Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Advice to a new Muslim

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! Alhamdolellah! (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.

It may be better not discuss your reversion to Islam with non muslims friends 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!

May Allah grant us all the wisdom and good spritual health we need to stay on the straight path. Ameen.

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