1. Know the Frequently Asked Questions Muslims Get, and Try to Not be Defensive
You may be the only Muslim your family knows or will ever know, so, be ready to get asked plenty of questions about Islam. If you feel you don’t know the answer, just tell them you don’t know the answer, but you can find out for them. It’s better you teach them and tell them about Islam, than them finding out from other places. So, try to teach them yourself. Show them the religion you fell in love with. Also, you will get plenty of stupid questions so try not to get defensive all of the time.
Just to name a few, here are some questions you can expect: Why don’t you eat pork? Why do you pray that way? Why do you wear that thing on your head? So you do not believe in Jesus anymore? Who is Allah?
2. Take a Friend With You
It’s difficult to face your family alone. If you can bring a close friend or your spouse/significant other, that would be beneficial.
3. Tell Your Family You Want to Stop talking about Islam
Your religion will always be the elephant in the room. There will come a time when you’re overwhelmed with constantly talking about religion. You will become extremely sick of your family not being able to see you as the same person. You will get frustrated about the fact that your family thinks the only thing about you is your religion. If you get too overwhelmed, like I did, you will have to put your foot down and let them know that you don’t want to talk about religion anymore.
3. Let Your Family Know You are Still You
It seems like when we convert we get treated differently by family members and friends. For some reason, people cannot see past the scarf you wear, your new religion, the new way you pray, stopped drinking, or the fact that you no longer eat pork or bacon. Let your family know you are still you.
4. Do Not Wait Too Long
I know it’s difficult and awkward to talk to your family about this. I recommend that you rip off the band-aid as soon as possible. I hid this from my family to protect them. I was worried about what they would think or say. I also did not want to tell them I converted to Islam until I was practicing. I did not start practicing until a year and a half after I converted.
Want to know how I told my family? I never directly told them. I ended up making a video about my conversion story four years after converting and then posting it on YouTube.
5. Be Honest But Above all, Be Patient
Tell them why you converted or how Islam makes you feel. I know that my grandma told me that she saw Islam made me a better person, though she wishes I was still Christian. She saw that choosing and practicing Islam changed me for the better. Of course your family will be shocked at first and it will take time for them accept. Be patient, and give them the time they need to adjust.
6. Expect the Worst
If you have read any of my previous blog posts, I don’t sugarcoat advice. You should expect the worst. As one of my friends told me in regards of advice to telling your family of your conversion, “When chairs start flying…. duck”. I doubt this will be the case, but you never know.
7. Don’t Be Scared
Telling your family about your new religion is not the end of the world. No one is dying. You are still alive and the same person. Yes, it will be hard to tell them but the sooner you can be honest with them, the more time you will give them to heal and get used to the idea.
8. Live By Example
I didn’t tell my family I was Muslim right away because I thought I wasn’t good enough or practicing. You don’t have to do that. To best represent Islam, just act nice and show them that Islam made you a better person.