Question: What is the Most Difficult Part of Converting?

Asalamu alaykum,

Looking back on my own conversion, there were a number of difficulties I faced. Here are four:

1. Telling my family
2. An ethnic war in my local masjid
3. Confusing culture with religion and maintaining my identity
4. Confronted with issues of race when trying to get married

Your turn 🙂


About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Though I did not convert – one trend I have seen, especially on college campuses – is when a brother converts and other brothers try to take him under their wing.

    They will immediatly start to explain to him their version of what they feel is most important –

    1. Brother, you should choose a madhab quickly.
    2. You should read this book, Kitab al-Tawhid
    3. You should read book, The Path to Salvation According to the Hanafi School
    4. The Truth About Soofees and Tawassul
    5. Brother, you should take a Shaykh, because if a person doesn’t have a Shaykh, Shaitaan is his shaykh.

    These conflicting messages and books that reflect the turmoil and lack of priorities plaguing our communities causes confusion within the convert. I have unfortunately had to witness this many times, and then watch as the brother attaches himself firmly to one of these groups or the other (usually whoever spends more time with him), and then leave the understanding of everyone else behind. He will grow extensively in that understanding, but will not have a chance to develop a balanced, comprehensive understanding.

    The idea of connecting the person to a deep understanding of what effect belief in Allah should have, regardless of polemics, and of orienting the Muslim with the rich history of his prophet (saw) and what is now his tradition, gives way to “claiming” him for one group or another.

    Another issue I have seen, and am still struggling to deal with, is how to tell a very newly converted brother, a very nice guy, who works as a bond trader, and wants to get his degree in Finance – that interest is forbidden and his dream career is essentially forbidden in Islam, and he should focus his energies on another aspect of Finance. I do not want to tell him while his Iman is still vulnerable and his knowledge is not deep enough yet to handle such information so waiting for better time.

    Just a few things I’ve run across.

    wa alaikum assalam
    Abdul Sattar

  • salaam bro suhaib! masyaALlaah, you have become a great Muslim! u might not remember me, but i still remember you very well. i was in Tulsa in the 90s – we met few times. i remember u came with few brothers from Norman/Stillwater. had another Malaysian friend in Norman, Sofiyuddin. u had told me, get me a Malaysian wife!

    ALhamduliLlaah, you have been blessed with a Malaysian wife.

    May ALlaah bless you bro!

  • Wa’alaykumsalam Imam Suhaib,

    Points 1 & 3 are reflections of my conversion.

    I would to point #1 – absence of strong family ties (this pertains to my blood family, my Muslim family is 1.5 billion and growing!).

    Another point is realizing that some Muslims are not very good spokespeople, role models, voices for a new Muslim to look up to.

    Other than that… “Islam is easy…it’s the Muslims who make it difficult” – Imam Zaid Shakir.

  • Assalamu alaikum

    Interesting question.
    The most difficult aspects of converting:

    1. Figuring out how to wear “hijab” and doing it.

    2. Trying to find a suitable spouse while interested suitors know you don’t have a Muslim father or brother to tell them “NO”. The revelation that some people fear humans more than they fear Allah ta’ala.

    3. Learning to read Arabic.

    4. Learning to control my tongue.

    5. Dealing with the general cynicism, sarcasm and degrading remarks from family in a polite, controlled manner. This is still hard.


  • Assalamu Alaykum,

    Although I did not convert, there are a few issues that I see newly converts run into.

    1) Similar to Brother Suhaib, differentiating between culture and religion. Unfortunately the line between culture and religion (especially in the South Asian countries) is not as distinct as it should be for several matters, including how we should dress, what we eat, and our relationship with family and elders. An example of how I got confused between religion and culture was after attending many weddings throughout my childhood and as a young adult, I associated all the actions of a (Pakistani) wedding to be with religion, whereas now after learning more about Islam, I have realized that various wedding rituals are actually against the Sunnah.

    2) If the convert was still in college, one difficulty he/she faced was trying to determine why a good portion of international students who came from Muslim countries were not practicing Islam properly. When a new Muslims sees other Muslims (especially those who grew up in a Muslim environment) not acting properly, it is hard for he/she to continue trying to improve his/her own deen.

    3) Fear of society’s perception, including one’s own family. I came to the U.S. in 2002, completely afraid to practice my religion in public. Alhamdoillah through Allah’s help I have gained confidence, but I can only imagine how hard it would be for a convert. At least I had my family and friends to support me; some converts have no one to begin with.

    4) Confused at what “level” to practice their religion. Nowadays, every Muslim has a different level at what they practice at, and a convert to Islam can get confused as to what is the right amount. InshAllah we should try and work slowly with him/her, starting off by telling them what are the required actions (salah, fasting, being pious, etc.) As their imaan strengthens, then teach them more. I’ve learned that it is important to go slow.

    Wa Alaikum Assalam.


  • salams

    I converted in March 2001 and what i found most difficult was not feeling as though i belonged. coming from a white, middle class, Christian / atheist area with no Muslims closer than 30 miles away, i immediately felt different to everyone and everything i knew. i could be with my friends because they would always be in pubs, clubs etc and my family would be 100% committed to change my mind about converting.

    when i was with the muslim community (which mas mainly Gudgrati / Pakistani) in the nearest city, i also felt like an outsider. knowing little about Islam and knowing even less about Muslims, i had a huge battle trying to figure out what was Islam and what was culture. In most cases they were intertwined so neatly that i couldn’t tell whatsoever. It actually took my a couple of years to sort my head out in this regard.

    My ‘Englishness’ was totally in question and i felt guilty, in some cases, when my ‘Englishness’ revealed itself in conversations or behaviour. It was as if i had to try to remove it to become more accepted. i even felt guilty about wearing my normal clothes (trousers, t-shirt and jumper) and felt i had to wear salwar kameez…because that was Islamic.

    So, i felt that i did not belong in my home town surrounded by family and friends and the society i grew up in, and i felt i did not belong when i was with the Muslim community.

    I think i had quite a similar battle as you, brother, in the beginning. Only keeping firm faith during this experience will allow one to succeed.

    My advice to all new converts is to keep in your mind why you converted and don’t panic, Allah will guide you through.

    My advice to everyone else is when you see a new Muslim in your community, make him/her feel as comfortable as possible and do not leave him/her on their own. Be their friend.

    Wa salam


    p.s Dealing with my family was really tough too

  • Asalaamualikum. Although I am not a convert, but rather a Muslim who returned to Allah few years ago. What i can contribute is that when i know a newly converted Muslim, I can get carried away, am sure this is the case with other Muslims too. We try to give them everything because we think they are vulnerable and might fall into the wrong way etc. This leads too giving someone too much information for them to digest at once. We throw everything at them. Am sure some feel bombarded by the information

  • It is one of shaytaans traps to make a person do so much because in the early stages you have that adrenaline, and then you realise its too much and becomes a burden,and you are put off.Sometimes we should just let it be as they say,I know when i began practising if i started looking into purification of the nafs etc, then it would have been too much to handle.I was focusing on my 5 Salah & basic fiqh by Allahs Mercy, until i started looking into other issues.Make it easy for new muslims!Not info overload

  • assalamu ‘alaykum;

    although not the ‘conventional’ convert but more of an internal one; coming from shi’ism to mainstream sunni islam was quite hard. and there was a huge lack of support and i think most people that don’t look like converts face these problem because people aren’t aware and even once they are, aren’t as open to support as they would be to someone who clearly looks like a convert.

    with converts from a different faith, the boundaries are clear-cut whereas being from a muslim family and follow another strand of islam that seems quite opposing to theirs is hard, and the overlapping and confusion it caused was really difficult.

    also, being unaware of the internal conflict that sunnism had within left me unprepared when confronted with the whole madhab/salafi/sufi/deobandi/tablighi thing was hard. being pulled in all these directions just when you’re trying to get grounded.

    just some of the main points for the timebeing insha’Allah khair.

  • To kind of add to what AbdulSattar says, people tend to take the convert and give the person all the external sunnan (even though somethings may not be Sunnah) such as the miswaak or wearing a turban but the person doesn’t know how to pray or completely understand what Islam is about. They work on the external while the internal aspects are left to Shaytaan’s whispers.

    Asalaamu alaikum

  • Salaam all,

    Definitely #1 – telling family was the toughest thing after accepting Islam. There is such a conflict in one’s heart where happiness at finding the truth and fear of disappointing one’s parents are in constant battle. This is all not to mention the whispers of Shaytan about the situation – what will my parents/ aunts/ uncles / cousins think and do? This back and forth in my mind lead to some very strange and awkward situations – closing my bedroom door and not answering every time I had to make salah. I suspect my family thought I was up to drugs or worse during that whole time! I almost felt like I was two people – my ‘Muslim’ self in the Masjid, school and with friends; and then there was my ‘old’ self with family. I don’t think a person’s mind or Iman can handle that dichotomy for too long. Alhamdolillah, Allah (swt) eased my situation and gave me blessings on top of blessings.
    My second toughest problem – to find good LIVING role models who embody the ideal personality that is closest to Rasul (saw). Soon after accepting Islam, I found myself being tugged in many directions by Muslims who had an ‘agenda.’ I am not saying they did this out of insincerity, but there is something disingenuous about a brother who only wants to help you out as long as he sees you as a good prospect to subscribe to his ‘line of thinking.’ There were of course my peers who I could talk to, and people of knowledge with whom I could study – but ‘role models’ seemed to be locked in the pages of history. Once again, after years of struggling with this situation Allah(swt) has deemed in His infinite Mercy to open doors to people who I look up to and see reflections of the Rasul(saw) in their adab and love of Allah. With hardship there is ease.
    And this is the third major difficulty – maintaining my Sabr. Being a product of the fast food culture of immediate gratification, being steadfast for my newly found deen was a tremendous challenge. Fortunately, alhamdulillah, time after time, my experience has shown me to trust in my Lord and He is sufficient for me.

    May Allah guide our parents and siblings and maintain us and our progeny on the straight path until the day of judgment… ameen.

    wa salaam.

  • Waalaykumusalaam wa rahamtullah, dear brother Suhaib,

    1. Telling my family and trying to answer all of their questions.
    2. Understanding the difference between culture and religion and finding an identity as a Western Muslim.
    3. Understanding the different opinions of fiqh and aqeedah.
    4. Being a white American Muslim has been difficult wherever I have lived. Unwanted celebrity status haunts me wherever I go. I have often wished to be unknown and unnoticed.
    5. Having to listen to born-Muslims talk about the evils of the West yet wishing to ask them why they have left their families and the Muslim world to come to the West and give up what many converts long for: a Muslim family and society.
    6. Non-Muslim holidays and Muslim holidays.
    7. And all of Abdul Sattar’s points.
    8. And 9/11.


  • There’s definately a common thread here.

    1. Telling my family. I hid it for a year (cuz I’m a wuss that hates confrontation), and was trying to figure out a way to tell them when my mom went snooping in my email and confronted me about it. Then it shifted to dealing with the backlash and not being prepared to explain everything.

    2. Forging an american muslim identity, and asserting my right not to become an arab, pakistani, etc etc etc.

    3. Exploring the various groups and interpretations, although in my case, it was the salafi perspective that was pushed on me, while I gravitated towards the more madhab based approach that I ended up in.

    4. Like Faiez, the complete focus on the external while neglecting the internal. It seems like it’s all fiqh fiqh fiqh fiqh fiqh. Fiqh is important, no doubt, but isn’t Islam more than just haram and halal?

  • From the non-convert side in helping them:

    1. Bombarding them with culture and not necessarily Islam. A sister I know converted then got married few weeks later, given lots of jewelry, shalwar kameez and sari outfits, and was pushed to change her name to a Muslim name. Months later, she’s still asking how to pray to God.

    2. Not making time to help them. No one has time, we have to MAKE time. Sending them to classes/seminars is no substitute over personal one-on-one time (it’s like parents thinking Sunday School is the only solution for their kids).

    3. Our lack of knowledge of Islam plays on how we help them and prioritize our teaching them. One person helped a sister accept Islam few years ago, saying they’ve already helped teach her Wudu and Salah. Turns out she doesn’t even know about Taharah, Heyd, or Ghusl, years after she converted.

    From converts (what I’ve noticed).

    1. Telling the family. Another sister I know is waiting on this and very scared (father is a pastor, may Allah help her!)

    2. Lack of resources. Few are motivated to give them stuff, others fear overwhelming them and don’t give them enough.

    3. Being thought of as a spy in the masjids. It’s true!

    More on this post I wrote here:

  • Assalaamu alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

    SubhanAllah, there have been so many struggles. Telling my parents was easy. I lvoe coming from a background where I didn’t identify with a particular culture. This allowed me to fully embrace Islam and take it the way it is supposed to be.

    I’ve had so many different groups try to grab me. I won’t go into the full details, but one of my favorite stories is as follows.

    I had a Qur’an teacher quickly after I embraced Islam. Masha’Allah, he is a very sincere brother and also very straightforward. We would meet a few times a week, and one day he said to me:
    “You need to choose a madhhab.”
    “What is a madhhab?” I asked.
    He thought for a moment, trying to figure out how best to explain such a complex issue, but finally he said, “You’re hanafi.”
    I searched around after that to get a solid answer on this issue and finally came to the conlusion to which Allah (swt) guided me.

    I can’t go into the full details of my conversion on a comment form for a public blog, but I can say that I compeltely fell in love with the deen. This has probably been the biggest hardship. One of my teachers says that we should not be like the guy who goes to a class saying “I hope to at least get a ‘D'” because this is setting us up for the potential to fail. Instead, we should strive for an “A,” for the highest level in Jannah. We should try to reach pinnacles in the deen and please Allah (swt) the most we can.

    My parents have been supportive in this endeavor, even allowing me to go to South Africa, insha’Allah (please make dua that this works out). But the conflict has come from others. I try to be the best in the deen. I contrast my efforts with those of our pious predecessors and see how little I am do. The problems is that others look at the majority of Muslims and set me up against that. Thus, they think I am going too extreme. From the start, people were saying that I’m better than the majority of Muslims because I pray, yet I’m barely even surviving. This is the huge problem that afflicts me daily.

    JazakAllah khair Saqib Saab for sending me this to vent.

    JazakAllah khair Imam Suhaib. Your talks (especially the Fatihah tafseer) have helped guide me towards the proper outlets for my development and helped strengthen my love for scholarship.

  • Walaykum as salaam,

    1) Telling my parents I was muslim to whom I never told. They realised after they figured out I was wearing hijab outside the house. I guess telling them I was a hijabi etc as well.
    2) Figuring out what manhaj to take on.
    3) Finding a spouse who practices to the same level yet whose family will accept me because Im a white english muslim. After 2 years Im still searching for a practicing brother who has un-nationalistic/racist parents.
    4) Still trying to figure out whether Im now Gujarati or Somali.
    5) Finding a teacher, something that is proving to be difficult because a) I dont speak urdu or arabic and b) because Im female. No male teachers really teach women as far as Im concerned.

  • Subhan’Allah reading all your experiences amazes me. So many times, i question myself whether i would have converted if i knew all these muslims around me =) (Alhamdulillah that i was born in to it to was saved from the trial0

    But a story which never fails to inspire me is of Abu Jandal, the man who ran away from his abusive father to Prophet Muhammad and Sahabas at time when treaty of hudaibiyyah was being written. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) unwillingly handed Abu Jandal BACK to his abusive father. SubhanAllah……Abu Jandal remained a Muslim and didnt give up faith even though he was ‘shunned’ by muslims and left at mercy of his disbelieving father…..That story leaves me with teary eyes because it shows the strength of imaam Abu Jandal had..

    (Listen to Yasir Qadhi’ lecture on treaty of Hudaibiyyah if you are not familiar with story)

  • I agree with what the other converts have said.

    1. telling my extended family, especially my paternal grandma for whom i was always a favorite
    2. explaining stuff about Islam to them
    3. wearing hijab infront of people who had known me for years w/out hijab
    4. being out in public with my non-Muslim family while i have hijab on because of the stares (far more that i get when i am alone), and knowing that people are judging us, but thank God my family could care less about what any narrow minded people think
    5. having people treat me in a rude or patronizing way because of my hijab (“my, you speak English so well,” or “you have beautiful eyes, you look like princess jasmine”) for realz someone said that to me, or just the treatment that i was a space alien with my hijab on in some contexts
    6. avoiding dozens of green card motivated proposals, some even through close friends who thought more of their cousin/husband’s aquiantance than of me since i am a convert
    7. i am of jewish heritage (but family was many secular “cultural” or “ethnic” jews…dealing with hearing anti-jewish comments or paranoid conspiratorial thoughts about jews
    8. drawing the line between choosing what i like from Arab or South Asian cultures and becoming a fake Arab or Pakistani
    9. the pressure to be the Ideal Muslimah
    10. avoiding becoming extremely strict or having some judgemental bearded inner-mullah ruling my thoughts and causing me to arrogantly judge others or accept things that i didn’t really believe in, i guess finding a balance with how “conservative” i wanted to be, no one can be The Super Muslimah
    11. Learning Arabic to read the Quran when I was surrounded by dialects

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    These are all very noteworthy responses. Perhaps there should be some type of organization that supports and assits converts? Knowledge and learning is only one piece of the puzzle. I would like to see an organization that offers everything from counciling [for the convert and his/her non-Muslim family], to marriage programs [protecting folks from Green Card Hunters and other shady personalities] to helping folks find jobs and so forth, community support and so on.

    Any thoughts?


    • Rabata and Taleef Collective are organizations for converts, but I don’t know if they provide those services

  • 1. Keeping my identity while seperating from the evils I had indulged in
    2. The madhhab/jama’ah fikriyyah issues
    3. Differentiating between culture and deen
    4. Holiday’s with family and how do make da’wa to them in general
    5. Dealing with the media and the anti-islam campaign after 9/11

  • The most difficult part of converting:

    1) Facing people from the past who would get angry or ridicule you
    2) People who try to talk you out of Islam by presenting info against Islam, and you didn’t know how to argue back but ignored them anyways

    3) Balancing your social, work, family life with Islam and figuring out how fast to take change

    4) Figuring out which group was right and who should be listened to, especially when they say the other is wrong

    5) The tendency of the community to make “trophies” out of new Muslims by telling them the hardest things to do, or make them make too many changes too fast (some that normal Muslims themselves weren’t doing), or expecting you to somehow excel in every area.

    6) The outward and differed upon being emphasized more than the inner qualities.

    I now have a totally different mentality towards how to advise fellow new Muslims, and much of it has to do with prioritization, gradualness, and empathy, and a focus on character and values.


    Abdullah Anik Misra

  • ASA
    Although im not a convert i do feel what they’re going thru sometimes. SubhanaAllah we have a beautiful religion, but i have to admitt that racism among us is an issue. It clearly says that Allah swt has created us different so we can get to know each other, that an Arab is not superior to a non-arab, and what’s not…. Our diversity should be a plus and we should take advantage of it to work together towards spreading our deen. A convert sister felt that she never really thought about her race and her skin color (black) until she became muslim and was trying to get married, that is sad and that’s the case for muslimborn sisters as well, you race, your color, where you’re actually from i mean “bloodwise” and of course your AGE became the determinant factors for marriage. When you bring those issues up to Imams they agree that islam and culture are different and attribute these type of behaviors to “unislamic cultures” and ask you to make du’a. The saddest part is the so called “religious brothers” are the worst when it comes to marriage. After a certain age, you’re “devaluated” a “piece of trash” for many, if you’re divorced you’re “a used merchandise” and if you’re a woman divorced with kids then forget about it, those women who needs a husband the most to help raising righteous children are most likely sentenced to stay alone while a divorcee man can restart his life with a young never married girl from his “beloved” culture. I have a lot of question that most likely won’t be answered in this dunia but i hope on the day of Judgement for this injustice, and im going to ask one now if you can please give me answer: did most of our ummah somehow become unislamic then????? what’s the priority in dawah when the “religious people” involved in dawah have often time the same race/color and age criteria when it comes to marriage. Do they realize the consequence of their actions? I wanted to marry a righteous brother for the sake of Allah swt and waited to hope to marry a true religious one, but big turn off with their criteria, I pray now for a good hearted person, kind, who has dignity and who cares about humanity and who is willing to learn and improve in his deen….
    May Allah bless us all and make us one day true brothers and sisters who truly love one another and stick to each other like the bricks and the cements. Amin. I don’t know if I will see this in my lifetime but i truly hope that our dawah work should shift a bit towards that direction

  • Yes, I heard you sis.
    1. Telling the family, as they are fake practicing Christians; only attending church on Christmas and Easter, and one hour before they go to the night clubs on New Years Day. Yet they have so much negative to say about Islam.
    2. The amount of racism toward African-American sisters towards marriage. It’s hard seeing brothers bringing non-muslim women to the masjid in their mini dresses to marry; yet passes all the beautiful African-American sisters in hijab and over garments. What’s even harder is seeing some good sisters leaving the deen because of this. May Allah(swt) prevent us from being selfish, and loving him and the deen more then ourselves.
    3. Seeing brothers/sisters that are quite mentally disturb; yet no one will classify them as such. Mental isssue is never talked about in this Ummah.
    4. All the racial wars going on among us. Fore-seeing people coming into the deen and leaving do to our fighting.
    5. Wick Imams, not helping the singles to get married properly, not speaking up nor doing anything about sisters in domestic abuse situations.
    6. Sisters who don’t cover properly, but have good adab; yet sisters who are covered in niqab with the worst personality.
    7. Brothers who are soft with outsiders yet hell at home.
    8. Jealous first wives, who can’t grow to the level of wanting for your sister what you want for yourselves; yet would prevent her husband from taking other wives. Pt 2 of 8: Weak brothers who don’t take other wives so we don’t weaken the ummah.
    9. Muslims who can’t take the daleel they were given even when ask for. Let’s their nafs get the best of them even when the answer is as clear as 1,2,3…A,B, C.
    10. The worst thing for me in converting is “our walking through the earth like we don’t have to account to Allah(swt) for nothing. Us trying to defend the Quran, when we should be using the Quran for our defense.

  • Salaam!

    Definitely telling family and close friends is a tricky one.
    Concentrating in prayer while you are reciting in a foreign (although sacred) language and at the same time trying in your mind to feel and contemplate those words is difficult.
    Getting into a racially homogenous mosque to perform your prayers and have half of the mosque looking suspiciously to you or not returning the greetings is an hard one as well.
    All the silly silent wars in the Ummah that defeat the purpose of tawid is disheartening.
    All the obcession with exterior details and imitation while realization and
    core values are forgotten.

  • Assalaamu alaykum dear brothers and sisters,

    I was lucky in that, my family is very open-minded. So it was awkward for a few months when they initially found out, but they’ve come to respect my decision, and generally we still have a good relationship, if not BETTER than before I embraced Islam. What also helps is that while they are Christian, they’re not extremely practical, and their attachment to Christianity is much more cultural than religious.

    And none of my close [non-Muslim] friends are in opposition to Islam, nor do they smoke, drink, party etc. or anything that would force me to disassociate myself from them. So as far as family and friends are concerned, I can say that Allah(swt) has been extremely generous and merciful in that regard [in every waking moment in reality].

    All that being said…the most difficult part of being a convert for me is the amount of racism I perceieve (either directly or by observation) amongst the Muslims. And what’s upsetting is that a lot of these things are ‘swept under the rug’ and people pretend like it doesn’t exist. We’ll quote ayat and hadith all day about the equality that Islam enforces among the people, but the reality of the state of the Ummah is quite different.

    I am the only young African-American male in my community(and it’s a LARGE one), which is a somewhat wealthy collection of Pakistanis, Afghanis, Arabs, etc. It’s disappointing when people assume because you look a certain way, or come from a certain bacground, that you’ll probably want this type of spouse…or that you’ll really get along with this brother because you share the same home country, etc. When in fact, you may have little to nothing in common at all. At worst, it could be called racism, but at the least it’s stereo-typing. All this cultural tribalism honestly makes me not even want to bother trying to marry a born-Muslim after the horror-stories I’ve been hearing, and that’s really sad and unfortunate.

    **on a related note, I read something in the fiqh of nikah about kafa’ah. Like, a born-Muslim is a degree of status higher than a convert in suitablity. Can someone clarify this to me please?

    I was so surprised to discover all the in-fighting, arguing, and disagreement among the Muslims. I had this [albeit naive] Utopian view of the religion, where everyone got along and was understanding of one another’s differences. It’s disheartening to constantly be bombarded with Sunni/Shia, Salafi/Sufi, this madhab/that madhab, sunna/bid’ah, to the point where the Deen only becomes about all these differences, most of them OUTWARD. What attracted me to Islam in the first place was the deeply spiritual aspect, and the UNITY of the religion. It hasn’t been shattered, but definitely has been shaken…

    But…Alhamdullilah. I love this Deen, no matter what happens. Because this is all from Allah(swt), and everything from Him(swt) is Khair.

    There’s a million other things I could discuss, but I must do a favor for anyone who’s made it to the end of this post, and cease for now. JazakAllahu Khairan

    wa salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

  • **on a related note, I read something in the fiqh of nikah about kafa’ah. Like, a born-Muslim is a degree of status higher than a convert in suitablity. Can someone clarify this to me please?

    : Bad women .are for bad men and bad men are for bad women. Good women are for good men and good men are for good women (Quran 24:26)

    O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)”

    Inshallah hope you get an answer from a scholar.

    From my findings the implication to that statement is not exactly as it sounds I believe in Islam whether one is convert or born Muslim. What speaks out or what we should look at in terms of suitability is how strong a Muslim is this person in terms of how strictly do they follow the deen.
    If you look at it this way. It might help.
    A convert who practices the deen very well V born Muslim not practicing the deen as they should be. Then any wali in their right mind will marry their daughter to the one practicing the deen very well since that one is the most suitable. After role the Quran states it clearly “the most honoured (man or woman) in the sight of Allah swt is the most righteous.
    I did come across what you asked about and I think the author mentions in relation to Hanafi but I think its something that one has to read further beyond those two lines. reading further it all comes down to the best is the one with Good islamic character(deen) and yes there other things to choose from which are family, wealth and looks.But a good character is something that any one whether a convert or not might posses or might not posses
    I suggest you read a lot more about equality in islam and also what to look for in choosing a marriage partner. Inshallah

    Welcome back to Islam (we where all born muslims) and Inshallah I pray to Allah swt to keep us all strong in this beautiful path of Islam.

  • “I was so surprised to discover all the in-fighting, arguing, and disagreement among the Muslims. I had this [albeit naive] Utopian view of the religion, where everyone got along and was understanding of one another’s differences. It’s disheartening to constantly be bombarded with Sunni/Shia, Salafi/Sufi, this madhab/that madhab, sunna/bid’ah, to the point where the Deen only becomes about all these differences, most of them OUTWARD.

    Tell me about it….

  • Dear All,


    I come from a staunch hindu brahmin family from Rajkot Rajasthan. Im 21 years old
    The reason why I came to Islam is because of tauhid and the life of the holy prophet Muhammad(saws), I began as a simple muslim who respected all schools of thought in Islam, and would pray 5 times a day but then began the turmoil.

    1. I met tableeghis, who said that their way was the right way and others were not totally on tariqa of rasool(saws), they( tableeghis) think wearing long chogaas and leather boots make em closer to Allah and His rasool(saws), once when I was in jamat at night and a man sexually molested me while sleeping in the markaz at night in Nizamuddin, I never went in a jamat again.

    2. Then I met salafis, who consider all else to be wrong except themselves, they were so strict with tauhid that they would weaken those hadiths from sahi muslim and bukhari whichsoever conflicted with their tauhid even to a fraction. I felt the spirit of fanaticism to establish tauhid led them to weaken hadiths from muslim and bukhari and they stripped the prophet(saws) of smallest of rights which Allah(swt)granted him with. I was forbidden to pray with other muslims and they changed my way of performing namaz.

    3. I came across bareilwis who said, they came in the disciplic lineage of the prophet(saws) and theirs was the purest version of islam coming down through the silsilas.

    4. One group said chose any one madhab , never intermingle or change it.

    5. I got so tired with all these takfeer, back biting, criticism, polemics and different ways to pray, who to pray with that I decided to pray and study Islam at home, because every one called each others group a creation of Jews, as all muslims are habituated to blame everything on Jews.

    6. Finally I came to Shi’ism and have accepted their correct doctrine.

  • “that interest is forbidden and his dream career is essentially forbidden in Islam, and he should focus his energies on another aspect of Finance.”

    As salaamu alaikum,

    I am an accounting and finance major. Their are many aspects about finance that are not Haram. i.e. commodities, stock, real estate etc., investments in businesses etc. He can work as a financial analyst for a business that buys or invests in other businesses that are halal. Many corporations in America are in the business of buying other companies, and or their stock. If it is not a business engaged in Haram then he is okay. Also regarding ‘riba’ I am very reluctant to paint everything thing with one broad stroke. If I loan you 20,000 to start a business and it takes you 15 years to pay me back, I should only get 20,000.00 back? Absolutely not! In 15 years the 20,000 that you give me back will only be worth 12-14,000.00. So I will actually lose.

  • Assalam Aleykum wr wb

    I am a born muslim who is grown up in a muslim family – but in a non-muslim society. In my childhood- my father was mostly away because of his job. My mother was not a fully practicing muslim woman (no hijab)- only fasting in ramadan . I was in a german kindergarden where they gave me a book with pictures about the story of jesus a.s.. I liked this book- i could not read- but i have just seen the images who made me understand. I did not like the crucification at the end. I could not read, i knew nothing about the quran..but i felt that it is not the truth. I told my mom from the book and she has told me that it is not the real end – i was happy. In the kindergarden they taught me how to pray before the dinner and showed me how to do the cross-sign with my hands. They gave me pork as food too. When i was at home before dinner i have done what they have taught me in the kindergarden- my mom got a shock and said that i should not do this again..and that i should not eat pork again. As you can see- even an arab child can be a so-called a convert or a revert.

    When i got to school and have learned how to read and write. I did like to take part in the religion class- the stories of the prophets (christian version). But i was not allowed to continue taking this class on religion because i am a muslim. My father had contact to a Doctor from our city who gave him the hint to take his boys to a masjid – for learnig arabic and islam. It was quite far away from our town- but it was a good decision- So i have learned Alif-ba-ta-tha, some suras by heart and on the sira till my brother was annoyed of going to the masjid. My bigger brother had big influence on me and the idea that a goat ate a paper of the quran made led me to have doubt on the quran- and i went back from the light to the darkness till i got 23.

    While i was studying in a city, without having my parents or my brother around me, i have forgotten a lot of things- i forgot that i have even a little sister somewhere on this earth. I was in the darkness and depressed…One day my parents came to me and gave me some books on islam in german language. My parents did not pray at that time but knew that there is something what can help me to get out of this situation. I have read the book from Maudoodi called “Weltanschaaung und Leben im Islam” translated by Ahmad von Denffer. I have started to approach to Allah with that..step by step- alhamdulillah. I have made my shahada with 23/24 i guess. And then i started to pray and did not tell it to my parents because they did not pray. One day they found out that i do pray and that i read quran and read ahadith sometimes. They have felt my change- so they also started to think more on Allah and Islam. They pray now and did the hajj- alhamdulillah. And alhamdulillah i had a good childhood and good parents. Some converts do lose contact to their family- that is a very hard issue. But i do love Allah more than everything- and we are all in different test situations. It does not matter if born in muslim family, convert or revert- but dying as a muslim with a heart full of good deeds and the belief in Al- Rahim does matter. we are ONE UMMAH OF MUHAMMED SWS , ALLAHU AKBAR Wa Salam

  • Asalamu-aliekum,

    The hardest thing about being a convert?

    1. Family
    2. Family
    3. Family

    Sigh….I love my family so much and it is down-right brutal on my iman and my very soul straddling both worlds…I’ll quote Tolstoy, from War and Peace: “But Pierre knew nothing of that; entirely engrossed in what lay before him, he was suffering the anguish men suffer when they persist in undertaking a task impossible for them – not from its inherent difficulties, but from its incompatibility with their own nature. He was tortured by the dread that he would be weak at the decisive moment, and so would lose his respect for himself.”

    How do I reject my family’s MO without rejecting them? So I stay silent, much to my own shame…may Allah guide me.

  • Asalaamu alaikum,
    I think the hardest thing comes later. Everything can be challenging at first, but you have high from conversion that carries you. After about 7 years (for me) you start to realize that Muslims have many problems, and there are many splits, and many different paths. Negativity sets in and you get worn down and question your faith… This is when a convert needs help, without being judged, or dismissed for having questions. We need a sort of second step to go through, a second level of educating ourselves—I mean we already know how to pray, and fast and all that, so that we can pull through.
    I guess one of the earlier hardships for me, and other sisters in my east coast group, was converting after marriage, and becoming more practicing than your spouse—mine ended in divorce, and I think for other’s too. That was nerve wracking.

  • With culture, we’re replacing the culture of ethnic Muslims with Western culture.

    Both are cultures–not saying that either is right or wrong.

  • Assalamu ‘aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    1. Telling my family.

    2. Finding supportive sisters (I always thought this was going to be the easy part!) SubhanAllah when you walk up to a sister and ask them for a little help, they’re like OK, and when you actually contact them, they always have better things to do! I mean SobhanAllah, this can turn off potential future muslims! This really makes me angry, and we should all feel the same because this really has to change! Alhamdulilah that didn’t make me lose my interest in Islam but come on, this is an O-BLI-GA-TION, it’s not like, ‘I’ll do it when I have time’, helping someone who wants to enter the religion should be a PRIORITY. On a side note, people probably don’t even realize the hassanat they can get by doing so… And it’s even more so important to help the converts because once they have told their family (which they usually do right away), they have NO-ONE, they are all alone, they lose old non-muslim friends, family support, society is against them (if they wear hijab) so this feeling of loneliness might turn them off. To avoid this, muslims should constantly be aware of who is asking questions about islam, who is interested, who has muslim potential, who converted, etc… I know it’s not always easy to figure, but What could possibly be worse than a brother/sister leaving Islam because the community didn’t support them (or because you didn’t make an effort to help them on this journey)?

    3. Also, some muslims (and I totally understand) assume that because you look middle-eastern (and actually ARE middle-eastern) you have to be a muslim. Well, that’s not true. If you tell them you’re a convert, they don’t take you seriously and assume you already know how to pray, behave in a masjid, and every other aspect of our faith.

    So these were/are the most difficult aspects of my conversion to Islam 🙂

    May Allah subhana wa ta’ala give strength to the converts all around the world and make them become good muslims. Amin.

    wasalamu ‘aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

  • Sr. Sahara
    The sisters behave that way weather you are a revert or a born muslim…it is a “woman” thing, and nothing to do with Islam/culture, but their own insecurities (I have been told pount blank that they do not invite me to their homes bec they fear that their husbands may develop interst in me and it may breakup/disrupt their family lives!!), I know bec I am a practising born-muslim, and have learnt my lesson…and like one of the brothers who mentioned above, I too just pray at home now and stick with Quran/hadith and websites like this.

  • 1. Family: Even though my dad’s a Muslim (non-practicing), with an evangelical Christian mother, I’ve had to face the threat of being kicked out for going to Jummah.

    2. The marriage issue: Having had to cut myself off from the rest of the world, due to the desire to avoid zina, etc. and not knowing how to approach any Muslimah in an halal manner, I’ve inevitably mucked things up with one I felt had so many of the qualities I’ve sought. And this after I met her at the wrong time. I’ve still to learn so much about the deen and put it into practice…plus get myself financially indpendent, etc. At 24, it seriously feels too late…looks like bachelorhood for me. And this is probalby the one thing that would truly break my faith at this point (been through most of the rest and I’m still here, lol). The lack of any possibility of sharing my life with someone who has the same faith as me, just makes all my efforts at bettering myself seem pointless. Besides, it truly feels like my parents (who wanted me to be a non-Muslim), decided this one for me a long time ago…

    3. Getting harassed by random brothers for following a madhab, especially the Maliki one at that (traditionally followed by my family).

    4. Being one of the only two Muslims in my town, with the nearest masjid 1-2 hrs. away.

    Other than that, I’ve faced and gotten over the rest, so far that is, lol…

  • waleikum salam
    1- dealing with the reactions of my family in the following years (just telling them was the easy part)
    2- wearing hijab as a senior in high school in a small white christian town
    3- having people think I’m not muslim because I’m white/a convert and laughing at me
    4- dealing with a lack of support for getting married a year out of high school, issues of race came up as well for me when I wanted to marry

  • My greatest challenge which even made me stop practicing islam recently (after being a muslim revert for 8 years) was the discrimination I faced upon getting married and the cruel treatment from my ex husband… this made me turn to my Christian family for solace and in the end I stopped practicing islam. although deep down I must admit that I feel bad and empty. I have been trying to read more to understand what I went through and it has helped.

  • Flexing to everyone else’s culture but not having anyone flex for me (I’m white American/sometimes, although I love Somali tea, Pakistani tea, Turkish and Arabic coffee, sometimes, sometimes, after dinner, I just want some black coffee with skim milk)

    living behind what I call the plexiglass curtain of gender separation because I had more male (Muslim) friends/colleagues before converting and then I put a hijab on and out of respect they stopped looking me in the eye and our relationships changed (Brother, are you mad at me?) And yet, again, every culture and age group of male Muslims will treat me differently, (I’m old and married) so again I have to learn to flex, especially with males I didn’t know before I converted. Found it best to just keep my mouth quiet. 🙂

    attending the “Ummah is in distress/in need of Allah swt” lectures/halakas or what I call the “we suck” lectures and thinking, “wait a minute, I don’t suck, I just converted—I am sooo happy”.

    staying on the straight path, in the middle. Alhamduliliah.

  • It’s 2015, so I know I’m late to the party. I converted at the end of March, and from reading some of the other comments, maybe I should stick to being a Youtube/Internet Muslim? Allah is life though.

    Some of what would have been difficult Allah removed in a hard way. My mom died two years ago, and even though I miss her so much, her death gave me a lot of room to question the directions my own life had been taking. (I’m 40 right now). I realized how very unhappy I’d been in Christianity, and that Islam had always pulled at me since high school, when I first began reading the teachings of the Nation of Islam.

    The other hurdle that was removed was that I have several chronic health problems. A lot of my friends who had said I could rely on them have dropped away over the years, not that willing to help. So when I read that the Quran and Islam encourages Muslims to help other Muslims with disabilities or having health challenges, I didn’t jump for joy. 🙂 People are people, no matter their deen.

    Here’s what has still been difficult:

    1) I have a service dog, so I decided to not go to masjid. Even though I know it will cut me off from a lot of local community. I also know that there have been fatwa that put service dogs in the same category as working dogs, so they are not haraam. But honestly, I deal with people in stores and on streets sometimes challenging me about my dog and our right to be there. I don’t have any emotional energy for dealing with these same issues somewhere I’m supposed to be focusing on Allah. Not worth it.

    2) My dad. I love him, but this is another thing we don’t meet up about. We also don’t have the same opinions about what “real men” do or how men should act. We live on opposite sides of the country, and even though he’s my only living parent now and I miss him a lot, sometimes distance is a good thing.

    3) Understanding the way the Quran is divided up for studying, and also what all these other references are. But I’ve only been a Muslim for 3 months, so eventually I’m sure it’ll make sense. And I remind myself that the chapter and verse numbering system for the Bible was a more recent (relatively speaking) add on anyway.

    4) My health and life issues constantly requiring adjustments to my deen. I can’t pray prone because doing it for more than one day makes my feet go completely numb. Which makes me more likely to fall and injure myself. That could mean a hospital trip…or at least 2 or 3 days unable to do much besides lay down. And I hate it because prone before Allah feels so good for my soul. I can’t fast for Ramadan either. There are other things…so not only am I trying to learn a whole new faith, but am always working to make it “disability friendly”.

    But I am so happy. My wife comments on the positive much so that she is even trying out some behavior fasting for Ramadan. We’re slowly exploring some halal foods this month as well. My dog’s afternoon nap “music” is Quran chanting instead of the Youtube relax my dog sounds we’d been listening to.

    *sigh* Frustrations mount sometimes, but I try to keep in mind that there’s a lot more here.

    • Assalamu alaykum, dear brothers and sisters.

      Brother Lincoln, I pray that God facilitates you the understanding of Islam and removes hardships of your path. I’m a convert myself and even though I didn’t go through what you go through, I sympathise with your struggles.
      I don’t know where you live, but when I lived in Canada (where I converted), there was a translation of the Quran that came with very useful footnotes and helped me have a better grasp of what the content really meant – and when I didn’t understand something or when these footnotes had content that seemed a bit off, I had a better chance of formulating my questions and getting some answers. On the cover of this print it is said “Translations of the meaning of The Noble Qur’an in the English language by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilâlî and Dr. Muhammad Mushsin Khan”.
      Regarding you avoiding the mosque with the intent of avoiding conflict and more headaches, I’d say that since you’ve been a muslim for so little time, it is ok to search for a peace of mind so that you can focus on building your relationship with God. But I ask you please not to give up the idea of going to the mosque. Being away from the mosque will not only cut you out of your community (that definitely makes mistakes, but end up becoming your muslim family, so to speak), but also from valuable knowledge and information that can take you further in faith.
      But while you’re not ready to do it, there are plenty of online resources which are reliable (including this website) and even have series of classes/lectures for new muslims. I’d recommend that aside from Virtual Mosque, you check out the websites for the Seekers Hub and the Zaytuna College. For Arabic learning, try Studio Arabiya. God willing, they will be beneficial to you.
      I can only imagine the frustration you must have when you want to prone while praying. All I can say to you is that God has decreed this life of ours to us. And if He did so, He did it for a reason – and it was not to discourage you. Continue to take gladly the facilitations in the practice of the religion, that God has blessed us with: enjoy Ramadan even when not fasting by feeding the poor/doing extra charity and continue to be a practicing muslim even though your body may be discouraging you.
      May God guide us all. Ameen!
      Ma salama,

  • Assalamu alaikum

    I was born into a Muslim family but outside of learning to read the Qur’an (not correctly btw!) And fast in Ramadan as a child I didn’t know anything about the religion. I was in middle school the first time I really heard anything about the Prophets and no one prayed in my family. The few people who were religious were spiritually abusive so we did not like them (siblings and I).

    When I was in high school I met alot of Salafi Muslims who taught me about hijab and prayers and would occasionally attend the Friday prayers with a handful of other Muslims in school.

    I had moments of belief but it wasn’t until after I graduated from my Masters degree that I felt I wanted to pray five times a day because I wanted to be close to God. Prior to that I researched different religions and leaned heavily towards Eastern religions.

    I’m not a convert but I considered myself one because I had agnostic beliefs and didn’t understand prophethood or believe in a spiritual realm. Now I have been told I was a Muslim since I had moments of belief and have to make up missed prayers of 15 years but I am struggling with this.

    When I first decided I wanted to be a Muslim it was because I met nice Muslims, caring and this was in another country than my own! Then I started learning but got confused by things on the internet and sects of Islam as well.

    My biggest struggle has been trying to want to be perfect right away and not knowing what to do with my spare time. I feel lonely like an outsider because my family is Muslim but not seeking with the speed I am and I made mistakes when I was a Salafi and arrogant which pushed people away from me.

    I experience chronic health conditions as well which also isolates me so yes I am also an internet/at home Muslim. I also struggled with being taken advantage of since my Dad is hardly a wali. He has no care about the role and I have been hurt severely due to his neglect. Luckily I am learning Hanafi madhab rules atm and we can pray even laying down so I have done this as well.

    I struggle financially of course because pre Islam I wasn’t ethical with money and was able to do anything I wanted without being accountable.

    I also struggle with hijab and feeling like a third class citizen. I feel I have lost social standing but I have gained nearness to Allah and gratitude and feeling good in my heart. I feel like I am getting stronger as a person through my belief in Allah’s mercy as well (since people are hard on us while he is so forgiving!)

    I struggle with my nafs as well and intentions so slowing down I have to do. Its been a great year, I will miss the iman rush!

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