I recently had a conversation with someone about the importance of telling others we are Muslim. For some women who are covering, or brothers with beards and even thawb (the long garment sometimes brothers wear) it may be obvious upon first glance. However, this isn't always the case, and certainly for a new convert the thought of proclaiming that you are Muslim to family and friends, and even the greater part of society and seem like an incredibly daunting task. The thought of facing rejection, comments, and even hatred may make it seem that keeping his or her Islam a secret is a better option.
Alhamdulillah I just finished the first Juz in the Qur'an class that I have been taking (just another plug for it-- Al Huda Taleem al Qur'an, there are part-time and full-time options both online and on-site) and in one of our last lessons we discussed the "colour of Islam" or rather the colour that Allah (subhanna wa tallah) marks us with.
" Our Sibghah is the Sibghah of Allah and which Sibghah can be better than Allah's? And we are His worshipers."
Now this is a perfect example of how the English translation of the Qur'an really doesn't do the Qur'an any justice and really it is just one more example why all Muslims should be learning the Arabic so they can read the Qur'an as it is meant to be read. In the above verse, Sibghah is not defined, while in some translations it is defined as "Baptism" or even "Religion". In our word analysis class we learned that the root of the word actually means "Colour, dye, or a colour which is adopted on to something" So when it says in the translation that Sibghah means Religion, it takes on the meaning of the 'religion that when we take it on, it literally changes us as taking on another colour would'. That when people are given or adopt the religion of Islam they are cloaked in that which Allah (Subahanna wa tallah) has given them so that they will appear different and reflect it on others. And just like dye, it won't come off-- When we accept Islam completely it won't come off. Islam becomes our identity and we cannot remove ourselves from it.
So, how does this all connect to telling people about whether or not we are Muslim? In the beauty of the Allah's word choice in our glorious Qur'an, we see that when we become Muslim, it will be reflected on us, that people will naturally see it. That there will be a change. That outward and inward change is the religion, it will be reflected on us, and
"And which Sibghah can be better than Allah's? " 2:136
Allah (Subhanna wa tallah) has blessed with this amazing religion, the religion of truth and oneness, and it will change our lives. Be confident in that and know that there is no need to fear anything but Allah (Subhanna wa tallah). "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear" 2:286.
We mustn't be shy about Islam, but know that Allah (Subhannah wa tallah) shows us for those who fully adopt the religion, the change will be evident.
May Allah guide us all to His way, and keep us in Islam. Ameen