How Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem grants us ease on our newfound spiritual path
The Muslim convert is bombarded with well-meaning suggestions of lifestyle choices, religious observances and cultural confusions. Many feel overwhelmed by the information presented to them and even more so by the exuberance expressed by their new Muslim community to embrace them and to instruct them in the ways of the deen. Converts pour themselves into religious practice, awash with an imaan- boosting glow and an insatiable curiosity for Divine connection and understanding. At lightning speeds, converts feel pressured to perfect prayers, Qur’anic recitation and salah, as well as completely overhaul their lives, especially their wardrobes, lifestyle choices and friendships. The burden placed on converts is enormous and most certainly unsustainable. Yet many continue to pressure them to instant perfection.
In order to challenge this notion of the ideal Muslimah convert, we must return to basics. One of the most essential phrases in Islam, which believers repeat continuously throughout the day, is bismillaah-ir-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem. In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. What does this phrase mean for our daily lives and why do we repeat it so frequently? In order to reflect and digest the message, we must first slow down and reduce the intellectual and spiritual clutter which prevents us from introspection and achieving true connection with Al-Khaliq, The Creator.
The mundane begins and ends with “bismillaah”.
Our lives and actions become more mindful and divinely in tune when we commence with this phrase. It is simple and yet so beautiful. Do not underestimate the impact that the simple reminder of your Lord, the mere mention of His Divine and Unique Name, will have on your actions and interactions, as it brings to mind the purpose and intention of our entire existence, as carried and exemplified into this very moment. The mention of His Name makes every moment and every action matter. It does not take a scholar or Arabic proficiency to establish a mindfulness and a deep connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala– all it takes is a simple bringing to mind of Who exactly we are calling upon, Who exactly is the One we are doing all of our actions for, Who exactly is the reality Whom we will all return to.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. There are 99 names of Allah, but only two are mentioned so frequently. These names reflect a generous, compassionate and forgiving Lord. Reflect on this: our Lord chose these two names to introduce Himself to us, and not ones alluding to ultimate power, control and judgement. These terms endear us to our Lord. They envelop us in His infinite love and wisdom. Like a warm embrace, the harshness of life’s trials and tribulations are diminished. They are the first two things we need to know about Him, the two things which will carry us throughout our journey, and the last two things we will seek refuge in on the Day we will stand before Him.
When we reflect on our relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, with ourselves and with each other (believer or not),we realise that these attributes provide us with the blueprint for existence. Compassion, mercy and forgiveness are what Al-Khaaliq, our Creator, shows us; it is what we want for ourselves, and it is what we aim to reflect onto Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s creation.
When we show ourselves mercy and compassion, we allow time to develop our Islamic identities. This includes our salah, our relationship with the Qur’aan, and a deeper understanding of and connection with our deen. It’s not all done overnight nor should you feel pressured to alter yourselves this way. This connection is a long and continuous journey with highs and lows that all believers, whether born into the religion or convert, experience. Allah subhana wa ta’ala has guided you- now surrender yourself to His grace and mercy as you grow in knowledge and faith.
About the author
Jessica Daqamsseh : Jessica converted to Islam 7 years ago and lives in the United States. She is a school teacher and mother who loves spreading the Islamic message of compassion, love and mercy through her writing.