Asalamu Alaikum Justin,
Thank you very much for your question. Praise be to Allah that you have found Islam as your religion.
Your question shows that you are searching for the right way to respond to Almighty Allah and to His love for you in calling you to embrace Islam.
You can be sure that you are loved very much by Allah when He has called you from your previous way of life to submit to His will as a Muslim.
It might help you, dear brother, if I tell you something of my own experience in returning to Islam. Like you, for many years I was Christian. I still hold in reverence all those good people I once knew and worked with who still hold Christian beliefs.
Like you, I found emptiness in my heart and in my life, that nothing could fill. With great sadness, I left the Church. Little did I know that this was all a part of Almighty Allah’s plan for my life.
And I, too, found myself wandering about in a spiritual wilderness, not really knowing where to turn or who to turn to for the spiritual light I was looking for.
When you say that you feel lost these days, I pray that you will find what you are looking for in Islam. Your new-found faith, though, must be encouraged for it to grow.
You do need the help and the support of others around you to help you to know more about Islam and be a better Muslim. Thank God that your parents have quietly accepted your decision.
This is a great gift, because many people find open rejection from family or friends when they tell them of their decision.
What you need now is to find Muslim friends and companions who can help you. For a start, you have found AboutIslam.net. You are right that there are many different voices, saying many different things about Islam.
Newspaper and television don’t help when they are always giving the wrong idea about Islam and Muslims. I personally see that AboutIslam.net, though, presents a very balanced and moderate view of Islam. So, you can find answers to questions of faith here.
Moreover, you must try to meet other Muslims. This is very important. Their experience of Islam will help your faith to grow. We are not angels, but human beings, so we need others to encourage and support us.
It is easy to lose heart and even to give up altogether if we have nothing to help us. Always praying on our own, without having other brothers and sisters to pray and talk with, is very difficult — though not impossible.
Islam is a brotherhood. In fact, Islam calls the whole of humanity to be brothers and sisters, so you need brethren as support and for your faith to fully blossom.
Is there an Islamic center or a mosque anywhere near you that you could visit? If there is, you should try and introduce yourself, slowly, to those you meet there.
I must admit that some of my first experiences with mosques in London were not all that helpful. Unfortunately, when I was most looking for help and support, many people in the mosque did not make me feel very welcome at all. In fact, I felt very much like an outsider.
However, with perseverance, I found a mosque with a special program for those who were new to Islam and this came to be my spiritual home. So, trying to find a mosque is very important for you.
If there really is no mosque at all anywhere near you—try searching on islamicfinder.org—why not try to make a journey just to visit a mosque in another town or city from time to time?
You will find that praying with others, if only occasionally, will give you great strength, until you find your own mosque. Without a mosque of your own, you will have to rely on books and Internet resources. Just be careful with whom you are talking. Not all sources are authentic or valid.
Reading about the life and example of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) helps us guide our lives in the right direction. Learning and reciting verses from the Noble Quran will not only help your knowledge of Islam, but will also give great peace to your life in your new faith.
You are right that there are a lot of conflicting voices about Islam. In terms of correcting others’ wrong impressions about Islam, the best thing all of us can do is to set good examples.
Words are easy, but words alone don’t change people’s lives. It is the day-in, day-out, good examples of Muslims which can touch people’s hearts.
If you still find yourself lost and without help or support for your faith, trying to argue or debate with others about Islam at the moment might only make you feel even more frustrated.
Quietly giving them a good example, on the other hand, is the best thing you can do, for the time-being. Allah says in the Quran:
(It may be that those who disbelieve wish ardently that they were Muslims.) (Al-Hijr 15:2)
Your life has been touched by the presence of Almighty Allah and you have felt drawn to Islam. Your question, which comes from the heart, shows how sincere you are in seeking the right way to live as a Muslim.
In sha’ Allah, He will answer your prayers and will provide the ways for you to come ever closer to Him. Just move step by step and give each step its time.
I hope this is a satisfactory answer. If you still have any other queries, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you and keep in touch.
Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:
Spiritually Satisfied, What Else Matters?