The End - 2000 to 2009

Muslim Converts: Let’s hear your voice!

Asalamu alaykum,

Converting is no easy issue. After the takibirs, hugs, gifts and love, one still has to go home to a large non-Muslim family base. 100 lb. dogs, homies smoking blunts, holidays, clubs, x lovers, old friends, expectations of other Muslims, marriage, financial issues and a host of issues tower over the new convert.

My idea is simple, wont take much of your time and, inshallah, if we’re sincere, can help serve our communities. What I need is your questions. My plan is to collect your questions, sit with 3-4, still unknown convert scholars fresh form overseas, research, answer and write a book providing answers that, inshallah, will support, build and encourage the new convert.

Answers will be cross checked by other towering scholars in the Muslim world, published and, inshallah, serve you. This is the first in a series of books which we plan to write that will offer functionality to our communities.

Future titles include: single parent mothers/fathers, sexuality, mothers, fathers, family,teens, high school, college, young professionals, retires [baby boomer Muslims], the arts, drugs and civic duty. Imagine a collection of fatwa written by local qualified muftis covering these topics!

Now the dice are in your hand. So start asking!

If one feels his/her questions are too personal, or too long to post on line, please email me here suhaibdwebb@gmail.com. All names will be changed for publication in order to insure privacy.

Suhaib

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  • 20 Responses for "Muslim Converts: Let’s hear your voice!"

    1. melimeli March 23rd, 2009 at 10:41 pm

      Here is a question – what is an older Muslim sister (convert), born and raised in the US, but not a doctor/lawyer/engineer, supposed to do if she wants to find a nice Muslim man to marry? The older brothers only seem to be interested in younger women, and the Muslim dating sites generally don’t even have matches for women in the 38-45 year old age range. At a certain point you just have to throw up your hands and say – so much for that half of my deen, I’ll just have to go it on my own. Or do we get a special dispensation that allows us to marry someone who isn’t Muslim, but is still sincerely devout (Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, etc)?

    2. abufatu March 24th, 2009 at 10:14 am

      The first obligation of a muslim convert and of all muslims who are islamically responsible (mukallaf) whether male or female is to learn their personal obligatory knowledge (fard al-ayn), First knowledge of Allah and his attributes, and that of the prophets and matters of creed
      so that ones faith is correct. how can one worship his Lord if he is ignorant of Him? Next knowledge of acts of worship obligated upon him
      firstly prayer with all its requirements (wudu, ghusl, recitation of al-fatiha
      etc….) A muslim be it a convert or a born muslim should not take a step how ever small unless he or she knows it is in accordance to our Law,
      for all that we do has implications in this world and most importantly in the hearafter!!!! There is a saying of Imam Mailk (may Allah increase his rank) what means: What will be good for the last of this Umma(nation of muslims) is only that wich was good for the first of this Umma. something more or less.

    3. sabiwabi March 24th, 2009 at 9:21 pm

      This is a noble endeavor, but a little too late for me. I could’ve used this question/answer service several, seeeveral years ago.

      I’ve had to wade through all my issues myself……

      In the past 13 years, I’ve heard so many different fatwas for my questions that my head is spinning. I really have become so jaded that I can’t really even say that I would care enough to ask a question anymore.

      Hope it helps others out.

    4. carrie March 25th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

      i have a question on salat. i try and i was very good at first, but i dont’ understand arabic. i’ve been trying to learn arabic, but the only out there to teach you arabic is how you get to abu sayed street… and that doesn’t help me either. my husband transliterated the words of suras for me and i would read them from paper as i pray, but not understanding it seems like i’m being unsincere. i worked with a muslim who said he did his in french cause he didn’t understand arabic and Allah knows all languages(which i knew was true) and if you dont’ know what you are saying it doesn’t mean as much, but my husband says that’s not allowed. and i get frustrated and i cry, b/c i know there is no translation for the chapters.. i’m so confused, and how do i learn.. i’m intelligent, i taught myself how to read arabic, which i think you’ll agree is no easy task, i checked out a bookd from the library and learned in a month.. and i checked out an introductin to Koranic arabic which taught me some phrases from the Qu’ran, but i got so confused when it was trying to teach me grammar, i was pronouncing stuff wrong, and even though he didn’t mean to my husband hurt my feelings when i pronounced it wrong cause he would look at me like i’m stupid when i try to say something he doesn’t understand… and i gave up trying to learn(and i kept the book as long as i could) and don’t say rosetta stone.. b/c i have it.. and i haven’t learn anything but door and window.. and i went through pimsleur and i can tell you how much gas is in egypt, but that doesn’t help either… i’m sad, i’m frustrated, i’ve stopped praying like i should… i don’t know what to do…

    5. Farooq April 14th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

      learning arabic is a hard task indeed but I can see your sincerity in your efforts. I too cried after being confused while trying to learn arabic, at times I threw it to the side and said ill never make it but that longingness to understand the words of Allah finally made me get there. Dont give up Carrie. the quran is only in arabic because that is the exact words of allah. How the sentence is structured is very important also, sure you could say basically the same thing in a different way but then it would not be his words. You have a long way ahead of you so dont get frustrated if you dont learn it in a year. You learned how to read in a month! it took me like 6 months. May allah make it easy for you and reward you for your struggle

    6. Farooq April 14th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

      oh and Allah uses words like window, door, dog etc.. so those words are important also. The reason you learn these words first because you will use them more often and it makes it easier for them to stick in the memory.

    7. Carrie April 14th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

      @Farooq

      Thank you so much for the kind words, you almost made me cry reading it! You’re so right! Thank you for the inspiration! I’ll keep trying and Insha Allah I’ll be able to read the beautiful words of Allah very soon!! As salamu alaikum

    8. Alki Kalotis May 6th, 2009 at 11:39 am

      I, too, am a recent (3/20/09) revert to Islam. I feel such joy in my heart when in sujood (sp?) [prostration], feeling so tiny and insignificant next to Allah, yet also knowing that my dua’a is making my life so much better in so many ways.

      Since reverting and adjusting my schedule to the five daily prayers I have noticeably better health and temperament. I usually spend 20-30 minutes on each prayer. I pray with the little booklet in my hand. Part of my prayer is asking Allah for mercy and forgiveness of any mistakes I make.

      Like Carrie, I don’t speak Arabic. Actually, I’m just starting on memorizing the Qur’an starting from the back: Surah 114!
      I’m learning by listening exclusively — I love the recitations by Abdul Basset. I can’t “sing”, but the beautiful long drawn out vowels and precise enunciation make it easier for me to follow along and to learn, since sometimes I can remember the “tune” of the Surah, if that makes any sense.

      (Someone here please let me know if this is improvised by the reciter, or if there is a standard for each Surah?)

      So I’m sort of teaching myself by listening to the recitation, then spelling out which letter is which in the Arabic text, without worrying about grammar, syntax etc. Insha’Alllah, I just focus on “knowing” in my mind what the translation is, by reading it in English; I think that just the act of learning for Salat is mind-enhancing.

      When I think that the Prophet (pbuh) took 23 years for the revelations to be revealed, and he was receiving them directly from Allah through Jibreel, it makes me realize that all time is relative. Even if I’m only up (back?) to Surah 110 by the time I’m 50, insha’Allah, that will be wonderful, mash’Allah! :) (What I’m trying to say is if I’ve only learned, insha’Allah Surahs 110-114.)

      My question is this: prior to my reversion, I went through a terrible wild phase of being without religion (and hope.) During this time I have multiple large tattoos and piercings done. Being a woman, makes this even more challenging.

      What is the rulings on tattoos, piercings, etc. obtained prior to reversion? I can’t afford, nor do I think it would be any good, to “remove” the tattoos. (They are all huge pieces, done Japanese-style.)
      Most importantly, how do I let potential husbands know about them without being immodest?

      Also, what about letting future husbands know about past loves? Coming from a good family, but falling into bad company was my downfall. I’ve not racked up the totals that I’ve heard some women brag of, but I’ve had two hands’ worth of lovers. I’m not proud of this, rather I think it shows how terribly lost I was. If I could undo all that knotted string of broken hearts I went through with them, believe me, I would!

      Anyway, anyone reading this, please make dua’a for me to increase my imam and my deen and perfect my prayers. Jazakallahu khayra,

      As salaamu alaykum

    9. Alki Kalotis May 6th, 2009 at 11:43 am

      …erm…that should have read, “Increase my iman…”

    10. Carrie May 7th, 2009 at 2:22 am

      @Alki Kalotis

      Your words are really touching, I think i might be able to help you a little bit with understand the Qur’an, there is a book I got from the library, I just restarted it again with positive attitude this time ( it was so overwhelming at first) its called “Introduction to Classical and Koranic Arabic” by W.M. Thackston. I started this time taking every word they give me and every form of it (plural etc) giving each word one line of a piece of paper and writing it across the line and saying it each time i write it and thinking of the definition.[they give vocab words like your old english books] then they give you questions and words to translate @ the end of the chapter, and when i first tried to last year, i got frustrated b/c i didn’t want to look up the answers, but how could i even know if i got them correct, my husband would try to explain it but it was so frustrating to me, So this time i decided I would read the question and look back through the chapter(each has about 4 pages) and find the answers, i mean, if i do it enough i’ll memorize it, b/c thats all it is anyway right, i see my children learn english, and its all just memorization.

      I’m on chapter 14 and i read my first chapter in the Qur’an without having to be told what any of the words meant, do you know what that’s like… wow! that’s all i can say, i’m tearing up even thinking about it now. i’ve heard that reverts often are more pious b/c they’ve been on the other side and know how far sin can really bring you into the horrors this world has to offer, i wish i didn’t know, but i’m glad i have something better.

      as far as the tattoos, all sins before you reverted are forgotten, i would say you can tell potential husbands, i have tattoos and big ones but not say where or what of, and see if they want you still. when i met my husband i wasn’t muslim and he was very shocked at my tattoo, its only one and very small, but he hates them, but he learned to deal with b/c he loves me. anything, even your past men mistakes, that will keep a man from marrying you is not the right one for you. When Allah picks a man for you and sends him your way, we will except you no matter what, b/c it will mean that Allah has given him the ability to look over any faults you have, even if its something he wouldn’t be able to over look if someone else did the same thing!

      I met a woman who said she would convert to islam and where hijab but she is older and is afraid she will not find a husband if she does. i said if God wants you to find one you will, and if you find one without His help it will not be good for you at all. This really hurt me for her that she really felt this way. Had she sumbitted to God fully and it was His will she would have already found a husband, but she put her will first =[ I haven’t seen her anymore and she was very confused on what way to go, i hope she finds the truth!

      Alki please don’t think I am saying the story right above was anything like yours.. i was just telling it as an example of how we have fears that keep us from being completely submitted like we all should.

      I am so glad you found islam, and i am so happy I did too!! its truly a gift and a blessing, may God keep you and bless you!

    11. Alki Kalotis May 7th, 2009 at 10:22 am

      For Carrie: :) Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, mash’Alllah; insha’Allah I will find this book and it will help me learn faster. It is so wonderful that you have actually read the words of Allah! I am very moved by your testimonial. Barackallahu fik! :)

      I have another question for the scholars: I know that it is forbidden to touch a Qur’an unless one is in a state of wudu. My question is this: is it permissible for a woman to study or recite a book that has a translation of the Qur’an, but has the actual words of Allah in Arabic besides the English translation, when she is in her monthly cycle? (Therefore, she cannot be in a state of wudu.)

      I am concerned that, for a whole week, I go without reading or studying my Qur’an, subhanallah. This does set me back in my studies and remembrance of verses I have learned.

      To further clarify, the book I am speaking of is called, “Towards Understanding the Qur’an — Abridged version of Tafhim al-Qur’an” by Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi. It is translated and edited by Zafar Ishaq Ansari and published by the Islamic Foundation.

      Jazakallahu khayra for your reply, insha’Allah. :)

    12. Nusaybah May 14th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

      I remember sitting for what seemed like years to learn the Arabic alphabet and then pronounce the letters with their accent marks (fatha, kasra, damma, tanween, etc.)

      Then one day it seemed I could actually read whole words – alhamdulillah!

      I remember sitting for what seemed like years trying to read lines and lines of words , learning proper tajweed, learning what the words meant.

      Then one day it seemed I could listen to Quran recitation and actually understand!

      One day I was reading the Quran in a class and the new converts were saying masha Allah – and I thought, who me? Masha Allah to my reading?!

      One day I found myself teaching a new convert how to read. And now I’m teaching my kids. SubhanAllah.

      My Arabic is still is so very rudimentary on many levels, but it shows progress over time.

      Progress happens. Ask Allah’s guidance and have sabr.

    13. Megawati Mustafa May 18th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

      Salaam to you all.

      I was born and raised in a traditional Muslim family here in Indonesia, where Islam is majority and the most Muslim populous country in the world, yet I cannot speak Arabic either; though many Muslim here can who attend the madrasah. However, we are Muslims generally here taught to read Qur’an in early age such as 5 years old so that we can start praying when we are @ 7 years old. And I am always grateful that I could read Qur’an fluently that I should not suffer from reading and memorize the Qur’an verses.

      Here in Indonesia there is an easy way to study and read the Qur’an that is called ‘IQRA’ methodology, which is adopted by many Indonesians, children and elders, who do not know how to read Arabic. This can help those sisters and brothers who want to learn or study it. I have no idea whether this is also avaliable in English.

      Studying or learning Arabic is not easy as Arabic is quite complicated, but if you don’t give up. Listen a lot every day the Qur’an through DVD or CD or listen through Ipod. That will help improving your learning, insyallah.

      Wassalam,
      MM

    14. Gail August 19th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

      Hello, I have a question. I converted to Islam hamduallah and I have a question. Do you need to tell your husband about your past life before you converted to Islam?? FYI, the past isn’t the best thing I am proud of and I know he will leave me if I tell him. Is it wrong to not tell him my past before I converted or do I need to tell him?

    15. Zainya September 4th, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      Asalamu alaykum

      i am a new convert to Islam 2nd September 2009 and I still can not pray, I can not speak Arabic and feel very upset I am finding it difficult. I am looking for help as not being able to pray makes me feel like I am doing wrong. Any help?
      Also I was in a 6 year relationship with a guy who turned Muslim 3 years ago, just before I converted we got back in touch and are planning on marrying. As I am a new convert I was wondering how we would go about this as my family are against Islam. Do i need someone to still give me away to him? Can we get married even if I can not speak Arabic?
      Thank you for listening

    16. Alki Kalotis September 5th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

      Wa Alaykum as salaam Zainya,

      Welcome, Sister! Be patient and kind to yourself! :) It took me several months to learn the prayers. Remember that Allah (swt) revealed the Qur’an to our Prophet (pbuh) over 23 years! And he was the best of all the human beings. We cannot expect to learn overnight!

      While praying your 5 daily prayers, pray with a little booklet in hand with a transliteration of the Arabic and the English translation.

      I also prayed along with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaKb2zX1QBs (copy the URL into an open browser window)
      it is the first of seven short videos of the daily prayers plus two on reminders and wudu and introduction. They are very good.

      I also recommend: http://store.dar-us-salam.com/Eng_SalatDua/016.html

      In the meantime, while you are praying in congregation for Jummah, and especially now in Ramadan, you can say “Subhanallah” for the parts you don’t remember, (and fellow Muslims and Muslimahs, correct me if I’m wrong!)

      For memorizing the Qur’an, I recommend and use: http://store.dar-us-salam.com/Eng_NobleQuran/Q04.html

      It has English transliteration along with English translation and a CD with mp3 files of all the Qur’an recited with good tajweed! Very well worth the investment.

      Re: your marriage. I highly recommend that you get in touch with an imam in your area immediately. Marriage is half your deen and should not be undertaken lightly. Allah (swt) has commanded us to honor our parents, and so a marriage that will rupture family ties is to be avoided. And Allah (swt) knows best. You must always keep your parents in mind.

      Please, fellow Muslims and Muslimahs, correct me in my errors, so that I may learn from them. Ramadan Mubarak!

      Wa Salaam,
      Alki

    17. Alki Kalotis September 5th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

      Here is another helpful booklet for prayer. This one is for children, but really spells out what to do:
      http://store.dar-us-salam.com/CB_SalatDua/C20.html
      Insha’Allah you will find guidance and peace, Sister Zainya. May you have a blessed Ramadan.
      Wa Salaam,
      Alki

    18. Sarah September 8th, 2009 at 6:05 am

      Assalam alaikum wa ramatullahi wa barakatuhi,

      Alhamdulillah to all the new brothers & sisters in Islam. I’m also a recent convert (9 months) and it’s been challenging, but an amazing experience. My advice regarding learning surahs is to purchase a Roman transliteration of the Qur’an or download an audio version on an mp3 player/I-Pod to listen to for guidance. What worked for me was constant repetition of the ayats 10-20 minutes or throughout the day. Try your best to learn the Arabic; Allah (swt) never gives you a burden greater than you can handle, and remember – actions are judged by intentions. :)

      I would also definitely recommend taking a class online (Sunnipath.com/SeekersGuidance) or at your local masjid, if available. Both sites have reliable scholars teaching a variety of courses, including several courses on tajweed. Sunnipath offers degree programs that speceifically cover the fard’ayn (obligattory knowledge). Discounts are available for recent converts as well so it’s highly accessible. Fiqh questions can also be answered online or at halaqas, etc.

      Regarding the question on tajweed (recitation), there are different modes of qirat that one can learn. Some qaris will receive an ijaza (authority/certificate to teach others) in one or more modes of recitation.

      As per my understanding, a marriage is valid if a woman gives her consent and has 2 (male witnesses/2 male/1female) present at the ceremony, but she must also have a wali. A woman’s wali is usually a Muslim male relative (father/brother/uncle) but in your case, you can ask someone to act as your wali at the nikkah. Depending on what madhab (school of thought) you follow, a wali may/may not be necessary, although I think most scholars consider it wajib (necessary). Regardless, maintaining good relations with one’s family is important, so I would follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) and be gentle and kind to your parents. It’s difficult but Allah (swt) will take care of you. Reach out to others for support as well.

    19. Sarah September 8th, 2009 at 6:07 am

      May Allah (swt) grant us all guidance and may we continue to strive in the path towards Him. Ameen.

    20. Carrie September 10th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

      @Zainya

      Congratulations Sister!

      I have some advice on your marriage issue and inshall Allah it will help you! If you love him, and he loves you then realize you have your whole lives to get married inshall Allah, allow your family to digest what has happened to you. If it was anything like my family its a lot to take about something they don’t fully understand. And if he converted 3 years ago its possible you will have to prove you did it for Allah and not for him. Even though I was married to a Muslime for 2 years before i converted its been a year and a half and they are totally convinced, and although they have learned to deal with it better they still sometimes make attempts to “save” me from Islam b/c they will never truly understand what its about until Allah opens their hearts!

      And yes you should obey your parents but not if their wishes are for you to disobey Allah! Allah knows best!

      You will learn Arabic inshall Allah, its the most difficult and beautiful language it just takes time… much like a marriage, its the most difficult thing you’ll ever do but it will be worth it in the end, and yes when i sit with my husband and struggle to read words like dog and telephone it makes me feel stupid b/c i was always smart in school and its hard to feel that way but realize you’re going beyond anything you’ve ever known before and you must crawl before you walk or run! baby steps =] I hope I helped may Allah bless you in all you do!!

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