I have recently become a Muslim and since I was a kufr1 before I find it hard to live a proper Muslim life. I find it very difficult to pray and study Qur’an (I wish to eventually become a scholar). I also find it difficult to resist the temptations of the west, there are pictures of nearly naked beautiful women everywhere and also I am 18 so I find it difficult not to think about these things so much.
Do you have any advice you can give me?
I assure you that the problems you have mentioned are not due to your being a new convert to Islam. These are universal problems, generally faced by all Muslims (as well as non-Muslims). Nevertheless, my advice to you would be to:
Adopt the company of those who you feel to be truly God-fearing people. The effect that one’s company can have on one’s personality is known to be tremendous. I would suggest that you regularly spend a part of your time in such company and find some good activities that you can perform in such a company.
Join a study circle or a discussion group, whose main purpose is to understand the Qur’an with an open mind. This does not include internet-based news-groups, in which the only purpose is to win debates. This refers to study circles comprising of knowledgeable and qualified people who can truly teach the Qur’an and answer your questions pertaining to it.
Never hold back any questions that may arise in your mind regarding any verse(s) of the Qur’an or any directives of the Shari`ah. Even if you do not get satisfactory answers from one individual, continue your search till you get a satisfactory answer. Never give up. Never lose faith in the fact that the Qur’an is from the All Wise and the Merciful. It, therefore, cannot entail anything, which is inexplicable or incomprehensible. Pray to the Almighty, with all your heart to guide you to the truth and give you true understanding of His guidance.
Find positive activities to fill up your time. These activities may vary from physical exercise, sport, healthy entertainment, community and social service and forming a purposeful group. If you can adopt one or more of such activities in your life with commitment, this would insha’Allah occupy your time and reduce the chances of your physical and mental involvement in activities that soil our hearts, minds and souls and take us away from our Lord.
Try to offer the Fardh (obligatory) rak`ah of every prayer with regularity. The obligatory prayer is not merely a show of our love and gratitude for our Creator, but is actually a form of remembering our Lord, which has been prescribed by our Lord Himself. Maintaining regularity in obligatory prayers would indeed be a little difficult in the beginning, as every pious act would be. Nevertheless, if offered with regularity and with a basic understanding of the words recited in it, it shall, insha’Allah, soon become a source of great spiritual pleasure and elation, as it shall give you the feeling of complying with the directives of the All Knowing King and the Lord of the worlds and thereby bringing you closer to Him.
My dear brother, the path of piety is, indeed, cumbersome and difficult to tread. However, this is what brings us closer to our Lord and renders us deserving of the everlasting bliss in the life hereafter, where we shall be given all that, which we refrained from, even in the face of our strong desires to the contrary, during the life of this world only to win the pleasures of our Lord. The path of evil, on the contrary, is very attractive, entertaining and enjoyable, yet it renders us deserving of the extreme wrath of our Merciful Lord. We have the freedom to choose our path. It is only the consequences of our own choices that we shall face in the life hereafter. The important thing to remember is that whichever path we choose to tread – the difficult one or the enjoyable one – our journey in the life of this world is temporary. Soon – maybe much sooner than we expect – it shall end. The results of the choices that we make in this temporary life, nevertheless, shall be permanent.
The decision is in our own hands. We may decide to trade-in our present (enjoyments, entertainments and attractions) for our permanent future or our permanent future for the present – which would soon become an irrecoverable past.
29th June 2000
- Implying non-Muslim. [↩]