Your question this morning brought us good news and made us very happy. Praise be to Allaah for what we have read in your question. We understand the difficulties that you are facing and how you feel. We will try to offer you some solutions to the problems you are facing. We are impressed by your learning all the words of the prayer and of al-Faatihah even though your language is English, and by your knowing Allaah since the age of eleven and your becoming more convinced and certain of Islam after three years, now that you are fourteen. We tell you the following, and Allaah is the Source of strength:
When a person believes in something, he will be prepared to make sacrifices for its sake, so how about if this thing is Tawheed or belief in Allaah Alone, worshipping Him alone, following His Messenger and obeying His commands? Undoubtedly in this case the sacrifices will be even greater. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us that Paradise is surrounded with obstacles, and what that means is that there is no way for us to reach Paradise except by overcoming obstacles and putting up with difficulties. For the reward of Allaah is precious and its blessings are immense and never-ending, and life there is eternal and its joys and pleasures will never cease. So the true Muslim will be prepared to sacrifice many things in this transient, passing world for the sake of that blessing; he will be prepared to put up with the insults and slander of people, with their criticism and mockery, for the sake of attaining that blessing. There is something else good about this matter, which is that the more a person is harassed and bears it with patience, the more his reward will increase and the higher he will rise in status before the Lord of the Worlds; indeed, his faith may increase and grow stronger, so that he will enjoy bearing this bitterness with patience for the sake of earning Allaah’s pleasure. The sweetness of striving to please the Lord cancels out the bitterness of people’s anger, insults and criticism. If the harm he faces is just some words of mockery or criticism that he heard, what is wrong with his putting up with that in order to earn the pleasure of the Lord and His reward? In all of that he believes in the promise of Allaah, as He said in his holy Book (interpretation of the meaning):
“So be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqoon (the pious)”
He knows that patience can only be achieved by the help of Allaah, so he asks Him to help him and make him steadfast. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And endure you patiently (O Muhammad), your patience is not but from Allaah”
He is prepared to announce the truth before people, regardless of who approves and who rejects that. If they reject it, he turns away from them and ignores them, as Allaah said to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (interpretation of the meanings):
“Therefore proclaim openly (Allaah’s Message Islamic Monotheism) that which you are commanded, and turn away from Al‑Mushrikoon (polytheists, idolaters, and disbelievers)”
“and turn away from the foolish”
Hurtful words from relatives are difficult to bear, worse than a blow from a weapon, but that will become insignificant for one who bears in mind the greatness of Allaah and His reward, and he will continue on his path without turning away or hesitating.
Having explained this, we will now answer your question with the following points:
1 – You have done well by not raising your voice to your grandmother, because respecting parents and grandparents is part of Islam.
2 – Try to resist going to the church as much as you can, because it is a place where the signs of Allaah are rejected and shirk (association of others with Allaah) is proclaimed and a false religion is practiced openly. Since you are female, you are not obliged to go to the mosque as men are, so you will not be falling short if you do not go to the mosque, because the best place for a woman to pray is in her own house.
3 – Try as much as you can to wear hijaab, and put up with insults for the sake of Allaah. Be patient in praying the five daily prayers on time, knowing that they do not all coincide with the time you must be in school. If you pray Fajr after dawn comes, then you go to school, you will be able to pray Zuhr at school before the time for ‘Asr comes. You could find the time for that in a break between classes or at lunchtime, or after coming home. It is important to pray Zuhr after the sun has passed its zenith and before the time for ‘Asr comes.
4 – If you treat people kindly, you will win them over in the end and you will not be rejected, in sha Allaah.
5 – Do not delay entering Islam, do not wait a moment longer. For you do not know when death will come. So utter the words of the Shahaadatayn (the twin declaration of faith) and start praying. You will get used to the number of rak’ahs and the times of prayer, the words to say and how to do it as time goes by, and this will dispel the confusion that you mention in your question. So long as you are prepared to enter Islam, you do not – praise be to Allaah – need the approval of your mother or grandmother, or anyone else, because Allaah has commanded you to follow His religion:
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:85]
6 – Look for Muslim sisters with whom you can make friends and be in touch, so that they can help you to learn the religion and remain steadfast in following it. There follows the telephone number of al-Muntada al-Islami in London, so you can call them and ask about the times of women’s classes; this may be a starting point for you, since you live in the U.K. [44-207-7369060]
Finally, we want to say again how happy we were to read your question, and we give you the glad tidings of a happy life and good future in the shade of the pure monotheistic religion of Islam. We are prepared to help you as much as we can.
May Allaah help us and you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. And Allaah is the Guide to the Straight Path.