بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Assalaamu ‘alaikum respected Brother or Sister,
What I have compiled here is just a listing of the most significant things that come to mind when I think about New or Recent Converts to Islam. I hope you find it useful. Of course, you are welcome to leave comments or questions which will alert me through email. What I share with you is based on my experience and learning as an American who entered Islam in 1987, walhamdulillah.
- Allah(God) is Living, Eternal, and Ever-Aware. He sees you with Perfect Vision, Hears you with Perfect Hearing, and is Aware of all troubles that encroach our hearts and minds. Never be hesitant to make Wudhu, make 2 raka’at of Salah, and implore Him with sincerity and tears for Guidance and Help. He says: أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗأَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ (Did you think that you would enter paradise without being tested as those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with poverty and difficulties until even the Messenger and the Believers with him were asking “when will the Help of Allah come?”. Oh, certainly the Help of Allah is near ! “
- In Islam, it is required that you raise important questions to scholarly people, especially if such questions are of doubts in Faith. Umar r.a.a said: “Do not leave seeking knowledge out of shyness.”
- Iman(faith) is up and down. One of the Prophet’s Companions complained that he felt very strong faith in the company of Rasulullah, and that it weakened when he returned home. He feared that he was not a Believer. Rasulullah assured him that if his faith remained at a constant high, the Angels would shake hands with him(so, it’s normal for faith to be up and down.)
- Iman(faith) is dependent on our environment, our occupations, our thoughts, our discussions, and the food we eat. Spend time in the mosque, read Qur’an, talk to Muslim Brothers and Sisters, go Khuruuj (out in the Path of Allah), attend to your ritual prayers, and try to keep your life stable.
- There are many deviant sects. Avoid Shi-ites, Quranists(those who reject Sunnah and Hadith), Ahmadis, and Salafis. I’ll add more details later.
- Look to your Creator for Guidance. Muslims are ignorant and have pursued other than Islam for a LONG time ! Do not take Muslims as knowledgeable, nor as examples.
- Learn about Rasulullah as your example. I’ll offer suggested reading later.
- Do not forget Yourself. You are a human being with human needs. Maintain family relationships as much as those relationships don’t damage your Islam. Seek economic stability for yourself. Learn about married life in Islam and seek a compatible partner.
About Deviated Sects
All Prophets had loyal followers, and misguided deviants. Allah has protected most of the followers of Muhammad s.a.w., but there are still 72 groups of deviants. Once you become familiar with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah, you will recognize the deviants by their words and practices.
Shi’ites, Quranists(those who reject Hadith), and Ahmadis are very common, especially on the internet where they propagate profusely. They are so deviant in their beliefs that it is questionable whether they are still counted as Muslims. They seek to argue and draw people into discussion in order to gain followers. Think of them as devils and avoid them ! The pious scholars of Islam have warned that anyone who keeps company of an innovator may become one of them, and then will have only himself to blame for ending-up in hellfire.
The Salafis are some of the most confusing, and most dangerous. They are a people cloaked in Sunnah, but the way of Rasulullah is not their way ! They claim to be on “Authentic Islam”, but they have in fact made their own religion in many ways. They work in typical cult behavior, frightening the uneducated into their following. They seek to convince people that anyone who is not of their kind will end-up in hellfire. They are misguided by thinking themselves qualified to derive Sunnah from the books of Ahadith, while even their scholars are not nearly that qualified. They swear up and down that what they do is right, and bring all arguments. However, when you study deeper, and learn from the Great Scholars who really knew the Book of Allah and the Sunnah, you find the Salafi is deviant. Even in their beliefs. They’re also known to mis-translate or censure classical Islamic books that disagree with their misguidance.
I would not even ask a Salafi how to make Salah or Wudhu ! Many of them make Wudhu improperly, and do things that may destroy their Salah. Many of them are extreme to the point of throwing themselves out of Islam. They can also turn violent when they don’t get their way with things, which we’ve seen over and over in my local community.
About Learning Islam Properly
Many Muslims today, particularly Arabs, have so completely lost Islam that they don’t even know how to learn it again. You have to be advised by someone who has studied Islam and its history to know what is correct, so may Allah accept my advice.
Islam is based on Qur’an and Sunnah(way of Muhammad s.a.w). Sunnah is NOT Hadith ! Hadith are only the related instances of sayings or actions of Rasulullah. There have been scholars of Islam who had memorized over 1 Million Hadith. Sorting out those hadith requires a scholar of such a high order that he can develop a rule for acceptance or rejection for each of those Ahadith. There have been several scholars with such ability, but only 4 of their Schools of Jurisprudence have been kept on earth by Allah ta’ala. These are called the 4 Madhhabs, named after the great Imam(scholar of the highest order) who founded them. They are:
Anyone who considers himself free of the 4 Madhnabs is an ignoramus or a liar. When you seek knowledge, be careful that the one you seek from is qualified in one of these 4 schools and is not deviating and making his own rules ! This knowledge is religion, so be careful where you get your religion !
Additionally, Learning Islam does not mean just book knowledge ! We also have to condition our hearts, minds, and inner-selves to ease our Obedience of The Almighty. That can’t be learned from books or lectures. If you seek my recommendations on how to do that, just post a comment and I’ll receive an email.
- Most time should be dedicated to reading Qur’an as it is one of the best acts of Worship, the source of Iman and Guidance, and the best way of drawing nearness to Allah.
- For daily encouragement, read Fazail-e-amaal by Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi. It has stories of Muhammad and Sahabah to remind us of their examples, and Hadith and stories of encouragement for our daily rituals. Also, Riyadh-us-Saliheen by Imam an-Nawawi which is a more detailed picture of the daily life of a Believer.
- For learning about Muhammad s.a.w., I recommend reading a book of Sirah. I have read Muhammad Messenger of Allah: by Qadi Iyad, translated by Bewley. It is a heart-warming description of our Beloved Prophet, in detail. I also recommend Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Abu Bakr Martin Lings. It gives a historical account of the the 24 years of The Prophet’s divine mission. These are valuable for understanding the environment and setting in which Islam was born. Here is an online Sirah which I also enjoyed: ar-Raheeq al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar)
- For learning more about the scholarly process, and for having a decent manual of Islamic laws, as well as a lot of good biographical information of the Imams and Scholars, I recommend Reliance of the Traveller translated by Sheikh Nuh Keller. Sheikh Nuh is an American scholar of 2 of the schools(Hanafi and Shafi’), a scholar of Arabic, and is active in the Majalis of Scholars and of Remembrance in Jordan.
- I highly suggest that you are much better off in the masjid, or in your privacy reading a book, than scouring the internet ! I’ve been studying Islam for 25 years and am horrified at the lies and mis-behavior of cyber-muslims, and the disgusting attacks on Islam by the haters of Truth.
May Allah guide and preserve all of us.