8 Things You Should Understand About Converts


http://www.flickr.com/photos/stijnnieuwendijk/4676105607/in/photostream/By Alex Arrick 

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 (peace be upon him): ‘What is the right of parents on their offspring?’ The Prophet 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.

 

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336 Comments

  1. New Muslimah says:

    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.

    • Sister Mary says:

      Dear Muslimah,
      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!
      Sister Mary

    • Abdul says:

      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..

      ma salama..

      • Paul W. says:

        Dear Mark,
        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.

        Ramadan Mubarak,
        Paul W.

        • mark says:

          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”.

    • Muhammad Talut says:

      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

    • Revert Sister says:

      Assalamualaikum sister!
      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.

    • sarah says:

      salam sister!
      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

    • Jahneeta says:

      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.

    • معيشة تحسين says:

      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.

      Much love,
      A sister of Islam and a friend

    • rhoksh says:

      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.

  2. Aaisha says:

    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?

    • Abdul says:

      best thing to do is find your local Fiqh council for further advice.

      • Aaisha says:

        I don’t want to bring anyone’s attention to his behaviour, they will think badly of him.

        • Abdul says:

          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.

      • Zehra says:

        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:
        http://zaytunacollege.org/livinglinks

    • Fenna says:

      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.

  3. Sister Mary says:

    Saalams,

    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.
    Sister Mary

    • Maha cool says:

      hey sister i can be your sister in islam

    • Ibrahim Raffi says:

      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..

      • Sister Mary says:

        Asalam Walekum,

        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.

  4. Maha cool says:

    Hey ibrahim ,well i agree with you but dont u think that her parents must accept the path she chosed?

    • Ibrahim Raffi says:

      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.

  5. Teddy S. Lamp says:

    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

    • Jahneeta says:

      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.

  6. Syed says:

    Sisters,

    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.

    Peace.

  7. H Q says:

    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.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      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 suhaibwebb.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.

      • mark says:

        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.

        • Paul Bartlett says:

          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.

      • mark says:

        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.

  8. a says:

    Great post.

  9. RevertSisNYC says:

    Hi Salaam

    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.

    • Candy says:

      Dear Sister,
      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?

    • RA says:

      Salam, sister.

      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.

    • RevertToo says:

      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.

      Wasalaam.

    • Sandra says:

      Salaam Sister,
      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.

  10. mark says:

    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.”

  11. Sanaa says:

    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.

  12. Sister says:

    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.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      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.

    • mark says:

      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.

  13. Jameellah says:

    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.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      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.

  14. mark says:

    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.

    • Candy says:

      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.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        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?

      • mark says:

        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.

  15. Brother says:

    Salaam Alaykum,

    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.

  16. Mohamad Noor says:

    what happens to a christian marriage after converting to islam

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      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.

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