Ramadhan and Eid can be both the most special and most trying times particularly for new Muslims and even more so if they don't have an established support network, whether that be a supporting family or brothers and sisters in Islam who are local to them. I've put together some ayat and ahadith to act as reminders and comforters to us this Ramadhan, but also for all Muslims at any time of the year. I hope you are all having a blessed Ramadhan full of taqwah and ibada, and sisterhood and brotherhood!
Check out my 30 Acts for Ramadhan in the Resources section to help make the most of this month.
Allah has chosen to guide you, and nothing in Islam is hard
Sometimes we unknowingly make things harder for ourselves when we come to Islam and aren't certain about what to do or not do or aware of the particulars of fiqh. Other Muslims try to tell us what's what but this often means being told contradicting things which leaves us more confused. We should strive to seek a proper Islamic education, but always remember that Allah has given you guidance and only He can lead you astray. Allah, subhana wa ta'ala tells us Islam is not hard: 'Strive hard for Allah as is His due: He has chosen you and placed no hardship in your religion.' Al-Haj, ayah 78.
Aisha (ra) reported: "Whenever the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salam was given a choice between two matters, he would (always) choose the easier as long as it was not sinful to do so; but if it was sinful he was most strict in avoiding it. He never took revenge upon anybody for his own sake; but when Allah's Legal Bindings were outraged, he would take revenge for Allah's sake." (Bukhari and Muslim) This doesn't mean we must or should actively search for the easiest way in every matter, or disregard following a madhab to find the easiest way in each of them, but it should remind us there is often a choice or a different way of doing things, and that's OK- as long as we do what Allah has obliged us to do and seek to please him, in sha Allah we will learn the particulars and variations of other things in time. The second part of this hadith specifically highlights that taking the easiest choice should never mean disobeying Allah.
We will make mistakes
Knowing that Allah has given us guidance and that our previous sins are forgiven can mean we feel even more defeated when we do things do displease Allah, but remember the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) where the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salam says: "Allah has written for Adam's son his share of adultery which he commits inevitably. The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at forbidden women), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the innerself wishes and desires; and the private parts verify all this or deny it." (Sahih Bukhari) Everything is written and happens only by Allah's will- this reminds us that tawbah (repentance) is a necessary part of this life. And Allah says in surah al-Ankabut, ayah 7: 'We shall certainly blot out the misdeeds of those who believe and do good deeds, and We shall reward them according to the best of their actions.' so don't ever despair from His Mercy. Abu Huraira (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wa salam said: "By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, if you did not sin Allah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek the forgiveness of Allah and He would forgive them." (Sahih Muslim)
Parents and non-Muslim friends and family
Alhamdulillah, I am fortunate that my family have always tried to be understanding and nothing but accepting of my Islam. That doesn't mean we don't encounter issues around certain things- like haram foods and alcohol or occasional ignorant comments. Here are are some reminders from the Qur'an and sunnah about how to deal in a non-Muslim society and with non-Muslim family.
We should always keep ties with our family even if they are not Muslim and even if they object to our Islam. Allah tells us to keep their company, and continue to follow the right path in surah Luqman, ayat 12-15: 'We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents- all will return to Me. If they strive to make you associate with Me anything about which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Yet keep their company in this life according to what is right, and follow the path of those who return to Me. You will all return to Me in the end, and I will tell you everything that you have done.'
After telling us not to take enemies of Allah as our allies, and telling us to follow the example of Abraham, Allah tells us in Surah Al-Mumtahanah: 'and He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes: Allah loves the just.' Of course, we shouldn't be allied to those who seek to oppress us or harm us, but we should be just and kind to those who aren't Muslim and do not 'fight us for our faith.'
Your brothers and sisters in Islam
While we may maintain friendships with non-Muslims, we will naturally develop make new friends in Islam, in sha Allah, who will support each other in pleasing Allah: 'The believers, both men and women, support each other; they order what is right and forbid what is wrong; they keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms; they obey Allah and His messenger.' Surah at-Tawbah, ayah 71
Don't doubt yourself
Humans are made weak, in Surah Nisa ayah 28 Allah says: 'And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak', and new Muslims face unique trails in our journey in Islam. Surround yourself with good people, work on yourself in issues of religion and personal development (which really is one and the same) by seeking and applying knowledge, and do not let shaytaan influence disobedience. Abu Huraira (ra) reported that the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salam said: "A strong believer is better and more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: If I had done that such and such would have happened, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your "if" opens the (gate) for the Satan."
Leave it to Allah
We strive to be better Muslims by fulfilling our obligations, seeking and applying knowledge, doing good actions and striving for good character, but in the end, Allah has power over everything: 'He adds to creation as He will: Allah has power over everything. No one can withhold the blessing Allah opens up for people, nor can anyone but Him release whatever He withholds: He has the power to decide. People, remember Allah's grace towards you. Is there any creator other than Allah to give you sustenance from the heavens and earth? There is no god but Him. How can you be so deluded? Surah Fatir, ayat 1-3.
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