Respecting Reason

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As I look back at where I was prior to accepting Islam, it was important for me to find out who was my Creator and I was not going to accept that it was just an image on a wall depicted by an artist or a crucifix. I wanted to seek a logical explanation for the meaning of all of this. As a convert, I am deeply satisfied with Islam on an intellectual and theological level. However,  I have been facing considerable difficulties in my attempts to develop as a Muslim.  Although I have made some aquaintances of Muslims through visiting mosques I have discovered that this has only been on a superficial level.  I have felt that even though I may have a good foundation on the basic theology of Islam and its history it has been after my conversion that I am to some extent still struggling with mastering or grasping the concepts that formulate tawheed (a fundemantal principal of Islam on which all other principles, rules and principals are based and aqeedah (matters of faith)  or fiqh (?). Has it been enough for me just to memorize what these words mean. No, understanding of something is to know it as it truly is. As a convert, one needs to go out and search for more knowledge vs. what a born Muslim has acquired  in their lifetime of schooling in this  faith.  According to  a hadith:

 “The search of knowledge is an obligation laid on every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah, Baihaqi)

Personally, I feel that Muslims must make an effort to assist new Muslims in fulfilling  their obligation. To my profound disappointment, as far as my Islamic education is concerned, I have been left to fend for myself. It would seem that no mosque I have visited has a systematic induction program for new converts. The Catholic church has a practical and theological induction program not just available but actually compulsory for people who wish to join. We Muslims seem to have nothing organized.  Recently, I can across an article that seemed interesting entitled, Ten Things Every Muslim Must Do,  by an American convert, Yahiha Emerick.

 He really hits the nail with numer six as he states, ” If you see any new Muslims at your Masjid (mosque), then partially “adopt” them into your family. The convert experience is basically one of isolation and loneliness. You’d be surprised to know that most converts are outright ignored by the people in the Masjid. Beyond a few pleasantries and handshakes, they are usually never made to feel welcome or accepted. They are often cut off from their non-Muslim friends and relatives so they are doubly vulnerable. A new convert should be invited into various people’s home for dinner a minimum of six times a month. Get together with others and make sure you all put the new convert on your guest list for any sort of gathering.”

If only this would have been my experience!!!! Alhamdulillah, I have not given up in my journey through Islam. There have been some nice, well-meaning people who offer advice about matters of faith and practice without being in any way qualified to do so.  If they get things wrong, they could unwittingly be leading the uninitiated astray and doing more harm than good.  I have learned later to be wary of accepting anything without a quotation from the Quran or authenticated hadith to back it up.

Finally the internet can be good, bad or harmful. The internet can be a wonderful place for learning about Islam.  In fact, since my conversion, the internet has been my primary source of materials with which to educate myself further about Islam.  There are many excellent sites, but I would caution the new Muslim not to accept the information on all sites blindly, particularly if they stray from plain facts and concentrate on controversial opinion or on an overtly political agenda. Thus, I have found the following site: www.sunnahfollowers.com as a place that has revived my understanding about Islam. This site has allowed me to expand my knowledge and even to clarify misunderstandings. The site is based on the Quran and sunnah.

My final thoughts

As a westerner and a former practicing Catholic, who after converted to Islam and became a Muslim. I am a believer in the religion of Islam;someone who believes in the oneness of God as opposed to the concept of Trinity and who accepts Mohammed (PBUH) as a prophet of God. However, despite my great disappointment at both the lack of organized support available to new Muslims, plus my intense dislike of ill mannered behaviors and attitudes of some of the Muslims I have encountered in person. I have most definitely found in the religion of Islam a satisfaction that I never knew being Catholic. Allah knows best at the end of the day.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister,

    Mash’Allah beautiful post. That website has also been a strong source for me in learning Islam. Though, now that I have vista which isn’t compatible with the website…you may have noticed I have been MIA. 😉

    It’s true sometimes we are judged more harshly by Muslims than non Muslims. I think that is why people always say look at Islam not Muslims. Really sad but true.

    Reply

  2. Asalaamu alaikoum sister

    I think most converts relate to your post 100%. I too had a difficult time being ‘allowed’ into the community.

    Years later I have to say I am now glad the way it all happened. If I had been told some of the foolish things that other converts have said they have been told I don’t know where I would be now. So many people that are raised Muslim have so much cultural junk mixed in that they should simply keep their lips zipped.

    Also I believe that women converts have a harder time within the community. Male converts seem to amass new friends quickly and settle into their role in the community easily.

    Maybe a small group of sisters in masjids in non-Muslim nations should form a support committee for converts. Not really to teach aqeedah or fiqh (because most probably aren’t qualified) but to be a friend. Then questions on aqeedah or fiqh can be researced together and referenced to someone/someplace with proper knowledge.

    Nice post sister.

    Reply

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