People change. Sometimes with time, seemingly unintentionally, and sometimes they bring on changes in their lives on purpose. Sometimes they change for the better, sometimes they change for the worse, and sometimes they just become different people. It’s natural, yet some of these changes can be painful.

One of the friends I went to middle school with changed the pronunciation of her name. Well… thing is her name used to always be pronounced wrongly, so after high school I think, she decided to introduce herself with the correct pronunciation of her name. I used to call her by the “wrong” pronunciation, so when she “changed” it… I simply stopped saying her name. It was weird. And it was awkward. She was aware of how I’d avoid saying her name, which is why she stopped saying my name as well. It was all… very… awkward.

Then I actually changed my name. And I got annoyed at my old friends who would insist on calling me by my old name, especially in front of new people. Why couldn’t they accept my decision, like my Swedish coworkers etc. did? Bengalis and their fear of change!

But I was the same… it wasn’t until I changed my name that I started to understand what the one that does it feels like.

And so I started thinking back at all the people in my life that have moved away from me or that I have moved away from because of them changing. I am in the process of changing right now. I have changed a lot already.

Unfortunately, my changes don’t really sync with some of the people in my life. So currently I’m trying to put myself in their shoes. How did I feel when some of my friends became more practicing and detached from me? Initially, I felt a bit disappointed. Slowly however, I started understanding them, but that’s because faith has always been a part of my life and deep inside I at least hoped I would follow them on the right path. If that wasn’t the case, I might’ve become angry. If I didn’t know better, I might’ve said “religion made them that way”. I don’t want that to be the case with me. I don’t want my friends to think I’m abandoning them because they’re not “like me”. Eventually that might avert them from religion, and I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if it did.

This, some of you might think, is an excellent opportunity for me to give da’wah. That’s easier said than done, to be honest. I’m still struggling with learning proper Islamic etiquette, let alone practice it with people that know a different me from before! And how do I make them create the connection to Islam? How do I make them understand that the good that I’m attempting to do comes from, for example, the lessons learned through the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)?

I see this as a test from اللهsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). And each test is a blessing. Each test is one more chance to prove myself, to do a good deed. Each test is a confirmation that الله‎ is indeed listening to my prayers and answering them in the manner He deems appropriate. In the manner that is right for me specifically. Because He knows me better than I know myself. And He has already written all the changes that are to come.