The New Muslim's Field Guide, by Theresa Corbin and Kaighla Um Dayo, is a book for new Muslims, those interested in Islam, and born Muslims or those in leadership positions within the ummah who would like to learn more about how they can support new converts to Islam.
I've been personally following their work for a little while now, but I was so excited when we heard from them about doing a collaboration with us here at The Dua Journal, because this is exactly the resource I wish I had had as a new Muslim. Convert care and building support systems for new Muslims is something close to my own heart, and as such I am honored to be able to share this resource with you today.
After reading this book myself and loving every page, I can confidently recommend it to any convert, new or old, or born Muslims looking to reaffirm their faith or support those that are new to Islam.
This is by far one the most comprehensive resources for a new Muslim that I have ever seen.
They cover all of the most important topics from faith and salah, to making big life shifts like leaving alcohol and eating halal, to modest dressing and marriage. Each topic is covered just enough to give the new Muslim the information they need to get started, without all the small details that can be overwhelming to someone new to the faith.
At the end of the book there is also a section for recommended readings beyond this book, so that new converts can delve more deeply into important topics when they are ready and get their information from the most reputable sources.
The authors state in the very beginning that they are not here to convince you to convert to Islam, nor are they here to convince you that you made the right decision when you converted or that Islam is the best religion.
They are very clear from the beginning that the point of this book is solely to be a resource and toolkit for the new Muslim as they embark on this new journey that is Islam - and that is exactly what this book delivers.
This is not the book to pick up if you are looking for sentimental stories from converts or more abstract inspiration. As the name suggests, this book is a resource for those who are out in the field, trying to navigate their way through their new life as a Muslim.
As a convert who has been through the early days of Islam, I really appreciate how the authors laid out priorities in this book.
They stress the importance of new Muslims building a solid foundation of faith, delving deep into their belief (aqeedah), and nurturing their relationship with Allah before jumping right into to the halal/haram rulebook.
They advise new Muslims to prioritize learning to pray in whatever ways are best for them, and then build slowly from there.
This approach helps to avoid the overwhelm and burnout that can come after the initial "convert zeal," and assures that when things get more difficult the new Muslim has a solid foundation of iman in place to fall back upon.
Another thing I absolutely loved about this book was the fact that the authors took a no-nonsense approach to the information they share. Tough issues that a new convert might face are handled with maturity and not sugar-coated.
This book speaks to the reality of being a new Muslim: It is hard. And the authors do not downplay or gloss over that fact. While acknowledging the difficulty, they also avoid negativity and instead give positive, constructive solutions for many things that may come up for a new Muslim, and examples from their lived experience of how things can and do improve with time and patience.
Kindness and Caring
Finally, while the approach is overall informative and realistic and certainly doesn't shy away from the tough subjects and taking a hard stance, the overall tone of the book is one of caring, kindness, and sisterly love.
This isn't a book written by a born Muslim for new Muslims. This isn't a book written by some man in a country a new Muslim may never have even heard of.
This book is written by converts, for converts. The authors themselves went through the journey of being a new Muslim, and specifically being a new Muslim in the West. They are intimately familiar with the situations converts may face, and fully aware of the care and support new Muslims need at this vulnerable stage in their journey.
Overall, this book is well thought out, and an amazingly comprehensive starting point for new Muslims on their journey. I can't stress enough how much I wish I had read this years ago when I was first coming to Islam, and I will continue to recommend this to all of my convert friends, new and old, as well as born Muslims looking to support new Muslims.
For information on our Ramadan 2019 giveaway of a copy of this book, please search for us on Instagram @theduajournal.
You can follow The New Muslims Field guide on social media @thenewmuslimsfieldguide and you can get a copy of the book for yourself or as a gift through your local Amazon.