January 30, 2011

I am a coward

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. All converts have non-Muslim family. Most of us have our entire family included: mother, father, sisters, brothers, even children sometimes. We all hope and pray that they become Muslim. We wait for a great opportunity to give them dawah, to show them some of the simple beauties of our religion. Sometimes we do nothing but wait and pray and try to show by the example of our lives.

I had an opportunity tonight. At first glance, it didn't seem like much. My mother (who seems to be going through a bit of an existential crisis lately) posted the following on her fb:

Mom:  Well, got the church thing behind me. No tumbled down walls or even a crack in the foundation. LOL

Then alot of her friends comment, laughingly, some who attend the church my grandmother and her family founded, encouragingly.
Me:   Well, you could try branching out a little. :-)
This is my trying-to-be funny way of getting her to at least think about Islam. I thought it was pretty obvious (as I am a Muslim) and either she would pause and think about it or laugh.
Mom: As in?
A few more random comments... Now it's up to me. My mom asked, as in what kind of branching out. Here is my seque, all I have to do is say it.
I freeze. Allah forgive me, but I don't know what to say. I don't want any of my non-Muslim family to think I judge them, to think they are ignorant. However, the very way in which my mother (and others) were making light of this situation speaks to me about one of the inherent problems many "psuedo-Christians" or Christians in name only have: no respect or fear for our Lord and Creator.
Instead of thinking of the best way to highlight the simplicity of Islam, instead of gently saying, I don't think this is really something to be joking about, I cave. Instead I posted the following:
Me: Oh I don't know, like different church or a different denomination or a different religion (for example Islam). :-) Really whatever way you feel you should go, I would support you.
And that's it. I feel sick to myself inside, I feel as if I had something of a chance, an easy way to give dawah, to help spread Islam and all I do is write a couple of joking references. :-( I have never felt myself a coward; I chose a new religion and a new life and didn't worry about what my family would say because I knew in my heart it was right.
But to confront them directly, to even hint that they are wrong and I am right, that there is something intrinsically wrong with the faith base they grew up with, that they are comfortable with... it's a difficult, difficult thing to do. I always thought, if given the opportunity, I would rise to the challenge.
I did not.


Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I find the same thing. I am either to forceful with my father or I say nothing.


Banana Anne said...

Salaam alaikum,

I would have done the exact same thing as you. I am a HUGE coward when it comes to talking about my faith. When my parents inquire about my religious beliefs/practices, I pretty much always deny that I am a Muslim (Astaghfirullah) just to keep the peace. Astaghfirullah, sometimes I even feel embarrassed asking for special accommodations like taking time out to pray or asking if certain foods are halal.

The one thing I try to remember is that dawah doesn't (even shouldn't) be in-your-face. I came to Islam through my own accord, without feeling pressured to do so or made to feel bad about my previous beliefs, and I am grateful for that. If I made myself seem superior for being Muslim and that everyone who isn't is a terrible person (NOT true), that would do nothing but hurt people's feelings and make them think that Muslims are self-righteous jerks. I just try to live my life unapologetically as a Muslim, answer any questions people may have about Islam, and leave it at that. Insha'Allah, ALLAH will give us all guidance, Muslims and non-Muslims (another thing I've realized: just because one is Muslim, even a faithful practicing Muslim, DOES NOT AT ALL mean that we are not in need of guidance).

Adventurous Ammena said...

but what else could you have said sis? I think your comment was great, not too jokingly as you say you dont want to disrespect everyone else... you wrote a different religion and specified which one you thought.. if you werent being 'cowardly' what would you have written??

Jennifer said...

Essalam Alaikum, I can totally relate to this post. I have tried all methods of dawah with all of my family members. It's not an easy situations, but it's one that we all think about. I think what you wrote was great and supportive, the "pushy, you are wrong and are going to hell" has been exploited by the church so much that people especially in the States don't even take it a bit seriously anymore. I think your approach was the best you could have offered... Don't beat yourself up sis, just stay positive and keep them in your dua'a. *hugs!* Don't forget, what I think and try to focus on the most, Allah guides those who WANT to be guided. There isn't much you can do besides be a good example, have excellent manners and make tons of dua'a.

Rene´s Bare Essentials said...

Salaam Alaikum sis,

I know its easy to blame yourself and feel bad for the outcome of the conversation, but it happens to us all. The best thing to do is ask yourself why you feel shy to discuss islam with your mom and think of ways to make dawah to her the next time. I was the same way with my parents! I used to feel shy when talking about islam and felt that if i brought it up they would feel annoyed or think i was insulting them by claiming islam is the correct religion. There is an excellent dawah series by bilal philips and he gives a lot of tips on how to make good dawah and keep the topic on tawheed.
Even if you dont want to talk about religion you could talk about nature for example, or the universe and bring the conversation to tawheed and how islam is the only relion left that still believes in tawheed,etc.
Heres the link to bilal philps dawah training video. Its really good and I think all muslims can benefit from it!

Umm Aaminah said...

Jazakum Allahu khairan my sisters. I appreciate all the good advice and awwww thanks for making me feel better. :-)

@ Renee, insha'Allah I'll check out his dawah series.

You know when someone asks me about Islam I have absolutely no problem to say the correct thing, to bring out the beauty of tauheed and Islam but with my family, the ones I love the most.... well you all know. May Allah bless us and guide us all...


Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu Aleykum dear sister,

I know what you feel.I always make dawah with my mom as I lvie with her and we're really close, kinda "best ennemies" lol, but I find it hard to talk about Islam with the other members of my family, unless they do ask about it.

I guess it's indeed because they are our so close to us, that we don't want to hurt them in anyway, and would like to keep smooth relationships with them.Maybe you could get your husband to talk to them a bit, as it might be easier for him to do so?

Iman said...

Assalamu Alaikum sister.
It is very hard to read your blog because the background is so dark and your letters are not bright enough. I want to read but I am like tilting my pc every which way in order to read, unless there is something wrong with my viewing from my side...
Jazak Allah Khair.

I too am American Muslimah and have non-Muslim family.

Um Abdullah said...

I can totally, totally relate. I had a dream the other night that my mom converted to Islam and I was like in tears just imagining such a wonderful thing. She is not even a Christian. She is a neo-pagan-secular-humanist, at best. She believes everything and nothing, calls herself hyperspiritual, but she is really just lost and confused on exactly what she believes. I don't have the guts to try to give her dawah, partially because she doesnt take my choice of Islam seriously and is convinced it is a passing phase.

Umm Aaminah said...

Jazaki Allah khair Um Z for the advice. Maybe A can speak with them...

Sis Iman thanks for the info. My font is a little light but maybe there is an issue with your computer screen or lighting as well. Insha'Allah I'll work on it;' really I get frustrated when I can't read the font on a blog. :-) Thanks sis!

MaryAnn said...

As Salaam Alaikum, I have the same situation as well. I can think of things in my head that I want to say and tell my parents but when I am put on the spot I cannot think of anything proper and I go all quiet. May Allah help us all to give dawah to our loved ones and be good examples for them. Ameen.