Getting closer to our Lord is a beautiful thing indeed, whether through becoming more religious or by embracing our beloved Religion of Islam.
However, as great as it all is, caution should be exercised so as not to get all fired up only to fall into a spiritual void when the excitement tends to fade.
What we need to do is take baby steps, like with the analogue of a race; if you rush too fast at first you will lose your energy and crash down but if you start slowly but surely you can maintain the spark.
Slowly but Surely
Ibn Abbas reported:
When the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him), sent Mu’adh ibn Jabal to Yemen, he said to him:
Verily, you are coming to a people among the people of the Book, so call them to testify there is no God but Allah and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they accept that, then teach them that Allah has obligated five prayers in each day and night. If they accept that, then teach them that Allah as obligated charity to be taken from the rich and given to the poor. If they accept that, beware not to take from the best of their wealth. Be on guard from the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah. (Muslim)
Let us learn from our best Teacher, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his method of entering the religion.
The hadith clearly pinpoints how not to move from one step to the other before making sure the former is established. First, the Shahadah (Testimony of Islamic Faith), then that of teaching prayers, charity, etc.
So, make sure whether you just became religious, or newly embraced Islam that you evolve gradually into Islam in order to establish the correct steps both physically (worship) and spiritually (faith). Only then can you maintain religious maturity.
A Living Example
Jazmine Rano, a San Diegan Muslim, with roots in the Philippines; tells me how she went through this phase while reverting to Islam. She felt so fired up at first, and then when she lost that spark she started feeling so low in Iman. She realized she needed to have a stronger faith and love for Islam.
She started attending Islamic classes, became more involved in her community, etc. Before Islam, she felt she was more self-centered, now she feels she wants to help others.
Islam has made her calmer, she feels she can better deal with tribulations and she treats her parents much better now.
12 Tips for the Convert Muslim
Brother Alex from Dallas, a convert to Islam, shares 12 Tips for the Convert Muslim. For more detailed information on each tip, kindly click his article on the hyperlink at the end of my article.
Practice Islam as much as you can
He who loves my Sunnah has loved me, and he who loves me will be with me in Paradise. (Tirmidhi)
Respect your parents
Heaven lies under the feet of your mother. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)
Find a teacher
For him who follows a path for seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the path to Paradise. (Muslim)
Keep away from debates and arguments
Verily anger spoils faith as aloe spoils honey. (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
Gain a connection to the Arabic language
Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand. (Qur’an, 12:2)
Understand Islam’s organic nature
Those who make things hard for themselves will be destroyed. (He said it three times.) (Muslim)
Maintain your Identity
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Qur’an, 49:1)
Force yourself to go to the masjid
The person who receives the greatest reward for the Salah is one who lives the farthest and has the farthest to walk. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Find Muslim friends and avoid severing ties
On the Day of Resurrection Allah Almighty will proclaim:
Where are those who have mutual love for My Glory’s sake? Today I shall shelter them in My shade where there is no shade but Mine. (Muslim)
Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers. (Muslim)
Stay away from extremism
And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people. (Quran, 2:143)
Do not despair
So know that victory is with patience, and relief is with distress and that with hardship comes ease. The Prophet Muhammad (Source)
Islam is an Ocean: If you Dive in, you are going to Drown!
Another challenge that may arise is in the course of quickly maintaining religiosity is falling prey to radical views either by not having sufficient Islamic information and thus not enough judgment to pick it from the right source; obtaining it mistakenly from fanatic sources; or by rushing to obtain it interpreting it incorrectly with a similar outcome.
Abu Hurairah reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: Verily, the religion is ease, and no one burdens himself in religion except that it overcomes him.
So be moderate, seek closeness to Allah, give glad tidings, and gain strength for worship in the morning and the night. (Sahih Bukhari)
Ease and balance in Religion are the keys here. Burden causes no good; it will only end up in overcoming the person. Islam is an Ocean: If you Dive in, you are going to Drown!
Glad Tidings from Prophet Muhammad
Indeed the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) promises us: Give glad tidings, and do not scare people away. Make things easy, and do not make things difficult. (Abu Dawud)
(From Discovering Islam’s archive)