Faith (Iman)

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 4 weeks ago

You have the choice to convert in secret, or to convert and tell them. 

What is best to do really depends on your situation and on your relationship with your parents. If you have a close relationship, and they would be hurt if you don't tell them, or if they found out by accident, it might be good to tell them sooner rather than later. If you think it would just cause problems for yourself, needlessly hurt them, or endanger you (for instance, put you at risk of being kicked out), then maybe it is better to wait.

If you think you will be living a more independent life soon (for instance, living on campus at a university, or working and living on your own), it might not hurt to wait and tell them when you have more control over your life. 

However, eventually you will (probably) have to deal with it. Although it might cause conflict and tension in the beginning, the best-case scenario to hope for is that it could eventually lead to mutual understanding. The real question here is when to go through that, and that is something you have to decide for yourself. 

Also, keep in mind that it is difficult to keep secrets, and people often sense what we are hiding or find out accidentally. 

 

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 2 months ago

It is nice and humble to focus on service. Some people do feel called to serve communities other than their own, and I have met some people who are not Muslim who dedicated their lives to working for Muslim communities or the Islamic cause. Sometimes it is a lifelong calling, and sometimes it is a temporary calling (for instance, on a specific sociopolitical issue that one feels strongly about, or as a stepping stone to discovering one's identity or beliefs).

That being said, the psychological motivations behind dedicating one's self to service (especially to serving the "other") can be complex. There are psychologically healthy and unhealthy reasons for service. For instance, a genuine desire to help someone in need, versus the desire to feel needed. Wishing to aid those who are marginalized, versus re-living unresolved psychological trauma surrounding feelings of non-belonging. Etc.

For that reason, it doesn't hurt to look deeply at one's motivations for service to be sure it continues to be a healthy arrangement. Also, I could foresee such an arrangement eventually breaking down due to the tension of wanting to serve the Muslim community while at the same time not wanting to be part of the Muslim community, which might strike some Muslims as strange. Not everyone wants an "outsider" to help them; this may be particularly poignant today, given the legacy of European colonialism in the Muslim world, and the way some Western organizations take a paternalistic approach to Muslims and try to "save" Muslims from practices they deem backwards or uncivilized. Basically, while some people want to serve, not everyone wants to be served. 

Anyway, from an Islamic perspective, what is important is the view of Allah. That is, what is important is your relationship to the divine. What is important is the view of the divine on your religious beliefs and practices, and overall actions in life, not the overall view of Muslims or the view of Islam as a faith. 

Similarly, the core teaching of Islam is serving Allah, not serving Muslims. There are many ways to serve Allah; serving Muslims is religiously meritorious when it is done as a way of serving Allah, but it is not the only way to serve Allah.

From a historical perspective, there are some respected figures in Islamic history who were not Muslim but aided Muslims or the Islamic cause. For instance, the Christian king of Abysynnia who protected the early Muslims from persecution. If you go through the account of Karbala, you will see that a number of people who were Christian also stood up for Imam Husayn. Also in the classical era of Islamic history, Muslims and people of other faiths worked harmoniously together on scientific and other projects and also occasionally shared the same site for houses of worship. (That being said, there was more of an equal playing field in those times; there wasn't the post-colonialist or "clash of civilizations" imbalanced power dynamic.)

Overall, despite the stereotypes of Muslims being intolerant, I think most Muslims are comfortable with religious diversity because the Quran gives a place to other religions and doesn't say that all other religions are false or that all other people are doomed. Also, most Muslim cultures have historically had religious minorities. I think some Muslims also secretly like people who are different because it can get a little boring seeing the same type of people again and again. That being said, if you do work within the Muslim community, I am sure some Muslims will encourage you to convert!

Anyway, I certainly don't mean to be discouraging in any of the above; your situation is unique to your own self and surroundings; these are just some thoughts on the overall dynamics that might arise. I wish you the best in whatever paths you take in life!

74899

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 2 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. Both sides of the God debate have their own arguments and rebuttals and so if a certain argument has caused confusion you should seek its response from those who have been well trained in the intellectual sciences. It is also important to consider the role of religious experience when forming the presumptions to your intellectual framework and to realize that atheists also recognize the validity of theist arguments based on the presuppositions of theists. 

May you always be successful.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 months ago

The faith means that you believe in something. The action according to the faith is the logical result of your faith. Action on the faith has degrees. Faith must be reflected in action in whatever degree the person has. Faith with no action at all means there is no real faith.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 months ago

The true faith has got real sweetness in the heart and the mind of the
believer. The sweetness of the true faith is based on knowing,
believing and loving Allah SWT, the most Merciful, the most
Compassionate. Loving Allah SWT increases when you think about his endless and
countless bounties and his endless and countless mercy on us. The
love of Allah SWT will lead to loving every beloved servant of Allah
SWT. When you love Allah SWT you love those who are so close to
Allah SWT, and the best of them are the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), and his
Ahlulbayt (AS), because they are the best servants of Allah SWT who got that
status of the love of Allah SWT .Real Habibullah, are Muhammad (SAWA) and
his holy progeny – Ahlulbayt (AS). Those who love Allah SWT, love the
Prophet  (SAWA) and love the Ahlulbayt (AS) and more love to Allah
SWT, the Prophet (SAWA) and the Ahlulbayt (AS) will bring more
sweetness in the life. And then it goes on till it reaches a stage
that the person who loves Allah SWT, the Prophet (SAWA) and
the Ahlulbayt (AS) does not feel anything in the life more sweet and
more enjoyable and more meaningful and more beneficial and more
beloved than the love of Allah (SAWA) and the Prophet (SAWA) and the
Ahlulbayt (AS).

Thinking about the bounties of Allah SWT increases the love of Allah
SWT and thinking about the virtues of the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlulbayt
(AS) increases the love of the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlulbayt (AS) in hearts of sincere believers.

The love to Allah SWT and the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlulbayt (AS) gives
us unlimited benefits and it is a love which gives us benefits which
remain with us all along, not only in our life in this world but also
after that till the next life which is in the Hereafter. In fact, the
love of Allah SWT and the Prophet (SAWA) and Ahlul Bayt (AS) is the
best love whatsoever. It is in fact the real love and the true love which
is not based on temporary emotions and imaginations which can diminish after
some time but it is the love which shines all along our life and makes
our life happy and prosperous and successful.

Listening to Allah SWT by reciting the Holy Qur’an and trying to
understand and talking to Allah SWT by praying Salaah or Dua, that
also increases the love of Allah SWT in our hearts.

Reading the sayings and reading about the lifestyle and the teachings
of the Prophet (SAWA) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS) makes our love to them
more.

Remembering Allah SWT and the Prophet (SAWA) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS)
in every matter before any word and before any act that also increases
the love to them in our hearts.

Our present Imam, Imam Zaman (ATFS). His love, in fact, is the cream of the
love of Allah SWT, the Prophets (SAWA) and all the Imams (AS). So
remembering him, reciting his Ziyarat, talking to him, doing good
deeds and gifting the reward of it to Imam Al-Mahdi (AS) will increase his love in our hearts.

Wassalam.

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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 4 months ago

as salam alaikum

a sound way for the believer to keep his faith is by being strict with his personal religious duties, lenient and generous with others, and by talking often with Allah. Then, when Allah speaks to him through the Qur'an, his faith will increase insh'Allah: "and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith" (8:2), "As for the believers, it [the revelation] does certainly increases their faith" (9:124).

With prayers for your success.

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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answered 4 months ago

as salam alaikum

a way to strengthen our own faith is constant prayer and recourse to Allah in our heart by speaking to Him and sharing with Him our fear, pain, joy, hope, etc. and continuously asking for His guidance. 

Continuous repentance is also very effective in this regard.

Furthermore it is good to help other with a pure heart by giving charity keeping in mind that charity is not just giving money but also your love and assistance to others for Allah's sake.

In this way, Allah may increase the faith of His servant and make him more aware of His overwhelming grace.

With prayers for your success.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

Allah (SWT ) says in Surah Al Baqarah Verse 3 about the pious
believers that they are those:  Who believe in the Ghaib (the unseen) , And establish prayers and spend out of what we have provided for them”.

The faith of the believer does not contain doubts because doubts
vanish where faith exists.

 There is no real success in life without true faith, and true faith can never exist with doubt.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

Allah (SWT) made their faith firm and steady because they stood firm with faith requirements and did not follow or become friendly with the enemies of Allah even if they were close family to them.

22. You will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such (believers) He has confirmed Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rûh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow to dwell therein (forever). Allâh is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allâh. Verily, it is the Party of Allâh that will be the successful.

 [Al-Mujadala (58), Verse 22]

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 6 months ago

True religion organizes life in all its dimensions i.e. relation between you and your Creator,  relation between you and yourself, and relation between you and others (family, friends, society, world and universe).

True religion comes from the Creator of every thing, Allah, The Glorious, (SWT).

True religion does not organize personal life only but it also organizes all dimensions of social, economic and political life, world and Universe.

True religion is based on organizing every matter in human life, that is why True religion is the real organized religion.

Wassalam.

Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 6 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. Faith is a personal matter in the sense that faith is to do with the individual. God has guided humans as to how to develop that faith correctly though revelation to some of His exceptional servants. However, religion is wider than the individual and at the same time affects an individual's faith. Religion is concerned with how humans live together as well as how they are as individuals. A belief system is formalised since the scriptural sources are at times inaccessible to lay believers and organisation is part of creating a society of believers.

May you always be successful 

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Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 6 months ago

There are many scientists (particularly physicists), who, on a scientific basis, conclude that there must be a conscious transcendent being behind creation.  If we look at the work of scientists and why they conclude that there is a God, this can help to strengthen our UNDERSTANDING (and not just our faith). The work of Wolfgang Smith is interesting. He is a scientist who has pointed out the philosophical errors that form the basis of today's (mainly post-Enlightenment) science. His books include 'The Quantum Enigma' and 'Cosmos and Transcendence'. It is also useful to explore a range of theodicies (arguments that tackle the question of the suffering of the innocent and the justice of God). For those that argue that there is no life after death: there are millions of anecdotal accounts that testify to people encountering those that have died in one way or another - and these cut across all cultures. There is certainly evidence that some way of existing continues after our bodies have expired. So far I haven't come across good explanations for this by atheists.