Problems faced by a Convert in a Christian Community
Question asked by .
Answered by Saadia Malik

I am a female student at a Christian university. I have recently embraced Islam, but I live in a part of the US that is not receptive to Islam. I am a wife and a mother, and I do not have the energy to be a renegade. What do I do when the instructor leads the class in prayer and prays in the name of Jesus (sws)? I usually go along with everyone and then, say a short prayer, asking for forgiveness before I say ‘amen’. I feel as though I am chickening out, but I really just want to graduate and get on with my life. Does this make me a Kāfir?


A believer’s life is one struggle after another. Having people around who are not receptive to your faith is your real test. So long as you remain conscious of the fact that, in your heart, you will never accept any prayer addressed to anyone other than Allah, it is a blessing. However, the worrying factor I sense in your approach is that you sound hopeless about convincing other people of your status – that of a Muslim. If you seriously feel that persecution will be harsh should you choose to differ from the socially acceptable religion of Christianity, then you should, secretively, keep condemning the false acts. However, your aim should be to become a stronger Muslim – one who would care more about what Allah accepts as virtuous rather than considering what would be more acceptable to people.

Speaking of people, I trust that you should have some Muslims in your area who must have played a role in your conversion to Islam. I would strongly urge you to keep interacting with them, in order that you may share problems and get some essential support. The functions of ‘exhorting/encouraging each other about the ‘truth’ and ‘exhorting/encouraging’ each other to persevere on the truth’ are the prescribed means to provide that kind of support in Islam. When you have someone constantly reminding you that life is a trial, and that you must struggle to come through stronger and more devoted, it is a great blessing. To feel threatened is very natural, and in fact, an experience that every Muslim goes through. At times, the only key to success under such circumstances is to keep discussing and receiving words of encouragement from fellow believers.

Towards the end, I’ll quote a Hadīth:

Mu‘āwiyyah (rta) wrote to ‘Ā’ishah (rta) saying: ‘Send me a letter and advise me, briefly’. So ‘Ā’ishah (rta) wrote to Mu‘āwiyyah (rta)  saying: ‘Peace be upon you. I heard the Messenger of Allah say, whoever seeks to please Allah by making people angry, Allah will protect him from people; whoever seeks to please people by making Allah angry, Allah will leave him to the people. Peace be upon you’. (Tirmadhī, No: 2414).

The intent of the Prophet’s message is not to instigate the practitioners of Islam against the deviants and oppressors; rather, it is to point out that our primary objective should be to please Allah. Everything else is secondary. Therefore, one should pray for a faith that drives us to such levels of strength and courage. Till then, keep reminding yourself of what is wrong, why it is wrong, and what is right, why it is right.


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