Well, Alhamdullilah we made it home safely. My visit with my father was, well…..ok. It wasn’t great but it could have been worse. Although, I have to admit that I have an excellent relationship with most of my non muslim family. Still, sometimes there is the uncertainity of what kind of reception I’m going to receive. As a convert, going back home to visit your non Muslim family can be like opening up a grab bag. You aren’t sure if they will be happy to see you, in religious convert back to your previous religion NOW mode, or crying about how they’ve failed you. Ok, maybe that’s being dramatic but It sure feels like that’s how it is sometimes. Alhamdullilah(All Praise and Thanks is for Allah) this visit was the happy to see me one.
As a convert visitng home we have to deal with much fitnah(trials). Here are a couple of the trials I have to endure most often with my family and how I attempt to deal with them. Unfortuneatly, I’m sure some of them may apply to the born muslims as well.
1.) Gossip. This is by far the most common one for me. It seems everytime I visit my eager relatives are most concerned to give me the latest news. Your best friend from middle school is now doing this, your great aunt did that, your sister was seen here with (fill in the blank). It is so annoying and most of all, tempting to listen in and respond with your shocked expressions. After all, how often do you get to see these people?
Well, first a definition of backbiting given by the Prophet(saaw)-Anything true that is said about a person that they would not want mentioned. Slander-anything UNTRUE said about a person behind their back.
Allah likens backbiting in the Qur’an to eating the flesh of your dead brother. It is that disgusting!!! AstagfirAllah(May Allah forgive us)!
The Prophet(saw) said that he saw people in Hell scratching themselves with iron nails on their chests and faces. He asked who they were and was told the gosippers(Abu Dawud) Also, the Prophet(saw) said that the two most common sins that we’ll be punished for in the grave is not cleaning ourselves properly after going to the toilet and backbiting/slander(Bukhari,Muslim).
So, what are we to do when we are faced with this. Well, Allah describes that believers as: “And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk) they withdraw from it.” (28:55) Now, we are dealing with non Muslims here in my case Christians. So, I gently remind them of what their Bible says about gossip and backbiting and remind them of their mantra “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”:
“They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.” (Romans 1:29NIV)
1 Timothy 5:13 – “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” (NIV)
The second biggest fitnah I have to endure is pressure to remove my hijab. I know that I don’t have to wear the hijab with the mahrams. However, If I am going anywhere as a group they usually become really embarrassed and ask me to remove my hijab and dress “normal”. Well, this can be extremely difficult. You want to be pleasing to your family and not cause them any unnecessary embarassment but on the other hand your uptmost obedience is due to Allah since it will be Him that you return and answer for your deeds. I try to remind myself of this fact and remind myself that there is no obedience to anything or anyone that goes against Allah(swt)’s obligatons over us. I have to remind myself to be strong and remember how the companions of the prophet also suffered much at the hands of their family and people. I remind them that the hijab is not something new. In fact, the Christian women were also ordered to cover in the Bible(again my family are christians):
1 Corinthians, 11:5: ….but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled,Dishonors her head- it is the same as if her head were shaven.
1 Corinthians, 11:6:—-For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut-off her Hair: but if it is disgraceful for a woman to be shorn or shaven(it is considered to be a sign of disgrace to have the head shaven for a woman as her beauty is in her hair), let her wear a veil. ,
1 Corinthians11:10 –That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because Of the angels.
1 Corinthians, 11:13 –Judge for yourself: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with Her head uncovered?
My family brings this issue up less and less nowadays (Alhamdullilah!) As I was riding with my sister to visit my dad my neice said to me in the car: “You know when I was in children’s church i wore a veil like you are wearing. I had to march around the wall.” Mash’Allah, it was so cute.
May Allah help us all to remain firm and steadfast and put our obedience to Him first. ameen.