1. A lot of things are running through our heads right now.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Qur’an, 2:155).
New converts to Islam have just made the biggest decision of their lives, and changed their religion to one that they are unfamiliar with in many ways. There are a lot of stimuli around us that we are not used to, being in the mosque, hanging out with Muslims, hearing foreign languages other than Spanish, etc. Often, new Muslims might look uncomfortable because they are not used to their surroundings. A big change has just occurred in the convert’s life, and each person will respond differently to these situations.
While we are learning the basics of Islam, either before or after our shahada (testimony of faith), we are constantly coming across new things that we’ve never heard of before. It takes a long time to be able to have a consistent foundation that’s strong enough to feel any amount of comfort in the religion. This process is similar to moving to a foreign country, not knowing the language, customs, or environment that surrounds us. We often have no idea about the origin of certain customs and whether they are from Islam or a person’s culture, and it takes time to be able to discern between the two.
2. Our family life is uncertain.
A man asked the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him): ‘What is the right of parents on their offspring?’ The Prophet ﷺ replied: “They are your Paradise and your Hell.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
People who are born into Islam have the benefit of having a foundation with their parents and family. The Qur’an is on their bookshelf, Arabic words are mixed into conversation without needing definition, and there is an environment of tradition that provides a reference point for looking at the world. A convert is experiencing the total opposite. He or she doesn’t have any sort of religious connection with their family anymore, and there is sometimes backlash from parents and extended family about the decision to become a Muslim.
Even if there’s no significant backlash, there are no blood relatives to talk to about Islam, no one to clarify things, and no family support to be offered in the entire process. All of these things can cause an immense amount of stress and disillusionment. It’s common for converts to have moments of breakdown where they feel like nobody is on their side. For those who are lucky enough to have a close friend or mentor to help them in situations like this, it’s still not the same as having family help. Converts need an exceptionally good amount of emotional support from individuals in their community to feel empowered as Muslims. This doesn’t require a full-time therapist, but just people to make them feel at home.
3. Our friends are leaving us.
“A man follows the religion of his close friend, so each of you should be very careful about whom he takes as a close friend.” —The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
Friends are known for being brutally honest. When a convert tells his friends that he or she just became Muslim, they are going to receive a wide range of reactions. Even if their friends are supportive, they will still be really puzzled and they will ask a million questions that most born Muslims would have trouble answering. And while most converts don’t get a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies before becoming Muslim, they’re going to sometimes feel pushed into a corner when tested by their friends.
Their friends might stick around for a while, but chances are their habits are not always what a new Muslim wants to be around. After you deny a few invitations to go to parties, they might stop calling all together. Friends who seem to have abandoned you can cause a lot of depression and loneliness, and it will always take a while to replace a decent group of friends with a good group of Muslim friends.
4. We don’t know how to spend our free time.
“Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression –even a thorn’s prick, Allah expiates his sins because of it.” —The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Bukhari, Muslim)
After the distance is created with friends and family, it’s hard to fill free time or stay busy enough to not start feeling down sometimes. Converts will notice a gap in their schedules that was previously filled with something else like hanging out with friends, going to concerts, or partying. This is especially hard to cope with in a smaller city where there isn’t much else to do and not enough Muslims to spend time with.
In this situation, there might be a desire to go back to old habits to feel “normal” again, or there will be an urge to stay alone and away from other people. While Islam doesn’t allow monasticism or hedonism, this causes a problem for converts to Islam when it’s a minority religion in the society. Eventually the situation will get easier and there won’t be any problem in staying busy, but initially it can be very hard to stay positive.
5. We don’t know what to learn and who to learn from.
“Make things easier, do not make things more difficult, spread the glad tidings, do not hate.” —The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Bukhari)
Converts usually experience some trouble in the beginning with differences in fiqh (jurisprudence). Their background is usually from a religion with a narrower view of right or wrong. Often converts will think: “So do I raise my hands after bowing or not? Which one is right and which one is wrong?” The fact is there are many correct opinions regarding such issues in Islam. Converts will often find themselves in the dilemma of whether to take the easier opinion or the stronger one.
At the very best, this will cause only a small amount of confusion at first. Remember that converts don’t have a family to help form their opinions about these things, and they are getting information from all sides. A common decision converts will make is choosing between zabiha (ritually slaughtered) and non-zabiha meat. In reality it’s a fact that there is a difference of opinion among scholars regarding the meat of Ahl-al-Kitab (People of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christians), but converts can feel pressured to take one opinion over the other based on someone’s limited knowledge of the issue.
6. We don’t know when we’ll make another mistake.
“And whoever is patient and forgives – indeed that is of the matters [requiring] determination.” —The Holy Qur’an 42:43
Because they feel like they’re in a foreign country while in the mosque, a convert won’t know when someone will point out something they’re doing wrong. Often people come up to converts with a self-righteous attitude and give them harsh advice based on their own limited understanding. The convert is already dealing with differing opinions coming from every angle, and it’s very discouraging to have someone correct you in a harsh way.
The ideal way to correct a convert is the way of the Rasulullah ﷺ, with kindness and understanding. Remember all the sahaba (companions of the Prophet ﷺ) were converts and were constantly receiving guidance directly from the Messenger ﷺ. The sahaba didn’t feel chastised or discouraged when they were corrected, but uplifted. This is something that needs to be taken into deep consideration when advising a convert, who may be more sensitive to these things than a born-Muslim (who often needs just as much advice).
7. We don’t know what you actually think of us.
“Not one of you can believe if you do not want for your brother what you want for yourself.” —The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Bukhari)
A lot of converts will get a lot of praise and helpful words from fellow Muslims, but there is sometimes an animosity towards converts that should be something alien to our ummah (Muslim community)—it resembles a pre-Islamic attitude of racism. As a convert, there is often a feeling of inferiority because “I’m not Arab” or “I’m not desi” that can sometimes lead the convert to acting like they are from a culture they are not, and that has nothing to do with Islam. This is something that needs to be resisted by converts who might have the urge to wear Pakistani clothes to “fit-in” around Muslims because they feel so different.
Let converts retain their culture in ways that don’t contradict Islam. They need to feel empowered and uplifted as Muslims and not reduced to the lowest common denominator. Converts have a lot they can bring to the table, and to take that ability away from them is a crime. Salman al-Farsi, a Persian companion of the Prophet ﷺ, was the one to recommend the battle strategy in the Battle of the Trench against the Quraysh. Salman’s Arab brothers in Islam took his opinion and used it to win the battle. If Salman had had an inferiority complex because of his Persian heritage, he might not have offered his opinion. Remember to make your convert brothers and sisters feel like they are a valued part of our community that links us to the culture around us.
8. We might be second-guessing our decision.
“If someone does not show mercy to people, Allah will not show mercy to him.” —The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Bukhari, Muslim)
In the worst-case scenario, converts might feel so discouraged that they second-guess their decision to convert. With all the different problems that arise after conversion, there is a sense of desperation that can lead to apostasy. While some of it is unavoidable, there is much that our communities can do to help our converts feel welcomed and strong as Muslims. Most of it requires simple attitude changes like getting rid of the “back-home” mentality and having outrageous ideals that don’t reflect reality.
Research by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunus notes that 75% of American converts leave the religion after a few years. This is a tragedy that reflects the inability of American-Muslim communities to take care of their converts. With these statistics we should be asking ourselves: what can we do as individuals and as communities to help our convert brothers and sisters find comfort in Islam? This is a compassionate call to action for the born-Muslims to do what they can to understand, assist, and advise those who enter into Islam. Instead of alienation, we need to embrace with open arms.
This brought me to tears. Jazak Allah for such an honest and sincere post. I’ve been Muslim for nearly 3 years now, I converted when I was 18 years old. I had just started college and I was living on my own for the first time. I’m constantly figuring out how to be an adult and a Muslim and everything else all at the same time. The way we perceive our future is also uncertain, We want to stay true to our identity but sometimes with such strong cultural bonds in the community its hard to fit in and this is especially difficult when you want to have a Muslim family. I think sometimes converts have unrealistic expectations about how the ummah should be. It’s true, everything is just really uncertain/unstable and sometimes you find yourself in situations where you were too gullible and trusting which makes you defensive and isolated. I had lunch with one Muslimah who said it best, all Muslims are your brothers and sisters but not all of them are your friends. It’s like you’re just waiting for that moment when you will feel at home.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Check out Nouman Ali Khan videos on YouTube.
Asalamu alaykum Kendriana,
Insha’allah be patient and one day you will feel at home…It takes time to sort through all the issues. Many of us converts/reverts after we take shahadah leave our common sense at the door and treat other muslims as if they are all representing Islam perfectly . This leaves us open to being hurt and consequently resenful…so after 23 years in islam I can honestly say Islam is the best but the people are people, some good some not so good…you are right we all go through it, take care and always remember Allah and his Prophet!
Sister, are you by any chance around the Seattle area? If you are, I would love to get in touch.
As-salamu ‘alaykum. This is such an important article. May Allah bless you and lead us all to greater insight and empathy.
I wrote a post on this topic some time ago, framed as an open letter to new Muslims: http://othermatters.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/retread-if-youre-going-to-do-this-islam-thing-2/
This article and your comment are so true. I converted a year ago and recently moved to France for university and I’ve been feeling more lost than ever. But, Insha’allah I’ll stay strong.
Only a month after I converted I was struck by the gravity of it all and left Islam. I was so ashamed that if Islam was brought up in conversation I would just shut down. Then, in May of this year I had a random spoken word video in my YouTube recommendations and I decided to watch it (What was the harm?). It wound up being on the topic of Islam and Jesus. The video sparked my interest in Islam again. I’ve spent the past several months getting back into Islam, reading everything I can get my hands on, and finally truly practicing. Alhamduillah.
But, even with renewed faith, I still don’t feel a sense of belonging.
Insha’allah one day we both will.
I am praying for you sister. May Allah connect you with some pious, kind, and loving Muslims. Ameen.
Why is there no assurance of anything in Islam? No assurance of genuine conversion, much less assurance that it will last? It’s exhausting to always try so hard and never be sure.
And even if I believe I’ve been very good, how can I be sure that my good outweighs my wrongs?
Some say that is the place of “faith”, but how can I place my faith or trust in things that are so uncertain/unstable? It’s faith in what?
as mentioned in the article the ummah’s role is very important for the sustenance of faitj….above all the convert should have trust in His Creator
i think the ‘uncertainty’ that u r feeling is the work of satan….he strives to let us down….keep doing good deeds, repent for the bad ones, nd let satan knw that hes losing the battle by moving forward positively
Right and wrong, good and bad. These are words that are subject to cultural ties and regulations and can tear us down with guilt, fear and anxiety. Most of us in this world want to do the “right thing” follow the “good path” and we can make ourselves crazy constantly wondering what action is right and what is wrong. The truth that I have found is live your life, stop figuring out (to the best of your ability) what is right what is wrong.
The truth is no matter how hard we try to understand we will never know if our good actions outweigh the bad so, stop trying to gauge.
Trust in Allah. His Mercy is greater. May Allah reward and bless you.
Asalamu alaikum. I converted a year ago and – alhamduillah – Islam has brought me the peace, clarity, and stability for which I had been searching.
Conversion is not easy. Our author shares the obstacles that create difficulty and confusion for converts, and undoubtedly these obstacles are what leads those 75% of American converts to leave the religion. Each of these factors are difficult to quantify for each individual convert; the variables of familial, geopolitical, and communal situations are unique to all who chose to follow the path Allah (swt) has laid out for us.
I, too, have been harshly reprimanded by my sisters at the mosque. I, too, have faced (and continue to face) the struggle of the language barrier. I, too, feel frustrated by the barrage of questions my friends and family pose to me. I, too, feel the sideways stares when I am in hijab. I understand these obstacles.
Islam a path, not a destination. Neither you nor your brothers and sister who are “born Muslim” are perfect beings. Praise to Allah we live in an age where we can connect via the Internet, and feel the benefits of ummah even when we are separated by distance! Admitting you feel scared, or unsure, or confused takes bravery, and your courage benefits other converts (just like me and so many others) in helping us realize we are not alone.
Peace and blessings to you, my respected brothers and sisters in Islam.
Beautifully written, sister Anna — may Allah (swt) make you a beacon of guidance for others entering into Islaam, and grant you an immeasurable reward in this life and the one to come, ameen.
SuhbanAllah, great comment. May Allah make it easy for you.
Alhamdolillah, it is great to see reverts expressing their feelings. I am sure this is how Sahabas felt as they were reverts too. It is such a great achievement for you all to be consistent, persistent and keep connected with God in these circumstances. This is true that in general we the born muslims are not the best example of Islam and Islamic teachings. We all have to work hard to change the current conditions. However at the same time I am sure Allah (swt) will reward you all for patience in these circumstances.
Salaams to all. Very nice article, as all ways. I hope and pray that Allah always makes the religion easy for all our beautiful converts/ reverts.
I am not at ease when I read about converts.
I don’t see clearly the differences between a new muslim from muslim family with a new muslim from none-muslim family.
75% of american “converts” leave islam, ok. But how many native muslims leave islam or let down all religious practises ?
Do you think that a muslim youth who lives in the US and who is coming back to or learning his/her religion knows perfectly the difference between culture and din ? If he/she was jahil and had bad frequentation, doesn’t he/she have to leave his/her friends and find anothers ? Doesn’t he/she feel lonely ?
Do you think because he/she is born arab, he/she knows how to spend his/her time in positive activities ? Does he/she make no mistake ? Does he/she want not to come back time to time to his/her old life ?
Sometimes, talking about “converts” can be a way to put a veil on muslim community’s problems : as if teens (and grown ups) from muslim families in the US don’t have issues with alcohol, drugs, p*rn, sex before mariage etc.
Kala, what country do you live in?
You make a good point Kala. Ultimately, we should be gentle and open with each other- whether someone has just become Muslim or a Muslim has just started practicing Islam. There need to be more venues to teach the basics of Islam and networks for new, or newly practicing Muslims.
Assalamu alaikom Kala,
Empathy is a great thing, & you are correct, it can be just as challenging for a muslim who is struggling to know the deen in a non-practising family too, but insha Allah, that there is some notion of muslims around you that you know where to head. Sometimes the condition of reverts needs to be emphasised or that bitterness goes unacknowledged – sometimes born muslims have a strange idea that it is ‘easier’ or that reverts are more blessed & a strange destructive envy creeps in. Aauthu billah!
For the muslim born into such a struggle, that is where people like you can come in & hi-light the needs of your community, help make change, help strengthen your & our ummah’s ties.
I met many ‘cultural’ & non praying muslims but one thing they had in common was a sense that no-one would question the validity of their muslim identity. It is a strange thing, but it is often the case that whilst a new muslim [even of a few years] is trying to learn about Islam & how it should impact upon our lives, we also learn about our compassionate ummah who are always there & non-judgemental, obviously not a reflection on the ummah today! Though the shame is on us for that being so. Don’t you think?
May Allah ehlp us to be helpers of each other, may we remember that being anti any muslim isn’t beneficial, instead, its much better to say ‘I understand those issues & sadly they also affect the cultural muslims who have forgotten the deen’… because we are all also people with all those frailties & failings & needs. It isn’t either/or, Islam encompasses the rights of everyone.
I pray that Allah makes it easier for you & all those who are striving to come closer to Allah.
Glad tidings to the strangers.
Fi aman Allah
JAK for the article. I would love to offer help and support to any convert sister.
Aslm, my name is Rani. I am 21 years old. I recently embraced islam. I am from Mauritius. i badly need counseling and advices. I need islamic support. My family does not agree to my conversion. Jazzak Illah khairn
How can we help please?
You can also contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
e.g. if ur at university, there may be some sisters who will be very willing to help
How can I help, are there questions you need to ask? Please let me know how I can help you.
Can you help me please
May God bless you for this important post!
The change is felt not only by the first generation of converts, but their children too..
Assalamu alaikom, Subhan Allah, in fact, that can feel far far worse. I am watching my children live a very isolated life as our community basically pay lip service, extend greetings then shut the door. Watching my children struggle through the confusing realm of ‘Come on over, you are always welcome…’ to the reality of ‘sorry, not today…’ [EVERY time] is devastating, they do not have the deceit of some adults & don’t understand when an invitation is only from the lips & not the heart, so I watch them go through that awful rejection over & over again. Aauthu billah! Which then brings a tremendous worry, how do they feel the identity of the muslim when they see other muslim families prefer to invite non-muslim children to play with their children over them? A strange mistrust, as though somehow, the family constructed of a born muslim & revert is deviant is a terrible discord in our communites. Another revert sister I know also experienced this in other parts of the UK & Turkey too. So it isn’t uncommon.
I’ve heard many times that ‘reverts are for reverts/converts’ & that those in ‘mixed’? marriages should find friends just like them. Doesn’t that create a fringe society within the ummah?
Isn’t that the opposite of what is desirable?
And, you know, I make du’a all the time that my children will be blessed with pious friends ma’sha Allah who will help them be strong & stay on the deen, so perhaps I need more sabr, but I also need a community that understands that unless we extend common gestures of brotherhood/sisterhood for the sake of Allah, we wont know how much we can help each other & help each other to success insha Allah!
Asalaam Alaikum. Thank you for sharing this with me.
Also by some second generation Muslims too. We need to organize conferences that connect and support both reverts and second generation Muslims through larger umbrella organizations like ISNA, ICNA etc.
Great piece – but I would like to clarify, discrimination is not racism. One type of suffering is unique in its own way, you lose credibility by making the association.
Sometimes the discrimination is based upon racism though, I had it made perfectly clear to me by one sister that my race ‘are dirty’ & that the only thing we have in common is being ‘muslim’ & that there is no way she would have anything to do with me/have to say to me ordinarily. Some of the statements that have come out of her mouth really shocked me, hurt me & amazed me by the sheer ignorance – not only deeply offending me at a personal level but the comments were also directed towards my mother, father & siblings.
Racism certanly exists within the muslim community, not only towards reverts either, there is also the divides between cultures & ethnicities – as though we don’t know that we were all created from Adam [as] & Hawwa[as]!
After many attempts, I now just exchange greetings [we actually live on the same street]
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
That’s amazingly sick of her…..she should watch out for the day she meets Allah.
It’s good you aren’t letting someone elses bad behavior ccause you in turn to behave badly. Don’t be without a mind-
treat people who treat you well, well or better. And we should not treat people who treat us badly, badly. Keep giving those salams, you won’t regret it the day you meet Allah Inshaa Allah.
As someone who was raised with a cultural upbringing of Islam and never practiced until recently, we go through some CRAZY things of our own. I always thought that I shared a lot in common with converts because of that, but this article did a wonderful job of focusing on the convert issues themselves. Though many issues coincide with what I’ve felt being raised ‘Muslim’, there are nuances in our backgrounds and how we are encouraged to handle them. I learned a lot about what things I may have had that converts aren’t so lucky to have-Thanks!
asalaam alaikum. I will tell you from me, that becoming a Moslem has been the most differcult time of my life. Nearly two years now, have experienced a sad marriage breakup, people critising behind closed doors about our mixed marriage. That, I will never regret our marriage, but feeling rejected and being rejected by women in his culture is really not good.I hope that whoever reads this will know who I am and be ashamed. Becoming a Muslim for me and following Allah Subahnahu Wa Ta Ala is the most precious thing that has happened to me.
Jazakalaahu kheir for this amazing article, if any sister needs my help and in California, i am a stay at home mum i would love to help. i would not mind giving my Facebook page to contact u. thank u v much again.
JazkaAllah Khair for this article. I feel like many born-in muslims forget about converts and the many struggles we have to face. There are so many instances when i have felt like i don’t belong, either with the language barrier or on the celebration of Eid, when most people, even my close friends that i spend so much time with, spend that day with their families. Even though i have amazing friends that are more religious than cultural, there is always that huge fact of life…they have a muslim family to go home to at the end of the day and i don’t…specially in my case, since i live alone while attending college and have no family to come home to in the first place. When i do visit my parents, i have to actually hide the fact that i’m Muslim and the fact that i wear hijab. I am sure there are many Muslim converts that are going through the same things as me and its just really hard at times Alhamdullilah.
I just converted this past spring and everything in this article is right on. I have no plans on leaving Islam, however, I have had my own struggles. I jumped in with both feet and head on. I decided to slow down and not bite off to much or more than I can handle all at once so I don’t become overwhelmed.
I decided long ago that I am not still American and that wasn’t going to change. I am not dressing in foriegn clothing that is custom in other countries as it is not my custom. I dress modestnly in western clothing and don’t feel the need to wear an abaya or jilbab or any other clothing from Islamic countries.
I struggled with my identity and decided that was not an option anymore. I changed my religion not me or how I felt about people, places or things. Muslims don’t always agree with this but I don’t care. I didn’t run out and make all these new Muslim friends because I converted. That isn’t me. I have kept my old friends and family. They may not always be supportive but they are my family.
I have never been to a mosque and I am ok with that. I will go eventually. I have a couple of Muslim friends that I had before I converted that I ask questions should I have them.
We all have our individual experiences and I would encourage converts to blog or keep a journal of their journey in Islam.
Salam Tracle. Syukur to Allah for ending your heart to Islam. It must have taken you much courage to embark on such an important step. By ALLAH’s mercy may your new life be more happy and blissful. Taking the wudhuk and praying 5 times a day is crucial. Refraining from pork and liquor are essential to gain purity of mind and soul. I personally don’t think you have to take the attireof of other culture. So long as you are decently attired,it should be ok. Even as a born Muslim,it took me years to decide on wearing the hijab. And,oc course Islam wants you to have good relations with your family,no matter what faith they profess,so long you know the limits. Good luck and may you gain greater fulfilment by the grace of Allah.
It is a great article and quite educating for ppl who are born muslims. We really need to work hard to change the conditions. May Allah enable us to do our part. Amen
I was born muslim and raised in cairo, now i live in SoCal. Going to the mosque in here women treat me quite bad because im not wearing hijab and because i work as a software engineer. They have called me names and treated me with such disrespect that i never go to the mosque anymore. I live in the same isolation of a new convert and i can understand it. There is no islam without muslims, and treating other muslims well, is the responsibility of every muslim. I compare myself to coworkers who go to church and get a new family through it, and i feel sad for muslims.
I live in Southern California as well and there are many masajid that are welcoming and accepting! I highly recommend you attend Masjid Omar (IIOC) or the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI).
Hope to see you around inshaAllah!
[…] Webb had a great post this week on understanding converts. You should check it out. I think a lot of people don’t realize what it means to completely […]
[…] be very hard for converts. This article is a great overview of what some of those problems can be: http://www.virtualmosque.com/islam-studies/islam-101/misconceptions/8-things-you-should-understand-abou… and I would advise anyone to read it, convert or […]
Wow, this article is one of the best ones written about converts, MashaAllah. I do think everything is true, however, how you are feeling as a convert definetely depends on your age. I am 13, and I converted when I was 11, and since my parents don’t accept me for converting, there is nothing I can do about it. A lot of converts have it easier because they dont have to see their parents 24/7.
I think another huge things that converts face is figuring out who true Muslims are…there are so many non-practicing Muslims and less Muslims who are very pious and knowledgable about Islam. I’m just so blessed Alhamdulillah that I found a Muslim family who are extremely rooted in Islam, but a lot of converts are not so lucky.
SubhanAllah, it is heartening to know you accepted Islam at such an early age. I pray to Allah (swt) that you and all Muslims find ease in the deen and that we all grow further in Islam, be granted sabr and Allah’s protection from all things bad.
If you wish to share how you came across Islam and how you came to accept it, inshaAllah, I will be one to gladly follow your story.
-Vali Muhammad, India
Masha’Allah you converted when you were 11?
How?! How did you begin to learn about Islam? What was your journey spiritually if you don’t mind me asking?
Mashaa Allah, you found guidance at such early age, I am so proud of you, may Allah protect you and all whom you love.
Alhamdulillah, this is a great article about converts. I was pulled out of taraweh prayers this past Ramadan and yelled at by another sister because she did not think I was dressed appropriately. She got angry with me that I was wearing loose-fitting pants and a sweater down to my knees. I had been going to that masjid for a few months and that was the first time someone bothered to speak to me. Honestly, if I did not have sheer determination to stick with this deen then I would have walked away by now. I don’t think born Muslims understand how lonely and alienating it can be to be a convert.
Second generation Muslims have similar experiences!
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah!
Mashaa Allah, a great article indeed!
As a born Muslim, to me converts are extra special people, whom Allah Subahnaho wa ta3ala has chosen to guide their hearts to light, in the midst of all darck confusions!
When I hear a new brother, or sister to Islam, uttering his or her first shahada, I can’t help but cry of joy, it is a heart touching, whether be it at the mosque, you tube etc..
On the other hand, I say to myself, I hope that these folks, know the treasure of mercy, that Allah (SWT) bestowed upon them, then I pray that they will hold on to their guidance with all they got, no matter, what hindrances they might encounter in their new lives, I even take it upon myself if or whenever i have a chance to ask them to: Please never judge your found direction that Allah has guided you to, by the actions of some of us Muslims, we are not perfect, we even might disappointed you, but who are we to take away your light by some of the way we make you feel, in your situation, when it comes to hanging on to your faith in this short life of trials, you hang on to no one but Allah, because, every one else would let you down at some point of their lives, either by choice or by death, but the only one you come to to leave to, and who would not let you down is Allah Subhanaho wa taala.At the end of the day, you are in trial periods, some more than others, and so are we. Moreover, your strength lies in your enlightened heart with Allah, his books and messengers, after all, your Islam is for you to Allah, not for any other Muslim, it’s your guidance, your islam, your heart, your Allah, as much as all other Muslims, whatever, way their culture touches you, please remember, it’s just that: Culture not Islam, and remember, however harsh ways some brothers or sisters use, don’t let it bother you, I would say 99.9% if not all love you. May Allah guide us all inshaa Allah, and may we all be granted paradise inshaa Allah. Because it saddens me so deeply to see some converts folks run back to the darkness, they with the help of Allah, and their courageous search for the truth, escaped from to begin with. Stick to the light, it will never abandon you inshaa Allah!
I read this article at the perfect time. I am a converted muslim as of the beginning of August. About a week later I took the initiative to wear Hijab. I was attending hourly studies with a sister at my local masjid. I felt so connected with the community and accepted. I was hungry for the knowlege of islam. Lately though these past two weeks I have felt disconnected and don’t wanna wear Hijab but I am holding on because I know this would be something that could happen. I am keeping my faith and continue wearing Hijab as it has become a part of me. Tomorrow I will begin to make my way back to Masjid for class and one on one study. I don’t want to get to distant and loose myself. Thank you for this inspiring article and I am glad that I am not the only one that has felt this way.
Asslama alaikum wa rahmatullah!
JazzakAllah for this article. It has educated me and brought deeper insights of the challenges of those who convert. I read thru the comments and cried at our condition. i wish i could ask for forgiveness for all inappropriate interactions and dealings. If you have been hurt…please overlook and forgive our weaknesses, our ignorance…we all have a long long way to go before we arrive at the true living breathing spirit of our deen.
Make dua to Allah to enable us to change our condition. Ameen wa salam.
Masha’Allah! That’s really amazing.
Aselamu aleikum werahmetulahi weberekatuh
Great article identifying the problem is the first step in seeking ways how to address it. I would like to tell all reverts you have done a great great thing in your life. It requires first and foremost Allah’s guidance and after that your own courage and decision. Let alone to say my way of life is wrong and choose another way of life, it is not even easy to change a job. So dear sisters and brothers against all odds know that you are pearls of islam. And subhanallah you beautify islam. I recall a story of a revert of 19 years old in less than 4 month of her reversion subhanallah she was trying her best to memorise hadiths and Ayats from the glorius quran and inviting born muslims to improve in their iman. Things might be difficult but still you are chosen by Allah.
Excellent article. These are things I have noticed, being friends and interacting with number of converts so it’s good to see it mapped out and listed in blog form.
The sooner the larger Muslim community is more sensitive and sympathetic to the lives and struggles of those who embrace Islam, the more appealing Islam will be to the non-Muslims and those on the outside looking in.
Only recently did I learn about the SuhaibWebb.com website and the articles on it. I have posted a comment in response to one (Part 5) of Br. John Ederer’s articles on Arabic, and this article also hit home.
I am one of the 50%-75% (I have seen different estimates) of converts who fall away (in the USA, at least). I made Shahada in my forties — I am now in my sixties — in the only mosque which at the time was at all close enough for me to get to with any frequency. However, in that mosque there was not really much, at least in any form that I could make use of, that helped many converts to internalize and solidify their Islam. Except for a few dry as dust lectures full of unexplained rules from someone who was sincere but who I honestly think did not really understand western converts and their issues, there was almost nothing. Converts were largely simply ignored.
Many younger people may have a little easier time of it (speculation on my part), but if one is already middle aged and people in the mosque are either unable or unwilling to speak English, if one simply *cannot* get over the barrier, try as he/she might, of praying in an incomprehensible language, if one is left all alone, if one is struggling with personal issues that are not addressed, then it is not surprising that some people just up and leave. Not everyone is strong and heroic to begin with. Some people’s faith and commitment are weak from the very start (maybe even their very motivations are confused or mixed, but nobody inquires about them), and without a lot of support and nurturance, those people are gone — often without a trace, because nobody ever really knew them in the first place.
I no longer practice any religion, although I still retain a sort of vague, unexplained inner “resonance” (for lack of a better term) toward Islam (which is why I have even looked here). However, given personal issues and isolation, I do not know whether I would ever be able to come back.
The situation in general and yours in particular is very saddening. Especially your last paragraph left me distressed and is tear jerking.
But it also contains the answer u have whether you would be able to come back.the “resonance” in ur heart is proof of it. The emaan(faith)of Prophets always was in ascent,angles remain constant and humans go up and down in their faith.
And that is why we are here in this world to correct things before we die.So there is no problem you feeling bad and Inshallah its tremendous optimism already and Allah is most and always merciful. the deception and pessimism is always from devil.
and u can be still a good muslima without telling ur identity and looking like one.Just remember Allah and pray and recite Koran and work slowly on things.
Although i am not from this country and writing from far away, but it would be a pleasure helping and disusing issues with you online if you like.
I pray all born Muslims understand the delicacy and worth of Converts/reverts.Its beyond imagination. They resemble the companions of Prophet(PBUH) more than us since most of them were converts.
Thank you for responding. I have been slightly ill lately, so I am a little behind things and only now saw your courteous reply. I am willing to enter into an initial correspondence, at least, although I am not certain how to make contact, as I prefer not to display my primary email address here. (I have a secondary, sort of “throwaway” email address I could supply in order to make contact for giving my primary address.)
You wrote, “and u can be still a good muslima without telling ur identity and looking like one.Just remember Allah and pray and recite Koran and work slowly on things.” Actually, I am male, not female (i.e., not a “muslima”). As for “pray[ing] and recit[ing] Koran” those are problematic issues which would be better dealt with in a more individual correspondence. There are other issues as well.
Thank you for your offer. If you wish, please post a brief comment, and I will provide my secondary email address you can use to provide me with your address so that I can send my primary address.
Sorry for calling you sister,I did nt pay much attention to Paul and thought Bartlett is female name.(since i am not English) and since many comments on this website are from sisters and they are big portion of reverts as well.
Anyhow its privilege and i shall be thankful to you that you accepted my request and stepped forward.Its true hubleness and Inshallah Allah will be loving it too.
Send me your secondary e mail address (as you mentioned in your message)and lets see how we proceed.
Your younger brother
Alhamdulillah for this! all I can say is WOW Subhan’Allah… I am newly 20 and in the “process” of reverting if you will and have experienced all 8 of the mentioned. I agree, we feel as if we are not accepted, and looked as inferior for not being Arab. There truley needs to be support from existing Muslims, as well as a more approachable community. I also agree with Muna… Allah (swt) has chosen us and it is something that can not be ignored, and is at the core absolutely beautiful. I really have no Muslim friends, fore I am the only hijabi for about 30 miles, but Insha’Allah, once I go to masjid more often this will change! I am trying my best to keep eeman strong!!
May Allah bless all of you,
Assalamaulaikaum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh’
Katie, what you need to do is go to a website like Ummah forum. Definitely you need to socialized with your Muslims brothers and sisters! If you don’t, then Shaitan always goes for the lone wolves! The whispers may come and cause you to slip unless to take refuge in Allah.
So read the last to surahs Al-Falaq and An-nas and go get some company with Muslim brothers and sisters!
Oh and the arrogant on Yawmal Qiyamah are in Jahannam, anybody with even a speck of arrogance in their heart is in Jahannam. So don’t worry about those Arabs who think they are better.
Unfortunately, for Katie and for many, many other new (or not so new convert) Muslims, socializing with Muslim brothers and sisters is more easily said than done. One point that has come up repeatedly here is precisely that in some (many?) places new Muslims are just not accepted into the community. Go to a mosque night after night, as I did, and almost never hear your native language spoken around you, never be greeted, be as if you are invisible.
That is the issue: lack of acceptance, involuntary isolation. To be honest, internet “communities” are all very fine and nice, but they are no substitute for flesh and blood human beings, somebody to sit down with over coffee, and for some converts, those flesh and blood brothers and sisters just are not there.
I couldn’t agree more,it’s a rather baffling phenomenon for someone like me,I’m certainly not a role model Muslim but I’ve always tried to look for newly Muslim-brothers who I might assist in some small way but I have not really been in a position to do so.It further saddens and frustrates me to hear of so many reverts leaving Islam because of indifference or ill treatment by Muslims. To me it seems that mosques and Muslim organizations need a Big Brother/Big Sister system which i’m sure they’ll eventually get to when they are done building grandiose mosques to soothe their egos
To Brother Muhammad Talut (I did not see a “Reply” button to his reply; perhaps replies can be nested only so many levels deep):
My secondary email address is email@example.com . Send me an address to which I can send you my primary email address. Most commonly I check my email between 1300 and 2000 US Eastern Time, which for a few more weeks is UTC – 0400 (then it will become UTC – 0500).
I reverted to Islam also in my forties nearly two decades ago whilst living in the UK. I initially embraced the faith wholeheartedly, but became very aware quite early on that I was the round peg in the square hole. The mosque that I had joined was predominately Pakistani orientated and it was not easy to be accepted. After maybe a year, I became disillusioned and drifted away, left the UK and emigrated to the US.
Recently, I was watching Youtube and came across the Qari Ibrahim Jibreen reciting from the Koran. I welled up with tears and became extremely emotional as it had a profound effect on me! I have watched him several times since and I have the same feelings. Elation and sadness because I have committed the worst of sins since the last time I prayed and I feel that maybe I am beyond redemption.
You are not beyond redemption. If that was the case, you wouldn’t be guided to swelling to tears at a Quranic reciation. Allah has made it easier now to be Muslim so take this opportunity to save yourself. If you don’t, you will never cease to regret it.
Assalmu aleikum Gibran and thank-you for your advice, it is very much appreciated.
Shaytan has had power over my thoughts and actions for many years and I have indulged them.
However, in the last few weeks I have found solace in Allah (swt) and I feel as though I am turning the corner and putting my life in order. I am reading as much as I can and am trying to overcome my ignorance in oh, so many ways.
When I am able to move around more easily (I had surgey on a foot recently) I am going to start attending the local mosque. I need to be in the company of brothers and sisters again so that I can learn from them also.
In reply to Ammad (apparently replies can only be nested three levels deep):
“It further saddens and frustrates me to hear of so many reverts leaving Islam because of indifference or ill treatment by Muslims. To me it seems that mosques and Muslim organizations need a Big Brother/Big Sister system which i’m sure they’ll eventually get to when they are done building grandiose mosques to soothe their egos”
Unfortunately, even this much is not always accepted. A number of years ago at the mosque I was attending for a while, I quietly and discreetly suggested through another person a Big Brother / Big Sister type program. The main “caller” (da’ee) immediately shot down the idea, because it did not conform to the way he wanted to do things. At the time there was no other mosque near enough for me to get to with any frequency, so I finally quit going. And eventually I gave up almost any practice of Islam at all.
It’s an ill omen that people who are in the best positions to help new Muslims are either very authoritarian or their way of thinking is too shrink-wrapped by practices in ‘back home’ lands..and that is another thing Muslims like me are to blame for;we’ve become so divorced from community service that we often leave it to those people who may even be well intentioned by are certainly ill equipped in dealing with people..I hope inshAllah you are in touch with Muslims who are open minded and willing to lend an ear without imposing their own agendas on you.
Sadly, perhaps, even getting in touch with such people has proved to be difficult. I did reach one organization in another part of the US which (supposedly, anyway) has a “mentor” program. I received a reply that my message and concerns were being forwarded to a mature person in my area, who would contact me. The respondent wrote to keep him updated. No one ever contacted me, and when I wrote again, I got no further response.
There was one person I met in my area, but because he has family and work responsibilities and I don’t, I left it up to him to make another contact when it would work out for him. Nothing further. I have exchanged a few emails with one person in another part of the world, but that is hardly the same as meeting over coffee, so to speak. Another person here in North America has emailed and telephoned me, and that is something I appreciate, but again, it is not the same thing as face to face contact. In that regard, I have been repeatedly disappointed by Muslims in my area, enough so that I have more or less quit trying.
I couldn’t agree more,often times there really is no substitute for direct human contact and this is seemingly one of those.It’s also not entirely on you to be in contact with people holding ‘mentorship’ program. I would love to meet up with you brother inshAllah with the caveat that I may not even be able to assist you fully AND it’s likely we dont even live in the same state- I live in Ohio.
This is exactly everything I’m feeling in my path to conversation. It did make my eyes water and my heart happy. Cause its not just me. Though I haven’t taking my shahada yet. I have recently started wearing my hijab and people with their questions, and look for people like they didn’t know me anymore. Some with awful comments. Just seemed like I couldn’t handle it. But I was still proud to wear and happy with my decision to find, accept Islam and Allah into my life, heart and soul. Thank you for posting this.
Salamun alaykum Lucy
I highly suggest to you to enter Islam as soon as possible. You can’t afford to spend another moment without Allah’s guidance!
Lucy.. why not take shahada yet ?
I wanted to know everything I could learn about Islam, was scared to fail Allah but today I will take cause I don’t know tomorrow. I may not know much more than I sis when I first start out. I do know I love Islam and there is only one true god. I want to be a muslim ans become a better one.
All praise is due to Allah for that,as the Prophet PBUH often reminded people to hasten in doing good deeds so inshAllah that is a great first step you’re taking sister…welcome to the family of Islam;we’ve become dysfunctional over the ages and we bicker a lot and we may even not even be there fully for you always but pray for our collective guidance,forgive us during our ignorance and know that even we as humans fail to do justice to the beauty that Islam is and to glorify our creator through noble actions as we ought to..inshAllah I hope you are able to do some research and find Muslims who are active within the community and general society,of your age group and mental background so the transition becomes easier for you 😀
take your time, be yourself and focus on faith in God. And remember, you do not have to take Arab culture. Many will try to convince you of that, don’t listen to them. Be yourself and be who you are. The only difference is your faith in God and reading Koran. Everything takes time. Also remember that becoming a muslim at this time in history is a big step and comes with alot of hurdles, all eyes are on muslims now and they are not looking favorably upon them. So, take your time, just pray and ask God for guidance.
i agree with what mark said. i always wondered why do some converts dress in a way that is far from the culture they belong to. i understand that the might be trying to feel that they belong to the muslim community but the beauty of islam is that there is no way to dress, no color and no culture that is specific to it. it addresses all nations an that is its beauty. so yes, on step at a time and no need to change your apperance, only what is in your heart matters, that’s already a huge step
I took my Shahada 4 months ago, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I stay in a small town in the Midwest and i am the only Muslim here, the closest Islamic Center is over a 5 hour drive one way. Alhamdulillah for the access to the internet and for my very good friend from Saudi Arabia who has sent me a lot of reading material. I also attend http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com and take the free courses there to help me learn all I can. I also wear my Hijab everywhere I go whenever I walk out of my home and most of the time when I am at home, it is part of me now. Just put your faith in Allaah not in people, put your trust in Allaah not in people and all will work out. I watch the Deen show often and sometimes for hours just to hear positive and knowledgeable information. Make sure you get authentic Hadith and you never take anyone’s opinion without asking them for their source so you can research it yourself. Since I converted I have now been sober from alcohol and marijuana for 4 months now and have a stop smoking cig date of July 1st and In Sha Allaah I will kick my last habit in the butt…. Islam is perfect but we as Muslims are not, remember that when dealing with other Muslims. Intentions are very important so make sure your own intentions are of a pure and kind heart. If you can’t help someone than at least don’t harm them and misinformation can be very harmful. May Allaah forgive us, have mercy on us, protect us, provide for us, safeguard us and help us.
Salaam, sister. Thank you for your inspiring words. May Allah (swt) reward you. However, please (and others) be aware that there are those who are not strong and able to maintain their faith in isolation. Some of us came (of however many years ago) to Islam with very, very shaky faith, when we honestly, really, and sincerely thought (but may have had little real understanding) we were doing the right and correct thing, pleasing to God, for our own benefit, in professing ourselves Muslims, but beyond that we barely had a thread of faith to hang on to the “rope of Allah.” Sadly, in the reality of the Muslim community as it is, not as we might like it to be, we were all alone, and some of us, who came out of “non-spiritual” backgrounds, can barely call to Allah (swt) in our isolation.
To Ammad (it would be nice if the website would allow deeper nesting of replies):
“I couldn’t agree more,often times there really is no substitute for direct human contact and this is seemingly one of those.It’s also not entirely on you to be in contact with people holding ‘mentorship’ program.”
However, unfortunately it has been my situation, with only minor exceptions, that it has been up me to make the contacts, and given my experiences with some mosques and other organizations, it hardly seems worth the effort any more. Many Muslims seem to be big on da’wah but, in many instances, small on follow-up. (From what I have read here and elsewhere, my case is not by any means unique.)
As for where people live, I live in Virginia near Washington, DC, but I do not travel much.
(By the way, I hope my personal bad experiences are not turning off anyone else who is inclined to Islam.)
It does seem like a bleak situation but I pray Allah SWT allows you to interact with Muslims who can be of some benefit to you..and no your experiences allow both new Muslims and Muslims to be aware of some challenges that being a Muslim entail unfortunately..discussions like this oughta lead to Muslims awakening from their slumber.
The challenges that come up are more and more difficult for me. The more I learn about Islam, the more I am caused to question. I fear the awakening might just be an awakening away from Islam…
[…] I came across this article on SuhaibWebb.com, written by Alex Arrick and I loved it. It’s important that as a community we take into […]
Really good. Mashallah.
What a beautiful article. It breaks my heart to think that, after the innumerable struggles a convert goes through, Muslims makes him/her feel unwelcome/uncomfortable/unhappy. May Allah enable all converts to Islam to overcome the obstacles that come their way with ease, may He bless them with a most welcoming support system, and may He guide all Muslims to epitomize the character of the Messenger SAW.
Also, if any Muslim feels as though he/she has no home/place to belong, please remember that Paradise will, iA, be your ETERNAL abode, after “the Day He will call you and you will respond with praise of Him and think that you had not remained [in the world] except for a little.” (17:52)
Assalam Alaikum Reem. I used to blame born “Muslims” but quickly came to understand, at least from an intellectual perspective, that the Muslim world is its own Dark Ages as the Western World was when the Muslims glowed with tolerance, science and critical thought. Today the enlightened/educated among the born Muslims are deeply traumatized by the Dark Ages of their own cultures. Coming to terms with that truth emotionally is hard for anyone, convert or born Muslim. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it is, due to materialism and “usage” of the religion by those in power. They are the ones who cling to unthinking dogma and prejudice because it aids in their worldly gain.
It took over a dozen years for my ex mother in law, a Saudi woman, to get over some of these hurdles and see, in me, a kindred spirit. By the time I left her country, I missed her like a mother. She did not see the world the way her son said she did. She was an enlightened soul. She used to say to my son, traumatized by the discrimination heaped against him by family and society due to the fact that he was ‘half’ American (i.e. tainted), “Don’t forget your mother is a convert. She gets twice the rewards.”
Allahu Akbar. What a soul she was.
Thank you. JAK. I have long thought that the Muslim ummah is suffering though a deep Dark Age. Why? God only knows. Nevertheless, I think it is true.
There was a time of Muslim enlightenment. Now there no longer is, little more than darkness. Fanatics and closed minded persons have taken over. Those (including myself, years ago, but no longer) who were once attracted to the nobility of Islam have often been profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by the deep, deep failings in the ummah. Not everyone is a hero(ine). Not everyone can surmount the deep sickness in the Muslim ummah. In all honesty, without any intention to offend, I sincerely think that many Muslims do not understand (or do not care) how deep is the illness in the ummah.
I would have to look it up, but I vaguely recall a hadith that once Islam bagan as a stranger and that before the Hour it would be again a stranger. Do Muslims not know? Do they not care? Those of us who are almost desperate to believe in something, almost desperate to hang our lives on something, come to Islam but suffer *profound* disappointment and disillusionment in what we find in the ummah. Is it any wonder if many of us have drifted away?
I converted to Islam September 01, 2010 (22 Ramadan, AH 1431). I identify with many of the points expressed in this article, and some of the comments above. I live in Philadelphia PA. Many of the masjids I attend seem focused on repeatedly bashing people during khutbahs rather than wise instruction, and sadly it seems they are engulfed in the counterculture of prisons and racially oriented social activism. I think there is a general leadership failure in the Ummah at large, as exemplified in the abdication of the Caliphate in 1924. An attitude of passivity has been instilled in Muslims and this is what is killing us. What we need is not more liberality but more strictness in adhering to the deen. Taking action to purify our lives and help the Ummah makes us feel better about ourselves and more confident. Instead of pointing fingers, what we need is honesty and repentance. The difficulty of connecting to a community in the US is compounded by the culture being geared towards some anti-Islamic ideals, and the marginalization of Islam in American society. I invite any sincere Muslim or seeker of truth (male only) who would like to connect with an American Muslim committed to striving for our deen and our Ummah to connect with me by visiting my blog. I am no more perfect than you or the next person but by working together for the sake of Allah only we can get stronger to resist our enemies.
And where is your blog, please? I did not find it with a quick search, although I admit that I am not adept at such things.
[…] There are 8 Things You Should Understand About Converts. […]
[…] 8 Things you should know about converts by Alex Arrick (Guest Author) Research by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunus notes that 75% of American converts leave the religion after a few years. 8 things to know to better support the journey of converts. […]
[…] 8 Things you should know about converts by Alex Arrick (Guest Author) […]
JAsalaam Alaikum. Just wondered if there are any New Zealand converts / reverts on this site?
My name is Shiena..I just want to know if do I need to change everything in my life if I will convert from christian to Islam?.I have a boy friend for 4 years and I love him so much..he has a blood of half Islam and half christian..A few days ago I give him a surprise visit in their place in Zamboanga Phils..and in a sudden I discover that he already had a family but only he dont have a good standing with her wife now..He said if I really love him we will convert to Islam together and get married on Islam..I just want to know if I convert to Islam ?is it not unfair?I love him so much and Im willing to do anything for him..But how about his christian wife?Does she had still the right to complain in the court even I will marry his husband in Islam.?..Pls somebody answer and help my questions..
My dear, if I were you I would avoid him like the plague. If he never mentioned that he already had a family he has deceived you, after you ” marry” him he make continue to deceive you, only Allah knows.
He mustn’t convert just to marry you, and neither should you convert for love. Why not take shahadah and then wait and see. Once you are Muslim there is no boyfriend allowed and you must keep your distance. Then see if he’s still the right one for you. Please don’t be offended by my advice.
Thank you so much for the time to write & share me with your advice..I do really appreciated it.And I’ll take your advice>>>slowly..
Thank you so much once again.
May God Bless Us All always.
Asalaam alaikum dear brothers and sisters of the Ummah, of Rasullullah (salalahu alaihi wa salem)
First of all, it must be stated that Islam is the undeniable and unfalliable, everlasting truth that is the absolute key to Ultimate success.
The words La ilaha il Allah are worth more than the world and everything in it.
I just wanted to share a brief story, insha’Allah: When I first became a Muslim, being a white previously non religious Canadian, it was competely foreign to me. In fact I had no idea about Islam, I simply had recently come to belive that there was a God, and an Akheera (afterlife) with certainty, so Allah led me to his deen (religion).
Therefore, I was not quite comfortable and felt like somewhat of a black sheep. I would try and do things so that the other people around me thought I was like them. In one sense this was good (but actually it is not good, because are efforts should only be for Allah), because of my hate to be seen as different, I learned quickly.
However, the most important thing to realize for all converts to Islam, and indeed all those born in Islam, is that the ONLY ONE IS ALLAH. Allah is it. The one. The only. The eternal, and the only decider of our ultimate fate. Everything relies on him, and depends on him. Allahu akhbar.
At some point, with the knowledge and application of Islam, and becoming more comfortable with the Muslim people, Allah strengthened my eeman (faith), alhamdulilah. I then realized that it does not matter what any person thinks of you, indeed we were all created from dirt and mud! The people of the prophet Nuh hated him much, and yet he persevered and never forgot his Lord! In fact, all the prophets suffered for being different, but they did not change their belief!!!
We are living our lives for Allah, and we must remember that is the reason we became Muslims, and joined the truth! It is a BLESSING that Allah chose us from among the kufar to embrace Islam, so therefore the only opinion that matters is that of Al Samed (the eternal).
We love Prophet Muhammad and we follow him, and we believe in our return to Allah. IF we belive this, and worship Allah in our five fundamental pillars, and make efforts to learn about our religion, than Allah will make it easy for us, and establish love in our hearts for our brothers and sisters, and they in turn will love us back.
So whatever happens, NEVER APOSTATE AND RENOUNCE YOUR FAITH!! Only Allah counts, and don’t forget that this life is a test, and indeed we will be tested in many ways. Don’t stop learning about Islam, and Allah will make it easy for you, walahi (I swear by ALLAH).
Everything in our life has been written already, and we have Qadr (pre ordainment or destiny) Please be patient, and never leave Islam. the people are from MUD, and Allah has blessed you with Al haqq (the TRUTH)
Please ask Allah to have mercy on the Muslims of all the times. A Saudi Arabian Muslim is not better than a British Muslim, and only Allah can judge the results. Be patient, and continue until death releases you from this difficult test of life.
Thank you Qays, your response has made me feel stronger. I’m an American convert and understand fully what has been said here, I particularly share the same thoughts and experience as Mr. Bartley above. I hope born-Muslims generally can become aware how important it is for us to be accepted and helped as many of us lost family support and friends in the process of becoming Muslim. Community is vital; bigotry and arrogance have no place in Islam. I am finally being able to look beyond the state of the ummah and focus on Alla swt only. It hasn’t been easy but maybe that was the lesson.
Great article. I can totally understand where you are coming from. The difference in my case is that 15 years after taking my shahada I left Islam. The more I read the less I believed. I was forcing myself to believe at one point and labelling my conscience, critical thinking and doubts as lack of Imaan and the whispering of Shaitan (Surah an Naas always came to mind).
Leaving the religion feels like the best thing I did. I am just as compassionate or more towards my fellow human beings now. I truly seek truth in all matters now instead of claiming I have it and twisting reality and facts to bend to Islam. It’s liberating to have taken my religious blinders off and be able to see the whole picture and the reality behind it. Looking back now I hate that I justified and made excuses for some things in Islam. I remember my humanity scrambling to find justifications and excuses for some horrendous things in Islam. At least now I realize what effect religion has on the brain. How when we submit our humanity and conscience to the will of religion it slowly (or quite fast in some cases) changes us into a different creature.
If you would like to “talk some things over” of possibly common interest in a more individual way, contact me at my “secondary” email address firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you my primary email address. (I did this with one other person here at SuhaibWebb.com.)
Faith is about growth not stagnancy. maybe you left the dogma of religious shackles behind but if you still believe in God then you are on the next step of your spiritual journey. I’ve been a Muslim since 2006 and so far the majority of Muslims are more interesting in promoting Arab Culture instead of faith. it is very clique oriented as well within the Mosques and the Muslim community. faith in God transcends culture, religious affiliation (which becomes gang like) and language. Islam was never intended to be an institution like the Catholic Church, it was simply meant to be a return to faith in God.
i’m a new convert, and i thought i was the only person who felt alone and not knowing what to do..im glad to now that this is a normal feeling and that i did not make a mistake. im more happy and at ease, i have met great ppl from other countries who have taken the time with me to study quran..AS A NEW CONVERT, MY ADVICE IS,,YOU DID THE RIGHT THING, YOUR A VERY STRONG PERSON, BREATH AND RELAX, DON’T GIVE UP, AND ALWAYS KEEP YOUR TRUST IN ALLAAH,,,”EVERYTHING IS OK NOW”….
“i have met great ppl from other countries who have taken the time with me to study quran.” You are fortunate. Not everyone has had that experience. Many years ago (early 1980s), when I was not Muslim, I sincerely, respectfully, and quietly wanted to sit in on a Qur’anic study circle in a small mosque to try to learn something about Islam. The word was passed to me that I was not welcome. Apparently some people did not want infidels “contaminating” the place, even quiet and respectful ones who would ask polite questions for their own learning. After I made shahada years later in another part of the country, I was not, apparently, judged to be “contaminating,” but on the whole the “existing” Muslims in that later mosque were not particularly any friendlier to a middle aged European-American convert who spoke nothing but English.
This is the very thing I am going through as a new convert. But I won’t let it change my mind.
MashAllah Everything in this article is so true. Your comment also really struck a chord. I converted 7 years ago when I was 19, and I went through really similar feelings. It took a long time for the faith to get stronger and to feel like I wasn’t some kind of impostor. I eventually left North America to live in the Middle east for a while to study and explore more, but hands down the defining moment was Hajj. When I was in Mecca in front of the Kabaa with millions of people from all over the world- I finally felt home. I had never felt that in the same way before. We are all so different yet all part of one Ummah. Every age, color shape size language and mindset. Yet we all belong. There is room for everyone. All these different tribes and nations were circumnambulating the Kaabah, praying individually in Kazakh, Urdu, German, Turkish, Somali, Iranian, Wolof… I felt so lucky to be Muslim. In a way we were all strangers there, because we were all removed from our home and habits. Our ummah is chaotic and beautiful and complicated.. just like my birth family… and I love it.
i read this article with much interest and although i was born muslim, i felt i could perfectly relate to it. As a mulim who grew up, lived and worked in belgim and france for years, i always had an inner dream that one day, i woul go back to my original country, egypt, and see real islam. i was quite disappointed, not because people are not religious but because there is a gap between practising rituals and morals and how some people behave once they have accomplished their prayer is disappointng. as if islam were a series of rituals, but where is sincerity, honesty? I live in Egypt now and have a mixed feeling of happiness and disappointment and i do feel alone, unable to connect with people although i am 40 y old. i think i idealized muslims too much, they are just human beings…. i wish i could meet people in egypt who are sincere, moderate muslims. i dont care if a girl is veiled or not, if we have weaknesses or shortcomings or not, we just dont have to give an image of being ideal muslims. why can’t we just be ourslves, trying to improve on a religious level, sometimes failing, oher times succeeding, the most important thing being sincerity and compassion.
As a second generation Muslim of South Asian decent, I too feel alienated from the first generation Musilms. The struggles of my revert brothers ans sisters are, unfortunately, familiar to me. Tragically, this is affecting my children, the third generation. When I go to the masjid, I am ignored. I am seriously considering removing the hijab because I don’t fit in anywhere. However, my iman is strong. I have deep love for Allaah (swat), His messenger, and the deen. Sometimes, I feel that certain reverts see the immigrant Muslims as more “authentic”. Also, the first generation Muslims share a common culture and seen to have a greater support system. May Allah aza wa jul help us to become more united and compassionate ummah. Ameen.
“i think i idealized muslims too much, they are just human beings”
That hits the nail on the head. Definitly something to keep in mind. On the other hand ; i have Always felt safe and accepted in my former christian community. I know someone who didnt really believe in christianity, yet she still wanted to attend schools of that particular christian sect as she said the people there are more friendly and accepting than secular schools. And this is what I experienced too. There was a whole different “mentality” and I think it would be so great if we as muslims could achieve something like that too. That when you see a brother or sister you immediatly feel safe and know “ok this one is not going to hurt me on purpose, or steal from me” and this is not an unrealistic thought. This can happen. And it should. May Allaah (SWT) help us.
Grateful for the great englightment about how it is with new converts adapting to a new life style. It really made me understand and hopefully for those Muslims born in Muslim families like me how to help our new brothers and sisters. I want to assure you that even if my parents are muslims, was born in Saudi Arabia, studied most of Islam since age of 6, islam is still a religion that I’m learning from till today and still there’s more. It is a blessing by itself. So, my brothers and sisters you are all blessed. So keep moving on the right track and don’t stray away from it.
I converted to Islam about 6 years ago. Since then I have stopped practicing. I feel some other people may be in my situation so here’s how it turned out like this:
I came into Islam with full conviction, prayed 5 times a day and even fasted some of the week! (didnt know the correct times to fast so just did it random days hhaa)
In the early days I didnt have much apart from the Qu’ran (or my translation to be precise)
There was alot I wasnt aware of it (I even showed friends at the mosque pictures of my dog saying how great she was hahaha, did not realise dogs were haram!)
However, I realised there was only one God and I believed in what was in the Qu’ran.
I got overwhelmed by the isolation and culture shock.
I stopped going to mosque.
I avoided the muslims I had began to get to know.
Now I want to return to the deen, now I have studied it for years.
But I am far too worried about going back to the masjid/community that I ran away from.
I think mabye the only solution for me is to move and try and start again.
I may sound fairly upbeat but I actually have fairly bad depression about the whole thing. The guilt of going to hellfire is like a constant weight in my heart. I feel like I’m in deep loss as Allah swt says in Surah Al-Asr.
Please be aware that there are many, many, many other people who came into Islam and who also repeatedly had bad experiences with the Muslim community and became isolated and alienated. I myself am one of those many others. You have a lot of company. Many of us drifted away. You are not alone.
I sometimes am baffled as to why so many converts have such bad experiences, time after time after time, place after place. It is shameful. Do most “born” Muslims not know? Do they not care? They should consider the dropout rate of converts in North America to be truly appalling. I have repeatedly encountered estimates that half to three quarters of N. American converts sooner or later leave Islam in one way or another. Half to three quarters!!!
There are organizations which purport to help new Muslims, but even one of those I did not have a good experience with. (After a preliminary contact, I heard nothing further from them.)
Recently someone in my area did contact me, and I am grateful for that, but still, I do not have contact with a serious scholar that I can really discuss some serious issues with. Whether I “really” make it back to a genuine practice of Islam remains to be seen.
Came across your comment and it is very true. I converted in late 2005. to this day I have no muslim friends. why? because the majority of muslims in the US are exclusive and isolationist. They look at converts as outsiders, especially if you take Islam seriously. If I had a dollar for every “born” muslim that told me “shave the beard, you’re too serious” and “stop praying outside, it’s too serious” I would have over 3000 dollars now. I am seriously considering leaving Islam because I am not the religion of one man (imagine how that looks). the problem with muslims from the middle east is that they are ingrained with wahhab concepts. we as converts don’t bring cultural baggage to the table and we certainly approach Koran from a very different perspective, especially if you are college educated as I am. I can’t tell you how many misreadings of the Koran I have caught “born” muslims spouting. Again, I am seriously on my way on walking out the door of Islam because as a community it is seriously damaged.
Salaam, Brother. I know what it is like. I myself, although I have looked at and participated in some of these web discussions, am barely hanging on by a thread. For practical intents and purposes, Islam is almost no longer a meaningful reality in my life. There is only a kind of vague “inner resonance” that I cannot fully explain. In all honesty, I do not even pretend to live according to the Sharia. If someone had not contacted me recently, I might not even be here.
May Allah (swt) forgive me, but why, why, why is there so much sickness in the Muslim ummah in North America? Why is it that so many new (of however many years standing) Muslims are treated so shabbily? Why do so many converts fall away, and nobody even seems to care?
I would have to look it up to be sure, but I vaguely recall a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saws) that Islam began as a stranger and before the Hour may again be a stranger (something like that; my memory may not serve me). How much true Islam is there to be found on the earth? May Allah (swt) have mercy on us all.
you asked: May Allah (swt) forgive me, but why, why, why is there so much sickness in the Muslim ummah in North America? Why is it that so many new (of however many years standing) Muslims are treated so shabbily? Why do so many converts fall away, and nobody even seems to care?
First, people come to America not searching for God, they come to America for money. therefore, many Muslim immigrants have compromised their faith. Jesus said “A man cannot serve two masters, he will either serve the one and hate the other. you cannot serve both God and Money (Mammon)”. Jesus had it right. Muslims in America love “Things”, which corrupts the soul. They didn’t come here for Islam they came here for the Dollar. Fact. Second, converts are treated badly based on what I consider racism and discrimination. I’ve seen Chinese muslims pushed, shoved, and mocked by Arab and Pakistani muslims in the mosque. I’ve seen Hispanic muslims being told in the mosque, “Why don’t you go find fellow Mexican”. I’ve seen Anglo converts being treated like Gold while Hispanic and Chinese Muslims getting treated worse than dogs. There is serious racism and discrimination taking place. I have seen convert only Mosques because the converts don’t get along with the Arabs and Pakistanis (because the latter two groups treat converts in a very rude and ugly manner). I’ve seen fist fights break out between converts and Arabs and Pakistanis in the mosque.
This one, I said this a few years back and I believe I have been proven correct. Americans will not embrace Islam because no one and I mean No One will tolerate being treated like a second class citizen, which is how the Arabs and Pakistanis treat converts. Those that did convert get tired of it and leave. plain and simple.
by the way, you will never come across a “serious scholar” that will discuss these serious issues. I had a serious scholar and imam tell me that if he addressed these issues he would lose members and the mosque needs money so he did want to alienate anyone. Money talks and trumps all these serious issues.
But, you are the scholar. you, as well I myself and others, see something seriously wrong in Islam as a community. We see discriminatory practices and other nonsense. From reading your post I can see that you know you want to leave even it saddens you. I feel the same. But, like a relationship that is no longer working, that becomes a burden instead of a joy the decision must be made to leave for the sake of mental, emotional and spiritual health. God is beyond the label and box. Faith in God doesn’t need to be labeled.
A wise man once said:
“When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”
I think the world needs a “western Islam”, or mabye “European Islam”. I know this comment often sparks disaproval but I do not mean in any way that Islam should change. In one sense, there is only one islam, which is the Qur’an and the Sunnah brought by the Prophet Muhammad (saw). But in another sense we have to understand that there isn’t JUST ONE Islam. There is Asian Islam, African Islam, Balkan Islam, Indonesian Islam, Chinese Islam, Mongolian Islam, Thai Islam, Chechen Islam. All these cultures have accepted the truth of the sacred scriptures whilst still holding onto the aspects of their culture that don’t go against the principles of Islam. Doesn’t anyone think it is time for a western Islam? I live in England and converts he are not pakistani, we are not Arab, or African, FACT.
I know colour and race does not matter in how we are viewed by God, and that is exactly why we, as converts, are not converting to Pakinstani culture, we are not converting to Somali culutre, we are converting to ISLAM!
I sometime imagine a future of my country being converting to Islam and what a beautiful place it would be 🙂 inshallah.
Hey Adam, I am with you on much of what your wrote. I have come to believe that faith in God is about growth not stagnation. How we were, when we first came to Islam and faith can never be the same 3, 4, 5 or 10 years down the road. Faith is growth and change. Sadly too many muslims as individuals suffer from arrested development. Those are the type of people to avoid. We must grow, however painful it can be. Faith in God is not stagnant and it is not confined to a box. God is truth and truth cannot be contained. Where you were at the beginning of your journey is what you needed at that time and moment, as you move forward you will need other things. those things God will place before us. we have to be open and sensitive to God’s voice. Again, sadly, too many muslims are simply aping what they see and hear. Being a good little monkey doesn’t allow for spiritual growth. I am seriously leaving Islam behind not as the theoretical foundation of faith but as far as the community is concerned.
Assalam Alikum brother Mark
Sorry to hear the sad stories regarding the bad/prejudiced treatment of Reverts. And i totally agree with ur above mentioned behavior of some Muslims of other communities treating Reverts worst than animals.
I was also in contatc with br Paul Bartlett as u can see in the above trailin comments only becasue i felt so sad and pathetic as well.
I m not from USA but from Pakistan,but i can undersrtnd wat u said since i m very much into new muslims through you tube vidoes and blogs and internet generally.
Muslims have lost the value of Dawah and thus dont know wat it means to be Muslim. Reverts to me as i have always said many times,more than anything,they are treat to have,so many sacrifices…… and u guys are much much near to Sahaba then we are since most of them were reverts.
So inshAllah u guys have nothing to loose,keep ur head down,stay persistent in ur deen,seclude yourself from other Muslims if u think thye are corrupting you and InshAllah this world is a game of few days,Swish….and eyes closed
You can keep contact with me at this address (email@example.com)
I cant promise that i will promptly reply since i m busy working/studying, but we can communicate.
MAY ALLAH SOFTEN THE HEARTS OF BORN MUSLIMS SO THEY BECOME MORE ACCOMODATING TO OUR BELOVED REVERT GUESTS…AMEEEN
To all my brothers and sisters out there reading this that feel let down my the Muslim community. My heart goes out to you all. May Allah grant you strength and keep you steadfast upon the path that pleases him.
The people around you including Muslims, no matter how much they love – or claim they do – you will always fall short in helping you with the problems you go through in life. But Allah is always there. His response is immediate.
Therefore my advice is to connect with Allah, the Lord of the Universe, through the special connection he has given us all. A connection available to us 24/7 days a week and in which response is instant… Prayer.
After each prayer, raise your hands up and beg Allah. Let him know all your problems, even in your own language. It’s fine. Cry before him and I promise you, you will feel better then you were before. Allah will open up avenues that you least expected.
Finally, I just want to end of saying that the very fact that you are on this website is proof of your sincere desire to come closer to Allah.
Therefore continue to be sincere and amidst all the struggles, remember that life is short. Very soon we are all going to be leaving this world and so make this life count for it determines our eternal place in the hereafter.
Your Sister in Islam
– Bint Nuh
(I have been away from this website for a time, so I am catching up some. Also, I hope the threading comes out intelligibly.)
To Sister Bint Nuh (and all others): Salaam alaikum. Yes, those of us who came to Islam as mature adults (the older we were, the more difficult it may be) and who have had major difficulties and disappointments with the Muslim community, sometimes are barely hanging on by a thread.
At times I wonder why I even bother looking here and at other Muslim websites. I have had so many disappointments, and my faith (iman) has been so weak for so many years, that it often seems hardly worth the effort any more. To be sure, it so often happens that people disappoint, but for some of us, people is about all we have — if we even have them, which many of us do not! When you are an older person who has had difficulty after difficulty while being all alone in the world, hanging onto the “rope of Allah” is easier said than done. Without some kind of real world support from real human beings, it is all too easy just to slip away.
It is sad, really. Read the comments in this and other threads on this and other websites. Time after time, converts have had such disappointments with the community, and often even “next generation” Muslims have had also with the “older generation.” Even more sadly, not everyone is a spiritual hero(ine) who is able to hand onto the rope of Allah by him/herself without support from others. And so often, that support is not there.
And we born muslims understand the nervousness and admire the curiosity and sincerity of new converts.
Dear Readers, As Salamu Alaikum,
People of the world changed somuch that Muslims & Muslims have stagnated feelings . Holy Prophet Mohammed MSAS truly advised His Shaabies that as the end time will come near ,There will be 73 sects among Muslims but Only one sect will truly follow the true teaching of Islam. Sign of end time already began. There is no more love & unity among Muslims. Beside unruly people misinterprete Holy Quran & attack innocent people in a number of Countries. Also We find that India has trained a number of Muslims to act as terrirists In Muslims countries to create division between Shia & sunnies.
Again Many Anti Muslims try to confuse Muslims misinterpreteing Hadis & Holy Quran. The more evil they do, the More we see convertion to Islam.
World is a ground of test. We see many a time our prayers remain unanswered , Prophet Adam was forgiven after 200 Earth Years. Holy Adam & His wife were living nearby
yet They remained unknown in Safa & marawa or in its vicinity. Some prayers answered very easily: ” If you want to fast & feel unsafe, seek the help of ALLAH & instantly you will be strengthen.
Will Athiest find any benefit without believing in ALLAH,
All Holy Books came to 124000 Holy Prophets contained
same thing ” Believe in the Creator ALMIGHTY ALLH & serve HIM alone & love mankind”.
Athiest make mockery As they believe Everything in this earth & no next world. But it makes no sense that we will never see our Bygone Parents & relatives & friends.
Holy quran & all previous Scriptures were enough to give the proof of next world. Simply note Holy Adam & his wife were not born in this Earth .So there is another Earth(Paradise & Hell). If you are confused seek help of ALLAH SWT to guide all of us to truth.
To all of my dear convert brothers and sisters,
I wanted to take the time to tell you that you are worthy of being Muslim, that you are important to Islam and that Allah (swt) is the only guide you need. Many of us ‘born-Muslims’ are 2nd generation Americans who did not really come to Islam fully until in our teens/20s or even later in life. We had to go through growth, set backs, and lots of trials to get to where Allah (swt) wanted us to be. Along the way, we also got our fair share of ‘your clothing isn’t appropriate’ or ‘where’s your hijab?’.
I often find myself drawn the most to converts when seeking Muslim friends as I feel the regular struggle weeding through the culture and religion and really see the practice of the true deen in converts, their children, and so on.
It’s so hard to separate culture from Islam, but much of the ‘interference’ in others’ lives and practices and much of the prejudice against other races and ethnicities comes from individuals’ cultural backgrounds. It is my own personal opinion that real submission does not involve judgment and the best Muslims I have met are often following the tenets but do not enforce those upon others and have big loving hearts full of an inkling of the forgiveness that Allah (swt) has.
I hope you find it in your hearts to regularly forgive those Muslims who do not live Islam regularly. And even if you leave and return 100 times over the course of your life, He will still be here, waiting for you with open arms.
“I often find myself drawn the most to converts when seeking Muslim friends as I feel the regular struggle weeding through the culture and religion and really see the practice of the true deen in converts, their children, and so on.”
Those whom you know are fortunate, indeed, because so many of us converts have been (and sometimes continue to be) more or less completely ignored, so eventually a lot of us, who may not be spiritual hero(ine)s with deep faith to begin with, just give up.
“I hope you find it in your hearts to regularly forgive those Muslims who do not live Islam regularly. And even if you leave and return 100 times over the course of your life, He will still be here, waiting for you with open arms.”
Forgiveness we can struggle with. Coming back a hundred times can be much more difficult, especially when we wonder what there is to come back to. Again, not everyone is super strong and able to hang on to the “rope of Allah” by their own strength. Without the support of others, some simply walk away, embrace non-Islamic religions for good (which I almost, but not quite, did), or else give up on any kind of religion entirely (which I almost, but not quite, have).
@ Br. Paul Barlett.
JazakAllah Khair for your response earlier. Honestly, I completely understand where your coming from. We as a community have a long way to go. I pray that Allah helps you in this difficulty and surrounds you with people who remind you of Him.
I also want to share with you this short talk on hardships. I took lots of benefit from this personally and I pray that you too find benefit in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WtHpvDzjJo
Salaam. Thank you for your kind words and the reference to the video. God willing, when I have an opportunity I will watch it.
Yes, the Muslim community (in the US, anyway) does have a long way to go. Just read the comments in various threads on this and other websites. Why is there so much difficulty in the Ummah today? Why is it that so many “new” Muslims (of however many years standing) are sometimes so poorly (if at all) accepted into and supported by the community? I don’t know. I really don’t.
So many of us come to Islam with issues, whether intellectual or “personal” or both. At times even just feeling connected to Allah (swt) at all is a struggle, especially when we are all alone and have come through long years of religious doubt and skepticism which left us more or less spiritually dead. Genuine scholars who understand westerners (if you don’t understand where someone is coming from you may not be able to help him/her much), can explain Islam, and are compassionate toward those who are struggling seem to be few and far between.
you said “we as a community have a long way to go”.
A. There is no community
B. The racism and discrimination that is rampant is deeply rooted. sadly. the tree is rotten.
C. Culture and Faith are two distinct different things. Culture has become King in for Muslims.
I don’t foresee anything being fixed anytime soon or even in my lifetime.
I believe there is a hadith that says:
There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur’an except its outward form and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it.(Ibn Babuya, Thawab ul-A’mal)
I have read the whole discussion here, it is interesting and though i know it is sad, i am also somehow “glad” to see there are more people going through doubts. I have never really tried to connect to muslims. I was scared to be rejected or not be able to connect with them. Now when I read all these stories I think it might have been good that I didnt do that.
I did tried to find a muslim man to marry, i searched online. I meet, i thought, a really good muslim man. In the end of the day it didn’t work out and we haven’t even meet in real life, but it still caused me a huge heartache. I thought he was a good muslim, i thought he was my friend, and he told me he was. He told me he would support me. But now he totally ignores me. I know I have made my mistakes too of course, and I know i can’t know his intentions but it does affect me and my iman heavily. I think I have been decieved and i just took a bit of sweet/romance talk way too serious. It has been years ago now and I still can not accept this and succeed in seperating Islam from that experience. I guess this is also because this man was knowledgeable and serious and good in many other aspects of Islam. May Allaah (SWT) forgive him, and me, and guide us to the right path. I do not want to talk bad about him, but I do need to pour my heart out and maybe get some advice.
Today I had a big breakdown. I was thinking about that man and then at the news I saw the reports about the men in London who killed this soldier. I felt sick to my stomach, completly neaseous and cryed my eyes out. I kept thinking ; “What is this? What am i doing? Am i a part of this?” I find it so so hard to be a muslim.
And then there are the awful descriptions of hell and judgement day. I often feel it is too much. I wonder how other muslims can live with this knowledge.
Salaam, Sister. May Allah (swt) give you ease of heart in your disappointment. Years ago, before I came to Islam, I had relationships with members of the opposite sex, and those relationships ended sadly. (I have never married, but I have always been told that Allah forgives us our errors when we are outside the fold of Islam without its guidance.)
Yes, there is sadness in the Ummah today. Many of us come to Islam from seriously non-Islamic environments, and we struggle. Having been all alone for many years (I have no Muslim family, and my only real friend is a temperamental middle aged pet cat), I know what it is like. Many “born” Muslims who come to western countries may be honest and sincere, but they don’t really understand what some of us have to go through.
On the one hand, we need to struggle to be tolerant toward the disappointments in the Ummah, but at the same time we have to acknowledge that many of us are weak and hurting, and we have to acknowledge that many of us are *not* hero(ine)s in Islam, and many of us are almost too weak to try to hold on to the “rope of Allah” by ourselves. To be blunt, there are those who come into Islam and then, for whatever reasons, leave. I have read estimates of half to three quarters.
It is all very nice for others who do not have our struggles to bid us to have faith, to pray, to trust in Allah (swt), to never give up, but the whole point is that many of us *are* very weak, and without the support from the community — which often is not there! — then like it or not, some of us will leave.
salam, brother. Thank you for your reaction. I do agree with you that the Ummah disappoints us sometimes and I might not be the right person to say this but in the end of the day it is about our relationship with Allaah (SWT) , our Creator. Do you know Yasmin Mogahed? I believe there is an article from her on this site as well called “why people have to leave eachother?” Maybe it is something you will learn from as well. I know what it feels to be lonely, and it is not good,, but I do find comfort in knowing that our Creator does think about us and wants to have a relationship/connection with us. And that is all that matters. I try to remember that.
Salaam. I am not myself familiar with Yasmin Mogahed, although I can try (God willing) to look up any articles she may have here. My own situation is one of coming out of many, many years of spiritual dryness and even isolation.
On my bookshelves I have many copies of the Holy Qur’an, ahadith, and many other Islamic writings, but I also have shelves and shelves of books on flat out atheism. I came out of so many long years of unbelief, in which any notion of any sort of God was just a dry philosophical abstraction. I came to Islam honestly, genuinely, and sincerely thinking that I was really doing the right and correct thing professing myself a Muslim, but in isolation that profession did not instantly moisten all those long years of dryness. How do you pray to Allah (swt) when your heart is as dry as sandpaper?
I would go to the mosque many evenings and try to pray, but time and again after the prayers be invisible. No one would greet me, give me salaam. Read so many of the comments on this and other websites from converts who were not accepted. People who are just barely hanging on, whose faith is so weak that they can scarcely call on Allah (swt), slip away.
Some of them go to other religious groups where they are warmly welcomed, accepted, and made to feel at home (as I was), and in the end they accept explicitly non-Islamic religions — which I almost did but did not quite! — just because they are so lonely and isolated.
May Allah (swt) have compassion on us all.
It is not about doubt. I don’t doubt God. I have faith in God. What it disgusting and frustrating is the behavior of fellow muslims. I’ve seen some ugly stuff. recently I was told about a muslim group where muslims can socialize, but the catch was you had to be an engineer and make over 70,000 a year. I was like “REALLY? is that sunnah?” the love of money has corrupted a faith I love, and sadly feel I must walk away from. Like I told Paul Bartlett, faith is about growth and what you needed at one point in your life is not the same thing you may need as you progress and grow. Faith in God is not stagnant. it is living and it grows or dies.
As an Arab American reading these comments, it truly breaks my heart to hear of the racism and mistreatment of converts occurring in our communities. It is shameful, and it is extremely saddening. From what I have seen, however, younger generations are much more accepting, and I think we, as Muslims, can with confidence have hope that things will be better in the future.
But of course, we are in the present. While a definite problem exists in the Muslim community in regards to convert treatment, this problem cannot be easily mitigated. Realistically, you can’t do that much to fix the Ummah. Prejudice especially is something very difficult to erase from someone’s psyche–you usually can’t do anything except wait for the person to die (but really). So, as a struggling convert, what do you do? Although as a born Muslim I do not pretend to even fathom what you’re going through, and my comments will perhaps come across as naive, I have a few words of advice that may, inshaAllah, help:
#1. While Americans are generally very friendly and outgoing, most born Muslims hail from countries where it is more natural to keep to yourself. Just because so-and-so does not immediately embrace you and give you his phone number when he finds out you’re a convert (and trust me when I say that the thought is NOT occurring to him) doesn’t mean that he’s not willing to help. If you mention to a Muslim that you’d like to get to know more Muslims, or make friends with more Muslims, or are struggling with a certain concept in Islam, or are having doubts, will that Muslim just walk away? No matter the state of his/her iman, I think the vast majority would try to help. If you take the initiative and open up, I think the results might, inshaAllah, surprise you.
#2. Not all born Muslims are created equal. Lots of them are going through struggles of their own, and a disheartening proportion of them hardly believe in Islam themselves. While many of them are racist, prejudiced, or arrogant, not all are.
#3. Life is a test. Allah says in Surat Al-Mulk that He created death and life in order to test which of us is best in deeds (67:2). Some people are struggling with cancer; others are struggling with money; others are struggling with disabled children; others are struggling with psychological illness in the family, and so on and so on. No one is left untested. It may be that you have most everything and that your test is in maintaining Islam. Test aren’t supposed to be easy, especially the kind of test whose passing will result in being in Heaven FOREVER, as long as . . . ever.
Just think about that.
The way to pass this test is as a Muslim. PLEASE don’t let yourself fail this test. You can’t do that to yourself, not after you’ve come this far. Don’t think about what you’re missing and all the things that are going wrong in your life. Look at what you have. Think about how much worse it could be. And focus on the reward that awaits in the life to come. Think about Allah’s pleasure in you, His slave who had to work so hard to stay on His path. Does He not know? Of course He knows. Will He not reward you? Of course He will. He says in Surat Al-Anbiyaa: “Whoever does righteous deeds while a believer–(there will be) no denial of his effort, and indeed We, of it, are recorders” (21:94). Your attempts to stay a Muslim, to hold onto Islam, however difficult, will be recorded for the Day of Judgment. Allah will not deny your effort–He will recognize it. Not only that, but He says in Surat atTaghabun: “If you lend Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you, and Allah is Ever-Thankful, Ever-Forbearing” (64:17). Thankful. Allah is thankful. He is thankful for and appreciates your efforts. What more could you want than for Allah, the Creator of the Heavens and of You, to be thankful for what you did, for how you’re dealing with His test? To appreciate what you’re going through? Allah is there, always, and He knows. He knows.
Moreover, the test is always something you can handle. Allah says multiple times in the Qur’an, but most notably in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” (2:286). In another surah He says, “Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease” (65:7).
Final note about the test: If the test were easy, think about how much less your reward would be. It may seem that you prefer an easier test now, but things will seem DRASTICALLY different when all’s said and done, and you’re looking back on your life after being resurrected from your grave, “On the Day He will call you, and you will respond with praise of Him and think that you had not remained [in the world] except for a little” (17:52). This life will seem so incredibly short in comparison.
#4. Always strive to please Allah. Always. Think, “What would please Allah?” and do it. Focus on Him. For surely He knows what you’re going through better than anyone else and will reward you unimaginably for it. “Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, while if there is a good deed, He multiplies and gives from Himself a great reward” (4:40). In fact, in Surat Al-Anaam, Allah tells us that good deeds are multiplied by 10, while bad deeds are not multiplied at all (6:160). That is the Mercy of Allah. So strive for His pleasure.
#5. Make du’aa to Allah always. Pray for guidance. Ask Him to make the path to and on Islam easy for you. Ask Him for certainty. Ask Him to send you awesome Muslim friends. Or the most amazing Muslim husband/wife. Ask Him to ease your transition to Islam. Ask Him what your heart desires. Pour your heart out to Him. Beg him. But most importantly, ask Him for guidance, as long as you live. We all need His guidance, no matter what stage we are at as Muslims. And the best du’aa for guidance is Surat Al-Fatihah.
#6. Trust in Allah. After you’ve made du’aa to Him, you know that He will either answer it or give you something even better. Verily, He is Al-Hakeem, and He knows what’s best for you. Trust Him. “And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (65:3). He Suffices.
#7. Taqwa. Love Allah and fear His anger or His displeasure in you. Put your hope in Him. “Whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty (has taqwa to Allah), He will make for him of his matters ease” (65:4). That is the way to have ease in this life. Taqwa.
#8. This is rather random but… if you’re having an eman low or having doubts about Islam, listen to Nouman Ali Khan’s tafseer of Juz’ Amma, available for free at Bayyinah’s website (http://podcast.bayyinah.com/category/juz_amma/). Changed my life, might just change yours.
#9. We always imagine that certain things would make us happier than they really will. I end with a simple yet profound ayah: “And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment” (13:26). The Arabic word translated here as enjoyment is mataa’. If you look at the original linguistic meaning of the word, mataa’ was a sponge that ancient Arabs used to scrub dishes. It was a rather undesirable possession (the Dr. Ghali translation specifically has ‘belonging’) that merely served a simple purpose. That is the word used to describe our life here on Earth. It is a life with ups and downs, brief enjoyments. The ultimate purpose of this life is not for us to enjoy all of it or even most of it. The purpose of this life is for us to use it. To do what?
We are supposed to use this life as a tool to ensure success in the life to come.
I’m a convert but I converted many years ago in a Muslim country and have lived most of my life as a Muslim in a Muslim country. I have to say I cannot relate to these points as they were never issues for me. However, somehow recently I got into a group on Facebook for converts and to be perfectly honest it feels like being around a bunch of people wearing new shoes that are causing them blisters and making them irritable. They are suffering from these issues, but you know what, I’m not and I never was and so I really feel the need to leave the group as it just is throwing me into a lot of drama that is irrelevant and unfamiliar to me. And why do I need to throw myself into what is basically a foreign culture that has unhealthy hangups?
Certainly in your own situation as you have lived it, the experiences of converts in western countries (Canada and USA especially) may well seem like a foreign culture. However, how can the experiences of those western-living converts be “unhealthy hangups”? They are struggling with issues in their own lives often in situations which to *them* are foreign cultures. They are struggling with what for many of them are major re-orientations of their entire lives, and often they are not getting any help. For some (I do not claim all) converts in the western countries, embracing Islam almost amounts to turning their lives upside down in ways that “born” Muslims (and perhaps people such as yourself) in or from traditional environments can scarcely grasp.
Of course, the decision about the Facebook group is yours. If you derive nothing of positive value from it for yourself and think you have nothing positive to offer to others, certainly you are free to leave. But please understand that for so many western converts to Islam, it really, really is a struggle.
yes PAUL, IT IS.
FOR MY PART, I AM LIVING IN A LITTLE TOWN IN SWITZERLAND AND I LOVE THAT PLACE AND I LOVE THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE BUT, SINCE I AM CONVERTED,, SINCE 7 years NOW. i am COMPLETELY ALONE WITH ALL MY INTERROGATIONS. AS LONG AS MY HUSBAND WAS ALIFE, I COULD TALK WITH HIM ABOUT MY FAITH AND I HAD THE JOY TO SHARE IT WITH HIM AS WE SHARED EVERYTHING.I LEARNED HOW TO PRAY IN A TUTORIAL IN THE NET AND SO I ALSO LEARNED TO DÉCLAME THEM IN ARABIC. FOR ME, IT WAS.. AND IT STILL IS.. IMPORTANT TO SHARE MY HAPPYNESS WITH HIM . I NEVER TRIED TO CONVERT HIM FOR, I THINK, THAT IT IS ALLAH WHO DÉCIDE ALSO THAT.
THEN , HE BECAME ILL. A LEUKEMIA. AND SOME HOURS BEFORE HE DIED, WE CROSSED IN THE CORRIDOR OF THE HOSPITAL A CATHOLIC CHAPEL AND SO I ASKED HIM IF HE WISHED TO PRAY IN THERE. HE SAID NO BECAUSE.. HE SAID ” I AM A MUSLIM”
THE OTHER DAY. SOME moments BEFORE HE FELT IN THE COMA, HE WANT ME TO SAY Kalmah . i DID. AND SOME OTHER hours, HE died LIKE THE ANGEL HE WAS DURING ALL HIS LIFE.
SINCE THEN, THREE years ago, i am SOMETIMES COMPLETELY LOST.also IN MY FAITH. I AM REALLY ALONE WITH ALLAH AND MY FAITH . THÉRE IS no person, no community WHICH COULD support me. carry me, ALSO WHEN i HAVE doubths AND questions. or SIMPLY FÉEL THE NÉED TO SHARE ALSO MY joy WITH SOMEONE.
MY FAMILY CANNOT FOLLOW MY CHOICE, MY BEST FRIENDS NEITHER..
ACTUALLY, I LOST SO TWO OF MY BROTHERS, AN OLDER ONE AND MY TWINBROTHER. A COUSINE WITH WHOM I WROTE EVERY WEEK. AFTER A RAMADAN DURING WHICH I COULD NOT INVITE HER FOR DINNER, SHE DECLARED THAT I BECAME a kind OF a PARIAH for her , a Riff-Raff.
MY SISTER i LOVE GREATLY, loves me, but hâtes Islam. SO I SURELY CAN NOT DISCUSS WITH HER ABOUT IT.
YOU ARE RIGHT PAUL. IN OCCIDENT IS TO BE CONVERTED MEANS STRUGGLING
I’m sorry for your loss. Have you thought about reaching out to the online community for people to talk to?
salam alaikum, sister:)
im so sorry for your loss, may Allah grant your husband jennah inshallah:)
is there any masjid near your house?…well i could be your sister if you want….im from iraq btw:D
Salam Amina, That’s a very moving story thank you for sharing it. I’m also from Switzerland and I kknow exactly what you are going through. I hope Allah eases your worries soon inshaAllah, in the mean time you can write to me at any time to talk about things :))
your post really touched my heart. Im the daughter of a Scottish convert (Im 43 with 2children ) I have witnessed the challenges my mother went though so believe me when I say I understand what u have been through, I have also been though challenges being the child of a convert , if you would like a e-mail friend then I be delighted,
My dua is with u
As Salamu Alaikum,
I suggest taking yourself out of the Facebook group (in fact, perhaps consider leaving Facebook altogether?). Too often, online forums are a waste of time, a place where people complain and keep complaining just for the sake of complaining – the process is addictive, and I believe initial complaints even get magnified by the process. Most often, neither the complainer nor the reader gets much real benefit.
That being said, we should never belittle anyone’s real experiences. We never really know what someone is going through, unless we can see what is going on from their point of view.
As the Prophet (s) said, we are all brothers and sisters in faith – we are all one body: if one part hurts, the entire body hurts.
Also, as others have mentioned, the issues brought up in this article, although focused on converts, resonate more and more with young Muslims living in the West. I have family members, one who left the faith and one who is teetering on the edge, because they are struggling with similar issues.
The ummah is really hurting – those of us who are doing well and not struggling should thank Allah we are not facing such challenges. We should be open to, at the minimum, listening to the struggles of our brothers and sisters with kind understanding, and provide what support we can.
I speak to myself first and foremost here, as I know I don’t do nearly enough for the Muslim community. May Allah give me tawfiq to be better able to support my fellow sisters and brothers.
May Allah help the entire ummah with all our struggles, whether small or big.
Unfortunately, I’ve been discouraged of being a Muslim. I am a Hispanic 16 year state medalist wrestler, I’ve accomplish many things and am about to graduate early from high school. But the issue is that I tried to look for support and Tried to reach out-and talk to Muslims but they just don’t care. I don’t have any support from my parents either because they think am going to burn in hell because I refuse to worship statues. But what gets me the most is that the Muslims in my school talk bad about me because am phisicaly bless I love God but the way Muslims are nowadays it makes me sick I just want you all to know that the way you act can affect other people. But either way am burning in Hell .
Hermano, don’t despair, please. No matter what humans may have done to you or not done for you, God is constant. Turn to him, hold steady to him and to the right path. You will learn more in time. Humans come and go throughout our lives, but God is constant. Trust in him and know that he is far wiser. Your sister is thinking of you with kindness, and the greatest kindness is God’s.
In the name of Allah most merciful most gracious
@sodstrugle in Islam everyone is responsible for his/her own deeds this means each of us is responsible for what ever we do. That aside u shd nt take urself as so bad than one man in the pht (PBUH) told us abt that kill 99 people n many people he asked if God wld forgive him n they said No but the pht(PBUH) reminded them the God is so forgiving n merciful n the man converted to Islam n died a forgive man n among the people of heaven. So u to don’t be discouraged by those who thk ur bad that ur to rotin hell u can be righteous n people’s attitude towards u will change n see u differently.
The other thing is that in Islam we do everything to please Allah not humans. Convert for the will of Allah’s sake n u will not regret it. Allah knows best May Allah accept and make it easy for u to convert to Islam.
Salaam alaikum. Please understand that many people, especially those of us who are older, do not understand all the abbreviations some people use on the Internet. Standard English spelling (if you are posting in English) is better. In fact, I am not sure I understood all your post because of all the abbreviations. Thank you.
All should please understand that many people are in many different situations. Not everyone is in a situation where he/she is well supported and able to withstand all the buffeting of life when they do not receive wholesome support from the Muslim community.
This is sad, but true. The “dropout” rate of new Muslims is appalling high (I have read repeatedly estimates of 50-75%), and a major factor is often lack of acceptance into and support by the larger community. I wish this writer very well, but we must please understand that not everyone is a “spiritual hero,” and without strong support, sadly, many people will fall away.
I completely understand where you are coming from. I have posted about Hispanic Muslims and the mistreatment they get from Arab and Pakistani muslims in southern California. It’s hardcore racism. Mexican muslims have their own mosques in the Los Angeles area because they are not accepted into the “real muslim community”. It’s sad and disturbing at the same time. As I mentioned before it is sad that nationalism has replaced faith in God.
Here in South Africa, we have many foreign Muslims like Pakistanis, Somalis and Nigerians, but local South African who cvoame from Indian and malaysian decent do not discriminate and we all mix in the same mosques.
In the name of Allah (Swt) – the most merciful and forgiving,
Dear Brother Mark,
I have been reading through the comments posted from my reverts brothers and sistrs until yours came to my attention that has surprised me as much it has saddened me. I am apalled by the behavior of those muslims whom you mentioned are very disrespectful and racist towards new converts. However, what has surprised me is that in my entire life I have never come accross any muslims especially of Arabs or Pakistani muslims to have acted or behaved racailly against fellow reverts brothers and sisters but on contrary I found completely opposite to say they are more hospitable towards the new converts even if it is acheived by ignoring our own born muslims fellow members. The reverts are always given the warmest welcome in our communities and even they are used as an example to follow in our families because they were blessed with this gift as a result of being consistent in seeking the truth. Having said that I am very sad and would like to extend apology on behalf of those whom you along side others reverts muslims were hurt. Racism in Islam is described as one of biggest sins so all muslims must refrain from it or face the anger of Allah (swt). May Allah protect us from all the major and minor sins and strengthen our faith in Him unil we meet the death, and protect us from hellfire in the life after death, Ameen.
Salaam. Experiences differ. My personal experience, going back twenty years, was one of being ignored, as if I were completely invisible. I am not an assertive person and was already of middle age when I professed myself a Muslim. Takbir! Then nothing.
A few times after the prayers, in the lobby of the mosque, someone or other would come up to me speaking I don’t know what language, apparently on the assumption that if I was there at all, I must speak his language. It would seem that those people did not think it needful to try to speak English here in the USA where Allah (swt) put me. When I would politely respond that I only speak English, they would often just walk away.
Allah knows best, and it may be that I myself just had atypical experiences, but those experiences of being ignored in the midst of the crowd *were* my experiences, and the resulting alienation from the community (really, never having been accepted in the first place) was a significant factor in my more or less giving up on the practice of Islam at all. Some people can “make it” in isolation on their own, but some people cannot.
Assalam Alaikum, I hope you are well Brother! 😀
Please please do not be discouraged by the muslims in your school. They are not displaying nor showcasing the proper way of Islam! Islam forbids you from backbiting about anyone – whether they are muslim or non-muslim! Muslims nowadays often do not follow Islam as it should be followed! A friend of mine at university at reverted to Islam and I can assure you – us muslims have taken him in like family! And you will not burn in hell! No one has a right to decide who goes to hell or heaven other than god himself. I urge you to look into Islam yourself and not look at the way some muslims perceive and practise Islam.
I wish you all the best,
Your Muslim Sister all the way from the UK 😀
No don’t think like that, I do care, so does my husband and my sisters trust me. If u need to talk please contact me (if ur a brother my husband would be happy to speak to you inshAllah). Fb: Marion Bint Roturier.
Hamdulillah I’m happy Allah has given you somewhere to find comfort.
For myself however the web isn’t somewhere that feels like the real world. It bothers me deeply some of the attitudes that are permitted in Allahs house.
Same as I must be responsible for how I use my mouth. The mean niseeha I see given out regularly should NOT be accepted.
Has reached a point where yes I feel a need to be around physically around other muslims. As my life has become ice cold & have never felt more alone in my life.
What is not Islamic about showing respect & kindess towards each other?
It is my fault & something I pray Allah will help me over come.
But I have a sense of dread & fear of other muslims & the very mean niseeha that is given out to freely.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum Alex,
Thank you so much for your very frank and open advice. I believe this speaks to a general pattern in the Muslim community and underlining philosophy behind our general approach (that is, one which focuses on the initial education but not the services and attention required afterwards). I have often thought about how something like the model of the Ansar may be implemented in this regard by perhaps inviting families or members of the community to follow up with individual converts just to see to their needs.
If I may, I would include one more point to the above: If you don’t invite a convert over for Eid, they may not have anywhere else to go. I have found Eid to be one of the lonliest days of the year as a convert. For my non-Muslim family it was like any other day. For this reason, I have always been grateful when Muslim families invited me to join in on their celebration. Alhumdulillah that I have now married into a beautiful Muslim family. However, my heart and thoughts still go out to converts on Muslim Holy Days.
Wa alaikumus salaam. “I have often thought about how something like the model of the Ansar may be implemented in this regard by perhaps inviting families or members of the community to follow up with individual converts just to see to their needs.”
This is an excellent sentiment, similar to a Big Brother/Sister program found in a few places. Unfortunately, the problem is getting such a program started in the first place. I know from direct personal experience that in some mosques (particularly in large, bureaucratic, impersonal ones) the leadership seems to be either indifferent or oblivious to the needs of converts, especially if the leaders (and most of the attendees) are from “traditional” countries in which there is no real “population” of converts with their own distinctive needs to be aware of.
I can honestly say being a Muslim Convert of two years now has been a beautiful, differcult, heartbreaking struggle filled with love of Allah swt and lonliness of human company.
A marriage that failed and domestic violence has not put me off my Islam. Trying to fit into a new community as a single parent – so hard. Nobody trusts me or wants to get close to me.
As the daruss I find some people avoid sitting next to me and think I am listening to their conversations or am interested in finding out or secretly meeting their husbands (simply not interested).Quiet, mean inuendos from ‘born muslims’. Foreign people, living in my country.
Apart from having Allah swt in my life I feel so so alone and hurt by these comments or actions. They all have everything in life. I have no husband and there is no way I feel I will find one. I suppose they rejoice in that fact and hope something good will not happen to me so they can continue putting their darts into me. And of course, what can you do? You either stay home or go to these groups to get more knowledge?????
I come home and cry myself to sleep. If anyone can offer any GOOD advice please communicate. If you are foreign please understand that Islam Converts are very important – I get treated like I know nothing about Islam. Stop shunning us away. This is like trying to send us to Hell Fire.
Asalamu alaikum Sr Sha
May Allah grant you patient and keep you steadfast.
Is there anyway we can get in contact with you?
I have had the same reactions as you, the only thing I can recommend to you is hold your head up high while walking down the street, be proud of who you are and let them come to you, I was always ignored for fear of being a) the hidden second wife..(why else would she of converted) or B) the future second wife to a poor defenceless sister. Just act as you are meant, to greet people as you are meant to, and tell your story to all who ask, as this alone will be circulated through out the community. Give them time and stay true to yourself and Islam, this is their weakness not yours, don’t let it poison your faith. It does get easier 🙂 I still need more sisterhood but it is hard as I am 38 and everyone has family commitments. But as they say around here “chin up chuck” “Allah has a plan”. If you want to sound off my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A buddy of mine sent me this and I drew a connection to how American Muslim converts feel and the reality. Much of the advice is a band aid, not a solution. this piece of advice is the best solution to a real problem. read on:
an ant can live in a segregated ant farm all by itself.
But it wasn’t ‘designed’ to. The environment its
best suited for is WITHIN it’s social collective. See? Humans too are not designed to live
in a lonesome environment. We weren’t for the past 120,000 years living in a box. Our
environment INCLUDED other humans and we adapted motivators to deal with others.
So when you get these emotions, reason on HOW you can satiate them properly and with
focus instead of detours and denials. Disciplined focus. Lonely? Good. build a plan.
From this thread, it seems that getting connected to Muslims is a challenge since the people you come across in mosques etc don’t easily open up to strangers.
But there are many good brothers and sisters out there that want to help a revert but they just don’t know how to get connected to one.
The brother/sister program sounds like a great idea. Ideal if there was something like this locally but what do you all think of an online initiative like this?
Whereby reverts can buddy up with other Muslims, even if they be around the globe? From there eventually they can get connected to people locally but it would be s start.
Would to love to here all your thoughts on this? As a revert, would you join in such program?
Salaam. A clarification, please. Are you referring to some sort of general discussion group, along the lines of some of the threads on this website but directed specifically for converts, or a means by which individuals could match up more on a one to one or one to a few basis with more private communication to deal with specific personal issues? In either case, what would be a proposed “mechanism” for putting such a program into place?
For many people who are very isolated, either would certainly be better than nothing. I can testify from personal experience as a convert from many years ago (I was already older than many and am a lot older now) that isolation can be deadly. (A few years ago I very nearly threw everything overboard and almost embraced a non-Islamic religion: the people there were warm, welcoming, and friendly when the Muslims were not.) Of course, having the opportunity to sit down and discuss things (or even chat lightly) “over coffee” is more fulfilling, but sometimes we have to take what we can get.
I am actually referring to a buddy system whereby you can be connected to a Muslim.
It would be ideal to organise a face to face however the least, would be a Muslim friend online that can be your friend.
The way it would work is that reverts and potential Muslim buddies can sign up online. After that the organisers can match people up according to age, background etc.
What do you think of such idea?
Salaam. I agree that face to face is best, but failing that, even a one to one online correspondence would be better than the isolation many converts experience. Setting up, taking the ongoing responsibility for, and managing such an exchange facility would take some doing and commitment. There are some groups online already, although my personal experience with them has not been the best.
I think that sounds like an Absolute great idea. I would love to help. you can contact me via email email@example.com
i want to be offering namaaz with my friend i will very very im very happy & said that i love you allah
Hi sister, I love your idea and I would be very happy to help with something like this, may I suggest using Google+ for the muslim buddy thing you suggests- its very easy to use. Please contact me about this either on Google+ (you can find me under the name Anni Afroza) or by replying to my comment on this website.
May Allah help us all in being kind to our fellow muslim brothers and sisters – no matter what nationality they are or if they weren’t born muslim
I would be more than happy to meet “over coffee” 🙂 with female reverts in the Atlanta area! Feel free to message me on Facebook (just type my name in the search bar).
For Atlanta folks: http://atlantamuslim.com/2013/jun/14/Alfarooq-masjid-revert-program/
This article is spot on about everything. Most of the times its the close friends or acquaintances who lead you to Islam are the ones judging you after you convert. May Allah guide us all
Salam ai laikum. I am newly converted Muslim and I am 19 years old. I converted because when i was in grade 8 i was told to say a verse and i had no idea of the meaning so i said itand few days later my heart felt as if i was a muslim. Few years later i met this girl who gave me a bigger view of islam and i liked this girl alot. Recently i have been having second guessing my decision because i was scared of losing my family specially my parents since they taught me life and all. And somehow i have a feeling that i unconsiously converted because of the girl. And i feel like thats a wrong thing to do. So i stopped praying and all. I would like some help from someone
Just know that shaytan will always try to get to you in one way or another and dont let him! Especially because you have already accepted Islam he will always try to find more ways. All you have to do is ask Allah SWT for forgiveness and refresh your intentions. Always try to keep in mind that Allah SWT is The Most Gracious and Most Merciful. He brought you to Islam because He loves you. Dont let shaytan take it away from you!
May Allah SWT make it easy for all of us. Ameen.
Please let me know if need my help in anything at all.
Assalam o alaikum Vinod,
Belief is a very personal emotion. Your belief in Islam shouldn’t be because of someone, you should truly feel it in your heart. MashAllah you are young and was even younger when you felt the love of Islam in your heart, so why all of a sudden you are questioning your belief.
This is just a personal opinion but i dont think one should change their religion for any person. Your belief is for you and your faith is between you and the God you trust. I am a convert too and can to some extent undertand the family pressure but Alhamdullilah my relation to Allah is much stronger than with my parents.
Before you make any decisions, think for yourself to see what makes you happy , not others.
Hope this helps.
I’m trying to get a person very close to me to convert to Islam, I need help??? I don’t know where to start from? please contact me via face book
khaleda, God brings people to faith. Don’t preach, don’t condemn, don’t talk about religion. Just live by example. actions speak louder than words. Over time the person will ask you about your faith. Most of all be confident in your faith in God. Let others see your joy and happiness in faith. Let others see your kindness. that speak volumes. Preaching turns people off.
Hey Khaleda, guidance is from Allah swt. You try your best and don’t forget to make dua for them.
As for how to make dua, check out the resources here: http://missiondawah.com/
The truth is I fell in love with a guy who was hindu, we wanted to get marry, but its against my religion ‘Islam’ but because of this I had to be strong and let him go, He did look into Islam for a while but because I wasn’t a practising Muslim I had no idea but I always did tell him we can start learning about Islam together, I didn’t want to preach what I don’t practise. It was just too much I still love to this day. Were both finding it hard to get over. I just hope Allah helps us both in each and every way, he may not be muslim but he was the one the most nicest people Ive ever known, to me his beliefs and understanding was almost Islamic etc
I admire your faith and strength. Many women will dump their religion for men.
Salaam. Although I do not know your situation and the individual whom you hope to facilitate to come to Islam, I can only offer this suggestion: Be There for him/her. I came to Islam many years ago, but in the end my conversion did not “take” very well, and I have pretty much drifted away. (In fact, a few online activities like this are all the actual contact I have with Islam any more, and I do not pretend to practice.)
One issue that has come up over and over in my life and over and over in comment threads on websites like this is lack of acceptance of converts by the Muslim community and subsequent alienation which leads to people just walking away. If you want to help someone come to Islam, you (and preferably others as well, of course) need to Be There. I can testify from personal experience how deadly isolation can be. Be There for the person and live your own Islam so that he/she can see it. A few people can come to Islam and live successfully is isolation. Many of us cannot. (And Allah swt knows best.)
There is a solution to every problem. With pervasive electronic media and communication, you should organize a group of reverts and form a clan. Tribes, clans and families have for centuries been formed to solve problems of isolation.
I am slipping more and more into the same situation. Here when my husband and I go for prayers we leave feeling sad. Don’t get me wrong—IT’S NOT THE MOSQUE! It’s the people. There is not much friendship there. The ladies have a nice prayer room upstairs but I get so stressed because I get the “stink eye” from older women who maybe figure I’m not doing it right. I was attending every Jumma but got so stressed that half my hair fell out. (yes I was covered, and yes, even that stressed me out). In Kosovo the women don’t cover, only when they go to pray. The people there always made me feel so welcome. Here I feel I am in “culture shock”. Even my husband, a born Muslim, doesn’t feel comfortable with the people there. Once they had food after prayers. There was no place to sit. Everyone just stood in their own little groups and eyed other people suspiciously. Once my husband waited for me outside and saw some stranger taking pictures of license plates. It freaked me out when he told me.
I feel this is why Muslims have so many problems. Hunger, wars, humiliation, refugees; They are being pushed into different lands to humble them and learn true brotherhood.
100% accurate, I’m a revert, ethnicity half white German/half Jamaican, I have no idea what to wear at all, especially since eid is coming up, and the rest of the points are 100% also about family and stuff 🙁 but I’m not and will never second guess myself!
@mica: wear your regular clothes. you don’t have to take Arab or Pakistani culture, clothing or food. Islam is not about culture it’s about faith in God and serving God. Don’t get caught up in the clothing game. Just wear what you wear.
Though I am late to reply as i am seeing the question today. I cant but to say a few words by seeing the reply of mica’s qustion.
In Eid, we are supposed to ware our best cloth! period.
Then comes- if my clothing or covering style is allowed! You may choose dress from whatever culture you like- Eastern, western or middle eastern- the birth place of Islam. the focal point is- if you are a guy or lady, your body should be covered appropriately- socially aceptable and weather-wise. A men cant have a ladies dress, or vice versa. A lady should ware a dress that covers her body and doesn’t expose the adornments to non -related male, except hands, feet (below ankle) and face. There are women they cover their face as well-I respect their decision, but there are different opinions on that issue, if you want to know i can send you the materials. Thats upto you.
Thanks again for your question.
Asalaam walaykum everyone,
I just wanted to thank the author of this article as I think this awareness amongst is very much needed. Jazaakallahu khayran (may Allah reward you with good. I also would like to wish the same for Imaam Suhaib Webb for this place of informative, supportive and wise words.
Here some personal words to those who need it – no matter how long we’re Muslims:
As a reverted Muslim woman of two years and somewhat months, i must say that I was received very well and supported in many ways by all the Muslims I’ve met. Ofcourse here and there, there were some less friendly and open Muslim but it didnt take away the all beautiful people I did meet.
I look back at my first year with tears in my eyes and say Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to Allah) for all the tribulations, joys, doubt, questions (about & with myself and others) but mostly the assured feeling that no matter what, I’ve got Allah.. Those hectic difficulties after having converted brought me straight down to my knees in prostration to seek help and guidance from the One who created me and my path. It made me submit to Allah swt with all my might because i didnt have anyone else – the whole purpose of Islam, what we are created for and what is needed for a newly converted Muslim to shake of the ‘old you’… And as I submitted He started sending wonderful people my way who were kind, supportive and willing to stand me by whilst i travel on the Path.
I had all sorts of questions, fears and most of all a determination to do everything right from now on. My slate was clean now, I was like a new-born baby – literally… Because now at an age of 28 years what was right now, what was wrong because I didnt know any better than where I came from – where what is right is Islamically mos wrong and the other way around. Plus the idea to not become an extremist because as a new Muslim without the right guidance you can tend to go overboard, demand too much of yourself. So I felt lost and my brains were numb. All I knew was that this was the Truth. But the One who sends guidance is Allah so my advice to those who are battling would be: ask for Allah for patience, for mercy, for eyes that see the good in people wherever you go, whatever they do to you but most importantly a heart and mind that forgives. Only with a cleansed heart will you truelly be free of need of people & things and will u feel a closeness to Allah. On top of that, its your key to Jannah, insha’Allah.
One key advise I will always take me, ok maybe two, after leaving the country of residence and the community where I converted, that the lady who I did my Shahada with gave me was:
Firstly, never hold grudges – keeps you away from remembring Allah and all the good He’s granted you and it blackens your heart when Islam is about ‘whitening’ the heart, in other words, purity of the heart.
Secondly, travel gently on the Path with sweetness and love. In other words as I had read somewhere once, be patient with yourself, be patient with others and be patient with the Decree of your Creator.
Oow yes, there’s a third one!!! When you feel low and have bad thoughts, do Dhikr – repeat La illaha illallaa – until u feel the weight being lifted from you.
The moral of this reply is to just focus on relationship with Allah, see the hardships as Allah giving u the opportunity to rely on Him only – in the Quran He states (not sure about the exact Surah and Ayat) ‘surely Allah loves those who complain to Him, seek refuge in Him and rely solely on Him in prayer and steadfastness. Once you do that He shine Nut (light) on your face and people cannot help to be attracted to you and forget about whether you’re a convert, revert, divorced or whatever… If not, its on them and to Allah they’ll have to explain to Allah one day…
Lastly, Allah says: I am what people think I am. So believe that Allah has got your back, He’s already in execution-mode, He will guide you the right company, He will have your family understand Islam; even for a little bit when He thinks is the best for you. Just ask and trust that He can and will do so. You just do your bit as the principles of our Deen and the Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him, his family and companions) tells you to.
Walaykum salaam wa rahmatu wa barakatu
“As a reverted Muslim woman of two years and somewhat months, i must say that I was received very well and supported in many ways by all the Muslims I’ve met. Ofcourse here and there, there were some less friendly and open Muslim but it didnt take away the all beautiful people I did meet.”
You are very fortunate to have had these experiences with such people. Sadly, other converts (such as myself) have had almost the opposite experience: some loud takbirs when we pronounce the words of the Shahada in the prayer hall, and then very quickly almost nothing, near invisibility in the midst of a big crowd. Some of us did not meet a lot of “beautiful people,” only indifference by a lot of people who either could not or would not speak our language (right here in our own homeland where Allah swt put us), not even give a stranger salaams. It was very quickly very alienating. So much for Islamic brotherhood.
From what I have been able to gather here and in other forums and experiences, this (i.e., the indifference and alienation) are so common that I am not surprised so many converts to Islam in North America sooner or later just walk out in sheer frustration and loneliness. They may say to themselves, well, these other people over here following this other (i.e., non-Islamic) religion at least are warm, friendly, and welcoming and make me feel wanted, which those Muslims are not and do not, so maybe I will at least look at what they have to offer (again, speaking from experience).
May I ask you a question?
Where do you leave!
I probably understood your situation. Problem is- we are human being- each and everybody has their own life and problems, if you dont tell to others what you need – how you will get help!
I know -nobody likes solitude way of life. You have to try to make friends, some ( not all) Mosque has programs for the reverts, try to find one. well, if no avail, there are ways- online.
Let me know your problem, I will try to help inshaAllah – whatever capacity i have.
When i a feel lonely, I try to do Zikr- means – recite Allah’s name- remembering Allah – His bounties- here and hereafter. it might help you too.
May Allah Help you for your situation and protect you from the temptation to blame others.
Thank you for the opporunity to let me in.
Salaam. I live in the USA, in northern Virginia near Washington, DC. It may be that over the years my personal experiences with the Muslim community have been atypically bad, and others have not had those bad experiences, but those have been the unpleasant experiences that I have had with Muslims. After all this time I have become disillusioned. Several years ago I attended many gatherings of an explicitly non-Islamic religion, and the people there were warm, friendly, and welcoming, all of which the Muslims were not. I felt welcome and wanted there, in major contrast to the coldness and alienation in the only mosque I could get to with any frequency at all.
For personal contact, I prefer not to make my primary email address open in the public at large, but I have a sort of “throwaway” address at firstname.lastname@example.org . I can be contacted there for my “real” address.
ps. For clarification sake, not every new-Muslim becomes an extremist in the sense of bombing and terrorism, I mean that go too hard, too fast to change yourself into this new become person…
Prophet Muhammad said, always choose the middle path on whatever occasion. Do not lack in ur actions, thus going to the far-right or go far-right and be extreem in what you do.
I hope that which i tried to explain did come through…
I have noticed something about this thread. No one wants to address the very real and very serious issue of Muslims from Muslim countries alienating converts from America. I agree with Paul, Muslims in America don’t greet converts. I went out to eat iftar with a friend and his sister (who is not muslim)the other night and no one greeted him,not a hello or a salam alaykum. They were downright rude. The muslim women pushed his sister and blatantly mocked her because she was not wearing a hijab. the poor girl was very upset and shaken. I was angry for him and her. I had warned him about the lack of community in Islam and that he would be walking a lonely walk. ( I walked that walk but there comes a point where you have to decide if you are the religion of one dude or simply looking like a guy who lost his mind. I decided it was time to slowly back away and take my life back). They were treated very badly. I actually piped up and made a few heads look down because I admonished them for how rude they were. ( you are not supposed to do this because muslims think this is bad form. but things don’t change unless you speak up). The sad thing is that no one wants to address these issues. Why? because in the end it is about culture and no one wants to seriously address that there is something seriously wrong with Arab and Pakistani muslims. I have met Chinese Muslims and eaten with them at Chinese Islamic Restaurants and never had those types of problems. I’ve eaten with bulgarian and albanian muslims and no problem at all. One of my closest friends is from Kosovo and that guy is totally respectful to everyone.
The first companions of the prophet were converts. Therefore Islam from its very beginnings was a religion of converts. yet, today, converts are treated very badly.
You are very fortunate to have had these experiences with such people. Sadly, other converts (such as myself) have had almost the opposite experience: some loud takbirs when we pronounce the words of the Shahada in the prayer hall, and then very quickly almost nothing, near invisibility in the midst of a big crowd.
Firstly, maybe I was not clear enough in my previous reply. I am not denying the fact that this is not an occurring issue. That it doesn’t happen. It does and you are right; it’s sad because Islam stands for the opposite of what is being done. Passing ‘peace’ upon your fellow human being is what differentiates us from those who are not on the Path. And I get eyes looking down on me, all the time. Greetings that aren’t answered because I don’t fit the traditional Muslim script. It’s even worse –referring to Mark’s experience – when we don’t have the manners and adab (spiritual courtesy) to show the warmth and hospitality that Muslims should have like no other – as and for our Brothers and Sisters (convert or no convert) but ESPECIALLY in front of non-Muslims. But its on those who do this, not us. May Allah protect us all and guide us.
After reading Paul’s reaction, I couldn’t stop thinking about something my Shaykh said once (something like), “being part of the Muslim Ummah is not about being part of a social club. Being Muslim isn’t about belonging to a community in order to make friends and have a great time. From the beginning, you must know why you want to become a Muslim because it might be that the very person or people you feel a connection with might disappoint you one day or who knows what and what will you then do”?
In other words, it’s important to understand what your reason is for becoming Muslim. This is what I was trying to make clear in my response – busy yourself with what you came here for. Because people are people, we will disappoint you, we will fail at times. My personal way of dealing with such is that I don’t take it to heart – I’m here for Allah; I choose to give the positive reactions the upper hand. In addition, I wouldn’t be any different if I react with the same attitude or worse. I would just be the same doll but with a different issue.
Our Prophet (pbuh) was maltreated and bullied to the extent of just humiliation but how did he react to such? Dedicating himself to Allah and waiting for His decree on the matter.
And understand me well, this is not to take away your experience at all. It’s completely valid but what’s the solution? Act the same way? Distance yourself from the Deen? And then what? You missed out on what can elevate you to the highest and best of places plus you lost your unique tools to show how it should be done; your moment to be that mirror to others, about their actions.
Coincidentally I came across this story today – just to give you a thought/understanding of where we are today and the reaction of the Imam – Duty to Allah continues regardless and people are put to think …
I agree that people become muslims to serve God, but isolation is not healthy. there is supposed to be a community of believers not people that look down on converts, bad mouth converts and totally ignore converts. If I had wanted any of that I wouldn’t have to become muslims because I can get that from your average everyday Joe.
The Koran admonishes the believers to help and support one another. Yet, that is completely ignored when it comes to converts.
The funny thing is the majority of Muslims (90%) are from Indonesia and Malaysia. the Middle East is the minority yet I find it interesting that muslims from the Middle East think it is their religion. It’s seriously and odd dynamic.
I have been studying Islam for over a year now. I am wanting to covert myself but there is a fear on how the Islamic community will except me and teach and share with me and a fear of my parents reaction. I am an Italian-American and they I know are not going to be happy parents. I just got out of an abusive marriage and I have children and the only thing that has kept me in good spirits was looking and studying islam on my computer of course and watching the Deen show. Your world as a nonmuslim can be upside down but watch the deen show and it tells you a lot and for a moment in time you are at peace just thinking of a world that is better than the one you are living in right now. I have no car no job nothing and living with my mother at the moment. But in time when I get that job and transportation, I am thinking of going to the Islamic community Center but I am a little scared. I do not think right now I can face rejection and humiliation and I hope and pray to Allah that they will except me and the children. I am also not sure if I want to be married ever again. I am afraid to be married again and can you be a muslim woman and not be married? Do you have to be married in islam? I look forward to your responses and may Allah bless you all!
Salaam. We have to realize that people in reality come to Islam with various understandings and intentions. I have noticed myself that in places and at times, individuals may be allowed and even encouraged to make Shahada with almost no one — including the individuals themselves! — knowing what the they really understand about Islam. Just say these magic Arabic words (whether you understand them or not) as if they are an end in themselves, and all will be well.
Except that not all is in fact well. To be blunt, there may be individuals who in all sincerity, honesty, and “good faith” (so to speak) pronounce the words of the Shahada genuinely, really, and truly thinking that they are doing the right and correct thing, but in fact they may be quite confused. Believe me, it happens! In some places and at some times, for some people there is little or even no real understanding of Islam. Nevertheless, they can be almost pushed into pronouncing these “magic” Arabic words.
Now, if there is an embracing, welcoming, supportive community, some of these (literally) confused people might come to have genuine, sincere faith and develop as good Muslims. But that requires a supportive community, which often is not present.
Certainly I do not have figures (Allah swt knows best), but I honestly speculate that a lot of converts to Islam may well not have understood what they were doing in the first place professing themselves as Muslims. Make no mistake: they *absolutely* were not hypocrites. They were just confused and not well informed, but nobody realized that (or cared). Again, with a supportive community they may have been “salvaged” (for lack of a better term) for Islam, but it didn’t happen. So when they confront the (rather sick) reality of the Ummah, they eventually leave.
Assalam Alaikum Mark, as a newly practising muslimah myself I so agree with you and all the other experiences. It is very sad and makes one feel angry, frustrated and lonely at times. I am even but off going to mosque where I live simply because of the people I see and meet there. Where ever you go to it seems to be all about culture rather than Islam. But we have no option other than to be strong and steadfast and remember we are muslims for Allah alone and not for anything or anybody. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ala hear our cries and unite this Ummah insha’Allah. Wasalam Ann
The native immigrants will behave like that since the countries they come from are very conservative and culture has replaced religion. Their children will behave better and be more acceptable of reverts since they will adopt american culture.
Ps. story doesn’t appear to be true but I guess there’s truth in it. But I shared it for the reason of reaction to certain behaviour…
Happy Muslim, you stated that the Prophet was mistreated and bullied.
He was bullied by non-believers. So, from that when self proclaimed Muslims bully converts or non muslims are those self proclaimed Muslims “Muslims” or do they fall into the non believer category?
I tend to believe that latter.
As a 17 year old girl looking to convert, this has been very helpful. I am looking forward to the day I can finally call myself a practicing muslim. Thank you for writing this as it gave me much encouragement and realization of what I need to do. May you be rewarded. Insha’ Allah. Alhamdulillah.
Warm salams to all. I converted to Islam 36 years ago, and I – like Br. Paul – have seen so much goodness from brothers and sisters born into Muslim families in majority Muslim countries, as well as quite a bit of reprehensible behavior from the ‘born’ Muslims. I, like so many other converts, have been sorely tried and turned inside-out by what can only be described as the seriously misguided actions of many, many born Muslims. It can be extremely frustrating and demoralizing when, after you’ve found the TRUTH, you find yourself the object of belittlement, pandering patronization, and some downright aggressively inappropriate behavior.
Even today, after having spent almost 30 years in the Middle East, having learned to read, write and speak Arabic, having taught Islamic Studies in Arabic and English (in the Middle East and the U.S.), having completed a doctorate and being a published author in my field, even now when I proposed a down-to-earth, comprehensive class about Islam for Muslim converts by this convert, I was forced to address the most incredible and inane comments and concerns of some ‘born’ Muslims who are in the board of directors for the masjid (i.e. What if one of the converts brings a non-Muslim, and he wants to argue with you?).
There are two very important things I’ve come to realize as a result of my experiences and a life lived well.
FIRST: We should not be too critical of the tendency of ‘born’ Muslims to gravitate towards and hang out with their own. If we’re being honest, as much as we enjoy mingling in the diversity of our Ummah, man! it really does feel good to chill with our homies!
SECOND: ‘Born’ Muslims don’t get us! They can no more relate to the difficulties we face as converts than we can sincerely relate to their difficulties as immigrants in the U.S. We NEED grass roots organizations established by us, for us. We need to stop looking to the immigrant Muslim population for guidance and for support. To be sure, the sheikhs and imams offer much valuable guidance, but by and large, they are overwhelmed and virtually unapproachable for the average joe shmoe Muslim American.
Some of you may be reading this and saying that this kind of thinking can only cause more division in our Ummah. To them I say: It’s a sad fact that we are already divided. In Dallas, we have masjids run by those of Arab origin, masjids run by those of Pakistani origin, and even a masjid run by African Americans. There is little cooperation among these groups, and – apart from the African Americans – no ongoing support program for new Muslims. I firmly believe that we will achieve greater unity among Muslims in the U.S. when Muslims of American descent are taken more seriously. I am very excited and hopeful about this. Becoming a Muslim in 1977 was a very lonely experience. Now we are blessed with homegrown, world recognized scholars like Imam Suhaib and Osama Canon. We are getting there, insha’ Allah. Alhamdu Lillah
@ummaTaha: you claim being a published author, then why hide it by not using your real name?
using the word “homie” says quite a bit considering you are a PhD holder and published author. “Homie” is street gang language which has been embraced by the mainstream and turned into some cute vernacular. It’s not cute, it’s ridiculous to talk that way.
you say we should not be critical of “born” muslims. But division is a sin. They claim being Muslim but treat converts very badly. I’ve seen it in LA, San Francisco and New York, Saudi Arabia (where I’ve seen stuff that will make you run) I believe I’ve seen a good cross section.
You stated it clearly when you said there is very little cooperation between Arabs, Pakistanis, African Americans, etc. You basically admit it and defeat your own argument. Muslims are not supposed to treat each other that way. We are supposed to look past cultural divisions and embrace each other based on our faith in God. As one Arab Muslim told me once when I said that culture is not important in Islam he said “that’s a nice dream, you are not living in real life”. Apparently, that guy threw out parts of the Koran and Hadith that didn’t fit into his world view. It appears that you are accepting it in an apathetic manner.
As the saying goes “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. The Muslim community as a whole is divided against itself and its all based on ego, pride, nationalism and arrogance. All of which are sins and not serving God.
Another problem among muslims is the whole political correctness thing. problems and issues can never be solved as long as political correctness and the religion is used as a weapon to silence people that have are honest and forthright. There is a problem among muslims and no one wants to work to resolve it. I tried starting a grassroots organization, which included inter-faith outreach, and was condemned, vilified and verbally attacked by other muslims for it. Why? because who is a convert to tell “born” muslims how things should be and that “true” islam is about isolation from non believers. I have even read comments about Shuaib Webb on youtube and they are very ugly. Muslims calling him a kaffir. It’s ugly stuff.
So, your concept of a grassroots organization may work for a short time but will ultimately fail because eventually you will have to compromise your values to appeal to a larger demographic of muslims. I had an imam in Los Angeles tell me that he is aware of the problems but cannot address them because he would lose much of his congregation and he needs donations for the mosque. that’s how it is.
As-salamu alaykum, Br. Mark. I hardly know where to begin in response to your comment! First, I did not comment to blow my own horn, and that is why I am using an pseudonymn. I only mentioned it to point out that I’m no wet-behind-the-ears, ignorant, shoot-from-the-hip, over-zealous Muslim American. I spoke from a sincere desire to raise awareness further concerning certain issues.
I am an intellectual and an academic, but I’m no snob. I’m an American – a product of the rough, tough, honky-tonk Northeast of the United States. Our language is colorful, and I’m not going to affect some pseudo-snobbish vocabulary just because I have a DR in front of my name now. Most people I know appreciate that about me. (I’ve actually heard Br. Suhaib Webb use the term ‘homies’ too – gasp!)
So, on to the other things you said. Before I begin, I’d like to apologize if some of what I wrote seemed to be contradictory. In my desire to be fair, giving credit where credit is due, it may have come across as confusing.
About being critical of ‘born’ Muslims: What I said was that we should “not be TOO critical”. This means that I AM criticizing, but at the same time, I understand why they are doing the wrong thing that they are doing. It does NOT mean “we should not be critical”. OK? I can only 100% agree with you that the behavior of many born Muslims towards converts creates division. (I became a Muslim in Philly where I first exposed to the incorrect behavior of ‘born’ Muslims. Then I traveled to the Mid East to study, and later got married there. I lived for 30 years over there, in several countries (UAE, KSA, ARE, Syria, Palestine, Oman), so I guess I’ve also seen a good cross section as well.
Then you said, “You stated it clearly when you said there is very little cooperation between Arabs, Pakistanis, African Americans, etc. You basically admit it and defeat your own argument. Muslims are not supposed to treat each other that way.” Your “it” is missing an antecedent. What “it” are you referring to? I could not agree with you more on that last bit: Muslims are sure not supposed to treat each other that way!!
Brother, saying that culture is not important is a bit simplistic, because we should all be sharing a common Islamic culture. I think what you were referring to was ethnically defined culture (i.e. the ethnic cultures of ‘born’ Muslims). Coupled with nationalistic fervor, which tends to minimalize cross-cultural bonds of belief, the exclusivist behavior of certain cultural immigrant Muslim groups in the U.S. has not been in the best interest of the wider Muslim ummah. The “ugly stuff” you refer to is exactly what I referring to in my last two points. I also belong to an interfaith group, and I don’t really give a damn what the ‘born’ Muslims think about that. (I helped some of my former students with a college assignment to go to a place of worship other than their own. We attended a Methodist Sunday service – gasp!)
And as far as your last comment is concerned – have faith, brother! There is no denying that there have been grassroots efforts which have failed, but that is only a reason to re-double our attempts. We have many examples of successful such organizations: Project Downtown, Umma Clinic in LA, Khan Academy, Ta’leef Collective, Muslims without Borders, etc. All homegrown and all continuing in their struggle to improve things.
Part of our faith as Muslims is to never give up hope and to really believe that “inna maal uusri yusra” (sadaq Allahul Aatheem – this is the spoken truth of Allah). Try again, brother – try again!
@ummTaha: Islam is not a culture. Islam means submission to God, therefore following God’s commands and decrees. It is not culture night.
Apparently, like others before you, you seem to be picking and choosing which hadith and which part of the Koran you want to follow. Muhammad said that before God we are all equal and the same. God doesn’t see us based on skin color and culture.
We can share our ethnic foods, clothing, etc. but that has nothing to do with service to God. God could care less about that. We put too much emphasis on race and culture, which as Muslims we should ignore. treat people as human beings FIRST. That is what is missing among muslims, the idea of treating people as Human beings.
Should I try? why? I can use my energy in far more positive ventures instead of dealing with all the nonsense. Yes, there have been grass roots efforts that have failed, but it is a different story when Muslims sabotage those efforts and make an effort to bad mouth an organization.
The problem is apathy. People see the elephant in the room but refuse to talk about it because, well, it takes too much effort to work toward a solution. What you are doing is basically ignoring a problem that you “hope” will resolve itself over time. it never will, it will only get worse. If what Shuaib Webb cites is correct and 75% of converts leave Islam after a few years that’s seriously bad. it speaks volumes about the muslim community. Now, don’t you think that instead of ignoring the problem it is time people work to change it?
by the way Khan Academy was not started as muslim organization and as far as I know it has nothing to do with Islam.
I know this is a late reply. I Just came across this article. This goes out to all those whose recently embrace Islam. I’m a born muslim from South Africa, Cape Town. As far as I know born muslims in most countries don’t treat new muslims bad. This is primarily a American muslim thing, and the muslims there need to work on solutions.
Some immigrants obviously have a negative view of former non-muslims who mistreated them. . .and America is kinda leading with the whole anti-islam propaganda thing.
Besides all that, we living in the End Times, as told by the Nabi Muhammad(saws) in the hadiths. So this chaos around the world is to be expected.
But Islam is not what Most Muslims do (the ignorant ones). Its about what all Muslims are suppose to do. Some born muslims take being muslim for granted, ecspecially those from muslim countries. BUT understand, some arabs from saudi is wahabis which means they a group of muslims thats normally intolerant and conservative. So im not surprise.
Unrealistic expectations, such as open arm welcomes and being hasty could backfire. Thats why sabr ( patience) is the best virtue a true muslim can have.
Its just unfortunate that american converts got deal a tricky hand with arab and pakistani muslims, in the islamic world its common knowledge about those two cultures. . . Converts confuse cultural behaviour with religious tenets. . .arabs and pakistantis cant see the difference. Eitherway, bad muslims don’t mean Islam is bad. All faiths have good and bad people. Even the sahaba was tested at the beginning to see how sincere they are. Allah is testing, guiding, dropping you, raising you to strenghten your imaan (faith). For a muslim should be strong at the core and not waver. . So theres divine purpose behind both good and bad events. . .as for those not knowing where to learn. The MOSQUE must ALWAYS BE THE 1ST STOP. dont go there for the people. Go there to gain knowledge and understanding 1st. Never create a self fulfilling prophesy, by continuesly thinkng of yourselfs as new converts. Leave that mindset behind. Recite Ayatul kursi.(the verse of the throne). 2nd chapter, 255 ayat. Its a protection against calamity and harm and keep shaytan away. Begin everything with allahs name. And don’t stop making dua for its the weapon of the believer.
American muslims are going thru a phase, a trial of sorts. Allah will guide you all to proper decent good muslims. But never blame the religion of the prophets , islam, because some born muslims is on edge in a western country, coming from muslim country. These people speak arabic all day long. Dont try to fit in. Be yourself. And finally. Dua, dua, dua and salaah. Guidance to beter conditions will surely come. Trust in Allah with patience and steadfastness. Over 80% of muslims in the world live in non-muslim countries. So everything of the best to you all. May Allah guide us all Insha Allah.
Islamic sites free ebooks, videos, lectures, quran, hadith, audios. A fountain of islamic knowledge .
I have done my best to thoughtfully and respectfully answer your criticisms and comments, but you have not replied in kind. I strongly suggest that you carefully re-read my posts. Take your time while reading them. Try very hard to separate yourself from your apparent negativity and self-pity that seems to be affecting your ability to respond objectively. As a lifelong teacher, I would also strongly counsel you to use some kind of dictionary (Lots of people do; there is no shame in that), since you don’t really seem to understand the word ‘culture’. Jazak Allahu khayr at any rate for the exchange. I will not respond again. Was-salam
You know, I’m reading the comment exchange here and it looks like what is going on is exactly what UmmTaha mentioned:
“I was forced to address the most incredible and inane comments and concerns of some ‘born’ Muslims…”
Just adding my two cents:
Point #1. We’re all made of clay and we were all born with fitra. This means that no born-Muslim is higher in rank nor is a convert; Allah knows best.
Point #2. If Prophet Muhammad S were to read this, what would he say about the tone of this dialogue? Is this how a Muslim treats his brother?
Point #3. Let go of your need to be right. A person with even a mustard seed’s worth of arrogance does not enter Paradise.
These are reminders to me first and foremost. May Allah bless you both and may He guide all of us, ameen.
I support your responses.
Mark has issues with how he sees Islam being practiced. Experienced Muslims live with the knowledge that Islam is a perfect religion carried in an imperfect vessel. Only God is perfect, every Muslim, no matter how knowledgeable, is imperfect. God could care less about food, language, clothing, etc? Allah said that he made us into different tribes so that we could recognize each other – He has created different cultures that accept Islam. Islam is not a lockstep march, it is an ongoing process of adaptation and interpretation to an everchanging world, in addition to the basic obedience to the main pillars of faith.Mark has a point, though. Non-western Muslim MUST MUST MUST learn to appreciate American culture as being a valid culture in which to practice Islam. Culturally American Muslims must never be made to feel inferior to any other culture, just like every other culture must be respected equally. Cultures are like people: equal, yet different. The Islam that people import from overseas is not automatically superior to American Islam. There is PLENTY of proof to support that.
JAK for this article. As a middle aged woman who converted almost 9 years ago, I remember the isolation I felt, the confusion at all the Arabic words I heard in a khutbah, feeling like I didn’t “fit.” Sisters came up to me in the prayer hall and told me very directly how my clothing was wrong, too revealing, that I needed to do things differently. At first, I became angry (which alhamdulilah I didn’t show) but then I came to understand that in their way, they were trying to help me as a new Muslim. Born Muslims sometimes have trouble differentiating between what is from Islam and what is from their culture. It’s up to me to become familiar with what is from Islam so that I can make the proper choices.
I read a ton those first few years, and I compared what I was hearing and experiencing with ahadeeth and information from trusted sources. As long as I was sticking to what I was coming to understand was a good middle path, I tried not to be influenced or saddened by negativity. Did I lose friends? Absolutely. Did I feel alone on Eids? Yup. Was I confused and lonely? Some. I adopted my own way of dressing that is modest but not Arab or Pakastani or Malaysian, because I’m not of those ethnic backgrounds.
It was my dissatisfaction with my experience in the women’s prayer hall during Ramadan that helped me turn a corner. Due to the noise, I found myself unable to concentrate during tarawhih prayers, and I vowed to volunteer the following year to try to help keep it quiet in the prayer hall. The simple act of volunteering at the mosque exposed me to brothers and sisters who exhibited good adab, and I unconsciously started mirroring their behaviors. I started volunteering serving food at the iftars, and other sisters in our community came to know me better. I am shy by nature, so my difficulty in getting close to people is as much my fault as anyone else’s. The patience and kindness I learned from doing these things made me much more approachable.
I think the one thing this article and much of the ensuing discussion has missed is we have to learn to feel comfortable with who we are before others will feel comfortable with us. Nobody can do that for us. If you’re going to be alone on Eid or Thanksgiving or whatever, reach out to someone. I bet you if you told a sister or brother what your situation was, you’d have 10 invitations. Our Muslim brothers and sisters can’t read minds any better than we can. If we need help, we need to ask for it. I know not every masjid is equally supportive, but if I was going to one that wasn’t after I had tried repeatedly to reach out, I would find another masjid that was.
I think in the US we have what I would call and add water and stir approach to many things. We expect them to be easy, and sometimes they’re not. But thank God we get a bigger reward for our struggles. As a new Muslim just as in life, one will be tested many ways. Those experiences will insha’Allah make us stronger.
Salaam. “Born Muslims sometimes have trouble differentiating between what is from Islam and what is from their culture. It’s up to me to become familiar with what is from Islam so that I can make the proper choices.”
Yes, Sister, you have a very good point. But please understand that there are those “new” (i.e., converts not born to Muslim families in traditional societies) Muslims who may not be strong and who have difficulty making these “proper choices,” precisely because they are *not* strong. They may struggle because they have not have had experiences such as you had. Their iman may have been shaky from the beginning, no matter that they were absolutely, positively, totally, completely sincere in professing themselves Muslims.
Sadly, in their shakiness and weak (but totally sincere) iman, they confront the sad condition of the ummah in North America with all the non-Islamic influences in the society, and they slip away.
I really did, in all sincerity, profess myself a Muslim when I was already of middle age almost twenty years ago (so that I am now a “senior citizen”), but I have had my personal issues. Given that in the conditions in which I found myself, I was effectively isolated and ignored, so over the years I have pretty much slipped away, but almost no one seems to care, for the most part, I suppose, because I was effectively invisible to begin with, so no one noticed when I no longer came around any more.
This is a sad fact of the situation of the Islamic community in North America today: Genuinely sincere people come to Islam but with weak and shaky faith, and no one helps them to consolidate their shakiness in the light of a non-Islamic society, so in their weakness they slip away.
UmmTaha: telling me to use a dictionary is really backhanded. saying I am negative and self pitying is such an personal and false attack on me detracts from the real issue, which is how it is done to avoid avoid the real issue. the real issue is the mistreatment of converts by those who come from muslim countries. Example. I was at Downtown Disneyland tonight with friends. Two of them brought their wives and they were hijab. There were tons of Muslims at downtown Disney, yet not one said “salam”, not one even acknowledged existence of the other. My friends are converts and I have been trying to act as a sort of guide for them in order to surf the waters of stupidity. They are slowly getting deeply affected by the negativity of “born” muslims. Not me.
It goes beyond just not saying “salam”. By not acknowledging those who share the same faith as you, what does it say? it marginalizes people. I have heard the racist comments against mexican converts. Mexican converts now have their own small mosque here because Arab Muslims and Pakistani Muslims don’t accept them. What does that say? Who is being negative?
The Talmud teaches that one who oppresses a convert transgresses 36 commandments—some say 46 commandments. By mistreating converts you are making very big sins and being hypocrites. When Hamza Yusuf loses his patience during one of his sermons and talks about muslim immigrants and their behavior, you know something is wrong.
Here is a post from another thread I came across on this topic. It is straight to the point
The masajid are not equipped to deal with converts. Most of them have no plan or program for converts and just expect converts to figure it all out on their own.
Muslims rejoice when someone says shahada, but after the excitement dies down and the convert is often alone. Many mosques are unfriendly — no one welcomes newcomers or greets people as they step into the mosque. Brothers and sisters dare not say salam to each other. No one goes out of their way to include a person who is there alone. A convert without any Muslim family may only come into contact with other Muslims at the mosque — and those Muslims may barely even talk to the convert.
The convert gives up his non-halal activities — and with that often comes strained relationships with former friends. As the convert gets more and more into Islam, he/she often finds less and less in common with former friends until they are out of the picture altogether. Without having made good Muslim friends, the convert has no one to spend time with, no one to just hang with.
When the convert is around Muslims, they often want to teach the convert about Islam. Their hearts are in the right place, but they don’t realize that this can become overwhelming for the convert who may just want to relax and enjoy people’s company without turning every meeting into a halaqa.
Where do the convert spend the Eid holidays? With whom do they break fast during Ramadhan? If they haven’t made a close Muslim friend who takes them in, they do these things alone.
I could go on and on… but you get the point.
here is an interesting and thought provoking article, which I believe speaks to the experience American converts have had and this may explain some of the reasons.
Mona Eltahawy, a columnist for Egypt’s Al Masry Al Youm and Qatar’s Al Arab, in her article for the New York Times entitled “Racism The Arab world’s dirty secret”
She actually stated “”We love to cry ‘Islamophobia’ when we talk about the way Muslim minorities are treated in the West and yet we never stop to consider how we treat minorities and the most vulnerable among us.”
These views date back to 1938 and seemingly have impacted Islam as a faith. Many people from Muslim countries carry these view, either through embracing them intentionally or simply growing up with them. I believe this is the dynamic we see occurring towards converts. It is a fear of embracing difference, which in many ways is based on racist ideology. But, that is my guess and there is much writing on this topic, which you can research.
Three thought provoking statements that I would like to share with. Hopefully, reading them will push you to look inward as it did for me
“Do not (simply) mimic what someone else does in order to avoid thinking it through. You MUST participate in your own evolution.”
“Physical or spiritual progress is simple: you must want who or what you might become more than who you are or what you have right now.”
“No matter how functional or specific the practice is, sooner or later, enough is enough and more of the same won’t help. Grow don’t stagnate.”
Assuredly ye will be tried in your property and in your persons, and ye will hear much wrong from those who were given the Scripture before you, and from the idolaters. But if ye persevere and ward off (evil), then that is of the steadfast heart of things. (3.186)
I’ve been Muslim for 1 year and 4 months. I didn’t tell even my cloest friends until a few months later. My parents just found out and I was forced to go to church I made my cathloic conformation during this because I was so scared to tell them. So they found out and are not letting practice Islam at all. My mom told me she would punish me because I refused to eat pork. She also forced me to say some christian prayer. I have never been to the mosque ever in my life I have no one in my life to help me through this. And I hear some of you say you are having second thoughts about converting. To be honest you have to be kidding me please have some faith I get tormented in school get yelled at by my parents that I’m following a fundelmentilst (excuse my spelling) religion that feeds people bulls#$t
Thank you for the interesting article. I was born and raised as a Muslim, and this is just opening my eyes to how difficult a life of a new convert can be.
Although, I am not american and do not live in USA, but now I feel a need to help, and offer my assistance to converts. Certainly, being raised as a Muslim from birth, you have a clear understanding about the fundamentals of the religion, even though you aren’t a scholar, which is something I’ve taken for granted most of my life, may Allah forgive me.
I just had this idea, and wanted to share it, if you could share your opinions on whether it is relevant or not. What if there was an FB page/community to connect new converts to born muslims? this is the only thing I can think of, and furthermore I know several muslims who will be happy just to answer questions and share their faith, but we’re just as lost on how to connect with new converts
Wa alaikumu salaam
Salaam. Your heart is in the right place. I suspect that many “born” Muslims in “traditional” societies, where most people are already Muslims and there are few, if any, “new” Muslims, may innocently not have a good understanding of the situations of new Muslims in western societies. As for the specific situation of this (apparently) young person Evan who has embraced Islam, unfortunately I cannot say, as my own situation was and is so very different. May Allah strengthen him.
There are online forums for new Muslims, although my personal experience has not been the best at times. (Allah swt knows best, but perhaps I myself just happen to have had atypical unhappy experiences.) However, please be aware that not everyone (particularly us older people; I am a “senior citizen”) use all modern online social media. In some instances, a more personal, one on one contact may be more suitable and useful. However, your intention is a good one.
Unfortunately, I am not sufficiently adept at modern computer media (I can use email and a web browser minimally) to be able to suggest how to set things up, particularly for more individual contact. However, as a convert myself who (like others) has had rather unhappy experiences with the Muslim community, I can understand the need.
Assalam Alaikum Samha, certainly a great idea as already mentioned by others but I would personally stay far away from facebook and co. and I wish muslims in general would think about what facebook is and does to many people and families which is certainly not good. But anyway excuse my rant about FB I know that’s not the topic 🙂 Wasalam
Thank you, Paul and Ann for your comments.
As mentioned, a website forum or even a more personal form of online communications might be a better idea. Unfortunately I’m not knowledgeable about setting up internet forums or websites either..
I’m originally from a 100% muslim country, Maldives (its very small, you might not have heard of it). So, muslim converts are something i havent come across in my community.
But, Im now living in Australia for my studies, away from my family and not much to do during my free time (how I stumbled here). This is the first time I’m living in a primarily non-muslim community, and its surprising how little people know about Islam. One classmate asked me about ramazan, and originally thought it was the name of fasting.
The difference is overwhelming. I dont know where to start.
Although, currently, Im not capable of opening a website, in sha Allah, I’ll try to become a more contributing member of the muslim society, one step at a time. May Allah guide us all to be better muslims.
ps. Ann,i can understand ur views about fb not being the best platform. But since I live away from my family now, its the best way to keep in touch 🙂
Shukran for the article, it certainly sheds light on some of the things that we do not perceive when dealing with reverts. I have scanned through some of the comments and I think the article has done justice to the title. Let’s face it, there is alot that can be said about reverts that cannot be done in one article.
As a non-revert, I often hear the word cultural baggage or people speaking about the barrier of ‘culture’ that creates obstacles when interacting with people. I don’t understand why this is so. I don’t believe any revert should be placed in a position where someone’s culture becomes an issue or where they are forced to follow and adopt these practices. However, I do not see anything wrong with people having certain cultural practices as long as they do not go against Islamic principles. Isn’t that the context of the verse where Allah says ‘…We have made you nations and tribes so you may know one another’. This verse in the Qur’an clearly acknowledges the fact that people are different in terms of culture, race etc. and whist these diversities exist, it does not set one person above another except in piety.
So when a revert interacts with a non-revert for marriage for example, I believe that it is largely the outlook of the revert himself that can turn the culture of this person from being an obstacle into being something that forms part of their relationship and its development. My culture is based on certain ways and traditions that I was raised upon and its what great memories are made of. When marrying a revert from another ‘culture’, I expect there to be a certain degree of compromise and flexibility where both parties would be willing to experience where the next person has come from. As long as it does not go against Shari’ah and as long as it doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, I don’t see why it should be regarded as an obstacle.
Another thing I often come across is how reverts find it difficult approaching people with questions and assistance when going through life as a new revert. This is also something that should not exist. I’m sure that reverts often feel isolated and they do not want to become a nuisance. But I would advise them not to give up. Because while there may exist people who are not eager to assist, there are many out there who are seeking opportunities to assist reverts in whichever way possible.
I believe that a revert can play a huge role in how he/she is accepted within a community. Often times people do not know how to deal with reverts and they do not want to place them in an uncomfortable position, so they maintain a certain safe distance. Reverts should confidently claim their position in the societies that they live in. Because they have just as much right to be there as any other muslim.
ps: I have used ‘revert’ as a personal preference. What is outlined above are my personal thoughts and opinions and I hope I did not offend anyone in the process.
Assalamu alaikum 🙂
I am a revert, and it is hard when you first revert..but if you are person of faith and believe this is the only true right path..as i do 🙂
I do not think anyone should walk into anything blindly then ofcourse will be so overwhelming. .fortunately, i was not totally clueless when i reverted..i believed right away that had found what i was searching for my whole life.
When i reverted i had a couple very good Muslim friends i could turn to if i was unsure of something, alhamdullillah ..
I think its best before revert to find reputable sources to study and download some apps, read Quran. . ( i want to study to learn arabic ..however found a goodEnglish interpretation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali) i think new reverts or if thinking seriously to revert to find a mentor to askquestions and basically dont listen to thoae nit-picking at every tiny aspect..faith increases in time, but only realize Allah knows your heart and intentions and sometimes it might be best to stick out and ignore unhelpful pickings from those that do not understan. ..study, pray, make dua, ppractice alone maybe before integrating into to much public things..take time, strengthening knowledge and faith and trust in Allah (swt) for only he knwhat’s best 🙂
Subhaanallah, that’s great Sonni. May Allah increase you in faith and grant you to grow closer to Him with every step you take 🙂 ameen!
wa iyyaak 🙂
Wa alaikumus salaam.
You were/are fortunate in your experiences, but not all converts have/had similar experiences. Over the years, I myself have noted that some converts probably *are* more or less “clueless” when they declare themselves Muslims.
I have noticed that some people in some places are allowed and even encouraged to make Shahada with no one really inquiring what their motives and understanding are. The individuals themselves may not fully understand things. Just repeat these magic Arabic words.
That was my experience. I genuinely, truly thought I was doing the right thing. I had a few almost perfunctory talks with a “caller” (da’ee) at a mosque in which English was nearly a rare foreign language, had read the Qur’an years before on my own, went through a bit of literature which I may not have understood well, and that was that. Nobody asked me anything. Just recite these words. Now you are a Muslim.
However, at that mosque, which at the time was the only one at all close enough to get to with any frequency, there was no one I felt comfortable talking to when I began running into problems. Not even that “caller,” who spoke reasonably good English but who seemed deep down not really to understand westerners and their issues (let alone psychiatric issues, which I had — but try to find a psychiatrist who is a practicing Muslim).
The point is that many converts have widely differing experiences. Some have good resources available to them and fine quality, learned, helpful, understanding people to call on. Some have almost none of these and may literally be rather confused, with no one down the road to help them out. So eventually they fall away. (I have read estimates of 50-75% in North America.)
Yes, you are right, some do connvert revert.. for whatever reason, and i myself do not consider myself a convert..i did notchange from one religion to islam, i was searching my whole life, and now that i have learned more..i know in my heart..i have always been muslim, but had american parents who didn’t believe in God, but i did.. since was 2 years old i prayed to GOD..not any man or prophet, and wheChristians told me i must pray to jesus, may peace be upon him, i wss very confused.
Anyway..in my case i say i am a revert.. or i reverted to Islam. because revert means “to turn to previous state” because their has been so many signs or habits i have aleays had, beliefs i always had..tjat i later found are all from islam.
and all people are born muslim..but then it is up to parents to teach right way.. mine didnt know..
Here is meanings to clarify ones that think all who became muslim later in life are converts..
1. revert, return, retrovert, regress, turn back go back to a previous state
“I reverted to the old rules”
1. convert a person who has been converted to another religious or political belief
1. convert, change over change from one system to another or to a new plan or policy
“We converted from 220 to 110 Volt”
2. convert change the nature, purpose, or function of something
“convert lead into gold”
“convert hotels into jails”
“convert slaves to laborers”
3. convert change religious beliefs, or adopt a religious belief
“She converted to Buddhism”
4. change, exchange, commute, convert exchange or replace with another, usually of the same kind or category
“Could you convert my dollars into pounds?”
“He changed his name”
“convert centimeters into inches”
“convert holdings into shares”
5. convert cause to adopt a new or different faith
“The missionaries converted the Indian population”
6. convert score an extra point or points after touchdown by kicking the ball through the uprights or advancing the ball into the end zone
7. convert complete successfully
“score a penalty shot or free throw”
8. convert score (a spare)
9. convert, win over, convince make (someone) agree, understand, or realize the truth or validity of something
Therefore..i reverted to my original state..where i am supost to be 🙂
i only wish everyone’s change can be as easily as mine (in being conected easily and have no doubts..
Also..ibelieve it is our duty to seek knowledge. .so if someone “falls off”..they need to take responsiblity.. i do not read or speak arabic, i live in usa where Muslims are looked at in ignorance and judgment, so of course it is hard to find reliable materials,
But there are translations, apps u can download with translations, quran in translation ..online courses that are free.. local masjids, books, organizations that reach out to new muslims…so
I do not believe at al that those who “cant” find reputable information have the right to blame Allah, or other muslims, or countries…
Even if someone cant ever pronouce something..Allah knows our hearts and intentions. .and it is our responsibility to seek him out and constantly learn.
I am a new convert. My first experience meeting Muslims was in Kosovo. The people there are very welcoming to Americans. The government is secular and the people have a different culture than Middle eastern Muslims. I mention this because of the freedom and friendliness I feel when visiting Kosovo. A few months after my Kosovar husband immigrated to America, we stopped in at a local mosque (my idea) and 3 days later I converted. I was hugged by all the sisters. It was a joyous occasion! But in time things just became quiet toward us there. My husband and I would go for Jumma and then just go home. We both feel most of the people there just aren’t friendly toward us. It is hard for me because I don’t know much about what to do. For instance, I didn’t know I was supposed to pray two times when entering the mosque. So I would sit down and feel uncomfortable as one elderly lady glared at me. This would happen every time, until I finally figured out what to do. I still don’t know the Arabic words. I try to read as much as I can but many times I get lost because the directions will say “do something something (then word in Arabic) and do (another word in Arabic)”. How am I supposed to figure it out?! I don’t know the Arabic words. Everything I read assumes I know them! My husband has a hard time helping me because he only knows those things in Albanian. We both feel immense peace when entering the mosque, but at the same time, we feel stress among the brothers and sisters.
In a response above under an earlier date, Faadiel remarked, “I know this is a late reply. I Just came across this article. This goes out to all those whose recently embrace Islam. I’m a born muslim from South Africa, Cape Town. As far as I know born muslims in most countries don’t treat new muslims bad. This is primarily a American muslim thing, and the muslims there need to work on solutions.”
I am beginning to wonder whether the frequently unpleasant experiences converts to Islam suffer may in fact be a particularly North American thing. (I could be wrong, but I suspect that there could be an issue in Canada as well as the USA, because the societies have similar cultures and somewhat similar, if not identical, immigration patterns.)
In North America, there are large mixtures of Muslims from many different countries and cultures. Many of these immigrants come from societies which are conservative and in which most — in many cases all or nearly all — of the people they come into contact with are Muslim. They have no real experience in dealing with converts. They may have no realistic idea what it is like to try to embrace a way of life which is so different from the one a person grew up with. They may have no realization of what it is to come into Islam with little knowledge of traditional practices. It may almost be outside their mental horizon.
Also, due to the mixture, I have noticed that many Muslims in N. America with “foreign” roots tend to club together out of a (possibly misguided) loyalty to the culture in the “old country,” so that here the notion of Islamic brotherhood becomes rather fragmented. They have difficulty differentiating their ancestral culture from genuine Islam.
What happens in practice is that new Muslims may in fact tend to be excluded, not out of any conscious willfulness, but rather out of lack of awareness. Nevertheless, in practice many new Muslims in N. America *DO* feel excluded, and if they are not already strong in faith (as many are not, when they first enter Islam), they become isolated and alienated, so, sadly, many of them fall away.
As Faadiel pointed out earlier, this may be especially a (North) American phenomenon, but still, it is real, and people do leave. Unfortunately, I myself do not have an answer to the problem. Allah (swt) knows best.
Well, it isn’t strictly a North American dynamic. I have spent a great deal of time in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. As an American and foreigner you will be treated kindly at first, but once the honeymoon is over you will be relegated back to foreigner status and not treated well. Converts are perceived as not knowing much about the religion of Islam are still perceived as American. In Saudi Arabia, even if you are muslim, being a foreigner puts you beneath a Saudi. It is a hard truth and sad fact, but it’s fact. Sadly, people refuse to acknowledge these issues and work to change it. It is better and easier to sit back and allow other people to deal with it. Arrogance and not acknowledging other muslims is a sin. Large groups of self proclaimed muslims are not only sinning, but being hypocritical when they ignore and/or mistreat converts. Using culture and ethnicity as a justification for this behavior is a cheap excuse. Common courtesy and the common bond of faith are intended to bring people together not separate. But, as I was told by a good number of people in Morocco “American converts are still American and are not of us”. All you have to do is read all the anti Suhaib Webb nonsense. Arab and Pakistani muslims calling him an innovator and other dumb names. It’s disturbing stuff and it isn’t Americans bad mouthing him. Remaining silent on an issue doesn’t solve anything it only leads to apathy.
Salaam. My question is, how do we overcome this situation in North America? (The situations in “traditional” countries are not my concern here.) I honestly do not know. How can it come to be that new Muslims genuinely are accepted and welcomed, so that they genuinely feel part of the Islamic ummah? Again, I really don’t know. But it is a serious problem, and a lot of people are hurting and falling aware because of that lack of acceptance. Allah (swt) knows best, but we weak humans seem to need to do better.
Paul, I think the first thing we can do to fix it is to seriously start treating each other like human beings and as fellow travelers on the path of faith. We need to learn to respect each other and embrace differences. Sulking in factions never helps anything and never creates solutions. I agree that the situation in muslim countries is not your concern, but people from those countries that immigrate to the US bring those attitudes and social mores here. In turn it effects the community. Second, how muslims behave in muslim countries does impact muslims in the US. If you proclaim Islam and identify as a Muslim publicly you will be judged by the the actions of others, unfortunately. I strong believe that faith without action is a DEAD Faith. Sadly, post 9/11 Muslims are judged by Actions and not words. Muslims need to be more involved in their communities. Smile and extend a welcoming hand. Instead of talking about God and how to pray and all the rituals and stuff people need to let others see action. A person can pray five times a day following the ritualized form of prayer until the chickens come home, but if that individual isn’t greeting converts, non muslims and helping the poor and needy than it is a useless exercise in self delusion. As a Tibetan worker told me in Saudi Arabia after he was beaten mercilessly ( which I interjected myself to help him and got into hot water myself) by his Muslim employer “these people, they pray and pray, and have rules, but they don’t love life, they don’t live. Please, when you leave this place, don’t forget life and live.”
Here in America, we have an opportunity to show the beauty and truth of Islam through actions. The problem is that the actions of a knuckleheads has caused a security nightmare for all Muslims in America and Europe. It is now an uphill battle to work to change that.
If you cant pray in arabic, then pray in english. Its better to pray in english than not at all since Allah ubderstands all languages. In time u will learn arabic and can then start praying in arabic.
Salaam. For individuals who come to Islam in mature years, this is unlikely. The older one is, the harder it is to deal with languages one does not already know. People differ, of course, in their particular abilities, but if one comes to Islam in one’s forties, fifties, sixties (although this is very rare, I would say from observation), it is unlikely that such a person will *ever* know Arabic well. If such an individual has difficulty holding meanings in mind at the same time as reciting the Arabic words, then the Islamic prayers become a sort of babbling. And again, mature people may not be able to learn Arabic (or anything else, for that matter) even over time, so they will never really begin to pray in that language. For them it is pray in their own language or not pray at all, but many people will then say that they are not praying at all.
Noooo…you must adjust your comments. Didn’t you know “60 is the new 40”? I am 63, married to my second husband (a Muslim), and am learning his language (not Arabic). I don’t expect to know Arabic well, nor do I expect to know my husband’s language as well as native speakers, but I am learning enough to understand about 80% of his conversations with family. However, I will say this…I would be more comfortable praying in English.
Salaam. Please note that I said, “People differ, of course, in their particular abilities…. If such an individual has difficulty holding meanings in mind at the same time as reciting the Arabic words, then the Islamic prayers become a sort of babbling.” Some people can deal with new languages even when they are older (and I am older than Sr. Candy), but some cannot. Period.
Capacities and abilities differ, which is my whole point, but there seem to be those who do not or are not willing to take into account that those capacities and abilities diminish for many people as they get older.
There are a series of articles (I suppose they are still available) here on SuhaibWebb.com about whether prayers have to be said in Arabic. They seemed to me to be reasonable (whether I agree with every detail or not, and I am not a scholar), but if I understood correctly, all that is really obligatory in the ritual prayers (salaat) to be said in Arabic are the selections from the Qur’an. However, to someone with my background (I am sure this applies to many), even this much makes little sense and does not resonate, so to speak.
Rightly or wrongly, the language issue was a significant contributing factor as to why I eventually quit praying at all. Allah (swt) knows best. I do not.
Why do people embrace Islam without first learning the basics? Islam is not just a believe system, its a living faith, a way of life in accordance with divine decree. Christains in South Africa convert to Islam, talk on Radio interviews etc. We welcome them, we got a Discover Islam center that teaches new converts the basics, like Salaah, arabic alphabet, quran recitation, common arabic words and greetings, expressions, there is english books on Islam. We a multi cultural society, many churches, many mosques, there’s hindus here, there’s jewish people here, some egyptian people, chinese, different whites, blacks, asains, coloured, you name it,. . .the point I was refering to was that in fact, just like you experience, some eastern countries like Saudi, Egypt etc, have religion and culture deeply rooted together. Your experience at first was Islamic with them, then afterwards there cultural part takes over. Like Shaykh Yusuf Estes (a former christian missionary) say; “Islam is not what most Muslims do, Islam is what ALL MUSLIMS are Supposed to DO.”
Culture my friend, is not a excuse, but a sad reality for alota people. . .
Look at it from there perspective, America is number 1 with anti-islam and so call muslim terror propaganda, over the last 10 years there lands have been invaded, bombs drop on them, civilians killed etc, but the media, international media is a non muslim stronghold, so the world get a one side story of muslims.
They land in mommy America, 1st things they experience is insults, hostility, mocking etc. . .they contact their family back home, the family is shocked and all. . . So theres is a TRUSTING issue, a SINCERITY issue, even a EYE FOR AN EYE issue for some them, but not all. They wondering, ‘are you genuine?, are you an american spy? No really, they been there before, did this person convert for the right reasons? Etc.
Its a culture clash, they don’t TRUST AMERICANS. THAT might seem harsh, but the world have skewed views of citizens based on the deeds of its government. . .so its fueled by many things, you must be open minded. Start genuine connections with people, a casual thing wont get you far.
So again. Taking all the above in account, america got very little muslims and the muslim communities is very young and inexperience. American muslims is at a disadvantage, but also at an advantage if you know where to look. You seeking companionship, a place to belong, to be a part of. All humans need that. So why not start laying the foundations the way other new american muslims are doing?
New muslims must be told before or after the ‘kalimah shahadah (Declaration of Faith)”, that they need to attend classes etc, and should not be hasty in running of to a mosque for salaah without knowing all the principles etc. Thats just common sense. You wont fly a jumbo jet without passing pilot training etc would you? Same thing for Islam, Its mind, body and soul. It takes time etc. Again, make dua(supplication), and have faith that god will help. God loves those that put their trust in him. There are many good american muslims, seek them out, connect with people, dont be needy, learn from Dr. BILAL PHILLIPS, or Shaykh Khalid Yasin, Shaykh Yusuf Estes etc. ALL former Christians who are now leading the way the world over. They not unhappy, comon sense and being realistic, open minded and importantly, BEING PATIENCE is vital. The american muslims is living in the heart of islamaphobia land. Its your challenge, its your Jihad( struggle or enduring in the way of God).
N. America pose many challenges, in the future Insha Allah, i want to start a website and foundation for helping new converts and also to teach the truth of islam to less knowledgeble muslims and non muslims Insha Allah (GOD willing). Never despair, study the quran, and the sunnah. Theres a good book called. DON’T BE SAD, excellent practical advice from quran and sunnah for to deal with many things in life, its a free download from http://www.kalamullah.com just search there. Even a google with the keywords ‘Dont be sad kalamullah pdf’ should get you the link. Theres much excellent content on the site, books, lectures, video, quran reciting etc. I can list some resources if any here are interested. Only correct knowledge can shine light in our paths.
Asaluma Alaykum to all. Insha allah, all shall be well.
“we sent messengers before you (prophet) to many communities and afflicted their people with suffering and hardship, so that they might humble themselves.” al-quran (6: 42)
“Why do people embrace Islam without first learning the basics? Islam is not just a believe system, its a living faith, a way of life in accordance with divine decree. … New muslims must be told before or after the ‘kalimah shahadah (Declaration of Faith)”, that they need to attend classes etc, and should not be hasty in running of to a mosque for salaah without knowing all the principles etc. Thats just common sense.”
Salaam alaikum. However, in actual fact, in the USA, at least, some people are allowed and actually encouraged to pronounce the words of the Shahadah and declare themselves Muslims almost “on the spot,” as if pronouncing these Arabic words is almost a sort of magic spell. Please, I am not being flippant here. I am speaking from personal observation and experience. People are permitted / encouraged to declare themselves Muslims with no one really inquiring or discerning — not even the individuals themselves! — what they know or understand about Islam. Just repeat these words. Alhamdulillah, now you are a Muslim. That is all, for some people. They may not even realize that there are so many things about Islamic belief and (especially) practice they just do not know. They are lacking in knowledge and awareness, but other Muslims do not reach out to help them. Just repeat these words.
The first time I went to join the community in prayer, I had a vague notion that I was supposed to perform an ablution, but I did not know the procedure. If I had not already been aware, I would simply have walked into the prayer hall without the ablution. I had to take the initiative myself and ask someone how to do it. That is the way it is for some people here. They may be told very little, and then they are looked down on if they do not somehow absorb these matters out of the thin air, figuratively speaking. If there is some instruction, often it is offered by someone who speaks broken English (or French or Spanish) and who has little understanding of western culture and the particular issues western converts face. I am referring to the reality of the situation here, not what some people think more opportune.
Did you really just refer to the sacred testimony of faith as a magic spell” ???
And this unfortunatel is your experience. .not something common..
Who would ask u to take the testimony of faith and thrn tell u .. are muslin..ok, bye..
When reverted.. there was so many strangers reaching out to me and helping guide me, and that was overwhelming for me because do much at once.. but all Muslims are not perfect. ..ISLAM is .. you cant place a bad experience and say its the fault of Islam.
Im sorry u did not recieve the welcome i did..but i do not believe this is typical at all..it is justunfortunate r
Salaam alaikum. Apparently our experiences have been very, very different. In my experience, for some people the words of the Shahada *have* almost been a sort of magic spell. Obviously your experiences were nowhere the same as mine. My experiences with the Islamic community were seriously difficult and even painful, to the point that I, already a middle aged person with significant issues with no support or understanding, almost (not quite, but almost) have given up on Islam as a sort of “bad deal.” If one reads other comments here on SuhaibWebb and attends to other websites, it becomes clear that there are serious problems within the Islamic community in North America (and Allah know best).
Again Paul, I really understand where you are coming from when it comes to shahada and other Muslim rites so to say.
The real problem with Islam these days (and i’m not talking here about attitude towards Muslims only but every aspect of life) is that people over the centuries hijacked the real meaning of what Islam really meant. It means ‘submission to the Only GOD’, obviosly, prophet Moses or prophet Abraham or even prophet Muhammad didn’t have to say Shahada in the form Muslims say today to be Submitters in the eyes of God (Can you imagine prophet Mohammad witnessing for himself that he is a Prophet? No, he was chosen by God for it and it was clear to him).
When I converted 1 year ago to Islam I thought that I should marry someone born to Islam because he would know better and teach me better to perform all the rituals that Muslims claim are part of faith. Still I’m not married but I learned that just because someone was born to Islam doesn’t mean they know better what is correct and what is not. Actually, most of them follow assumptions and take a lot of rituals as something obvious forgetting that actually Quran doesn’t mention it or is more flexible about it.
As for the cultural clash and stuff. It is true, sad and dramatic indeed that most of immigrant Muslims come to America and Europe with deeply ingrained hatred, feel of being discriminated, judgmental attitude towards the western culture, feeling of spiritual and religious superiority and in extreeme cases, urge to revenge the injustices the experienced from America. While this all is obviously hard to relate for many of us, converts, this feeling of infamiliarity and mistrust throws immigrants into the closed religious circles and perpetuates this victim mentality. From such, it is really not far from extremism and lets say ‘victimised racism’ (my working definition of a victim who was bullied racially and this experience justifies him of bullying racially or treating with superiority others, weaker than him or just innocent people, say converts).
The very deep problem that we deal with is a broken psyche that some (based on my observation it is quite many and its scary) migrant Muslims have. I have recently had controversial conversation with my migrant Muslim friend from Middle East and his attitude scared me. I asked him what does Quran (not hadith) say about treating people who desacrate Holy Quran. He said: you should kill them!! You know what, I would say 99% of Muslims who call themselves as peaceful would do it!! And when I said I would never do it he asked what kind of Muslim I am? I told him: Quran says that whoever disrespects God will get their punishemnt in the Hereafter, Muslims are advised to be patient with disbelievers. Killing a human being is a great sin and who are we to judge that such person should be killed? If you killed him now, it might be just what happened with Kain who killed Abel, he took his own and his brothers sins on his shoulders. Who knows, maybe this disbeliever, if left in peace, after few years would regret what he did and become even better believer than you are? Muslims are so quick to judge harshly others forgetting that they are also those who will need BADLY mercy of GOD after all…
Mommy America? you have the wrong idea and you are definitely wrong that muslims are insulted when they land in America. Muslims have been in America since the founding of the country. Islam was here without any problem. 9/11 changed everything for Muslims and Islam. Unfortunately, arab nationalism has infected the faith the Islam and much of what you see passed off as Islam is nothing more than culture.
Dear Sister, I can understand your frustration with the arabic language, so here’s a beginner arabic book for english speakers to download free. Just go to http://www.kalamullah.com , on the left side just click on learning arabic link, the whole page got many excellent popular arabic material for english speakers. The books I highly recommend is “Gateway to Arabic ” its 3 books, with audio cd, got pictures and alphabet explanations, writing arabic and reading and speaking. You can download all 3 books from the site free with the supporting audio files you must just unzip with free winrar or peazip software.
You can purchase the books also, but the site gives a free download. Enjoy, hope it helps. As for salaah, theres even a DVD entitle on some sites “PRAY THE WAY YOU SAW ME PRAY”. The words of prophet muhammad (pbuh). Its a free download also. . . Just google “free pray as you saw me pray vid download ” . You should get a list of islamic sites with the educational dvd. I think kalamullah.com got it under video section, not sure thou. . . But USA don’t have many centers or madrassahs(schools etc.) that teach islam for beginners, but Let me know what you struggling with, I might be able to point you in the right direction. Everything of the best Insha Allah ( God Willing).
Salaam (peace) sister. Take Care.
Salaam alaikum. Allah (swt) forgive if I am wrong, but I have long had trouble with what I have come to consider the tyranny of the Arabic language in Islam.
Please consider. The Noble Qur’an itself says that it was revealed in Qurayshi Arabic so that Quraysh themselves could understand it. Suppose it had been revealed in Quechua, Swahili, Mongolian, Anglo-Saxon, Mandarin, or whatever. Might not the Quraysh have complained, because it was revealed in a language incomprehensible to them?
Nevertheless, many (most?) Muslims today want to bottle up the Qur’an in this archaic language and not make it available to others. Quraysh received the Noble Qur’an in their language, but others may not receive it in theirs.
In the message of the Noble Qur’an a message for all of humanity? It it is, then it can be understood at least minimally in every human language on earth. If it cannot be understood at least minimally in every human language on earth, then the message of the Noble Qur’an is not a message of all of humanity.
That is why I personally object so much to the tyranny of Arabic. Cannot Allah (swt) understand every human language on earth which He Himself(!) created? Is He so incompetent? May He protect us from such blasphemy!!
We read over and over in the Noble Qur’an that Allah (swt) is Compassionate and Merciful, but in all sincerity I wonder about many Muslims. What about us older people who are no longer capable of learning other languages, so that muttering syllables of what is to us an incomprehensible foreign tongue and supposedly calling it “prayer” is little more than babbling. We might as well be babbling a foreign telephone directory in some alien language.
Please, I am not trying to be offensive here. But I do sincerely think that many “born” Muslims honestly do not understand the barrier that language presents to new Muslims.
And Allah (swt) knows best.
I have been receiving notifications about new comments but I have not gone through all to be honest.
I only read the latest response by brother Paul Bartlett and with all respect, this is what I have to say.
I believe that every person has the right to air their views and opinions and people should not be offended when they do so in a befitting manner. However, I should express my sincere concern with your expression and choice of words. If you believe that the Qur’an being revealed in Arabic is ‘tyrannic’, does that not create a direct attribution of tyranny to The One Who chose to reveal the Qur’an in this language? He said “[It is] an Arabic Qur’an, without any deviance that they might become righteous” (39:9)
Please compare the population of Arabic-speaking muslims to those of non-Arab tongue. I am ‘born muslim’ (for lack of a better phrase), and people of my culture/ethnicity learn the Arabic language from scratch and struggle to do so. How about born muslims from China, Indonesia, Turkey and just about every other non-Arab country? People in my country send their kids to Islamic schools in the afternoons to learn how to read the Qur’an. Those who have not had the privilege to do so at a young age would attend classes at old age and learn letter by letter in the Masajid to be able to read the Qur’an. And yes, these people are born muslims. However, it is something they decide to do in return for great reward. Many people would be amazed at how these people can fluently recite the Qur’an, yet they do not understand the Arabic language. But for them, to be able to read it in its revealed language may be seen as a means of growing closer to the One Who revealed it in this way. And with that frame of mind, no matter how hard they struggle, it is always worthwhile.
When Allah reveals a clear verse like the one quoted above, we as muslims should have no objection to the significance of it and we should believe it to be the Divinely chosen language through the wisdom of Allah which we know nothing of. What would have made any other language more universal? Would the English language, for example, have been that universal if it hadn’t been for the many invasions and colonizations of land by the English throughout history?
The reality of the matter is that the Qur’an and all of its teachings is accessible to every person of every language. There is also no restriction on the language that one uses to pray to Allah. The fact that a person prays to Allah in the Arabic language doesn’t make his prayer more acceptable than one who prays in any other language.
One difference between reverts and non-reverts may be the fact that non-reverts do not question Islam as much as reverts do. While questioning is the only way to learn, once a person ACCEPTS Islam, I don’t see why such a person should object to certain core features of Islam. So while some differences may exist between reverts and non-reverts, the ‘tyranny’ of the Arabic language (as you put it) is not one of them. That is a difference that you only share with the Arab muslims of this world…
Salaam alaikum. Please understand that I am NOT referring to the actions of Allah (swt). I am referring to the *interpretations* of some of those who came after Prophet Muhammad (saws).
I suspect that there are those (not all) who genuinely but sincerely literally do not comprehend the situations of those who come to Islam in mature age (as I did) in western countries. I was raised as a Protestant Christian in the USA in the 1940s and 1950s. In that environment, there simply was no question of language. It was simply Part of the Reality of the Nature of the Universe Itself that one prayed to and worshiped God, and read the Holy Book, in one’s own language. Period. This was reality itself. Long before the Second Vatican Council, in the 1950s, I remember in my Protestant environment serious condemnations of the Roman Catholic Church for continuing to worship and conduct their rituals in Latin, which was no longer anyone’s native language. In the environment in which I grew up, it was condemned as **WRONG**!!!!! to expect anyone to pray / worship in any incomprehensible alien tongue.
That is the environment in which I grew up as a small child, and what you grow up with may influence you for the rest of your life, so it becomes exceedingly difficult to shake off that early childhood conditioning. There may be many (I do not say all) Muslims who simply do not comprehend this issue.
I am not talking about some abstract theory here. I am referring to the real world difficulties of mature converts to Islam who were raised with what we might call a severely non-Islamic mentality. Allah (swt) knows best, but I assert that in the overwhelming majority of instances of those who are allowed and even encouraged or cajoled to pronounce the words of the Shahada without understanding — believe me, it happens! — who have grown up with these non-Islamic frames of mind, then not far down the road, if they do not receive support, friendship, brotherhood, and especially nurturance, as many do not, then many of them will fall away, and I for one (again, Allah knows best) do not blame them.
To strat with, I do apologise if whoever feels uncmfortable with what you say, I do not inted to offend anyone, but I follow what God tells us to do: advice each other to the right path..
it’s a very interesting point you are raising amaani: ‘once a person ACCEPTS Islam, I do not see why such a person should object to certain core features of Islam’. Have you ever wondered why reverts question Islam while non reverts do not?
Because reverts, before reverting to Islam had to question and reject the very core of the beliefs they used (or their community) used to believe as sacred. The understood that the TRUTH is somewhere else, they found it and they embraced the change even thouth it meant being ostracized or in mild case scenario misunderstood by the others and felt lonely. But once you start searching for the TRUTH, you are more ready to use logic, reason and analysis when you see or feel deep in your heart that something doesn’t really makes sense. When you see that something doesn’t make sense, searcher for the TRUTH searches further and further and then either he understands its logic or, if it’s not logical, he rejects it because as I sametimes say: ‘We converts have more practice in questioning truths that are not so sacred while others treat them as sacred’. I questioned all my way through the journey in Islam (wearing hijab,why menstruating women shouldn’t pray, reciting prayer in Arabic, what direction should we pray, to Jerusalem or to Mekkah, why women always are not advised to go to mosque, why I can’t find a single scholar with whom I could agree 100%, why in some translations of Quran to English transltors mistranslate words, why there is so much hatred between Muslims, why some of them hate Israel so much that they consider visiting Temple Mount as ‘haraam’ and as supporrting Zionizm etc etc.) and what I learned is that I can only trust and relate to Quran as it comes from GOD, nothing else, no hadiths, no scholars.
The problem with born to Islam is that they NEVER QUESTION ANYTHING. They listen blindly half educated imaams, the are afraid to ask questions and search for the TRUTH. Why, because it’s easier not to ask, to be ignorant and happy whatever we were told to do. Many Muslim traditions are just assumptions based on unfounded hadiths… Please search for yourself… TRUTH is really painful and searching for it takes courage and can strip you off your shell of ignorant security, it can turn your life upside down. Only now I understood the reason why ‘those who advice others to the truth’ (sura Al Asr) are the ones who will deserve Paradise. Truth is really painfull.
Salaam. Because replies can only be nested a few levels deep, there could be confusion as to which post I am replying to.
On January 12, 2014, Marta wrote, “it’s a very interesting point you are raising amaani: ‘once a person ACCEPTS Islam, I do not see why such a person should object to certain core features of Islam’. Have you ever wondered why reverts question Islam while non reverts do not?”
The point I have been trying to make in several posts in this thread is that some people profess themselves Muslims literally almost without questioning and without investigation. Some people are allowed, encouraged, almost pressured into pronouncing the words of the Shahada with no one inquiring into what they understand or why they are responding. Believe me, that was my personal experience. Just pronounce these Arabic words, whether you understand them or not, whether you really understand what you are doing or not. Just do it. Alhamdulillah, now you are Muslim. Believe me, it happens!! That is what happened to me. Really.
There are some converts (I personally do not like the word “revert” and do not use it) who really may be quite ignorant of Islam when they pronounce the words of the Shahada. I am not kidding here. They may be totally, absolutely, completely, entirely sincere, so they cannot and must not be charged with hypocrisy. They simply may not understand what they are doing, but they have been encouraged anyway.
Given enough time, kindness, support, acceptance, understanding, education, and genuine friendship, they might come to deepening and genuine faith and practice. Sadly, some of them do not receive these things, so sooner or later (and often it may be sooner) when they confront the reality of the Muslim community in (North) America, they become confused, discouraged, even distressed, and so they fall away.
Even mere “book learning” in the sense of having acquired some of the “data” of Muslim beliefs (which I myself probably already had enough of) is not sufficient. They are real human beings with real lives (some of whom might actually be quite emotionally or mentally troubled) who did not and have not received genuine nurturance through no fault of their own, so they leave. I speculate that this is a factor in why an estimated half to three quarters of converts to Islam in (N.) America leave Islam. They were never really well grounded in the first place, and they were not adequately received and nurtured.
And Allah (swt) knows best.
Paul, I fully understand where you are coming from. I was raised catholic and then left catholicism for protestantism. Then I left all religion behind for over 20 years until I realized my issue was not with God but with the institutions of religion and people that join their little religion gangs. I had begun reading the Bible when I came across the Koran and started reading, which led to my embracing Islam. From day one I questioned the notion of having to learn Arabic. Further research allowed for me to discover that with the advent of Arab Nationalist movement which began in the mid 1800’s and peaked after World War 2. Michel Aflaq (a christian nonetheless), established Islam as the religion of the Arabs and “Islam was seen as a universal message as well as an expression of secular genius on the part of the Arab peoples”. The arab nationalist movement pushed the learning of Arabic in relation to Islam. Unfortunately, what we see today is the remnants of these viewpoints within Islam and verbalized by muslims. Sad, but true. I recently met a guy from Africa, Kenya, we talked and he said “you don’t have to take Arab culture to be a Muslim, be you, Islam is for all cultures.” It was an interesting conversation because I have been reading about Chinese Muslims (Hui), who practice Islam without erasing their own culture. If you get the chance I highly recommend reading about the Hui muslims. Fascinating history about Islam in China. Japan also had an introduction to Islam in the 1800’s, something not many people are aware of. But, I digress, I understand your frustration Paul. You are far more diplomatic than me in how you address these issues.
Assalamu alaykum, brother Mark.
I am so impressed by your knowledge about Islam introduction to several countries including Asia, e.g. China and Japan yet just wanted to add a little information about Japan (my major is Japanese Studies) that Japan is quite later than other Asian countries in terms of introduction to Islam. Islam actually entered to Japan in the end of 19th century but first Islamic country (Turkey) people come to Japan in 1890 (based on reference from a history article written by Prof. Sarif Mahdi AlSamaray, 2009).
WAllahu alam. Wassalamu alaykum.
While I understand your point Marta regarding reverts coming from a background where they questioned everything. I have to also disagree with the fact that born muslims do not question Islam all the time. Many muslims don’t, I agree. But today more and more are questioning Islam.
But the issue I wish to raise is the mode of questioning. With reverts it tends to take on a different approach. So many reverts seem to think that they can do their own ijtihaad in matters. That they can search and change approaches and sometimes even rulings. And because they are new to Islam, they often do not know enough to be able to do such a thing. The issue isn’t that born muslims do not question Islam, but they have a better understanding of the foundations within Islam that was provided to us in an understandable way by classical scholars who memorized thousands of ahadeeth to be able to reach such conclusions. So when we search, we usually go back to classical texts and issues where scholars made ijtihaad and we accept that. This is not blind following, but the fact that the layman cannot derive rulings and give fatwas is acknowledged.
What reverts need to understand is that part of what makes Islam this perfect and beautiful religion is the systematic approach of preservation. Reverts face so many challenges today with sects and different schools of thought, what still if from the time of the Prophet (pbuh), every person took the Deen into his own hands and did what ‘they thought’ was right based on limited knowledge. This is what needs to be acknowledged. It is often reverts who also strongly oppose the following of a teacher because ‘he is just human’. That is understandable, we are all human and we all make mistakes. But the issue of scholarship in Islam is also a sacred one. That is why the verse in the Qur’an clearly states that it is Allah who taught the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It stresses the importance of having a teacher, someone who does not only have knowledge of the Deen but also acts upon it. I have no issue with someone doing ijtihaad when they are equipped to do so. Until then, we need to play our role towards preserving the teachings of this Deen for those to come.
What I have mentioned above is based on my experience with some reverts. It is in no way generalizing, nor an attack on reverts. But I feel that perhaps some of these issues should be mentioned in a bid to understand all sides of the argument. So while the approaches of reverts is largely attributed to a per-disposed way of thinking, they cannot be fully blamed…but this is also not always the case. I have come to know so many reverts who have taken the time to sit at the feet of great scholars from all different schools of thought. And amazingly, I have never seen these people question fundamental principles of Islam or even other matters. Because with knowledge, comes enlightenment.
And Allah knows best.
Please tell me what “ijtihaad” is. It would be nice if the English definition could be included so I can understand exactly what you are talking about.
My apologies, that was an oversight…
Ijtihaad is an Islamic legal term referring to the process of independent reasoning by an individual to arrive at an Islamic ruling not explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadeeth.
Thank you, I will check out the website link. An update—I am taking classes now. We have a wonderful teacher. There are 5 ladies in the class now, 4 of us are former Christians. We are learning so much and we enjoy the lively discussions.
I have converted exactly one year ago (wow, time is passing fast) while I have been living in Afghanistan and overall, this year has been a beautiful and challenging path. I can completely relate to the article and comments but recently I opened my eyes to something important: most of the frustration of converts derives from them trying too hard to change external look and environment too much and honestly, this really hurts. Quran doesn’t ask you to make revolution in your wardrobe, change your personality, family and friends. It’s a lifetime process that requires you to love Allah, be kind to others, but also..too yourself.
Many converts complain about lonelines. Simple question: what happened to your families and sweet friends from before you became Muslims? Did you neglect them? Became more harsh on them? More judgemental? Please do not abandon those who are kind for you no matter what is their creed, they are creations of Allah too.
Now about changing life and personalities. We should remember that we are all created by Allah with different personalities and goals and we should listen to our hearts more rather than what others tell you, if your heart is close to Allah you will not stray away no matter what other ‘Muslims’ say. In the beginning I worried that I shouldn’t travel anywhere without mahram. As I am a single Sister, it would mean stopping myself from what I love and quickly I rejected this advice as not based on Quran, only on some ‘who-knows-how-strong-or-weak-Hadith. Later, I wanted to travel toIsrael and visit al Aqsa and some of ‘Muslims’ criticised me a lot, judged me very harsly and clearly said this is wrong. Because my Islamic research and heart revealed that it is not wrong, it’s even good, I went there with my close friend: a female Christian. And it was really amazing experience and I thank Allah for letting me go to Jerusalem and take the right decision as this enriched my imaan and cultural awareness immensely.
What I am trying to say by this is: Allah really doesn’t make it hard for us to enjoy our life as Muslims, it is the misunderstanding of many born to Islam Muslims and their traditions that make Islam look so rigid for Western converts. My only advise is: follow what you feel is right, not what other says that ‘sunna’ or ‘hadith’ say as your heart is inclined towards Quran. Love Allah, be kind to yourself and to others..
WOW!!! Marta puts the blame and burden of friends and family abandoning converts on the convert. Much like the victim of a crime being blamed for the crime. What Marta fails to acknowledge is that Islam is seen as a violent, twisted faith. Marta missed the part where converts have been saying that fellow muslims have mistreated and ignored them. So, the convert is frowned upon by his/her family and at the same time mistreated by fellow muslims. The American convert(who is practicing diligently) is marginalized. They are not good enough to be accepted by fellow muslims (or seen as too serious about faith in God) and are looked at with suspicion by their family and friends (many of who distance themselves from the convert. I experienced this when I converted).
I know of more than a handful of converts that lost jobs (and they were top workers with glowing reviews).
It appears that with the marginalization of American converts to Islam that a new faith may arise or a new branch of Islam. It is inevitable even though it will take time.
Just came across an interesting article about American muslims getting tired of the “culture and language” issues found in Mosques. The article identifies the issues I have posted about here, which some people have boo hooed me about. Fact is Fact and it appears more and more people are speaking out about how Islam has become a front for promoting culture and language as opposed to faith in God.
your post requires some feedback from my side.
First of all, I never said I blame converts for anything and I believe you might have misinterpreted my post. Moreover, I would be very careful with such harsh interpretation of my intent. Comparing dynamics of converts relations with wider society to blaming victim for committed crime should never be done: comparing good action to a bad action may be deceptive and might bring negativity to discussion that we do not really need.
Secondly, I am also a convert born and living in western society and I also can relate to all the points mentioned in the article and many comments of the readers. I can assure you that I also have my fair share of disappointment with the Muslim community, stopped visiting mosque altogether as I didn’t find there the spirituality I was looking for, instead I found ladies wearing ethnic clothes and talking loudly in foreign language.
But my beliefs in Islam are far from being weak. In fact, a year of being convert let me to find the answers to all the questions I had, all doubts. these answers made my faith clear and strong, InshaAllah will give me a lasting feeling of peace and balance.
Secondly, I ‘do not fail to acknowledge that Islam is seen as a violent religion’. You clearly do not know my life experience, this is why you made such an assumption just because I didn’t repeat what was already covered in previous comments. I can assure you that during my journey to becoming Muslim I have probably seen more of such a kind of violence and twisted use of faith than many other converts. While working in Afghanistan for an ngo, I have been threatened and almost fall victim of being kidnapped by some twisted half criminal half taliban guys greedy for ransom and telling that I am trying to convert people to Christianity (I was already Muslim at this time…). Mark I really know how much people twisted Islam for their own purposes and made it look like some dark, medieval old wives tales. But I also searched for answers to explain it and I got them.
I would like to point out that I didn’t miss any part of converts stuggle, I acknowledge that it is a struggle but because most of previous comments already covered this subject nicely and extensively, I thought that instead I would rather add refreshing comment looking at a very important aspect: the fact that converts are active members of the community, not passive victims of judgements, stereotypes and ignorance and they have equal responsibility in bringing positive change in the attitudes on Islam of the society, American, European, anywhere they live.
The biggest challenges, in my opinion, for Muslim convert is to know what to believe and how to really follow in Islam as there is way too much confusion in what is haraam, halaal, right of wrong and proliferetion of hadiths didn’t help neither. Many unauthorised assumptions that do not have any place in the Holy Quran entered the belief system of Muslims through hadiths, often confusing converts and born to Islam alike. Converts are ‘indoctrinated’ into doing things that only make them ostracized from the community, risking losing friends and jobs (wearing hijab, visiting parents for Christamas or listening to music for example). This is why converst should be on the guard and always analysing matters from various perspectives before taking for granted advice of their fellow Muslims: Quran verses on it, cultural, historical and social perspective, even climate etc. We should balance knowledge wisely and never let others tell us into doing something without open debate and questioning its relevance or logic.
Moreover, there is an issue of Identity and belonging to community. I think that if converts are not too harsh on themselves and their families, they should not face too many problems. We should always be kind to our families and friends, helping them and not separating from them because of our conversion. I come from a very conservative Catholic family and my conversion was a real shock to them as well. Of course, if I started wearing strange things like hijab or abayas, nagging them about getting converted to Islam otherwise they would end up in hell and not visiting them for Christmas, our relations would be very painful for all of us. I didn’t do those things, instead I was always loving and trying to be a better daughter than before and I think they don’t freak out about me being Muslim anymore as they are not afraid that they would lose their daughter to ‘strange religion’.
To sum up Mark, i was trying to clarify some issues and bring examples from my life so that you know that I experience exactly the same feelings and dilemmas as all of you. However, I believe it is not the fact of experiencing challenges or not that matters for converts but how they really handle doctrinal confusion seen in other Muslims and how they really balance their life so that they still feel that they enjoy it and they don’t miss out on happiness just because they are Muslims now.
I would be quite interested to hearing how you all are trying to balance your life with your old and new communities now??
Assalaamu’alaikum Warahmatullaahi Wabarakaatuh.
-Indeed, mankind is in loss,
-Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
Very good blog post. I definitely love this website.
Keep it up!
Thank you very much for this great article to remind us, all muslims to always care, support, and being helping hand to each other.
Yet, I just want to remind myself and all my brothers and sisters who come back to Islam that all of us, including born muslims have similar calamities as well in keeping and maintaining our deen either who live in muslim country or not, because Allah SWT says in Quran:
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” [Quran, Al-Ankaboot, 29:2-3]
“Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones)?” [Quran, Al-Imran, 3:142]
“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah, but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious ) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs, and that is from the great matters.” [Quran, Al-Imran, 3:186]
“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil) ……”[Quran, Al-Baqarah, 2:155]
“Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned.……”[Quran, Al-Anbiya, 21:35]
But, remember whenever we are in the middle of a calamity we should always remember Allah SWT will not burden us with more than we have the strength to bear:
But those who believe and work righteousness,- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear,- they will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (for ever). [Quran, Al-Araf, 7:42]
Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. [Quran, Al-Baqarah, 2:286]
So, let us do as best as we can do to stay istiqamah in this true path by having faith in Allah SWT, remembering Him always, being patient, and asking him to always guide us all the way in this life.
In addition, prophet Yacob AS said to his sons:
“……..and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” [Quran, Yusuf, 12:87]
May Allah SWT makes it easier for all of us, aameen yaa Rabbal aalaamiin.
P.S.: Be happy and super proud to become a muslim because Allah SWT has especially chosen you to have this bless 🙂 (some people aren’t as lucky as us)
Dini, arigato gozaimasu!! genki desu ka? actually, Islam was introduced to Japan by General Lan Yu during the Ming Dynasty (14the century). And the first recorded Japanese contact with arab muslims is in the Mid 1500’s due to Portuguese traders that had arab passengers. In the late 1870’s a biography of the Prophet Muhammad was translated into Japanese.
The earliest records of Japan can be found in the writings of Muslim cartographer Ibn Khordadbeh, clearly mentions Japan as the “lands of Waqwaq” twice: East of China are the lands of Waqwaq, which are so rich in gold that the inhabitants make the chains for their dogs and the collars for their monkeys of this metal. They manufacture tunics woven with gold. Excellent ebony wood is found there.” And again: “Gold and ebony are exported from Waqwaq.
Thank you for the compliment, I do my homework, read and investigate. knowledge truly is self improvement and power. That is why I demand so much from my fellow muslims. there is no excuse for ignorance. best of luck in your study of Japanese. I studied Japanese for five years. I really loved Kanji. Ganbatte Kudasai!!!
I was Ben a Muslims, and I’ve lived in America. Being a stranger ca. Break you down the same as beng a new Muslims.
Dear brothers and sisters I’m not a scholar, but I don’t mind chatting with any of you if you need I will do my best to help with what I know . Love you All
Or Facebook me Hisham616
(Salaam, I refer to the comment left by Paul Bartlett
January 14, 2014 at 11:44 am
Salaam. Because replies can only be nested a few levels deep, there could be confusion as to which post I am replying to.
On January 12, 2014, Marta wrote, “it’s a very interesting point you are raising amaani: )
Dear Paul, I can really understand your frustration with situation of converts/reverts to Islam. I can understand that most of converts are absolutely genuine in their intentions, however, they need a LOTTTTT of guidance while they do not get it at all for mainstream Muslim community or in they way that diacourages them. I would like to make few points, which, inshaAllah will bring more peace to your heart.
1. Converts shouldn’t assume that born Muslims ‘know better’. This is the main mistake converts do. They shouldn’t assume that just because born Muslims are born to Islam, they are better guided than others. From my observation, they actually may be less willing to engage into debate on controversial issues always citing dubious sources (mostly hadiths and misinterpreted verses of Quran) without even understanding the very topic they talk about. And yes, they might know a lot of ‘data’ as you called it, but still, most of the time people do not understand the very essence and meaning of why are we all here because:
‘If thou obeyedst most of those on earth they would mislead thee far from Allah’s way. They follow naught but an opinion, and they do but guess’ (6:116) Because God says that ‘most of those on earth’ would mislead you, it means that even between Muslims, you can’t be really sure that the follow God, as most of them ‘folow naught but an opinion.
For this reason, I think if you are not too comfortable with the data you acquired from mainstream Muslims, give yourself a break and go to the point 2:
2. Search the truth for yourself.
You have a great deal of knowledge and awareness and seems that you like searching for knowledge, keep doing it. I would be actually happy to talk with you and share results of my research so if you would like to, give me your email address and I will share whatever I discovered.
Anyway, do your search and don’t be afraid to question every single thing until you find logical and acceptable arguments for. On almost every single page of Quran God asks’Do they use no reason’, ‘This signs are for those who reflect’, why then in our times Muslims do not use reason, logic and intellect, why they are afraid to question and search for the truth??
3. Never get too much sectarian, do not expect to feel better with Muslims just beacuse they are Muslims, enjoy company of all peaple regardless of their creed
Despite being Muslim for over 1 year, my greates friends are the same as before: Christians, Muslim convert, I also share flat with Buddist and have few friends who are atheists. Although I have a lot to do with Muslims at my workplace, and I get on well with my colleagues, I do not try to change my identity and become ‘one of them’, I am happy as a Muslim, European, Polish and do not need to eat like them and think like them. I am myself.
4. Remember that you believe in God for God (not for people). Do not get offended on God just because people you used to think were closer to Him didn’t live up to your expectations. If someone said something about God or HIs System you don’t like, check, maybe they have no idea, just follow assumptions. Do whatever you feel is right for God. DO not give up prayer just because of bad experiences. But by prayer I mean a real and genuine conversation with God, in language that you feel comfortable about- English. Sometimes I feel that it is Satan who made people create so many stiff protocols in prayers that it only pulled people away from praying.. BTW doesn;t it ring a bell of praying in Latin in Christianity in dark, medieval ages? It feels to me that forcing other to pray in foreign language is a strategy to control the message and discouraging people from reflecting…
Marta, I like what you wrote. I wish we could talk more.
Salaam alaikum. “I would be actually happy to talk with you and share results of my research so if you would like to, give me your email address and I will share whatever I discovered.” A secondary email address at which I can be reached is email@example.com . From this I can provide my primary email address, which I prefer not to broadcast publicly.
Yes, many of us do have difficulties, not only with the Muslim community here in (North) America, but also with faith itself. As I have mentioned in prior comments, some of us have been encouraged, almost pressured, to pronounce the words of the Shahada with literally no one inquiring as to what we understand or why we are doing it. Just say these words. OK, alhamdulillah. Now you are a Muslim. That happened to me. Seriously, really.
After many years (very soon be twenty), I have had no doubt of my own sincerity, but I have often wondered why I did what I did. Don’t question, you’re wasting your time, just say these words. Again, I am not kidding. It really does happen. It happened to me. A “personal search into the truth” had little to do with it. Just say these words.
For a long, long time I have been on the ragged edge of actual atheism (really), but it is only an unexplainable (to me) sort of vague inner “resonance” (for lack of a better term) toward Islam that keeps me around at all. I suspect that many people simply do not understand or comprehend what it means for lonely, even disturbed, older individuals to speak the words and then to be left in effectively nowhere, so they flounder and (in many cases) eventually fall away.
Assalamu Alaykum Brothers Paul and Mark,
I’ve never been so inclined to keep up with a comments thread. As i read your comments, i felt so sad. I was not at all surprised, just saddened by your experiences.
You pushed me to engage more in the concerns of new Muslims/reverts, and for that I thank you both.
I know there are many more Muslims who feel the way you each feel and have had similar experiences. This is definitely a big issue the Muslims face at large. Because this is not just a revert problem. This is a Muslim problem and must be treated as such. Because for a revert to be untaken care of as you need to be is not only a wrong and an injustice committed toward the revert, but is also something that effects the “older” Muslimm, as any wronging of others is ultimately a wronging of the self.
It’s no secret that Muslims do not all nor always reflect true Islam, in it’s core principles, in it’s laws, and in its social and relationship guidelines. In fact, the suffering and challenges I hear in your words remind me of the many different challenges faced in marriages between husband and wife, deep emotional issues Muslim youth face because of lack of involvement(or too much messed up involvement) on the parents’ end, mistreatment of girls and too much flexibility with boys as seen in many Arab communities, drugs, alcohol, illegitimate relationships, depression, loss of faith, choosing culture over religion especially when convenient, and the list goes on. Any person suffering from any of the above mentioned or any other challenge faced by Muslims because of the flaws of the Muslim population can focus so much on their issue, forget about the big picture and the rest of the Ummah, and in turn, pull away from Allah.
Our collective flaws are not worth any Muslim moving away from the truth. Allah is still one He still created the universe and everything in it. The trees He created still die every year and come back to life every spring as a reminder of our own cycle. No matter how off Muslims are, the Creator never changes. The reality of Muhammad (saw) never changes, nor that of Issa(as), Musa(as), Ibrahim(as) and all the prophets who were ever sent. These are all constant as they are meant to be, as we humans need them to be…our base for when things get chaotic and for our stable growth and development.
Brother Paul and Brother Mark, by no means to I mean to play down your experiences. I mean only to agree with you that the Muslim community is flawed in the area of helping to nurture a new Muslim. But also to remind you to disallow such an imperfection to dictate your connection with Allah. Re-focus. The thing that brought you to Islam is still there and always will be. The Prophet(s) tells us that if we see a wrong to fix it with our hand, and if we are unable, to fix it with our tongue, and if unable, to acknowledge in your heart that it is wrong and this is the weakest of faith. Each choice reflects faith. He does not give us the option to be overwhelmed and abandon what’s rightfully ours…our iman (faith).
Tony Robbins said something really interesting: we are unhappy with our lives when our lives do not match the blueprint we have in our minds of what our life should be like. Unless we seek out different ways to fulfill that vision OR adjust our blueprint to match the conditions of our life, we will not be satisfied and will experience (unnecessary) pain.
Brother Paul, loneliness can create an emotional atmosphere that halts growth in any direction, particularly in the area of spirituality. Some loneliness can also be very healthy when taken advantage of through reflection and deep thought and planning. And as someone told me at a time when I felt a deep loneliness, which lasted for a good amount of time, “alone-ness” does not have to mean loneliness. Furthermore, as someone mentioned many replies ago, humans are meant to be with other humans. If you can’t find the social outlet and support you need by looking in place A, go to place B. If not B, then C. If you complete the alphabet and you still have not found what you need, jump to the alphabet of another language :). And there are many out there. There HAS to be a way. Allah does not leave us without solutions. He can however challenge us in finding them. IN the process, however busy yourself with further spiritual enrichment. Maybe you’re bored of the average Muslim level of knowledge. Maybe your soul requires something deeper, more engaging.
Brother Mark, I think the Muslim Ummah needs you more than you need it. You’re smart, reflective and have a lot of drive. Get out of the passenger seat, get into the driver’s seat and work it.
Ok, so I gave it a go. I tried. I really REALLY tried. I went to the mosque last week due to a death of a friend who was muslim. My intention was to make prayer and invite to Imam to speak at a memorial service. It was quite hot here in Southern California last week. I was wearing pants and a coolmax shirt with cut off sleeves (there were stitched, not those home made cut offs). I prayed and then was approaced by a fellow muslim who decided he wanted to lecture me on how I was dressed inappropriately. He told me “you are insulting God and the Mosque by dressing this way”. I jumped in this guys face and told him to show me where in the Koran that God wants to check out our clothes. He told me “you have obviously have never been to the middle east and have no idea about the muslim world because there is a way that things are done there”. I told him this is not the middle east, this is SoCal 2014. wake up. God wants out hearts not the latest fashion. I then told him there is no place in the Koran that states that I have to take Arab culture or language and that SoCal is multi-cultural and diverse. Embrace it don’t run from it. no one, but no one tells me what I can and cannot wear. This guy is a convert as well. Can you believe it? This guy drank the Kool Aid and was more than willing to imbibe. I spoke with the imam when he arrived and after he spent some time whispering with the guy I had the verbal argument with, I invited the imam to the memorial service, which he refused, I then invited him to the house for an after memorial service and he refused. There is a hadith that says a muslim is supposed to accept an invitation. I guess this guy missed that part. I guess when a convert muslim dies she is not as important as an Arab or Pakistani.
The imam never called me back. This was the same imam that told me some time back that he was fully aware that converts are mistreated, but he didn’t want to address the issue because he would lose congregants and money for the mosque. I guess standing out for justice means you still get paid otherwise forget it. I love God and I love my faith in God, but I am seriously done with the circus. Islam has become nothing more than culture night. And one more thing, by promoting Arab or Pakistani culture as Islam that is Bid’ah (innovation) and a big sin. Islam is for everyone. I guess Mexican American muslims have to stay behind the fence even among so called “true muslims”
Asalam Alykum Br. Mark,
What a messed up situation! Did you (or someone) at least get to offer Janaza?
[…] Hello, everyone protect your faith! […]
There were a lot of point here I could relate to when I first converted. I was not as confident or assertive as now. If I had postponed marriage for a while I think many of the stated issues would not have been so impacting. To clarify, I coverted of my own will before getting married, and my husband is a good person.
Lol, I think there are 2 more things to add to the list. Brothers and sisters in Islam PLEASE:
1)Don’t ask the american (or any other ethnicity) convert if they converted because of marriage.
This is rather insulting. Though I’ve learned to smile and envision the questioner with the best intention, it still makes me shake my head.
2) Please stop asking “where are you from?”.
I get this all the time as a conversation starter from sisters. I understand to a degree. A lot of sisters I talk to come from lovely places in the middle East, or else where and want to see if I identify.
I hardly ever get asked this by non Muslim women I talk to though, and usually end up having deeper conversations on wider variety of topics. So my point is that there is more to talk about. And while ethnicity is special, and OK to talk about- IT doesn’t have to be at the helm of conversation.
I would love a sister to come up and say “salaam alaykum, my name is so-in-so, let’s talk Quran! What’s your favorite iyyat?” Or simply “what do you like to do for fun?”
Sharing this is in hopes to benefit not offend, and if I have offended please forgive me, pray Allah (SWA) forgive me too. Praying for all my sisters and brothers in Islam, peace and closeness with Allah(SWA).
I’ve experienced this myself with Muslim sisters. I am from California too! 🙂 may the blessings of Allah swt be upon you!
just remember Islam is the religion and Muslims are the people. just because they claim to be a Muslim does not mean they are actually following the sunnah of our prophet Muhammad(pbuh). sadly vast majority of the Muslims have no clue about Islam, they only know what their parents taught them, who learnt it from back home.
I wanted to offer a slightly different take than that offered by Paul Bartlett, above. I came to Islam tweleve years ago this (Gregorian) month, after having studied the Qur’an and some Hadith myself for two years previous. Unlike Paul B., a brother from my local Muslim Students Association came to my house several times to show me the basics of Wudu, Salat etc., we also had several discussions regarding the articles of faith etc. Despite this background I had fallen away from Islam within six months of making my Shahada, as I did not feel welcome at the masjid where I knew one person, and my faith was somewhat lazy as regards keeping up with salat. Following a decade returning to the barely-Christian liberal protestantism of my youth; I decided to re-embrace Islam last year.
I’m much more mature both as a person and in approach to our din, so even if I don’t make any friends at the masjid (and brothers do at least return my salams) I know that I have the strength to follow this path even if I have to do it with minimal support. I would encourage Paul B. to remember that this life really is just a test, and if we do our very best with what Allah (SWT) has given us we will be rewarded. I’m the only convert I have ever met who left Islam only to return.
Salaam. “I would encourage Paul B. to remember that this life really is just a test, and if we do our very best with what Allah (SWT) has given us we will be rewarded. I’m the only convert I have ever met who left Islam only to return.”
Well, I never “left Islam” in the sense that I never embraced a non-Islamic religion, although I came very, very, very close to doing so among some people who were warm, friendly, welcoming, and accepting, all the things that Muslims were not.
Please be aware that some people are weak, elderly, and troubled, and the blunt fact is that without adequate community support they will not “make it.” It is all very fine and nice to talk about strong faith in Allah, but in fact some people, especially converts who were never really accepted in the first place, are just barely holding on, and if in reality they do not get support, they slip away in their weakness. Believe me, it happens.
It is all very fine and nice to talk glibly about this life being a test, but the reality is that some weak people cannot succeed. Are they just to be abandoned? What about the hadith (paraphrasing), “None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself”? Are the weak and hurting simply to be abandoned because they do not meet other people’s standards?
We do not need theological abstractions about “holding on to the rope of Allah.” We need real, live communities who will cherish the weak, sick, hurting, and elderly. If those communities are not there, such people will fall away. Period.
Asalamu Alakum br. Paul,
The following is offered in the spirit of constructive criticism. Have you considered re-starting daily salat and trying out as many mesajid for a few months., Or at least visiting for Ede in the summertime.
I can relate to your feelings of isolation, but why did this cause you to give up salat?
PS: please excuse any misspellings (it’s hard to edit on an iPhone.)
I have considered, on my own, several of your suggestions honestly made. However, I have not followed up on them. As for going to as many mosques as I could for a few months, there are only a few of them anywhere near me that I could get to on any sort of a regular basis. I am not as mobile as I used to be. Also, the last time I ever attended any of them, my impression was that someone like myself would continue to be more or less invisible, as I was in the past. Around here nobody seems to care about an old guy who speaks nothing but English and has personal issues.
Eid I only ever attended once. It was just a huge, anonymous crowd with the prayers conducted in an incomprehensible (to me) language and no conversations in English afterward that I could hear.
Salaat? I gave up on that a long time ago. I personally — I speak for no one but myself — was never able to get over the tyranny of Arabic. To me, just babbling syllables in a language I do not understand and probably never will understand is not prayer. It is just babbling. I might as well be reciting the Paris telephone directory in Swahili. Yes, I know that there may be some who will take offense at my words, but at the same time, I think there are many who genuinely do not comprehend the barrier “praying” in an unknown language is. To me, if I do not understand it, it is simply not prayer. Also, I was never able to hold in mind the meanings of the Arabic syllables at the time I was reciting them (and at my age do not expect ever to be able to do so), so eventually just gave it up out of sheer frustration.
Asalamu Alakum Br. Paul,
As someone who repeated Spanish I twice and Spanish II three times in order to receive a passing grade in college (I eventually ended up with a law degree) I can relate on some level to where your coming from.
But I would point out to you that Allah (SWT) awards perserverence, and even if all you can ever learn are the sunnah and wajib acts of salat and al-fatiha then your at least trying to follow the din.
If not, there are several surahs (and parts thereof) about what becomes of people who don’t at least try.
My salat is far from perfect, but I’m always striving to do better.
Bismillahi Rahmanir Rahim
Alhamdulillahi ..Asaalam Aleikum Wabarakatuh my Brothers and Sisters in Islam My name is Yusuf 22years Of AGE
This website has encouraged me, I am A revert ..accepted islam 2weeks Ago so Far I have lost 2close Pals ,
I need some brothers and Sisters here who Can teach me More About islam , about Halal and Haram things ..basically since Am new in this TRUE religion My fellow musliminas kindly encourage Me it hasn’t been Easy ..I haven’t opened up To My mum I Fear she might even Disown me ..i have been A christian since Birth ..
But InshaAllah through DUA from you Brothers and Sister and ME too .
We shall be stronger..
MashaAllah // for your replies i Will Be Humbled.
asalamua alakium brother Yusuf,
welcome brother to Islam. if you have any questions let me know, if I can help will do so Inshallah. also don’t rush nor over burden yourself to learn everything overnight. slowly but surely. but remember its hard to be a Muslim, no matter what happens try to stay firm. I will pray for you, may Allah(swt) make things easy for you.
[…] A lot of converts will get a lot of praise and helpful words from fellow Muslims, but there is sometimes an animosity towards converts that should be something alien to our ummah (Muslim community)—it resembles a pre-Islamic attitude of racism. As a convert, there is often a feeling of inferiority because “I’m not Arab” or “I’m not desi” that can sometimes lead the convert to acting like they are from a culture they are not, and that has nothing to do with Islam. This is something that needs to be resisted by converts who might have the urge to wear Pakistani clothes to “fit-in” around Muslims because they feel so different. -http://www.virtualmosque.com/islam-studies/islam-101/misconceptions/8-things-you-should-understand-abou… […]
Hello.. I’m a 25 year old female really wanting to revert to islam insha allah although I must say here in Australia (Victoria). I stuggle to find assistance and guidance from fellow Muslim sisters! I have been with my partner for 7 years who is Lebanese Muslim and he has taught me a lot and constantly helps to broden my thoughts and knowledge about islam which is great.. Although I would really appreciate some guidance from female Muslims to teach me more about the females role as a muslium but really stuggle trying to find support groups for reverts or even going to a mosque would be hard to do on my own.
If there is any females from australia I would really love to hear from you’
Or if you could direct me in the right direction as to how to address my above Barriers I would really appreciate it!
I am I Australia too.
I’m 28 year old woman in Tasmania.
Email me if you like, would be nice to talk through our barriers etc!
I have been muslim for 12 years now but at the moment I am really confused as I lived only bad experience with muslims. Never treated me as muslim as I am white and from Europe. I have been married a first time and lived domestic violence, lies and cheated. That was not the life I expected marrying a muslim. I had a daughter from him but after 7 years we divorced. I have been alone for long time till I met my second husband and I moved to the Uk for him coz he showed me to be a respectful muslim. After 3 months problems started. He was not the person he showed at the beginning. He did not pray but smoked drugs and too much jealous of my daughter. I asked his family or friends to help him without results. One day he just left coz he said he could not live with someone else daughter and he wanted to enjoy his life. He asked me several times to send back my daughter to her family and I always suffered to hear that.
Here in Uk I am completely alone, no friends and no family. At the moment I wonder if years ago I made the right decision. I love Islam but from the time I became muslim and tried to have a muslim family I had only problems…
ASA, that is absolutely Tear jerking journey. may Allah give you contentment and ease your trials. Certainly such trials elates the status of Muslim in here after.
why dont you reach Solace for revert sisters @ http://www.solaceuk.org
this is totally meant for Convert Muslims women
I hope u find this place and organization a complete solution for your concerns.
im sad to hear that. you have to realize, Islam is the religion and Muslims are the people. just because they claim to be a Muslims this doesn’t mean they’re actually practicing true Islam.
I hope things be easy for you..
Thanks brothers for your words.
I will call Solace this week.
I felt discouraged when I met a Muslim sister at a restaurant. I was happy I had done my shahada so I greeted her and told her I too was Muslim. She asked me where I was from and when I told her, her face expression changed. I felt sadness in my heart. I know that I should not feel resentment in my heart, but it wasn’t nice to be discriminated because im not middle eastern. I’m trying to get past it. It’s just difficult when you have no one to answer your questions. My Christian family is also very upset. I wish I had someone to teach me how to wear a hijab and pray.
I am sorry to hear that. Just remember my brothers and sisters no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Have patients, there are plenty of good Muslims in the world!!! Have you tried going to the Mosque? If you ask the Imam to refer a sister there to help you learn how to pray & wear the Hijab, I am sure he will know of someone. Or they may have classes there at the Mosque!
May Allah Bless you and keep you well!
I dont understand the article? Im a born muslim, I go out a lot with friends, to parties, concerts and festivals and have a lot of fun. Theres nothing wrong with that? Where does it say in islamic teachings that going out and having fun with friends is forbidden? You’re making islam sound boring. And ‘over’ restricting
perhaps it is the type of party with alcohol and excessive exposure to conducts that don’t quite align with islamic teachings. Yeah…in muslim communities, we have parties without those stuff, but we sure have fun in our own ways
asalamu alaikum sister, welcome to Islam..
sadly some born Muslims are stuck up, and act as tho they invented Islam.
on YouTube theirs hijab tutorials, which you can watch and learn from the comfort of your home. websites like http://www.islamtomorrow.com is a good site to learn from, also ask on here. I would be more than happy to help inshallah..
You live in Los Angeles; where there are literally hundreds of masajid (mosques) from which to choose why would one ethnic groups bigoted response cause you to leave Islam?
PS: I happen to agree with you about the real meaning of Ramadan. I know it can be hard sometimes but don’t mistake culture for Islam.
Paul, well, I have said that culture and faith are two different things. But, leaving Islam and the so called muslim community is not due to “one ethnic groups bigoted response”. It is due to ongoing and long standing issues that can no longer be ignored. I stayed quiet far too long. Silence is apathy and a form of condoning hate and racism. The majority of so called muslims remain silent in the face of these issues. They say “oh, well the prophet would not get angry” or “the prophet was patient”. I disagree completely. The use of religion to silence people is disturbing and scary. I have no patience in any way for hate or racism. Any faith that promotes or allows racism on the part of its adherents is a faith that is doomed and is nothing I want a part of. I have complete faith in God. I believe there is one God, the creator, but I don’t need to be part of a “gang” to express that. I’ve been to a convert Mosque in the USC area, south of downtown. And, I have seen fist fights break out because many of the people in there are ex-cons, gang members, who walk in with ego and attitude and then the fists start flying. Who wants to deal with that? Paul, I am not the only one, I know many converts who refuse to enter mosques because they don’t want to deal with the drama. remember, ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. the problem still exists and continues to worsen. I am not the religion of one man, that is why I choose to say “adios amigos”.
That is totally in appropriate behavior from that sister.
Please visit http://www.solace.org.uk, its totally meant for New Muslim sisters, excellent support and staff
I’m a new revert as well, and if there is anything i can help you with, do let me know! I learned to pray on my own as well, if you like, you can use what I used to learn prayers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq3Fa-mwNeE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
There are many apps as well as YouTube videos that help with the prayer actions as well as the pronunciation of the prayer 🙂
I’m so glad to hear you are so eager to pray and wear hijab! 🙂 this makes me so happy to hear! Masha’Allah! Some YouTubers have some really good hijab tutorials, like PearlDaisy and DinaTokio. May Allah (swt) help ease your transition, sister. I will keep you in my prayers. Allah loves you soo much to have guided to Islam :). Sadly there are many weeds among the beautiful garden that is Islam. Know there are some people who will give bad advice and say rude things, it is really difficult at first. But Allah doesn’t burden a soul beyond what it can bear. 🙂 if you have any questions, check out seekersguidance.org for answers
Assalamualaikum! May Allah preserve you always.
I just wanted to direct u about hijab
i see a lot of people doing it wrong wearing it with skinny jeans and other tight attire and then throwing scarf on their head so don’t be misguided by them
good hijab is not curve hugging,covers whole body except face and hands, not see-through
i would recommend wearing an abaya- not black one of course any color or pattern u like
if ur clothing doesn’t allow free movement or feels like its touching and defining any part of ur body too much u should probably should change it
A verse from the quran:
“And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests…”(surah 24, aya 31)
when a sister wraps her scarf her hair should not be visible and it should drape to cover her chest although her clothing already does, this is to make curves not so obvious- again something I don’t see a whole lot of sisters doing probably cuz it doesn’t look as good as their styles do
problem is that’s not the point of hijab- its not about vanity
it’s reasonable to feel that maintaining good hijab suppresses the part of you that wants to look good and have people think you look good especially if you are out with it all day- I can relate! something muslim women have to be patient with as Allah will eventually reward the patient! Al-hamdulliah God multiplies each good deed ten-fold for his servants!
I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience with another muslim. Racism= pride and those who are proud will not enter Paradise as in a hadith. This was definitely not appropriate islamic behaviour.
In Allah’s security
As Salaamu Alaiykum, please don’t be discouraged Sister. You are not responsible for someone else’s rudeness or bad habits. You are in a utopic frame of mind as I was when I reverted. Bear in mind that people are people regardless of religion so her disposition is not your fault.
Aww don’t worry sister. There are much better Muslims out there. It’s because we’re humans and we are not perfect, so sometimes we make mistakes and cannot be the best Muslims. Granting, that does not justify prejudism. I’m sorry for what happened to you. InshaAllah your faith grows and you are granted a place in jannah.
A sister of Islam and a friend
Dear new muslimah i feel sad abput that ignorant woman. And i would like to be tour friend. My husband has converted to islam few years ago and i know what ur going through.
Can I help you dear sister? I would love to be there for you. As one Muslimah to another, I know exactly where you are coming from. I’m sorry that happened to you, but please dont be discouraged dear. Allah SWT is very happy for you and loves you very much; May he always be pleased with you and all of us, In Sha Allāh and Aameen. And sooo many Muslims would and should congratulate you for accepting Islam, let me be one of the first, if any, CONGRATULATIONS! May peace be with you, JazakAllahu Khair. Feel free to stay in touch, I have a lot I’d like to share with you 🙂 if you’d like
Slm dear sister I’ve learned from life that sometimes, the darkest times can bring us to the brightest places. That our most painful struggles can grant us the most necessary growth; and that the most heartbreaking losses of friendship, family and love can make room for the most wonderful people. Insha Allah… I’ve learned that what seems like a loss at the moment can actually be a lesson or a blessing, and that what seems like the end of the road is actually just the discovery that we are meant to travel down a different path. Insha allah… I’ve learned that no matter how difficult things seem, there is always hope. And I’ve learned that no matter how powerless we feel or how horrible things seem, we can’t give up. We have to keep going. Even when it’s scary, even when all of our strength seems gone, we have to keep picking ourselves back up and moving forward, because whatever we’re battling in the moment, it will pass, and will make it through. You’ve made it this far. You can make it through whatever comes next. Insha Allah.
I just feel you need to know, I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve become, always remember this 4 words: (I Believe In You!) From me Fiona / Leila …
I live in Herndon, VA.. if you are still looking for a friend.. email me.
My husband converted to Islam for our marriage however, he does not practice in any way, does that mean he is still considered to be a Muslim?
best thing to do is find your local Fiqh council for further advice.
I don’t want to bring anyone’s attention to his behaviour, they will think badly of him.
scholar have had disputes/differed regarding this. for example Imaam Ahmad said that the one who does not pray because of laziness is a kaafir. This is the more correct view and is that indicated by the evidence of the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.
It was narrated that Buraydah ibn al-Husayb (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved (become a kaafir).’” (It was narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).
the answer is in the above hadith.
Assalamu alaikum: Dear Sister, the issue of takfeer (declaring someone outside of Islam) is much misunderstood, despite the seriousness of this creedal (aqeeda) issue. I would strongly urge you to listen to Zaytuna college’s course recordings of the course titled “The Precious Pearl of Divine Unity”. It is an explanation of our creed in Imam al-Laqqani’s (the master of Ash’ari school of creed in Sunni Islam) work that has been taught in our tradition for centuries. The instructor is Shaykh Faraz Khan. Not practicing Islam is different from denying the obligation of actions that are necessarily known of the religion as fard; the former does not take someone out of Islam, while the latter does. Here is the link:
Salaam Aleikum Sister,
Besides the legal issues here, I think you should ask yourself, do you want to be married to somebody that does/will not lead you or your children to the right path? If he only converted to marry you, he did not do it for Allah. And yes, he can change in time, you need to research very well if you think he will. Allahu Alim, you need scholarly advice.
I wish you all the best and much strength in this sister, I know how hard it is, I have been here myself.
I am a new revert and I wish there was a sister that lived near me that could help me and also be a friend. I know of a few sisters but they live far away. They are busy and live even in another state. One lives in the same state but different city that is far away. I would go to the Mosque but my parents do not know I converted. Is there any sisters out there that live in North Port, Florida or near it? Inshaallah hoping someone would reply.
hey sister i can be your sister in islam
Asalam Aleikum Sister Maha,
Thank you and that would be nice. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you live in the area of North Port Florida?
salam sister , i just sent u an email 🙂
I wrote you back as well 🙂
Asalam walekum sister, i am a revert as well, i chose islam when i was 16 years old. Well to tell u the truth when i became a muslim, my parents accepted me very happily, coz before i used to drink, smoke, fight, argue with parents, break the furnitures and my anger was like an angry bull. But when i converted into islam they saw a different kind of peace in me so ya. Im happy with this life. And sisters the scholars and imams will suggest u the best way. Some muslims would say that ” u have to tell your parents that u are a muslim otherwise you’re not a true muslim” but sister dont listen to them. Just keep it a secret until u are able to defend the religion. If u can explain well to your parents then they will know more about the religion. And about the salah and hijab, look it up in your map and the closest mosque to u . They will find u a good instructor. U can take classes in weekends and trust me. If u practice it time to time. U will be able to do salah in withing 1 week. And keep it a secret, dont tell anyone about your conversion to islam. Until u can explain the reason for it. May allah bless u..
Thank you for the advise. I wish I could go to the Mosque but I am afraid my Mom will kick me out of the house. I have children so I do not think I will tell them until I am back on my feet again supporting myself and kids. I have told a few of my family members and they are o.k. with it.
Hey ibrahim ,well i agree with you but dont u think that her parents must accept the path she chosed?
Asalam walekum !!
Ya her parents should really support her, but her parents are not muslims so they have a different view on this religion. So i suggested her to have enough knowledge about islam so that she can explain it to her parents. And if she is able to make her parents understand then she will get their full support otherwise im sure that her parents wont accept it. And inshallah!! She will be successful to convince her parents.
It can be near unattainable to find well-educated americans on this theme, then again you look like you fully understand the things you’re raving about! Thanks A Lot
As Salaamu Alaiykum Teddy, I am an American Muslim revert for ten years now. My mother accepted my decision and supported my transition. I feel our own expectations of others tend to become self fulfilling outcomes. The key is to gaining knowledge so that one can adequately explain what others try not to understand. Islam is an enigma because individuals choose to rely on what others tell them instead of what they can research and discover on their own. I am college educated and I hold three higher level degrees two of which I attained prior to my reversion to Islam.
You need any help about hijab, dress, or any concerned. Feel free to see us in Islamic Society of Boston, Roxbury, Friday evening. Inshallah we will try to do as much we can.
Dear author and all reverts,
Do not be disheartened by the tests, or by the way people are treating you. To be honest I have so much respect for Muslim reverts, just reflect for a second, Allah says in the Quran, He guides whom He wills, and He chose you to be given the guiding light (hidayah). Subhanallah how amazing is that to be among the chosen ones to receive the guidance. Allah has opened your heart to accept Islam, and I believe He has also prepared you for the tests that follow. All these tests are meant to strengthen our imaan (faith) in Him. So keep holding on and ask Allah to give you patience.
I pray that Allah will give you guys patience in practicing Islam.
Remember, victory only comes after succeeding the trials.
Salaam alaikum. I understand what you are saying, but unfortunately, living a fully Islamic life (however we might understand that expression) in the west is so difficult and so many converts, sadly, receive so little support (just read many of the messages here on virtualmosque.com and elsewhere), that many admittedly weak people really do fall away.
Whether we like to admit it or not, the apostasy rate of converts in North America is appallingly high, and a factor that comes up over and over is lack of acceptance into the Muslim community. They fall down and have no one to help them up. Just try going to a mosque night after night, as I did, and never hearing your own language spoken around you, with no one greeting you. No one to talk to with whom you feel comfortable if you are troubled. Nothing. Then all you get is theoretical denunciations (about “tests”) if you fall away in your weakness, sadness, and loneliness.
Paul, I agree with much of what you wrote expect when you said “that many admittedly weak people really do fall away”. I would have to say that weak people don’t fall away, they choose to walk away. the people that distance themselves and eventually leave “I am a muslim” membership card in the trash are those who get sick and tired of the mistreatment by so called muslims, who get tired of feeling they have to take someone else’s culture and language in order to have faith in God. Falling away would suggest and accident and not ones intention. But, walking away is what many American converts do. There is no requirement to wear specfic clothes, learn Arabic,or follow Arab culture in order to be a servant of God. People, thinking people, eventually get worn down and tired of it.
Mark (and all), Peace to you (Salaam alaikum). My own take is that there are (approximately) two types of converts who leave Islam in North America.
On the one hand, there are indeed those who consciously walk away, who leave their “I am a Muslim” membership card in the trash, as you put it. These are the “deliberate apostates,” a few might say. Of these, some will explicitly embrace (or re-embrace) a non-Islamic religion (Christianity, Baha’i, Buddhism, Sikhism, whatever). Some will become militant atheists and hostile to all religions. And some will just drop out and not care any more about religion in general.
On the other hand, there are people who are hurting and who do not leave their membership card in the trash knowingly and deliberately. They are just weak, confused, and isolated and more or less give up in frustration and pain. If they had received acceptance into and support from the Muslim community, they might have “made it.” Their faith, which may have been shaky to start with, could have grown, and their observance of Islamic practices could have solidified. Obviously, they did not get that acceptance and support, so they fall down, cannot get up, and slide away.
Paul, you stated it perfectly. There was no support, as you wrote. I can see where you might perceive it as weakness, but I see it as spiritual infancy. The person is still in the youth of their spiritual journey and it is a time where support is helpful. friendship and community are necessary and a much wanted thing. Americans that embrace Islam are not shaky in their faith because they experience much backlash and venom from family, friends, co-workers etc. To get it from fellow believers wears a person down.
Mark, I have to ask, where are you from? As a revert for 12 years I’ve seen more people leave than stay but I’ve also been blessed to find a community that everyone flocks toward. There are masajid in NYC that are cultivated by the American muslim standard, where iftar serves fried chicken and Eid breakfast has coffee and doughnuts. I’ve been to the ethnic masajid and I get it–I think every sister, convert or not–gets it. A lot of people like to tell others what to do, and many think culture=religion. Just yesterday I had a women try to correct how I cover for prayer. While I was tempted to list and state my in-depth study of fiqh, I remained quiet, mainly with astonishment and prayed for her. There are plenty of converts who are not ex-cons but I’m not sure about your demographic so I can’t comment on that. Obviously your faith is your choice and whatever you do is between you and God but you should know that there are so many muslims who are tired of the ways of the old country and as the children of immigrants grow up and join with converts–a new identity has formed, one that you are most certainly a part of. I don’t know what its like where you’re from but I truly believe that if you were here, you’d find a place for yourself and you’d always be encouraged to voice your opinion. There’s no room for racism in this melting pot. I hope you find peace on your journey, wherever it may lead you.
As a new revert I often feel completely lost, confused & alone. Due to a few experiences that wounded me so deeply when dealing with my brothers & sisters. Its extremely difficult to have any desire to built any trust.
Allah forgive me I,m failing so badly & I don’t know where to find others who might have some understanding.
So I,m not learning or progressing at all.
Its wrong for me to have any expectations. Was thinking would be different & yes this frustrates me deeply to my core.
Salaam. I feel the same way as you do. I truly understand and am going through much the same issues. How might we get in touch? Can the administrator give you my email address?
I’m so sorry to hear that. May Allah make the path easy for you and bring you true Muslims who will shower you with kindness and support. And the same for all our reverts. Ameen.
If you would like to provide an email address, I would be happy to contact you. I don’t live anywhere near NYC, but I can, at least, provide a sympathetic ear.
All the best and much love,
Your sister in Islam.
Salaam walaykum SisterNYC,
I just read your post and it breaks my heart that you feel like that because I can relate so well with your feelings. I have also been in your shoes. When I converted I became part of a strong Muslim community overseas. I lived there for a couple of years. however, due to my continuation of my studies I moved back to my country in Europe where my family lives but where there is barely a community to speak of. I found myself completely lost and could not relate to people – neither my non-Muslim family as well as the Muslims. It was an extremely difficult time. However, at the same time, I feel like it was the best thing that couldve happened to me. The reasons are because, I felt like it was just me and Allah. I have only Him. This is also all He wants; for us to rely on Him, solely on Him… Also the fact that when I started to focus on my increasing my relationship with Allah swt; thus bettering my prayers, doing as much Dhikr as I can, listen to my favourite Imaams in order to learn about the Deen, reading and reflecting on the Quran, I noticed that I was feeling much better about myself, my situation and where I stand in life. Acceptance and a sense of freedom is what I feel now because the one thing I am sure of is Allah swt. He is constant! He is The Everlasting! He is The Provider. So He provides us with that and whom He believes is best for us. Because He know best. And Islam is all I want!
So Sis, let people be who and where they are, always think the best of them but focus on building a relationship with Allah swt and ask for help with anything you find difficult. Ask for patience when you feel frustrated… Insha’Allah a sense of trust and firmness in your heart will increase. Knowing that He will provide you with the best of people. Things will come together with time, insha Allah.
May Allah look after all of us and may we look after eachother.
I’m a convert also. It can be lonely but keep studying and filling your time in gaining knowledge and worshiping Allah in everything you do. It will help your heart feel better and stronger. Try this website. It has good and proper teachings and it has each class you can finish. It gives you a goal to work toward. New Muslim Academy. May Allah make it easy for us all. Ameen.
I thought I would share these two thought provoking ideas. Of all people, Bruce lee made these comments, which I find very relevant not only to life, but to faith and the spiritual journey.
“…if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
“Because one does not want to be disturbed, to be made uncertain, he establishes a pattern of conduct, of thought, a pattern of relationship to man etc. Then he becomes a slave to the patter and takes the pattern to be the real thing.”
Any links for revert muslim chat groups? Its very hard for me to have conversations with born muslims.
Allah forgive me its not my place to sit & point the finger at anyone.
I,m failing as a muslim & going to the mosque is difficult for me.
This website masha Allah is good.
Just feel a need for more direct & human guidance.
Inshallah will help me to the right path.
It really saddens me to see my brothers and sisters struggling like this.
I’ve always wondered about what happens to new Muslims after they converts. I’ve never met any new Muslims and the converts that I know have been Muslims for longer than I’m alive.
How can we expect to unite as an ummah when we discriminate against someone based on how long they’ve been Muslims for.
Salaam (peace), Sister. Yes, it is very sad, but the unhappy reality is that many convert (/revert) Muslims do fall away. I have read estimates as high as three-quarters over time. In other words, the majority of those in North America who newly profess themselves Muslims eventually leave in some way or other. Again, sad, but this is the way it is. Factors will vary from person to person, of course, but one thing that comes up over and over and over again is lack of acceptance into the greater Muslim community. Do “born” Muslims not know? Do they not care? Some converts become so sad, isolated, lonely, and eventually alienated that sooner or later they just give up. Allah (swt) forgive us all, but this is just the way it is. And few people seem to care.
you should not have any expectation of any unity within the ummah. It will never happen in our life time. The time converts are accepted is when they cave and agree with simply agree with everything. Racism and Discrimination are alive and well not only in America, but within the muslim community. As long as people remain apathetic and sulk in their little corners with their little cliques then nothing will ever change. Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it go away. It takes action.
One thing mentioned in the article, compassion. I am a revert but what I have learned from what I disliked about Christianity is passing judgement. We all bring different experiences to the table as Muslims. And in America, regardless if we are born Muslim or reverts, have family involvement or not; we still have different issues we are faces with. I find still being compassion and caring towards sistas not wearing hijab properly is the key. Say Salaam to ALL SISTAS, regardless of their dress. And if possible, give all sistas hugs when we greet them! We may not agree with their decisions but we don’t know what challenges they are facing. Many sistas don’t have family support and have to work and face this world without help from others. It took me awhile to wear the hijab and while don’t regret my decision, it is still a challenge because I have do deal with negative comments from others at work and in society without family support.
I also meet sista wearing hijab properly but their heart and actions are not correct. They also have issues. Patience and trusting in Allah is what I am working on. People are people regardless if they are Muslim or Non-Muslim. Yes, Muslims are held to a higher standard, but we are still human and we ALL need Allah’s mercy. I find thinking this way helps me when I am faces with other Muslims judging me. I own my feeling and their actions but understand they are human too and it does not matter if they are Born Muslims. We all need Allah guidance.
Peace be with you (salaam alaikum), Sister. You have raised a serious point. Here in the western countries, such as North America (USA and Canada), many “traditional” “born” Muslims from other cultures or first generation offspring of immigrants from other cultures, may literally not realize the situations many convert(/revert) Muslims may face (or those who were born to nominally Muslims in NA but who had almost no Islamic upbringing)
It is all too easy for those who do not have an issue to blame those who do have an issue without understanding. True, it is not necessary that everyone accept all western values which may not agree with all Islamic values. But we read over and over again in the Noble Qur’an that Allah (swt) is Compassionate and Merciful. Sadly, how many Muslims are compassionate and merciful toward those who are (sometimes desperately) struggling to barely hold onto their Islamic faith itself, apart from adhering to minutiae of technical behavior? Many of them literally do not recognize or acknowledge the labors of so many.
Allah knows best (I do not), and may He have compassion on us all.
I would like to share a recent experience with everyone here. It is another in a long line of mistreatment of converts, which I have seen firsthand and experienced. I was asked to take a few people to King Fahd Mosque here in Los Angeles, apparently because I know how to get there and I am familiar with the place. though I hemmed and hawed I finally caved and said “yes I will do it”. So, I drove my buddy, his wife and a friend of theirs to King Fahd in Culver City. I waited outside while the small group went in and did their thing. From my observations I saw that there were very different people attending King Fahd from the last time I was there in 2010. Things change fast in LA. After an hour my buddy Dave came over to me (he actually waved me down as I crossed the street from 7 Eleven.) He wanted me to come inside and help him deal with a matter. I just wanted to leave. I knew something was amiss. I went up to the main door of the Mosque and what happened next shocked me to the point of giving me validation of why leaving Islam and the so called muslim community behind is the best thing for my well being. Apparently my friend Dave asked the security guard inside why he was carrying a firearm inside. The guard became rude and belligerent with him. When I came up and saw the guard I was surprised to see him carrying a Glock inside the mosque. I asked what the problem was that the Mosque needed an armed guard inside. And this was his response “Ask Allah if you want to know the answer, I don’t answer to jewish spies”. (Note: when someone calls you a jewish spy that is a red flag that it is time to back away slowly and turn and run and never, I mean never look back). I told the guy to calm down and I attempted to reason with him (yes, i broke the rule of backing away slowly and high tailing it out of there). The guy puts his hand on his firearm and then says “death to Israel”. Then a crowd swarms us and actually take the security guard’s side by insulting us and yelling at us. At that point I grabbed my friend Dave and walked away as fast as we could. As I walked down the street there was a Mexican American security who talked to me. He works the outside of the Mosque and told me they insult him everyday he is there. Calling him dumb Mexican and telling him he is not allowed inside the Mosque and he can walk to 7 Eleven or McDonald’s to use the restroom. I told him what happened and he said he had asked his supervisor to reassign him to another job location. Welcome to the Muslim community. It’s racist, paranoid and hateful.
Wow, just wow! One question….why did he call you a jewish spy? Regarding the suspicion, well, let me tell you, when my husband and I were happily attending here, my husband stepped out early and caught a guy taking photographs of license plates. The guy saw my husband, turned and walked away. When he got to the road, some car drove up and he hopped in and they drove away. THAT made me parainoid.
One of the tragedies of the Islamic community in the USA (and, probably, in other western countries) is a regrettable suspicion against converts. So many Muslims are immigrants or children of immigrants who, sadly, are not receptive to westerners who profess themselves Muslims. One time, after 9/11, I drove to an established mosque for salaat, and because I appeared (which I am) to be “white” I was confronted with someone with a gun in his belt challenging me to enter the property. In other words, if I was a mature white, European-American, it was suspicious whether I could really be a Muslim at all due to racial characteristics. Is this truly Islam?
Hi Candy, apparently the kuthbah of the evening was all Anti-American and Anti-Israel nonsense (from what my buddy Dave and his wife tell me. they said they were not at all comfortable with the things they heard). The problem that I have is that this is Ramadan and this is how self professed Muslims behave during a holy month?
I understand your point about paranoia, but back in 2009-2010 King Fahd had a working relationship with the Sheriff’s Department (well, a budding relationship anyhow). From this incident this past Saturday I can see that went out the window. And from this incident I am beginning to see that maybe Muslims from the Middle East and Pakistan have brought it upon themselves with this type of reactionary behavior.
I have known for ten years now that undercover officers collect license plate info at Mosque parking lots. I have police officers in my family. When I converted I was immediately told by one of my uncles, who is a police officer, don’t drive to any Mosque. He jumped on me about it and didn’t let me argue. He told me “don’t ever drive to a mosque.understand?” He later told me the reason. So, When I was serious about Islam I never drove. Always rode the bus (2 hour bus trip). But, that doesn’t give anyone the right to act like a buffoon or to threaten people.
The way that muslim security guard responded told me two things: he is deeply unstable, and he is hiding something (because a reasonable person does not repsond that way to a question). And, why did he call me a jewish spy? I have no idea all I know is that he got very angry at being asked why he was carrying a firearm inside a place of worship. I have walked by Churches and Synagogues (and have even visited events at churches and synagogues with friends)and I have never seen armed guards in and around those places. I am a product of Los Angeles, a diverse city. I love the diversity and multi-culturalism here. Plus, it has what we have been taught since we were in grade school. I have studied Japanese, Spanish, Navajo, Vietnamese, Arabic and now Chinese. I thoroughly enjoy learning and experiencing other cultures. This Ramadan, I took my buddy dave and his wife to the Obon Festival in Little Tokyo, I have taken them to have their iftar at Vietnamese restaurants in San Gabriel and Mexican restaurants in East LA. I tell them “this is ramadan, sitting with the people, embracing the diversity of where we live, not hiding out in some building, celebrating one culture.” Though I don’t celebrate and act as more of a guide. I have met many wonderful people and have had many wonderful conversations with Japanese Americans, Mexicans and Vietnamese people(I learned about the Cham muslims in Vietnam) about Islam. What I saw and experienced at King Fahd this past saturday was hate and racism. That is something I look at with disgust and sadness. And, these are people I would not want to be around in any way. Faith is serving God and treating people with decency and kindness.
Born Muslim bro here. Though my knowledge is limited, if any of you new convert brothers would like to have an occasional conversation about anything, you can leave your email address. I am happy to talk.
May Allah make it easy for you. Ameen.
what happens to a christian marriage after converting to islam
Peace (salaam). I am not a scholar, and what I say here is NOT definitive. I can only pass along what I have read. Consult a true scholar for sure.
I have read that if both spouses convert to Islam, there is obviously no issue. If the husband converts and the wife does not but remains a Christian, the marriage continues, as it is permitted for a Muslim man to be married to a Christian woman. If there are already any children of the marriage, I do not know their status. If any children are born afterward, I presume that they would be considered Muslim, although obviously in some marital situations that could cause conflict.
If the wife becomes Muslim and the husband does not after a reasonable period of time (schools of law may differ somewhat on the period of time), then I have read that the marriage is automatically dissolved, on the ground that a Muslim woman may not be married to a non-Muslim man. Again, in the western countries in which religious law is not binding, there could be real problems, to say nothing of conflict within the household and regarding children. Religiously mixed marriages can almost always be troublesome, even among non-Muslims.
Again, consult a legal scholar. I am only passing on my reading.
I converted to Islam around 2005. I don’t remember the exact year. I have a major problem. Ive always went back to my pre Islam days but always found a way back to Islam. Ever since my pious husband has been sick with Cancer I feel like I must leave Islam. I cannot pray anymore and have nothing but anger in my heart. I don’t want to hear that it is shaytaan cause its not. I cannot even bear to hear the adaan anymore. I want to scream. i feel like my ears are bleeding. Has this happened to anyone? Please be honest!!
I don’t know exactly what your feelings are stemming from or what your husband’s illness has to do with it but I can empathize with you on the feelings of anger. In the last year I was feeling many of the same things that you describe. I don’t know what triggered my anger either but it was consuming me. So I tried to cut out as much of the negativity and stress as I could. I stopped watching tv especially the news. And I tried to focus on myself. I started to work out and clean out. Literally cleaning out junk from my house. Tried to simplify my life and read as much Quran as I could. I diligently read from the Arabic and then the English slow and steady and over the course of the year I lost the anger. I still feel it sometimes, but I’m much more content that deep in my heart and sincerely ask Allah to keep on the straight path in every prayer. I didn’t ask anyone for help or tell anyone of my feelings because I’ve learned over the years that there is no one who can help me. It is only Allah and that is the only one I sought for my help. May Allah have mercy on you and guide you on the straight path. ameen. Your sister in Islam.
It could be insuations which is multiplied by you thnking about these issues, a side note also, problems occur in life like your husband having cancer My Allaah cure him. But I think their are plenty of ppl with these issue of wiswas in combination with you thinking about it. You should immidiatly stop thinking about these though as soon as they show up, in addition think about what causes these though and then cut them off. Btw U said the adhan disturbs your? Maybe you should do ruqiyah on yur self or ask an imam to do it on you. I have known of ppl with similiras issues and they hade ruqiyah(incanttations dont know what is on english) and they recovered. I Used have wasiwas(insuations of evil though) and I recoverd by doing ruqaiyah as well as killing the roots of the thogh.
Sister I hope that helps you.
I am a new Muslim convert. I constantly face challenges by other converts that have been muslim longer than me. Many of them eith question my faith in Islam or I always sense as if they think I’m a fake muslim. Converting is very hard, I try to attend Jumar in the Masjid as much as possible but unfortunately I can’t make it sometimes because of my work schedule, yet when I can’t make it I still pray. Yet I still get either dirty looks or when I greet them, they look as if they don’t want to greet me back. This is making me feel a certain way towards Islam, should I just let it go or not pay attention to their unfortunate attitudes? Please give me some advice to keep me grounded, thanx.
Waalaykumussalam,brother. Just be patient of what they are saying because they do not know,forgive them while you’re keeping your ibadah as best as you can do. I’m a born muslimah, I still have same issues,a sister sometimes come to make sure whether I can read quran or not,because I don’t look like a pious muslimah, tehehe. So, no worries, you’re not alone. I’m praying you the best, aameen: )
salam, i’m really sorry you had to go through that. but I’d advise you not to pay any attention to their attitude. there are many muslims who don’t go to the mosque for juma and soome who don’t pray at all wether they are converts or born muslims.
i understand that it might be difficult but please don’t let their words or looks to disharten you.
at the end of the day you can’t prove your faith to them, only Allah knows what is in your heart and they are commiting a sin for accusing a muslim of hypocrasy.
Brother it’s too bad that we have to go through this as converts. I also used to feel bad sometimes when other sisters didn’t greet my salaam. Even though I cover my head it apparently isn’t “the right way” for some. I’ve learned just to ignore those who choose not to answer my salaam. I suppose that they also may question my faith, I haven’t ever even given it a thought. I am only worried about me. I don’t even care what others think. The reason I chose Islam is because my faith is between me and Allah. I don’t know what is in another’s heart and they don’t know what’s in mine. I am a Muslim because I believe in the message that Allah sent to mankind and NOT because of how mankind acts on the message. If I chose my religion based on the behavior of other Muslims I probably wouldn’t have chosen it! May Allah guide us and keep us on the straight path! ameen.
Asalaamu’Alaikum dear brother,
I’m sorry to hear that is happening to you brother. I hope you dont feel some type of way about Islam, because Islam is perfect..it’s the people who aren’t. You should continue to do what you do, stay in obedience of Allah SWT. He is the master of all things, and maybe thi is your test. May Allah SWT guide us and help us with everything and every stuggle we go through. Aameen
Peace to all (salaam alaikum). Please all understand that many, many new Muslims have great struggles. For those who grow up totally in non-Islamic environments, there can be a considerable adjustment for an Islamic mindset, and the sad truth, as many here on SuhaibWebb and elsewhere have commented, is that so many new Muslims get little support. This is a tragedy, but nevertheless true.
There are those who come to Islam with total sincerity, but their faith (iman) is fragile and in need of support, nurturance, and care. Sadly, in many instances they do not receive this support, nurturance, and care, so they drift away. This is one of the tragedies of the appallingly high dropout rate among new Muslims in North America.
It is good that many here on this website offer encouragement, and that is to be praised, but we must acknowledge that many new Muslims, who are sometimes adrift in ethnically bound communities (mosques, Islamic centers), don’t even have anyone to talk to over coffee (so to speak). May Allah (swt) forgive us, but the Muslim community in North America have to get their collective act together and provide so much more support to new Muslims. I did not get it many years ago, so that my own hold on Islam is so tenuous.
Thank you so very much sisters dini, Maryam,Sandra and Ramsha for your support and beautiful words of wisdom. All ya motivational words inspire me to keep doing what i do and stay focused. Thank you very much.
Assalamu Alaikum Sisters and Brothers.
When I was little my Family stopped practicing Islam, They stopped praying, and even started to eat pork. When I started to wear hijab they would not allow it.
Since then I have forgotten how to pray, or the teachings…. I am now 20 and trying to figure it all out once again… I would really like a fellow sister to help me out with a few questions, because my parents wont.
I am proud to be Muslim, but is it bad I am mad at my family for holding back and not wanting to teach me ?
Dear Sister Kat,
And peace to you (wassalaam). Are you wrong to be angry with your family? Allah (swt) knows best, but I do not think so. I am an older person, but am I angry because when I was a child my (emotionally distant) father worked ever so hard to provide for us and my mother was (innocently) mental ill, so that she could barely take care of the household? Allah forgive me, but I must not be angry.
Yes, there are those who were born to nominally Muslim parents who did not practice and even later did not conform to Islamic principles, and those of us who were born to non-Islamic families and who grew up with amazingly distorted misunderstandings of Islam and Muslims. But we ourselves must be compassionate. I do not have a copy of the Qur’an right to hand as I write this,and I may be mistaken from a faulty memory, but I seem to recall an ayah (verse) which says that we must lower the wing of humility and submission and pray for Allah’s mercy on our parents, as long as they do not lead us into outright unbelief.
One sister (as I write) has already responded to you, and Allah willing, other sisters may respond with more personal contacts. As an older person who has, admittedly, almost fallen away from Islam, I know how important it is to have actual personal contact with other Muslims of the same sex and similar age, rather than just web sites.
And Allah (swt) knows best.
Happy Eid. I am a convert sister but I have met others like you who went back to practicing Islam after they grew up. Inshallah you will find your way to success on your journey to Islam. Here is a place I found a lot of reliable and helpful information. http://newmuslimacademy.org/ Let me know if you need any other help.
I truly love islam. Allah is beautiful & perfect. Yes i,m a new revert. Yes i feel extremely alone. I,m failing as a muslim so badly i feel hurt & ashamed of myself. I,ve asked a few of my supposedly new muslim sister freinds to help me translate a short surah or 2 from the quran to help me learn to pray. Guess this is expecting to much.
I feel there is a definite acceptance of snide attitudes and bad behavior. Only having been muslim 2 months allready i,m told of what the common opion of American sisters is.
Yes there is racism that excists and its clear.
I,m ready to continue & my love for islam is deep. A liking for my brothers & sisters is something i do not have.
Dear Sister Sanaa,
Peace be with you (salaam alaikum). I am sorry that you have had poor experiences with the Muslim community in your area. Tragically and sadly, this has been and remains so with so many new Muslims in so many parts of North America. In so many places, new Muslims simply are not accepted well into the community, so they are left to flounder. And again tragically and sadly, many of them do not “make it.” Eventually they leave in one way or another.
Please do not give up. Yes, I can understand, from my own experience, what you are going through, how hard it is. I was already a mature person when I professed Islam many years ago, but when I began to run into problems, there was almost no one I could turn to for counsel and support, so for almost all practical intents and purposes I have drifted away.
Nevertheless, try to hang in there.
I hope you are well. I can’t say don’t be discouraged, because until now I sometimes get discouraged over this issue even after 15 years. However, I find great solace in the knowledge that I chose Islam (or, Islam chose me, alhamdulillah) because of my relationship to God and not because of my relationship to people.
Make dua for a group of friends who will be a blessing for you and to keep away those who aren’t. Allah never fails to answer.
im 15 and i want to convert to islam but my parents nt dont like the idea because they are so racist towards muslims and its sad. they think im not taking it seriously but i am.
my friend i met a year ago has helped me understand everything you should know about islam which has helped me heaps, without her i wouldnt of thought of ever converting.
but what can i say to my parents to help them understand?
Hi Chloe, nice to meet you. It’s very admiring of you to learn and take Islam.
I don’t ‘what’ exactly you can say to your parents, and I don’t know if my opinion is best for you, but I think maybe you don’t need to feel rushed to convince them now. It takes time and patient.
For now, how about you focus on yourself first? I think it’s good that you are learning.
This article really makes me think & feel a lot, really full of new things that I didn’t know about Muslim reverts feelings.
Please let me share my experience, it’s long if you don’t mind.
I am a born Muslim,and I admit sometimes I tend to try to correct people into what i thought that is ideal for a muslim. In my younger days, that was worse. I thought that I want to help spread what I know about Islam knowledge, but sadly my way of doing it was maybe harsh. I thought I was doing good thing, telling people this and that.
But then I learnt and realized that, I need to focus on correcting myself first, not others. Then i will insya Allah be better and people around me will insya Allah change too.
When trying to telling people that we think they might be doing wrong, there’s always polite way to do it.
For Muslim reverts, please do remember that born Muslims (of course including me) also are not perfect. They are human too just like you. They also comes from various family backgrounds, and I think their knowledge is also limited.
For some born Muslims, they might not know what kind of other Muslims from outside their country. They only know what they’ve learned in their environment,so sometimes they may feel weird about the way Muslim reverts or Muslims from other countries practising Islam. Maybe they are practising in their environment or what they know is the only correct way.
Born Muslims also has limited knowledge and don’t have any experience like Muslim reverts. Human tends to think that “I can do it, it’s not so difficult. But how come you can’t do it? I can’t understand.”
Let’s try to understand each other. Please forgive me if I hurt your feelings or if what I said/did is wrong. May Allah bless us all in this world and hereafter.
Sorry, some mistakes there. Not “Maybe they are practising in their environment or what they know is the only correct way”,
but “Maybe they think what they are practising in their environment or what they know is the only correct way.”
It’s long but I appreciate if somebody would like to explain to me what reverts feel in the situation like I state below, or even some encouraging advice for me.
My long-distance husband is also a Muslim revert in a non-Muslim country. He had rejected offers to lunch/dinner/parties with alcohol and non-halal meat. He also said in a very strict, erm, more to harsh, tone his colleagues. His friend cooked a special one for him. My husband asked in a strict/harsh tone, “Is it true that this has no alchohol at all? 0.0000%??” “I can’t eat this meat” etc, he didn’t eat it at all and he went home in the middle of the party because the atmosphere has becoming bad.
Then now he has no friends.. His friends all went somewhere without him. He feels so lonely, and he also is not ready yet to make Muslim friends, no Muslims around his age and he maybe feels inferior, as he has been corrected strictly at the mosque. He became grumpy and always feel resentment towards the colleagues, the muslim who corrected him and also sometimes me, because he initially become a muslim because of marriage.
I feel very worried about him and sometimes I think I need to apologize to the people including his parents who had been in arguments with him in this matter. But then I think it’s not for an outsider like me to handle..i don’t even know his colleagues.
I felt embarrassed, I think he should deny the invitations politely and I denied my husband’s act, but now that I read this article, I can begin to understand that my husband is doing his best to practice islam, alone, in a non-muslim country.
As a wife, how do I should handle when my husband telling me about his loneliness and experiences like this..?
I think I should prevent myself from trying to solve HIS problem when it’s him that need to solve it.. it’s like I’m trying to control his relationships, or take away the lessons that he should overcome by himself.. it’s not good for him if i’m trying to get in the way.
but reverts need support.. so I am confuse what should I feel about this, should I apologize to the people for him, should I go out of the way to introduce him to muslim people that even I don’t contact in a long time and my husband tend to deny my suggestion..should I worry too much and try to correct how he deals with people, or should I just be an ear to listen to him… ?
Any comment will be appreciated. May Allah bless you.
@aa: based on what you wrote and what I read it sounds like your husband put himself in a very tangled web of his own making. By being non social with non Muslims who were being friendly with him. Now he has no social group or friends. Who told him he cannot go to a dinner party where people are drinking? It is not a sin unless he is drinking. Your husband is going down the road of total isolation and it will hurt only him. We are made to be social not isolated. We carry our values and moral system with us. If other people drink that is their business. If you or your husband don’t want to drink than that is fine but a scene doesn’t have to made over it. Respect for all people is first and foremost. Isolation is harmful and nothing good will come from it.
thank you for your kind reply. Actually I thought the same as you. Apparently, it seems that it’s harder for him than I imagined; he used to drink long time ago but now he prevent himself from drinking. seeing other people around him drink (it’s their culture to drink) makes him feel angry, frustrated and sometimes jealous that maybe makes him feels to want to drink.
It’s hard for me to understand this also as I am a born muslim & never been into such dilemma. Maybe it’s differ between persons even among new muslims; some struggle a little and some need to struggle much. As you said, I hope he doesn’t isolate himself while in the same time practicing Islam. I’m not sure how can I help him though..Hope Allah helps us all.
Alhamdulillah, after lots of pray from my family and friend, my husband and me also; a Muslim organization in my husband’s country introduce us to a very good Muslim friend, whom my husband respects so much. The Muslim friend even went to the train station near my husband’s house to visit my husband personally, he even take my husband to a nearby halal restaurant and mosque. He even messages my husband to wake him up for Fajr prayer, always listening to my husband’s problem and giving good advice that my husband can take.
This is what i always, always wished for my revert husband for a long, long time – a good Muslim friend, who really care to visit him personally. Most people that i ask always just give their advice through me – “please, don’t advice me, but instead what i hope is that you yourself talk to him, visit him,” that’s what i always say in heart. Most people will just ask him to go to the mosque etc; he did went to mosque, but as Paul in the above comments said, nobody approach him or talk to him, even how many times he went there.
But, i also think, when we want to make new friends, we need to make the effort – we need to approach, we need to be don’t mind even they talk other languages, we need to try to know them personally. It’s hard making new friends, especially for non-extrovert like me. As a sister said in the first comment above, born muslims are just people like you – they’re not holy. All Muslims are siblings but not all are your friends – this is true : we need to make effort to know the person if we want to make friends. Just think of it like making new friends, click with ones that you feel you like them. You don’t need to be friends with all of them. We’re just human beings.
This is a really good discussion.im born muslim n most of people in my country is muslim.but the thing is that even for a born muslim,its not always easy.even alot of us didnt even practice islam in the best way coz we feel like we inherited it. We didnt really think that this is the right n best way of live.even right now im struggling in moving on from loving a non muslim.i know its wrong i know leaving him is the best i can do but its not as easy as it sound.n from this problem i realized that even i have to learn more n more about islam.what i know my whole life is not enough.so all my bro n sis who just convert…keep fighting coz all the muslim is fighting too to maintain their believe…coz we as human feels up n down..but the point is try n try…may Allah blessed us all..if there is someone who can help giving me advice or sharing with me feel free to chat me on fb dian anggriani melinda..
assalamualaikum. my name is erni. im from malaysia. sister, can you help me.?
Asalam’alaykum I have a friend who converted to Islam at the Masjid here arou d California and she’s not sure what to tell her parents about this. Her father is against Islam and her mother is 100% against it as well. I asked if her uncle is okay with it, she said he is as well. She’s already a convert muslim.Her brother was also not okay with it, her bedroom door was broken down because he doesn’t want her to pray. She is not able to pray at home in front of her brother. Her grandma is somehow okay with it, she met up with some woman at a market and asked for their number. Now she’s engaged to one of their relatives in Yemen and her parents don’t know. How is she suppose to do this the Islamic way if she has no one to support her other than her grandma? Please reply
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Its really heart warming to meet a lot of muslims here especially reverts.Well,I belong to a few muslim organisations and Masha Allah we’ve been getting a lot of reverts.I feel your plights.
Thank you for your sentiments. However, of all those who first embrace Islam, how many of them leave? I have heard and read repeatedly that the dropout / apostasy rate of converts in North America is actually appallingly high. Many get very disillusioned and leave in one way or another.
I am not very confident on the statistics of the mass leaving. Sounds like a vague thing with a purpose.
Nevertheless, one cannot deny that this could be happening on a smaller scale. I am strongly with the opinion of giving the new converts all that can help them in this not s easy journey. Its an obligation upon the Muslim community, a collective obligation on each and every Muslim in the community, not just the organizations. Learn from the Sirah of the prophet SAW and his companions, pen your houses and accept them like the Ansar of Madinah did with the Muhajireen of Makkah. Give them guidance, warmth of brotherhood, work, food, shelter, and good spouses. Empower them and make them feel at home, they are indeed an invaluable asset for the community that need some incubation period in the beginning, before they can contribute with many many folds back to the community.
However, in practice this frequently just does not happen. I can testify from personal experience and from what others have said in my hearing that often converts simply are not fully accepted into the community, taken care of, and nurtured and helped to consolidate their faith, so they leave. More significantly, I have heard and read repeatedly from Islamic writers and speakers, including imams of mosques, that the dropout (apostasy, if you will) rate of converts in North American may be as high as 70-75%. I have encountered numbers like this so many times that I think there must be something to them. In so many places, in practice, converts are must not taken care of, so they leave.
Its easy to be intimidated as a new convert. You feel like an infant having to learn a new language, mannerisms, and still trying to strengthen your relationship with Allah. I often feel like some of my fellow sisters are a little stand offish.
Converts leave Islam on a much larger scale then people like to admit. My experience was not about caring. I don’t need anyone to take care of me. But, I experienced hardcore racism, rudeness and was basically ignored. The arab and pakistani muslims are very tribal in thinking and won’t let any perceived outsider into their little clique. I refused arab culture which bothered arab muslims. They want you to speak arabic and eat their foood and dress like them, which I took a hardline stance against. Islam is more about culture night than worshipping God in my experience.
Dear brother Mark,
I am so sorry for what have happened to you during your struggle as a ‘revert muslim’, yet believe me, both kind of muslims (whether born or revert) perhaps have the same struggle, ignorance, as well as hardness as life is basically a trial. I used to live in NZ as a born Muslim. It was harder as I accepted ignorance and discrimination too against ‘western society’ yet I decided to be strong, so I never think over too much about what people said to me or what to wear (I am a Muslimah who had received a letter told me to leave the country a.k.a. NZ). I decided to firmly step on the ground, relying only to Allah SWT to save me and other muslimahs who live in ‘non-muslim’ countries. The teachings of Islam is about compassion and tolerance, both against our muslims brothers and sisters as well as non-muslims. So, my advice is just be strong and keep learning about Islam. InshaAllah, there is always a way. Wassalamu alaykum.