Do you remember taking your shahadah? How did that make you feel?
The reason why I am asking this question is because I would like to take you through a journey which may be quite similar to yours. And in order for you to fully enjoy the experience, you would need to leave your seat as a spectator and come on stage, putting yourself in Lucy’s shoes.
So today, you have finally decided to become a Muslim. After thinking about it for quite a long time and doing all your research, you are now convinced that Islam is the right path to take.
You’ve shared the news with one of your close Muslim friends, and she nicely organised a gathering with other sisters at her local mosque. Being so warmly welcomed by all the sisters and seeing all these beautiful smiles already makes you feel part of another family; you know that you’re not alone.
Now comes the moment of truth. Excited and extremely nervous at the same time, your heart is racing and beating so hard that you can hear the resonance of every single beat. You stand up. You can feel you legs and hands shaking. You take a deep breath, and as soon as you start uttering the first words of the shahadah, you feel overwhelmed by a series of emotions you cannot even describe. The shahadah becomes the precious key of freedom sent from Allah (SWT), and you now feel like a bird leaving its cage for the first time, tasting the true sweetness of freedom.
You’ve done it! You’re so proud of yourself, so happy that Allah (SWT) finally gave you the strength to take that step. Your friend and the other sisters are also really happy for you. In turns, they warmly congratulate you and genuinely insist that if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to let them know: “You’re now our sister in Islam, and we’re here to help you!” How reassuring is it to know that you have sisters you can rely on? Even if you are aware that some challenges will come on your way, their support is the key element that will make any difficulty bearable.
A few days after embracing Islam, some of the storms you expected start showing up. More than ever, this is the time when your sisters’ support is critical. So you start calling them up one by one but they are either not responding or too busy with their own routine. They say that they will get back to you but actually never do, or when they are willing to help, their good intention is not sufficient to improve your situation. So after the sweet honeymoon phase you have been through, comes the time of disappointment. And this is such a difficult phase that it not only leads you to question the sincerity of your dear sisters in Islam, but it also leads you to question Islam itself.
I’m a Muslim now, so why is my life so difficult? What’s interesting about this question is that the answer is actually within the question itself; once you have recognised that Allah (SWT) is the only One worthy of worship and that you have accepted to fully submit to Him and obey His commands, you will surely be tested to see how strong and sincere your statement is.
So when you claim to be believing in Allah (SWT), loving Him, trusting Him and doing things for His sake alone, would your claim weaken according to the situation you are in, or will it stay firm and unshakable no matter what?
So, does Lucy’s journey ring a bell for you? If so, that’s not really surprising, as this is the typical journey of many of our new sisters and brothers in Islam.
The reality is that we are usually so happy and excited to see new people entering Islam, that out of a generous impulse, we tend to promise a support that is actually beyond our ability, without even realising what the consequences of our lack of commitment could be.
Had Lucy known that the first contact detail she should have been provided with was Allah’s direct line through prayer and supplication, this would have helped her to not turn all her hope and expectations on other human beings who are subjected to mistakes and deficiencies.
The good thing about this challenging phase of loneliness is that it actually teaches us to turn and rely upon Allah (SWT) alone. If you look carefully, you will notice that almost all the greatest prophets like Abraham, Moses, Yusuf, Ayub, Muhammad (may peace be upon them all) went through a phase of isolation which became a learning curve and a way to reinforce their reliance upon Allah (SWT) alone.
Apart from Allah (SWT), who can really be there for you at any time whenever you need it, without ever getting bored or making you feel that it may not be the most appropriate time to talk? Apart from Allah (SWT), who can really bring you all the support and the best assistance you need in times of difficulties without ever requesting from you anything in return? And who possesses the real power to effectively solve your issues and bring an end to all your concerns and worries, apart from Allah (SWT)? So why turn to someone else?
Allah (SWT) tells us in the Qur’an:
… And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him… (At-Talaq:2-3)
So, knowing who your Lord is and learning how to connect with Him is, without a doubt, the main step to take after taking your shahadah.
Has the time not come for you to start establishing and developing a strong connection with your Lord? If you haven’t done so yet, today is the day to start. Don’t forget to use the two essential tools Allah (SWT), by His immense care and mercy, equipped us with: His final letter, the Qur’an and His free direct line, the prayer.
iERA has now developed Now Ready to Grow, a unique mentoring training course dedicated to teach Muslims how to effectively welcome, educate and empower their new brothers and sisters in Islam. For more information, go to: http://www.iera.org.uk/now-ready-to-grow/
Amina Berete is the Ameerah of iERA’s new Muslims’ department called Muslim Now. Over the past three years she has developed a deep understanding and expertise on new Muslims’ reality of life and challenges. More than just understanding their situation, one of her main concerns has always been to explore and develop effective structures to educate and empower new Muslims so that they can establish firm foundations and become strong believers, insha Allah. Her main focus being Muslims’ empowerment and self-development through their connection with Allah, Amina is an instructor and lecturer for iERA.