A Convert Sister: How to Raise My Children to be Muslims?

10 October, 2019
Q Salam. I have two children, one is 8 another one is 14. I divorced 2 years ago. I converted to Islam only a few months ago. My problem is that I wish to raise my children as Muslims, but I myself need to learn more about Islam. They kind of accepted me as a Muslim, although I do not wear the hijab yet, they are not really willing to come with me to the mosque or hear about Islam.

Maybe my younger daughter is more opened to it, she enjoys wearing the hijab at the mosque, but my son is completely against it. He is rebellious since we divorced. He is a typical western teenager and I am not sure what to do with him. I do not want him to be with friends who make him drink alcohol and smoke cigarette.

I know he does smoke and Allahu allem what he does when he is out. I cannot control him. I am also afraid of my husband because he was threatening to take the children if I dare to convert them also to Islam. What shall I do?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•I would kindly suggest sister that you go at your own pace concerning learning, wearing hijab and so forth.

•Make it a priority to learn your prayers and keep your 5 daily prayers in addition to gaining Islamic knowledge by reading the Qur’an, going to the Masjid and Islamic events as you are doing now.

•Continue to encourage your children by being an example as well as by talking with them about the things you are learning.

•Your daughter is at an age wherein you can still help shape her thoughts and direction.

•Take  your son to a counselor in your area to work out his issues about the divorce and whatever else he is going through


As-Salamu ’Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concerns and congratulations on your reversion to Islam! May Allah bless you and grant you ease on your new journey.

Concerning your children and x-husband, It is not an easy path sister, I know. My situation was similar; however, my x-husband was out of the picture pretty much so I did not have him to worry about. But my children were young and brought up Christian in the church, so the change was big for them.

While I do not know where you live in the US or what kind of community you live in, in certain places people have misconceptions about Islam, thus, making some children hesitant to learn or embrace Islam for fear of ridicule. Additionally, if they were not raised in a faith-based home, suddenly having a structured religious atmosphere in the home as well as religious expectations can be kind of a shock for them.

A Convert Sister: How to Raise My Children to be Muslims? - About Islam

I was once told to take Islam in teaspoons, meaning don’t try to learn everything at once as it can be overwhelming to some people who are new, especially children.

I would kindly suggest sister that you go at your own pace concerning learning, wearing hijab and so forth. Please do, however, make it a priority to learn your prayers and keep your 5 daily prayers in addition to gaining Islamic knowledge by reading the Qur’an, going to the Masjid and Islamic events as you are doing now.

Continue to encourage your children by being an example as well as by talking with them about the things you are learning.


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Concerning your daughter, as she is only 8, she will be easier to teach as she is still young. I would kindly suggest buying her children’s books on Islam and spending time reading with her about the Prophet (saw), Islam, and the various other topics that provide a fun but teaching experience.

While it is not Ramadan, I would suggest getting a child’s book on Ramadan (or movie) and show her all the fun festivities which occur throughout Ramadan up to Eid. Children usually look forward to Ramadan for many reasons and this may pique her interest as it is one our holidays (Eid).

When teaching your daughter, you may want to tie in some of her interests with Islamic values. For instance, if she is an animal lover, you may want to take her to do charity with other Muslims who care for lost or abandoned pets. If she has a passion for fashion, you may wish to show her all the beautiful types of Islamic dress from different countries. If she enjoys sports or cooking, for example, get her involved in some of the young girl’s groups in your Islamic community. The more things she is exposed to in Islam that she can relate to the more she will be to learn, in sha’ Allah. Also, as she makes more Muslim friends, she will in sha’Allah want to start to be more like her friends, especially if they form close bonds.

Your son is going to be more of a challenge. I pray that Allah (swt) makes it easy for you. He is at that rebellious age anyhow and to make things worse, it does not sound like he has adjusted well to the divorce. It seems he is angry and hurt over it, sister. This is a very difficult time and one you may have had to go through regardless of your reversion to Islam.

I would kindly suggest taking your son to a counselor in your area in sha’Allah to work out his issues about the divorce and whatever else he is going through. Intervention at this stage may prevent worse behaviors from developing. I would kindly suggest that you continue to be an example to your son of how one overcomes hurt, disappointment, and adversity in life.

You may want to get to know other families at your Masjid who may be in a similar situation (divorced/single mom’s with children). In sha’ Allah, this can be a great support to you as well as a socially up-building outlet. Many single moms get together with their children for family nights at each other’s home wherein they have fun activities planned for the family. Perhaps, your son may meet a young brother whom he can relate to and become friends with.This would help with opening up his heart to learning about Islam, in sha’ Allah.

I would also kindly suggest that at his age you do not pressure nor threaten him about Islam as he will turn away harder but provide a learning environment that may pique his interest. If some of the boys at the Masjid are into basketball or cars or something he is interested in, make it a point to ask him if he would like to go with “so and so” to a game or event. This, of course, would need to be set up by networking with the sisters at the Masjid to see what opportunities exist for your son. Often times, when one is not willing or ready to learn about Islam, they may be willing to participate in activities that appeal to them first and later become interested. Please get him counseling, in sha’ Allah.

As far as your x-husband goes, unless he is threatening with violence, I would just ignore his threats to take the children because you are Muslim. Don’t feed into his threats nor respond.The last time I checked, it was not a crime to be Muslim in this country nor was it a proof that someone is an unfit mother or father.

In fact, as Islam forbids drinking, drug use, promiscuity, hurting others and other harmful acts and encourages kindness, charity, high morals as well as respect for all living things, Islamic parents often can provide the best moral and stable homes for children to be raised in. Your x-husband may be harmful; however, in that, he may be brainwashing your children with hatred and lies about Islam.That is why it will be important that they have a clear understanding of what Islam is and isn’t.

Your daughter, as I stated, is at an age wherein you can still help shape her thoughts and direction. Your son, however, may need more time as he may be dealing with issues of anger, abandonment, and hurt due to the divorce which is common in some children after a divorce.

Thus, I highly recommend that you deal with the counseling issue with him while at the same time offering him interesting activities he can relate to within an Islamic context. In sha’ Allah, once he is engaged in counseling and begins to heal, he will be more receptive to active learning and application of Islamic principles in his life. Do make du’aa’ for your children that Allah (swt) guides them.

You are in our prayers, sister. Please, let us know how you are doing.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Finding Balance in Raising Muslim Children

As a Single Mom, How to Raise Good Muslim Kids?

7 Tips for Muslim Parents on “Why Aren’t My Kids Practicing Islam?”

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.