Helping new converts to stay on the right path

A muallaf learning prayer (solat). Photo: BT

A muallaf learning prayer (solat). Photo: BT

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

EVERY year, Muslims in the Sultanate welcome new members into the community as hundreds of people choose to embrace the Islamic faith. These new Muslims might have chosen Islam for various reasons and through various ways, but surely, they are among the people chosen and guided by Allah the Almighty to the True Path. From many reports, we know that most, if not all, of them had contemplated the idea of conversion and studied the religion for a long time before making the bold decision.

The relevant authorities and members of the Muslim ummah here are known to be among the most generous, especially in terms of how they treat these converts, or new brothers and sisters in Islam. All stakeholders always try their best to help those who want to take the leap of faith by embracing Islam and continue helping them later through various programmes so they can get a better understanding of their new religion and become true Muslims.

What happened a few days ago was a confirmation of the authorities’ sincere appreciation of these new Muslims. Last Sunday, five Muslim converts from four districts in the country received awards for their dedication and efforts in disseminating Islamic faith. Minister of Religious Affairs YB Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abdul Rahman presented them the awards in a ceremony held at the Islamic Da’wah Centre. One of them received the Da’ie Special Award and the other four received the Exemplary Converts Awards each for their contribution to Islamic da’wah in the country.

The relevant authorities always try their best to help improve the mualaf’s understanding of Islam and the quantity as well as quality of their acts of worship through various programmes and activities. Of course, the new Muslims need these kinds of assistance and close supervision in helping them maintain the hidayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has granted them in order for them to stay on the right path.

The authorities should help guide them toward developing a deep and strong relationship with Allah whereby they turn to Him for their needs and fear Him in secret as well as in public. They should encourage these converts to seek religious knowledge and purify their intentions for Allah in all words and deeds. They deserve guidance on how to develop strict obedience to Allah and follow His commands and teachings.

Indeed, the new converts or muallaf are among the luckiest and brightest persons for successfully finding their way to the Straight Path with the hidayah (guidance) from and will of Allah the Al-Hadi, the Most Powerful and Most Gracious.

They are lucky and bright because they did not find Islam just like that, without any efforts. They found the true religion after going through difficult journeys, situations and tribulations. Some had to sacrifice their relationship with their parents and other family members, friends and all the worldly comforts they had enjoyed in their search for genuine happiness. And it is in Islam they find spiritual peace and solace. They chose to believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and become Muslims. Being among the farsighted, the muallafs are proven to have the true vision which is the happy life here and in the hereafter. They know life here in this world is short and mortal in nature, so they aspire for genuine happiness in the eternal life in the hereafter.

Ironically, there are many people who have been Muslims since birth and raised in Muslim families but whom are among the losers because they do not get hidayah and are not eager to gain Allah’s guidance. They are not smart enough as Muslims because they are ignorant and do not care about their destiny after death. They only care about their worldly affairs and abandon their true mission to perform acts of worship to win Allah’s love and pleasure.

Allah the Exalted created the universe and provided it with His divine light. The word “Hadi” (The Guide) is derived from the Arabic word “Hada” (guide). It is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala who grants guidance to people. Thus, hidayah is a God-given gift which He places in the heart of whomever He wants to give guidance. God “Al-Hadi” says: “And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to the Straight Path.” (Yunus 10: 25)

The straight path is a kind of way, and God has given man the ability to make his own choices. And whosoever desires guidance, God guides him to a way that leads to the abode of peace for which man has been created. For that, he has been given the ability to make his own choices. If he chooses the abode of peace (paradise), God guides him to the way that leads him to it.

Similarly, the word “Hidayah” means guidance to the truth. The words “Guide us to the Straight Path” mean we beg Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala: “Oh Lord! Make our hearts inclined towards You! Make all our work for You! And guide us unto You!”

For that, man has been given a free will to make his own choices in life. God says: “Verily, We (Allah) show him the Way, whether he is grateful or ungrateful.” (Al-Insan 76: 3)

Oh Allah, show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not [the path] of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. May Allah purify our hearts from heedlessness and grant us HIDAYAH. Aamiin

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Fri, 5 Dec 2014

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