When I came to Islam, I never imagined my life would change so much. I never dreamed of praying in the masjid, wearing hijab or fasting during the month of Ramadhan. But all of these things became obligatory upon me, just as they are upon other Muslims whether they were born into a Muslim family or are came to the religion like I did.
On reflection, I wish I would have given these things more consideration so that I could take my obligations as seriously as I was supposed to.
With this in mind, this post is about changing your life for Islam and what changes you should anticipate, especially as a revert.
Changing for the better
1. Planning your day around salah (PRayer)
You may not know how to pray in Arabic yet but it’s still important to plan your day around salah. The five daily prayers are essential to a Muslim’s life and are a vital connection to Allah swt. If you don’t know the Arabic, pray it in English. Print out the whole salah and tape it to your wall whilst you;re praying. I did this for about 6 months before I learnt how to pray in English.
We live in a perpetual rat race, so taking the time out to pray and contemplate our Lord will keep our hearts firmly grounded in the akhriah and not in this duniya.
Taking the time to plan your day around salah now will save you the trouble (and anxiety) of trying to hold on to the salah later inshaAllah.
2. Using “everyday Arabic”
This is something I really struggled with in the beginning. I never understood why people would say “Wallahi”, “InshaAllah”, “SubhanAllah, or “Alhamdulillah” so much. When I realised they were a type of dhikr (remembrance of Allah swt) I started to use them just as much!
If you feel uncomfortable saying the Arabic terms around your family and friends to begin with, you can say them in English inshaAllah. It makes for a great introduction to Islam and giving dawah to others.
3. Hijab (not just on your head)
Whether you’re a new Muslim, born Muslim or even non-Muslim hijab is a hot topic. In the physical sense, hijab is a piece of material used to cover your head and chest area. In the spiritual sense, hijab is so much more than that. Hijab dictates the way you carry yourself, how you speak and how you interact with others. It protects your hayya (modesty) physically and spiritually.
Abu Hurayrah reported: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Modesty is part of faith and faith is in Paradise. Shamelessness is part of impudence and impudence is in the Hellfire.” [Tirmidhi]
The importance of hijab is often played down to the extent that we just see it as a nothing more than garment, or played up so that that clothing aspect is insignificant and our actions are all that matter. Everything in Islam is balanced and there to nurture our imaan – hijab is no different.
Just as the Quraysh were educated about hijab, we sisters (and brothers) should educate ourselves about it’s importance. I would urge sisters to adopt the hijab of the body and of the soul, even if they don’t understand the reasons behind it.
“We hear and we obey.” [Qur’an, 2:285] This should be our motivation and we should make dua’a that Allah swt gives us the tawfique (the understanding).
4. Eating Halal
When you become Muslim, you will find yourself checking the packaging on everything. Certain sweets will become impermissible because they contain gelatin. You’ll have to avoid some restaurants because they serve pork products but alhamdulillah, taking care of the body that Allah swt has given you is a form of ibaadah (worship).
Eating wholefoods and foods that are responsibly sourced are all part and parcel of eating halal, it’s not all samosas and pakoras! There are plenty of websites that can help you identify if foods/restaurants are halal or not and they’re a great help if you’re out and about and want a quick bite!
This is your journey and putting Allah swt at the centre of your ambitions can only mean success. Not only are you changing your life for Islam, you’re changing it for the love of Allah swt. When your relationship with Him swt is right, everything else will fall into place.