Dealing with a Weak Convert
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I have a problem and will be thankful if you could help me. I have a very close catholic friend since 1996. Sometime ago, he started asking questions about Islam. I naturally tried to answer his questions. Whenever, I was not able to, I would just refer him to various books. Weeks after weeks passed by till he told me that he wanted to convert to Islam. I told him: ‘Are you sure, because this is no joke; this is a commitment to God; I don’t want you to convert to Islam just because you have found a friend who loves you and this is your way to get closer to him. If you want to be a Muslim, be sure it’s because you have realized you really want to be one, not because your best friend is one.’ He answered: ‘I want to be a Muslim because I have found a lot of answers.’ My brother didn’t really agree that my best friend should become a Muslim because he knew that my best friend’s state was weak and unstable. The decision was pushed through and I asked my friend to say the Shahādah. It was fine at first: he learned how to pray, memorised some sūrahs with my help and even had a Qur’ān with translation; unfortunately now, it’s like he doesn’t give any importance towards religion, its practices, and he never prays. The last time I asked him about his state three days ago, his answer was: ‘I don’t know I’m so confused; in Catholicism there are a lot of wrong things and in Islam I don’t know. I somehow feel like I haven’t found the answer...’ I just answered him: ‘Remember you made a commitment to God not to me or somebody else; Islam is not a religion where force is present, I never forced you to enter this religion, nor even persuaded you, I just answered your questions.’ He even eats pork, drinks alcohol from time to time. By the way, none of his family members know he converted; only my family and a few of my Muslim friends know this ‘secret’. The question now is: What should I do? Should I give him space so that he realises by himself? or should I be stern and say or do something?


Your responsibility in this regard is to keep reminding him gently and patiently whenever the time is appropriate. You should continue with this as long as you can. If he does not listen or does not mend his ways, then making him do so or forcing him is not your responsibility at all. In fact, it is not allowed by Islam. Your friend must practice Islam of his own free will, and if he does not, then he alone will have to face the consequences and not you of course.

We know from the Qur’ān that the Prophet (sws) was very anxious and concerned on the evasive attitude of his people. His extreme desire for them to accept faith finds mention at a number of places in the Holy Book. At some of these places, he has been comforted, in fact lovingly chided by the Almighty that making people accept faith is not his duty. His responsibility is only to present guidance to them. It is Allah alone who gives guidance to people according to His law: He only guides people who are worthy of being guided; the rebellious He guides not. (See for example: 16:37, 28:56, 88:21-2)

So, I would I advise you to keep urging and exhorting your friend to the truth. Also, in this regard, you will find it useful to begin first with nurturing in him love for the Almighty and with reminding of him of the Hereafter. Once his concepts are set right in these spheres, following the directives of the Almighty will hopefully become easier for him.

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