family

How Should I as a Convert Deal with My Non-Muslim Parents?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

I reverted more than a year ago. I’m 19 now. My parents live in Italy, and I live in England with my sister. Now I am back in Italy again for the summer.

My present trouble is unless I tell my parents clearly that certain things are prohibited, I’ll find myself involved in them. If I tell them clearly, I can’t imagine how they would take it. Very bad, for sure, because for them, these are just crazy, anti-social, foreign rules, not related to one’s relationship with God.

Also, Ramadan is approaching, and I will be on the coast with them: they’re just totally against fasting, and I think they could force me to eat.

Please advise.

Answer

Congratulations on your being guided to Islam! Reading your letter gives me a feeling of nostalgia- this was my exact life story almost 10 years ago. I’ll share with you some brief advice I have learned since then:

  1. Be with Allah Most High, and He will be with you when you need Him. Be firm with your belief and obligatory acts, and Allah Most High will make your heart firm. Be easy-going with others, and things will be made easy for you.
  2. Lower the wing of humility and obey your parents (short of disbelief, leaving a fardh act, or committing a clear sin). This summer, your job is to do everything you can in their service, forget the internet or even spending beyond prayer times in the masjid.
  3. Never ever get angry or drawn into a debate. Smile, say “ok”, or if heart-broken, simply show it but don’t complain, and take a time-out.
  4. Be neat in your appearance – no scruffy beard; cool out on cultural dress and smell good. Dress a bit nicer than normal, even at home. Comb your hair and shower.
  5. Don’t throw Islam in their faces. Don’t tell them what to do. Don’t make your room seem like a different country. Go out with them and have fun. Be a vegetarian if needs be.
  6. Be firm that you have to pray and fast – no exceptions. Don’t list off what you can’t do, except major acts like drinking, eating unlawful meat, etc. Know that unless you’re ready to handle the backlash, you may not be able to stop every unlawful cultural custom this time, so cling to repentance – its still your first year, so be patient.
  7. Learn fiqh (Sacred Law) so you don’t go overboard in applying rules; balance that with a course on spirituality or Prophetic behavior. Do well in school.

This is just a stage of life you have to go through, – your parents will be displeased but you must show them you are still their son. Your parents’ hearts are in Allah’s control. Trust in Allah, be patient, and relish the sweetness of faith.

May he make you, and us, pleasing to Him.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.