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Dear Maya, I have recently made a new friend who’s from the same ethnicity but currently isn’t practising Islam. She has such amazing qualities – kindness, compassion, non-judgemental, thoughtful and openly communicative. I feel that when I interact with her I leave spaces rejuvenated. She doesn’t live in my city but when she came to visit me she was open to coming with me to the Masjid and prayed salah. She also will ask about how my halaqa group went. I’ve felt nervous on how to broach the subject of faith and Islam. I need advice on how to help guide her back to Islam. I’ve been making dua for her at Tahajjud but I’m nervous and unsure what kind of resources to send her if she ends up being open to receiving them. And what are some things that I can do to help. I am really grateful for our new friendship and I really care about her and want her to have Islam in her life too.
Maya Areem Responds:
It’s truly heartening to read about the genuine regard you have for your friend. Nurturing someone’s spiritual journey is a delicate and rewarding task. It’s clear that your intentions are sincere, and your concern for her well-being is genuinely heartwarming.
A person’s relationship with their deen and Allah is a deeply personal one and so navigating conversations about faith requires an approach filled with thoughtfulness and care. Your friend, with her admirable qualities, appears to be on a journey of self-discovery and it is important to ensure that you are not overbearing in your approach, ultimately you are her friend regardless of where her deen is.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practises that good action.” [Muslim]
If we reflect on the examples of the Sahabah and the character of our Prophet ﷺ, we find that many embraced Islam through witnessing the kindness and sincerity in the Prophet’s words and actions. It is also important to recognise that guidance ultimately comes from Allah SWT, and your role is to offer support and information without imposing judgement.
If we look at the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ often emphasised the importance of leading by example. Similarly, your embodiment of Islamic values, such as kindness and compassion, can serve as a living testament to the beauty of Islamic principles.
I acknowledge that initiating such a conversation can be a daunting task. However, you might find it helpful to gently reference the positive experience of her joining you at the masjid for salah. You could express gratitude for those shared moments and inquire, with genuine curiosity, if she would be interested in exploring and learning more about Islam. You could then share your own experiences and journey toward practising Islam and the positive impact it has had on your life.
Next time she asks you about your halaqah, why not invite her to join you for the next one? If she shows further interest, you might consider recommending a brief article, a podcast that you’ve found insightful, or a video that discusses Islam in a friendly and non-confrontational manner. The Yaqeen Institute’s accessible videos can serve as an excellent starting point. Share just one and encourage an open conversation, the goal should be to facilitate understanding rather than overwhelm her.
It’s also important to ensure you share a resource that has personally resonated with you. This will equip you to address any questions or concerns your friend might have. It’s perfectly okay not to have all the answers; assure her that you can seek further information or introduce her to knowledgeable individuals, such as your local imam or sisters from your halaqah. You can also take this as an opportunity to increase your knowledge.
Allah SWT says in the Qur’an, “Invite ˹all˺ to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner.” [Surah al-Nahl 16:125]
The Qur’an reminds us, “Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” [Surah al-Qasas 28:56]
I would also suggest taking things at a gentle pace and exercising patience. Following the example of the Prophet ﷺ, who was known for his compassionate and patient demeanour toward Muslims and non-Muslims, give her the space and time to find her way back to Islam. These processes cannot be rushed; they take time. Your role is to do your part with sincerity and kindness.
Continue with your Tahajjud prayers as those are a powerful means of seeking Allah’s guidance. Consistently make dua for her spiritual well-being, and trust in Allah’s wisdom and timing. Remember, each person’s journey is unique, and patience is key. Your friend will likely feel your genuine care and sincerity.
May Allah, the Most Merciful, bless your efforts and guide your friend’s heart towards the beauty of Islam. Ameen.
Love + duas,
If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.