By YC Street Dawah Team
A question was posed, “Are there any tips for someone who wants to begin practising Islam?”
This is a big question and the answer probably deserves books upon books to answer. However, I will attempt to offer some ideas which could help in the ‘journey’ towards Islam as a way of life, Insha’Allah.
1- Righteous Company!
Probably the biggest barrier to fully immersing ourselves in the practice of Islam is the company we keep. You have to willingly change your company, and you can do that by the following:
By constantly sharing your thoughts on the purpose of life with the group of friends you hang around with. This might serve as inspiration to others and lead them to switch to a positive lifestyle too, so that you may not have to find new friends!
Alternatively, you can leave this group of friends and find new company. And since that is easier said than done, you can change your mindset, to start thinking along these lines:
“Do I really need friends that would only cause me harm? Can’t I survive and live a wholesome life without friends? When you begin thinking like this, you find all sorts of options.
We have this saying amongst those involved in dawah, “When you begin practising Islam, you may lose friends but you gain brothers/ sisters!”
There is an amazing Hadith on the matter:
“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.”
2. Invest in Alternative Hobbies or Interests
If you are someone who is addicted to drugs, smoking, clubbing, music, haram relationships, pornography or any other such activities and want to get away from them, don’t think that your life will become boring and dull without them. This is a huge misconception. In fact, having an Islamic lifestyle gives you all sorts of stimulation, which you won’t gain from haram activities. Islam brings peace to your heart, like nothing else. Not dance parties, nor flirting on Instagram.
Other than actively seeking knowledge by attending courses and meeting other enlightened souls, you can opt for hiking, sports, travelling, reading books and so many other activities that are perfectly allowed in Islam. With Islam embedded in your heart and mind, you begin to look at a universe of options, as opposed to the limited set available when away from an Islamic lifestyle.
3. Access to Knowledge
A few decades ago, or even 9, 10 years ago, you could argue that to gain access to Islamic knowledge, be it with scholars, short or long courses, halaqahs, one had to travel to the Middle East or to another locality. With that, came many other hardships & inconveniences.
However, now we have all sorts of mediums to begin our learning! There are thousands of hours of Islamic content available online. Be it YouTube or Facebook, essays, articles or audio recordings. We can access them all through our social media platforms.
So, start following beneficial & productive pages and scholars! You can also find and befriend a scholar or a specialist of their field and have Skype sessions with them!
Furthermore, you can also join numerous WhatsApp/ Telegram learning groups! There really isn’t any excuse to not learn. You can begin your journey of knowledge from the comfort of your own bed!
4. Unfollow/ Unfriend Boys/Girls
Yes, this may sound hard to do, but before actually unfriending those that share nonsense on your Instagram/twitter/ Facebook feeds, start by using the unfollow button. This will be a start to ‘cleansing’ your social media platforms and will directly impact your own thinking. You can filter out useless information and not be influenced by those that encourage non-Islamic content. Social media plays a huge part in forming our opinions in life, and you really do have to work on it!
5. Hang Around Du’aat
If and where you can, hang around those involved in Da’wah to those that are away from Islam. Even if you feel ‘hypocritical’ for still indulging in haram activities, hanging out with those who are practising and inviting towards Islam will be of great benefit to you. You will hear words like ‘destructive’ and ‘foolish’. You will listen to the anecdotal stories of how they changed and will gain great inspiration from their experiences!
6. Talk to Your Creator
If you truly are sincere about changing to begin practising Islam, then turn to Allah and ask him:
” Oh Allah, I want to change! I want to leave this lifestyle behind. I want to become close to you and follow your commands. But how? How do I do this? Where do I start? Can I change? Am I too deep into sin/kufr?! Please show me the way! Please guide me! Please fix my heart and remove these diseases.”
If you can ask this and have a deep conversation with the Turner of Hearts, then I am sure Insha’Allah, you will begin your journey of change.
A beautiful, encouraging hadith goes:
“Oh son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. Ask & I will not mind”
Have a strong intention, add will power and try your best to get on the path to Allah!