Let me first congratulate you on making one of the most monumental decisions of your life!
Saying the shahadah has surely thrust you into a world where things are very unfamiliar.
On top of that, Islam is not a Sunday religion. It’s not a matter of going to the mosque once a week and your ticket to heaven is safe.
Oh, no! Islam is a way of life and it has guidance for every small matter of daily living.
Don’t be overwhelmed though.
Let us guide you through the most common scenarios and let you know that “Hey, it’s ok…”
1- If You Can’t Speak Arabic
If you are a native English speaker, Arabic is a shock to the system.
For a start, the books are back to front and it reads right to left. Then there are sounds that we even wonder if our mouths can make.
Fear not! You do not need to reach expert level to be a decent Muslim. A lot of us are getting by with the essentials. However, you will probably surprise yourself at how much you learn.
It’s perfectly fine to read the Quran in English, the important thing is that you understand the message. And when you feel brave enough, there are some really good transliterations out there.
There are also some Arabic words that Muslims use very frequently but these will soon become second nature, inshaAllah.
2- If The Prayer Seems Impossible
The prayer is beautiful; it’s a wonderful combination of standing, bowing and prostrating. Getting the order of the movements can seem daunting at first and then add in point 1 about the Arabic.
The key here is to break it down into manageable bite sized chunks. Learn the movements and focus on that until you are comfortable, then add the words.
A lot of converts write the words of the prayer on postcards and lay them out at the top of their prayer mat. This is an easy way to learn. It may take time, but it’s worth it in the end!
3- If You Can’t Tell Friends And Family Just Yet
Islam doesn’t have an easy time in the media and a lot of people have a distorted view of our religion.
Telling family that you have adopted a new way of life can be a very difficult time and, understandably, it may take them some time getting used to that.
The best way to approach it is to be a good example.
Let your family know that you have changed for the better by showing them through your manners and behavior. Then, when you tell them what is behind the positive influence in your life they will be more likely to listen.
4- If You Don’t Wear Hijab/Beard Immediately
While you are working hard to change on the inside and transform so many areas of your life, please don’t feel bad if the outward takes slightly longer to follow suit.
The most important thing is that you are modest in your appearance. By appearing to be visibly Muslim, you will attract attention and you need to be ready for that.
Some people can handle it and some can’t do that yet.
You will know best when it’s time to start.
5- If You Aren’t Ready to Get Married Tomorrow
Once you’ve said your shahadah the talk of marriage will follow soon after.
“Aunties” in the mosque will be in a hurry to get you married off. Don’t fret!
Marriage in Islam is quite a culture shock for Western converts, with dating being out of the question and the difficulty of getting to know your potential spouse without a chaperone being present.
So the best advice here is to take your time and think very, very carefully before you marry. I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand Islam first before you marry.
6- To Make Mistakes
We are all human and Allah knows that we have weaknesses and difficulties.
In Islam a lot of importance is placed upon intention. If you set out to do something and it doesn’t work out, Allah will still reward you for your intention.
If you fall, get back up. Allah is the Most Merciful, He will forgive you. And don’t be too hard on yourself. If you expect too much from yourself you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and burnt out. Take everything slowly, make steady progress.
So, find a good friend who is happy to help you out, you’ll have lots of questions to ask.
If you are far from your local community or you’re just not sure about going to a mosque yet, we’re here.
Hey, it’ll be ok ?
(From Discovering Islam archive)