Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Shawwal / Dhu'l-Qa'dah 1423 H
January 2003
Volume 16-01 No : 193
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Living Islam


Excuse Me, Can I Come In? I'm a New Muslim!
Allah Won't Ask.....


Excuse Me, Can I Come In? I'm a New Muslim!

It is one thing to become a Muslim in the mind, but it's quite another to enter into the lifestyle or to become part of the local Muslim community

By Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood

There is nothing easier than converting to Islam - the moment one really becomes aware personally that God is real and truly does exist, and accepts that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) really was the last prophet of God in the same line of prophets as all the others named in the Bible - one has actually taken the first step. This moment of dawning is called taqwa - God-consciousness, and ihsan - awareness. Suddenly you know that God can see you and knows you, even if you do not know or see Him. The next step in becoming a Muslim is to make a clear statement of this moment of faith, to declare shahadah: ĎI bear witnessí. Then follows the rest of your life.

It is one thing to become a Muslim in the mind, but itís quite another to enter into the lifestyle or to become part of the local Muslim community. For many women converts this involves a great deal of determination and confidence-building. Not only do you have to face up to your own family and friends who think you have gone mad, but as a woman you have to find the courage to enter the mosque and pray with the large congregation. If youíre a Muslim woman convert in those parts of the north of England where mosques are heavily Asian in character, you have to learn a lot about those Asian cultures, as well as about Islam.

You may meet many shy, gentle, pious and genuinely friendly, hospitable and generous people - but it is regarded as rude for a man to appear eager to talk to women, or look at them with more than a mere glance. And many mosques donít yet have enough room for the womenfolk to pray there as well.

But we converts are gaining in confidence. We no longer feel we have to pretend to be Arabs or Pakistanis in order to belong. We now know there are Muslims in every place in the world, from Eskimo to Aborigine. We may take an Arabic name, or we may choose to keep our old names, it doesnít really matter. The ladies may opt for a costume that consists of loose trousers and long shirts, or long skirts, rather than billowing forth in black gowns or wearing shalwar-qameez. If we feel out of it at the local mosque because we donít understand the language, we are beginning to get organised with house-mosques and groups of our own, where we can invite the Asians to be our guests. We converts are beginning to have read enough and studied enough to voice our own opinions about things. We have become mature enough to realise that not every Muslim is a saint - people are people, and most of us far from perfect. We get over the disappointment of discovering that not every Muslim is living the Muslim way of life to perfection. It doesnít make us give up or accuse them of hypocrisy; we just do our best to live our own lives in the best way we can. Gradually each convert wakes up to the fact that there are many different styles of Muslims. Some Muslims are spiritual while some are ritualistic. Some are extreme to the point of fanaticism, some are lazy. Some are even racist. But we converts increasingly feel we can take out place alongside the others in this vast ummah or family, and so long as we are doing our best, Allah will reward our good intentions.

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood is a noted writer and teacher of Islam. She converted to Islam at the age of 44.

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Allah Won't Ask.....

Allah wonít ask what kind of car you drove
But will ask how many people you drove home who couldnít afford a car....

Allah wonít ask how much time you worked
But will ask how much time you had for your family and loved ones....

Allah wonít ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet
But will ask how many of those clothes helped the needy....

Allah wonít ask about your social status
But will ask what kind of dignity you displayed...

Allah wonít ask how much material possessions you had
But will ask if they dictated your life...

Allah wonít ask what your highest salary was
But will ask what you compromised to obtain that...

Allah wonít ask how many promotions you received
But will ask how you promoted others...

Allah wonít ask what your job title was
But will ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability, honesty and attitude...

Allah wonít ask what you did to help yourself
But will ask what you did to help others...

Allah wonít ask how many friends you had
But will ask, to how many people you were a true friend

Allah wonít ask what you did to protect your rights
But will ask what you did to protect others and rights of others...

Allah wonít ask the colour of your skin
But will ask the contents of your character...

Allah wonít ask how many times your deeds matched your words
But will ask how many times they didnít...

Remember Allah loves you as you are...
Itís not what you have, it is what you do with it...

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News| Community Roundup| Editorial| Readers Comments| Men, Mission and Machines| Investigation| Muslim Perspectives| Profile Women In Focus| Tribute| Religion| Book Review| Children's Corner| Quran Speaks to You| Hadith| Hajj| Our Dialogue| Living Islam Guest Column| From Darkness To Light| Matrimonial| Jobs| Archives| Feedback| Subscription| Links| Calendar| Contact Us

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