/* */

PDA

View Full Version : A newbies view of Islam's weakness



iConvert
03-11-2021, 12:10 AM
Good afternoon brothers and sisters. I am a recent convert to Islam. If I say something that may be taken as disrespectful, please forgive my choice of words or my ignorance, non of such is meant. I was born a white male in America and raised as a Mormon. When I was 18 I witnessed something that severed my ties with the Mormon religion and set me to wander and ask many questions through decades. I researched and read as much as I could about other faiths. Perhaps it was my immaturity or my distractions through my life or a lack of conviction but it wasn't until almost 40 years later that I became a convert to Islam with the hand of a beautiful Muslim woman. I do not mean that her physical beauty was her single attraction for me, yes she is physically beautiful. But she had the most beautiful heart of any woman I had ever known.

I did not understand the phrases that I said or exactly what I had agreed to when we were married as the whole wedding was in a foreign language to me and was a Muslim wedding. We were married for many years, very happy, but as we grew older together she drew closer to Islam and I did not follow her with the same conviction. I had planned to, but it was not a priority for me at the time.... or so it seemed. My attempts to grasp the religion so that it made sense to me prior to recently left me frustrated with too many internal conflicts with my other beliefs.

But at the dawn of this new year, my motivation was pushed by an unstoppable force and I am committed and practicing now. Now, I have a different thing that is unsettling me. Here I am again, in a religion where I am persecuted. That seems the plight of the believers, as it is the plight of the non-believers to do the persecuting. However, my earlier misconceptions of Muslims and Islam are no doubt shared still with many others throughout the world. We Muslims face a challenge not only to try to spread the message of Islam, but in many cases just to survive the persecution.

So, upon much prayer, and thought, I have some questions for my more knowledgeable brothers and sisters.

1. I found that my conversion to Islam became easier when the passages in the Quran made sense to me, in their English translations. That only began to occur after I studied some of the life and the history of our prophet Mohammad SAW (pbuh) - FIRST. Without the context of that actual history of events surrounding him and the times, the Quran (in its English translations) reads mostly like a rule book of duties, rewards and punishments. Again, without that context of history and events, indeed many of these duties, rewards and punishments seem extreme, nonsensical or purely transactional. This I imagine, is the way Islam is judged by those who have only had a superficial look at the Quran.

2. But to me, the hardest part is that I've always known that Allah sees the hearts and minds of his servants. And yet, the enforcement to recite the prayers and passages of the Quran, for those of us who still have much Arabic to learn, is an exercise in learning to make new utterances without their intentions echoed in our hearts when we pray. I realize that this is a process, and will come slowly but it will come, and I will endure it until so. However, now I will present some of my knowledge, humbly so, please do not be offended, I am only a student and may have misunderstandings still and incorrect knowledge. I am offering my outsiders view while it is still applicable and in my head.

In the time of the Prophet (pbuh), and as the Quran was being written, there were no printing presses, scribes were far and few, even the material to make copies of it onto was scarce. Today it is a common practice and something we take for granted that we can have our own hard copies of the Quran. We can have images of it on our phones, we can have them read to us by machines, etc. etc. But in the days of our Prophet (pbuh) and for centuries after, most people did not have access to a printed copy for reference. So, the rigors of our prayers and rewards to learn and perform were the best way to distribute the Quran... into people's minds that they could ultimately have a copy in their heads. The Quran has many passages that speak of the continued failure of man to remember our God and his words and his commandments in the past. The practices of Islam make this failure difficult to repeat. However, by as soon as the language of the recipients of Islam change, a large obstacle before us that is not in the path of others who are trying to spread the words of their religions.

To a native Arabic speaker, they can hear the words, their minds can grasp the meanings which then lets their hearts be warmed by the intentions. But to a non-Arabic speaker, an Islamic prayer is gibberish. They have to start with a translation for their mind to find meaning in. If I walk into a place of worship for religion 'X', and the prayers their people speak are in my language, it is like music to my mind - I may like it, I may not, but there is no veil of cognizance to defer my opinion. In other words, a weakness of Islam to attract more brethren is because the message is... "in other words". And, those of us who are not native to Arabic, have a hard time praying with our hearts while our mouths are making noises that our hearts have to try to speak over. And, the irony is that the message we want to echo in our hearts is still a translation.

Were a person to perform the Islam prayer with the intentions of the Quran's messages from their lips and hearts in their native language, it would not be Islam. I understand this. I signed up for this. To me, given the choices of religions, Islam is the Master Class of conviction. And I need to prove to Allah and myself that I have conviction to Allah.

To my more learned brothers and sisters, I welcome your enlightenment on my thoughts. Assalaam 'alaykum.
Reply

Login/Register to hide ads. Scroll down for more posts
eesa the kiwi
03-11-2021, 01:47 AM
Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and his blessings)

I am also a convert to Islam I came to Islam in 2009. Since then I have learned a bit of arabic but I really understand where you are coming from.

Some points to note
Keeping the prayers in arabic means they are preserved and universal. If I went to china and the adhan was in chinese I wouldn't have a clue what was going on much less be able to pray with them. The system as is even if you don't know a lick of arabic you can pray anywhere in the world with the Muslims.

Many born muslims are in the same boat. Don't think this is a convert issue. All across the world muslims don't understand. This isn't an issue it's when you don't make an effort in understanding what the message is.

Start learning. It's all very well to say I don't understand but if a Muslim has made no effort to learn some of the blame lies with them. Don't get me wrong I understand how difficult it is I walked this path too remember but whilst difficult it will be one of the more worthwhile things you will do in your life

Let's say a king sends you a letter in a language you don't understand. You have been told it contains aa promise of immense wealth if adhered too and a threat of punishment if ignored

Wouldn't you make an effort to understand? Allah is no ordinary king and he is promising jannah. Surely that is worthwhile as an incentive

Find an alternative. You mentioned not getting the imam boost in salah due to not understanding but there's so much more than that you can do to increase your faith. Listen to Islamic reminders on you tube read islamic books spend time with knowledgeable brothers

Finally don't belittle your current blessings. You may not understand arabic but there are many Muslims who speak it fluently and get up to all kinds of no good. Alhamdulilah you are muslim on a good path

Welcome again to Islam. May Allah bless you through islam and the Muslims through you
Reply

iConvert
03-11-2021, 02:05 AM
Thank you for your wise words and insight brother. You make very good and worldly points. This is my challenge, but not my despair. From the standpoint of trying to get others to take Islam into their minds and their hearts, these are the challenges I see. No doubt, these things are not oversights to Allah. But I truly believe that were it not for my wife, I would have remained lost. Alhamdulillah for her!
Reply

Ümit
03-11-2021, 05:43 AM
İ am a born muslim who lives in Europe.
İ can speak fluently english, dutch, german, and turkish...however not a single word of arabic.

My only advantage above you that İ had the opportunity to start learning about İslaam since birth.
Yes it is a great head start...but to me...arabic also sounds like gibberish.
Like eesa said....this is not a convert problem. Only a small part of the muslims have the luxory of knowing arabic.
Reply

Welcome, Guest!
Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up
iConvert
03-11-2021, 05:05 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts as well brother. Peace to you and your family.
Reply

'Abdullah
03-12-2021, 05:24 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by iConvert
Thank you for your wise words and insight brother. You make very good and worldly points. This is my challenge, but not my despair. From the standpoint of trying to get others to take Islam into their minds and their hearts, these are the challenges I see. No doubt, these things are not oversights to Allah. But I truly believe that were it not for my wife, I would have remained lost. Alhamdulillah for her!
Assalam O Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu dear brother,

Welcome to the family of Muslim brothers & sisters.
If knowing Arabic would help anyone accept Islam then all the people in Makkah & Medina would have accepted Islam. They knew classic Arabic better than many Arab Muslims of today & yet many rejected Islam. What we know from Quran and the hadith is that the guidance comes from Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala & He chooses whom He wills. He guides whom He wills through different ways. Only condition is that one should be sincerely looking for guidance. Perhaps you were sincerely looking for guidance & may have asked Allah to guide you to the truth. You may have prayed for guidance many years ago & you might not even remember. Allah's plan is always perfect & He paved a path for you to see the light of Islam through your wife. May Allah keep showering His blessing on you & your family.

What you see as Islam's weakness, is in fact its beauty. No matter where in the world a Muslim is, no matter what race they belong to, no matter what their material status is; they all pray in the same language. They read Quan in the same original words directly revealed to our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). This is the beauty of Islam which unites us. Alhamdulillah. As brother Eesa mentioned that you just need to try as much as you can to learn Islam & its teachings & more importantly put these in your practice. Knowledge without actions will only lead us to hell fire. May Allah grant us all proper understanding of our Deen & help us to do the actions which bring us close to Him. Ameen!

Islam has always spread through good character & moral values of the Muslims. If you put Islamic values in your daily life, I am sure that would be the best invitation you can give to your non-Muslim family members, neighbors, coworkers etc. Do what is in your control (live Islam) & leave the rest to Allah Subhanahu Wa Taala. May Allah guide many to Islam through you & through us. Ameen!
Reply

Labayk
03-13-2021, 04:08 AM
assalam Alaikum and welcome to Islam and this forum. Arabic is one of the miracles of the Quran. Allah challenged the Arabs in the time of the prophet (salalahu alaihi wa salaam) to produce a Quran like the Quran. The Arabs at the time were masters of poetry, had the Quran been from other than Allah, they could have easily produced one like it. They couldn't do it. Allah made the challenge easier for them and told them to make ten surahs like it. They couldn't do it. Then Allah finally told them to just make one single surah like it and they could gather whomever they wanted from men and jinn to produce it and they couldn't do that either. Even though we have surahs that are only 3 verses long, these Arab masters of the language couldn't produce even a single Surah.

Allah sent signs to the people in accordance to what was appropriate for them. So, for example, Allah sent Musa with the staff that turned into a snake. The science of the day in the time of Musa ('Alaihis Salaam) was magic. Because his people knew magic, they knew that what he brought was not magic and that he (Musa) was not a magician but it was a clear sign from Allah. Similarily, 'Isa (Jesus) ('Alaihi Salaam) came with miracles of healing the blind and bringing the dead back to life with Allah's permission. Because his people knew medicine, they knew that 'Isa ('Alaihis Salaam) was no healer but was a prophet performing miracles by Allah's Permission.

Likewise, the science in the time of Muhammed (salalahu 'alaihi wa salaam) was poetry. The Arabs were master poets. They knew poetry. This is why they knew clearly and very well that this Quran was not poetry but a clear miracle from Allah (azza wa jal).

Arabic is a very rich and deep language. There are many words that simply do not translate into English at all. There is a reason that Allah chose this language.

For example, the word Rahma in Arabic has no English equivalent. A common translation is the word "mercy" which in English gives connotations of someone simply not Punishing us for what we deserve. The word "Rahma" is far more powerful than that. Rahma is more like the all-encompassing favors of Allah that He extends throughout His kingdom to all of His creation. Not quite the same

One of the names of Allah, as-Samad, is another example. There is no hope of translating this name of Allah into English. The translation which is more of a description is: the One upon whom all of creation are in absolute need of, while He is in absolutely no need of anyone. If you can think of a single word in English that carries that same meaning, let me know. :)

Even though we don't know Arabic very well, doesn't mean we can't appreciate the benefit of the Quran being in Arabic. We have the knowledge of the historical fact that I mentioned before that the Arabs could not meet the challenge of the Quran. This increases our conviction in the Truth and authenticity of Islam. The Arabs in the sixth century were a very pragmatic, practical and straightforward people and so was their language. This is one of the reasons why Allah (subhana wa ta 'Ala) chose the Arabs to be the first Muslims and this is the very nature of the Truth itself and one of the greatest strengths of Islam: very simple, straightforward and practical and yet still very deep and very powerful.

When you inshAllah learn a little Arabic and start reciting the Quran while reflecting upon the meanings of the single words that you can learn while you memorize, you will be able to feel some of the power of the words of Allah and the melodious manner in which you recite greatly assists in worship. This is something that we non-Arabs can experience even if it is much less than that of a well-versed Arabic-speaking sixth century Arab.

Also, there is a Hadith from the Prophet (salalhu alaihi wa salaam) that says that the one who recites the Quran with difficulty will have an increase in reward.

May Allah increase us in knowledge and guidance and bring us all closer to His Book. Ameen.
Reply

IslamLife00
03-13-2021, 04:12 AM
Allahuma baarik akhi Labayk and Abdullah, Couldn't have said it better
Reply

iConvert
03-15-2021, 04:25 PM
More wisdom, thank you brother! As-salamu alaikum.
Reply

*charisma*
03-15-2021, 11:22 PM
Assalamu Alaikum bro,

Welcome to the forum,

If it eases your heart to know, as an Arabic speaker myself, I do not fully understand the Quran either without a bit of work. I can attest to the fact that this is the case of many arabic speakers as well. Islam is a religion which requires effort and rightly so as it is the only thing we should find worthwhile and beautiful. And weirdly enough, even though it has some difficulties, it is also very naturally easy.

I hope that you can understand that you are not in competition with anyone, so do not feel like you have to know more or struggle harder than the other person. Allah only judges you by your abilities and sincerity in what you do, and for each individual it is different. The more you strive towards something of a challenge, the more rewards you will receive and that resilience towards Allah can outcompete anyone who does not find any challenge in it.
Reply

iConvert
03-16-2021, 05:10 PM
Assalamu Alaikum fellow brother! Thank you for your encouragement and wise words. I'm afraid my post was misunderstood by most. It is my fault for not being clearer. Yes, these are my frustrations but I knew that would be the case going in. As a Muslim, I feel the duty to attempt to spread the message. And so I am stating what I believe to be a problem in spreading the message compared with the other messages from other religions or viewpoints. But thanks to a post earlier, I have been alerted to something that I would like your opinion on as a native speaker. It seems from multiple accounts and that one of the miracles of the Quran was not only its contents, where and how they appeared, but also that the way it was written was something of tremendous beauty in possibly an artful way. Currently reading nothing but translations the messages are remarkable but of course, there is no beauty in the translations. Can you tell me what is the nature of this beauty as I can not yet see it for myself. Is it poetry? Is it music? What is its nature? Ashkuruk.
Reply

*charisma*
03-16-2021, 07:00 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by iConvert
It seems from multiple accounts and that one of the miracles of the Quran was not only its contents, where and how they appeared, but also that the way it was written was something of tremendous beauty in possibly an artful way. Currently reading nothing but translations the messages are remarkable but of course, there is no beauty in the translations. Can you tell me what is the nature of this beauty as I can not yet see it for myself. Is it poetry? Is it music? What is its nature? Ashkuruk.
It is in the arabic language itself, the way the ayahs are constructed, the choice of words, the meaning of those words, the way it comes together in recitation. The closest thing I would be able to compare it to is perhaps poetry, but yet not quite the same. To give some context, during the time of the prophet pbuh, the poetry competitions were fierce. They had the best of the best and yet those poets were completely astonished by quran and knew it was not from any man.

To give you a simple example of the beauty of the quran, you may pass by the word "heart" in translation. In arabic, there are 3 different words which can mean heart.

1. Qalb - the root word means "to turn/alternate/change"
2. Sadr - a chest which holds secrets
3. Fuaad - a burning emotion of the heart

So when you know the arabic and roots of those words, you can understand much more deeply the meaning of what the verse means. In this example, there are 3 different words which generically mean "heart," yet upon further reflection mean much more. (More in depth here)

Alternatively, the word "Salaam" means submission, peace, and surrender. In this case, one word can have multiple meanings.

This is just a very small example of how words can come into play, but overall there are much greater miracles that one can ponder over. And even as an arabic speaker as I've said, it's only those who take the time to reflect and whose hearts Allah gave guidance that can see more than the concrete, so don't think that every arabic speaker has the ability to see more and reflect. It's something more intrinsic than that for each person. You may even be able to draw inspiration from the quran moreso as an english speaker than as an arabic speaker. Moreover, most of those who have the quran memorized or are Muslim are not even Arabs, but people who have taken the effort to learn it. Also the dialect of the Quran is not the same as the dialect of arabic speakers. There are differences and you'll find that many arabic speakers struggle to understand the quran fully without studying it in depth as anyone else. However having a head-start in writing and speaking, they do take their abilities for granted.
Reply

iConvert
03-17-2021, 02:14 PM
Beautiful and motivating brother, much thanks! Alhamdulillah!
Reply

Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 28
    Last Post: 11-07-2007, 12:55 AM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 09-23-2006, 07:44 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-01-2006, 12:50 PM
Online Quran Academy in Pakistan | HeartHijab.com | Hijab Sale | Pound Shop | UK Wholesale Certified Face Masks, Hand Sanitiser & PPE | British Wholesales - Certified Wholesale Linen & Towels

IslamicBoard

Experience a richer experience on our mobile app!