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Telling your family you have converted  For some muslim converts telling their family of their decision is no problem at all. Some families of converts are very happy at the choice to become a muslim, and it is welcomed. Unfortunately though for other converts this is a difficult process, with various obstacles to face.  This page is designed to help new converts through this experience, or perhaps even 'old' converts who have kept their new religion hidden for some time. There is no magical answer as all families are different and will inevitably react in various ways. However, if we cannot provide exact answers, we can certainly go a long way to helping converts feel more comfortable in this situation, and by sharing with each other we will all grow stronger and more able to face problems inshaAllah.  Before we get into the possible family problems and the advice we should first emphasize that although some converts have some problems, there are many others who do not. This page is designed to help those who faced with obstacles, so may unavoidably come across as negative. Please remember that some families of converts are very happy that their relative has converted. Some reasons for positive reactions are as follows: •they are happy that the relative concerned has found God. •they are happy that the relative concerned will be leading a moral life, especially in this day and age. •the family have seen the happiness that the relative concerned has found and this in turn makes them happy. •they are pleased that the relative concerned now has discipline and stability in their life. •families knowledgable about Islam, although they may not convert themselves, realise the truth about Islam (as opposed to the propaganda).    Please remember that the anticipation of telling your family about your new religion is often worse than the reality. We find that we re-run the moment over and over in our minds, imagining the worst possible outcome.  When we come to actually having the discussion, things go much better than expected.  If your worries are more self created, rather than based on 'real problems' then the advice would be to just get it over and done with. We totally understand that this is easier said than done,  however the bottom line is that it is a conversation that you will have to have with your family, or at least your parents, one day, so why not get the ball rolling now and start to deal with any issues that arise.  For those who have bigger concerns with telling their families, we have tried to identify the common concerns, and where we can offer some help. This may also be useful to those who did go ahead and tell their family, but are now experiencing problems. Please do not look at the possible problems below and worry unnecessarily, we have not identified a possible problem without imparting some advice.  It is very unlikely that you would face more than one or two of these problems, in any case it is better to be prepared. Possible Concerns to Deal With (click below for advice): There are many ways of overcoming all these concerns, let us start by reminding ourselves what the Quran says (2.286): Allah (swt) does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of it's ability; for it is (the benefit of) what it has earned, and upon it (the evil of) what it has wrought: Our Lord! do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord! do not lay on us a burden as Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear; and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us, Thou art our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.   If we keep this in mind we will be fine. Alhumdalillah as converts, Allah (swt) immediately allows us this opportunity to spread Islam within our own families. • Your family are religious, practising another faith. How will they react when they hear you have chosen a different path for yourself? (See advice 1 from navigation bar below). • Your family are not at all religious and cannot understand why you would want to become religious. (See advice 2 from navigation bar below). • Your family have been taken in by the negative propaganda and as a result they perceive Islam to be violent. Reactions such as 'You are associating with terrorists'.  (See advice 3 from navigation bar below). • Your family may have the wrong ideas about how Islam treats women.  (See advice 4 from navigation bar below). • Your family think that religion causes war. (See advice 5 from navigation bar below). • Your family suggest that you just take the best bits out of all the religions. (See advice 6 from navigation bar below). • Your family are concerned about 'what will other people think?' (See advice 7 from navigation bar below). • Your parents in particular may feel that they have 'lost' you, and that you are no longer the same child that they brought up. (See advice 8 from navigation bar below). • Your family may think that you have become a Muslim because of someone else, and not because you really believe it. (See advice 9 from navigation bar below). Now inshaAllah you feel more prepared, so how do you go about telling your family? Who to Tell?  When we use the word 'family' this is referring to whoever you decide. For many the main concern is telling the parents and siblings  about their change of religion. Telling other family members may not be something as urgent, but would be necessary in time. To first gain the understanding and support of ones immediate family would be a good platform from where to then reach out to the wider family. What Method to use to tell your family?  The actual method of telling your family really comes down to the relationship that you have with them. Have you always had a relationship that allows the free and easy discussion of any topic? Or is your relationship good, but discussions of topics that might rock the boat are rare? Or perhaps you feel you have a not so good relationship with them. Face to Face Conversation  We would advise the best method is to just sit down and talk to them in an environment that will allow them to express their views freely, i.e. talk to them privately, somewhere where they and you feel comfortable. This will allow for a conversaton to take place, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and you the opportunity to get across the main points that you feel are important. You may feel that you want some of your Muslim friends with you, but this may stifle your family's true reaction, they may not feel they can ask questions about the religion in front of a Muslim audience for example.  A face to face conversation also gives you the opportunity to observe their real reactions and body language, something that will be lost with a telephone call or letter. A Letter  If you feel that you are unable to talk to your family face to face then writing a letter is an option to consider. A letter has the advantage of allowing you time to write and re-write until you are happy that you have expressed yourself in the best possible way. You have the opportunity to make sure that you include everything that you want and that the best possible wording is used.  The disadvantage is clear, you can niether see nor hear their initial reactions. The reaction that you receive will be a delayed reaction, i.e. when you next see your family, or when they have read and digested your letter they may phone you. A lot can be learned from witnessing their initial reaction, although some may prefer to only get a reaction once the family has had some time to contemplate what you have told them.  You might want to consider telling your family face to face, but afterwards leave them with a letter that you had previously prepared. This would ensure any points that you were not able to convey during the conversation, were not missed altogether. A Phone Call  This method does not really apply too well to individuals who still live with their family.  For those living apart from their family, this could be considered. However if the family live relatively close by then we would suggest telling them face to face rather than down the phone, and only consider the phone in the cases where family live at a distance and visits are few and far between.  Using the phone to tell family still involves having to talk to them, so if possible going the extra step and telling them face to face would be better. The phone obviously stops you seeing their reaction, it is not always easy to get a true understanding of someone's real feelings down the phone. We feel that a phonecall to talk to your family about such a matter could also trivialise the issue, which is obviously highly important in your life.  However, if this is the method that you feel suits you best, then of course do it this way.  When it comes to telling other family members then a phone call or a letter could be the best option and the easiest in some cases. Clearly this is an individual choice and there is no right or wrong. You must go with the option that you feel is best for you. Remember in many cases the reaction from family is very good, and in all cases, whatever the reaction, you will feel a sense of relief from simply telling them.   What to Say?  When you are telling your family take the time to explain to them that you have made a decision in your life, explain that it is an informed decision that you have made for yourself. You can discuss some of your reasons for selecting Islam. If appropriate you can thank them for bringing you up in such a way that you have an interest in religion in the first place. You can address any possible concerns that you think they may have. You can reassure them that you are still the same person, and that you will be trying to lead a life of high morals and manners, a life that you hope will make them proud. You might decide to explain a little about how your life will change from now on.  We would suggest not going overboard with your words. Remember the main objective here is to let them know of your decision and to add some words that will help them to accept your decision and InshaAllah be happy for you. It is not the objective to explain all the Islamic teachings, this can come with time InshaAllah.  Whichever method you choose to tell your family this has to be an individual choice of words. You will know the best way to approach the subject with your parents. At the very least you are prepared, you have considered what some of their concerns might be, and you have thought of some possible solutions to these concerns. For example, if they are worried that women are treated badly in Islam, then you can explain the reality to them. So as far as you are able, you are ready to deal with any misgivings they might have.  Don't try and 'over prepare'. Don't spend too much time thinking 'what if they say this..', 'what if they say that..'. Don't get too caught up in this beforehand, you will find that once you start talking to them your words will flow naturally with the help of Allah (swt).  Remember, there is nothing wrong in not knowing the answer to a question. If your family ask you a question and you do not know the answer, simply aknowledge the question and let them know that you are not totally sure and that you would like to find out for certain and then get back to them. This could actually be an ideal opportunity to enable you to bring up the topic of religion at a future date. How to act during the discussion with your family.  As a Muslim you will of course be trying to conduct yourself in accordance with Islam. You will be aware of the manners that a Muslim must try to show etc, you will be aware of the qualities of patience and understanding. Most importantly you will be aware of the rights of your parents and the way in which you should treat them.  Remember that you should not raise your voice to your parents. Just show them love and kindness throughout the discussion. If there are times when a debate starts, as is often the case when discussing religion, remember to speak calmly and softly, and remember to keep smiling :)  Despite your sincerity, you may still feel a little nervous at the start. Your nerves may give an incorrect impression to your family, so try to remain calm and composed, and InshaAllah the strength of your faith will see you through your tough times. Giving your family books  You may want to have a couple of books to hand so that if appropriate you can offer them to your family at the end of your discussion. InshaAllah they will be interested to increase their understanding of the path you have chosen.  Obviously, if you fear that they will disrespect the books, then ensure that you do not give them any that contain the Quran. Please do contact us if you have your own particular circumstances that you would like to discuss.
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