GENERAL ADVICE FOR NEW MUSLIMS FROM OTHER
Advice For New Muslims from
Abdul-Lateef Abdullah (Steven Krauss)
Assalamualaikum new brother or sister!
Alhamdulillah that Allah has guided you to our blessed deen.
Islam is truly a blessing and we should all feel overwhelmed with gratitude to
Allah for guiding us to the straight path, the path of real success and
My advice to you as a new Muslim is to find a teacher. In my
year and a half of being Muslim (I'm 28 years old), one of the most important
experiences for me has been the guidance and support of a very knowledgeable
and pious teacher. Islam is a not a religion of self-interpretation. It is
a straight path based on knowledge that must be acquired. It is a lifestyle
that has to be adhered to, and is unfortunately being influenced by many
negative elements, both within and outside Islam. Without a guide, it is
difficult to differentiate the truth of Islam from the created falsehoods
that are being propogated as Islamic teachings.
Although many new Muslims, especially in the US, choose to teach themselves Islam through books, lectures and videos, there are many pitfalls to doing this that should be avoided. Without a teacher or a guide, one armed with the combination of knowledge and experience, the pitfalls of the ego and desires can confuse and lead us astray quite easily. Self-teaching is a western phenomenon, and because many of us are brought up in the west, we assume we can apply our cultural norms to Islam as well. However, Islam is not of the west, thus, these western norms cannot be applied to it with much success.
For centuries, classical Islamic education was taught through direct contact with teachers. This is how wisdom, not just knowledge, was acquired. You cannot gain wisdom just from reading. Anyone can read and parrot, but how many can read and apply in the way Allah intends? One of the problems with the Muslim Ummah today is that there are too many of us reading and parroting, but not enough applying in the way truly put forth by Allah and His Messenger (SAW). Put simply, we have stopped learning from those with knowledge and wisdom. We have stopped becoming students. One of the first attributes Jabril (AS) (archangel Gabriel) said he would take from the world by Allah's command toward the end of time would be humility. This is a sign of what Jabril (AS) was talking about. It takes humility to be a student and to give our trust over to someone to teach us, which is why fewer and fewer are willing to do it.
The easiest way to know the true akhlaq (character) of a teacher is to look at how he lives. How does he live his life? Does he live the deen or just talk about it? Does he say one thing and do another? Does he invite you into his home and show you how to practice Islam, not just tell you? Does he make five solats a day? These are some ways of knowing the authenticity and genuineness of a teacher. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many people claim to be sheikhs and imams, yet have very little knowledge or wisdom of Islam. So don't be fooled by titles in your search for a teacher.
I don't mean to put fear into anyone's heart on this matter. I have seen, however, the importance of having guidance and the consequences of what happens without it. How we learn and are indoctrinated into Islam will greatly effect our appreciation for it, our love of it, our devotion to it, and most importantly, our ultimate success or failure with Allah. Knowledge with wisdom will make you LOVE Islam, not just blindly follow it. So I urge you to go out and find a good teacher to help you along the path to Allah. May Allah bless you and guide you further in your journey.
Advice For New Muslims
From Maria Hannon-Khattabi
The most valuable piece of advice I was given and will pass
on is this: Educate yourself. Emerse yourself in Islamic
education informally and formally when the chances come about
(books, magazines, Internet, seminars, workshops, on-line
learning, classes). If you hear something or read something that
doesn't sit right with you, research the topic. Since Islam is
from Allah and is the right path, every piece of it is logical
and if something you hear or read seems lacking in common sense,
it probably isn't right. Keep informed and never stop learning.
Advice For New Muslims From A Sister
Assalaamu alaykum! Peace be upon you!
The joy, exhilaration, and lifetime importance of accepting
Islam can often be accompanied by a sense of being overwhelmed
and unsure of how to best approach the new dimensions of one's
life. So many details, one might think, so many books, so many
rules. Look again: Islam is not an obscure, complicated
religion. It is the natural religion, and as such, it is a way
of life - there is no need to panic. There are, however, several
things that will greatly facilitate the transition to an Islamic
(1) Venture, boldly or meekly, into a nearby muslim community
so that you can enjoy the camaraderie and guidance of practicing
muslims. Introduce yourself as a new revert and insha'allah,
with some give and take, you will be welcomed into the ummah [muslim
community]. If you find that you are uncomfortable amongst these
people even after some time, don't hesitate to try and locate
other muslims at another mosque, if such a luxury is available
to you where you reside. Muslims are people, you will like some,
love others, and so on. Don't get discouraged if you don't find
a muslim soul mate immediately!
(2) Learn salat, the five-times-daily contact prayer.
Learning the movements and Arabic words will be challenging at
first, but with *practice* you will master it eventually, I
promise! It always helps to have a friend to ask about the
details, hence (1) above. There are numerous muslim books and
websites to guide you through learning salat. Try to learn the
basics first before you get caught up with trying to learn many
dua'as [supplications] or surahs [verses] from the Qur'an. Keep
it simple and regular and your faith and self-confidence will
(3) Read the Qur'an. Try to get a widely accepted edition
like the 'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali Qur'an in Arabic with English
translation and commentary. Read slowly, savor the words, but
read by all means. It is the most important book you will ever
As you are becoming settled in your new life as a muslim,
things that at first seemed daunting will become simple, and you
will soon be ready for new challenges. Read! Listen! Learn
Arabic (if possible!) There is a wealth of wisdom just waiting
to be discovered by you. And you, too, are waiting for it. So
progress and enjoy!
Advice For New Muslims
Given that I have been having major problems with my parents
regarding my reversion, the following advice is particularly
suitable for other new muslims having problems with their non-muslim
(1) It is very helpful and comforting to have a few muslim
friends nearby in whom you can confide, ask questions of, and
spend time with during the formative and often tumultuous
initial period as a new muslim. Born muslims are generally
honored and pleased to help you improve your faith by showing
you the details that help you become a better muslim.
(2) Before you decide to announce your reversion to loved
ones who are non-muslim, make sure you are ready for their
response, whether it is pleasant or horrible. Being ready means
many things: understanding the basics of practicing your faith,
understanding the reasons behind actions demanded of you by
Islam, and being able to reconcile unfortunate world events that
are attributed to muslims with your own understanding of Islam
and its inherent goodness, logic, and beauty.
(3) As hypocritical as it may be, many open-minded people
cease to be open-minded when difficult issues such as religious
conversion "hit home." People who are ordinarily rational,
educated, and worldly unfortunately can swing 180 degrees when a
person they love converts to a religion they do not appreciate
or understand. It may be in your best interest, and in theirs,
to not discuss your reversion to Islam until a year or two has
passed and you feel comfortable in your faith. At that point, it
would be obvious to them that Islam has not made you a worse or
lesser person, and has in fact (hopefully!) noticeably improved
(4) Most importantly, remember that the best teaching is by
example. If you want to help others overcome the stereotypes
bound to Islam and lessen discrimination against muslims, be a
model muslim! Remember to be tolerant, patient, giving, helpful,
and peaceful with those around you, be they muslim or not. Be
open to questions regarding your new faith, but do not feel
compelled to answer questions to which you do not (yet) know the
answers. Get involved in your ummah, mind your prayer, and with
time, everything will become easier for you.
Advice to new Muslimas
by Judi Muhammad,
MA, LLP, PhD Candidate;
Vice President/ Clinical Director Islamic Health & Human
Services, Detroit, MI
AsSalaamuAlaykum (Peace be upon you)
It feels like I have been Muslim all of my life. In
actuality, I probably was - underneath. But, for most of my life
(50 years) I was Christian. I was raised Catholic and converted
to a fundamental Christian religion, The Salvation Army, in my
30s and remained there until Allah (SWT) rescued me at age 50.
For many years I taught psychology and philosophy in college.
In that teaching, and in my own education, I came to believe
many concepts and philosophies things that did not fit with my
religion. But, I accepted that there would be differences and
that was OK. One of the things I knew was that while the
Christian religion taught that I was (1) born in the image of
God (on one hand) and (2) born in sin (on the other) - both were
not possible. The first thing I heard about Islam was that we
are born good.
In succeeding years, fitrah has become a favorite topic of my
reading. All of my reading has proven that what I always
believed in my heart was true - that man is born good and his
propensity is to live within the Will of Allah.
I spent the first 8 months in Islam single - and when I did
marry I was truly blessed with a good Muslim husband. I learned
more in the first 1 month of my marriage to him than I had in
the 8 months I tried to learn on my own. Always, however, my
husband told me that, "Islam is a process. You are responsible
for what you learn as you learn it. Worry about the 'big' things
- not the little things."
Some of the most important things I have learned are:
That I was always Muslim in my heart - that not all practice
Islam the same but anyone who calls themselves "Muslim" is
treated by me as Muslim - that Sisters make WONDERFUL friends (
too bad I waited so late in my life to learn that) - that being
obedient to my husband has more benefits than I could have ever
imagined - that women are more respected in Islam than anyone
who is not a Muslimah would possibly imagine - and that the
"Peace that passeth all understanding" is not a Christian reward
- it is an Islamic reality.
The most important advice I can give a new Muslimah is: Allow
Allah to chose your husband - make Istikharah and trust that you
will learn the truth from it Do not worry about changing those
around you - worry about changing yourself , into the best
Muslim you can be - Allah will take care of the rest Search for
legitimate Scholars - not everyone knows enough to teach you the
truth When you marry, trust your husband and look to him to
teach you Islam - it is his job Enjoy obedience to your husband
- it will bring rewards in heaven but also on earth!!
Become friends with Sisters who are like you want to become.
May Allah bless you and make your Islamic journey as peaceful
As advice to a new Muslim I first greet you and congratulate
you on your choice and good taste. If you are like I was the
road will be a little to quite rocky at first but you must
remember Allah is probably testing you to see if you are truly
worthy. After a while things will smooth out. You will laugh.
cry, get upset and be the happiest person in the world. In time
you will have doubt that you chose was the best way to live.
Nobody will tell you this, you will know deep down inside.
When I started out I almost gave up many times. I was
introduced to a converts/reverts group. The leader asked me if i
was convert yet. I was so fed up I almost told what to do with
his group. I thought here comes a third degree. Man did I eat
crow. Then again it reminded me of the years back when I went to
live in Australia. When you went to get anything. It had a
different name over there and if it was not on the ladies
counter she did not want to know about it. After I learend my
way around things settled down for me. All I can advise you is
patience and perserverence. Try to find a good Muslim friend who
can guide you around, but best of all be guided by your inner
self. I could tell you stories of my problems but then you have
enough that you can probably tell me. Why dont you? As I look
back I am reminding myself how much of Don Quixote there is in
me. Also his epitaph on his tombstome which goes something like
Here lies a brave and fearless knight Who had the courage in
his day to live a fool and die a sage.
I am not a sage yet but I am working on it.
Advice from Khadeejah (Jacklynn)
Assalamo aleikum (Peace be upon you)
This is the greeting and salutation that muslims give to each
other. It is also the true blessing of Islam. The peace that
comes from choosing the right path in life is incomparable! No
one can tell you if you have found the right path - you will
know it for yourself when you discover the inner calmness of
your soul, the joy that even the difficulties cannot extinguish,
and the sureness of feeling that you are home.. that you have
found a WAY OF LIFE - not just a religion! Al hamdolellah!
(thanks to God!)
Islam is not something that you just gulp down in one
swallow. It is a lifetime of daily meals to be enjoyed,
savoured, tasted, digested. If you eat too fast and try to take
it all in in one huge bite, you will get indigestion and
probably it will come right back up again and make you sick so
you don't want to try another taste. If you eat too slowly and
in tiny portions, you will always feel hungry and never be
satisfied and if someone comes along offering you sweets and
junk food (el shaitan
does this) you will perhaps be tempted by that, so you
won't feel like eating any more of the good meal. But if you
have a well-balanced meal (studying the Holy Writings,
association with fellow believers, putting into practice what
you learn) you will feel satisfied and healthy and in peak
condition of life.
And think about it... if someone who loved you made a meal
especially for you, wouldn't that make you feel surrounded by
their love? Wouldn't you be anxious to tell everyone you know
how well you were treated and how much you enjoyed the food?
They would probably envy you and wish that they could also have
a meal such as this. Allah loves us and has prepared spiritual
food especially for us, his creation, in order for us to be
healthy and happy and to know that we are loved. That food of
course consists of all the Holy Writings available to us. When
the opportunity arises, we can let others know how good our food
is and how much our Creator loves us, so that they might see our
healthy souls and want what we have. This is human nature...
wanting what we don't have.
So take things moderately, one bite at a time. Some foods
take getting accustomed to, just like when we were kids and were
told to eat our vegetables... as we grew up, we knew they were
good for us, so we ate them as part of our meal even if they
were not our favourite food. So, when you come across a
"vegetable" in Islam that you find hard to swallow, just take a
small nibble and leave it at the side of your plate until the
next meal, or the one after that. Eventually you will grow up
enough to realize that ALL "foods" in the spiritual meal are
good for you and need to be partaken of if we want to stay
healthy. As an example, imagine hijab as one of these
"vegetables" that we might either love from the start or as
something that we will only partake of after growing up and
realizing that it is good for our spritual health.
May Allah grant us all the wisdom and good spritual health we
need to stay on the straight path. Ameen.