Subject: We must offer new Muslims more than what we are offering them now, but we first must change Services for new Muslims
by S N Smith
In the context of a facebook thread I posted this comment yesterday regarding people converting to Islam:
“Let’s face it , very few people are coming at all and when they do most don’t stay with it. That is the sad reality we don’t want to admit.”
I stand by this statement based upon what I have seen in my 23 years of being Muslim. Yes, I know many people who have been Muslim for many years, but I am talking about general trends and not specific individuals.
It is my contention that many people are searching for answers and desire to know the truth, and some of those people are led to Islam. They hear its teachings, are touched by the message of the Quran and the noble example of the Prophet (pbuh), and thus make the decision to enter into the fold of Islam.
This is the part we like to hear or read about, but it is only part of the story.
First of all, despite the many conversion stories in circulation, they are still relatively few of them because Islam does not look that attractive to many people and thus they don’t even consider it. This is another whole topic of discussion.
But it is after the shahdah were the real problems lies. These good and sincere people come into the fold of Islam and we destroy everything good that was inside of them. We feed them dogma but very little spirituality, which is also important. We stuff them with information and a set of does and don’ts, but it is all mechanical with very little depth. There is something deep inside of them that they are craving, which previously their sould were calling out to Allah for, but which now has been crushed under the weight of conformity and ritualism. In the absence of this depth they become literally dead on the inside, even though on one level they have embraced the truth. But it is all from the neck up, it is intellectual — although not very deeply so — and little of it reaches the heart. This is so because we ourselves are empty, and an empty vessel cannot possibly fill another empty vessel.
So, in the absence of this deeper spirituality and getting closer to Allah, people either just go along with everyone else like automatons, participating in all the rituals and outwardly conforming to what they are taught, or they just simply leave Islam altogether because they are empty on the inside. If they do stay they turn into a different people, filled with anger in resentment, because that is what we, as a people are. They just repeat or follow what we do and say, which is not that impressive to being with. We provide them a negative example and they follow it, but in the process they become burnt out and hardened on the inside. If they do leave, we blame them instead of looking out ourselves.
We must offer these people something different than what we are offering them now, but before we can do that it is essential that we first develop it within ourselves. This takes time and a lot of effort, but the rewards are immense. We will become more grounded and more people will be attracted to what Islam has to offer them if we do this. Merely adhering to a set of teachings and outward practices, devoid of any inner cultivation of the soul, however, is not attractive to anyone, at least not for me.