Is Islam for Me?

26 June, 2016
Q It seems weird for someone to ask a Muslim website if Islam is right for me, but I need honest opinion and advice from all perspectives. I have been going back and forth with Islam for about 2 years now. The problem I'm facing is that despite believing in divinity, I'm never sure if there's a true religion. I always seem to find a reason to doubt. Also I'm quite a liberal person, so things in Islam go against my personal ethics. When I was trying to apply Islam to my life, I felt uncomfortable about many things. For example, homosexuality, punishments, etc. I know it could be from Allah but I can't change my feelings, equality and love are important to me. Despite all this, I keep feeling a pull to it and I believe that I might have got many signs. Some days I feel it was from Allah, others I dismiss it as coincidence. I know you can't take a decision for me but, if I follow Islam, I feel uncomfortable and I feel like a hypocrite. If I don't, I feel maybe I'm ignoring Allah and making a big mistake.


Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

Thank you for the question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

If you cannot ask an Islamic website who can you ask? Muslims are in contact with the Islamic websites as well as non-Muslims and, therefore, you will be in contact with both groups. Also, I am a revert and, hence, you are in contact with the third group – reverts.

Essentially all reverts follow a similar path. The actual circumstances and why they choose Islam varies with each individual, but there is an underlying pattern. Something in your life seems to be missing or not quite right. When you analyze this, it usually comes down to one or more of the big questions. Why am I here? What should I do? Is it by chance? etc…

It is only when one pauses to evaluate the questions in their mind that a degree of rationality is applied. In your own case it seems that you want to believe but you are finding “reasons” not to believe. Are these reasons real or imagined? Are they simply excuses?

The issues you point to, I would suggest, are actually secondary issues. Let us take homosexuality as an example. Some people argue that it is a genetic defect, yet no gene has been found.  I have found in contact with social workers that, generally speaking, there has been some problem in the family which has been the root cause.

I agree there is no problem with a man loving a man e.g. father son relationship or mother daughter relationship. But, if it is exclusive, excessive or possessive then surely this is unnatural.

In other words, homosexuality becomes a preferred way of life, an alternative life-style if you prefer. If every person in the world wanted to live according to their own whims – life style, we would have very many more social problems. There surely has to be some “rules” for society.

Islam’s attitude is, what you do in the privacy of your own home is your personal choice, but public displays can and may affect the social order and, as such should not be permitted.

Take for instance the example of Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), some people told him that other people were drinking in a house. He went and looked through the window, and then he went in and told them to stop.

They argued he had committed three mistakes while they had committed only one. He had listened to backbiting, he had spied on them, and he had entered without permission; while they were only guilty of drinking.Is Islam for Me

In other words what you do in the privacy of your own home is on your own conscience, but if it comes out into society then it is a matter for the society (e.g. the story of Lut/Lot and his people).

Binge drinking is another problem where society is impacted compared to drinking at home. One neglected issue here, is whether the person that sells alcohol to someone who has a drink related accident is in any way to blame; each of us may have our own opinion.

To discuss punishments one needs to understand just what Sharia (Islamic Law) really is. It is the rules we live by, a comprehensive system which embraces how we live, dress and relate to one another and to Allah (God). As such Allah has given us limits and told us that if we cross those limits then He will punish us. There are seven areas where Allah’s limits apply (some say six).

Since you mention punishment let us look at this. There are two types of punishment in Islam, for a major crime the punishment (hud) is severe but, if the case cannot be proven in absolute terms – a watertight case in which there is no room for any doubt at all, not just reasonable doubt – then the punishment automatically reduces to that of the lesser crime.

Even in the case of theft, the Qadi (Judge) is empowered to look into all the circumstances of the case including the background of the offender(s), the reasons for the crime and whether the offender(s) would benefit from rehabilitation. Only in the case of a persistent offender, one who is beyond rehabilitation and who has stolen above a minimum amount is the maximum penalty invoked.

For the decade of 1990 -2000 only 7 cases of amputating a hand in Saudi Arabia occurred, for example. I witnessed one such punishment and the impact on the community was obvious.

If the offender is a compulsive offender and measures are introduced to make the circumstances more difficult for such crimes to be committed, it is not difficult or unreasonable to conclude that these persistent offenders will become more aggressive and possibly resort to violence including the use of weapons.

Under such circumstances if the amputation of a hand is really barbaric when it could mean the saving of a life? A similar case can be made for manslaughter. Note that in the case of manslaughter the victim’s dependents can accept a financial consideration or simply forgive the perpetrator. In the case of the victim being the wage earner in the family it is easy to visualise the circumstances under which a financial recompense would be beneficial.

Since you don’t mention any other religion, I wonder if you have doubts about the existence of God? I left organized religion (Christianity) when I was about 23 years old as I felt I wouldn’t find God in the church and I felt hypocritical going to the church. However, I didn’t doubt the existence of God.

Sometime after I had said the Shahadah – testimony of faith for a Muslim – I wondered if there would come a time when I would want to go away from Islam. I worried over this and asked Allah for help. One night when I couldn’t sleep, in my mind came: O you who believe, go not away from the right path, the path that leads to Allah, the One God, Lord of all creation. I only tell you this as an example. It is not unique to me. Many reverts have similar experiences.

So, I would suggest you sit down and talk to Allah, pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him what’s in your mind, your doubts, etc… He is the only One Who decides who becomes Muslim. If you are sincere, I really believe He will show you the way. Are you prepared to accept it?

As regards to your question, Is Islam right for me? The proof of that comes when one sincerely practices Islam and sees for themselves the benefits that Allah bestows on them. In line with this approach one should also read the Quran in a language they understand, with the explanation (tafsir) so as to benefit with full understanding and not just from a translation.

To do so, one needs to perform ablution, cleanse the heart and clothes and with an open and sincere mind allow the” words of Allah” to affect their heart. As our understanding develops, the realization that Allah exists and His mercy and love are directed towards us will gradually settles in our hearts; such that we want to “witness for Allah” in our words and deeds. Only then may we say faith has entered our hearts. It is easy to say with our tongues but how many of us are really living Islam?

Three passages in the Quran come to mind which might be of benefit to you. Specifically, may I suggest, you study al-Fatihah (Opening Chapter of Quran) with respect to the hadith Qudsi (divine tradition) and the dialogue that takes place between Allah and His worshipper during prayer:Is Islam for Me

Allah, the Exalted, said, “I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.” If he says,

1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

2. All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.

Allah says, “My servant has praised Me.” When the servant says,

3. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Allah says, “My servant has glorified Me.” When he says,

4. The Owner of the Day of Recompense.

Allah says, “My servant has glorified Me,” or “My servant has related all matters to Me.” When he says,

5. You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.

Allah says, “This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.” When he says,

6. Guide us to the straight path.

7. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray

Allah says, “This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.”(An-Nasai) [i]

Then perhaps, Surah al-‘Asr, chapter 103 of the Quan, with the emphasis on what constitutes “good deeds” (any action with the intention of doing it solely for Allah, following the legal ways of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is a good deed) and  note sabr is not “patience” but “steadfast perseverance”;

Thirdly you might study “the words that stand firm in this life and the Hereafter” – la ilaha illallah. You will need a good tafsir (interpretation of the Quran) to help you and I would suggest Ibn Kathir.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara bin Azib, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

When the Muslim is questioned in the grave, he will testify that, `La ilaha illallah‘, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, hence Allah’s statement,{Allah will keep firm those who believe, with word that stands firm in this world, and in the Hereafter.} [ii]

{… Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. …} (Quran 3:19)

Translation of Sahih International of the verses that are relevant:

{Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah, and then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account.} (Quran 3:18 – 20)Is Islam for Me

One problem facing the Muslims today is that we don’t know the Quran. We have stopped reading it to understand it and, as a result, we are unable to act on it.

May Allah help us to find the time and the means to understand His words. May we successfully strive to implement His words in our hearts, so that our actions may truly reflect what is actually in our hearts, Ameen.

I hope this addresses your concerns.

Salam and please keep in touch.




About Daud Matthews
Daud Matthews was born in 1938, he embraced Islam in 1970, and got married in Pakistan in 1973.
Matthews studied physics and subsequently achieved Chartered Engineer, Fellow of both the British Computer Society and the Institute of Management.He was working initially in physics research labs, he then moved to computer management in 1971. He lived and worked in Saudi Arabia from 1974 to 1997 first with the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran,and then with King Saud University in Riyadh. He's been involved in da'wah since 1986.