Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you for participating in the session.
Please find the 5 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session or submit it there again.
Question 1. New Muslim without community
May peace be with you wherever you are.
I would like to ask for advice and tips to keep me stronger in my faith every day and not get discouraged. I live in a country where the Muslim population is less than 1%, made up mostly of immigrants who are very closed in their social groups. I have practically no Muslim friends, and, since Islam is not an individual religion, I really miss being part of a community and it makes me very sad sometimes. I am always returning to Allah and doing my best to make this situation change, however, I am usually sad to be among so many non-Muslims who do not understand my choices and my faith. Do you have any advice to give me? I converted recently, 3 months ago.
Salam alaikom, dear sister,
First of all, let me welcome you to Islam. I am glad to hear that you have chosen to become a Muslim. May Allah keep you on the right path.
You are Muslim in a country where less than 1% of the population is Muslim, so it means that Islam is somehow less visible around you.
You miss the greater community, and this is understandable, as, just like you say, Islam is a very “social” religion. You feel sad to be among so many non-Muslims who don’t understand your choices and faith. What can you do in a situation like this?
Dear sister, as a convert myself, I can understand what you are talking about. You are new to the religion and have found a new way of life, but this is still a transitional phase somehow, right? You started practicing your faith and getting on a life-time journey, but probably your external reality still does not reflect your internal one or the one you are longing for.
I would like to reassure you that it is normal, and probably most converts come through this phase. Many of us did not have a community around us at the beginning. And when we look around and see some groups, like you mention, we may feel that we don’t fit in.
But think about it: everything happens at the will of Allah. He chose you and guided you towards Islam, alhamdulillah. Surely, he is very aware of your situation. So, think about that this also happens for a reason. And for some reason, that is beneficial for you. He is the Delayer of the causes and the Wisest and He knows what is best for you and when.
Who knows? Maybe Allah wants to protect you from the company of those who would not positively affect your faith. Maybe, for some reason, it is best if you are not yet surrounded by a community. Maybe it is best for you at this moment if you can focus on strengthening your faith without any unwanted or incorrect influences. Allah knows what the reason is, but know that whatever the case, it is best for you for now, and when the right time comes, you will get what you need.
I am sure you have heard about the power of dua. Allah sees and hears you, so do not be shy to ask Him for what you need. After your prayers, ask Him for righteous friends and companions, and trust that He will place the right people on your way.
And sometimes a good Muslim friend or two is the best you can have. Is there any masjid or an Islamic center around? You may visit it sometime, join the Friday prayer, for example, or see what events they organize. You may come across some sisters, and you can share with them your interest.
Another idea is to join an online course about Islam. There are plenty of good options, although mostly in English. Nowadays, these online courses have WhatsApp groups for students, and that is another great opportunity to connect with like-minded sisters. In this case, you would gain both knowledge and some peers who could learn about Islam together.
Also, there are online communities for new Muslims, support groups, mentorship programs, etc. I kindly advise you to check your social media to see what is available.
Furthermore, what about searching for a charity or voluntary organization and participating in a good cause? Just look around: many Muslim initiatives work with volunteers, either online or on the ground. Check out the options and contact those who resonate with you.
And I would like to share with you another thought. Yes, you are a Muslim now, alhamdulillah, and this has opened the door for you to a whole new perspective on life. But you do not need to leave behind all of yourself and the people and things you have liked in your previous life. You may find enjoyment in your hobbies, like reading, sports, cultural activities, nature, etc.
You are still “you,” so be proud of yourself and keep your good companionships and friends around. If you have good friends or family members and you have a good and loving relationship with them, keep maintaining the ties. You may have other things in common, and unless it is not against Islamic teachings, you can still benefit from their companionship and support.
I understand that to strengthen your new identity, you feel the need for some form of alienation, and you prefer to be around those who are Muslims and whom you can share your experiences with. That is okay, and surely it would help you in this transitional period.
But know that being a Muslim in a place where there are only a few Muslims has its benefits. You can be the one who shows the beauty of this religion to others. Maybe you will be the one who contributes to changing the views of others for a more positive one about the religion.
So, I advise you to keep learning and practicing, and let your good manners and Islamic character reflect who you are. It may make people curious about your way of life, and you can share it with them. Check also our site for more, as we have multiple resurces for new Muslims, also a FB group to join.
May Allah bless you and keep you on the path of Islam.
Question 2. Being new Muslim and modest
I am a new convert. I recently got into school and during orientation I noticed that I got weird looks from my fellow Muslims. I had on jeans, a baggy T-shirt, a jacket on top and a hijab. To me, I saw it as modest. However, I couldn’t escape the looks. Was I wrong to be dressed like this, perhaps I should have worn an abaya?
Wa alaikom salam, dear sister,
Thank you for turning to us. First of all, I am very happy to hear about your conversion. What a blessing, alhamdulillah. May Allah keep you on His path, ameen.
May Allah reward you also for your efforts of trying to please Him and do according to His command.
Exactly, this is what He commanded: being modest in our looks. The Prophet, peace be upon him, once said:
“Verily, every religion has a character and the character of Islam is modesty.” Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 4182
We have many articles on this topic, about how to wear hijab and how to look modest. I will share some of them here. But in a nutshell, I would like you to know that being Muslim does not mean that you have to look or dress in a way that traditionally belongs to a particular culture.
Muslim cultures tend to have their own traditional clothing: abayas, kaftans, jilbabs, tunics, etc. And women of these cultures may follow their traditions and wear clothing that is easily identifiable as South Asian, Arabic, Middle Eastern, North African, West African, etc.
But if you are none of any of these, why would you leave your own choices and preferences and not dress according to your own culture? Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing these clothes, and you may want to experience wearing an abaya or a kaftan, etc., if you wish so. It is totally up to you.
What you need to keep in mind are the Islamic guidelines for women. And it is:
- not wearing anything transparent.
- not wearing clothes that reveal the shape of your body and that are too tight.
- not imitating the opposite sex
- It covers your whole body.
- not wearing the symbols of other religions, like a cross, for example, or clothes that are only worn by non-believers.
- modesty and not being provocative in style, colors, patterns, etc.
Check out more here: What Should Muslim Women Cover?
So, with this being said, you can wear what you would like too, keeping in mind these guidelines.
As you are a new Muslim, alhamdulillah, you do not need to give away all your clothes and change everything overnight.
Just take a gradual approach. Look at what you have at home and try to combine them in a way that falls under the above-mentioned ones.
For new clothes, you may check modest clothing stores, even online ones, and check out their options. You can opt for loose tunics, dresses, long shirts, and loose trousers, and, of course, traditional Muslim dresses too.
Regarding the sisters, I kindly ask you not to spend too much time thinking about why they were looking at you that way. It can be for multiple reasons; Allah knows best.
What I can tell you is that we Muslims should not be judgmental toward each other, as we never know where the other is coming from or how close his or her hearing of Allah is. We need to respect and support each other and see what unites us, not what divides us.
They may have their own choices, and you can have yours. What is important is to please Allah and no one else.
Please find some articles from our site here for more details:
Question 3. Convert marriage – who is my guardian
I’m a revert and was married 2 years ago, my husband arranged our marriage and selected the witnesses.
His friend and his father as my Wali,
The Nikah was a private affair in the mosque attended by his parents and friend and the Imán.
I wasn’t aware that the Wali was supposed to be my representative/guardian and would be his Dad. I have never seen a marriage contract and he told me he never got one.
My 2 questions are:
Based on the fact that he selected his father as the Wali and we don’t have a marriage contract Is the marriage valid?
If we are having marital issues, because I do not have a Wali whom can be my representative in issues of marriage. Do I need to consult an Imán? Jazakallah Khair
Salam alaikom, dear sister,
Thank you for turning to us with your question.
According to Islamic teachings, these are the conditions for the validity of a marriage:
- The consent of the guardian of the woman;
- presence of witnesses;
- offering and acceptance, i.e., consent
- and mahr (dowry).
Read more here: What Are the Conditions of Marriage in Islam?
Regarding our guardian, please check out this source: New Muslimah – How to Choose Your Wali?
I kindly ask you to approach a local imam or scholar to ask about your particular case. He may confirm the validity of your marriage and can also help you be your representative in marital problems.
I hope this helps; may Allah make it easy for you.
Question 3. Lost Job and Hope
I didn’t have an amazing childhood. My childhood was rather abusive both physically, sexually and mentally. I was amongst the poorest performing students in my school and I guess that was due to depression or stress as I cannot recall a single happy day as a child or teenager. I was struggling and decided to leave country and move to west for studies. Remarkably, I did quite well and finished my masters. I also got a respected job. I got married and have beautiful kids. Somehow my mental health was always had its up and downs. I also feel I have had a fear of failure and deep down I feel I am up to no good. My spiritual life had its own ups and downs however, I feel spiritually strong now and trying my best to understand Islam more.
I recently had loads of ups and downs in my life. I got separated from my family, lost my job and became homeless. In such a difficult time in my life, I looked up to people I adored and I thought were my family. Sadly, without blaming them, I was treated quite horribly and at times I felt like I was looked down at. I felt people I thought were very close to me, they were behind their own benefits and in time of need, I got to see their true selves. That has truly shaken me to the core.
As I lost my job, I also lost my confidence. I was working in a financial sector and being dismissed can be quite serious. It will be very difficult for me to find another job as my reference will be pretty negative. I have gone to the court against this dismissal and waiting for an outcome but this experience has left me to lose hope. I ended up on antidepressants and all of my pride has vanished. I am in my 40s and at this crucial time how can such thing happen to me. I was excellent at my job and loved by my colleagues. I don’t know how to cope with this situation.
A part of me is still staying strong and Islam is the only thing that keeps me going. I believe I am innocent when it comes to losing my job but I also understand everything happens from the will of Allah and there must be something for me to learn from and perhaps it’s a test. Considering the circumstances, I feel very vulnerable. I haven’t managed to share this to anyone else other than few friends who eventually took away any leftover pride that I had. I feel like a failure after all that and it’s quite hard to feel this way when all my other siblings and friends are doing quite well in their lives. At this age with negative job references, I don’t know where else to start from. I feel quite numb. I panic when I feel now will I have to work in supermarkets again when I was student. How will I handle this? How long my antidepressants will take? I feel truly vulnerable.
Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, brother,
Thank you for writing and sharing your story. I am sorry to hear that you have been going through such a difficult time. I am also sorry for your loss and that you feel that you can hardly find anyone to share your struggle with.
You say that you take antidepressants and have had issues with your mental health. My question is: have you been to therapy? Especially recently, since the loss of your job?
I am saying this because a good therapy, for example, with a cognitive-behavioral approach, could trace back to your core beliefs and detect some unhelpful patterns in your thinking.
I kindly recommend considering this option, as it would help you to combat the depressed mood quite well.
You say that you had this feeling of failure, and deep down, you do not believe that you are not good. Also, you talk about your childhood and that you have suffered abuse.
Brother, if you have been going through a difficult, abusive, and probably not supportive childhood, this can really impact your psychological strength. It can lead to developing certain beliefs about yourself that are not true.
It can also lead to extra motivation to reach high achievements, but it can also make you vulnerable. Feelings of unworthiness, failure, or not being good enough may be direct consequences of these experiences.
But it is time to examine these thoughts and see whether they are really true and whether they serve you if you keep believing in them and maintaining them.
What is the effect of believing that you are not good enough? And what if you decide that you do not accept this belief anymore? Look around and think about your life: how many things have you achieved? You said you moved to the west, studied, finished your masters, got married, had beautiful kids, and were successful in your job, masallah. Would you say that it means that you are not good enough to accomplish your goals?
Recently, you lost your job and got dismissed, and you are afraid that you are not going to be able to find another one anymore. But does this mean that you are a failure? For example, does missing one goal mean that you have always missed it and will miss it all? Could that be true, brother?
I would kindly reframe these statements, like, for example, “I have studied and worked hard in my life. I have lost my last job, which I was good at. Despite this experience, I will show next time my expertise and abilities.”
Or, “With a dismissal on my resume, there might be some challenges when I am looking for a new job, but it is just a possibility, not a fact.”
I agree with you that it is a test from Allah. This life is always a learning ground for us, believers, whether it is a good experience or a bad one. Remember the hadith:
„Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” Sahih Muslim 2999
I think it is quite understandable that you are feeling vulnerable. These types of crises always shake us. We need to deal with the sudden uncertainty and the loss of our sense of security, and it is a challenge. We need to cope with the circumstances and find our inner resources to move on.
And it is true for all of us; that is why I do not recommend comparing yourself with others, with your friends or siblings. All of us have our hard times, maybe not at the same time as you, but believe me, we all have our struggles, and so do they.
Also, things may seem challenging, but usually not as extremely, as we describe them in times of despair. At these times, we may think, “Either I am very successful or a total failure,” but the reality is usually somewhere in between. So, what is the worth of what can happen? That you may work again in a supermarket? If that is the worst, what other alternatives are there that are realistic and more in the middle?
So, what I recommend is to switch focus, try to see what you have, your strengths, and what you do well, and make a plan for how to keep going.
Try to list down your strengths, and I recommend seeking personal traits and not necessarily accomplishments.
Your worth does not depend on whether you have a job or not. You are worthy because, for example, you are hardworking, disciplined, and loyal as a person, which manifests at work.
We seek the approval of others, but finally, what matters is to seek the pleasure of Allah, and this is how we measure success.
Your faith and spirituality can help and give you resources in times of need.
“We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure—who say, when struck by a disaster, “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.” (Quran 2: 155-56)
So, brother, be patient and have faith in Him, as finally, what matters is our connection with Him. Try to do your regular worship, make dua and dhikr, and find peace in the remembrance and tawakkul of Allah. He is there, always, and He provides for you the right means—those who can help you when you need it.
To conclude, once again, I recommend therapy and/or counseling combined with spiritual practices. It is worth dedicating some time and resources to those sessions, as in the event of success, you may reduce your medication too. That would help you gain a more positive, motivating perspective on your current situation, in sha Allah. May Allah bless you.
Question 5. My family against marriage everything gone bad HELP
My mum raised me since 17 on her own got married again when I turned 13. Just recently I’ve chosen to marry a woman who’s non-Muslim but she is willing to revert and has said it. Mum is against it and because of this my dad left the house.
My mum said even if she becomes a Muslim, she won’t accept yet the woman is ready. She’s a year younger she believes in Islam. She was agnostic and didn’t believe the idea of polytheistic religions. She was curious and believed in one God but was agnostic about religion. I introduced Islam to her and she said it makes a lot of sense and I told her that u will need to accept it via shahadah and we can do a nikkah. She said she can do that but wants my family to accept as she knows about family cutting ties is wrong. However, she wants to hide her Islamic faith from her family due to danger but is willing to move out and get a place with me we both are our parents on son and daughter.
Her dad won’t let her move all the way to our town as my family moved out of her town because of our choice to marry one another. She doesn’t want to move all the way but is willing to move halfway she said she wants us both to keep ties to our families and she will in the long run tell her family that being with me allowed her to accept Islam so that they don’t react badly and put her life in danger.
My family also spoke about honor killing which is absurd. I love my mum she hasn’t got long left and it hurts me BUT I have done istikhara and it has come right nothing wrong. But my mum is so against it and has said to me that I can leave home and be with her but never come back. I have felt suicidal but I really don’t wanna give up I know this woman is right for me. She has said she will learn more from me and help nurture the kids in Islam too what do I do? She is ready and so am I to take next step make this halal and be together but what can I do?!!! I can’t leave her I’ve tried and it took me to the darkest place as a Muslim I am begging for help please anyone.
Salam alaikom, dear brother,
I am really sorry to hear about your struggle and that you feel desperate about this situation. I know that it seems hard and very complicated. May Allah help you overcome this challenge.
Unfortunately, many young Muslims struggle with the rejection of their family when it comes to their marriage plans. We need to have the approval of our families, and some concerns are valid while others are not.
Muslim parents are supposed to seek the interests of their children, in an Islamic sense. This means to guide them towards proposals that seem to fulfill the conditions of a good marriage according to Islamic values and priorities and will provide for the rights of the spouses in the long run.
If that is the case, it is good to listen to our parents, even if we have a hard time accepting it, as it goes against our wishes.
Brother, you do not detail why your mother does not want to accept her. Is it possible that the only reason is that she would be a new Muslim and her family is non-Muslim?
If not, see whether there is any valid reason—Islamically speaking—for her rejection. Her character, her manners, her plans? Is there anything wrong with that? Or is it possible that your stepfather is the one who disagrees, and she is in the middle between him and you? Could that be that she has her own struggle with this case too?
If being a new Muslim is the only excuse, then you have to know that it is not a valid reason to reject a marriage. New Muslims are by no means “less Muslims” than born Muslims, in the sight of Allah.
I am happy to hear about her interest in Islam and that she has come to the conclusion that there is only one God and that Prophet Muhammad was His last Messenger. Masallah, may Allah guide her on the right path. These realizations and convictions first and foremost should happen in her heart, and once they have happened, it is basically the start of a new journey. This is something only between her and Allah; I mean, no one nor her family can take that away from her.
Although she is right that there are certain situations when it is wiser to wait to make our decision public until the right time. This happened with the Prophet, peace be upon him, too, who kept in secret his submission to Allah and his worship in the first years.
As I understand it, her family knows about her marriage plans but not about her conversion, and they also reject the idea of your marriage. She would like to maintain kinship and not cut ties with the family. That is alright, and of course, the best is always reconciliation and settling disagreements in the family.
You mention that your family talked about honor killing, but you do not detail what exactly they mean. I understand that they might try to threaten you in order to change your mind. I am not sure of the context, but if you feel that your life or hers might be in danger, you need to take action and report it to authorities or a local / online organization that can assist you. Please be careful. For example, you can call a helpline and ask for detailed instructions.
The same goes for your suicidal thoughts, dear brother. I know that a situation like this may seem hopeless, and it is hard to see any solution, but taking your life away is not the solution. I kindly ask you to seek a specialist, or at least a religious, knowledgeable, and trustworthy person in your area or nearby, and try to seek help.
From an Islamic perspective, remember that if Allah has destined her for you, you will be a couple and will be able to get married. And if, for some reason, she is not meant to be your partner, Allah will replace her with someone who is better for you.
Just trust in Allah and keep asking for His guidance. Make dua and pray to Him. If you feel that she is the right one for you, you may try your best to approach your mother. She may want the best for you, so reassure her about your love and appreciation of her intention, but kindly ask her to listen to your opinion in this matter, as finally it is you who will marry. It should be your choice too. Try to dialogue and discuss ideas instead of convince and pressurize. Try to listen to her side of the story and what her real concern is, then ask her to listen to yours too.
You may involve a trustworthy community member, maybe from the new town, who can bring a new perspective to your mother.
Please find here some articles in the topic:
- Pressured or Forced Marriage – Misconceptions & Facts
- Marriage Proposal: Shall I Obey My Hindu Father?
- Can I Marry a Non-Muslim Intending to Convert?
May Allah bring peace and understanding to your family, ameen.
Friday, Oct. 06, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.