But what concerns me today is whether or not I'm out of touch with the needs of new Muslims. This issue in particular is one to which I've devoted many, many blog posts over the years, but something hit me today: I still am overwhelmed by thinking about the problems other converts face.
I know what my own problems were (and are) and how I faced them--for better and worse. And I feel somewhat equipped to discuss them with other converts facing similar issues. But since I've come to Washington, I've spent a lot more time with new Muslims--even now working on a class specifically for new Muslims--and I'm reminded that people do take different paths and face different challenges. And some issues facing other new Muslims just leave me overwhelmed, without any sensible advice or response to provide.
It's why I feel that I might have "lost touch" with new Muslims and the experiences they have, after spending so much time trying to get out of the "new Muslim" phase myself. So the last few weeks have been pretty enlightening for me, reminding me of the difficulties that people face when coming to Islam and also the dedication they have to their faith. And the amazing way Allah provides them with the resources to overcome their challenges.
Every challenge is a test--and we aren't tested unless we have what we need to pass the test. Knowing that, and knowing that with every difficulty comes ease (Surat Ash-Sharh.) I read this chapter to a Sunday school class one time, and I read it to myself pretty often as well.
So even though I can't solve anyone's problems, and often don't even have much in the way of advice to give, what I can (and should) tell new Muslims is that they can always turn to Allaah, and that they should always turn to Allaah, and He is the One who will ease their difficulty and reward their patience in dealing with it.