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17. Understanding Islam

15.8. Be patient and understanding

Things are ingrained. They take time to change. Often a Muslim convert ‒ in common with any convert ‒ will remain self-centred, thinking all the time of what may or may not happen to them. It takes time ‒ sometimes even years ‒ to mature to the point where we can trust God in whatever happens. Old habits die hard; Muslims may have spent their entire life thinking about what might happen to them, as their relationship with Allah is centred on just that ‒ what is going to happen to me? The Qur’an says:

“Only those believe in Our verses who, when they are reminded by them, fall down in prostration and exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord, and they are not arrogant. They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” (Qur’an 32:15-16)

Keep in mind that for a new convert, their previous relationship with Allah was based on the fear of punishment and hope of reward, just like any other works-righteousness system. Some theologians think that verses like Acts 9:16 (“For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name”) are promises which apply to every believer, so a new convert from Islam will always be thinking about when the suffering will happens, not if. This is an understandable feeling but it results in looking at almost everything in a negative way. Such a feeling might fade in time but it also might increase and turn into paranoia, and the person might start to be isolated, and have difficulty forming new relationships. Sometimes the attitude of Christians doesn’t help much. What is needed is for some mature believers to guide the person through the beginnings of their Christian life.

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