Conversion to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is a journey that begins with many questions and challenges, passes through many doubts and fears, studies and discussions, and one day it arrives the moment that one decides to say the two testimonies (Shahadatain). But this is not the end, rather a new start.
Sometimes conversion not only affects one’s personal life, but also his/her social life, and on top of everything, his/her family ties. However, it is not a big deal; you will always have Allah who helps you throughout ordeals and hardships, and always there exist solutions.
Families rarely accept the religious decisions of a member fully and, at its best, they put up with his/her unfortunate choice while hoping for his/her return to the truth. Sometimes in their eyes, the Muslim member of the family is not an equal, but a misguided soul requiring pity and help.
This is where the Muslim convert faces new difficulties that probably has not been expected. Thus, the question is, how can a New Muslim deal with his/her non-Muslim family?
It seems that the very first thing to do is to tell your family about your conversion; the more you wait, the more courage you will need to make it public. Besides, as long as you have not told your parents about your conversion, you are obliged to live a double life and consequently hide your “Muslim side.”
You feel 100% Muslim, but you should conceal what you really feel and you may not practice Islam as easily as it would be if you had told your family about it. Then, keep your courage, consider the benefits of telling your family about your conversion, and just do it!
Be aware that the Islamic lifestyle is something like others; it does not interrupt your daily routines. Neither the practices you are expected to do as a Muslim nor the personal attitudes that you should follow are bothering or disturbing to others. You are only required to leave or modify those social behaviors that are banned in Islam, like shaking hands with non-Mahrams, kissing or touching them, etc.
Do not panic to talk about your new life, activities, and Islamic practices with your family if you face their disapproval. Start to tell them little by little about the new Halal recipes you had come up with, any of the Islamic books you had read, your trips to the mosque, and your new Muslim friends.
If you feel it difficult to appear with Hijab in your family, for example, just think of all the beautiful things that Islam, your newfound religion, has given you and remember why you have made this decision in the first place.
Hiding things will only make you move further and further away from those you love most and might turn your conversion even harder on you and drive you to go back on your decision. Besides the ordinary daily conversations that you used to have with your parents before, keep talking about Islam and put your trust in Allah. They will eventually give you more and more freedom and respect your decision to be who you really are in front of them, Insha’Allah.
Converting to Islam and becoming a new Muslim is not just saying Shahadatain, but working on yourself and becoming a good Muslim day after day. Since Islam considers high importance for family ties (“Those who sever ties of kinship cannot hope to enter paradise. (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) ” , being a real Muslim requires you to find the right balance between life before conversion to Islam and the Muslim that you’ve decided to become.
The Quran forbids Muslims to cut the relationship with their families, rather orders to foster ties of kinship with family, especially with parents, even if they are unbeliever (kafir) or sinner (fajir) . So, take your visits to your family as an excellent opportunity to expose them to the gentle and positive aspects of Islam ; not only by your words but also with your deeds . The fact that you are a Muslim should enhance your respect for your parents, increase your patience and kindness to them, and make you more humble and merciful towards them (17:23-24).
However, this must never lead you to compromise your commitment to the dictates of your own faith. Although in several verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and many sayings of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) Muslims are ordered to give their parents dignity and keep their company honorably, you should not obey if your parents urge to polytheism (31:15).
Show your family that you would be honored to join them in their gatherings and at the dinner table, but remind them well that you are not allowed to consume alcohol, pork, or their by-products. This way you will be able to educate them on the Islamic dietary laws and explain the rationale behind them .
Remember! You are the representative of Islam and a new Muslim in your non-Muslim family. Try to be a good one!
You can also share the difficulties you have faced when telling your family about your conversion, send us your experience.
- S. H. al-Amili, “Wasail al-Shia”, vol. 15, p. 346.
- M. al-Kulayni, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 78.
Marriage is the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a sacred union in Islam . Islamic culture tries very hard to safeguard the family and its stability. In the first place, it tells us that we should be very careful when we want to choose our mate. It also gives us a clue as to what characteristics and traits we should be looking for in a spouse .
Secondly, Islamic culture teaches us that an atmosphere of love, cooperation, and forgiveness should reign over every Muslim family, so much so as the Prophet of Islam said, “The best of you are the best-tempered ones with their family.”  Tolerance and compromise is the one vital element of any lasting relationship.
But, no matter what, it doesn’t always keep that way; there are cases in which both sides lose their sense of compromise. One may argue that divorce is not considered lawful according to many Christian views. Nevertheless, its practice by many Christians today shows its irresistibility!
In such cases, the only way to avoid a split is to refer to authority. There should be one person in every group who holds the authority over the group when a dangerous confusion and conflict shows up. But that one person had better keep silent, compromise, and go along with others’ decisions in other than those rare occasions!
In the first step, the husband is that authority in the family, maybe because he is the one who has to provide for the family.
"… The wives have rights similar to the obligations upon them, in accordance with honorable norms; and men have a degree above them, and Allah is all-mighty and all-wise." (Quran, 2:228)
Of course, there is not a tiny difference between man and woman in Islam in the eyes of God; no matter what the gender, the more pious has a higher degree before Him. But as they form a group, an authority is irresistible. Just as we say that there is no difference whatsoever between the president of a country and a simple worker in the eyes of God. Still, the worker should submit to that authority to prevent confusion!
The very verse suggests that it’s not like, men have more rights in the family while women got more duties and responsibilities. No, a wife has as many rights as she has obligations. It also suggests that the husband must treat his wife honorably and respectfully.
If things get worse and this approach doesn't work anymore, we should move on to the next step; that is, a higher authority!
"If you fear a split between the two of them, then appoint an arbiter from his relatives and an arbiter from her relatives. If they desire reconcilement, Allah shall reconcile them. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-aware." (Quran, 4:35)
This is actually a very tender council since the two elders are closely related to the spouses and try their best to come up with the best possible solutions for them. The couple, too, are willing to conform to their decision. Going to a marriage guidance counselor is an updated version of or an alternative to this council!
The council might conclude that a divorce is the only possible way for the couple to solve their problem. Sometimes, it’s simply impossible for the couple to go on!
Yes, Islam allows divorce and remarriage, but, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said:
“There is nothing loved by God more than a construction built in Islam by marriage, and there is nothing loathed by God more than a house which is destructed in Islam by separation.” 
It is also narrated that:
“A divorce shakes the throne [of God],”  and “God has not allowed for anything loathed by Him more than divorce!” 
If we think badly of divorce in Islam, it will become our last gasp. But if we do not have a negative outlook on it, separation would be the first thing that comes to the mind at the time of difficulty; “Why should I take all this when I can easily get rid of it?!”
But a mature and broad view suggests that the fruits of that relationship are worth bearing those unpleasant events. Separation is, therefore, inevitably lawful and at the same time very much abhorred in Islamic teachings:
"Consort with them [your wives] in an honorable manner; and should you dislike them, maybe you dislike something while Allah invests it with an abundant good." (Quran, 4:19)
Now, when it comes to separation and divorce in Islam, each side might think that “I got nothing to do with her or him anymore, and so, I can get my revenge on them!”
Of course, many Muslim scholars hold that every woman can state in her marriage contract that she, too, has the right to get a divorce, either generally or under certain circumstances. But, since Islam has basically put the husband in charge of divorce, the Quran commands men over and over that they should honor women, especially when it comes to divorce; if the union is not possible, you must at least have an honorable separation!
These commandments are even in some cases followed by divine threats for those who ignore them:
"When you divorce women and they complete their term [of waiting], then either retain them honorably or release them honorably,…" (Quran, 2:231)
"For the divorced women, there shall be a provision, in accordance with honorable norms—an obligation on the Godwary." (Quran, 2:241)
"If you desire to take a wife in place of another, and you have given one of them a quintal [of gold], do not take anything away from it. Would you take it by way of calumny and flagrant sin?!" (Quran, 4:20)
"… and should they be pregnant, maintain them until they deliver. Then, if they suckle [the baby] for you, give them their wages and consult together honorably." (Quran, 65:6)
And finally, God comforts both sides by saying that, if a divorce is the only way for them and going on with their marriage is much more harmful to both sides than profitable, they shouldn’t worry about its financial consequences:
"But if they separate, Allah will suffice each of them out of His bounty, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-wise." (Quran, 4:130)
The Chapter of “Divorce” in the Quran is also full of merciful verses, which are meant to soothe both parties which are hurt by the inevitable separation.
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 15, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2, p. 22
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 49, 50, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2, p. 37,38
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 171, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, vol. 2. p, 47
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 20, p. 16
- Makarim al-Akhlaq, p. 197
- Al-Kafi, vol. 11, p. 464, Sunan Abi Dawud, vol. 2, p. 254
“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect”(30: 21).
One of the main objectives of marriage from the Islamic point of view is for the couples to find peacefulness. Peace is the very result of considering Allah in mind in every second of life. Being compassionate is a skill that couples should develop in order to make a better life. Islam aims to teach this skill to its followers and all other human beings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “when a man expresses his love to his wife, the effect of such loving words will never fade from her heart”.
These words were uttered by the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) in a society in which women were not considered to deserve the least human rights. Moreover, it shows that Islam believes in the importance of expressing feelings to strengthen couples’ relationships and the idea of being compassionate.
Our fourth Imam, Imam Sajjad (AS), said: “It is your wife’s right on you to know that she brings calmness to you and she is a gift from Allah. Then, cherish her and treat her with kindness and tolerance”.
These sayings show the special attention of Islamic leaders to family and its role in the formation of society. It can be concluded that regarding the issue of being compassionate, building a peaceful society depends on having healthy and competent families.
The motto of Islam is, “First build your personality, then your family and finally your society”.
Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “The more one increases his/her kindness to his/her spouse, the more his/her faith will increase”.
What is the belief behind this large amount of recommendations on being kind and expressing feelings? How can Islam be blamed for promoting violence?
To finish this article, It would be interesting to narrate a short story from the early Islamic era:
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) ennobled one of his loyal companions, named Sa'dIbnMa'az, in his funeral. Watching this scene, his mother said: “Oh my son, enjoy heaven”. Prophet (PBUH&HP) said to Sa'd’s mother: “Do not prejudge. Your son is suffering in his tomb”. Other companions asked in wonder, “why is he suffering in his tomb while you respected and ennobled him this much? He added because he was bad-tempered with his family.
Allah is Unique in Kindness. Kindness is a sign of wealth for which you sometimes do not need to spend a penny, but it is more valuable than large amounts of money.