Whether you’re brand new to Islam, or a seasoned revert, you may find yourself frustrated with how little you seem to know about being a Muslim. The amount of knowledge to gain is unlimited, and it’s really up to you how much effort you put into your chosen faith.
If you’re the only Muslim in your household or family, you may find it difficult to explain your choices, or answer questions about Islam.
In sha Allah, with time, this will become easier.
I took my shahada just a little over two years ago, and I still have so much to learn. I hope that if you are in a similar situation to me, these suggestions might help guide your struggle.
Give yourself time to learn.
But not too much time. Don’t be lazy. It’s easy to fall into Shaytan’s trap and let your habits spiral downwards. If you like to work towards deadlines, make a schedule for yourself. If you always wait for inspiration to strike before picking up the Holy Quran or making du’a, you may find yourself never doing these things. Be patient with yourself, but also be diligent. You are a student of Islam, and studying is just part of being Muslim.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
This one is difficult. It’s hard not to compare yourself to people who grew up in a Muslim environment, and seem to know just about everything there is to know. Don’t let others make you feel “less Muslim” because you are still learning how to read Arabic. On the flip side, don’t let others make you feel “too Muslim” because you wear hijab. Find moderation in all you do, and strive to be the best person you can be while having a reasonable mind about things. Easier said than done, I know.
Since we don’t live in a Muslim society, not everyone is going to be on the same page here – and that’s fine. For me, wearing hijab is a reminder of how to behave in public. You know what to do.
I’m not going to sit here – in my pajamas – and tell you what to wear. You’re old enough to figure that out yourself. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s probably best not to go out in public wearing something that you would not be able to pray in. What if on a whim you decide to visit the masjid but are dressed inappropriately? Sure, there are worse things that could happen, but putting in the extra effort to be covered where needed will also give you confidence. I know some people will laugh at this, but it’s just my own opinion.
Pray. And, when in doubt, pray some more.
Frankly, I didn’t get this at first, but it’s one of the pillars of Islam. It’s easy to get in the routine of performing salah five times a day if your family members and coworkers are doing it, too. But, more likely than not, they aren’t. What then? I recommend just doing it, regardless of whether or not the people you live with or work with pray regularly. If you feel awkward about praying in front of non-Muslims, then dismiss yourself and pray in private. There is no reason for you to feel ashamed about the path you’ve chosen, and praying is a testimony of your faith – so stick to it, and Allah will reward you.
In writing this advice, I don’t know how helpful it will really be, but I hope to offer some solidarity with you as a revert. Reverts are Muslims, too – we’re not some lesser caste of Muslim, and we should remember that ourselves.
Written by Carol Khan