You recently made the biggest decision of your life.
You have decided to leave years and years of your past behind, and to embrace a life-changing ideology from God.
In spite of what others may think, internally this was a long arduous journey.
The final leap, was a leap so big that it was almost as if you crossed the Atlantic.
There were people while you were taking the shahadah.
Lots of smiles, hugs and laughter.
You had made the best decision of your life.
Having accepted, now you started to try and practice. Taking the baby steps to learn how to perform ablution, do the ritual prayer, and for probably the first time in your life really truly experiencing inner peace. Goosebumps and tingling down your spine as you marvel at what an amazing blessing that God Almighty had gifted to you.
However, soon things just turn out slightly different. You miss a prayer and feel absolutely devastated about it. You want to kill yourself for doing something so sinful! Add to that, you are also struggling to concentrate in your prayers anyway.
A million different things run through your head. You feel alien to the community of Muslims that you just joined, and your friends and family from your past life don’t really understand what’s going on either! You feel your faith slip slightly, and are worried. Worries envelope you so much that your day to day life is affected as well.
What is happening? Have I actually made the right decision?
Is God even listening to me?
Why is God doing this to me? Haven’t I just given up everything for Him?
No, no, God is so Merciful and Kind, it is me with the problem. Why am I so ungrateful?
He has given me so much and I can’t even say a prayer without thinking of something or someone else? I am so hypocritical! So on and so forth.
Among the toughest parts of the New Muslim journey is dealing with that “Iman dip”, that phase when your faith seems to slightly crumble, your prayers seem a bit all over the place, and your connection to God faltering.
So, how does one deal with it?
We will discuss 4 spiritual, social and personal ways of dealing with that dip!
1- Understand That It’s OK
Yes, it is!
The best of Prophets was our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). After the Prophets, the best of humanity was the companion of Muhammad (peace be upon him), Abu Bakr.
One time Abu Bakr asked another of the companions Handhalah how he was doing. He answered that he was committing hypocrisy.
He explained that by saying that when they are with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and reminded of Heaven and Hell, they are as if they are seeing Heaven and Hell. Then when they retreat to their families, they forget much of what they felt earlier. Abu Bakr stated that he also experienced the same.
When they went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) for clarification, he clarified that it was a natural thing for the faith to increase and decrease.
So, yes that dip in faith is OK, it really is! You are not becoming a hypocrite for it!
On the contrary, it is a sign of your faith that you even care about that dip so much! Rather than be worried about it, try working on it, and increasing your faith!
2- Talk to Someone, Preferably a Convert
At times, it is best to just talk to someone. Not anyone of course but someone whom you trust, someone you know will help you rather than hinder you.
In your early journey into Islam, it is normal to feel a bit intimidated of all these really committed Muslims. You tend to compare yourselves to them and feel very poor about yourself! But know that theirs has been a long journey to where they are today, and yours is just fresh and new!
It is also tough to trust someone with the very intimate thoughts of your soul. You might fear getting judged. You might fear that your questions or thoughts might offend a practicing Muslim as well! But overall, it is still best if you talk.
Talk to someone who will accept you for who you are and share your feelings. Share your fears, share your emotions, your questions and the uncertainties. It will help you feel a lot lighter, and there is a good chance that you will get some invaluable advice too.
And that is why it would be best if you talked to a convert. It is a journey they have gone through as well, and perhaps they know something a person born into a Muslim family may not know!
3- Understand the Greatness of God, and Turn to Him
If you are worried that you are failing in your salat, prayers, know that God is Al-Ghaffar, the Perpetually Forgiving. If you feel the deeds you are doing for Him are not up to the mark then know that He is Ash-Shakoor, the Tremendously Appreciative.
If you feel that you have wronged God, then know that He is At-Tawwab, the Acceptor of Repentance.
If you feel that life is constricting upon you, know that He is Al-Fattah, the Opener who can open new pathways.
If you see darkness all around you, then know that He is An-Nur, the Light of the Heavens and the Earth, and He is Al-Haadi, the Guide.
Among the 5 billion or so people who are not Muslim, God chose you to turn back on that path and to decide to be a Muslim.
The God who brought you this far, will not suddenly let you go into ruin today. He is Al-Aleem, the All-Knowing, and He is Al-Khabeer, the Best Informed. He knows your pain, He sees your tears, and He understands your struggles even when no one does.
Know that God is the best friend you can have. He is Al-Wali, the Guarding Friend, and He is Ar-Ra’uf, Extremely Kind. And He is Al-Wadud, the Excessively Loving. He loves you. And He is waiting to hear from you.
Turn your hands up to the sky, knowing that Al-Mujeeb, the Responder is ready to respond. Know that As-Samee’, the Listener is there to listen, and express it all to Him.
Talk to Him, and know He will listen. Read up on His greatness and be mesmerized. Read His letter to you, the Quran, and be guided by the Guide.
4- Visualize Paradise
God says in the Quran that paradise is a place where:
You will have therein whatever your inner-selves desire, and you will have therein whatever you ask for. (41:31).
Visualize that place which has been created for you, by the Master of the Universe.
How would you like your paradise to be? Let your imagination go wild as you think of anything and everything you can ask for.
Ponder over how amazing it would be to finally meet God, the One for whom you have given everything.
And then, once you have, focus on getting back to your best, so that you can get into Paradise and have a good rest!
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)