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In the Name of God بسم الله

Salat at my parents' house?

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sukaina_08

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Salam alaykum,

I'm traveling to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas with them and am concerned about what to do regarding prayers. They have 3 dogs that they keep indoors, and they are allowed pretty much free access to all parts of the house. Plus it's impossible to be there without them touching you and getting their hair on your clothes. What makes my situation more difficult is that they don't know I'm a Muslim yet; they are highly against Islam - they're very conservative Christian. I would need to pray in secret, without getting dog hair on my prayer rug and clothes - which seems fairly impossible! I also don't want to cause any suspicion or questioning by taking showers constantly or washing my clothes while there....

Further bothersome is how I'll get away with not eating any meat while there. I'm not particularly comfortable claiming that I'm a vegetarian because I don't know anything about it and my family thinks vegetarians are really stupid - so I'd be eaten alive if I said that. UGH. I could claim to be sick, but then they'd give me all sorts of [Edited Out] about being too skinny and unhealthy and blah blah.

Not to mention that I won't be able to wear hijab while there (I'm hoping I can get away with wearing a big warm hat as much as possible, and hoods)... and of course I'll be expected to go to church - during which I'm worried they'll serve communion and what will I do then???

I wonder if I really have to go... :unsure: but I guess I need to do my Islamic duty and make an appearance out of respect for my parents.

Anyway my main point is, what to do about salat?

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Keep a set of prayer clothes and a prayer rug in a bag away from dog hair. Just do your best. Eventually you are going to have to tell your family that you are Muslim, but Christmas definitely doesn't seem like the time to do it. You could also fake a developing dog allergy if you have been living away from your parents without a pet for a while, and they might be willing to close off a room for you, which you could at least vacuum to keep the hair under control.

If your family is Catholic, you can just not go to communion. Plenty of people skip it for minor "sins" such as missing Mass. When your family stands to go, just politely move out of the way so they can go, then return to your seat.

As for the meat, the only suggestion I have is to bring food and offer to cook it. But that might not work for your circumstances.

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I wonder if I really have to go... :unsure: but I guess I need to do my Islamic duty and make an appearance out of respect for my parents.

There is no obedience to creation (not even your parents) when it means disobeying your Creator. If you're just not up to telling them now that you've converted, my suggestion would be not to go for the Christmas visit if it's going to involve all of those problems you've listed (removing hijab, eating haram meat, participating in Christian worship, etc.) To add to it, do they drink? I ask because you're not allowed to eat at a table where someone is doing that, and being a convert I know it's a holiday "tradition" to get the wine out...

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assalamu `alaykum, sister

I feel you. I really do. Any time that you need to vent, PM me.

Are there public paces in the area where you can spend some time away from the family? Is there a way to make it look as if you have meat on your plate but not actually eat it or anything that touches it? Or perhaps you could skip the meat quietly without much fanfare?

Keep the faith, and make the good struggle.

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salam alaikum,

i don't have much to add, only that many of us have had to go through the same experiences more or less.

for me, the meat has always been an issue. the often felt refrain (though never actually stated) is "what, our food isn't good enough for you?" it is extremely difficult for me to see eye to eye with the fiqh on this sometimes, but i try my best. even if i don't want to make a big deal out of it and want to be discrete, somehow it becomes an issue.

my parents choose not to understand my beliefs, so even after almost 11 years now they still mock me in not so many words.

i ignore the fiqh aspect of not sitting at the same table with alcohol, my family wouldn't understand and i am not drinking anyway, Allah knows that. i don't care what other people may or may not think.

my parents no longer have a dog, so that makes things easier. before, me and the dog were buddies. we had a bond and ignoring him would be mean, so instead i kept separate clothes and used a washable towel to pray on. that way i didn't get hair on my prayer rug, and i could change the towel out often. just do your best and try not to be neurotic about it.

you are new, so just to remind you, it is okay to observe prophet isa's (as) birthday. let it be a happy time, and considering your parents are christian, when you do finally get around to telling them about your conversion, focus on the love we are taught to have for jesus. they will have an easier time if they know you love jesus. maybe when and if you ever have kids, it will be good for them to have celebrations for the prophet and his family's (as) birthdays as well. that might help for balance, because christmas is such a big deal here.

maybe we need to come up with our own festivus for the rest of us. like an eid cactus or something. i feel 'the holidays' still, because of how i was raised (not so christian but into christmas), but i have to admit, eid sort of comes and goes with no real fanfare. i look forward to muharram every year, but that is different. we need a theme that is distinctly eid-like.

Godspeed.

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Thanks so much everyone for your responses. That's a very good idea to keep separate clothes in a sealed plastic bag or sack so that they won't get dirty. I also really like the idea of praying on a towel instead of a prayer rug - I was also worried about my rug getting dirty, so that's a great solution.

They're not Catholic - they rotate between Christian and Southern Baptist churches - although I think they may be going to a Methodist church occasionally as well. I never paid attention before if there was communion served at the Christmas eve service; I hope not! I figured I would just not take the meat, and if asked, say I just didn't feel like eating it... if pushed I'll say that I'm not feeling well - or pull the 'that time of the month' card. My dad and brothers will never mess with that, hehe.

I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences - it helps to know that I'm not the only one going through all of this! It's definitely not the right time to tell my parents of my conversion, especially because it's Christmas, as some have pointed out, and because I've only recently gotten to the point where I feel strong and capable enough to answer critical questions.

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MWAHAHAHAHA SWAP THEIR TURKEY WITH A HALAL ONE ON THE D-LOW AND EAT LIKE THERE IS NO TOMMOROW MWAHAHAHAHA :!!!: :!!!: :!!!: :!!!:

Man, how I love Xmas food.

Take many big towels with you and then when your finish praying put it in the wash and use another one. Dont take a prayer mat cos mums always go through the kids bags and if she finds distinctley islamic stuff then she'll get a shock, n im sure that aint the way you want her to find out.

Wear the hooded tops you mentioned or look through fashion magazines, im sure there is some sort of in-vogue headscarf style that you can do your scarf in so as to not look obvious.

As for the dogs they are generally considered Najas but i did read an article on submission.org about dogs and how the Quran doesnt say they were dirty and only Abu Hooray-ray narrated anti dog hadiths. The notorious exaggerator also was a cat fan which may explain this. On the other hand submission.org are quran only muslims and disregard all hadith, but they still make good points for you to discover. And the allergy excuse someone else mentioned is a good one. Keep sneezin n say 'oh i must be getting an allergy'.

And as for the alcohol at the table thing ignore some of the impractical people on here. They are born muslims and are arrogant to the problems of reverts. Of course we are not allowed to sit with them, i am not arguing this law, but you are still on your journey and will not be able to uphold everything yet, considering the fact your family is still unaware of your islam. Allah (Swt) told us in the Qu'ran 'we do not wish hardship for you' and 'we only test each soul to what it can handle'.

Your niyyah is important and the fact that you are genuinley trying your best. InshAllah by next year they will know and you wont have these problems.

And if all else fails, the womens time excuse you mentioned will most certainly shut the males up lol. It works when females use it with me. i shut up n go and hide. normally for 4-5 days.

Wa Allahu Alam

Edited by Hassan kachal
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Salaam,

I think in cases like this you have to order things by priorities!

In an ideal world (or an easy one like brought up in a Moslem community and mainly socialising with other people in that community) you would not sit with people drinking alcohol e.g. but in our situation this is near impossible without insulting family members or causing a big scene. It is really important not to put your family off Islam and make them think you are some sort of fanatic before you get chance to explain the true Islam to them.

In the end (I know it is a bit late now) you need to ask your marja because people on the forum will all have their own interpretations/views based on their own life and situations.

I do remember a lady asking a Grand Ayatullah in Iran about a situation where she would be faced with a meal from an American family (new in-laws) and didn't want to insult them but knew the meat wouldn't be halal. She was told to make excuses and not eat it if it were pork, but for this one occasion, otherwise to pray over the meat and eat it. I have no ref. for this but remember this story. I am not advising you to do this, just giving the example to show there are different views and interpretations.

I had exactly the same situation as you when I first converted and I tried the vegetarian excuse and it actually made matters worse! A vegetarian at the Christmas dinner table is worse than a Moslem in my family! It is difficult because even if you decide to eat the turkey it often comes with pork trimmings doesn't it?

Would your family allow you to buy the turkey? As your contribution to the festive gathering? If by some miracle they agree then run to the halal butchers and order one!

One suggestion: How about at least for one meal (they probably won't agree to xmas day) booking a table at a restaurant as a surprise 'present' from you to the family. Make sure you find a halal restaurant: Lebanese, Persian, Turkish or Indian - so that deals with one meal.

Or serve it all on your plate and munch away at loads of potatoes, sprouts and veg etc and just hope they don't notice you leave the turkey! I even resorted to slipping the meat into napkins on my lap once and then secretly feeding to the dog!!!!!

If there is alcohol at the table - I personally would just ignore that issue - it is small compared to being with your family. Buy some herb/fruit wine as a present to have on the table or fruit juice. Again you could, rather than cause a scene, let them pour you a glass of wine, just don't drink it. Half the time, if people are unaware you are Moslem they will just expect you to eat/drink the stuff anyway they won't be watching you with eagle eyes to see what you do! They will be busy with their own food.

Dogs are another issue: how about a 'white lie'. You could say you have recently discovered you react to dog hair - say it's not a problem in small amounts, but you are being careful as far as poss. to avoid sitting/being where many dog hairs accumulate. Maybe make a big fuss of the dogs when you come in and then say "great now I have to shower/wash or my eyes will start itching and nose running and chest wheezy" - and then wash and change clothes. And then try and avoid them. Ask your parents to keep them out of where you are sleeping and off the bed or you will get allergy symptoms. I suppose you could always pray on top of the bed i.e. on the mattress? Presumably the dogs won't get on there?

Another thing with your prayer mat - bring an extra cloth/towel to put under it. Otherwise, the bottom of the prayer mat will get covered in dog hairs as this will be touching the floor with hairs on etc.

I hope this helps a little.

It is VERY hard I know, but little by little, still being the same 'family girl' and not pushing them away, you can introduce them to your new life. "I've stopped drinking". Then "I've been studying world religions looking to develop my spirituality". Then "I think I've found the path I'm looking for." You can even say, you know they will be shocked, but after careful study, you realise it is not what most people think and if you they are religious themselves, explain it to them as 'an extension' and building on the religious foundation they have given you rather than a 'rejection' of their beliefs. This is the important bit. My own mother (may Allah bless her soul) who was a strict Catholic responded to me by saying that she believed everyone had their own personal way of following and believing in the same God. She was obviously scared by what she understood to be 'weird rituals' or ways of life of Muslims but other than that was accepting and supportive. My father was more difficult, but he could not understand as he was not religious.

Now....... 33 years on, my father still tries to ignore the fact I am Muslim, but has resigned himself to the fact. According to my sisters he defends Islam in pub arguments etc. but he would never let me know this I think!

A couple of years ago when I got re-married (to another convert) my father came to the wedding and had deep and meaningful conversations with the Imam/prayer leader. Even shook his hand and told him he enjoyed the service! And then goes home to his own town and tells his mates he knows a Muslim Imam and he knows better than them about Islam and has a vantage point on which to base his discussions.

Your family are/will be scared. It is all the stuff they do not understand and that is alien to them that scares them, not believing in Allah and the Prophets. They will be scared you will start acting strangely, eating differently, rejecting them and their way of life, so this is where you need to tread carefully. Otherwise they will react in the same way I do when approached by a Wahabbi declaring everything is "haram, haram, haram".

But I digress.... remember above all IT IS YOUR INTENTION that is important. Allah is kind and merciful. You can only try your best. I think it is important you find a marja you are comfortable with if you haven't already and turn to them with such issues when they arise. This is their job/role. They can advise you better than any of us and will take YOUR specific circumstances into account along with their extensive Islamic knowledge and give you an answer specific to your situation. Otherwise it is like taking other people's medicine. I may prescribe a certain medication for one patient but this is not the right one for another patient even with the same condition! Once this holiday season is over, contact your marja and ask for advise for future situations based on your experience this xmas.

I wish you lots of luck and most of all pray for guidance and you can then be certain you have tried your best

Allah hafez

Fatimeh

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If you need to shorten your prayers like read them quickly then you can follow this. Even though it is for qadha prayers it can be applied to normal prayers to maybe:

The easiest way to perform your Qadha prayers

You may suffer from the difficulties of performing the Qadha prayers specially when you have a huge number of prayers, which might due to some mistakes in your previous prayers such purity “Taharat” .. etc, or for other reason. Therefore we will try to demonstrate an easy way to perform the prayer so you can perform all your prayer in very easy and short time too inshaallah.

The method

Usually when you learn the method of the prayer from our parents, relatives or others, we do not realize the obligatory and the recommended things in the prayer. And you think this is the ideal method of the prayer which makes it valid. Hence sometimes you feel lazy to perform your qadha and delay it to the next day and so on until you find that you have a big number of prayers that you should perform. Now we will show you the simplest method of the prayer without and recommendations “Mustahabat”

The normal prayer with some Mustahabat is:

1- Athan

2- Iqamah

3- Intention

4- Takbiratul Ehram

5- Qiraat + Mustahabat + Qunut

6- Tasbeeh + Mustahabat (In the third and fourth Rak'ats)

7- Ruku + Mustahabat

8- Sujood + Mustahabat

9- Tashahhud + Mustahabat

10- Salaam + Mustahabat

While The simple prayer without Mustahabat is:

1- Intention

2- Takbiratul Ehram “Allahu Akbar” once

3- Qiraat “sorat Al-Fatiha + short Sura such as Al-Kawthar”

4- Qunut “Subhanallah” is sufficient

5- Tasbeeh (In the third and fourth Rak'ats) “Subhanallahi wal hamdu lillahi wa la ilaha illal lahu wallahu Akbar” once is sufficient

6- Ruku “Subhanallah” is sufficient or “Subhanallah” three times or “Subhana Rabbiyal 'Azimi wa bi hamdih” once

7- Sujood “Subhana Rabbiy al-A'la wa bi hamdhi “once or “Subahanallah” three times

8- Tashahhud “Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wahdahu la sharika lah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan 'Abduhu wa Rasuluh, Alla humma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad”

9- Salaam “Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh” is sufficient

Reciting Takbir before going to Sajdah and after having stood up from Ruku ..etc is recommended and not obligatory. Therefore if you perform the prayer in that way then it is sufficient

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Greetings,

Here are the articles on dogs from submission. org

I really wish that we would be more careful about where we get our information about Islam. The "Submission" site is not even a Muslim site. They reject Prophet Muhammad and delete two ayat from the Qur'an.

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you are new, so just to remind you, it is okay to observe prophet isa's (as) birthday.

assalamu `alaykum

Which marj`a ruled it permissible to celebrate Christmas? I did not know about this before.

I do know that Prophet Jesus was not born on 25 December or anytime in December. In fact, 25 December is the birthday of the pagan sun deity. Christains adopted that same date so that they could impose a "Christian" holiday over a pagan one. They retained many aspects of the pagan festivities in the process. Scientists say that Prophet Jesus was born in the summer; and it is also possible that he was born in the autumn.

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salam alaikum,

i couldn't find everything i have read before on the subject of christmas, but i think the quote below shows the general idea. the general idea is to keep it all in an islamic perspective. as far as the actual birthdate of prophet isa (as), this thread right here gets into that. from those calculations, jesus's birthday may have been late spring, early summer (may-june). when do dates ripen in palestine?

this is from one of sayyid fadlallah's friday sermons:

How to celebrate Christmas and New Year

At this point, I would like to point out to many of our brothers who like to imitate the Christians in lighting a Christmas tree. We are not against celebrating Christians [i think translator means 'Christmas' here], for Jesus is a Prophet of God, but the Christmas tree came from the West. if you want to put a tree let it be a palm tree, as the Quran says that Mary sat near a palm tree and ate from its dates.

But it seems the Christ was not born in December, because it is not the season dates ripe, although some say that it was another miracle.

If Muslims wish to celebrate Christmas, they should read the Sura of Mary. We have to teach our daughters and women who Mary was: The pure, chase and honorable worshipper who relied on Allah alone. If we want to celebrate the occasion we should do so in an Islamic fashion and not use it as an excuse for dissoluteness.

As for the New Year, it represents an occasion to hold ourselves accountable.

We should review how we acted last year, and how we should act in the New Year… If we were mistaken, we should ask God for forgiveness, and if we had good deeds we should ask Allah to increase them. We should study our points of strength and weakness, to know how to act in the future. And we know that Imam Zein al-Abidien taught us what to ask God at the beginning of each day, month and year:

O God,

bless Muhammad and his Household and make this the most fortunate day we have known, the most excellent companion we have accompanied, and the best time in which we have lingered!

Place us among the most satisfied of all Thy creatures whom night and day have passed by, the most thankful of them for the favors Thou hast done, the firmest of them in the laws Thou hast set down in the Shari'a, and the most unyielding of them toward the prohibited acts against which Thou hast cautioned!

Let our coming year be a year that we draw nearer to God and use all our potentials in increasing the good and in establishing justice.

Edited by Photi
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Thanks for posting that, Photi - it's nice to hear an Islamic perspective of Christmas. Thanks FatimehJ for your detailed post - I'm always excited to hear about the experiences and stories of other reverts facing similar situations. I agree with many of you that it isn't really feasible to refuse to sit at a table where alcohol is being served. My parents have recently decided that they like wine, so I'm sure it will make an appearance at some point, and both my brothers drink beer. I actually just arrived at my parents' house a few hours ago and had some difficulty already. They made dinner - a macaroni dish - so I got some and started to put it in my mouth when I realized that there was ground beef in it! I didn't know what to do because everyone was watching me and there was nothing else to eat. I just said "Ya Allah" to myself and tried to eat just the macaroni and pick out the beef as much as possible. :( Then even before I finished eating, they let the dogs loose so I could pet them - everyone was watching me again so I knew I couldn't avoid petting them. (I should mention that I love dogs by the way) I tried to just pet them with one hand and then washed it as soon as I got a chance.

I also asked where we would be going for the Christmas eve service, and was told that we'd be going to one in particular specifically because they serve communion (AHH!). Seriously?! I wonder if I need to get 'sick' on Wednesday.... or maybe I could still go but 'suddenly' have to go to the bathroom really bad just before communion is served.... hm.

FatimehJ is right - when I do find the right opportunity to inform my family of my reversion, they most certainly will be threatened - they'll be angry, scared, worried, furious... I was reading Nahjul Balagha just now and ran across something Imam Ali said: "People are enemies of what they do not know." How true that is.

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There's nothing wrong with touching and petting dogs. You just need to take care to wash before praying. Make your best effort, and if it is impossible to remove all dog hairs, you will nonetheless be rewarded for your intentions and efforts. If you have doubts about the validity of your prayers, you can repeat them once you are in a dog-free environment.

I don't think there is anything intrinsically wrong with having bread and grape juice (but not wine). If they call it communion and you call it having some bread and grape juice, again, the intentions are what counts. I'd feel better about avoiding it, but if you can't don't worry too much.

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Another update (sorry, don't mean to unload on the forum so much but I have absolutely no outlet while here at my parents' and am going insane):

Ya Allah....

Well, my parents decided they wanted to go to a particular church today specifically because it served communion for the Christmas eve service (ahhh!). All my plans of attempting to get out of taking communion failed as the pastor asked everyone to get up and form a line to take it at the front of the church (how embarassing for those who aren't professing christians!). My whole family stood up, with me in the middle, so I really had no choice but to get in line. I ended up just taking it but told myself it was an empty ritual and God knows my intentions. The good news though is that I managed to get away with wearing a hat and a scarf around my neck the entire time with the excuse that I was cold (of course then my family started nagging me about being too skinny). My mom tried to take my hat off once, but I managed to convince her of how cold I was. I was the only person in the entire church completely bundled up (and I kept getting stared at), but I didn't care - I'd

rather please God than please random people I'll never see again.

And I've gotten in numerous arguments with them already (4 against 1, ugh) attempting to explain how Islam is NOT a religion that teaches violence and abuse against women and a disregard for human life (as they strongly believe). I asked them to PROVE where it teaches that, and the argument was adamantly "It just does!!" Ugh the ignorance and hate is far worse than I thought. And they don't even know I'm Muslim yet! Oh and according to them, the people who trampled the Walmart employee to death on Black Friday (in the US) were all black Muslims. They must have been, because no white or Christian person would ever do that. I almost choked hearing that - where to begin?! Complete ignorance of psychology (the mob or crowd mentality, or just plain greed, common to everyone regardless of religion or race), blatant religious and racial discrimination, complete lack of cultural self-awareness... This discussion then led to my brother stating that there are no Muslims in Africa - African Americans just convert to Islam because it gives them an excuse to be violent (my point had been that some African Americans revert back to Islam as it was their original religion before they were forced into Christianity via slavery). No one showed me much respect and didn't listen to what I had to say. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I'm praying to God that I can survive this 'holiday' with as much strength and dignity as possible...

Well I'd better get off shiachat (and clear my browsing history) before someone comes to ask what I'm doing!

Edited by sukaina_08
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There is no obedience to creation (not even your parents) when it means disobeying your Creator. If you're just not up to telling them now that you've converted, my suggestion would be not to go for the Christmas visit if it's going to involve all of those problems you've listed (removing hijab, eating haram meat, participating in Christian worship, etc.) To add to it, do they drink? I ask because you're not allowed to eat at a table where someone is doing that, and being a convert I know it's a holiday "tradition" to get the wine out...

ithink it is time to tell them . remember salman farsi? companion of the holy prophet Moh's (saw)?

he was son of fire worshippers from persia. read hs story and get strength to tell your parents nicely . dont yell at them please.

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Well I'd better get off shiachat (and clear my browsing history) before someone comes to ask what I'm doing!

salam alaikum,

you might try google chrome. it has a nifty incognito mode that keeps no history of where you've been on the net. well, no history on your hardrive anyway. it does have spyware written into the code that tracks your usage to report back to google to supposedly improve the functioning of the browser by studying peoples' surfing habits. many people believe the inclusion of this spyware (each browser gets a unique number that google has access to, so it always knows you are you regardless if your ip changes often) goes against the spirit of google's 'to do no evil' business policy. if you want, you can unchrome. this will anonymize your browser. then you have to turn off the acitve search function (it will search as you type into the address bar) and google will keep no record of your browsing.

my personal copy of chrome will not keep me logged into shiachat, but others have successfully used chrome on shiachat. anyway, sorry for the long tangent, i was telling you all this because the incognito mode might come in handy while you are at your parents house.

secondly, i wanted to suggest a book. it is called daughters of a another path. this is a great book written by a christian woman whose daughter converted to islam. i bought this for my own mother back when i first converted, but i couldn't persuade her to read it. you might have better luck with your family.

merry christmas!

Edited by Photi
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Salaam Aleikom sister,

Its funny to read your story as your family sounds a lot like mine. When you do have the courage to tell them it wont be easy and you will argue idiotic points for the rest of your life, but you are teaching them something in the process also.

This Christmas for me the hardest thing is singing, I used to always sing all the traditional songs for the children and then with my daughter when she got older, this year as we are all back together (she came up early to spend Christimas with the family) for the first time since I became muslim, my daughter wants all the traditional things. I am fine doing everything to make her happy but the singing, and I almost caved on that, but I decided not to, I think the kids wont respect me or Islam if they think I will trade my Islamic beliefs due to pressure. I explain eid to them and tell them any gifts they get from me are for eid, this way they get something from me and they learn something about Islam in the process. My mother is perfectly happy to allow me to do all the cooking (haha) so I can have and serve halal food. Animals are not a problem though as my mother only has two cats, and I keep them out of my room anyway.

It will never be perfect because our families are Christian so they will never have a full understanding of this choice, however, they will appreciate some of the perks in time, my mother is happy she no longer has to do any cooking and my son is thrilled to death he will never have to buy me another Christmas present! (ha ha) For some things you will have to grow a tougher skin, but Allah will help you through it all. That I promise you hun, you will find strength where you didnt know you had any.

Look at them as ignorant because they really are, and treat them like you would treat children, this works the best as you will have to have much patience with them, and you never know, they might suprise you.

When you tell your mother, give her the book 'Daughters of Another Path', its an excellent read for both of you, (even if it wasn't due to the influence of marriage that you converted, it will help her to veiw another family whose daughter converted to Islam and the feelings experienced by her family and mother in particular) she will need to read it, I think it will help her a lot, it helped my mom, for everything you think yourself to be going through in telling them, they really are going through just as much, even if it dosen't seem like that to us.

And, as it is now Christmas day, and we do honor and love the Prophet Isa (as), Merry Christmas. I hope you have been able to weather your family and have enjoyed being home with all of them. :)

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I'm traveling to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas with them and am concerned about what to do regarding prayers. They have 3 dogs that they keep indoors, and they are allowed pretty much free access to all parts of the house. Plus it's impossible to be there without them touching you and getting their hair on your clothes. What makes my situation more difficult is that they don't know I'm a Muslim yet; they are highly against Islam - they're very conservative Christian. I would need to pray in secret, without getting dog hair on my prayer rug and clothes - which seems fairly impossible! I also don't want to cause any suspicion or questioning by taking showers constantly or washing my clothes while there....

Further bothersome is how I'll get away with not eating any meat while there. I'm not particularly comfortable claiming that I'm a vegetarian because I don't know anything about it and my family thinks vegetarians are really stupid - so I'd be eaten alive if I said that. UGH. I could claim to be sick, but then they'd give me all sorts of [Edited Out] about being too skinny and unhealthy and blah blah.

Not to mention that I won't be able to wear hijab while there (I'm hoping I can get away with wearing a big warm hat as much as possible, and hoods)... and of course I'll be expected to go to church - during which I'm worried they'll serve communion and what will I do then???

I wonder if I really have to go... but I guess I need to do my Islamic duty and make an appearance out of respect for my parents.

Anyway my main point is, what to do about salat?

Allow me to quote a hadith:

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, and the nights."

What I don't understand is that people fail to grasp the reality that alternative interpretations of Islam do exist; they must be recognized and scrunitized. Since Islam is diverse and NOT monolithic the solutions to the problem you detailed out can be easy to sort out.

About the issue of dogs, I recommend you read this first:

http://scholarofthehouse.org/dinistrandna.html

That should take care of your Salat concern.

The meat issue, very simple. I ask that you defer here where I presented arguments from the Quran, Sunnah, Shia Ulama and Sunni Scholars that show it is perfectly OK to consume the meat of the People of the Book:

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=234956086

Now to the issue of Hijab, now since people on this site keep asking me to provide sources from Shia Islam; I'll like to point out that Ismailiyyah Shias do not believe that Hijab is mandated by the Holy Quran.

You can learn about the Ismaili Shias here, and don't worry the Ithna Ashariyah Marjas do consider them to be Muslims:

http://www.theismaili.org/

Now about going to church, there is no problem in visiting a Church and since you do not believe in their doctrines and in this case sacraments would it really matter if you had some grape juice and a waffer?

It is always good to know that as a Muslim you have an array of options and different interpretations to resort too.

(salam)

Edited by Muslim-Thinker65
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And I've gotten in numerous arguments with them already (4 against 1, ugh) attempting to explain how Islam is NOT a religion that teaches violence and abuse against women and a disregard for human life (as they strongly believe). I asked them to PROVE where it teaches that, and the argument was adamantly "It just does!!" Ugh the ignorance and hate is far worse than I thought. And they don't even know I'm Muslim yet!

Where there is smoke there is a fire.

Your relatives did not come out of the blue w/ these impressions. The vehement hatred taught in Saudi funded schools against Non-Muslims is very apparent. the Shia Hizbullah and their buddies in Hamas all teach hatred and condone actions attacking civilians, especially Israeilis. They base this on their understanding that every Israeili is either a solider or an occupier ipso facto a legitimate target.

When your relatives saw the treatment of women under the Taliban they became shocked because it was all done in the name of Islam. When you have "Virtue & Vice" police squads in Iran and Saudi Arabia who go around making sure that nothing above the wrist is exposed or a strand of hair is dangling out of the chador it does raise questions.

Are you not aware that there are fanatical Muslim groups that seek to kill or subdue your relatives for simply being against "Islam"? They would probably had been thrown in jail in Iran for expressing such thoughts. This all stems from the fact that free speech and liberty is stifled for a model of Islam that is in fact narrow because it dismisses the reality of the diversity of Islam. When it is this way we see the products of fascism and totalitarism in Islamic socieities.

These are problems that need to be addressed not ignored or made to believe that they are non-existent.

Your relatives observed that Muslims do represent Islam but people on this board don't seem to realize that fact.

Do you think your relatives are just simply hateful and ignorant out of design or out of preception?

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assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah, sister

Inshallah you have made it home safe and sound and are able to take some quiet moments to recover. I am so sorry that you have to deal not only with anti-Islam prejudice, but also old-fashioned racism at your house. You have often been in my thoughts and prayers over the past few days.

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Where there is smoke there is a fire.

Your relatives did not come out of the blue w/ these impressions. The vehement hatred taught in Saudi funded schools against Non-Muslims is very apparent. the Shia Hizbullah and their buddies in Hamas all teach hatred and condone actions attacking civilians, especially Israeilis. They base this on their understanding that every Israeili is either a solider or an occupier ipso facto a legitimate target.

When your relatives saw the treatment of women under the Taliban they became shocked because it was all done in the name of Islam. When you have "Virtue & Vice" police squads in Iran and Saudi Arabia who go around making sure that nothing above the wrist is exposed or a strand of hair is dangling out of the chador it does raise questions.

Are you not aware that there are fanatical Muslim groups that seek to kill or subdue your relatives for simply being against "Islam"? They would probably had been thrown in jail in Iran for expressing such thoughts. This all stems from the fact that free speech and liberty is stifled for a model of Islam that is in fact narrow because it dismisses the reality of the diversity of Islam. When it is this way we see the products of fascism and totalitarism in Islamic socieities.

These are problems that need to be addressed not ignored or made to believe that they are non-existent.

Your relatives observed that Muslims do represent Islam but people on this board don't seem to realize that fact.

Do you think your relatives are just simply hateful and ignorant out of design or out of preception?

(salam)

I completely agree with your remarks, and appreciate you bringing these points up. What I kept hearing over and over from my family is that Islam itself teaches all this extremism, violence, and killing. The religion itself does not teach this. Extremist Muslim groups absolutely teach this and I tried to make that point clear with them - that it's necessary to separate the religion from the people who claim to follow that religion. You can't judge a religion entirely on the people you happen to know or hear about on tv. I brought up instances in Christianity in which people claiming to be Christians committed heinous acts (like the KKK, the Crusades, even Hitler made references to Christianity, the fighting in Ireland, on and on...), and that clearly these people were not following the tenets of the religion. My dad did try to argue with me about brainwashing and hatred for the West being taught in Saudi Arabia, and seemed surprised when I agreed with him.

Corruption and misuse of the religion of Islam began happening from its very inception, and we definitely should not turn a blind eye to all that. We should always defend the truth, but only the truth and nothing else.

assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah, sister

Inshallah you have made it home safe and sound and are able to take some quiet moments to recover. I am so sorry that you have to deal not only with anti-Islam prejudice, but also old-fashioned racism at your house. You have often been in my thoughts and prayers over the past few days.

Salam sister Pink,

I appreciate your comments and most certainly your prayers. I felt encouraged and touched when I read your post. It helps to know that I'm not truly alone in my struggle. I have made it home now and am attempting to recover! I'm still feeling highly anxious and torn between allegiance to my family and allegiance to the truth. I've been listening to some duas today and that has helped some.

I also wanted to say that I appreciate all the comments, advice, and support others have posted. That has certainly helped me get through the week!

Edited by sukaina_08
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Salams,

A few points,

1) Dogs are najis. Najis is not the same as dirty. There is really no good English word for 'najis', but the best one I can come up with is 'ritually impure', meaning that contact with them without making yourself tahir will render your prayers invaild, and you will have to make them up. Islam does not 'hate' on dogs, and they are creatures created by Allah(s.w.a) and have some useful purposes if you are in certain situations. There is no difference between Shia and Sunni on this point. Specifically about the prayer, if you are wet or the dog is wet and you come in physical contact, then you cannot pray until you make the part of your body that touched the dog tahir. If you touched anywhere around the dog's mouth, then you need to make your hand(or whatever touched the mouth of the dog) tahir because this area of the dog is always wet(moist). Sis Smiley is right, if you just pet the dog and the dog is dry and you are dry, then no najasat gets transmitted, since transmitting of najasat requires wetness. If there is some dog hair in the place where you are going to pray, try removing as much of the hair as you can before you pray from that place. If you are not certain that something is najis, then you can assume it is tahir.

I don't care what 'kitty man' says (Abu Huraira), as he is not considered a reliable transmitter of ahadith according to us Shia.

2) Sis Fatimah J, as per Shia jurisprudence, we are not allowed to eat non-halal meat, even if we 'pray' over it (I assume you mean say 'Bismillah..').

That is the practice of our Sunni brothers and sisters which we disagree with them about. If sis sukaina_08 is maqalid of marjaa, then she must refrain from eating non-halal meat.

3) As for the alcohol, there is no easy solution for this. I have posted about this before. Some born muslims don't understand how difficult this issue is for reverts. What I did with my family was to make a 'non drinking' section of the house where the gathering is taking place. The best solution is to have the gatherings at your house, because then 'no alchohol' would be implied. You might have to get creative to find a solution, but definitely you cannot sit at the same table with someone who is drinking alcohol. Some br. and sis disagree with me about whether you can be in the same house with people who are drinking. Under normal circumstances, you are not allowed to be in any place where drinking is going on (if you know that there will be drinking), but there is an exception in the case of your blood relatives if they will not refrain from drinking while at the gathering. This is because we are not allowed to cut off relations with our non-muslim family. You can (and should) ask them to not drink while you are there, but they may do it anyway. It took me ten years of asking, finally, the last time I went to visit, there was not drinking. It can happen, just may take awhile.

4) There is no problem going to church, as long as you don't take communion. Also, and I'm sure this is obvious, you cannot openly testify to Jesus(a.s.) being 'god' or the 'son of god' verbally during the service. If your service involves this, you can keep silent during those parts. I know this is probably obvious to you, but I just wanted to clarify.

Edited by Abu Hadi
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Salam alaykum,

I'm traveling to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas with them and am concerned about what to do regarding prayers. They have 3 dogs that they keep indoors, and they are allowed pretty much free access to all parts of the house. Plus it's impossible to be there without them touching you and getting their hair on your clothes. What makes my situation more difficult is that they don't know I'm a Muslim yet; they are highly against Islam - they're very conservative Christian. I would need to pray in secret, without getting dog hair on my prayer rug and clothes - which seems fairly impossible! I also don't want to cause any suspicion or questioning by taking showers constantly or washing my clothes while there....

Further bothersome is how I'll get away with not eating any meat while there. I'm not particularly comfortable claiming that I'm a vegetarian because I don't know anything about it and my family thinks vegetarians are really stupid - so I'd be eaten alive if I said that. UGH. I could claim to be sick, but then they'd give me all sorts of [Edited Out] about being too skinny and unhealthy and blah blah.

Not to mention that I won't be able to wear hijab while there (I'm hoping I can get away with wearing a big warm hat as much as possible, and hoods)... and of course I'll be expected to go to church - during which I'm worried they'll serve communion and what will I do then???

I wonder if I really have to go... :unsure: but I guess I need to do my Islamic duty and make an appearance out of respect for my parents.

Anyway my main point is, what to do about salat?

Sister by all means go and see your family just don t do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable and that is outside of Islam someday soon maybe after this Christmas you are going to have to tell them that you are Muslim so that you will not be uncomfortable when you vist them in the future Edited by islamicsoldier
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I don't want to sidetrack the thread, but you're simply wrong. The disagreement among Sunnis and Shias is whether Kosher meat, slaughtered by Jews, and not containing blood, is permissible to eat. Sunnis say yes, Shias say no. No Sunni scholar or school says that any meat is rendered halal by just saying the tasmiya over it when it's on your plate.

Edited by avjar7
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