Question: I reverted 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 to Italy again for the summer. My present trouble is unless I tell them 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 to fasting and I think they could force me to eat. Please advise.
Answer: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh brother in Islam,
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 advices I have learned since then:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn fiqh (Sacred Law) so you don’t go overboard in applying rules; balance that with a course on spirituality or Propehtic 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.
Abdullah Anik Misra