New to Islam?
Advice For New Muslims by Mona
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 family members:
(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 you!
(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.
Written by Mona August 5, 1998