How do we deal with our parents after we change our faith? How do we make sure that our relationship with them doesn’t lapse? What can we do to help them get used to the new situation?
Asalam Alaykum and welcome!
Today’s post is all about parents during our the conversion to Islam, or any other faith for that matter. It’s something I’m sure every revert goes through and something that we all deeply experience and want to be as smooth as possible. They are the most important people in our lives, someone who loves us unconditionally and forever. It’s no surprise then that we want to keep them happy and proud of us.
Changing our religion comes with many struggles that we face and for me it was a relief that also brought so much fear and internal pain. So many things, I realised, had to be sorted out before I could actually live my happy life as a new Muslim. Dealing with parents is only one of those things.
So why exactly is it so hard for our parents to accept our decision and let us freely choose our religion?
First of all, I have to emphasise that there are many different types of parents. Ones that cannot bear with our conversion and ones that are perfectly fine with it. This doesn’t mean that there are better and worse types, they’re just different and they need different approach from us.
In my post, I want to focus on the most common (at least I think so) type of parents and their approach. It’s driven by their fear and feeling of letting down – us, them and the society.
Let me put it this way – your parents care for you. They always have and always will care for you, your wellbeing and prosperity. I don’t think there is any other person in this world that cares about us so effortlessly and genuinely as our parents, our life givers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise for you they want to give us everything that they think is best for us.
And what do they think is best for us? It’s something they know very well. Something they grew into knowing all their lives and that didn’t let them down. So why wouldn’t they give us the best bread they know? the best water they know? the best school they know?
Because what worked for them – should most probably work for us, and what was best for them – should most probably be best for us.
The same goes for religion.
Our parents (I’m talking from a former Christian perspective, you could have atheist parents as well) were born into a certain religion and they learnt it from their parents and grandparents. They practiced it every day of their lives and it gave them hope. It gave them the belief system and the idea of God. It was something they would turn to when the times were bad and when they wanted to thank for their blessings. Every Sunday mass reminded them of their heritage, tradition, background and family. So it’s only reasonable that they would pass it on to their children, hoping that their children would pass it on to their grandchildren and so on.
Now, one day their daughter (or son) decided to break with this religion. To them it’s like breaking with the whole nationality (if the national identity is strongly connected to the religion), it’s like telling them you are not the same person anymore. How could that possibly make them feel? Good? or scared?
They obviously feel so many things at the same time. It’s hardly anything else other than overwhelming. First, they might be angry at us for choosing a different way, for turning around from the family tradition. But shortly after, the feeling of disappointment comes in. And they are not disappointed in us, but themselves. They feel like they failed as parents and that they let so many people down. They were trusted by the previous generations with educating us and bringing us up in the best possible way. And they feel they did not do it successfully. What’s going on in their heads at such difficult time is a complex net of guilt, fear, anger and expectations. And it is our job to make them not feel all of this.
We, as the ones that caused them to feel all those negative feelings, have to make sure that they don’t blame themselves, and at the same time that they don’t blame us. We want to prove our parents that they raised us to become kind, self-aware people that can also choose best for themselves. It’s our mission to assure them that we know their intentions. We should never fight them because we can never prove our point if we show them we have to defend it with fighting and arguing. Instead, we need all the patience and calmness. We need to build a shield around us that’s ‘angerproof’, because at the end of the day, if our parents are angry – it’s because they’re worried about us. It’s not like they want to make us change our mind, because they don’t think their religion is also best for us.
If we are mature enough to make big decisions, we are also mature enough to explain them and prove their brilliance. No one ever won an argument by getting angry – it just shows that we are not capable of standing behind our beliefs and actions. One has to take responsibility for everything they do.
In conclusion, never underestimate your parents’ stress regarding your conversion. It’s probably even bigger than your own.
Stay calm and patient and inshAllah God will make everything smooth and easy for you, and most importantly, for your parents.
Did you ever have to tell your parents something that most certainly made them stressed, or even scared?
How do you deal with living your life and keeping your parents pleased at the same time?
Let me know in the comments and until the next post,
Stay faithful! ♥