I am 15 and fascinated by Islam. I really want to convert, but I have two major problems that make me hesitate. I come from a strongly atheist, left-wing family. My mother is tolerant of other religions but definitely does not believe in the existence of a God. My father, on the other hand, is extremely intolerant of religions. He frequently makes comments on ridicules religions, especially Christianity and Islam. He often refuses to interact with strongly religious people, believing that they are of a lower intellect. I am terrified of their reaction if I convert to Islam. I'm only young, and don't want my relationship to break down with my family, but I can't see that they will support me in my decision. And because of the prayers and Ramadan, I can't keep it secret from them. The other problem is the fact that there are no mosques in close reach of where I live. Most of them are in the concentrated Islamic regions which are on the outskirts of my city, and you can't reach them by public transport. Won't it be very hard to be a Muslim when there are no other Muslims near me? I really need some help, as I don't know what to do. Thank you.

Salam Tom,

Thank you for contacting us.

I am happy to hear that you want to convert to Islam, but I also hear how difficult it is for you at this point in your life. May Allah guide your steps!

You may take comfort in reading some of the stories of the early Muslims, the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them all. What they suffered for the sake of their faith was so great. The problems you anticipate with your parents, though very real, are nothing compared to what some of the Companions endured. The father of Salman Al-Farisi, for example, locked Salman in chains when he announced his wish to become a Christian years before he learned of Islam. It is highly unlikely that your parents would actually do anything physically harmful to you as a result of your decision.

Salman managed to escape and run away to Syria, where he spent years in the service of various Christians to learn their religion. Eventually he sold everything he had to join a caravan headed to Madinah, where he was told the last Prophet would appear. He was betrayed and sold into slavery on the way, but when at last Salman met Prophet Muhammad, he immediately embraced Islam.

But you are still a minor and dependent on your parents, and you are also correct in not wanting your relationship with them to break down.

My advice is that you accept Islam in your heart and do your best to learn and practice the rituals like ablution and Prayers, but not tell your parents yet. The Prayers can be performed in secret in your room; since you live far from a mosque, you do not have to perform them in congregation. And you have almost a year until you have to worry about fasting Ramadan. Even that can be done in secret, though with difficulty.

Al-hamdulillah , (all praise to Allah) you now have access to the Internet, via which you can learn the basics of Islam and how to pray and fast.

Between now and then you can do your best to perform the Prayers and to develop yourself as a person—academically, socially, morally, etc.—and also as a Muslim. Your being a Muslim does not have to be a source of conflict with your parents. You can avoid discussing religion with them all together, if necessary, and if they see that you are continuing well in your studies and other areas, you can later break the news to them that you have been Muslim for so many months or years.

Yes, it will be difficult not being able to have much contact with other Muslims at this point. But difficult is not the same as impossible. You might make telephone or e-mail contact with some brothers at the mosque and at least be able to ask questions or seek advice when needed. Perhaps the mosque can put you in touch with a Muslim brother or family near you that you might occasionally visit.

However, I would caution you not to attempt to have so much contact that it may arouse suspicions in your parents. You don’t want them to think that you are doing something behind their back. When you are old enough to drive and borrow the car, perhaps you can occasionally visit the mosque. And when you reach the legal age—only three years away—you can become independent of them, if need be, even if it means working your way through university.

If you do choose to embrace Islam, you should avoid drinking parties and hang out with other well-behaved, righteous boys, no matter their religion. The important thing is to spend as much time as possible with good people, even if you can’t spend time with other Muslims. You should work to develop an Islamic personality—one that is honest, generous, forgiving, hard-working, etc. If you do this, your parents should notice a positive change in you (unless you already have such a personality!) and later, when you choose to tell them that you have been Muslim for some time, you can tell them that your improved personality is a result of your Islam. That should certainly reduce their objections.

May Allah guide you to the right path. Contact us if you have more questions or if we can help you in any way. Thank you again for contacting us and please keep in touch.