The Shahada is just the beginning….

30 05 2007

white-pale-rose-heart-636.jpgInforming the family:

It was a cool winter evening. I pulled into my driveway and saw my family all sitting around relaxing on the front porch. I was obviously brimming with happiness after taking the shahada. I was of course wearing hijab. That wasn’t new to my family though. I had covered my head to a degree as a Christian as well and my mom was fully supportive of that. However, the feeling of happiness coupled with my naive nature at my young age led me to just blurt out to them: “I just converted to islam.” At first they all just kind of looked at me like they weren’t sure what i had said. Then, finally, my younger stepbrother spoke, “you’re kidding right?”. With all eyes on me,I replied, no. At that point, I began to feel nervous. We all just sat there silent for a few minutes. Then my mother and stepfather asked me to come inside and ordered my stepbrother to stay where he was. That’s when I realized that i was in for it. So, they brought me in the house and sat me down and tried to talk me out of Islam gently. They took out the Bible and read verses to me, they even took the extra step to call the pastor and have him speak with me. When I wouldn’t budge, my mom lost it. She began crying and asking me where she had failed me and why I would do such a thing. When I tried to respond to her by letting her know that it wasn’t anything she did or didn’t do she would just get more and more irate. Finally, it came to the point that I was given a choice to either convert back to Christianity and denounce Islam or leave. I tried to reason with them but to no avail. So, I packed up my things and left.

Alhamdullilah, I had my own car. So, I was able to stay in my car for a couple of days. I knew that I could not live this way and I knew that it wasn’t smart to drop out of highschool and work full time(especially since I was so close to being finished). So, I went to visit my grandmother. Mash’Allah she asked me where I was staying and I told her. Then, she offered to allow me to live with her until I finished school. This woman did not batter me over my religion nor did she prohibit me from practicing my religion in her house.

After a year had passed, my mom and I made contact. It turned out that she had been keeping tabs on me through my grandma.๐Ÿ™‚ I prepared myself by going to http://www.whyislam.org and getting pamphlets to help answer her questions. So, we all sat down again. This time in a calm manner and discussed Islam. They had many questions. Most of the Questions centered around what i now believe, hijab, dietary laws, men’s rights over women, my role as a woman in Islam, How I worship Allah and the obligations imposed on me, and of course why i became a muslim. I patiently tried to answer their questions as best I could and gave them the pamphlets for later referral.

Finally, when asked, what my relationship would be with them now, I gave them the response that Allah (swt) says in the Quran:Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (Qur’an 109: 1-6) Also, I informed them of their rights over me as parents and the good treatment enjoined on parents. I told them that I would always be their daughter and that I will always have love and respect for them. At that point, we decided to put the past behind us and move forward with our relationship.

Some points to consider when telling your non muslim family that you have accepted Islam:

For me this happened twice in a sense. The first time I was young and just sprang it on them. The second time, we all sat down and had an open discussion after putting some time between us. In my case, the second approach worked much better. So, these suggestions are simply that, suggestions. You know yourself and your family better than I do, so you can gauge what would be the best option for you.

*pick a good time (you want everyone to be relaxed and have time to process, talk, and work through the process.) I know some muslims who have been muslims for years and their families still do not know. This wasn’t possible for me as it didn’t fit into my personality. However, even if you are feeling scared, you have to know that more than likely your family will come around and treat you normally. I know many Muslims who told their family and got no reaction at all or had a very mild reaction. So, every experience will be different. Just put your trust in Allah and make plenty of dua and insh’Allah you will be fine.
*pick a good place (again make sure it is someplace where they can respond to you and not feel restricted or embarrassed such as they would in a public place)
*Be ready for the flow of questions.
*I recommend taking pamphlets or other matierial designed to teach non muslims a bit about Islam. (whyislam.org offers a variety of pamphlets in English and Spanish also there is a new book out by dr. ali shehata: Demystifying Islam which covers a variety of hot topics that come up in Islamic discussions).
*Be confident. Be firm. Be direct. Be Patient. Be calm.Be respectful.
*You could also opt to inform them by phone or letter. You know yourself and you know your family. So, whichever method you think would be best to use then you should go for it.


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7 responses

30 05 2007
carimuslima

As Salaam Walakium Sis,
Mashallah you have been through so much may Allah reward you Amin.

It reminded me of how I blurted out that I was about to convert to Islam. With me it was the other way around I wore hijab before converting and so when my family saw me they were in complete utter shock and then the fear of knowing I was going to convert soon LOL…..

I really like how you give a quick guide on what to do and how to inform our non-muslim family. Wish I knew that myself 4 yrs ago.

Jazak Allah Khairan๐Ÿ˜‰

1 06 2007
southernmuslimah

and may Allah reward you and your family as well. ameen.

Yeah, Mash’Allah would have been great to have someone take me aside and tell me this before I told my family. Lol. The hijab didnt’ take them off guard but the words did and the method was not great the first time around. But what can I say? I was young,naive, and on cloud nine.

But Alhamdullilah, I made it through by the mercy of Allah.

waiyaki

3 06 2007
Katfish211

Assalam Alikum sis, I am happy for you that your family has come around and accepted your decision..After being Muslimah for over one year and after my marriage..i decided to inform my mother of my decision..We live in different states so i sent her E-mail..Ist letter was little infrormation- no response….2nd letter-more information and pictures- still no response..she has completely ignored the fact that i am Muslim and that i have married but, inshAllah one day she will understand….I have never regretted my decision and i love my life now…May Allah Bless you and your family….sis Fatima

4 06 2007
southernmuslimah

Wa Alaikum Asalaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Sister Fatima,

Thanks for checking out my blog! Insh’Allah hope to see you around more.

Insh’Allah your family will come around. I have heard many stories similar to yours. With my own family, it took a year of distance between us before we could sit down and discuss it openly. Now, My sisters and neices still do not really acknowledge that I’m a Muslim. They know that I’m a Muslim. They just don’t want to discuss it. So, insh’Allah once you can visit your family face to face you can bring it up in a nice manner and maybe bring them some Islamic info(one site that will give you free pamphlets is http://www.whyislam.org ). Alhamdullilah, just stay strong sis!๐Ÿ™‚ Insh’Allah they’ll come around…

May Allah make it easy for you sister and guide your family to Islam. ameen.

5 06 2007
Spirit seeker-lost in yorkshire

Asalamualaikum southern sister,
ive just read your post and i am filled with awe over your determination to stay a muslim even when your family were not too keen on the idea. that takes a lot of faith and self determination.
I come from a muslim family, but only very recently have been trying to practise the faith and wearing hijab (this hasnt been happily welcomed by my family).
I just want to say that your post has filled me with determination and most of all hope.
thank you

25 06 2007
HijabiApprentice

Asalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Wow! Your suggestions are really good! Man if I would have had this 5 years ago lol! I sprang it on my parents and family too and in retrospect the way I told them wasn’t beneficial to me or them. I pray that your list will be of benefit to someone struggling on how to let their loved ones know. Ameen.

ma’a salaamah,

ha

27 07 2007
HijabiHeather

Wow, I admire your strength to leave home while still in high school for the sake of your faith. May Allah SWT show great mercy to your grandmother for taking you in.

I was married when I became Muslim (I live in Ohio), four years ago. My addition to the advice is, approach your spouse even more carefully than your family! He has never forgiven me for not discussing the matter with him before I converted – even though it was rather spontaneous for me. Unfortunately this made him more resistant to Islam than he would have been anyway. (We’re divorcing, mostly due to Islam. It’s for the best.)

Thanks for your interesting blog!

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