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  • Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

    Reaching Islam from a non-Islamic background?
    So to give you all a bit of background information on myself:
    I am an 18 year old white British girl living alone in a relatively rural area of England. I have always had a strong interest in philosophy and religious ideas despite being brought up in a non-religious household (like much of modern Britain) ,however, throughout my early education I attended a Church of England (CoE) primary school as it was our closest in location. I have been seeking a path into Islam as the Hadith in particular has personally spoken to me.

    Now to get the aim of this thread:
    Over the last year I have been researching and reading much on the foundations and ideology of Islam but as an outsider I feel almost overcome with the amount of information (the amount of different important figures and cultural references) needed in truly understand the meaning Mohammad (pbuh) and other prophets. Being female, white and British, I am really struggling with the language barrier (I cannot speak Arabic) and actually getting hold of materials to understand Islam further. There is an 'Islamic Centre' in my town but it is a closed community of South Asian Muslim immigrants only and so have felt completely unwelcome to even enter.

    My question for the members of this forum is, what is the best way to join the Islamic community if you're from a completely non-Islamic background or location? I feel like westerners in general would also grow a lot more understanding for the religion if the basic beliefs were laid out in a more accessible manner such as the Christian churches near me with 'all welcome' signs outside their services. I would say that most people I have spoken to in England know the name of Allah and Mohammad (pbuh), the name of the Koran and some of the more controversial beliefs which our media seems to blow out of proportion but other than that there is little knowledge as both communities very much keep themselves to themselves. I feel like many unbelievers aren't unbelievers in spite of God but rather that other than in passing references of Islam, little knowledge is known in order to build up faith. Forgive me for speaking rather generalized but as an outsider I can't help feeling as if the community is closed off and has no interest in taking on people like myself who generally want to know as much as possible...

    Any advice/observations?

  • #2
    Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

    Hello. Well you can use forums like these fot understanding islam and also you can find good islamic leactures on youtube in english. Best way would be to get a english translation of holy quran and read it. other than that you can go islamic center like you meintioned of course you might feel like a outsider due to largely asian community there but i think they would be welcoming if you tell them you are interested in understanding i think they would welcome you. one other thing you can try and get in touch with white converts to islam through facebook or any other social media platform. They can share their understanding and experiences with you. Thanks

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

      Thank-you Saadking for the advice, I already have an English translation of the Quran but I had not really thought about trying to reach out to other white converts! :)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

        Hello,

        Gives me great pleasure to see you finding the light of Islam while asking questions. I've personally always had more respect for people who are muslims because they sought knowledge rather than being a muslim by the virtue of being born in a muslim family.

        It sad that the muslim communities near you have been unwelcoming, this is one of the main reason why the word of Islam is being restricted in our current times, in my opinion. I've just read a post on this forum yesterday where this guy thinks this particular sect of sunni Islam is the only true Islam and rest are kuffar, even the ones which adhere strictly to Qur'an and Sunnah.

        If you have an internet connection I doubt you will ever need the physical presence of a muslim to guide you along the way. Of course it wont be easy but at least this way you wont be forced to listen to the biases any one particular muslim might have who is giving you guidance.

        In Surah Jum'a Allah (swt) has described how our Prophet (pbuh) gave invitation to Islam. To me it seems like you have crossed half, Ie you are convinced of the Signs of Allah (swt) and Qur'an. The other half is purifying yourself by becoming well versed with Allah (swt) who is the ultimate source of purity and gaining wisdom from Allah (swt) the ultimate source of wisdom. Last step is probably the most tedious one and continues life long yet the most satisfying one.

        Online resources: a guide, a role model- my favorite is Mufti Menk for being an all rounder (charismatic + practical and appealing to all ages and people of any kinds of interest in Islam). Nouman Ali Khan for understanding tafsir and deriving lessons from it (quite enlightening). Yasir Qadhi for Islamic history. I like Bilal Assaad as well. You know how in freshman year of University the teachers need to be more charismatic and less invested in details than in senior years, because freshman students need more motivation and inspiration. In my opinion Mufti Menk and Bilaal Assaad are like freshman year teachers.

        Its imperative that you find a mosque sooner or later and meet with the Imam (the head). He will be more than happy to assist you because the reward for bringing someone into the fold of Islam is huge. Don't be shy of what others may say. Aside from the reward from Allah (swt) aspect Imams are known for their wisdom (usually). When you are ready to embrace Islam (you can even right now, perfecting the faith is a gradual process) ask the Imam and he will instruct you thru a few simple steps, including description of how to pray, and the 5 pillars of Islam (shahada (testifying Allah is one, and that Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is His messenger and slave),praying, fasting, compulsory charity, Hajj)

        Feel free to ask any questions. I tried to give a comprehensive picture.

        Regards


        Originally posted by maria.cullen View Post
        Reaching Islam from a non-Islamic background?
        So to give you all a bit of background information on myself:
        I am an 18 year old white British girl living alone in a relatively rural area of England. I have always had a strong interest in philosophy and religious ideas despite being brought up in a non-religious household (like much of modern Britain) ,however, throughout my early education I attended a Church of England (CoE) primary school as it was our closest in location. I have been seeking a path into Islam as the Hadith in particular has personally spoken to me.

        Now to get the aim of this thread:
        Over the last year I have been researching and reading much on the foundations and ideology of Islam but as an outsider I feel almost overcome with the amount of information (the amount of different important figures and cultural references) needed in truly understand the meaning Mohammad (pbuh) and other prophets. Being female, white and British, I am really struggling with the language barrier (I cannot speak Arabic) and actually getting hold of materials to understand Islam further. There is an 'Islamic Centre' in my town but it is a closed community of South Asian Muslim immigrants only and so have felt completely unwelcome to even enter.

        My question for the members of this forum is, what is the best way to join the Islamic community if you're from a completely non-Islamic background or location? I feel like westerners in general would also grow a lot more understanding for the religion if the basic beliefs were laid out in a more accessible manner such as the Christian churches near me with 'all welcome' signs outside their services. I would say that most people I have spoken to in England know the name of Allah and Mohammad (pbuh), the name of the Koran and some of the more controversial beliefs which our media seems to blow out of proportion but other than that there is little knowledge as both communities very much keep themselves to themselves. I feel like many unbelievers aren't unbelievers in spite of God but rather that other than in passing references of Islam, little knowledge is known in order to build up faith. Forgive me for speaking rather generalized but as an outsider I can't help feeling as if the community is closed off and has no interest in taking on people like myself who generally want to know as much as possible...

        Any advice/observations?
        Ask yourself why you were created. Do not let society distract you from seeking the truth.
        Sahih International, 63:3 (Surah Al-Munafiqun)
        That is because they believed, and then they disbelieved; so their hearts were sealed over, and they do not understand.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

          Originally posted by maria.cullen View Post
          Reaching Islam from a non-Islamic background?
          So to give you all a bit of background information on myself:
          I am an 18 year old white British girl living alone in a relatively rural area of England. I have always had a strong interest in philosophy and religious ideas despite being brought up in a non-religious household (like much of modern Britain) ,however, throughout my early education I attended a Church of England (CoE) primary school as it was our closest in location. I have been seeking a path into Islam as the Hadith in particular has personally spoken to me.

          Now to get the aim of this thread:
          Over the last year I have been researching and reading much on the foundations and ideology of Islam but as an outsider I feel almost overcome with the amount of information (the amount of different important figures and cultural references) needed in truly understand the meaning Mohammad (pbuh) and other prophets. Being female, white and British, I am really struggling with the language barrier (I cannot speak Arabic) and actually getting hold of materials to understand Islam further. There is an 'Islamic Centre' in my town but it is a closed community of South Asian Muslim immigrants only and so have felt completely unwelcome to even enter.

          My question for the members of this forum is, what is the best way to join the Islamic community if you're from a completely non-Islamic background or location? I feel like westerners in general would also grow a lot more understanding for the religion if the basic beliefs were laid out in a more accessible manner such as the Christian churches near me with 'all welcome' signs outside their services. I would say that most people I have spoken to in England know the name of Allah and Mohammad (pbuh), the name of the Koran and some of the more controversial beliefs which our media seems to blow out of proportion but other than that there is little knowledge as both communities very much keep themselves to themselves. I feel like many unbelievers aren't unbelievers in spite of God but rather that other than in passing references of Islam, little knowledge is known in order to build up faith. Forgive me for speaking rather generalized but as an outsider I can't help feeling as if the community is closed off and has no interest in taking on people like myself who generally want to know as much as possible...

          Any advice/observations?
          You have no idea how much brown people would openly welcome you (initially). There is some type of infatuation with making European white females Muslim, so you will definitely be welcomed by the Islamic Centre.

          You must also understand that beyond the basic beliefs (which is what a revert should stick to), there exists lots of differences of opinion among different Muslims. Among Sunni Muslims, you can expect to possibly be swayed by: Salafis, Barelwis, Deobandis

          Islam is a religion for everyone though, which is why you should stick to the basics and practice on that.

          There's also lots of resources online for people wanting to be Muslim. You can learn about things like the: 5 pillars of Islam, etc.

          I recommend that you consider speaking to this brother: [MENTION=99637]Gingerbeardman[/MENTION] as he is a European revert like yourself and he can/will be in a better position to answer some of the more challenging matters that reverts face.

          I don't know any revert sisters here, so that is the best I can advise.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

            [MENTION=140612]Rifqah[/MENTION]
            "My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful." (Surat az-Zumar: 53)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

              Originally posted by maria.cullen View Post
              Thank-you Saadking for the advice, I already have an English translation of the Quran but I had not really thought about trying to reach out to other white converts! :)
              I would ignore him. It shouldnt matter what colour they are

              If you were in the midlands I could easily point you in the right direction

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

                Sister, sorry if this is not what you're looking for but stick to the internet and find resources from there.

                Personally, I wasn't taught to pray by my parents, they didn't teach me the details of Islam, I used the internet as a teen to get all the info I live by today.

                Also, this forum is good for asking questions about Islam and getting to know other Muslims.

                Do you want me to link you to some Islamic online resources?
                Abu Malik at-Ash'ari reported:

                The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Cleanliness is half of faith

                and al-Hamdu Lillah (all praise and gratitude is for Allah alone) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah)

                and al-Hamdu Lillah fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light,

                and charity is proof (of one's faith)

                and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you.

                All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.



                حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ مَنْصُورٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَبَّانُ بْنُ هِلاَلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبَانٌ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، أَنَّ زَيْدًا، حَدَّثَهُ أَنَّ أَبَا سَلاَّمٍ حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الأَشْعَرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلأُ الْمِيزَانَ ‏.‏ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلآنِ - أَوْ تَمْلأُ - مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالصَّلاَةُ نُورٌ وَالصَّدَقَةُ بُرْهَانٌ وَالصَّبْرُ ضِيَاءٌ وَالْقُرْآنُ حُجَّةٌ لَكَ أَوْ عَلَيْكَ كُلُّ النَّاسِ يَغْدُو فَبَائِعٌ نَفْسَهُ فَمُعْتِقُهَا أَوْ مُوبِقُهَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏

                Reference : Sahih Muslim 223
                In-book reference : Book 2, Hadith 1
                USC-MSA web (English) reference : Book 2, Hadith 432
                (deprecated numbering scheme)

                أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً ۗ وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ - 31:20

                Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favors, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].


                Please take a look at my blog : http://thinkingmuslima.blogspot.co.uk/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Accessing Islam from a non-Islamic background/country?

                  Originally posted by maria.cullen View Post
                  Reaching Islam from a non-Islamic background?
                  So to give you all a bit of background information on myself:
                  I am an 18 year old white British girl living alone in a relatively rural area of England. I have always had a strong interest in philosophy and religious ideas despite being brought up in a non-religious household (like much of modern Britain) ,however, throughout my early education I attended a Church of England (CoE) primary school as it was our closest in location. I have been seeking a path into Islam as the Hadith in particular has personally spoken to me.

                  Now to get the aim of this thread:
                  Over the last year I have been researching and reading much on the foundations and ideology of Islam but as an outsider I feel almost overcome with the amount of information (the amount of different important figures and cultural references) needed in truly understand the meaning Mohammad (pbuh) and other prophets. Being female, white and British, I am really struggling with the language barrier (I cannot speak Arabic) and actually getting hold of materials to understand Islam further. There is an 'Islamic Centre' in my town but it is a closed community of South Asian Muslim immigrants only and so have felt completely unwelcome to even enter.

                  My question for the members of this forum is, what is the best way to join the Islamic community if you're from a completely non-Islamic background or location? I feel like westerners in general would also grow a lot more understanding for the religion if the basic beliefs were laid out in a more accessible manner such as the Christian churches near me with 'all welcome' signs outside their services. I would say that most people I have spoken to in England know the name of Allah and Mohammad (pbuh), the name of the Koran and some of the more controversial beliefs which our media seems to blow out of proportion but other than that there is little knowledge as both communities very much keep themselves to themselves. I feel like many unbelievers aren't unbelievers in spite of God but rather that other than in passing references of Islam, little knowledge is known in order to build up faith. Forgive me for speaking rather generalized but as an outsider I can't help feeling as if the community is closed off and has no interest in taking on people like myself who generally want to know as much as possible...

                  Any advice/observations?
                  I was 24 when I became Muslim many years ago, and male but like yourself I also came from a rural British environment and felt I would not likely be accepted in the Muslim community but in the end felt I was wanting to do this for the sake of Allah, not for people so if they treated me badly then so be it.

                  However the reaction I got when I said my 'shahadah' i.e testimony of faith was quite the opposite, and was treated if anything too well for an introvert like myself.

                  Now there is a huge amount of literature out there in English, it is not necessary to learn arabic to become Muslim, though you do eventually need to learn enough to say your 5x prayers each day and most larger cities will have a few good, non-cultural mosques which are open to sisters like yourself to come and visit and find out about islam.

                  Could I ask if you have actually formally accepted Islam yet and said your Shahadah, and if not what are the barriers stopping you doing so?
                  If it is only fear of rejection, I'd worry over the opposite problem but don't let that stop you taking this most important step in your life which you do for the sake of God, not for any person or community.
                  FOLLOW THE NEW BLOG - GINGERBEARDMAN - Muslim, father, husband, writer, defender of ginger rights!

                  www.facebook.com/outreach4Islam - Outreach4Islam have been working together in Leicester, calling the not yet Muslims to Islam since 2006.

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