Salam Dear Amy,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Firstly, we would like to welcome you to Islam. May Allah always help you increase in faith and remain firm on His Straight Path.
I am glad to know that you work as a nurse in a hospital. What a wonderful and noble job you have chosen. Helping patients and caring for their well-being is highly praised in Islam.
You accompany patients and most of the time this is the main human contact they receive during their stay in hospital. It is said that patients’ health improves greatly when they have a nurse who really cares for their health and well-being.
Try to make patients feel comfortable and help them through the difficult time they go through. Do your best to display sympathy and empathy toward them.
Working in a non-Islamic environment is by no means a reason for not answering the call of duty. Perfect your job as best as you can. Be a model employee. Perfection is called ihsan in Islam which means that you worship God as if you are seeing Him, even though you do not because you know truly that He sees you.
Perfection or excellence in worship, work, and social relations should be your motto. When a Muslim perfects his/her work, he/she will be rewarded abundantly and showered with mercy and forgiveness from God.
With regard to the prayer issue, I would like to tell you that prayer is the cornerstone of worship in Islam. It stands as the second pillar of Islam. It is a special connection between you and your Creator.
The five daily prayers should be performed within the window of their times to one’s best ability. Do your best to perform each prayer in its time. Surely, you are given some time off for breaks during the day. Make sure to perform the prayer in the break if it is possible. Each prayer will not take more than five minutes.
If you are alone in the shift, it is much easier as your colleagues will not be watching you. If you are on shift with a colleague, excuse yourself for a few minutes and do the prayer.
If there is no other way to perform the prayer within its time, you can combine the Zhuhr (noon) prayer with the `Asr (afternoon) prayer at the time of either of them. You can also combine the Maghrib (sunset) prayer with the `Isha’ (evening) prayer at the time of either of them.
But do not make it a habit to do so. Do your best to perform the prayers in their time when there is a chance for that.
In case you miss any prayer, please make it up once you remember it or are able. This is the only remedy for missing a prayer.
Try to introduce yourself to the Muslim physician you mentioned and I am sure he will help you with the prayer issue. He might find a place for you where you can maintain your privacy while praying to God. He might also introduce you the Muslim community in your neighborhood.
At this stage, I advise you to read more and more about Islam and practice the rituals as much as you can. As the month of Ramadan is upon us, it will be your first Ramadan as a Muslim. Do your best to observe fasting.
Fasting will teach you patience and perseverance. You can write down your Ramadan diary and send it to us to publish if you like, as it might serve as a source of inspiration for others.
You should also focus on developing your personality as a Muslim woman. Be honest, generous, trustworthy, truthful, and hard-working. The change in your personality will inspire others to ask about the reason of this change.
Once you have the strength and courage to tell your family and colleagues about your conversion, do it. Be ready for negative reactions and I advise you to keep calm and prove to them the positive change you have experienced after conversion.
When you talk about Islam, focus on the common values between Islam and other belief systems. Do not approach the controversial issues. Do not make Islam a source of conflict with others.
If you feel that your faith is still shaky, you can postpone the declaration of your conversion till you feel that your faith is standing on a solid ground.
Please try to visit any mosque in your neighborhood where you can get to know more Muslim friends who will help you with your problems. If you are unable to find friends, talk to the Imam of the mosque and he will introduce you to Muslim friends or a Muslim family and they can be a source of support for you.
Do not isolate yourself from the community. Be an active member and contribute as much as you can to your community.
If you still have further queries, do not hesitate to write to us again.
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