Archive for the ‘Loneliness’ Category

Is friendship between a man and a woman allowed in Islam?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

This question is actually the second of three very related questions:

  1. Can a man talk to a woman whom he can legally marry (non-Mahram)?
  2. Can non-Mahram men and women be friends?
  3. Can a non-Mahram man and a non-Mahram woman be alone together?

The reason these three questions are related, and the reason this is an issue at all, is because of the intensity of the physical attraction between men and woman, which, if not controlled, almost certainly will lead to sex. Sex between men and women who are not married to each other is a major sin in Islam. The Quran calls it a debauchery and lists it as one of the very few offenses for which it has set a legal punishment.

To answer the third question above, the Prophet (PBUH) made it unambiguously clear that the answer is no. He said, as narrated by Ibn Abbaas (RA), “Let not a man be alone with a woman, except if with them is a Mahram (a man whom she cannot marry)”, authenticated and reported by both Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

Why is that? After all, if people are respectful of each other and are God-conscious, they can be trusted not to engage in sin, right?

Wrong! The best people sin, because they’re human and because Satan has taken upon himself to seduce them into sin with whatever means available to him. You will hear people say, in justification of falling into the sin of fornication, “We did not plan this. It just happened!” They did not plan it, but it did not just happen! It was what was sure to happen.

To illustrate this point further, think of this parable. You are going to walk down Baker Street to get to a grocery store. I know that there is a great deal of construction work being done on Baker Street and that there are no warning signs. I know that even if you were careful where you step, you are almost certainly going to fall into one of the many holes there. If you decide to ignore my advice and take Baker Street anyway, and then fall in one of its pits, whom would you blame?

Therefore, if you can say with complete confidence that being face-to-face friends with a woman will never result in the two of you having sex outside matrimony, then the answer to the second question is yes!

But can you? The odds are against you.

If the friendship is not face to face, then the odds improve considerably. That is because a man is visually stimulated.

Bear in mind too that human emotions, such as love and loneliness, and desires, such as lust, often develop in an irrational way.

Similarly, we can answer the first question: if talking one-on-one to a woman will never lead to the two of them having sex, then the answer to that question is yes. Many scholars have ruled against it though, because they fear the worst, do not trust human nature, or simply to be on the safe side.

So, in summary, you can be friends with a woman whom you legally can marry if you can fulfill all of the following conditions:

  • Neither of you will ever engage in a suggestive dialog,
  • Neither of you will ever make an advance at the other, and
  • The two of you will never be alone together anywhere.

That being said, knowing human nature, especially if you are a young man, and knowing the constant whispering of Satan, the above conditions practically rule it out.

When you escape a dire straight, don’t revisit it!

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I am in, as the cliche aptly states, dire straights. It is dark outside. This naturally intensifies the feeling of isolation. And the example of Hajar is an excellent source of strength. Her situation captures all our fears. Thus, we have to really rely on the inner source. When we use the expression digging deep it sums her dilemma.

Yet, it is during trials like this that we have to dig deep. It does not make one a welcome guest at a party. The need for reflection and contemplation overrides the need for social activity. Sometimes social activity takes too much energy that is better spent to dig deeper.

I am looking for balance. My path at the moment is very steep. I am looking for the moss between a rock and a hard place; to rest for a minute.

Please understand that there is no negativity in what I am writing. I am not a negative person. This is a learning curve.

Yes, the inner journey is difficult. It seems that Satan is very busy with one on that path. And our hearts betray us constantly. The journey is riddled with struggles. It often seems that the other path is so much easier.

One of the reasons why the Prophet (PBUH) experienced dire straights was to teach the rest of us what to do when we are in a similar situation. We follow the Prophet’s example. What did he do?

He had just lost his only remaining physical protector, his uncle Abu-Taalib and the one person in this world whom he loved the most, his wife Khadeeja, may God have been pleased with her. The polytheists of Mecca had cornered the believers in a ghetto for three years: No trading, no contact. Muslims had to eat leaves to survive. Those economic sanctions were probably what killed Khadeeja and Abu-Taalib.

During that tough period, God had not revealed any Quran to the Prophet (PBUH), so even the spiritual joy and reassurance was withheld, to the point that the polytheists of Mecca mocked the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Muhammad’s Lord has abandoned him!”

Anyone would have given up at that point, consoling himself that he had done all he could but it didn’t work out. Not Muhammad ibn Abdullah! He figured that Mecca may be a lost cause, so let him try At-Taa’if. He traveled to it, on foot, and when he got there he called them to God. No one gave him the time of day. They even let loose their kids and slaves to make fun of him, throw stones at him and force him out of the city. Some of the stones hit him and he started bleeding from his feet.

Can things get worse for someone? As he was leaving that wretched town, he paused and made the most beautiful supplication to God that was ever made! (If you don’t know it, ask me and I’ll include it in my reply). God’s response was immediate and flooding. Quran revelation resumed, with the reassuring Chapter 93, God sent Gabriel down to let the Prophet (PBUH) retaliate against the people of At-Taa’if. As you know, he chose not to. God sent the Jinn to listen to the Quran for the first time, recited by the Prophet (as mentioned in Chapter 72) and when the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in Mecca, he experienced the grandest and most reassuring miracle of all: Israa’ and Mi`raaj.

No matter how dire your straights, how deep your path, or how dark it seems outside, you know, by the example of the Prophet (PBUH), what to do.

I’m glad you reassured me that you’re not a negative person. That said, may I advise you not to disengage socially? The Prophet and his fellows were sociable and active in their communities, each in his own way. Sometimes, your social effort will be appreciated and other times it won’t be. Don’t let that sway you. The reward of God, not of people, is what you’re after.

Wisdom does not come easy. In retrospect it is simple…but that journey is a mini-hajj.

I am looking forward to moving back home. I love the peace there. I have a little community that needs some life. I have made much dua. InshaAllah, I will be able to move there soon. The other day, I took the Quran and asked Allah subhana wa taala to give me a little hope. I randomly opened the Quran. And the ayats were Musa (ra) going to the Madyan people. InshaAllah, my move home is imminent.

I do not wish to complain. I am not unhappy. I am growing ten-fold in faith daily. The reliance on Allah subhana wa taala totally is a reality.

You know Sura 93 is one of my favorites. It is reassuring. I love the words of not being displeased. It is a strong sura.

I am familiar with the dua of the Prophet (swas) at Al-Taa’if. Those are words of courage.

I’m a fan of Muhammad Ali. I bring that up because even in the ring there is a respite. I need a break.

It is also a difficulty process for the ordinary human being to understand that Allah subhana wa taala loves you enough to test you. In the world of sports there is always a period of training for an event. In the world of spirituality the event provides the need for us to seek guidance. The seeking of the guidance is the discipline needed to overcome the obstacles of the individual tests.

I wish to be of those that Allah is well pleased; I have a long way to go but the intention is there.

If I may ask I am assuming you have undergone some trials that have given you the knowledge to provide such words of compassion. I ask this not to pry. Rather, to gain understanding that the seeker of knowledge undergoes ego transformations in the process. The no pain no gain cliche.

When a believer passes a test of faith, it means two things; (a) that God is pleased with him and (b) that his character needed a boost. Thus, passing a trial means it had served its purpose and a believer should not dwell on it. Revisiting it means revisiting the pain, emotional and spiritual, which God has already delivered him from.

Excellent response. I am serious. What I see in the therapeutic milieu here ( our culture) is the very fact that recovery is dependent upon revisiting the pain. In a sense you have to go back and destroy the wall brick by brick, that has impeded your growth. Whereas, in Islam we overcome the wall by guidance.
Islam also demands that we do not purge our emotions. So difficult. Simple example would be anger. Many modalities of treatment for psychological illnesses suggest the patients take the time to examine the emotions and relive them. You always hear the: you have the right to be angry slogan. A persons spiritual health is dictated by an emotional balance. In Islam it seems that we have to get beyond the emotional balance to a spiritual balance that holds the reigns to direct the emotions.

It seems to make sense that wise persons are naturally quiet. A believer’s vision changes after a trial. It seems that we humans really do not have a place for anger.

Fascinating angle. The therapy method you describe may very well work, but I venture to guess that it will leave a spiritual void in the person. One can treat an emotional scar or a spiritual wound in a number of ways, including pharmaceutical, but that may not heal it. The person may find himself or herself resentful, cynical, grieving, regretful, less self-confident, less joyful. Sure the wound is no longer on the surface; it went deeper – into dangerous territory.

Only the connection with God can heal. The Prophet (PBUH) always said this in his ruqyas, “O God, heal. You are the Healer. There is no healing but Yours; a healing that leaves behind no ailment.” (Narrated by `Aa’isha, RA, and reported by Muslim). That is healing!

About anger, God says in the holy Quran, in praise, “And those who suppress frustration and the pardoners of people. And God loves the benevolent.” (3:134). It is their benevolence that earned them God’s love and it is God’s love that gives them the tranquility they seek.

Focus on the rain

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I am concerned about a brother. He is on the brilliant end of the scale. He is one of the most compassionate human beings I know. He is a good person. He supports many many people. Should someone need a hand he drops everything and does it for them. He is respected for his skills and accomplished.

He was turned off to Islam. The Muslims are what he has difficulty with. As Yusuf Islam has stated he was glad he became Muslim before he met many!

I make dua (supplication) that Allah subhana wa taala soften this brother’s heart to Islam. He is knowledgeable about the history and politics of Islam. Any suggestions?

The Prophet (PBUH) gave a parable one day. He said that rain falls on the earth carrying blessings but different terrain react differently to those blessings. Fertile soil blooms with flowers and vegetation, rocks are washed but that’s about it, sand brings out palm trees and cactus but not much more, etc. Human reception of God’s blessings is kinda like that. This brother should not be disillusioned because all he sees is rocks. He should instead focus on the rain!

It is understandable to be frustrated by an environment that does not nourish spirituality and righteousness. But this brother should keep in mind that being a Muslim does not mean following other Muslims; being a Muslim means following God and His Messenger. Whether his fellowship consists of him alone, like Abraham’s was at first, or has billions of faithful people, should not be the primary concern of a believer, as nice as it is to have.

I have a feeling that things will be alright. Tests of life are tests of character. They expose a person’s true colors. From what you said, it sounds like the seed of goodness is in this brother. I know someone who once had a bout with doubt and left the faith for several years but came back. That was a much harder test than what this brother is going through. A believer comes out of such tests stronger and so will this brother, insha-Allah (God willing).

Spiritual balance

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Assalaam alaikum,

I have been active in reading the Quran. It is becoming a little easier.

Have many things on my mind. I believe there comes a point in life where all our decisions are made to please Allah subhana wa taala. I have developed a great love for the Prophet Nuh. I can not image living to 950 years. I do not have the patience for humanity that he did. Yes, all prophets and messengers are of the same cloth of sabr.

I am seeking a balance in life. Need your input on spiritual balance. What does a believer do when you feel so alone in the duyna.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam. Being active in reading the Quran is being active in getting closer to God, for the Quran is the word of God. It is the memento God has graciously given us to remember Him by and to remind us that He is always there (As-Samad)), always alert (Al-Hayy), always listening and watching (As-Samee`, Al-Baseer), always welcoming (At-Tawwaab), anxious to forgive us (Al-Ghafoor) and eager to make our wishes come true!

When one realizes that fully, how can one then feel alone? It is only when we let our dark side win over the good side, even briefly, that the feeling of loneliness creeps in, because the light of God does not cohabit with the darkness of ego in the same heart.

One of the repeatedly taught principles of Islam is balance. Extremes on either side are rejected by God and His Messenger (PBUH). And within every aspect of life, balance is also required. One day three people asked about the worship style of the Prophet (PBUH). They were not impressed with the answer! They thought that he did not do much worship because he could afford to; because he has been forgiven all his sins already. So, one of the three said, “I will stay up every night praying.” The second said, “I will fast everyday.” The third said, “I will vow chastity and never marry.” The Prophet (PBUH) heard about that and got upset. He said, “By God, I am the most observing of God among you and the most watchful of Him. But I fast some days and eat some days. I pray part of the night and sleep the rest of it. And I marry women. He who desires a way (Sunna) other than mine does not belong to me.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (RA) and reported and rated authentic by Al-Bukhaari.

When our decisions in life are aligned with God’s teachings, we sail through life. We feel as if we’re under a protective wing. We weather storms. Tumult and confusion that often lead people astray or desperate do not dent us. And we can recognize blessing when it comes. God says in the holy Quran, “Whoever does righteously, male or female, and is a believer, then We shall give them a good life.” (16:97) Otherwise, it’s an uphill battle that makes the world seem to us like a lawless jungle. God says in the holy Quran, “And whoever turns aside from My remembrance, then verily for him is an arduous living.” (20:124)

Did you notice in the story of Prophet Nuh (Noah), peace be upon him, that God told him one day that there will not be any more people who will believe in him? (11:36) That is when he instructed him to build the ark. Noah didn’t stop preaching until God told him to! And even then, he kept hoping against hope that he may be able to save his son who hasn’t accepted God. As the flood waters were rising and the ark was about to sail out, he called upon his son, “O dear son, ride with us! Don’t be among the disbelievers.” (11:42) He knew the son will not believe, because God said so. Yet, he still tried. It wasn’t second guessing God; it was a desperate human effort of a loving father. It didn’t work of course and could not have.

We do not have the privilege that Noah had. We do not know when to stop calling for God with our words and deeds. Therefore, we must keep trying.

Life in the grave?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

What does the Qur’an say about what will happen to us in that time between our last breath and the Day of Judgement?

That period is called Al-Barzakh (Isthmus). God says in the holy Quran, “And behind them (the dead) will be an isthmus until the Day they are sent off (resurrected)” (23:100).

The significance of the word “isthmus” is that the life in the grave is solitary. The deceased person in his grave will see and hear the living who come to visit his grave, but cannot communicate with them, and may be shown scenes from the Hereafter awaiting him but can neither avert or hurry them! God says in the holy Quran, about the House of Pharaoh, “The Hell they will be presented to it, day and night, and when the Hour is established (the Day of Resurrection) [it will be announced], “Admit the House of Pharaoh to the toughest torment!” (40:46).

That is why the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray for a fellow Muslim who has died, “O God, honor his stay-over and widen his entrance”, narrated by `Awf ibn Maalik and reported and rated authentic by Muslim.

May God make our stay-over and that of our loved ones a pleasant one.

Struggling to surrender

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Thanks for answering my previous question.

You say,
How about thinking instead, “What wonderful things God has in store for me, if He has not written for me marriage?”, “Have I been missing the forest for the trees?”

I have tried, over the years, to see a life beyond love and companionship, to be open to an alternative existence.

My friend and blog member Aapa recently mentioned a saying, “Life is a flower. You can’t force it to bloom.” That hit me so hard. Because throughout my 30s, I was waiting for my life to bloom, even though I desperately tried to convince myself it was already blooming. Year after year, i tried to create a life for myself, one where friendship, activities, travel, faith, books, sports, prayer and parents replaced love, babies, companionship and intimacy.

It didn’t work.

Sometimes the goals we work so hard for never materialize. As I mentioned previously, the cause could be that we went about it wrong, or that we did not take opportunities when they came. Those we can fix and try again. But the cause could also be that we were not meant to have it. That one we have to accept as Muslims, because we trust that God only deprives us of what is not good for us.

It’s been almost a year since I lost the man I loved and with whom my destiny was not meant to unfold. It was on the eve of Ramadan last year, and throughout Ramadan 2010 and the following September I convinced myself I did the right thing in breaking ties, and that God would bring me something better — even if “better” means peace with not being married.

Acceptance is an attitude. It doesn’t come naturally to some people. Dr. Jeffrey Lang wrote a book on the subject. He called it “Struggling To Surrender!” Indeed, it’s not easy. But it is the substance of our religion. Perhaps because you have not quite fostered it in yourself that God has been giving you this hard exercise.

I told you that I am somewhat disheartened by prayer. But I think more than anything, the cold hard reality that my life did not bloom is hitting me in the face.

Your life did bloom, but you just don’t want to see it that way. That’s the problem.

My best friend abandoned me. She has not called me once in the last 10 months to ask how I am. Although I remain active in sports, I really don’t have a lot of friends. I may do one social activity a month. I find that my life consists of work, prayer, eating meals, and visiting my elderly parents. I do engage in some hobbies, like art etc, but again, i come home and I am alone. Although I work in an office, I don’t work in a team. I am a nice, friendly person.

It is painful. It is painful, as I sit here and type this, alone in my home, with absolultely no one to call or talk to or love or be loved by.

Why did your best friend abandon you? That may be indicative of something that you unconsciously do that keeps you lonely. Examine your own personality and conduct as if a therapist is asking you questions. Some people, as you probably know, demolish their goals unconsciously out of fear of failure or even fear of success.

Now, the life I was trying to avoid all these years has come true! What I tried throughout my 30s to avoid happening – happened! I am truly alone in the world.

What you keep thinking about tends to happen. That’s because the brain and the psyche are geared to achieve what you obsess about! Dr. Wayne Dyer has a very nice program called “The Power of Intention” where he elaborates much more on this point.

Change your thoughts and your life will change. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you want to escape the life you dislike, you must.

When I was with the man I loved, my life felt like it was in bloom, because all of a sudden I felt loved, I had a companion, I could plan for the future, etc. Now, in addition to the grief, the emotional vacancy is that much more potent. The things that kept me busy before…those things are not present anymore. I can’t find a replacement. How can one find a replacement for love?

You’re assuming that no other love will come your way. That’s despair from the mercy of God. Don’t think that way. Jacob’s life was empty when he lost his son Joseph. He wept so hard he became blind. Yet, he never despaired of the mercy of God (see 12:87). His faith was rewarded when he was reunited with Joseph in Egypt. Think like him, peace be upon him.

So how can I possibly, possibly embrace what you are saying and agree that there is so much better in store for me now, that I have been unable to see the forest but for the trees?

You do that out of faith. That is what makes it possible. It is a state of the heart.

Where am I? Where did all my prayers and desires and conformity to “the rules” get me????

It got you plenty of entries in the credit column of your Kitaab (register of deeds), which will delight you on the Final Day, when most people will be in panic. That is, unless you wipe them out with loss of faith, God forbid.

Why can’t I get married?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

My friend told me I should email you. She believes I need you. Below is a summary of my current state of mind. What do I do next? Where can I find answers?

Welcome to the blog. Thanks for posting your question. I’ll sure try to be of some help.

I’ve been trying to get married, and it hasn’t happened. In fact, my mother told me there is no one she knows who can help me get married, including imams (she asked), friends, relatives, etc. I actually told my mother to ask more learned people in the community and she said no, there is no point.

You’ve been trying to do the right thing. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Marriage is my way (Sunna). Whoever desires other than my way does not belong to me!” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

Do not despair, nor should your mother. Recall the story of Jacob, after he lost his dearest son, Joseph, peace be upon them. His other children kept telling him to give up his hope of ever seeing Joseph alive again, even as they knew he was alive! And what was the old man reply? He said,

“He said, ‘I only bemoan my anguish and grief to God, and I know from God what you do not know.‘ ” (12:86)

That is the essence of faith in God. The certain knowledge that He has your best interest at heart, so to speak. You don’t know what God knows. You could have been saved from some horrible husbands. You may have been spared some ingrate children. Your very faith may have been protected from coming apart.

I find myself questioning Allah SWT. I have prayed a great deal for marriage but it never happened. My parents did not help, either. I live in a non-muslim country; in fact, I was born here. I wonder, if there is no leeway for a muslim girl to marry a non-muslim man.

While your dismay is natural, it is not healthy for your faith. The name of our religion means the willing surrender to God’s will. Our ambition is to please God, not to have God please us. The irony is that when we do please God, we become so pleased ourselves, nothing else seems important!

Why does Islam prohibit Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men? This is based on the influence Islam assumes that the man has in the family. If he is not Muslim, the odds are high that the children won’t be either, and there’s a good chance the wife may leave Islam too, if her husband pressures her to.

The flip-side can also be true! A Muslim man who is highly influenced by his non-Muslim wife, may leave Islam for her sake. That is why many of the Salaf have opined that Muslim men, though allowed to, should not marry non-Muslim women. I personally agree with them.

Why did my parents immigrate to this country and have children, only to tell me that getting married is not possible? I don’t think that is fair.

I’m sure your parents did not do that on purpose! I’m sure there are parents like them whose daughter is now married. Find out about those and learn how they did it!

I read a lot of dua, but lately when I am speaking to God during my dua, I feel like in my heart it will not come true. After all, I’ve been reading the dua for over 15 years. In my dua, I ask Allah to please make 2011 more joyous than 2010 (I was briefly happy in 2010 because of someone I met, and had some hope then but it fell sharply). It is now July 2011, and I am still so sad. When I make this dua, I feel like I am “testing” God, because I know that He has not answered that prayer for me. When I ask my elders about getting married, they say to do dua because there is no other way. Am I being sinful for questioning my dua? Its been so many years that I have been praying, and I also do Istikhara and Salaat ul Hajaat. To me, it appears that God has given me His answer for now. Is it sinful to think that way?

Thoughts do not become sins until they are translated into words or action, so don’t worry.

How about thinking instead, “What wonderful things God has in store for me, if He has not written for me marriage?”, “Have I been missing the forest for the trees?”, “Did I meet the right man, but didn’t even notice him?”

Try to escape the box you’re in. Think outside it and inspiration will dawn on you.

I have also been experiencing “resentment” towards Islam lately. I had to question myself – if I want to get married, but the muslim community does not help me nor do my parents, will God nevertheless send me to Hell because I had no other options?

As much as marriage is an emphasized Sunna, it’s not a sin to fail to get married. There will be a few bachelors in Paradise 🙂

Will God punish the muslim community for failing to create marriage opportunities for muslim women like myself?

That may be true only if they stand in the way of a good marriage opportunity. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a man comes to you [asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage], and you approve of his religion and character, then accept his marriage proposal.” He then recited, “If you do not, tumult will be in the land and much mischief.” (8:73)

That hadeeth, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Albaani who rated it Hasan (sound), makes clear what the primary criteria are for a good Muslim marriage: commitment to Islam and good conduct. Other factors, which most families hold higher in importance, are less important and should not stop the marriage from taking place. Things like wealth, social status, family name, career, looks, etc.

The same principle was emphasized by the Prophet (PBUH) for the suiter’s side. He said, “Women are married for four reasons: their beauty, their wealth, their lineage and their religion. Win the one with the religion, or else you will be miserable!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Abu-Daawood who rated it acceptable.

I just feel so guilty for harboring these thoughts. To be honest, I feel a bit like I want to “take a break” from all this dua and begging God, as it has left me emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Is that sinful?

No, but it’s not healthy. Your attitude toward dua (supplication) can use some refinement. A Muslim calls upon God for something, because God is the source of all things. But a Muslim also accepts what God grants him or her. A Muslim lets God answer his or her dua the way He sees best. Your dua may have already been answered, but you’re wearing blinders, so you can’t see it.

Will God have mercy on me because I am undergoing a test in life,

Certainly. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “No harm that hits a believer, even a pin on the road that stings him, but God will expiate by it of his sins!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic.

I have prayed for a family of my own but those prayers have not come true and I now have to face a life alone? I must be honest that I am angry about that…angry because I did everythign right, I was obedient to my parents, relied on them for everything, and they did not take this aspect of my life seriously. Will God punish me for being angry?

Not unless the anger translates into words or actions that displease Him.

When we work hard for a goal and it never happens, it could be because we didn’t go about it correctly, even if we thought we did. It could be because it was not meant for us, for a wisdom that only God knows. It could be that the goal was achieved in another format and we are yet to recognize it.

I’ll end with these poems by Rumi,

“How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.”

“Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.”

“You miss the garden, because you want a small fig from a random tree.”

I’m alone but I’m not lonely

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I’m alone a lot, and it’s easy to slip into feeling lonely, but I don’t. That’s because when I’m alone, it means that I’m only with God! It’s a chance to focus on Him instead of the constant daily distractions of people and self.

What a beautiful thing to say! You are delving into wisdom, may God grant it to you and me.

In addition, you have two angels, one on your right side and another on your left side, writing your words and deeds and praying for you! These are the two angels you say Assalaamu Alaykum (peace be with you) to at the end of each prayer.

New to Islam and lonely

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

As a new Muslim, I am happy with my decision but I’m unhappy with the loneliness I now feel. My friends left me. My family is not speaking to me and fellow Muslims prefer to talk to each other in their native language and hardly ever talk to me.

I fully concur with you that many Muslims-since-birth alienate new Muslims with their behavior or attitude. That is the opposite of what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, when he said, “A Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim; he does not wrong him, he does not fail (or abandon) him and he does not demean him.” Narrated by Ibn Umar and reported by Muslim and Al-Bukhaari.

That said, often times the reason for this alienation is social awkwardness or language intimidation! Many Muslims-since-birth speak English with difficulty and are poor at translating from their native language to English and back. While they may want to do the courteous thing and translate, they just don’t know how and it becomes a burden, so they don’t do it. Also, many Muslims-since-birth feel nothing in common with new Muslims: the culture, language, history, interests, etc., are all different. In this case, it is a social matter, not religious.

The way to break this ice, IMHO, is to break it purposely. I know it’s hard to ask someone to do the courteous thing, but you should. If you wait for them to start, you may wait forever. If you feel indignation, you have the right but you will alienate yourself faster. Better to make the initiative and join in as best you could. Sooner or later, your foreign-language-speaking friends will feel embarrassed enough that they’re leaving you out of the conversation and will make the extra effort to translate for you. If they don’t, look for more courteous friends.

Remind them of what the Prophet (PBUH) said about this. He said, “If there are three of you, let not two have a private conversation excluding the third, for it saddens him.” Narrated by Ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

As for your family and friends, it is a sad situation that I pray will change in time. Keep good relations with them, especially your parents, and hopefully they will soon realize that you are the same person they know and love and connect with you again.