Dear brothers and sisters in Islam. I hope this meets you all in a very good health and faith. I hope you get this in sha Allah. I'm writing to you in order to ask for help and advice because of my step brother whom I care about so much and don't want to see him go astray.
We reside in the United States, I stay with my dad, my sister, and my other brother. But my stepbrother stays with his mum and other sisters in another state. I got to know about his perspective about Allah when he made a visit here.
I noticed that he doesn't pray, so I made sure whenever I'm going to the masjid I call him along. All was fine for a day or two until he said it felt like we pray every second and told me no when I called him again. I guess he was respecting me the first two days and that’s why he followed me to masjid. So we got talking as I was curious why he's living like that.
He said he considered himself an atheist. He feels he's smarter than everyone and everyone who's religious is just a "fool". He said his mum (my step mum) had taken him to different local imams but he feels they don't have enough evidence.
I tried asking him about the Qur'an, is not enough evidence? He said he read the translation and it didn't make sense to him, subhanallah! He said the Qur'an was something he could just throw and nothing would happen. Then I knew I can't help due to my limited knowledge I didn't stop praying for him.
My dad blames himself for this as he and his mum are kind of separated. My dad suggests that he went to Egypt to learn but he declined to say they could hurt him there. My dad still offers to go with him and quit his job but he still didn't concur. JazakAllah khayran for your help.
In this counseling answer:
Do not speak much about prayer with your brother. If possible, pray at home sometimes = in front of him.
Try to monitor some of the activities he is involved in such as watching too much TV, listening to too much music, etc., and try to make him do other things during that time.
Develop a relationship with him. For example, go out with him, play sports with him so that he realizes that you are a friend and he can trust you.
Tell stories about people who realized their mistakes and improved their lives after being told about Islam.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear brother,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to propose a solution to your current situation. I am very sorry to hear about your step brother’s feelings towards Islam. I am very pleased that you are very concerned about his faith.
It is not easy getting people to believe in the natural religion of Islam. The prophet Mohammed said,
“The devil flows in a man like his blood.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
When we try and attempt to do good, we are fighting with what the devil prompts us. Before you can ask someone to pray and become a better Muslim. You need to make them realize the value of faith.
Remember, there are five pillars of Islam, and I believe that they are placed so in order of their importance. Shahadah, Prayer, Fasting, Charity (Zakat), and Pilgrimage (Hajj).
The first is the Shahadah (testimony of faith). This is undoubtedly the most important of them all. Without the understanding of this pillar, the succeeding ones have no meaning or value.
If an individual is not concerned about the importance of the first pillar. Then he will not find importance in the other four. The understanding must come from the bottom of the heart. This is why I believe that although certain people call themselves Muslims. They are not as aware of Allah, and do not even try to develop a relationship with Allah.
They are simply caught up in this life. Hence, are unable to see the future and the consequence of their deeds, and their lives after they die. As a result of these feelings, their prayers lack emotion and meaning.
Check out this counseling video:
Because your stepbrother has completely lost interest in praying, I suggest you stop asking him to pray constantly. This will cause him to feel even more annoyed at the idea of praying and believing in Allah. He is not aware of the importance of the actions he should be doing.
For example, I recently learned that the son of Boston Doughnut’s CEO quit his job. As the manager of the company because he realized the harm of eating fried, sugary and unhealthy donuts. It did not matter to him that he was leaving behind a life of luxury and constant job security.
To him, all that mattered was he could not be promoting something which he does not support, does not believe in, and he cannot be hoping to do bad to others while making himself the money. It was against his internal beliefs. Therefore, when one realizes the importance of an action, it will be easy to comply.
For your stepbrother to go back to praying, he needs to know the meaning and the importance of him doing so.
Indirectly reinforcing the importance of an action
Simply because Allah has given us the power to reason and understand the importance of prayer, not everyone is on the same page, unfortunately. Many people simply do not understand why Muslims must pray all the time.
Therefore, for him to realize its importance, you need to take it one step at a time. Do not force him. Stop asking him to pray all together. Try indirect means of attracting his attention.
Perhaps, you can achieve this by bringing him to gatherings with good people and people of piety and guidance.
Keeping good company
I am sure that you have heard this quote before, “you are known by the company you keep.” Perhaps it is possible that some of the friends whom he is spending time with are confusing and distracting him. Perhaps some of his friends force him to do actions. Which are clearly prohibited in Islam. Or are asking him to leave behind his religion. So that he can do more of what is fun, and not restricting and limiting.
Many people leave religion or simply do not try and work as hard. To follow it because their world is a place of “fun” that they do not want to miss out on.
The Prophet said,
“This world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the non-believer.” (Jami At-Tirmidhi)
Therefore, you need to help him realize the importance of seeking a good company and moving away from a company which will do him no benefit. Sometimes this can be successfully achieved by telling stories of people you know who have been taken advantage of by bad friends or those who have faced terrible consequences because of bad influences from friends.
For instance, I can give the example of a brother who is viral on the internet because he developed oral cancer. However, when he realized that this consequence was due to his ignorant and arrogant life choices, he realized the temporary nature of this life and dedicated to serve Allah and help people in Africa in his remaining life.
Perhaps you can show him this video. This video was posted about 2 years ago, and he has been able to do a lot more in 2 years than many people have done in decades. He is still alive, ma sha’ Allah.
Dear brother, you cannot make someone believe in Allah. However, it is your task to make efforts and try guiding him. Be certain that there is a great reward in what you are aiming to do.
“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” (16: 125)
Remember, you are calling your stepbrother on the path to Allah. You must be persistent while at the same time being patient, knowledgeable, and sincere.
Allah in the Quran,
“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” (3: 159)
In summary, this is what I believe you should do to try and get his interest back in prayer.
- Do not speak much about prayer with your brother. If possible, pray at home sometimes = in front of him.
- Try to monitor some of the activities he is involved in such as watching too much TV, listening to too much music, etc., and try to make him do other things during that time.
- Develop a relationship with him. For example, go out with him, play sports with him so that he realizes that you are a friend and he can trust you.
- Tell stories about people who realized their mistakes and improved their lives after being told about Islam.
- Make du’aa’.
I ask and pray that Allah grants you patience and helps your brother get back on the right path.
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