Jamadi Awwal 1424 H
Volume 16-07 No : 199
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Islam is a religion that welcomes people into its fold anytime, anywhere and at any age.
IslamWay.com: Dear Sister As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah . First of all congratulations for accepting Islam
Sara: Wa alaikum assalam, Thankyou.
IslamWay.com: Can you tell us about yourself ?
Sara: My name is Sara, I am 14 years old and in high school. I live in the United.States.
IslamWay.com: Welcome Sara . I am really amazed to see someone in your age searching for the truth . Let me admit that. Can you tell us how did you know about Islam for the first time in your life ?
Sara: Yes, the first time I heard about Islam was about 3 years ago, I was curious about God and religion and wanted to know what others believed. I started reading different materials and read about Islam. I was amazed by how much sense it made.
IslamWay.com: Isn’t it kind of strange to start reading about religions when you were 11 years old . Is there is any special thing that you have other than other kids around you ?
Sara (smiling) I suppose it is strange to read about religion at 11, most of my friends didn’t understand how I could be so interested in finding God. My family is Christian, and I have been raised in religion, so it seemed only natural for me to study religion thoroughly and decide on my own what the truth was.
IslamWay.com: Did you read the Quran ?
Sara: Not at that time, no.
IslamWay.com: “A Muslim woman is oppressed and needs to be liberated like the western women” .. do you have a comment about this ?
Sara: It saddens me that so many people in the world today believe that Muslim women are oppressed. I believe that we are the most liberated women on earth! To follow the guidelines Allah has given us is the most liberating thing any woman can do.
IslamWay.com: Well, from what you see in the west .. are the women there liberated ?
Sara: No, most women in the west are oppressed. We are used as sex symbols. Most women wear outfits that barely cover them, they use their bodies to get attention. We are expected to have ‘perfect’ bodies by the media’s standards, we are supposed to look and act a certain way, and we are expected to do whatever the media tells us to do, and that is to disrespect ourselves and Allah.
IslamWay.com: So did you wear the hijab ?
Sara: No I do not. I would like to very much, but my family is unaware that I converted to Islam, and I will wear the hijab after I tell them.
IslamWay.com: You think that you will have problems with them after telling them ?
Sara: I’m not sure. I suppose, I am allowing my fear to keep me from telling them.
IslamWay.com: I see . Just ask Allah to give you the power and the patience to take this step and I guess all Muslims who are reading this interview now will make dua for you to ease things, InshaAllah .
IslamWay.com: What is the thing you liked most in the Muslim community ?
Sara: I admire the dedication Muslims have towards Islam, there is an amazing peace and grace that Allah gives to those who serve him as completely as they can. To many it may seem hard to follow Allah’s guidelines, but Allah gives every Muslim an amazing strength to help them. What I liked most about the Muslims I met was how friendly and caring they were.
IslamWay.com: “Most of the Muslims nowadays are not practising Muslims .. “ first of all ..what do you feel about that ? And is that why Islam is not spreading too fast ? And what would you say to a non practising Muslim ?
IslamWay.com: What are your future plans? Your dreams?
Sara: I’ve always had a dream: To become a leader in our world and once again help establish peace and good relations between different people.
IslamWay.com: Do you have any plans for learning Arabic ?
Sara: Yes. I love languages. It’s something that I enjoy and my parents support my Arabic education, I will hopefully begin taking a language course too. My dad lived in an Arabic speaking country for years, and so he would help me study.
IslamWay.com: oh I see, which country ?
Sara: Sudan (in Africa)
IslamWay.com: Can you tell us in details, how did you revert to Islam?
Sara: I had originally heard about Islam about 3 years ago, my parents found out that I was reading about it and discouraged me from doing so, studying it much further. Then last Fall, I started high school at a new school that has a lot of Muslim students.
When I first started going there, I remembered my studying and was curious about how they would act. My parents had told me Muslims were horrible mean, militant, abusive people. So I kind of expected them to be that way, I was wrong! The first couple of friends I made there were Muslims. They were nice, friendly, caring people. I remember them talking about their God, and I was amazed by how much they loved Islam.
I began very quickly torespect them, and quickly became very curious about their beliefs. A friend of mine asked them about Islam one day, and it turned into a several hours long conversation about Allah, and Islam, and daily life. I was surprised by how much sense it all made, and how happy they were. I began reading the Quran and looking for more information on the internet, and soon after I said the shahadah and converted to Islam. I’m still amazed by how happy and peaceful my life is. Allah has given me much strength in every day life. Inshallah my parents will see this.
IslamWay.com: Insha Allah . May Allah reward you and may Allah keep you in the right path . Ameen.Assalamu alaykum
Sara: Wa alaikum assalam. Thankyou.
Alhamdulillah that Allah has guided you to our blessed deen. Islam is truly a blessing and we should all feel overwhelmed with gratitude to Allah for guiding us to the straight path, the path of real success and peace.
My advice to you as a new Muslim is to find and learn the deen from a teacher. In my year and a half of being Muslim (I’m 28 years old), one of the most important experiences for me has been the guidance and support of a very knowledgeable and pious teacher. Islam is a not a religion of self-interpretation. It is a straight path based on knowledge that must be acquired. It is a lifestyle that has to be adhered to, and is unfortunately being influenced by many negative elements, both within and outside Islam.
Although many new Muslims, especially in the US, choose to teach themselves Islam through books, lectures and videos, there are many pitfalls to doing this that should be avoided. Without a teacher or a guide, one who armed with the combination of knowledge and experience, the pitfalls of the ego and desires can confuse and lead us astray quite easily. For centuries, classical Islamic education was taught through direct contact with teachers. This is how wisdom, not just knowledge, was acquired. You cannot gain wisdom from just reading. Anyone can read and parrot, but how many can read and apply in the way Allah intends? One of the problems with the Muslim Ummah today is that there are too many of us reading and parroting, but not enough applying in the way truly put forth by Allah and His Messenger (SAW). Put simply, this is because we have stopped learning from those with true knowledge and wisdom. We have stopped becoming students. It takes humility to be a student and to give our trust over to someone to teach us, which is why fewer and fewer are willing to do it.
I have seen the importance of having guidance and the consequences of what happens without it. How we learn and are indoctrinated into Islam will greatly effect our appreciation for it, our love of it, our devotion to it, and most importantly, our ultimate success or failure with Allah. Knowledge with wisdom will make you LOVE Islam, not just blindly follow it. So I urge you to go out and find a good teacher to help you along the path to Allah. May Allah bless you and guide you further in your journey.
Abdul Lateef Abdulla