Converting to Islam isn’t just a change in belief, it is a change in one’s life. By practicing Islam, you and those around you will see many changes in your lifestyle. From the time you wake up to how you clean yourself, Islam changes everything.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! When people first convert to Islam, they will quickly realize that their lives are significantly different when compared to the lives they had before converting to Islam.
Islam is not just a religion of beliefs. It is a religion of action. As such, it is a religion that makes demands on people from the time they wake up until they go to sleep. In this lesson, we’re going to go over some of the major areas where you will see your life change as a convert to Islam.
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And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger - those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions. (Chapter 4, verse 69 of the Holy Qur’an)
When you start practicing Islam, either as a convert or someone who was culturally Muslim, you will notice big differences in your life. Here are some of the major changes that you will see in your life as a newly practicing Muslim:
Waking Up Very Early in The Morning
Most of us are used to waking up 6-7am for work or school. For some of us, it’s a bit earlier, like 5:30am, if we need to beat traffic. For others, they may wake up at 8am.
For those who don’t work on the weekends, Saturdays and Sundays are days where people get to sleep in.
Despite the differing times, one thing that many people don’t do as non-Muslims is to getting up for morning prayers. If you thought 5:30am was early, try waking up between 3 and 4am for morning prayers. Yeah, many times throughout the year, depending on the season, you will find yourself waking up that early not for work or school, but for prayers.
As such, one of the biggest changes you will see in your life is that you’re going to have to reorganize your time, including the time you sleep and wake up. Islam has obligatory night prayers (isha) as well as morning prayers (fajr).
Here in the West, our days revolve around eating times. We separate our times between breakfast, lunch and dinner. In Islam, times revolve around prayer times. As such, your going to have to reschedule your time and how your day goes about and wake up very early!
Cleanliness and Ritual Purity
We all need to clean ourselves when we go to the bathroom. In Islam, cleanliness is just about being clean, although that’s important. Cleanliness is also needed for ritual activities such as prayer.
This means that your going to find yourself washing yourself in different ways than you are used to. In the bathroom, you’ll notice that your going to have to follow a step by step process of cleaning yourself with water which might be more stringent and thorough than what you’re used to. To know more about these rulings, see the Tawzīh al-Masā’il or legal treatise of your Marja.
The second change you will see is how you pray. We’re not talking about prostrating and bowing, that’s evident enough even for non-Muslims. What you will see though is how you need to ritually wash yourself with water before prayers, something which not many religions mandate as stringently as Islam does.
Cleanliness also means that as a Muslim, you are highly discouraged to walk home with your shoes on. This is because our shoes contain many things that are considered ritually impure. So as a Muslim, you are highly encouraged to take off your shoes before entering your home.
This is something you’ll notice with the Muslim community, shoes are usually taken off!
Sexual Relations with your Spouse
Relations with your spouse will also start to differ. There are a few dos and don’ts in Islam that are not too different than what you will find in in common sexual practice among non-Muslims.
What you will see, however, is that you can’t immediately go about your day after having sexual intercourse, or go to sleep after. The reason for this is because after intimate relations, Muslims must perform the major ablution called ghusl. Without ghusl after intimate relations, you cannot pray. To know more about these rulings, see the Tawzīh al-Masā’il or legal treatise of your Marja.
As prayers happen throughout the day, you will notice that you will have to do this regularly.
Ghusl also applies to women after their monthly period. After the bleeding ends, women are required to do ghusl so that they may resume praying again.
Eating and Drinking Halal
Muslims can’t just eat anything. The meat they eat must be halal or permissible to eat. To process of making it halal is called zabiha where an animal is ritually slaughtered in accordance with the rules of Islamic law.
In addition to morning prayers, eating halal is probably one of the most difficult things for people who have just started practicing Islam, at least for those who live among non-Muslims. Yes, there are some cities that have plenty of halal restaurants and meat stores, but not all places are like this.
Eating halal often means that converts cannot eat at the restaurants they used to, or at least order the meat dishes they used to order as non-Muslims. It also means that meat might be more expensive as halal is usually more costly in many places across North America.
Eating halal isn’t just restricted to zabiha. Eating halal also means that a person cannot eat pork anymore, or eat other animals which are forbidden. For people who are used to having their bacon in the morning and their ham sandwiches at noon, this presents a big difficulty that needs to be overcome.
Eating is not the only thing. Drinks like alcohol, or drinks that have alcohol in them, also become forbidden.
If you live with family or friends, this is a big thing people will notice as you won’t be able to eat and drink with them as you used to.
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
where an animal is ritually slaughtered in accordance with the rules of Islamic law and thus permissible to eat afterwards.
legal treatise by a marja where answers to queries for Islamic law can be found.
Major ablution one must do, among other things, after sexual relations and when one’s monthly period. One can do it in the shower or in a pool of water.
What are some tips to help me wake up for Fajr prayers?
Sleep earlier at nights.
Is it permissible to go back to sleep after waking up for Fajr prayers?
Yes, it is permissible according to Islamic law.
What happens if I don’t have water or I don’t have enough time to do ghusl before prayer slots end?
One should do tayammum which can be used with earth or dust. See the tawzeeh al-Masa’il of your marja on the rulings pertaining to this.
Is it permissible to eat the zabiha of Sunnis?
AYes, as long as the zabiha is hand slaughtered.
What can I do if there are no halal restaurants or halal meat markets around me?
For restaurants, you always have fish or vegetarian options. For meat markets, a good tip is to go to one of the further markets once in a while and buy a large amount of halal meat, then bring it back home and store it in a freezer. If this is not possible, there are plenty of vegetarian meat substitutes that are made with soy.
waking up for fajr
ghusl and sexual relations
zabiha of sunnis
Islamic Laws by Sayyed as-Seestani (Tawzeeh al-Masa’il)