- Raya Shokatfard
NEW MUSLIMS: WHY AM I HERE? (VIDEO) PART 1
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
By: Raya Shokatfard
Today I feel honored to talk with you.
I feel like I want to talk about something very important, some very sensitive issues when it comes to new Muslims who have embraced Islam, whether just recently or within the past few years.
I know that there are many challenges ahead, or you already have faced some challenges, and I know I faced some of it myself while I was living in the United States, whether it was from the close circle of friends and family or the society.
I just want to say that I understand where you come from, and I want to just basically not only give you support, but I want to go beyond the present condition of what would a new Muslim may feel, what challenges they are going through, and how we can overcome them.
But I want to go a few steps beyond that.
I know for anyone of us who have come to Islam, myself returned to Islam, and maybe for others came to Islam for the first time, this was not an accident. It was not something that just happened - it seems to be the fashion of the day as somebody decided I am going to become Muslim because whatever reason that we have.
Of course you know there are some people who want to get married, and the other party male of female is Muslim, and it is either required for them to convert in order to marry, in the case of a man marrying a Muslim woman, in case of a woman wanting to marry a Muslim man if she is Christian or Jew she is not required to convert, but they may feel that this is what their future husband prefers and so she converts. So there are some cases where the conversion is due to reasons other than the spiritual aspect of Islam.
Many people have converted to Islam by just observing Muslims, by observing the peace that they have.
Maybe I can venture to say for most cases, people study. They reflect, they look at their lives, they look at religions they have been interested in or true full meaning of spirituality, and they have found that Islam offers that. Islam covers all the human needs in terms of guidance, in terms of covering all aspects of life, it is not just once a week going to the mosque and hearing some lecture, going home and carrying on with life, and a week later go and sit and listen to some lecture … It’s not like that.
People realize that Islam is a way of life, and many people have converted to Islam by just observing Muslims, by observing the peace that they have by observing how they treat their families, their society, the whole of life. And so, when we put ourselves in a higher level than just the mind, you know because our mind is busy, “my mother just said this yesterday, and it affected me and I feel a little bit hurt” or “I’m confused about being a Muslim”, or” my cousins or my colleagues or my friends laughed at me”, or “I couldn’t do this because it was a Muslim”, or … I mean all kinds of events happen in our lives, and it would be culprit for us having doubts about coming to Islam.
Why Are We Here?
For that reason, I prefer not to get into this part of the scenario which has to do with the process of the mind. And of course that is very important, but first I like to bring to your attention to really reflect on why we were created. Why are we here? I’m sure of you have already asked that, and some of you have already gotten the answer to that, but maybe this is a reiteration of what you have already discovered and realized.
I mean what is the purpose of creation?
Why did God create us? Why?
And Allah answers that. He tells us that He has created us in order to worship Him, and I know sometimes this becomes a buzz sentence for some people. Why? Some people say is God so arrogant (istaghfirul-Allah) that He would create human beings to worship Him, so if they didn’t He would put them in the Hellfire?
It is not that at all. If we go back, if we go a few steps back, and look at the story of creation, which is shared to some extent with a lot of similarities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that Allah created Adam, and then later Eve, and He of course – according to Islamic tradition and understanding and according to Revelation – that He asked all the angels to bow down to him, and they all did except Satan. Satan did not bow down because out of his pride, because he felt he was better than this creature that was made out of clay, and that he himself in Islam we believe he is a jinn, there are three actually, three creations of Allah – one is angels, the second is jinn and the third is human beings.
Angels are made from light, jinns are made from fire and humans are made from clay, the first human being. So angels bowed down according to the order of Allah (SWT) but Satan didn’t, and because of his disobedience to Allah, Allah basically ordered him to leave the Paradise, but he was able to tempt Adam and Eve when God ordered not to eat from a certain fruit, and he tempted them to eat it, and thus caused the expulsion of Adam and Eve and of course he himself was already expelled out of it.
However, he promised to misguide human beings right from the beginning, which he already did with Adam. And the difference between Islam and Christianity in what they call original sin, is that Adam and Eve sinned, this was the original sin, and this could not be forgiven except that you, thousands of years later, God sent His only begotten son, Jesus, to be sacrificed on the cross in order to atone for the sin of mankind, for the original sin, and the belief is that every child is born into sin, and because of the original sin the child just by human nature is a sinner, and only through the blood of Jesus this sin could be alleviated, eliminated.
In Islam we see it differently, although a lot of the story is similar. God tells us through revelation, authentic revelation, that God did forgive Adam and Eve after they repented. However, they lost their privilege of being in Paradise. They were sent to earth but God continued guiding them, and Adam is considered the first Prophet. He received revelation from God and of course he considered what he did was disobedience not willful sin, he didn’t know what sin was, he was the first pure human being. So as a result of it, and of course God knew this from the beginning, it was not something that God just found out they were going to be misguided by Satan, God forgave them and He promised them that He will guide them. He sent them to earth but He would guide them, and He would send prophets all throughout humans’ history in order to guide mankind so that they would not be deceived by Satan.
God’s Guidance: From Adam to Muhammad
He tried to guide and warn his people that they will all be drowned, believe in God, but no one believed.
Now we have to take a look, we have to really take an objective and deep look at right here at the situation, and see what really actually did happen. After Adam and Eve basically descended on earth and started living on earth, Satan was at work to misguide. As we know the first generation, Cain and Abel their sons, Cain kills his brother, this is the first human crime against another human.
And then we move on, we move on all the way, we see the time of Noah, ten generations from Adam, by his time there was so much corruption on earth that Noah, we believe he lived over 900 years, and he spent most of his time trying to guide people, and God gave him instructions to build an ark, which he did, and he tried to guide and warn his people that they will all be drowned, believe in God, but no one believed except his own close family. So we can see how they were drowned, the whole nation was destroyed, some people say the whole earth was destroyed, some people say just his tribe was destroyed, this is another issue.
But then we can say a pure family basically stayed behind and they multiplied. They multiplied, and by the time of Abraham, ten generations later, again there is corruption. You read this in the story of Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, that his whole society was corrupt, they were idol-worshippers. His father even was selling idols, worshipping idols, and how Abraham separated himself, and Lot, which is his nephew, and they separated themselves and they moved away and started new generations of believers.
Again we take a look and see not too far after that that their own descendents got corrupted. My point here is that God sent us prophets in order to guide us so we would not be deceived by Satan as humans have been deceived over and over and over again. And we know that the last of these blessed messengers was Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him.
So if we read the history and we understand how these messengers and their messages they all connect with each other, they all carry one theme, and that is worship none but One God. And of course the rituals may have been different for each religion because of whatever circumstances was with the people and where they lived, but we know that the last message that Allah sent was through Prophet Muhammad, and Allah says today I have perfected your religion and have chosen Islam for you as your religion. And whoever chooses a religion other than Islam would never be accepted of him.
And this is very heavy. So many people say why? The Buddhist they are good people, the Christians they are good people … Yes, there is no question about it, there are lots of really wonderful people in this world. But if we look and see how much corruption has come into their books and the teachings of other religions, then we come back and realize there is only one Book that is left that is the original Book, and has not been changed.
What Does That Tell Us?
That tells us that I have the Book of Allah in my hand and that all the guidance is right here. My concentration is to make my way back to Paradise, one day after I leave this planet, with certainty that I followed the right religion. You have to do whatever it takes to have this certainty in your heart. When this certainty happens in your heart, then any other problem that affects your mind, your mentality, you get hurt or you get concerned, whatever comes out – not that you would not be affected but that your target is somewhere else, your target is not in this world, your target is to make it to Paradise, this is where you would like to go.
So yes, anybody who has this high target they face hardship, they face hard times, they face even persecution in some cases we have had in the past, but you know I am looking ahead of myself, only to make it to Paradise, I ask Allah all the time, ya Allah, help me be the best of your worshippers. Ya Allah, help me to be the obedient worshipper so that I overcome the obstacles in my life in order to satisfy You, because I know satisfying You means having a better life, a more satisfying life, a more peaceful life for myself, between me and You my Creator.
By having this kind of peace, a person becomes like a magnet, people are attracted to their state of being, to their peace, to their knowledge as they are growing with it, and people want to know where did this peace come from. You share with them by your action, by your behavior, and all that you know about Islam.
May Allah give you the peace and blessing that you deserve for having come through this wonderful journey, and In-Shaa-Allah, I will talk to you again in another episode.
Thank you very much,
Assalamo Alaikom wa rahmatul-Allah wa barakatuh
Published on: Tuesday, 09 April 2013