It was the most beautiful thing – maybe it was the call to prayer, awakening and resonating within your heart; or perhaps it was the cadence and clarity of the Quran, and the way it spoke directly, as if meant specifically for you and your life.
You knew, at that time, it was the very truth – even as you had doubted whether or not God existed – doubted that all this was created – for a purpose. The more you learned about Islam, the more surely you knew.
The mysteries of life no longer unfathomable – finding Islam was like an avalanche of answers to abandoned questions, unearthed. It was different – it defied the notions of religion you had scoffed at and belittled. It made sense. And it satisfied both your intellect and your soul – filling you with life.
But Islam – it means surrender. Maybe you hesitated – even if just a little – at the thought of how your life would be inverted. At the thought of the expressions on your loved ones’ faces when you would inevitably have to break the news.
The news that you – once staunch atheist, or levelheaded agnostic – You, who had been so sure religions were no more than fabricated fairy tales – would so suddenly become a devout follower.
Becoming a religious practitioner would have been strange and shocking enough – but this isn’t just any religion. It’s Islam. You went from being just you, to being a Muslim.
And that’s most likely how the bliss and euphoria of having been guided to Islam, dissipated. That’s how the peace and happiness of placing your life into the hands of your Merciful and Almighty Maker, began to crack and how doubts began creeping in.
With every cynical glance, every counter argument, every affirmation that you must have lost your mind – Worry seeped into your beautiful new world. Uncertainties chipped away at the solace you had found.
Read Also: How to Deal with Doubts and Bad Thoughts?
Was I wrong? Am I stupid? Have I become one of the blind, ignorant ones I used to mock – leaning lamely on a false crutch?
You began to question the authenticity of the Quran. Could it be man-made after all? You wondered about its miracles – are the critics right? You began to distrust yourself and wonder if you’ve merely fallen prey to an ancient lie.
These thoughts and feelings can be devastating – not only because they cause you to question yourself and your intelligence – but also because of the happiness, satisfaction and determination they threaten to strip away from your life.
You are not alone in feeling this way – and you need not succumb. You were secure in your decision when you chose to accept Islam. And you read the Quran where it asks:
Do the people imagine that they will be left (at ease) because they say, “We believe,” and will not be tested? (Quran 29:2)
You knew you would be tried. As sad as it may be to recognize it, this is a trial for you.
Instead of allowing yourself to slip – to fall back into an aimless life, these doubts about Islam are a wake-up call to you, and you must take steps now to prevent yourself from becoming lost altogether.
Here are six simple, doable steps to take, that I have used in my own life that can help you get back on track and be stronger than you were before.
1- Read the Quran Every Day
Nothing compares to the Quran in Arabic – yet the translation is necessary for everyone who doesn’t fully understand classical Arabic.
The next best thing, is to listen to the Quran while reading the translation, or listening to both the Arabic and English translation (some Quran apps offer both). If you are unable to listen, settle for reading the translation. You can’t be guided in a language you don’t comprehend.
If you are still not entirely familiar with the Quran, I advise starting with the last chapter first, then the second to last and so on, until you’ve read the entire book.
Then, start at the beginning, and just continually read it beginning to end over and over. Even a verse or two a day is better than nothing. The Quran is the support from and a tether to the One who made us. Without it, we can more easily float away into oblivion.
2- Suspend Judgment
When doubts come to you, or if you read/see/hear something that causes you to have reservations, abstain from jumping to conclusions. Most likely your knowledge of the subject is incomplete, and further study will give you new perspective.
Sometimes the explanation lies in linguistic analysis, or the contextual and historical background. Sometimes, a translation may be misleading, a hadith may be weak or inauthentic, or a scholar may be mistaken.
There are numerous ways that texts or injunctions may not be what they seem at the surface. When you encounter something troubling, put it aside and return to it when you’ve increased in knowledge and understanding, and/or pursue deeper knowledge of that topic from multiple means.
3- Pursue Knowledge
Start with this dua:
My Lord, increase me in knowledge. (Quran 20:114)
Along with your constant reading of the Quran, endeavor to broaden your studies. The Arabic language, Tafseer, Seerah, Hadith are all important to learn. Even when seeking knowledge across these subjects, beware of blindly accepting the opinions and interpretations of others – even scholars, including well-respected greats.
Humans are fallible (the greatest scholars have always affirmed their fallibility), and their interpretations and understandings are naturally influenced by many factors such as their socio-political and cultural environments. Ask Allah for guidance and trust that if you are sincere, He will help you and guide you to the correct way.
4- Never Give up Your Prayers
Even in your lowest moments, even if you don’t feel totally connected, do your 5 prayers anyway. It’s the one thing you cannot afford to give up. You may not feel ready to implement every aspect of Islam, that’s okay, go at your own pace – but keep your prayers safe and guarded like a precious and valuable gem.
5- Remember How You Got Here
Remember that feeling of elation when you realized Islam was the truth? One great way to reconnect with the reasons you made this choice is by listening to the stories of others who’ve found Islam. There are tons of “convert stories” here and they can be extremely refreshing and comforting reminders. It’s like polishing the tarnish of a beautiful metal.
6- Keep Making Dua
Whatever your doubts about Islam are, you can’t deny that this world cannot have come out of nothing, by nothing, for nothing. Look at the sky – look around you at nature. There is a creator. Speak to the one who made you and I; ask, cry, complain, whatever you need to do – from you heart- and I am confident you will find relief.
Your critical thinking abilities and inquisitiveness are valuable. Islam does not require us to suspend thinking and using the intellect, but quite the opposite. God said:
Indeed, the most disliked creatures in the Sight of God are… the dumb who do not use their intellect. (Quran 8:22)
Follow these steps, and with the help of the Almighty, you should find yourself back on solid ground. I’ll be praying for your strength and success.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)