Spiritual piety is one of the most meaningful graces bestowed by Allah (SWT) to His creatures. It paves the way in the direction of light, filled with blessings, and away from a path consumed by distractions, destructions and, ultimately, sins.
Granted as a start, it is not easy for a new convert to fully embrace and live up to the principles of Islam. Inevitably, there are challenges to instil, preserve and nurture faith and piety until one’s last breath.
This dovetails with a hadith by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as narrated by Imam Al-Hakim and Ath-Thabarani:
إِنَّ الإِيْمَانَ لَيَخْلُقُ فِي جَوْفِ أَحَدِكُمْ كَمَا يَخْلُقُ الثَّوْبُ، فَاسْأَلُوْا اللهَ أَنْ يُجَدِّدَ الإِيْمَانَ فِي قُلُوْبِكُمْ
“Indeed, faith can become worn out in the body of one of you as clothes wear out. So ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts!”
The following tips should be able to help with one’s journey in nurturing his or her faith:
It is one of the best spiritual protectors and tools for any servant of Allah (SWT).
Prayer opens the space for any individual to share his or her struggles with Allah (SWT).
In fact, Allah (SWT) instructs us to pray:
وَاِذَا سَاَلَكَ عِبَادِيْ عَنِّيْ فَاِنِّيْ قَرِيْبٌ ۗ اُجِيْبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِۙ فَلْيَسْتَجِيْبُوْا لِيْ وَلْيُؤْمِنُوْا بِيْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُوْنَ
“(O Muhammad), when My servants ask you about Me, tell them I am quite near; I hear and answer the call of the caller whenever he calls Me. Let them listen to My call and believe in Me; perhaps they will be guided rightly.” (Surah Al-Baqarah:186)
Thus, a new convert should always pray to Allah (SWT) in order to continuously safeguard and preserve his or her faith.
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْوَهَّابُ
“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.” (Surah Al-Imran: 8)
Throughout the journey of accumulating blessings, the act of choosing one’s friends is of utmost priority in order to ensure that one’s chosen path does not deviate and one always has a companion to remind him or her to stay on the track of light. Such a friend or companion must have a strong sense of piety as one of the conditions for success.
According to Allah (SWT):
اَلۡاَخِلَّاۤءُ يَوۡمَـئِذٍۢ بَعۡضُهُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ اِلَّا الۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ
“On that Day even bosom friends shall become enemies to one another, all except the God-fearing.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf:67)
The act of developing and keeping friendships forms the building block of anchoring one’s faith. If such a close friend has a positive influence, the road to success is paved whereas the opposite would chip away at one’s spiritual fortress.
Patience in Learning and Growing As a Muslim
Taddabur refers to the learning of the holy book and appreciating its content in a more profound manner. Reading translation works of al-Quran aids in understanding the message of Allah (SWT), specifically for non-Arabic speaking ummah. This provides a stepping stone for the next step which is the reading of works of interpretations.
New converts should start with simple works of interpretations before moving on to complicated books, such as Ibn Kathir and others. Interpretation is not the same as translation as the latter deals largely with the translation of language exclusively. Works of interpretation, on the other hand, unearth hidden meanings from words besides reflecting on the historical context, Islamic principles and many others.
Appreciating Bestowed Blessings
It is the norm usually that an individual would grow to be more grateful about his present blessings when remembering his difficult past in comparison. One such example is the founder of Ar-Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia, Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Ar-Rajhi, who came from a poor background. After being blessed with material wealth, he is now actively involved in charitable works and waqf (assets identified for charitable Muslim endowment) such as through the Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi Charitable Foundation.
This mirrors the words of Rasulullah ﷺ:
ثَلَاثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيْهِ وَجَدَ بِهِنَّ حَلَاوَةَ الْإِيْمَانِ، مَنْ كَانَ اللهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا وَأَنْ يُـحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لَا يُحِبُّهُ إِلَّا لِلهِ، وَأَنْ يَكْرَهَ أَنْ يَعُوْدَ فِـي الْكُفْرِ بَعْدَ أَنْ أَنْقَذَهُ اللهُ مِنْهُ، كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُقْذَفَ فِـي النَّارِ.
“Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith… Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 16)
Emulate the Prophet’s ﷺ Journey
Rasullullah ﷺ is the best example when it comes to living life according to the demands of the religion. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ experienced so many hardships while spearheading the spread of Islam.
Learning about the Prophet’s ﷺ many interactions with various different groups encompassing leaders, women and even children illuminates the personable nature despite the many challenges of varied situations and personalities. This helps in solidifying a new convert’s belief in Islam as it was helmed by one of the greatest individuals that ever graced the earth.
Ustaz Abdul Rahman Rahuni is a graduate of the University Islam Madinah (UIM) and majored in Islamic Sharia. He is currently teaching at Sekolah Menengah Ugama Islamiah, Tawau Sabah.