Short Answer: In learning to practice your new faith, take things slowly. The first priority would be to learn the five daily prayers. Making new Muslim friends is also very important while gradually increasing your knowledge of Islam.
Salam Dear Abdul Hadi,
Welcome to Islam! May Allah continue to guide you and strengthen your faith.
First, you should know that all of us, no matter how long we have been Muslim, have ups and downs in our iman (faith).
So we must always strive to improve and not get discouraged when we are feeling our iman is low.
1- The first thing you should do, of course, is to learn how to perform salah (the formal prayer) properly, and then get into the habit of performing the five daily prayers at their proper times.
This means learning a little bit of the Quran — at least Surat Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1) — so that you can pray.
It is better, of course, if you learn more of the Quran. So make as much effort as you can to learn a bit each day.
Also at some point you can try to learn how to read the Quran in Arabic. At least have it in the back of your mind that it is recommended and a long-term goal. Yet, bear in mind that it is not a must.
2-Also, make new friends with devout Muslims and try to spend time with them.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to totally give up the friends you had before you were Muslim.
Yet, if you spent your time with your old friends drinking or gambling or doing other negative and haram (forbidden) things, you will have to avoid those activities.
This may or may not mean dropping those friends also. If they are real friends, they should be willing to accept you for what you are now.
You can still watch football together, for example, but substitute soft drinks for alcohol.
If they’re not willing to do that, you will have to think if maybe they are not your real friends.
3- Increase your knowledge of Islam by reading, attending lessons, and listening to lectures on YouTube.
Try to find a knowledgeable person who can answer your questions. Beware of those who seem to be knowledgeable, while they are not.
Search for scholars through Islamic centers and get close to them. Seek knowledge from them.
Also, try to get information from more than one source so that you get a more balanced view of what Islam is.
The hardest thing for new Muslims is to figure out where they fit on the spectrum of Islam — are they liberal, moderate, or conservative?
Some people have very strict views of what is right and wrong and always choose the more difficult of two halal (permissible) choices.
Try to take the middle ground and be moderate. Usually, there is more than a black-or-white choice, with many shades of gray in between.
In learning to practice your new faith, take things slowly. Don’t be overenthusiastic by plunging in and trying to do many extra acts of worship at once.
It was reported by Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that Allah loves best the acts that are repeated regularly, even if they were little.
So choose one new action at a time and become very regular in performing it before adding another one.
4- As for what more you should learn, I can’t say without knowing what you already know. However, I can advise you to concentrate for now on learning more about the tenets of faith and`aqeedah (Islamic creed).
Learn how to perform the salah and other pillars of Islam; paying zakah, fasting, and making Hajj.
Perhaps your local imam can suggest more topics that you should learn about.
5- Finally, you asked for prayers that can be recommended in times of trial. The best thing to do is to pray from your heart. Ask God for what you need and expose your soul to Him.
However, the only other prayers that are to be recommended are Prophetic supplications used by Prophet Muhammad and other great prophets (peace be upon them all) or the great companions.
Otherwise, it is never recommended to oblige oneself to use specific supplications that one doesn’t feel or develop personally.
Supplication is the way to communicate on a personal level with the Divine. We can only use the Prophetic example as a role model here, from where we start to launch a deep personal relation.
I hope this helps you. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to send us again. Thank you and stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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