Telling your family about changing your religion can be quite a challenge.
After converting to Islam and reciting the Shahada, you can now feel the tranquillity of Islam, especially after getting to know the one God that created you and the universe with all His mercy. You are grateful that Allah has given you His Hidayah, the light of guidance to Islam. But this change in your religion has made you worry about how to break the life-changing news to your family and friends.
Or perhaps you still have not decided whether to convert or not. You hesitating because of the change that will affect your life after this. Changing indeed is not easy. You may be able to persevere and bear with it. But you know that not everyone around you will.
“What about my family and friends? My Mom and Dad? Will they accept me converting to Islam without any opposition and rejection?”
1. “I am converting to Islam. Do people need to know?”
Someone has to know.
To convert to Islam, you have to recite the Shahada — the ultimate key to entering heaven and the first pillar of Islam. While reciting this with the fullness of your heart, you are establishing within you the belief in both the Oneness of Allah being your Lord and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being His messenger.
During this precious moment of reciting the Shahada, there must be at least two Muslims present to act as witnesses. This results in your conversion not being a private matter because at least two people now know you’re a Muslim.
Why the importance of witnesses?Because there will be other Muslims to validate your conversion to Islam thus allowing you to get the Muslim rights you deserve.
What about your other friends? Your family?
In Islam, you are only answerable to your faith and deeds. Therefore, other people’s influence should not stop you from becoming a Muslim.
On the same premise, you are going to learn about Islam and put the actions into practice. So eventually, they will know, and you have to tell them the truth. The good news? Spilling the truth does not have to be done all at once: it can wait.
You just need to slowly build the pace, reveal little by little, until the time for you to share the big announcement.
2. “I changed my religion to Islam. How will they respond?”
The challenge is going to be greater if you have religious parents or friends. Since their religion — your previous religion — has become such an integral part of their life, your change of religion can be a sensitive matter.
Some people are more open in this matter. They may consider faith as a choice of one’s own, so the decision is yours, although they may be quite troubled by it at first.
Others may not really even care: to them, you have the right to lead your own life; whatever path you take, they will still be proud of you and support you fully so long as you know how to take care of yourself and succeed in your life.
You know your parents and friends the best. You know their personality and things that matter to them the most.
You know how they previously dealt with change. Taking all this information into consideration, you can plan your move accordingly.
Again, if you are not that convinced that they will react positively, you could delay it until the right time comes. Knowing them, however, you may need to start slow, allow them space and time for them to be ready.
3. “I am a new Muslim. So what is my next step in this matter?”
The key here is love.
In the teaching of Islam, Allah placed an emphasis on treating parents kindly, loving them and doing good to them. In some verses, Allah even mentioned this responsibility side by side with the important part of being a Muslim: worshipping Allah.
“And your Lord (Allah) has decreed that you not worship except Him and to parents, good treatment.” (al-Quran 17:23)
Being a Muslim with parents that practise a different religion from yours does not release you from this command and responsibility. The loving treatment and obedience to them remain an obligation, except when they ask you to do things that go against the teachings of Islam.
So now the most important step is becoming a good and filial son or daughter to them. The best Muslim is the best to their family. Love them more, and let them love you more in return.
Islam is the religion of love and mercy. Let the love and kindness we show to our parents open the door for them to know more about Islam.
Let’s pray that Allah will strengthen us in facing this challenge and grant the Hidayah of Islam to our parents and friends.