Sunday, 2 September 2012

Supporting and Mentoring New Muslim Brothers and Sisters

I remember vividly the day I became a Christian and was baptized in a Baptist Church. I was seeking for divine knowledge and I had received strong support from the church elders and youth alike. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for, had they not played their role in witnessing to me, I may not have found Islam in my pursuit for spiritual knowledge. They ensured my success spiritually and they even offered other assistance without fear and prejudice. Their support for the most part was what attracted me to become a Christian. I thank God, although the journey had been difficult many times, it is refreshing to look back and see how beautiful it has turned out to be.

Likewise, support for new Muslim brothers and sisters is of considerable value to them: it is crucial to ensure that the initial teething problems are kept to a minimum. I remember when I went to register my new faith as a Muslim - I was treated like a person off the street. It was like setting up a new business entity and the questions which I was asked sounded as if I had embraced Islam for the wrong reasons and purposes. They even quizzed me on the religion of Islam. I was lucky because I had been studying and reading up on my new faith. Many times I just wanted to walk out of the office because the questions they asked of me had no bearing to the faith of Islam. At one juncture, I took my stand and told them what it takes to be a Muslim and that I no longer appreciated their line of questioning. It is disheartening to hear these same experiences from others as well.

I have since in my daily supplication to God, asked Him to open up the hearts of all Muslims to support each other with kindness and to help one another grow spiritually. This is important especially when a newly converted Muslim brother or sister approaches another fellow Muslim for help. I am sure that those calls come from deep within their hearts. If God can open their hearts to seek Him, I wonder why our fellow Muslims cannot do the same by facilitating what God has done.

Looking back, had my faith been weak, I would have just walked out and forgotten about the whole thing. I believe at that time, the Lord was testing me on my patience and He was keen to see my character from the event. After I left the religious affairs office, there was no follow up from anyone to find out how I was coping with my new-found faith. That was discouraging and that was when I remembered our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who had supplicated to God to make him not be dependent on people. From that day onwards, I have followed in his footsteps and left my journey with God Almighty only.

I am glad that during my early hurtful years in my new faith, though I was constantly subject to lesser things that left me wondering why human beings like to hurt one another even among the brethren of the same faith, I sought solace by turning to God and He answered my call to lift the burden and the difficulties I faced as a new Muslim. Since then, I have always looked to the Lord Almighty for guidance and to bestow me with three things: strong faith, wisdom, and patience. Now, I am thankful for all the blessings which God has given me: inner strength and inner peace. I know He is always with me and has never abandoned me in times of difficulty. All praise be to Allah, amen.

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