Today marks 5 years since I first accepted Islam, alhamdulillah. Here are 5 reflections from 5 years as a Muslim:
Keeping good company is crucial
We often forget the value of a good friend. We are a mirror of those we surround ourselves with and we will find ourselves engaged in the same acts and habits that they are. The Prophet tells us, “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4833]. There’s also another famous narration of the Prophet where he analogizes a good friend to be like the one who sells musk, whilst the bad friend is like a blacksmith. The musk seller has a pleasant aroma and could benefit you in a multitude of ways, whereas the blacksmith is the total opposite [Sahih al-Bukhari 5534]. Similarly, a good friend will uplift you. A bad friend will drag you down with them. As a new Muslim, it will be crucial to surround yourself around good people who will support you in your journey.
Find the right balance in your progression
We all move at different paths on our road to God. There are things I’m doing now that I would have never been able to do when I first accepted Islam. New Muslims sometimes feel overwhelmed with all there is to learn about the religion. In the early years, I struggled with reading Arabic and thought I was falling behind. We should learn to be patient with ourselves, set realistic goals, and always strive for excellence. We should seek comfort in the statement of the Prophet where he said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few” [Sunan ibn Majah 4240]. There will be others who are progressing at a fast pace but our focus should be on achieving excellence in every act, no matter if it is big or small. A small act done sincerely and consistently can be a means of Paradise.
Don’t let people discourage you or bring you down
Chances are, you have people close to you who are not happy with your faith. Oftentimes, they are usually old friends or family members who likely have misconceptions about what Islam really is. Let your actions represent who you’ve become, and try your hardest to display the best character possible. Lastly, pray for the guidance of those around you regardless of how they may feel about your faith. Find the necessary support and use this as a moment to grow. There are Muslims in the community that can assist, whether it be brothers and sisters at the mosque or local new Muslim organizations. The negativity you face right now is only temporary and the ones who truly care for you will always come back around.
Learn about God and His Messenger
You will go from not knowing God to worshiping Him five times a day. You will go from not feeling that connection when you make dua’, to raising your hands often to God and confiding in Him for everything. Focus on learning about Him and all of His beautiful names and attributes. You will find relief in knowing that God is Al-Wali, the Protecting Friend, and Ar-Rahman, the All Compassionate. You will go from not knowing who the Prophet is, to loving him more than your own self. Read and watch lectures about the life he led and the trials he had to go through. It’s very easy to draw parallels between his life and yours. You will find a connection with the Prophet in your most difficult moments. You will find inspiration to model your life around. You will find peace.
Never forget your blessing
God guided you and brought you out of darkness. He showed you His favor. There were days of hopelessness and misery, yet, He gave you a way out of every calamity up until this point. God tells us in Surah Ad-Duha:
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَٓالًّا فَهَدٰىۖ
“Did He not find you unguided then guided you?” [93:7].
You were finally able to actualize your purpose of living and find genuine happiness in the remembrance of your Lord. You were lost and He gave you the blessing of God-consciousness. No matter the turns that life takes and no matter the turmoil, you will never fail when you have God. God tells us in Surah Ibrahim:
وَاٰتٰيكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَاَلْتُمُوهُۜ وَاِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللّٰهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَاۜ اِنَّ الْاِنْسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ۟
“And He has granted you all that you asked Him for. If you tried to count Allah’s blessings, you would never be able to number them” [14:34].
Live your life with God guiding your every step.