When you have neglected Islam for too long, and one day you wake up with anxiety knowing that you are not on the right path anymore. You come to that realization after spending too long living far away from the message of Islam, adopting ideologies, psychology, values and lifestyles which are not in synch with Islam. At a pivotal point, doubts and uncertainties about your current lifestyle gnaw at you. That spiritual emptiness, once a dot, becomes a gulf within you, and your surroundings can no longer fill that ache that something is missing.
Yet you already feel that you have been towed away too far by the currents of your lifestyle and sins. While you fear for your soul, you feel that you’re not ready to become a better Muslim because your lifestyle is too far away.
The admission of your weakness of faith is real, and this is an immense challenge for those who want to be a better Muslim but feel as if they do not have it within them to change. The second obstacle is caused by your own bad habits – what you are accustomed or addicted to, and the fear that you may not be willing or able to eliminate these from your life. Something is making you glued to your circumstances, discouraging you from being a better Muslim. The third obstacle is from Shaitan, who persistently plants ideas in your head to undermine your goodness and abilities. He infiltrates your various points of weaknesses – by making you doubt your own strength, or by magnifying the importance of a non-Islamic lifestyle, or to make the wrong things beloved to you. The situation is more muddled when your perception of right and wrong have been obscured through your own lack of knowledge and shaky faith.
The good news is that Allah is ready to accept your repentance and to accept you back into the folds of His mercy.
So the real obstacle is you. What causes your hesitation? What fear is holding you back? Are you afraid to receive guidance, to be forgiven, or to knock on the door of mercy? Are you afraid to be good?
Whatever the obstacle is, don’t persuade yourself that you are not ready. If the future of your soul worries you, it means that Allah has not turned His back on you, and that He is waiting for you to turn towards Him. It means that deep down, your spiritual heart is still beating and now it wants to be heard.
All of us have sinned, publicly and privately. All of us have different obstacles and temptations. Don’t say that you’re not ready to make that change. Allah is merciful and generous. Don’t psyche yourself into believing that you cannot be a different person. Fear of change is one of the tools of Shaitan, whereas Allah constantly tests us by removing us from our comfort zones so that our true mettle shines.
1. Be humble
The main components of being a better Muslims are humbleness and humility. Islam means submission to Allah, which requires us to strip away our illusion of self sufficiency, and to acknowledge His greatness, power, wisdom and mercy.
Be honest with Allah about the root of your fear and reluctance. Instead of telling Him that you’re not ready, why not complain to Allah about what the true issue is, and why you feel that this is not the time to switch your lifestyle. Admit to Him what is it is that is making you stuck to your status quo. He was the One who created you, and He already knows the situation that you are in, whether you tell Him or not. You are seeing your situation from eye level, but He sees the situation in all its totality, across time and circumstances, including things about yourself which you don’t even know.
However, on your part, you need to call out to Him sincerely for help.
When you say that you are not ready, whether you articulate it or not, it indicates a trace of stubbornness within you. Stubbornness against change for the better, against doing things differently according to what Allah wants and not what you want. You are sub-consciously implying that your lack of readiness cannot be solved by Allah. However, whatever the sins you have committed, and however addicted you are to the wrong things in life, Allah can reverse that condition according to how humble you are willing to be for Him. He can alter you, and He can alter those around you.
Are you afraid of losing your status with the people? Are you afraid of losing your identity if you become a better Muslim? Are you afraid of your family or friends turning against you? Are you afraid that your work and income will be affected? Are you afraid for your own personal safety? Are you afraid that people will ridicule you? Whatever the hidden concern, no matter how serious or trivial issue may seem, address these issues with Allah. Confront your fears instead of hiding behind the excuse of unpreparedness. You will find that many of your doubts are unfounded and that Allah has the solution for all the issues that you are worried about – it being a solution that benefits you in dunia and akhirah, and not just a solution that gives you a temporary buzz in dunia.
Even if you are genuinely not ready to be a better Muslim, ask Allah to make you ready, and to give you strength and ability and guidance. The rest will fall into place, insha Allah.