Note: Part Three of Seven – “Am I Muslim?” Series for New Muslims
This can be one of the most challenging things you will face as a new Muslim. It will probably take a long time before your family is able to fully accept your decision. This takes alot of patience from you to allow this time period of adjustment to pass and for them to adjust to the new change in you. Their feelings will vary – they may feel angry. They may feel hurt. They might feel happy for you but also confused about your decision. They might be worried about you, afraid you made a wrong choice. Whatever their emotions, it will take time for them to process your decision.
So, how do you tell them? Well, my first advice is to be prepared emotionally. If you are fairly new to Islam and you are still learning the basics of the religion, or perhaps if you are still not 100% sure that you are ready for Islam in your life, then wait until you are ready before you tell them. This is important because you want to be secure and strong before you tell them, that way they will know that you are serious, and also so that you will be able to have the knowledge in case they want to ask you questions about Islam.
Take time to express yourself before you tell them. Do it the best way you know, whether that means sitting down to write a letter or talking to a trusted friend (who already knows of your journey to Islam). Doing these things will help you to get familiar with what you are feeling about this obstacle. Figure out how and what you want to share with them.
When you are ready, ask your family (or do it one-on-one with each member) to sit down with you. Tell them how you feel. Be open and honest in sharing your feelings with them. Tell them you want them to understand how you’ve changed, but that you are still the same person you always were, just that your beliefs and lifestyle have changed.
Try to be patient with their reactions. Allow them to have time to let your decision “sink in.” They may have questions for you, or they may not be ready to ask questions. This will be different for every family. If they are angry at your decision, it is best to let them be alone – it is not necessary to push them to talk about it. Wait until they are ready to come to you. Also, you don’t need to tell them every detail of the religion. Instead focus on the positive changes Islam has enabled you to make in your life.
Know that whatever happens, Allah is with you. Ask Allah for help during this time. Turn to others for support. It can be a very scary time, but know that it gets easier as each day goes by. Be strong and be proud of yourself for taking this difficult step in the path to Islam.
This concludes Part Three of the “Am I Muslim” series. Look here next week on Monday when I will be covering “Your First VIsit to the Masjid.”