In Islam, women are sometimes encouraged to follow rules that are not entirely consistent with contemporary Western culture. Yet it is not difficult - no matter where you live - to be a good and dutiful Muslim woman. If, as a Muslim, you feel that you have neglected your religious duties, it is not too late to change, regardless of your age or what you have done. By the time a girl becomes baligh (adult), she should have a good understanding of her religious duties. If not, this article may help her figure out what changes are needed to be a better Muslim in the future.
Method 1 of 4: Forgiveness
Step 1. Understand that all will be well provided you have faith in Allah
Allah is inclined to forgive you all sins, for He is All-Knowing and Forgiving. Even if you feel that you have fallen too deeply into sin to ever become a good Muslim again, do not despair, Allah will help you.
Step 2. Identify the influences that are causing you to stray from your religion
Perhaps you can trace them back to relatives or friends who lead you astray. Let go of such friends. They will not be there to help you on the Day of Judgment when you will face Allah alone and your fate will be decided in the next life. If it comes through family, the following steps will come in handy.
Step 3. Repent and ask Allah (praised and exalted be He) for forgiveness for all the sins you have committed
You should admit your past mistakes to Allah and promise not to repeat them, and focus on the future. What happened happened. That is now in the past and there is nothing more you can do to change or improve it. All you can do is sincerely repent to Allah (Glorified and exalted be He) and ask for forgiveness. Use negative experiences as motivation to improve your life and do good deeds.
Step 4. Know your weaknesses and avoid them
This isn't to say that you should run away every time a man comes near you, but you can learn to keep your gaze down and deal with unrelated men in a way that's formal and businesslike. Remember that in the past Muslim women also associated with men in their society; as businesswomen, teachers and scholars, and they were all respected and admired; they didn't have to show off their beauty to gain this respect or to feel confident or even to contribute to their society. Remember that Allah (praised and exalted be He) is severe in punishing those who disobey Him, but also the most forgiving and most merciful to those who seek to improve themselves.
Method 2 of 4: Show your commitment
Step 1. Use the hijab
If you are truly committed to starting a new chapter in your life and becoming the best Muslim girl you can be, then follow the Islamic tradition of the hijab - in the broadest sense of the word. The hijab isn't just a piece of cloth that covers your hair - it encompasses and protects your whole self, including your demeanor, how you talk, how you look, and what you think and feel. Identifying as a Muslim changes you both mentally and spiritually. See it as a way for Allah Azzawajal (the Mighty and Venerable) to protect the women. Once you wear the hijab, your whole perspective on self-esteem and values will change automatically.
- Quran 24:30-31 explains that women should pull their head covering (khumur) over their chest or breasts, and Quran 33:59-60 says wearing a veil will help women to be recognized as Muslims.
- A hadith narrated by the Prophet's wife, Aisha, says that Allah will not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a hijab.
Step 2. Dress discreetly and modestly
This means covering your entire body with loose-fitting clothing. A hijab is not meant to be fashionable or flashy. Rather, it is a commandment of Allah (Praised and exalted be He). Avoid tight-fitting clothes, such as tight jeans, and wear looser clothes instead. This change will help you change your whole view of what is acceptable and what is not.
- Remember that it is obligatory to cover the entire body except the face, hands and sometimes feet, although some scholars believe it is obligatory to cover those as well (especially in the Hanbali school). If you really believe it is your duty, or if you want to get extra rewards, then take the trouble to cover your face with the niqab and your hands with gloves, because no harm can come of that.
- There is no one 'right' way to cover up. Some Muslims believe that you can leave your face visible, while others believe that it is obligatory to cover it (i.e. wear a niqab). Some say the feet can be left uncovered, while others disagree. In many cases it is considered sufficient to cover your hair, ears, neck and most of your body, but if you have any questions or are unsure, talk to other Muslim women about it.
- Wearing a hijab does not mean that you can never dress beautifully again. For example, you can wear nice clothes in dark colors, or pastel colors that you like. Also take a look at the different styles of hijab out there. Some Muslim women also find it acceptable to wear clothes or hijabs with subtle patterns, especially in Western countries, where plain plain outfits can sometimes make you stand out too much.
Method 3 of 4: Practicing Islam
Step 1. Practice all five daily prayers
Praying five times a day is obligatory for all Muslims who have reached puberty. Before stepping on the prayer rug, learn what the prayer words mean, to improve your contemplation during prayer. If you don't speak Arabic, try to find some translated versions of the prayer words and take the time to read and understand what the words mean. Make the five prayers the highlights of each day. As food is a daily need, prayer is our daily spiritual food.
- Once you have incorporated the five obligatory prayers into your daily life, look for additional prayers to add to your daily prayer schedule.
- Try to incorporate some of the voluntary prayers regularly used by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) into your routine. You can earn great rewards for doing these prayers, but you will not be punished if you don't do them.
Step 2. Read the Quran
Read the Quran every day and also try to read the translation of the Quran in your native language, to better understand its meaning. Reading the Quran will help you establish a direct relationship with Allah and will also enable you to discover the beauty of your religion. Listening to texts from the Quran (you can find videos online) can also make you feel closer to Allah.
- Try to memorize some of your favorite verses and incorporate them into your prayers and daily meditations.
- Find lessons in the Quran that you can apply in your daily life.
Step 3. Learn more about Islam
Know what actions are obligatory (known as 'wajib' or 'fardh', such as praying, fasting during Ramadan, gaining Islamic knowledge, etc.) and what not to do (known as 'haram', such as eating certain foods sexual activity outside of marriage, dressing immodestly, etc.) The Internet is a valuable source of knowledge that allows you to look up Islamic laws and also information about the consequences that may follow if they are broken. Make sure you only use authentic sources of information. Islam can sometimes seem restrictive and the punishments severe, but this divine legal system is a gift from Allah (praised and exalted be He) to protect society and guide the believers so that they can follow His way.
Remember that the performance of a fardh act is rewarded, but failure to do so is punishable under Islamic law
Step 4. During the day, perform dhikr (repeating a word or short phrase from the Quran over and over) which means that you are thinking of Allah
Dzikr is one of the best ways to praise Allah and improve your relationship with Him. The importance of dhikr is emphasized more than a hundred times in the Quran. Allah says in His Holy Book: 'O believers, make abundant mention of Allah!' (33:41) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'If your hearts were always in the state they are in during dhikr, the angels would come to greet you everywhere, even in the middle of the street.'
- In addition to performing dhikr after prayer and before going to sleep, you can also praise and glorify Allah as often as you like during your daily activities such as household chores, cooking, traveling, etc.
- Think about the meaning and importance of each word you use while doing dhikr.
- Avoid too much monotonous repetition by using different times of the day for different adhkar (plural of dzikr), as prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah.
- Dzikr leads to a heightened awareness of Allah, which is the key to success in this life and the next.
Step 5. Set aside a minimum amount of time each day for Islamic activities
For example, four hours a day devoted to worship (salah, dua, Qur'an, studies) and two hours to lisani dzikr (verbal remembrance) can help you build your relationship with Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and gain the necessary knowledge to acquire to become a good Muslim woman.
- Remember that the five daily fardh salah will be the first that will be examined on the Day of Judgment, so you must strictly adhere to the prescribed time and pray with kushoo (humility). After each fardh salah, take time for personal dua and self-reflection, especially to think about your sins and pray for forgiveness.
- Religious study is obligatory for all Muslims and is essential to better understand how Allah wants to be worshipped. Try taking Quranic lessons in the evenings or on weekends with other motivated sisters.
- Study by itself is of little use unless the knowledge gained is applied in our lives - eventually one will be rewarded or punished on the basis of deeds, not knowledge.
- Set yourself goals for self-improvement, for example, fasting regularly, reading prayers voluntarily, memorizing Quran surahs, doing charitable work or dhikr.
- Remember that Allah likes consistency in worship, but you can also strive to do a little more each day. Don't be lazy in your worship, but don't burden yourself with more than you can handle.
Method 4 of 4: Choosing good company
Step 1. Hang out with good Muslim friends
Strive to make friends who share your mission to be a good Muslim and inspire you to do better, or at least friends who accept your religion. Try to make friends with other Muslim women who encourage you to learn and practice Islam.
- Muslim women are encouraged not to befriend men because many Muslims believe that it is not acceptable for men and women to be alone together. Not everyone follows this practice, however. If you choose not to befriend guys, learn how to be polite with those who approach you.
- Avoid friends who bring bad influences, harm or hurt your feelings, or keep you from studying and worshiping.
- There are no clear rules about befriending non-Muslims. Some Muslims think it should be avoided because you could get distracted from Islam and stop believing. Others think that it is accepted by Allah and that it is important to be tolerant. Anyway, show respect and be kind in your dealings (Allah allows you to show respect to those who have not opposed you because of your religion [Qur'an 60:8-9]), and put Islam in a good light.
- Remember that any non-Muslim will view Islam more positively if you are polite and tolerant.
Step 2. Find other female role models
Realize that there are many excellent female teachers who are passionate about spreading the peaceful message of Islam. Try to listen to their lectures and also make it your mission to tell other women about how Islam can help them bring meaning and self-discipline into their lives.
- Many female Islamic scholars conduct weekly online classes, which provide an opportunity to ask questions about all aspects of Islam.
- If possible, it is best to live in a neighborhood with a lot of Muslims, as this offers the opportunity to meet and learn from adult Muslim women in the area.
Step 3. Commit to marrying a devout person, someone who cares for you and treats you with respect
Marriage is considered Sunnah in Islam and is described as half of one's faith. Try to find a knowledgeable husband, one who will help you develop your faith and treat you fairly.
- In countries where polygamy is allowed, it can be a practical option for many Muslim women seeking marriage, as Islam allows a man to take up to four wives if he is able to support them and treat them equally. However, polygamy is not a requirement.
- Not all sisters are able to get married as soon as they would like. If you are single and feel temptation, then fast and ask Allah for strength and patience. He will surely help you.
- Do not rush into marriage - be it for Allah, for yourself or for someone else. If you get married too soon, you may not know if your spouse shares your values (in faith, children and parenting, and work-life balance, for example), and you could become entangled in an abusive relationship. If Allah wants you to find the right man, it will happen.
Step 4. Consider attending Muslim groups
Sisterhood is very important in Islam and attending sister study circles or Quran classes is a great way to learn more about Islam and bond with other like-minded girls. Muslim groups are likely to be offered at your local mosque.
- Make Islamic classes an important part of your weekly routine. Try to follow a structured course that covers all Islamic sciences and set aside time during the week for revision, homework and practice of what you have learned.
- Try to memorize the verses of the Qur'an as much as you can, for you will receive great rewards, especially if you become Hafizah (one who has memorized the Qur'an). Recite what you have learned in your prayers, or at any time of the day.
Step 5. Live life day by day
If you make it a priority in your mind that you want to strive to be the best Muslim girl possible, you will achieve this goal without even realizing it! Whenever you are about to do something, think, 'Is this a good thing that will please Allah?' If it isn't, then don't! Remind yourself and be willing to stop yourself if you need to. Every moment of the day should be devoted to pleasing Allah (Glorified and exalted be He) in order to obtain a place in Jannah (Paradise).
- Learn to recognize the wiles of Shaytan, who is constantly trying to separate you from Allah.
- Always remember the Day of Judgment, when the weight of good and bad deeds will be compared, which will determine who is destined for Jannah (Paradise) or for Jahannam (Hellfire).
- Let obedience and submission to Allah be the most important thing in your life.
- Do many good deeds, especially during Ramadan!
- Keep looking for knowledge. Every time you learn something new about Islam, you will be proud that you are Muslim.
- Keep in mind that when you feel sad, Allah always has good plans in the end!
- Remember that Islam does not prohibit you from having fun and living a good life. Just do what is obligatory and avoid what is sin. That will make life better for you.
- If something bad happens, do not get angry with Allah, for we are only human and cannot see His plan for everyone and everything. Assume it was meant to happen.
- Cherish Allah in your heart and in your mind and take Him with you wherever you go.
- Inspiring even one person to convert to Islam will give you a great amount of Hassan-ah.
- Whenever you feel weak or lonely and have no one to talk to, remember that Allah (praised and exalted be He) is always there for you. He is all you need to complete any mission.
- Don't do things just because others are doing it too. Do it for the sake of Allah and make Him happy and pleased.
Remember that in order to get forgiveness from Allah you must meet three requirements:
- Recognizing the offense itself, by admitting your mistake to Allah.
- Promising Allah not to commit the offense again.
- ask Allah's forgiveness and promise that you will try to learn from the punishment that He prescribes.
- Before going to bed, think back on everything you did during the day. This daily reflection will help you see where you might have gone wrong so that you can make the necessary changes in time.
- Never forget that being a Muslim does not prohibit you from having a good life. Have fun in life, but just stay within the limits and do what you have to do as a Muslim, such as pray. Being close to Allah will not only give you a better life in the hereafter, but inshallah also a more pleasant life here on Earth.
- Learn as many duas (supplications) such as the dua for sleeping, dua for eating etc. and you will start to feel the positive influence of the duas in your life. If you recite the dua before eating when you are about to eat, not only will you have Allah's blessings in your food all the time you eat in this way collect good deeds!
- Just try to be a good Muslim. Keep thinking about how much improvement you will experience and how happy Allah will be with you. Just try never to give up. Keep reading the Quran, go to Hajj and think how happy you will be. Do not forget to pray the five daily obligatory prayers.
- Whatever happens, don't lose your faith.
- At first, such a change may be very different from what you imagined, but it is possible.
- If a school teacher asks you to do something that is haram (dress up for Halloween, wear shorts, etc.), kindly tell him/her that this is not possible for you. If he/she doesn't approve, ask your parents to write a letter. Be self-assured.