Answer to the question: "Do new Muslims have to abandon their former pleasures and activities?"
Allah wants His servants to lead the most beautiful life. In the Qur'an, Allah gives the news that believers will lead a beautiful life, for:
In the Qur'an believers are encouraged to use lawful and clean things:
As long as people observe the limits set by Allah, the Qur'an does not prohibit them from socializing, enjoying the art and aesthetics, being lively and extrovert. The things considered to be unlawful by the Qur'an are obvious, as are the Prophet's (pbuh) exemplary life and advice. Apart from these, the Qur'an condemns the laying down of new judgments, as the following verses indicate:
Those who lack true faith in Allah benefit from Allah's blessings as well as the believers. This is the point where the differences between believers and unbelievers emerge. Unbelievers feel a strong attachment to favors bestowed upon them (e.g., money or property), forget to remember Allah, and feel ungrateful for His blessings. On the other hand, believers, who are aware that they are from Allah, use these blessings for Allah's cause in the best way and draw nearer to Him. The Qur'an sets the following criterion for this issue:
Briefly, a believer who embraces the Quranic morality and the sunnah of our Prophet (pbuh), is always very clean, noble, good humored, joyful, pleasant, well mannered, extrovert, moderate and appreciates art and aesthetics. These characteristics were obvious in our Prophet's (pbuh) and his companions' lives.
However, apart from all of these, remember that as people adopt the Qur'an's values and make them an integral part of their lives and assume more of the believers' attributes, they will acknowledge the existence of very different tastes and pleasures. For members of a society that does not live by the religion, for instance, the greatest pleasure in life is to enjoy themselves. Believers however, have more noble and permanent pleasures, such as striving to earn Allah's good pleasure, conveying Allah's message to people, communicating the beauties of the Qur'an's morality to people, and carrying out an intellectual struggle against unbelievers.
As people experience more strongly the morality of a believer described in the Qur'an, they see that the real pleasures attained through sincere faith are incomparably superior to those enjoyed by unbelievers.