بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
United, connected to each other we stand - Divided we won't make it.
assalam aleikom O sister and brother! With your permission I'd like to hear your word on this question:
How much do you think our attitude, example and words are of importance to a new believer?
Whether a younger bro/sis, or one who recently submitted to Allah, aka newcomer (regarding our religion, a new convert is very close to a child, by many aspects).
Do your own experience or ideas somehow differ from my own that I share with you below?
Comes after the encounters I've had the last 15 years or so, with Muslims (most of them "born" Muslims from places like Palestine, Egypt Lebanon and France). Whom I've learned a big deal about what it means to be (or try to be or not) a believer, as men and women in this life.
So, about questions from Muslims bros and sis to the new Muslim.
Most interactions from an "older" bro or sis in Islam are must welcome! But do you know that some of them are sooo different one from another? Examples
:1. On Rules(a) Allow me to start with the precipitous and/or unhelpful way:
"Do u eat pork? Do u drink alcohol? Do u know the whole of the holy Kur'an?
" (and questions alike)
Why harsh or unhelpful? Creates an atmosphere of judgment
. What is the underlying messages you are giving the newcomer about? Maybe that you're better than him/her. It's not that judgment is bad in itself; now where are the marks of compassion, encouragement, humor or comprehension in those questions? Bro, sis, your questions are important at this time! Do you judging-only that newcomer help him/her anyway? Is all you care him or her just blindly follow the outward injunctions of Islam while not applying the inner ones? (1) Or do you also show curiosity about whether it is harsh or not for a new convert to Islam to, e.g. get rid of parts of his own culture and people? ((On this subject: I believe Islam generally prohibits the use of anything that does us bad, with an emphasis against anything that will make a believer loose some of its consciousness (i.e. discernment) like, and by no means restricted to, drugs.)) Shall I assume from your question that you never fault yourself in this way, e.g. you always sleep & eat & exercise regularly enough to keep yourself fair & conscious at your best? That you really believe he'll answer your precipitous question with uppermost honesty? uh uh. No offense, but this kind of a negative atmosphere is what that kind of precipitous question attain
Also do you see how one's reaction: 1) speaks of one "older" Muslim's ability to be kind or welcome a bro or sis (likely with other difficulties and less knowledge than you); while if he/she's a newcomer then his/her submission to Allah, if honest, is a big move that should be helped. Therefore 2) says on what kind of a believer the "older" is himself.
Hey! a tip: if you're really curious about what a bro/sis eats, talk with his friends (especially former, non Muslims one) and go to her/his place or his parents' and ask genuinely. Then you'll know better b - Much better ways (examples):
"Before you entered Islam, where you used to do things that (you now accepted) are haram? Is it hard not to eat and drink those things u used to eat and drink daily, before you entered Islam? How is it going now when your friends and family eat and drink things that are haram? do they serve it to you like they're used to before lol? Did you find a way to deal with that? Can I show you some nice/tasty/easy Halal receipts I know :-p ? Can we share our own Halal supermarkets/drugstores/places together? Would you like to join us for breaking the fast (foTur) tonight (during Ramadan)? How long since you started reading God's Message? Do you like It? Tell me something that you like in It! Do you read it (your language) or in Arabic? Is it hard? Did you read it a lot already? Was something hard to understand that u want we speak about ? Did your Muslims friends gave you some tips/advices as you entered it? Woow you already know that (e.g. verse, hadith)? Great! On this idea, can I tell you about this (verse, hadith, ...)?
Why better: Those questions and acting do kindly remind the newcomer: that he's part of the Umma now; that there are rules good for us, believers. That she or he has done something good (you pointing what is right will help him/her to go on further this way). That you are his/her new brother or sister on the Road, as some of his/her friends and family members may not fully understand his move (resulting in... issues, or even loss for him/her). All of them guide and/or encourage to go further and better; none of 'em would put him/her under more pressure than what he/she already copes with since he/she choose Allah (words might be adapted according to the guy/lad characteristics). (2)2. Questions say something about the questioner
Important: As you meet, remember he or she may looks at you through the new light of what he/she started to learn; as a new believer with hopefully full possession of human faculties (i.e. not a young child): maybe his/her eyes are searching further understanding or application of the divine writ through your own words, attitude and actions (just like any newcomer does
as ordained to us, he or she might carefully look at you, searching for example of furqanan
(discernment) and help to a better consciousness of what is right: He/she knows well his much imperfect knowledge and condition. Successfully encouraging a new believer efforts on the right way is not only helping him/her, it's also reinforcing the Umma which, if I'm not mistaken, ultimately is what God patiently waits for us to achieve.What about keeping silent?
Uh-uh. Many do that. As many of you here I see critics as a challenge, a way to know my bro/sis and be known by him/her and amend my views. So it is a smart way to connect to each other (unite
: Surat The Women: 13) and, when honestly done, to show the Way a thousand times better than keeping silent (passive), or being unseen (ignored).
Sure at first sight, seem easy: No risk. But also, no connection, no help: no reward. I humbly believe this is something our Lord and His messenger made crystal clear for all believers -whether "new" or "old". Be just, do care and help each other so you can unite
(Ummah). And can one achieve the latter if not ready to look, feel, speak, listen (i.e. to connect
)? I mean, applying his Message
is our mission. For with Allah taala stands satisfaction in this life, and great reward in the other (e.g. Surat Al-Ra'ad: 23)
Hey! brother & sister: As children, people are lost without righteous example close by. The better and closer we believers show the way, to those around us (daughters, sons, and the many others), the more will enter the Path, and the stronger they will be.
Ummah as of today is a result of our parents righteous efforts - and the interferences. Ummah of tomorrow will be the result of the sum of each of us efforts; and we'll need a great deal of connection between us to stand. For if Allah had so willed, He could surely have made us all one single community: but [He willed it otherwise] in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto, us. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God we all must return; and then He will make us truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.
(Sourate Al-Ma'idah: 48)
(1) Taken from Haji Waris Ali Shah (India). Emir of the believers Abu Bakr al-mo'minin
Sourat Al-Ma'idah: 48
(2) Rasulollah (pbuhaf) said: "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is oppressed.
Then a man asked Rasulollah (pbuhaf): "I will help him if he is oppressed. But if he is the oppressor, how can I help him!?
Rasulollah (pbuhaf) said: "You stop him from his oppression, for in that is help for him.
". By Anas bin Malik (r), Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, #623
(3) On the decisive role of the example for the younger
(great post, in Arabic): http://elnogoom.foruminute.com/t537-topic
ps I'd like to show my respect to: AllahsWordDotCom for How to Disagree with One Another
which goes further on this field; got me pretty much impressed. And to Asif1+ whose story After Takbir: Advice to a Muslim Revert
deserves all kudos for its frankness, and discernment
I'd be honored to hear and learn from all of you on this.
Edited: April 15.