Anas ibn Malik (RA) reported that Allah (SWT)’s Messenger Muhammad (SAW) said:
“time will come on the people when the patient among them on his religion will be like one who holds live coal (in his hand).” [Tirmidhi]
Indeed, for many Muslims today, obeying Allah (SWT) and practicing the deen of Islam has become difficult, especially in the non-Muslim lands, such as the West.
Be it the pressure induced on our sisters wearing the Hijab to the scrutiny placed on core Islamic concepts. Such as Shariah and others, it is clear that openly practicing Islam is far from easy, even for those born into Muslim families and with years – if not decades – of ‘ilm (Islamic knowledge) and culture.
The difficulties our new brothers and sisters face when they join the fold of Islam:
Many of us were born to Muslim parents. Many of us entered Muslim communities from infancy. Many of us began becoming familiar with the Qur’an in childhood. Many of us have had the opportunity to form strong friendships and bonds with our fellow Muslims. Many of us have families with whom we share our core values and beliefs. In these trying times, these elements are means of security and comfort for us.
However, many converts often leave all of that for the sake of obeying Allah (SWT) and practicing Islam. It is a significant sacrifice and may Allah (SWT) reward them. But in this world, it leaves our revert brothers and sisters vulnerable on many levels. Some by embracing Islam, lost the warmth of their own families (if not also earn their ire for – in the views of their parents – ‘disbelief’). Like all of us, they must also learn their deen, but with the added responsibility of changing their prior concepts, be it regarding relations with the opposite gender, rizk and its impact on earning a living, and more.
We have all had those challenges, yet few of us have had to face them alone. Unfortunately, some of us view the revert’s Shahadah as the end of the dawah to Islam, but in truth, it is merely the beginning.
As practicing Muslims, we would love to have the path to obeying Allah (SWT) made accessible so that the pressure of compromising on our deen is lessened. Moreover, we want to live our lives in comfort and be able to enjoy special occasions, such as Ramadan, Eid, marriage, the birth of a child and more with our families and friends, i.e., our fellow brothers and sisters. Help reverts
Admittedly, our new brothers and sisters deserve the same. In a hadith, Rasul’Allah (SAW) said
“None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
It is an essential hadith in this discussion as it establishes both an expectation in Islam and provides the impetus for supporting reverts in our Muslim communities. In broad terms, it is upon us to ensure that our brothers and sisters can benefit from that which we would want. In a hadith Rasul’Allah (SAW) says,
“The example of the believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
It is unacceptable that we could have brothers and sisters in our midst who are alienated, lonely and under pressure as a result of wanting to obey Allah (SWT). In fact, we should have every incentive regarding Ajr (rewards in the Hereafter) to help such people, be it regarding ilm, Sadaqah, and brotherhood.
What’s the right way to help reverts:
Every individual is different. There is no certified method to helping a fellow brother or sister; each person will have their challenges, needs, and strengths. To correctly understand someone, it is necessary to build a relationship with that person, one built on friendship and brotherhood (or sisterhood between the sisters). That companionship will make helping that new brother or sister easier. Help reverts
In high-school, college or university, friendship may be the most important way to help a revert; it provides them a Jamaat with companions to accompany them in practicing the deen and in avoiding sin. Muslim Student Associations (MSA) can play a leading role in this regard, but it is upon the Muslim individual to reach out and help the revert forge new ties. One of my best friends is a revert. In university, we – along with the executives of our MSA – spent every day praying, eating, playing sports and even debating with one another. We were with this brother when he was learning to read the Qur’an with Tajweed, and we were there behind them when he began leading our congregation for Jummah.
There will be individuals who will be homeless, or in need in other areas (e.g., monetary support and food), in this case, we must remember the glad tidings for those who engage in Sadaqah (voluntary charity).
Abu Huraira (RA) reported Rasul’Allah (SAW) saying,
“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).” [Sahih Muslim].
Awareness in Communities:
We must encourage our communities to be both aware and generous. If we are unable to donate wealth, we can help in other ways, such as teaching necessary aspects of Islam, such as Salah, the ability to read the Qur’an, and an understanding of one’s Islamic obligations. From the hadith above, it is clear that ‘ilm is also a source of Sadaqah. Companionship, especially in difficulty and hardship, is a must.
In fact, Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that Rasul’Allah (SAW) said,
“Every Muslim has five rights over another Muslim (i.e., he has to perform five duties for another Muslim): to return the greetings, to visit the sick, to accompany funeral processions, to accept an invitation, to respond to the sneezer.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. help reverts
We are brothers, and as brothers, we must express joy for one another and also be there for one another in mourning and sadness. These issues affect reverts as well, and it is imperative (for us to celebrate or mourn) that we stay abreast of our brothers and sisters’ lives, which requires us to be their companions.
Importance of Companionship:
Companionship also enables us to intimately know one another, which can help in finding one’s brothers and sisters suitable partners for marriage. In fact, a Muslim companion may be the brother’s best if not only witness to his obedience to Allah (SWT), his character and suitability to a sister (and vice-versa). We can also better assist them in searching for jobs, finding rent, providing access (in the case of revert families) to Islamic schools and other aspects.
Before the Hijrah to Madinah, the Muslims were a small minority in Makkah. In fact, the Ummah of that time was also facing pressure for its Deen, which later spiraled into oppression at the hands of Quraysh. After the Wahy (Revelation) and the leadership of Rasul’Allah (SAW), companionship was all that left to this small Ummah in its most difficult days. We call the earliest Muslims of that time the Sahaba – i.e., Companions of Rasulullah (SAW). In Islam, such communities can be a source of something special, be it for the individual or the entire world. It is upon us to let these cities grow and thrive, and the full inclusion of our new brothers and sisters is a necessary ingredient for that growth.
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