Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
This is probably one of the questions that you want to ask when you became Muslim but you were to scared to. Becoming a new Muslim is an exciting and scary time, especially when so many people are pushing so much information your way in the first year or so.
I have it on good authority from many of my reverted sisters that we lose more converts/ reverts in the first year of Islam than at any other time and I think I know the reason why.
When you first become Muslim, you know you have to change. If you drank previously, you know you have to give that up. If you wore mini skirts everyday you know they’ll have to stay in the back of your wardrobe, and if you smoked, stubbing out that cigarette is another task to add to the list. The major actions of Islam, you can get your head around for the most part but it’s the little things that can be more of a continuous struggle.
You know you need to change, but at what rate?
When I first became Muslim, I felt obligated to change overnight but the pressure of feeling that way made it harder for me down the line when I realised I didn’t recognise myself and I didn’t know why I was doing the things I was doing. In essence I was just following another crowd blindly.
When the Qur’an was first being revealed on the people, the Prophet (saw) did not expect them to change overnight as the revelation did not come overnight subhanAllah. Yes, those that believed ran to fulfill whatever ayat (sign) was brought to them but Allah swt did not reveal all at once. Why?
Because He swt understood and gave the Prophet (saw) the understanding that these people needed to change from the inside out before a total transformation was complete.
One example that springs to mind for me is the revelation of alcohol. There was a time when the believers were told not to approach the prayer intoxicated but the prohibition on alcohol had not yet been sent down. Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) made dua’a to Allah swt to make the ayat even clearer as to whether alcohol was haraam or not. Eventually, Allah swt sent down the revelation that the drinking of alcohol and that taking of any intoxicants (khamar) was now haraam.
Similarly, there were those Companions that failed to fulfil their obligations and instead of being harsh and chastising them, the Prophet (saw) treated them with compassion, understanding and support. Back to the example of alcohol – there was a Sahabah who used to drink regularly, even when the revelation that alcohol was haraam came down. The other Sahabah would admonish him and treat him unkindly but the Prophet (saw) never did. He (saw) had the kind of compassion that required him to provide help and support first and not to criticise.
In my humble opinion, you can see the sincerity of the believers in this action alone. You can see that what revelations that were with them, they strove to fulfill them as and when they could alhamdulillah and those that fell short, were given the support to try and become better believers.
Often, this is what converts/ reverts really need. Not a long list of obligations that seem completely unattainable but a helpful hand, a guide and a ear to listen to them, and the time and room to grow into their new chosen lifestyle.
So my dear brothers and sisters, do you need to change overnight – No, but you must try your best to embody what you know and what you are learning of the Qur’an and Sunnah. You’ve already made a significant change by accepting Islam, the rest is a journey that you must undertake inshaAllah. As Imam Suhaib Webb puts it perfectly in his Ramadan Reflection series “Islam is an event but Islam is also a process.”
You can watch the full video here:
Learn to continually improve yourself day by day and it will feel like things are changing, rather than making a drastic change and then struggling to put the pieces together in your own head afterwards.
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