Salam. Just to be clear, there is a difference between a non-religious Muslim and a non-Muslim. A non-Muslim is simply a person that is not a Muslim (i.e. doesn’t believe in Islam). A non-religious Muslim is a person who is a Muslim. They may pray 5 times a day but if they’re too busy, they’ll skip some. They may not wear hijab but wear it in salah. They may wear modest clothes but sometimes they’ll wear shorts above the knees or tight clothes that reveal their figure. They may not drink alcohol but will if they are around their non-Muslim friends. They may be very religious in terms of their salah and attending Islamic lectures, but they hang out with the opposite sex (could be with other non-religious Muslims as well) or have a boy/girlfriend (most of the time, with another non-religious Muslim).
Basically, non-religious Muslims are Muslims that are on the borderline of their religion. This is very dangerous because anything can tip them over to the non-Muslim category. These Muslims are hanging on to Islam by a thread and if they hear something that comes across them as offending or not good, they’ll denounce Islam in a heartbeat. These are the people we should be concerned about and be friends with. However, we also need to watch how we act and what we say around them as well. This is what I want to talk about.
First of all when you know or see a non-religious Muslim, your first priority should be to be their friend. This will make them have a reason for hanging out with other Muslims and pray more often and do other Islamic activities. If its a sister, make sure you allow her to hang out with other sisters that dress modestly as this will cause her to think and encourage her to do so as well. When she starts to dress more modestly, shower her with complements that she looks nice and should dress modestly more often. Don’t ever force it upon her to dress modestly by saying that if you want to be a good Muslim, you must wear hijab or something that will make her feel uneasy to hang around with you anymore.
If the non-religious Muslim is a brother, encourage him to go to the masjid more. Make sure that while he hangs out with you, that you hang out with a group of your good Muslim friends as well. Go out for some halal dinner, teach him good manners, allow him to feel that he is apart of a brotherhood. Basically, if you put a non-religious Muslim with a group of religiously committed Muslims, he/she will bound to be influenced and become better Muslim as well inshaAllah.
The most important thing that you must not do is to treat them as if they are on the same “religious scale” as you are. That is the quickest way to having them leave Islam. When a sister asks why she has to wear hijab, don’t only say because it is required in Islam. They know that already. They really want to know the wisdom behind it. Brothers when a sister asks, why is it discouraged for a Muslim wife to work, don’t say because her place is in the kitchen. This will make her hate you, and the religion. What she really wants to know is what are the negative consequences of deciding to work instead of staying home with her children.
Once again brothers, when a sister asks why can men marry up to 4 wives but women can only marry one Muslim man, don’t say because we need to fulfill our sexual desires. This will make her think that ALL MUSLIM MEN only use their wives for sexual pleasure and that they are only meant to cook, clean, and serve the men like maids. She needs to understand the wisdom behind it. She needs to see a shaykh and have him explain to her the reason why.
Sisters when a brother asks why do men and women need to be separated when attending an Islamic gathering, conference, or any other religious activity, don’t say because men are like animals that cannot control themselves when they see women. This will make them feel ashamed and frustrated. They need to understand the negative consequences of mixing and mingling with the opposite sex.
One time, a sister came to my college’s MSA and she sat down while me and two brothers were talking. She wanted to take part in our conversation so we let her. It went off well until one of the brothers described what types of clothes are not modest for a Muslim women to wear and started to talk about how sisters that don’t dress properly are not good Muslims and asked why can’t they dress any better? The sister just pretended that she had a phone call and walked away because it just so happens that she was dressing the same exact style of clothing that he described as “not-modest” and that she wasn’t a good Muslim. The brother himself, was clueless and unaware that the sister was dressed as he described but point is, we never ever saw that sister again.
There was another sister that had been semi-active with the MSA and helped out as much as she could. But then I heard from a friend that the sister wanted to run for a certain position in the MSA but all the other sisters said no because she wasn’t”qualified” enough to run for any positions. Now she is hanging out with boys and could quite possibly have a boyfriend.
We are loosing Muslims all the time from this issue and we must understand that they are weak in Iman and need to be guided. Be mindful of what you say for your tongue can be as sharp as a sword. It can stab them to death causing them to forever turn their backs and never look at Islam again. There are so many sad circumstances of Muslims turning the other way after being mistreated by their brothers and sisters. Lets make an effort to contain those non-religious Muslims and make them feel at home when they hang out with us. Make them feel happy that they are Muslims and treat them as kindly as possible.
If you are a weak Muslim, and have went through an experience where your brothers and sisters in Islam didn’t treat you nicely, please forgive them and understand that they weren’t wise when dealing with you. Forgive their shortcomings and ask Allah to guide you and guide them for only Allah has power over everyone’s affairs.
If you are one of those people who have shunned a Muslim brother or sister because they weren’t as “religious” as you are, please find a way to bring them back and ask Allah for forgiveness. Make an effort to be friends with him/her again and let him/her understand what Islam really is all about.
I ask Allah to guide all the Muslims who have went astray, to guide the non-Muslims to the fold of Islam, to forgive all of our sins and our shortcomings, and to purify our hearts, souls and our intentions. Ameen, Allahummah Ameen.