The first weeks and months of a new Muslim after the Shahadah are usually an important, and sometimes difficult, transition phase with many things to learn and many issues to understand and adapt to.
With this very steep learning curve, it is often quite a challenge to fit all the pieces together in such a short time, which can lead to isolation and loneliness.
What should New Muslims do when they feel lonely?
How can they get rid of loneliness and make their transition to Islam easier and more sustainable?
Why should a believer never feel lonely in the first place?
And how do Allah’s Names remind us that He is always with us?
Here’s brother AbdelRahman Mussa’s answers to these and other questions…
In the last video, I ended with a reminder that when you are alone, you’re not alone, that Allah (Exalted is He) is with you, and that in fact you are never alone.
I want to take that a little bit further and explain what I meant by it, and maybe suggest a different way of looking at loneliness, a completely different way, and how to in fact get over the feeling so it does not exist.
Everyone goes through periods when they spend more time with people, and then afterwards the ‘crutch’ is removed, and they feel lonely.
I’m calling that a ‘crutch’ because actually there is something else that needs to be maintained in order for that loneliness never ever even to show up in the first place.
Someone that accepted Islam, what happens is that all of a sudden people flock to them, usually. They go to the mosque, there is that ‘wow’ factor, there is the buzz factor for them, and for the local community as well, they are very proud and accepting of that brother or that sister.
And then with time, life catches up with those people that have spent most time with them, as well as the fact that the family of the person that has just embraced Islam usually they distance themselves a little bit more, problems start to occur … It need not be the case always, but this is on average what happens.
So what happens is that this person now who has been for three, four weeks the center of attention of the community, who has really enjoyed the brotherhood and the sisterhood of their new brothers and sisters, all of a sudden realizes as reality catches up with those people, that they are alone. And then these feelings of loneliness and what not start to kick in.
Now, what I’m going to suggest is that this feeling of loneliness don’t take it as a gage of how successful or unsuccessful you are in this life. Don’t take it as a gage of whether you’re secure or not, you have enough people to call if something goes wrong. Don’t take it as that, but instead take it as a gage of your closeness to Allah. Because the reality is whenever I feel lonely it’s because I have forgotten for a short while that Allah is with me wherever I am, and that’s where I’m suggesting that we look at differently.
If you feel alone, and the more lonely you feel, then the truth is the less aware you are of Allah being there with you, and safeguarding you and looking over your shoulder, so to speak. And so, this feeling of loneliness now, if we take of it as a gage of how close I am to Allah, or how far I am to Allah, the more lonely I feel then the further I am, and the weaker my relationship with Allah is, to the extent that many of the pious really look forward for waking up for Fajr, before the dawn prayer.
Because everyone is asleep. That is the time they can spend quality time with Allah alone. So they actually look forward to being alone because it doesn’t give them loneliness, it gives them intimacy with Allah, and we are never really alone.
The Prophet’s Advice to Ibn `Abbas
Now the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a very young companion with him or horse or donkey back, and his name is Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and he said to him my son or my child, in sha’ Allah I will teach you some words. Ibn ‘Abbas was very eager and the Prophet, peace be upon him, he said:
“Be mindful of Allah and you will find that Allah is there with you. If you ask, then ask from Allah.”
This doesn’t mean that we are not to ask anyone else or do anything like that. What it does mean is that Allah is the Creator of the means, and so therefore when you go ask someone they are “the means”. Wouldn’t it make sense to ask the Creator of that means first so that He makes the means easy and accessible to you, and Allah gives you what it is you asked for without there being a need to go to the means?
So in either way, it makes sense to go to Allah first, and more importantly it builds that relationship that Allah is always there for you. And then later on in the same narration, the Prophet, peace be upon him, he says to this very young companion:
“Know if all of the world, both humans and the jinn (the spirits) were to unite to harm you in any way, they will not be able to unless it was written by Allah that this would happen, (i.e. unless it is was already preordained). And know that if all of mankind and all of the jinn – the spirits – were to unite in order to help you, they will not be able to help you unless it was pre-ordained, unless it was already written by Allah.”
So why go to anyone else when we can go to Allah?
Now he is saying this to a very young man, he is not saying that to someone who is about to lead an expedition or an army, a general or a statesman, or a man who is about to go and leave his country and leave his home and go to a territory that he is unaware of, no he is saying that to a young man. So this means this is applicable to everyone, and that everyone should nurture that relationship with Allah.
There is another hadith, a Hadith Qudsi, i.e. the Prophet, peace be upon him, is narrating what was inspired to him by Allah, but it is in the words of the Prophet himself. And when Allah says that all what He has asked from people is that which is obligatory, and they do that, and then Allah loves them. But then the servant or the slave will go a step further and they will do that which is not obligatory, that which is liked by Allah, but it is not obligatory. And then Allah loves them more, and they continue to do and nurture their relationship with Allah until Allah becomes that which they see with, that which they hear with, and that which they hold or strength with. In another words they are so aware of Allah, that all of their senses are tuned to Allah.
Do you think that someone who has all his senses tuned to Allah, all five of them, do you think someone like that is going to feel lonely?
Now yes they might be ‘alone’, i.e. without the company of other humans, but they will never feel lonely because they know that Allah is always watching.
Eat This Apple Where No one Can See You
I’m going to end with a story that I was told when I was a lot younger.
A father tests two of his children. He gives them each an apple and he says to them go eat this apple where no one can see you. So the first child runs and he goes underneath the bed and he begins to chew the apple and eat it. He bites into it and finishes it in no time.
The second child goes to the cupboard, and he is about to eat, but then he remembers so he runs into the garage and he goes under the car, and he is about to bite into the apple and then he realizes that Allah is watching him. And then he goes from place to place to place, and each time he is about to take a bite into the apple, he realizes that Allah is watching him. And so he goes back to his father and says I could not find anywhere where Allah will not be watching.
So many of the attributes that Allah has got to do with Ar-Raqeeb, that He is watching over us. Al-Sami`, Al-Basir, the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, the One Who provides sustenance, and so many names of Allah such that you never need to worry about being alone.
It’s not the case that the more people are with the safer you are. Only if Allah is with you that is the true gage of safety that is the true gage of happiness and love.
Jazakum Allah Khairan
Wassalamo `alaikum wa rahmatu Allah