Common Trials and Tests We Endure When Visiting Non Muslim Famliy

14 06 2007

strongpalmtree.jpgWell, 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.


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8 responses

14 06 2007
busu

Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh sis,

well done, i applaud you for the wisdom that you apply in retaining your relationships with you non-muslim relatives.
Even we among ourselves need to have that kind of wisdom in our relationships….

thks sis for sharing… 🙂

by the way, i notice you seems to be able to understand my language, the Malay language. Did you learn by yourself or did someone teach you?

i’m just being curious….hehehe…

14 06 2007
MuniQaba

as salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

hey uhkti, I am so glad to hear that the visit went well, I was wondering when you were gonna let us all know about it. MashaAllah it was so nice to read how you gave your family reminders, with proofs from the Bible, on how they should not be gossiping and the like. May Allah subhaanahu wa ta’Ala guide our families to the straight path and may He, az wa jaal, keep us guided, Ameen.

I know exactly how you feel though. With me it was like, one summer I went to go and visit them, we now live on different coasts, and I was wondering how they would react to my hijab and jilbab. 2 summers after that I was like how are they gonna react to my Niqab and Abaya!!! But alhamdulliah, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’Ala made it very easy for me and allowed my covering to be a gateway to dawah, mashaAllah. If they did have issue with it they did not say anything to me about it so alhamdulliah. May Allah subhaanahu wa ta’Ala keep us always on the rememberance of Him and may He always keep us steadfast in calling to the Haqq, AMEEN!!!

14 06 2007
southernmuslimah

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu adik busu,
hehehe saya bisa berbicara bahasa indonesia. Suami aku dari Indonesia.🙂
So, I have found malay and indonesian languages to be very similar.
Thanks for checking out my blog! Jazak Allahu Khairan

Wa Alaikum Salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister muniqaba,
Yeah, subhan’Allah you never know what reaction you’re gonna get. lol. But Alhamdullilah that most of our families have accepted us…..eventually. My visit didn’t go quite as well as I could have hoped but it could have been alot worse. Alhamdullilah
Jazak Allahu Khairan Ukti
ameen to your duas

15 06 2007
Sheila

AOA sister,

it is so easy to get in the sin of backbiting…, especially when we are hurt by someone, or wronged by someone. But, it is so ‘refreshing’ for the soul when we can have the strngth of refraining ourselves in order to please Allah (SWT). I used to complain alot when people would hurt me or walk all over me, and later I would feel terrible. But, AH, I am now able to remember the ayat about back biting, and no longer do I have the bad feelings. When someone wrongs me, I do my appeal to Allah, to do what He knows is to be best, be it forgiveness or retribution.

Thank you once again for a beautiful post. In Islam we learn from each other, and we are advised to be better muslims than the other muslims. Your posts certainly helps with this intentions.

May Allah (SWT) grant you success in both lives.

Sheila

17 06 2007
Maha Abdo

Assalamu alaikum,

I know how you feel. Same stuff with my family. My mom *hates* hijab and uses every opportunity to get me to take it off even after 7 years. They are not really Christian though, so I can’t even make Bible-dawah for them (they really don’t believe in anything). Allah ya di hum insha’Allah.

By the way–you have great taste!😉 (My blog and pic are nearly identical to yours. I promise I didn’t see yours first! We must be soul mates!)

Another thing, I have a “thing” for the South and Southern women. I really admire them and *love* the accent and the culture. Such a refreshing break from the cold and unfriendly North!

Wassalam,
Maha

19 06 2007
carimuslima

Awesome!!!! It’s great that you were able to visit your dad. I was worried about him and how you would handle visiting him. You never seize to surprise me sis. Mashallah, you have overcome many hurdles with your family. From the very beginning of your conversion Allah has tested you with challenging trials and you have handled them beautifully Alhamdulilah. Although I’m in my late 20’s now *wink* *wink*😉 I learn something new from you everyday. We really have to meet someday. I’m tired of hearing from my friends how sweet you are hehehhe… inshallah maybe one day we’ll have the pleasure to meet u and the babies. Hugs😉

23 09 2007
Sister Cindy

People at work just found out I’m Muslim because of the fasting. I didn’t intend anyone to know. I worked there 5 years and kept it hidden. What should I do? Should I deny my faith? Please help.

23 09 2007
Umm Yusuf

asssalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister Cindy,

Of course you should not deny your faith (aoothobillahi). If you live in the US then you can not be discriminated against just because of your religion.

You just say. It’s my business. To you be your way and to me be mine.

You may also check out this article on presenting Ramadan at your workplace:

10 ideas for Ramadan at your workplace

If work is simply the place you earn your bread and punch in your hours, why not redefine it this Ramadan? Make your workplace the scenario for Dawa, especially in the current tension-filled atmosphere of misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims.

Here are some ideas that can help you share Ramadan with your boss and coworkers this year.

1. Begin informing people about it as soon as possible

Start telling bosses, supervisors and coworkers about Ramadan now. Bring it up in the course of conversation casually.

In terms of when Ramadan starts and ends, just give the projected date (i.e. for Ramadan this year, it’s November 6th). Don’t get non-Muslims involved in the technicalities of finding out the correct date. Do the same for Eid. You can decide for yourself which date to start and stop fasting on.

2. Post it up

On your office or department bulletin board, put up a factsheet on Ramadan, with a short introduction of yourself and which department you are from. Don’t just give the facts, but also include a few sentences about what this blessed month means to you (i.e. spiritual growth, closeness to God, being more generous, etc.).

3. Get an article printed in your local newspaper and circulate copies

This will not only be good Dawa – it may even promote department/company pride (i.e. one of our employees is a writer too!). Post it up with the masthead of the newspaper on top.

4. Negotiate your lunch hour with the boss

This is another task that needs to be done as soon as possible. Explain that you will need a short break for prayer and then you will take lunch break at Iftar time.

5. Talk to the office cafeteria people about your Iftar needs

If you normally buy lunch at the cafeteria, explain to the cafeteria staff that you would like to arrange to have your lunch saved for Iftar time. Ask them to keep one serving of lunch in the fridge so you can pick it up at Iftar time.

6. Create a “Ramadan corner” at your desk

If you have your own desk at work, dedicate a corner of it that is accessible to passersby the “Ramadan corner”. Put a basket of dates, sweets, written information on Ramadan and maybe a small frame of eye-catching Islamic calligraphy on it. Post a note inviting coworkers to the free sweets and information.

7. Have a small Iftar gathering at your desk

Invite coworkers to a snack of dates and fresh fruits during Iftar time. At least once, have a more formal meal ready for everyone (check with your boss before you do this).

8. Distribute written material on Ramadan

If you’ve got a central location in your workplace where people can pick up free newspapers, get permission to stack a factsheet and pamphlets on Ramadan.

You can also leave the sheets on the Ramadan corner of your desk.

9. Get a Ramadan greeting from your boss

Have your boss, commanding officer or head of the department issue a public notification that Ramadan is coming up or is here and they and the company congratulates all Muslim employees on this occasion.

10. Put an article about Ramadan in the office newsletter

If you have a company or department newsletter, write up a personal article about why you are looking forward to Ramadan and what Ramadan is. Then arrange for them to publish it.

Something else you might find useful:
Question:
I live in England, and I often get asked by many non-muslims, why do muslims fast? I know that I should know this answer, but I do not know what to say exactly. What should I give as an answer?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly:

We Muslims fast the month of Ramadaan because Allaah has commanded us to do so. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“ O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (pious)”

[al-Baqarah 2:183]

So we worship Allaah by doing this act of worship which is beloved to Allaah and which He has enjoined upon us.

The believers hasten to obey the commands of Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), in obedience to His words (interpretation of the meaning):

“The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allaah (His Words, the Qur’aan) and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ And such are the successful (who will live forever in Paradise)”

[al-Noor 24:51]

“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error”

[al-Ahzaab 33:36]

Secondly:

It is by His wisdom that Allaah has prescribed a variety of acts of worship, so as to test people with regard to how they will obey all these commands. Will they only choose to do that which suits them, or will they do that which pleases Allaah? If we think about the five acts of worship: testimony of faith, prayer, zakaah, fasting and pilgrimage, we will see that some of them are purely physical, some are purely financial, some are both, so that the miser will become distinct from the generous. For some people it may be easy for them to pray one thousand rak’ahs but not to give a single dirham; for others it may be easy to give a thousand dirhams but not to pray a single rak’ahs. So Islam came to prescribe a variety of acts of worship so as to determine who will follow in obedience to the command of Allaah and who will follow only that which suits him.

Prayer, for example, is a purely physical action, but its prerequisites require some expenditure, such as the water for wudoo’, and clothes to cover the ‘awrah. These are not part of the prayer but they are its prerequisites.

Zakaah is purely financial, but physical actions are required to fulfil this duty such as calculating one’s wealth and transferring the zakaah to the poor and needy. These are not part of zakaah but they are its prerequisites.

Hajj involves spending wealth and physical action, except for the people of Makkah who may not need money, but the yare very few compared with those who live in Makkah.

Jihad for the sake of Allaah may require both money and physical effort. A person may spend money for the sake of Allaah and not fight, or he may go and fight but not spend money.

Commands are of two types: commands to refrain from things that man is inclined towards, and commands to spend that are precious.

Refraining from things that are loved includes fasting, and expenditure of things that are loved includes zakaah. Wealth is something that is loved and no one spends the wealth that he loves except for something that is loved even more.

The same applies to refraining from things that are loved, for a person may like to spend a thousand dirhams, but not fast a single day, or vice versa.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 6/190.

Thirdly:

There is another great reason why fasting is prescribed, which has been discussed in part in the answer to question no. 26862.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about the reason why fasting was enjoined?

He replied:

If we read the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“ O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (pious)”

[al-Baqarah 2:183]

we will know the reason why fasting was prescribed, which is taqwa (piety) and submission to Allaah. Taqwa means giving up haraam things, and in general terms includes both doing what is commanded and abstaining from what is forbidden. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and offensive speech and behaviour, Allaah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6057. See also questions no. 37658 and 37989.

Based on this, it is important for the one who is fasting to carry out religious duties and avoid haraam things in word and deed. So he should not backbite about people, tell lies, or spread malicious gossip among them, or engage in haraam transactions, and he should avoid all haraam things. If a person does that for a whole month, the rest of the year will go well, but unfortunately in the case of many of those who fast, there is no difference between a day when they fast and a day when they do not; they behave as they usually do, neglecting obligatory duties and doing forbidden things. You do not see the dignity that is to be expected of the fasting person. These actions do not invalidate their fast but they do detract from its reward and may cancel out the reward altogether.

Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam, p. 451.

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