be a religion of rules and regulations. This is far from the truth.

If you concentrate on developing a relationship with God and the Quran, rules and regulations will seem like the natural way to act. You will see that the rules are actually guidance from the One that knows human kind best, the Creator Himself.

If you feel compelled to ask more questions, seek more answers or explore more intricate issues of Islamic law you may find yourself perplexed and confused. There is no point in asking complex questions when you have not yet understood the basics. There is no point trying to run before you can walk.

Take the time to implement the inevitable changes that will occur in your thinking and your lifestyle.

Where though do you begin this process?

In this technologically dominated world many people will embrace Islam without ever having met a Muslim. For them a good start would be to look in a local community guide or telephone book for a local Islamic centre or mosque. Visiting a mosque for the first time can be a very daunting experience therefore you might telephone or email and ask if there is a new Muslim group that could contact you.

Others might know a Muslim neighbor or work colleague. A quiet word over the fence or at the water cooler might be your way into the Muslim community. Most people are discreet and are not going to shout your new status out for all to hear.

Again, though perhaps you want to bask in your new found faith quietly and privately, that is also perfectly okay. One step at a time, set your own timetable but be flexible, adjust the settings every now and then to reflect your needs.

Prophet Muhammad emphasized the fact that a person should surround themselves with good companions[2]. He said that the believer is to the believer like parts of a solid building, one part supports the other. Thus Muslims are usually very keen to help new Muslims get adjusted to their new life.

A word of warning though, in some circumstances you might feel bombarded by people saying you must do this and you must do that. Perhaps many of these warnings are true but remember that you will learn more from the Muslim who invites you to his or her home and teaches by example than you will from the one who demands you read this or wear that.

In conclusion, a note of caution about the trials and tribulations sometimes associated with embracing Islam. Sometimes the tests from God can appear to come thick and fast. I personally think that many of them could be avoided if we remember to take it slowly. Think before you leap into new situations and think twice before you reveal personal changes that you may want to keep to yourself, or a small circle of acquaintances, for some time yet.

On the other hand it is worth remembering that Satan will do his best to harm a person who is learning about the mercy and forgiveness of God. He wants you to feel scared, anxious or depressed. He wants to coat your good fortune with fears and lies.

{(Satan said) “…surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…”} (Quran 7:16-17)

To combat this take a deep breath, open the Quran and begin reading. Anywhere, it is a source of comfort and inspiration.

Take the next baby step forward into your new life. In the third article we will look a little deeper into how a new Muslim can make a support team.

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[1] Prophet Muhammad’s traditions and advice can be found in books of hadith. A hadith is a piece of information of a story. In Islam it is a narrative record of the saying and actions of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. His views on names were taken from the books of hadith collected by hadith scholars Imam Al Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

[2] Prophet Muhammad said: “The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.” He illustrated this by interlacing the fingers of both his hands.


About Aisha Stacey

Aisha Stacey is the mother of three adult children. She embraced Islam in 2002 and spent the next five years in Doha, Qatar studying Islam and working at the Fanar Cultural Centre. In 2006 Aisha returned to university for a second time and completed at Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Writing. Aisha is also a published writer in both internet and print media and in 2009 -10 she was the Queensland editor at a national Australian Islamic newspaper ~ Crescent Times.

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