In these trying times, it is indeed a great blessing for an individual to be bestowed with the gift of Islam, and all that comes with it.
Entering the fold of Islam and reciting the ‘Shahadah’ (declaration of the oneness of Allah), not only cleanses the heart but your body and soul as well; it is a spiritual awakening like no other.
One must always be grateful to Allah for bestowing him/her with the truth and light of Islam, irrespective of whether you’re a new Muslim or an old one.
Over time, a new Muslim comes to understand the beauty and perfection of the religion of Allah and continues to increase in faith, which in turn brings him/her closer and closer to the ultimate aim of our religion: nearness to Allah.
To embrace Islam is a momentous step in the life of an individual and it can be considered as ‘re-birth’ on many spiritual levels.
Upon conversion, the individual not only forsakes all of his/her older beliefs and ideals but starts anew with an absolutely clean slate, which beckons to be scribed with the knowledge of Allah and the purity of His religion.
You can only appreciate something if you have full knowledge of it; hence, the major aim of each and every new Muslim should be to work towards increasing his/her knowledge of the commands of Allah and dive into the very core of what it means to be a Muslim and integrate it into their lives.
Here are a few concepts which can serve as a stepping stone for new Muslims that can help them on their path of spiritual awakening:
Understand that the word “Islam” literally means to submit. In the context of our religion, it literally means to submit and resign oneself to the will of Allah.
Islam’s foundation essentially stands on the concept of sole worship, devotion, and submission to Allah.
More than just recognizing that Allah exists and He is One, being a Muslim is about consciously deciding to worship Allah, and Allah alone, whilst submitting ourselves completely to Him.
Turn Back to God
Understand the temporary nature of this world – nothing, I repeat, nothing is permanent in this life. The only thing that is permanent is the existence of Allah.
This world was created to test each and every human being and to send trials their way, so the believers may practice patience and rely on Allah only.
The real question that arises for every sound mind is why Allah would test His servants if He loves them. Allah makes man go through continuous trials because He wants man to remember Him and to turn back to Him.
Humans were created for the sole purpose of worshiping Allah and living for Allah, a concept that often gets lost in the rat race of worldly desires. Hence, Allah tests His servants so they may turn back to Him and grow closer to Him. He tests us, so we may turn to Him.
Connect Through Worship
One of the major trials that Allah bestows on His servants is to fulfill certain duties which fall under the five pillars of Islam: Shahadah (declaration and belief in the Oneness of Allah), Salah (prayer), Sawm (fasting), Zakat (charity) and Hajj.
There is no room for negotiation when it comes to these pillars in Islam. To be a Muslim, one must first integrate all five of these pillars into his/her life and start from there. Without it, calling yourself a Muslim would become null and void.
One of the core ingredients of establishing a nurturing and loving relationship with Allah is to say your Salah, which is the obligatory prayer. Every day, five times a day, a Muslim disengages from the hustle and bustle of the world and stands before Allah to worship Him and His existence.
Salah serves as a reminder for the purpose of our lives and brings us back to our ultimate goal: Worship and submission to Allah.
Slowly and gradually, once you get into the habit of praying with a sincere heart, you will feel your bond with Allah growing stronger and you will also feel the positivity and ease it brings into your life.
Follow the Prophet
Study about the ‘Seerah’ (biography) of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), who was not only the most beloved of Prophets in the eyes of Allah but who was the best Muslim to ever live. His life serves as a wonderful manual on how to live your life in a way, which is most pleasing to Allah (SWT).
Islam’s beauty is further enhanced through the study of the Sunnah and Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The more you learn about the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the more you grow to love him. The more you love him, the more you can associate with him and follow his example.
There is so much more to Islam than the few concepts mentioned above. The core of Islam and all it stands for cannot be encompassed in a few articles, it requires thorough reading and reflection.
Islam is a beautiful religion, which is simple and yet so meaningful. Dedicate your time to first understand the foundation of Islam and then work towards integrating its teachings into your daily life.