Hello!! Over the past month or so, I’ve felt a strange pull to Catholicism, and have become very interested in the religion. The main doctrines of the faith are very appealing to me, so I’m in the process of doing my research. I hope if all goes well to join RCIA sometime in the coming months. However, I come from a Muslim family and am worried about what their reactions would be should I decide to convert. My family is not very strict, but my parents very much so believe in Islam and expect me to conduct myself as a Muslim. I’m worried that if I tell them they will disown me. I’m in college right now and would probably hold off on telling them until I graduate, but I’m looking for advice anyone might have concerning this; whether it be experiences other people may have had, or how I should navigate this touchy subject.
Don’t think of your interest in Catholicism as strange. As a Muslim, you love God and seek to fully experience His Mercy by submitting to His Holy Law. You love Jesus and Our Lady. You may already pray with beads. Catholicism is the relationship and experience of God in the True Faith, which Islam possesses in part. You are completing your covenant with God by surrendering to His self-revelation by, with, and in Jesus Christ.
I will pray for you and your family. As far as conducting yourself as a Muslim, there are prayers you pray that don’t conflict with Catholic theology. Pray them. Keep your beard (if you are a male). Eastern Catholicism encourages it in addition to prescribing regular fasting periods. Hold on to those things that don’t contradict the Faith. Listen to and read (if you can) the Bible in Arabic. You’ll find linguistic parallels with the Qur’an that you can use to show your family the Truth of the Holy Gospel (if they’re open to that). Offer up your fears to Our Lady. She loves you.
As-salaamu alaikum, dear soul. Salaam ar-Rabb Yasu al-Messih.
This is a free download of the Gospel of John gorgeously chanted in Arabic. Feed your soul with this.
Excellent advice Athanasius.
Pray for them in this matter
Hello. I was in your same situation about six years ago. I ended up going to RCIA and leaving Islam behind. I am here to say it’s okay. To be honest with you, most of my family are not aware of my conversion…they are just aware that I do not believe in Islam anymore. Good luck to you and if you have any questions feel free to ask.
You can become a Christian and join the Catholic Church, and I encourage you to do so! You have concerns about your family that are probably at least somewhat justified, but the thing to remember is that there is a difference between a secret and something that is private. You probably shouldn’t keep many secrets from your family, but at the same time you are allowed to keep certain things private.
If you’re in college it means you are probably an adult (18+ years old), and the decision is yours alone. You cannot control how your family will react, and while I would not advise somebody to hide their faith from those they love, or deliberately deceive anyone, I also don’t think it has to be something you confront them with if you think it will cause problems. I know it can be hard at your age to separate your life from that of your family, and there is a tendency in most children to want to talk to their parents about most aspects of their lives and share the things they are happy about. Family is important, and it’s natural to want to share with family, but there will be aspects of your life that can belong just to you, and don’t have to concern anyone else. Your relationship with God is ultimately a personal one, and you owe it to yourself to make sure that relationship is the best it can be, and in the way you feel God wants it to be. As a Catholic, I certainly believe that the Catholic Church teaches the best way. I have studied the teachings of other religions and I have always found the Catholic Church to be the most comforting and the most true.
Someday you may decide that your private religious beliefs are something you’re ready to share with your parents. Right now, you probably are not very well equipped to get into theological debates with your parents on matters of Christian faith, so whatever you decide, I suggest you spend more time learning about Catholicism, going through RCIA, and studying the Bible. When you have converted, and have learned more, then perhaps it will be time to talk about religion more openly with those you care about. At that point you will be able to defend your beliefs better, and clear up any misconceptions they might have. It’s also possible the day never comes that you feel comfortable sharing this aspect of your private life with all members of your family. That’s okay too. There are members of my own family that I avoid certain subjects with in conversation, and that’s probably true in every family and in every friendship.
Approach them lovingly, without judgement. Be open to dialogue. Know what you are speaking about - I think the downfall of many Catholics are they do not fully understand the Church and so doctrine-centric - - making them so judgmental - - or they can’t “speak up” about their faith when questioned.
My brother told me a few months ago that he was thinking about converting to Orthodox Catholicism, so I feel you. He’s worried about the same thing with our parents, but I think if he does it will be fine.
Parents worry when things change in a way they don’t understand. If your parents come from immigrant backgrounds, that might be even more true. These traditions of behavior and belief are what make people feel tied together and safe. For a child to leave them behind makes the parents afraid of what the child is going to encounter outside of that protective circle of familiarity, and it can also feel like the parents, too, are being rejected. As believers, your parents will be afraid for your relationship with God. They may also face some criticism from others or feel like they’ve failed you.
I think its best to be honest about your beliefs. God does not want anyone to live a lie. But, also be gentle and with the assurance that you love them and aren’t trying to hurt them. They may need time to process it and they may be angry at first. If they’re good parents, then that ultimately comes from a place of love, and they’ll love you anyway.
If I were you, I’d first read the risks of converting to Christianity and assess how your family will act if you convert. Read many articles such as:
Then decide how likely it is for you to experience these problems. Then proceed as needed.
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