Archive for the ‘Conversion’ Category

My aunt keeps telling me about Jehovah

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Hello, I have a Jehovah’s Witness aunt whom I think is trying to convert me. No one in my family knows that I’m a Muslim, being that I’m only a 15 yrs old convert. My aunt who’s a Jehovah’s Witness gave me a Jehovah’s Witness book for young people which I still read, because it has good moral messages which comply with Islamic morals and I find nothing wrong with them. But I just feel a lil uncomfortable when she’s telling me about Jehovah God and how he’s blessing me etc. What should I do? How should I respond to this? Should I tell her I’m Muslim and talk to her about the Quran? Thanks

Your aunt loves you and if she’s trying to convert you, she’s doing it out of her belief and out of her love for you. You should be kind to her as you have been. You are probably too young to tell her about Islam though, but it’s your call. If she’s a supportive kind of person, you may tell her. But bear in mind that many people nowadays have a negative view of Islam because of the media, so if she’s the kind of person who believes what she hears on TV, you’d be better off not telling her.

Jehovah did bless you! The name Jehovah is the English pronunciation of the Hebrew word Yahweh, which means “O You who is He!” The reason for this name is that many Jews took the third Commandment very seriously and thought it meant to never say God’s name. What the commandment actually teaches is that a believer should not swear by God’s name unless he means what he says and will honor what he promises. This is the same teaching in the Quran,

“And do not make God a subject to your oaths…” (2:224)

And God explains this verse further in the following verse,

“God does not chastise you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He chastises you for what your hearts have earned. And God is Forgiving and Forbearing.” (2:225)

And the Prophet (PBUH) explained oaths etiquette by saying, “Whoever is going to swear, let him swear by God or be silent.” (Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari who rated it authentic).

So, Jehovah is Allah and He blessed you by guiding you to Islam.

Does Islam prohibit owning dogs for pets?

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Hello,

First, let me thank you for your site. I have already learned quite a lot.

I am not a Muslim but am considering becoming one. One sticking point for me is, strangely enough…dogs! I have always owned pet dogs and have one now. My understanding is that Muslims consider dogs to be “unclean” and would never have one as a pet.

I find this really difficult, as I find dogs to be noble, wonderful animals. My understanding is that the main objection is that dogs can make one “unclean” and interfere with wudu…?

Here is a little more about this from my own blog:

“it is surprising to me that Muslims are apparently forbidden from having dogs as pets. My understanding is that having dogs as guard dogs or hunting dogs is allowed, but not as pets kept in the home.
I need to read further to see if this is purely cultural, if it is a tradition that only some Muslims follow, or if it is truly a commandment.”

I found an article on the web that refutes the notion that dog ownership is prohibited in Islam. It cites verses 18:9-22, which narrate the story of Ahl-ul-Kahf (the sleepers in the cave).

I would appreciate your perspective! Thank you!

Welcome to the blog. I’m happy you decided to join and I look forward to your participation. Thank you for kind words about my blog.

I like the name and title font of your blog 🙂 BTW, the talk by Joshua Evans is one of the best lectures you can hear about the transition from Christianity to Islam. Another one is by Gary Miller.

The article you referred me to cites the evidence of the sleepers in the cave having a dog, Ar-Raqeem, guarding the cave’s entrance. Scholars have agreed that guard dogs are perfectly allowed, but they differed on keeping dogs as pets. The reason they dislike it is a hadeeth, narrated by Abu-Hurayra (RA) and reported by Muslim, Abu-Daawood and others, in which the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When a dog bobs into the pot of any of you, let him wash it seven times.” Muslim rates this hadeeth authentic. Scholars have interpreted the reason for the command to be that a dog’s saliva is inherently filthy. Thus, keeping a dog around means that its owner is always unclean and must therefore perform wudhoo’ (ablution) before every prayer or recitation of the Quran.

That does not lead to prohibition of owning a pet dog! It simply tells us what to do if we choose to own a dog. The dog owner must be constantly aware that he or she, the owner, is always unclean because of the dog and therefore must maintain the cleanliness of himself or herself and that of the dog. If the owner is up to that responsibility, then there is nothing to prohibit him or her from owning a pet dog.

That said, I don’t know if dog saliva is inherently filthy. It is quite possible that keeping a dog clean was an unsurmountable job for the Arabs living in Seventh Century desert Arabia, where water is so scarce, it is barely enough for them. In other words, this is the `Illa (contingency) of the hadeeth. If the saliva is not inherently filthy, then the hadeeth does not even apply if the dog owner bathes the dog often and brushes its teeth everyday.

BTW, the article you mentioned makes unwarranted accusations against Abu-Hurayra, may God have been pleased with him. While he was human, and as all humans may err, he was a righteous, pious, trustworthy Sahaabi (fellow of the Prophet (PBUH)). He is entitled to much respect.

I’d convert now if it weren’t for the Hadeeth

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I’ve been looking into Islam for a nearly a year now and after a lot of questioning and soul searching I firmly believe the Qur’an is the word of God. Coming from an agnostic belief system my need to see in black and white has made me question a lot of Islamic beliefs but there is one I still don’t get. I’m referring to Hadith.

If the Prophet (peace be upon him) were here today then I would have no hesitation in following his judgements and teachings and I would take my shahadda right now but my issue is reliability. Having researched Christianity I find my major problems with it stem from poor reliability of sources and the poor translations and I can’t help but draw the same parallels with Hadith. I know there are some Hadith better than others but I have a real hesitation inside me to trust, for example, a Hadith writer’s perspective on Wudu that contradicts that of the Qur’an.

If anyone can shed some light on this I would be extremely grateful as I believe my foundations in Islam are solid enough for me to enter into it properly.

I highlighted above a key criterion that invalidates a hadeeth: it cannot possibly contradict the Quran. The job of Hadeeth is to expound on and detail what the Quran teaches. Scholars of Hadeeth have dissected each narration into two components: Sanad (attribution) and Matn (content). By scrutinizing both, one can determine if a hadeeth is reliable and therefore should be followed. You are talking above about Matn. Scholars have criticized the Matn of many hadeeths and rated the narrations Ghareeb (strange) or Munkar (unrecognized) if the Matn is found to be suspicious or outright contradictory to the Quran.

Hadeeth scholars have done a marvellous, scholarly job in authenticating the Hadeeth. You have nothing to fear from the authentic Hadeeth. Tell me examples of hadeeths that bother you and I’ll be happy to search for their credentials.

There is also the issue of misinterpreted hadeeths. Sometimes the content sounds contradictory to the Quranic teachings, but they really are not, if one would spend some time figuring out what they mean.

I converted. Should I change my name?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I reverted in September and, while my first name is ok, I’ve been told different things about my middle name. My middle name means “bitter” in French. Some people told me it was OK, but others tell me that “bitter” makes it a haraam (forbidden) name.

Is it ok or should I change it just to be safe?

Even if your middle name means “bitter”, it is still OK to keep it. There is no prohibition in Islam against names except if the name is blasphemous. Many Muslims, during the life of the Prophet (PBUH) had hard names, and while the Prophet (PBUH) often changed names of people and towns to more cheerful names, he did not change nor order changed all the hard names. So, we cannot conclude that all hard names must be changed.

Examples of unflattering names the Prophet (PBUH) did not change are Hanzhala (colocynth), Al-`Aas (the disobedient one), Al-A`mash (the one who can hardly see), Al-Arqam (a snake), `Ukaasha (a spider) to name a few.

Don’t change your middle name unless you want to.

A Christian acting like a Muslim

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

I have a Christian friend who prays five times a day the way we Muslims pray and uses words like Inshallah (God willing) and Mashallah (admiring God’s creation). She is asking me if she is allowed to do that. She has not declared her conversion, so I don’t know how to answer her.

This lady is taking her time. Let her. Islam must enter the heart and the mind before it is real in a person’s life. Islam has entered this lady’s heart. Mind is next insha-Allah.

Search YouTube for videos of people just like her, one is called “I was a Christian AND Muslim for seven years” and another is called “I was Muslim all my life and did not know it!”

Found the first video at
http://www.youtube.com/v/LfyQ_Ar361U and
http://www.youtube.com/v/s3U0PUY7FXM but they are private.

You may be able to contact the author and ask her to give you access to watch the video.
The other one, if I remember correctly, was by a young Palestinian man who was Christian who believed in God, Jesus and the Gospel but not in original sin, crucifixion or the trinity.

I converted and now my mom hates me

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I’m a recent convert to Islam and my mom has a very hard time with that. Whenever I visit her, she never stops talking about how she hates Islam and wondering why I converted. She says some awful things about Islam that are published on some web sites.

I love my mom and love to visit her, but we are almost at war with each other now. I try to explain to her that she is wrong about Islam, but she just keeps repeating the lies of those web sites. What can I do?

Keep trying, but also tell her gently but firmly that you will leave if she attacks Islam but stay when she changes the subject. God says in the holy Quran,

“And He has sent down upon you in the Book that when you hear the verses of God blasphemed and mocked, that you do not sit with them until they delve into another discourse, otherwise you are like them.” (4:140).

At all times, remain polite and gracious toward her, as this is your Islamic duty toward your parents, even if they are disbelievers.

How can I know the true God?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

I’m investigating Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other religions. I want to find the truth. Will I?

If you are sincere in your investigation, God will guide you to the truth.

If after your investigation, you are still undecided then here is a simple way to resolve the indecision: Wash up, wear clean clothes then pray to God to guide you. Do not call God any name, not Eloah, not Jesus, not Christ, not Krishna, and not Allah. Otherwise, you’d making a conclusion before you start! If your heart is sincere and your desire for the truth is genuine, God will not turn you down.

He went back to atheism

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

A 17-year old atheist young man chronicled his experience with conversion to Islam briefly as follows,

Day 1: I haven’t looked into the basic pillars of Islam, but I assume I will find out by reading the Qu’ran? I have begun, and I am currently reading the second Sura (Chapter). I am finding it hard to understand but no doubt I will understand in time.
Day 2: I have changed. I have accepted Islam as my religion and Allah as my God. I have much to learn, but I will be a good Muslim, in time.
Thank you to those who gave me advice and kindness.
Alhamdulillah (Praise to God) for changing me in such a profound way.
Day 3: Thank you all who welcomed me with kind words. I now feel that I have opened my mind and I have found purpose. I know it seems a fast reversion to Islam, but truth be told, I have always, deep down felt an attraction to it in some way.
Day 4: I went to a mosque today and had an awesome experience there. Everybody was kind and helpful.
I do, however, have many questions and need a mentor.
Day 30: I attended the mosque and such, but, after a while, I realized that I never truly believed in this religion. I am an atheist, and I always was, because when I took shahadah (testimony of faith) I didn’t do it with belief and sincerity. And now, while I respect and admire this religion, I can not be a Muslim. I do not believe.
However, I wanted to thank everyone here and at the mosque for being so incredibly kind and welcoming. May your lives be filled with faith.

Obviously, you are free to make that decision. However, forgive me for saying, the way you proceeded with your journey was like a homework assignment, rather than a lifelong matter of the utmost import.

You did not ask about the things you do not understand. You hastily decided to convert, without sufficient knowledge and with many questions remaining unanswered. While such a sudden conversion does and has occurred, you did not tell us why you accepted Islam, or how did you understand Chapter 2 which you just the day before could not.

Attraction is not a solid foundation on which to found the most important part of your life. Being so young, I’m not too surprised though, because the youth tend to act on impulse.

My humble comment is that you were looking for a religious experience, a spiritual wow. While that does and has happened to many people, one of them is a well known American Professor of Mathematics and author, Dr. Jeffrey Lang, who was atheist, it is rare. You could have contacted him, read his books, or asked us the questions that bothered you or discussed with us the issues that make you lean toward atheism. There is no guarantee that any of that would have helped persuade you, but you should have tried.

I hope that you consider Islam again in the near future and give your quest a no-holds-barred approach, i.e., ask all the questions and get all doubts out of the way, so that you do not keep fluctuating like this.

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.

How come new Muslims are called reverts?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

People who embrace Islam, why are they called reverts, and not converts? For if you check the meaning of the word Revert it means  ‘to return to a former habit, practice, belief, condition, etc.: They reverted to the ways of their forefathers.’  (source dictionary.com)

The word I highlighted in the definition you quoted is why. They, like everybody else, were born Muslim. That is the original condition of every creature, the knowledge of and the submission to the one true God. Their parents make them Christian, Jew, Magus, etc. So, when they accept Islam, they return to their original state.