We proudly claim that we are Muslims but it is an insult to Allah and Islam if we forget that along with being Muslim comes certain responsiblities (to others). Living in Islam is not just about you and God. It is also about how you interact with other creations of God. That is also Ibadah (worship). How sincere and true is our worship of God if we pray every prayer fully 5 times a day but when a new Muslim turns to us for friendship, we become judgemental and assume they cannot be worth as much as "us born Muslims." They say a man's true nature is revealed when he is confronted with dealing with those who are of no direct importance to him. How do you treat those who are not important to you?
Allah will judge us according to our contribution to the image of Islam and to inviting those who are searching toward Islam. The world will be quick to judge Islam according to how we Muslims behave and how we Muslims lead our lives. If a person is dishonest, greedy and racist, we look around him/her to see who his friends are, who his colleagues are, what his religion is, etc. When a Muslim behaves badly, it is natural for people to assume that Islam cannot be as great as we claim it is, if it cannot even change a man for the better.
Allah's plan will never falter, and nothing will destroy Islam but we cannot take this as a cue to be complacent. When a person approaches you and you have the opportunity to help him or give dawah, grab the chance. Saying "no" because you have no time, or you assume the person "is not seriously worth helping", or that "I don't have time for things that don't benefit me directly", may satisfy you in the short run but think about how you will answer Allah on the Day of Judgement.
I would like to introduce the experiences of three converts, who experienced great difficulty getting accepted into the Ummah - because of their race or the fact that they were converts perhaps (and hence, not the real thing?)
Please don't overlook this! We may tell ourselves, "Oh we're nice to converts, we help them when we can." but in reality, little things we do (or don't do) may be affecting many people around us. We need to open our eyes and really see and think about what a small but kind gesture could do. Ideally, we should be inviting these people to become part of our families but if you are not ready for that, at least think about gradually building up to it.
1. Since my conversion two years ago, I have known a lot of disillusionment and anguish, not with Islam, the theology, to which I am committed, but with the Muslims I tend to come into contact with in real life and online. Read it here
2. "My First Year As A Muslim". An open letter from Jeremiah D. McAuliffe, Jr., Ph.D. to the Pittsburgh. Read it here
3. The story of an American girl called Zainab where, without going into details, she makes clear that she has faced outright hostility from born Muslim men who turned her family against Islam after her female Muslim friends had initially created a good impression. Read it here