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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348 Comments

  1. Kendriana says:

    This brought me to tears. Jazak Allah for such an honest and sincere post. I’ve been Muslim for nearly 3 years now, I converted when I was 18 years old. I had just started college and I was living on my own for the first time. I’m constantly figuring out how to be an adult and a Muslim and everything else all at the same time. The way we perceive our future is also uncertain, We want to stay true to our identity but sometimes with such strong cultural bonds in the community its hard to fit in and this is especially difficult when you want to have a Muslim family. I think sometimes converts have unrealistic expectations about how the ummah should be. It’s true, everything is just really uncertain/unstable and sometimes you find yourself in situations where you were too gullible and trusting which makes you defensive and isolated. I had lunch with one Muslimah who said it best, all Muslims are your brothers and sisters but not all of them are your friends. It’s like you’re just waiting for that moment when you will feel at home.

    • Gibran says:

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      Check out Nouman Ali Khan videos on YouTube.

    • Angela says:

      Asalamu alaykum Kendriana,

      Insha’allah be patient and one day you will feel at home…It takes time to sort through all the issues. Many of us converts/reverts after we take shahadah leave our common sense at the door and treat other muslims as if they are all representing Islam perfectly . This leaves us open to being hurt and consequently resenful…so after 23 years in islam I can honestly say Islam is the best but the people are people, some good some not so good…you are right we all go through it, take care and always remember Allah and his Prophet!
      xoxoxox

    • BintKhalil says:

      Assalamu alaikum

      Sister, are you by any chance around the Seattle area? If you are, I would love to get in touch.

    • Abdur-Rahman says:

      As-salamu ‘alaykum. This is such an important article. May Allah bless you and lead us all to greater insight and empathy.

      I wrote a post on this topic some time ago, framed as an open letter to new Muslims: http://othermatters.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/retread-if-youre-going-to-do-this-islam-thing-2/

    • Madeline says:

      This article and your comment are so true. I converted a year ago and recently moved to France for university and I’ve been feeling more lost than ever. But, Insha’allah I’ll stay strong.
      Only a month after I converted I was struck by the gravity of it all and left Islam. I was so ashamed that if Islam was brought up in conversation I would just shut down. Then, in May of this year I had a random spoken word video in my YouTube recommendations and I decided to watch it (What was the harm?). It wound up being on the topic of Islam and Jesus. The video sparked my interest in Islam again. I’ve spent the past several months getting back into Islam, reading everything I can get my hands on, and finally truly practicing. Alhamduillah.
      But, even with renewed faith, I still don’t feel a sense of belonging.
      Insha’allah one day we both will.

    • Chris says:

      Why is there no assurance of anything in Islam? No assurance of genuine conversion, much less assurance that it will last? It’s exhausting to always try so hard and never be sure.

      And even if I believe I’ve been very good, how can I be sure that my good outweighs my wrongs?

      Some say that is the place of “faith”, but how can I place my faith or trust in things that are so uncertain/unstable? It’s faith in what?

      • ad says:

        salam bro
        as mentioned in the article the ummah’s role is very important for the sustenance of faitj….above all the convert should have trust in His Creator
        i think the ‘uncertainty’ that u r feeling is the work of satan….he strives to let us down….keep doing good deeds, repent for the bad ones, nd let satan knw that hes losing the battle by moving forward positively

      • Samantha says:

        Right and wrong, good and bad. These are words that are subject to cultural ties and regulations and can tear us down with guilt, fear and anxiety. Most of us in this world want to do the “right thing” follow the “good path” and we can make ourselves crazy constantly wondering what action is right and what is wrong. The truth that I have found is live your life, stop figuring out (to the best of your ability) what is right what is wrong.
        The truth is no matter how hard we try to understand we will never know if our good actions outweigh the bad so, stop trying to gauge.

      • Fayruza says:

        Trust in Allah. His Mercy is greater. May Allah reward and bless you.

  2. Anna says:

    Asalamu alaikum. I converted a year ago and – alhamduillah – Islam has brought me the peace, clarity, and stability for which I had been searching.

    Conversion is not easy. Our author shares the obstacles that create difficulty and confusion for converts, and undoubtedly these obstacles are what leads those 75% of American converts to leave the religion. Each of these factors are difficult to quantify for each individual convert; the variables of familial, geopolitical, and communal situations are unique to all who chose to follow the path Allah (swt) has laid out for us.

    I, too, have been harshly reprimanded by my sisters at the mosque. I, too, have faced (and continue to face) the struggle of the language barrier. I, too, feel frustrated by the barrage of questions my friends and family pose to me. I, too, feel the sideways stares when I am in hijab. I understand these obstacles.

    Islam a path, not a destination. Neither you nor your brothers and sister who are “born Muslim” are perfect beings. Praise to Allah we live in an age where we can connect via the Internet, and feel the benefits of ummah even when we are separated by distance! Admitting you feel scared, or unsure, or confused takes bravery, and your courage benefits other converts (just like me and so many others) in helping us realize we are not alone.

    Peace and blessings to you, my respected brothers and sisters in Islam.

    • Sarah says:

      Beautifully written, sister Anna — may Allah (swt) make you a beacon of guidance for others entering into Islaam, and grant you an immeasurable reward in this life and the one to come, ameen.

    • Alex says:

      SuhbanAllah, great comment. May Allah make it easy for you.

    • Zeeshan says:

      Alhamdolillah, it is great to see reverts expressing their feelings. I am sure this is how Sahabas felt as they were reverts too. It is such a great achievement for you all to be consistent, persistent and keep connected with God in these circumstances. This is true that in general we the born muslims are not the best example of Islam and Islamic teachings. We all have to work hard to change the current conditions. However at the same time I am sure Allah (swt) will reward you all for patience in these circumstances.

  3. raheem says:

    Salaams to all. Very nice article, as all ways. I hope and pray that Allah always makes the religion easy for all our beautiful converts/ reverts.

  4. Kala says:

    Assalam aleikoum,
    I am not at ease when I read about converts.
    I don’t see clearly the differences between a new muslim from muslim family with a new muslim from none-muslim family.
    75% of american “converts” leave islam, ok. But how many native muslims leave islam or let down all religious practises ?
    Do you think that a muslim youth who lives in the US and who is coming back to or learning his/her religion knows perfectly the difference between culture and din ? If he/she was jahil and had bad frequentation, doesn’t he/she have to leave his/her friends and find anothers ? Doesn’t he/she feel lonely ?
    Do you think because he/she is born arab, he/she knows how to spend his/her time in positive activities ? Does he/she make no mistake ? Does he/she want not to come back time to time to his/her old life ?

    Sometimes, talking about “converts” can be a way to put a veil on muslim community’s problems : as if teens (and grown ups) from muslim families in the US don’t have issues with alcohol, drugs, p*rn, sex before mariage etc.

    • Maryam says:

      Kala, what country do you live in?

    • Jennifer says:

      You make a good point Kala. Ultimately, we should be gentle and open with each other- whether someone has just become Muslim or a Muslim has just started practicing Islam. There need to be more venues to teach the basics of Islam and networks for new, or newly practicing Muslims.

    • Asiya says:

      Assalamu alaikom Kala,

      Empathy is a great thing, & you are correct, it can be just as challenging for a muslim who is struggling to know the deen in a non-practising family too, but insha Allah, that there is some notion of muslims around you that you know where to head. Sometimes the condition of reverts needs to be emphasised or that bitterness goes unacknowledged – sometimes born muslims have a strange idea that it is ‘easier’ or that reverts are more blessed & a strange destructive envy creeps in. Aauthu billah!

      For the muslim born into such a struggle, that is where people like you can come in & hi-light the needs of your community, help make change, help strengthen your & our ummah’s ties.

      I met many ‘cultural’ & non praying muslims but one thing they had in common was a sense that no-one would question the validity of their muslim identity. It is a strange thing, but it is often the case that whilst a new muslim [even of a few years] is trying to learn about Islam & how it should impact upon our lives, we also learn about our compassionate ummah who are always there & non-judgemental, obviously not a reflection on the ummah today! Though the shame is on us for that being so. Don’t you think?

      May Allah ehlp us to be helpers of each other, may we remember that being anti any muslim isn’t beneficial, instead, its much better to say ‘I understand those issues & sadly they also affect the cultural muslims who have forgotten the deen’… because we are all also people with all those frailties & failings & needs. It isn’t either/or, Islam encompasses the rights of everyone.

      I pray that Allah makes it easier for you & all those who are striving to come closer to Allah.

      Glad tidings to the strangers.
      Fi aman Allah

  5. farhana says:

    JAK for the article. I would love to offer help and support to any convert sister.

    Farhana

  6. Maryam Amirebrahimi says:

    May God bless you for this important post!

  7. Vaidehi Majmundar says:

    The change is felt not only by the first generation of converts, but their children too..

    • Asiya says:

      Assalamu alaikom, Subhan Allah, in fact, that can feel far far worse. I am watching my children live a very isolated life as our community basically pay lip service, extend greetings then shut the door. Watching my children struggle through the confusing realm of ‘Come on over, you are always welcome…’ to the reality of ‘sorry, not today…’ [EVERY time] is devastating, they do not have the deceit of some adults & don’t understand when an invitation is only from the lips & not the heart, so I watch them go through that awful rejection over & over again. Aauthu billah! Which then brings a tremendous worry, how do they feel the identity of the muslim when they see other muslim families prefer to invite non-muslim children to play with their children over them? A strange mistrust, as though somehow, the family constructed of a born muslim & revert is deviant is a terrible discord in our communites. Another revert sister I know also experienced this in other parts of the UK & Turkey too. So it isn’t uncommon.

      I’ve heard many times that ‘reverts are for reverts/converts’ & that those in ‘mixed’? marriages should find friends just like them. Doesn’t that create a fringe society within the ummah?

      Isn’t that the opposite of what is desirable?

      And, you know, I make du’a all the time that my children will be blessed with pious friends ma’sha Allah who will help them be strong & stay on the deen, so perhaps I need more sabr, but I also need a community that understands that unless we extend common gestures of brotherhood/sisterhood for the sake of Allah, we wont know how much we can help each other & help each other to success insha Allah!

    • Fayruza says:

      Also by some second generation Muslims too. We need to organize conferences that connect and support both reverts and second generation Muslims through larger umbrella organizations like ISNA, ICNA etc.

  8. Noreen says:

    Salam,
    Great piece – but I would like to clarify, discrimination is not racism. One type of suffering is unique in its own way, you lose credibility by making the association.

    • Asiya says:

      Sometimes the discrimination is based upon racism though, I had it made perfectly clear to me by one sister that my race ‘are dirty’ & that the only thing we have in common is being ‘muslim’ & that there is no way she would have anything to do with me/have to say to me ordinarily. Some of the statements that have come out of her mouth really shocked me, hurt me & amazed me by the sheer ignorance – not only deeply offending me at a personal level but the comments were also directed towards my mother, father & siblings.

      Racism certanly exists within the muslim community, not only towards reverts either, there is also the divides between cultures & ethnicities – as though we don’t know that we were all created from Adam [as] & Hawwa[as]!

      After many attempts, I now just exchange greetings [we actually live on the same street]

      • Gibran says:

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        That’s amazingly sick of her…..she should watch out for the day she meets Allah.

        It’s good you aren’t letting someone elses bad behavior ccause you in turn to behave badly. Don’t be without a mind-

        • Gibran says:

          treat people who treat you well, well or better. And we should not treat people who treat us badly, badly. Keep giving those salams, you won’t regret it the day you meet Allah Inshaa Allah.

  9. Beenish says:

    As someone who was raised with a cultural upbringing of Islam and never practiced until recently, we go through some CRAZY things of our own. I always thought that I shared a lot in common with converts because of that, but this article did a wonderful job of focusing on the convert issues themselves. Though many issues coincide with what I’ve felt being raised ‘Muslim’, there are nuances in our backgrounds and how we are encouraged to handle them. I learned a lot about what things I may have had that converts aren’t so lucky to have-Thanks!

    • Shirlee says:

      asalaam alaikum. I will tell you from me, that becoming a Moslem has been the most differcult time of my life. Nearly two years now, have experienced a sad marriage breakup, people critising behind closed doors about our mixed marriage. That, I will never regret our marriage, but feeling rejected and being rejected by women in his culture is really not good.I hope that whoever reads this will know who I am and be ashamed. Becoming a Muslim for me and following Allah Subahnahu Wa Ta Ala is the most precious thing that has happened to me.

  10. fatima says:

    Jazakalaahu kheir for this amazing article, if any sister needs my help and in California, i am a stay at home mum i would love to help. i would not mind giving my Facebook page to contact u. thank u v much again.

  11. Wadiya says:

    JazkaAllah Khair for this article. I feel like many born-in muslims forget about converts and the many struggles we have to face. There are so many instances when i have felt like i don’t belong, either with the language barrier or on the celebration of Eid, when most people, even my close friends that i spend so much time with, spend that day with their families. Even though i have amazing friends that are more religious than cultural, there is always that huge fact of life…they have a muslim family to go home to at the end of the day and i don’t…specially in my case, since i live alone while attending college and have no family to come home to in the first place. When i do visit my parents, i have to actually hide the fact that i’m Muslim and the fact that i wear hijab. I am sure there are many Muslim converts that are going through the same things as me and its just really hard at times Alhamdullilah.

  12. Tracie says:

    I just converted this past spring and everything in this article is right on. I have no plans on leaving Islam, however, I have had my own struggles. I jumped in with both feet and head on. I decided to slow down and not bite off to much or more than I can handle all at once so I don’t become overwhelmed.

    I decided long ago that I am not still American and that wasn’t going to change. I am not dressing in foriegn clothing that is custom in other countries as it is not my custom. I dress modestnly in western clothing and don’t feel the need to wear an abaya or jilbab or any other clothing from Islamic countries.

    I struggled with my identity and decided that was not an option anymore. I changed my religion not me or how I felt about people, places or things. Muslims don’t always agree with this but I don’t care. I didn’t run out and make all these new Muslim friends because I converted. That isn’t me. I have kept my old friends and family. They may not always be supportive but they are my family.

    I have never been to a mosque and I am ok with that. I will go eventually. I have a couple of Muslim friends that I had before I converted that I ask questions should I have them.

    We all have our individual experiences and I would encourage converts to blog or keep a journal of their journey in Islam.

    • Zaitun Zainuddin says:

      Salam Tracle. Syukur to Allah for ending your heart to Islam. It must have taken you much courage to embark on such an important step. By ALLAH’s mercy may your new life be more happy and blissful. Taking the wudhuk and praying 5 times a day is crucial. Refraining from pork and liquor are essential to gain purity of mind and soul. I personally don’t think you have to take the attireof of other culture. So long as you are decently attired,it should be ok. Even as a born Muslim,it took me years to decide on wearing the hijab. And,oc course Islam wants you to have good relations with your family,no matter what faith they profess,so long you know the limits. Good luck and may you gain greater fulfilment by the grace of Allah.

  13. Zeeshan says:

    It is a great article and quite educating for ppl who are born muslims. We really need to work hard to change the conditions. May Allah enable us to do our part. Amen

  14. Marwa says:

    I was born muslim and raised in cairo, now i live in SoCal. Going to the mosque in here women treat me quite bad because im not wearing hijab and because i work as a software engineer. They have called me names and treated me with such disrespect that i never go to the mosque anymore. I live in the same isolation of a new convert and i can understand it. There is no islam without muslims, and treating other muslims well, is the responsibility of every muslim. I compare myself to coworkers who go to church and get a new family through it, and i feel sad for muslims.

    • Rhonda says:

      Salaams Marwa,

      I live in Southern California as well and there are many masajid that are welcoming and accepting! I highly recommend you attend Masjid Omar (IIOC) or the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI).

      Hope to see you around inshaAllah!

  15. Ruhina says:

    Wow, this article is one of the best ones written about converts, MashaAllah. I do think everything is true, however, how you are feeling as a convert definetely depends on your age. I am 13, and I converted when I was 11, and since my parents don’t accept me for converting, there is nothing I can do about it. A lot of converts have it easier because they dont have to see their parents 24/7.

    I think another huge things that converts face is figuring out who true Muslims are…there are so many non-practicing Muslims and less Muslims who are very pious and knowledgable about Islam. I’m just so blessed Alhamdulillah that I found a Muslim family who are extremely rooted in Islam, but a lot of converts are not so lucky.

    • Vali Muhammad says:

      SubhanAllah, it is heartening to know you accepted Islam at such an early age. I pray to Allah (swt) that you and all Muslims find ease in the deen and that we all grow further in Islam, be granted sabr and Allah’s protection from all things bad.
      If you wish to share how you came across Islam and how you came to accept it, inshaAllah, I will be one to gladly follow your story.
      -Vali Muhammad, India

    • Kendriana says:

      Masha’Allah you converted when you were 11?

      How?! How did you begin to learn about Islam? What was your journey spiritually if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Oum Hana says:

      Mashaa Allah, you found guidance at such early age, I am so proud of you, may Allah protect you and all whom you love.

  16. Zainab says:

    Alhamdulillah, this is a great article about converts. I was pulled out of taraweh prayers this past Ramadan and yelled at by another sister because she did not think I was dressed appropriately. She got angry with me that I was wearing loose-fitting pants and a sweater down to my knees. I had been going to that masjid for a few months and that was the first time someone bothered to speak to me. Honestly, if I did not have sheer determination to stick with this deen then I would have walked away by now. I don’t think born Muslims understand how lonely and alienating it can be to be a convert.

  17. Oum Hana says:

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatu Allah!

    Mashaa Allah, a great article indeed!

    As a born Muslim, to me converts are extra special people, whom Allah Subahnaho wa ta3ala has chosen to guide their hearts to light, in the midst of all darck confusions!

    When I hear a new brother, or sister to Islam, uttering his or her first shahada, I can’t help but cry of joy, it is a heart touching, whether be it at the mosque, you tube etc..
    On the other hand, I say to myself, I hope that these folks, know the treasure of mercy, that Allah (SWT) bestowed upon them, then I pray that they will hold on to their guidance with all they got, no matter, what hindrances they might encounter in their new lives, I even take it upon myself if or whenever i have a chance to ask them to: Please never judge your found direction that Allah has guided you to, by the actions of some of us Muslims, we are not perfect, we even might disappointed you, but who are we to take away your light by some of the way we make you feel, in your situation, when it comes to hanging on to your faith in this short life of trials, you hang on to no one but Allah, because, every one else would let you down at some point of their lives, either by choice or by death, but the only one you come to to leave to, and who would not let you down is Allah Subhanaho wa taala.At the end of the day, you are in trial periods, some more than others, and so are we. Moreover, your strength lies in your enlightened heart with Allah, his books and messengers, after all, your Islam is for you to Allah, not for any other Muslim, it’s your guidance, your islam, your heart, your Allah, as much as all other Muslims, whatever, way their culture touches you, please remember, it’s just that: Culture not Islam, and remember, however harsh ways some brothers or sisters use, don’t let it bother you, I would say 99.9% if not all love you. May Allah guide us all inshaa Allah, and may we all be granted paradise inshaa Allah. Because it saddens me so deeply to see some converts folks run back to the darkness, they with the help of Allah, and their courageous search for the truth, escaped from to begin with. Stick to the light, it will never abandon you inshaa Allah!

  18. Christina87 says:

    I read this article at the perfect time. I am a converted muslim as of the beginning of August. About a week later I took the initiative to wear Hijab. I was attending hourly studies with a sister at my local masjid. I felt so connected with the community and accepted. I was hungry for the knowlege of islam. Lately though these past two weeks I have felt disconnected and don’t wanna wear Hijab but I am holding on because I know this would be something that could happen. I am keeping my faith and continue wearing Hijab as it has become a part of me. Tomorrow I will begin to make my way back to Masjid for class and one on one study. I don’t want to get to distant and loose myself. Thank you for this inspiring article and I am glad that I am not the only one that has felt this way.

  19. Jamal says:

    Asslama alaikum wa rahmatullah!

    JazzakAllah for this article. It has educated me and brought deeper insights of the challenges of those who convert. I read thru the comments and cried at our condition. i wish i could ask for forgiveness for all inappropriate interactions and dealings. If you have been hurt…please overlook and forgive our weaknesses, our ignorance…we all have a long long way to go before we arrive at the true living breathing spirit of our deen.

    Make dua to Allah to enable us to change our condition. Ameen wa salam.

  20. Reverted says:

    Masha’Allah! That’s really amazing.

    Jazakillahu Khair

  21. Muna says:

    Aselamu aleikum werahmetulahi weberekatuh

    Great article identifying the problem is the first step in seeking ways how to address it. I would like to tell all reverts you have done a great great thing in your life. It requires first and foremost Allah’s guidance and after that your own courage and decision. Let alone to say my way of life is wrong and choose another way of life, it is not even easy to change a job. So dear sisters and brothers against all odds know that you are pearls of islam. And subhanallah you beautify islam. I recall a story of a revert of 19 years old in less than 4 month of her reversion subhanallah she was trying her best to memorise hadiths and Ayats from the glorius quran and inviting born muslims to improve in their iman. Things might be difficult but still you are chosen by Allah.

  22. Asif says:

    Excellent article. These are things I have noticed, being friends and interacting with number of converts so it’s good to see it mapped out and listed in blog form.

    The sooner the larger Muslim community is more sensitive and sympathetic to the lives and struggles of those who embrace Islam, the more appealing Islam will be to the non-Muslims and those on the outside looking in.

  23. Paul Bartlett says:

    Only recently did I learn about the SuhaibWebb.com website and the articles on it. I have posted a comment in response to one (Part 5) of Br. John Ederer’s articles on Arabic, and this article also hit home.

    I am one of the 50%-75% (I have seen different estimates) of converts who fall away (in the USA, at least). I made Shahada in my forties — I am now in my sixties — in the only mosque which at the time was at all close enough for me to get to with any frequency. However, in that mosque there was not really much, at least in any form that I could make use of, that helped many converts to internalize and solidify their Islam. Except for a few dry as dust lectures full of unexplained rules from someone who was sincere but who I honestly think did not really understand western converts and their issues, there was almost nothing. Converts were largely simply ignored.

    Many younger people may have a little easier time of it (speculation on my part), but if one is already middle aged and people in the mosque are either unable or unwilling to speak English, if one simply *cannot* get over the barrier, try as he/she might, of praying in an incomprehensible language, if one is left all alone, if one is struggling with personal issues that are not addressed, then it is not surprising that some people just up and leave. Not everyone is strong and heroic to begin with. Some people’s faith and commitment are weak from the very start (maybe even their very motivations are confused or mixed, but nobody inquires about them), and without a lot of support and nurturance, those people are gone — often without a trace, because nobody ever really knew them in the first place.

    I no longer practice any religion, although I still retain a sort of vague, unexplained inner “resonance” (for lack of a better term) toward Islam (which is why I have even looked here). However, given personal issues and isolation, I do not know whether I would ever be able to come back.

    • Talut Ali says:

      The situation in general and yours in particular is very saddening. Especially your last paragraph left me distressed and is tear jerking.

      But it also contains the answer u have whether you would be able to come back.the “resonance” in ur heart is proof of it. The emaan(faith)of Prophets always was in ascent,angles remain constant and humans go up and down in their faith.

      And that is why we are here in this world to correct things before we die.So there is no problem you feeling bad and Inshallah its tremendous optimism already and Allah is most and always merciful. the deception and pessimism is always from devil.

      and u can be still a good muslima without telling ur identity and looking like one.Just remember Allah and pray and recite Koran and work slowly on things.

      Although i am not from this country and writing from far away, but it would be a pleasure helping and disusing issues with you online if you like.

      I pray all born Muslims understand the delicacy and worth of Converts/reverts.Its beyond imagination. They resemble the companions of Prophet(PBUH) more than us since most of them were converts.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        Thank you for responding. I have been slightly ill lately, so I am a little behind things and only now saw your courteous reply. I am willing to enter into an initial correspondence, at least, although I am not certain how to make contact, as I prefer not to display my primary email address here. (I have a secondary, sort of “throwaway” email address I could supply in order to make contact for giving my primary address.)

        You wrote, “and u can be still a good muslima without telling ur identity and looking like one.Just remember Allah and pray and recite Koran and work slowly on things.” Actually, I am male, not female (i.e., not a “muslima”). As for “pray[ing] and recit[ing] Koran” those are problematic issues which would be better dealt with in a more individual correspondence. There are other issues as well.

        Thank you for your offer. If you wish, please post a brief comment, and I will provide my secondary email address you can use to provide me with your address so that I can send my primary address.

        • Muhammad Talut says:

          Sorry for calling you sister,I did nt pay much attention to Paul and thought Bartlett is female name.(since i am not English) and since many comments on this website are from sisters and they are big portion of reverts as well.

          Anyhow its privilege and i shall be thankful to you that you accepted my request and stepped forward.Its true hubleness and Inshallah Allah will be loving it too.

          Send me your secondary e mail address (as you mentioned in your message)and lets see how we proceed.

          Your younger brother

          Talut

  24. Katie says:

    Alhamdulillah for this! all I can say is WOW Subhan’Allah… I am newly 20 and in the “process” of reverting if you will and have experienced all 8 of the mentioned. I agree, we feel as if we are not accepted, and looked as inferior for not being Arab. There truley needs to be support from existing Muslims, as well as a more approachable community. I also agree with Muna… Allah (swt) has chosen us and it is something that can not be ignored, and is at the core absolutely beautiful. I really have no Muslim friends, fore I am the only hijabi for about 30 miles, but Insha’Allah, once I go to masjid more often this will change! I am trying my best to keep eeman strong!!

    May Allah bless all of you,
    Katie

    • Gibran says:

      Assalamaulaikaum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh’

      Katie, what you need to do is go to a website like Ummah forum. Definitely you need to socialized with your Muslims brothers and sisters! If you don’t, then Shaitan always goes for the lone wolves! The whispers may come and cause you to slip unless to take refuge in Allah.

      So read the last to surahs Al-Falaq and An-nas and go get some company with Muslim brothers and sisters!

      Oh and the arrogant on Yawmal Qiyamah are in Jahannam, anybody with even a speck of arrogance in their heart is in Jahannam. So don’t worry about those Arabs who think they are better.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        Unfortunately, for Katie and for many, many other new (or not so new convert) Muslims, socializing with Muslim brothers and sisters is more easily said than done. One point that has come up repeatedly here is precisely that in some (many?) places new Muslims are just not accepted into the community. Go to a mosque night after night, as I did, and almost never hear your native language spoken around you, never be greeted, be as if you are invisible.

        That is the issue: lack of acceptance, involuntary isolation. To be honest, internet “communities” are all very fine and nice, but they are no substitute for flesh and blood human beings, somebody to sit down with over coffee, and for some converts, those flesh and blood brothers and sisters just are not there.

        • Ammad says:

          I couldn’t agree more,it’s a rather baffling phenomenon for someone like me,I’m certainly not a role model Muslim but I’ve always tried to look for newly Muslim-brothers who I might assist in some small way but I have not really been in a position to do so.It further saddens and frustrates me to hear of so many reverts leaving Islam because of indifference or ill treatment by Muslims. To me it seems that mosques and Muslim organizations need a Big Brother/Big Sister system which i’m sure they’ll eventually get to when they are done building grandiose mosques to soothe their egos

  25. Paul Bartlett says:

    To Brother Muhammad Talut (I did not see a “Reply” button to his reply; perhaps replies can be nested only so many levels deep):

    My secondary email address is slyphnoyde@yahoo.com . Send me an address to which I can send you my primary email address. Most commonly I check my email between 1300 and 2000 US Eastern Time, which for a few more weeks is UTC – 0400 (then it will become UTC – 0500).

  26. Huron says:

    I reverted to Islam also in my forties nearly two decades ago whilst living in the UK. I initially embraced the faith wholeheartedly, but became very aware quite early on that I was the round peg in the square hole. The mosque that I had joined was predominately Pakistani orientated and it was not easy to be accepted. After maybe a year, I became disillusioned and drifted away, left the UK and emigrated to the US.

    Recently, I was watching Youtube and came across the Qari Ibrahim Jibreen reciting from the Koran. I welled up with tears and became extremely emotional as it had a profound effect on me! I have watched him several times since and I have the same feelings. Elation and sadness because I have committed the worst of sins since the last time I prayed and I feel that maybe I am beyond redemption.

    • Gibran says:

      Salamun alaykum

      You are not beyond redemption. If that was the case, you wouldn’t be guided to swelling to tears at a Quranic reciation. Allah has made it easier now to be Muslim so take this opportunity to save yourself. If you don’t, you will never cease to regret it.

      • Huron says:

        Assalmu aleikum Gibran and thank-you for your advice, it is very much appreciated.

        Shaytan has had power over my thoughts and actions for many years and I have indulged them.

        However, in the last few weeks I have found solace in Allah (swt) and I feel as though I am turning the corner and putting my life in order. I am reading as much as I can and am trying to overcome my ignorance in oh, so many ways.

        When I am able to move around more easily (I had surgey on a foot recently) I am going to start attending the local mosque. I need to be in the company of brothers and sisters again so that I can learn from them also.

  27. Paul Bartlett says:

    In reply to Ammad (apparently replies can only be nested three levels deep):

    “It further saddens and frustrates me to hear of so many reverts leaving Islam because of indifference or ill treatment by Muslims. To me it seems that mosques and Muslim organizations need a Big Brother/Big Sister system which i’m sure they’ll eventually get to when they are done building grandiose mosques to soothe their egos”

    Unfortunately, even this much is not always accepted. A number of years ago at the mosque I was attending for a while, I quietly and discreetly suggested through another person a Big Brother / Big Sister type program. The main “caller” (da’ee) immediately shot down the idea, because it did not conform to the way he wanted to do things. At the time there was no other mosque near enough for me to get to with any frequency, so I finally quit going. And eventually I gave up almost any practice of Islam at all.

    • Ammad says:

      It’s an ill omen that people who are in the best positions to help new Muslims are either very authoritarian or their way of thinking is too shrink-wrapped by practices in ‘back home’ lands..and that is another thing Muslims like me are to blame for;we’ve become so divorced from community service that we often leave it to those people who may even be well intentioned by are certainly ill equipped in dealing with people..I hope inshAllah you are in touch with Muslims who are open minded and willing to lend an ear without imposing their own agendas on you.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        Sadly, perhaps, even getting in touch with such people has proved to be difficult. I did reach one organization in another part of the US which (supposedly, anyway) has a “mentor” program. I received a reply that my message and concerns were being forwarded to a mature person in my area, who would contact me. The respondent wrote to keep him updated. No one ever contacted me, and when I wrote again, I got no further response.

        There was one person I met in my area, but because he has family and work responsibilities and I don’t, I left it up to him to make another contact when it would work out for him. Nothing further. I have exchanged a few emails with one person in another part of the world, but that is hardly the same as meeting over coffee, so to speak. Another person here in North America has emailed and telephoned me, and that is something I appreciate, but again, it is not the same thing as face to face contact. In that regard, I have been repeatedly disappointed by Muslims in my area, enough so that I have more or less quit trying.

        • Ammad says:

          I couldn’t agree more,often times there really is no substitute for direct human contact and this is seemingly one of those.It’s also not entirely on you to be in contact with people holding ‘mentorship’ program. I would love to meet up with you brother inshAllah with the caveat that I may not even be able to assist you fully AND it’s likely we dont even live in the same state- I live in Ohio.

  28. Lucy says:

    This is exactly everything I’m feeling in my path to conversation. It did make my eyes water and my heart happy. Cause its not just me. Though I haven’t taking my shahada yet. I have recently started wearing my hijab and people with their questions, and look for people like they didn’t know me anymore. Some with awful comments. Just seemed like I couldn’t handle it. But I was still proud to wear and happy with my decision to find, accept Islam and Allah into my life, heart and soul. Thank you for posting this.

  29. Lucy says:

    I wanted to know everything I could learn about Islam, was scared to fail Allah but today I will take cause I don’t know tomorrow. I may not know much more than I sis when I first start out. I do know I love Islam and there is only one true god. I want to be a muslim ans become a better one.

    • Ammad says:

      All praise is due to Allah for that,as the Prophet PBUH often reminded people to hasten in doing good deeds so inshAllah that is a great first step you’re taking sister…welcome to the family of Islam;we’ve become dysfunctional over the ages and we bicker a lot and we may even not even be there fully for you always but pray for our collective guidance,forgive us during our ignorance and know that even we as humans fail to do justice to the beauty that Islam is and to glorify our creator through noble actions as we ought to..inshAllah I hope you are able to do some research and find Muslims who are active within the community and general society,of your age group and mental background so the transition becomes easier for you :D

    • mark says:

      take your time, be yourself and focus on faith in God. And remember, you do not have to take Arab culture. Many will try to convince you of that, don’t listen to them. Be yourself and be who you are. The only difference is your faith in God and reading Koran. Everything takes time. Also remember that becoming a muslim at this time in history is a big step and comes with alot of hurdles, all eyes are on muslims now and they are not looking favorably upon them. So, take your time, just pray and ask God for guidance.

      • maryammmmh says:

        i agree with what mark said. i always wondered why do some converts dress in a way that is far from the culture they belong to. i understand that the might be trying to feel that they belong to the muslim community but the beauty of islam is that there is no way to dress, no color and no culture that is specific to it. it addresses all nations an that is its beauty. so yes, on step at a time and no need to change your apperance, only what is in your heart matters, that’s already a huge step

    • Patricia says:

      I took my Shahada 4 months ago, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I stay in a small town in the Midwest and i am the only Muslim here, the closest Islamic Center is over a 5 hour drive one way. Alhamdulillah for the access to the internet and for my very good friend from Saudi Arabia who has sent me a lot of reading material. I also attend http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com and take the free courses there to help me learn all I can. I also wear my Hijab everywhere I go whenever I walk out of my home and most of the time when I am at home, it is part of me now. Just put your faith in Allaah not in people, put your trust in Allaah not in people and all will work out. I watch the Deen show often and sometimes for hours just to hear positive and knowledgeable information. Make sure you get authentic Hadith and you never take anyone’s opinion without asking them for their source so you can research it yourself. Since I converted I have now been sober from alcohol and marijuana for 4 months now and have a stop smoking cig date of July 1st and In Sha Allaah I will kick my last habit in the butt…. Islam is perfect but we as Muslims are not, remember that when dealing with other Muslims. Intentions are very important so make sure your own intentions are of a pure and kind heart. If you can’t help someone than at least don’t harm them and misinformation can be very harmful. May Allaah forgive us, have mercy on us, protect us, provide for us, safeguard us and help us.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        Salaam, sister. Thank you for your inspiring words. May Allah (swt) reward you. However, please (and others) be aware that there are those who are not strong and able to maintain their faith in isolation. Some of us came (of however many years ago) to Islam with very, very shaky faith, when we honestly, really, and sincerely thought (but may have had little real understanding) we were doing the right and correct thing, pleasing to God, for our own benefit, in professing ourselves Muslims, but beyond that we barely had a thread of faith to hang on to the “rope of Allah.” Sadly, in the reality of the Muslim community as it is, not as we might like it to be, we were all alone, and some of us, who came out of “non-spiritual” backgrounds, can barely call to Allah (swt) in our isolation.

  30. Paul Bartlett says:

    To Ammad (it would be nice if the website would allow deeper nesting of replies):

    “I couldn’t agree more,often times there really is no substitute for direct human contact and this is seemingly one of those.It’s also not entirely on you to be in contact with people holding ‘mentorship’ program.”

    However, unfortunately it has been my situation, with only minor exceptions, that it has been up me to make the contacts, and given my experiences with some mosques and other organizations, it hardly seems worth the effort any more. Many Muslims seem to be big on da’wah but, in many instances, small on follow-up. (From what I have read here and elsewhere, my case is not by any means unique.)

    As for where people live, I live in Virginia near Washington, DC, but I do not travel much.

    (By the way, I hope my personal bad experiences are not turning off anyone else who is inclined to Islam.)

    • Ammad says:

      It does seem like a bleak situation but I pray Allah SWT allows you to interact with Muslims who can be of some benefit to you..and no your experiences allow both new Muslims and Muslims to be aware of some challenges that being a Muslim entail unfortunately..discussions like this oughta lead to Muslims awakening from their slumber.

      • Chris says:

        The challenges that come up are more and more difficult for me. The more I learn about Islam, the more I am caused to question. I fear the awakening might just be an awakening away from Islam…

  31. Reem says:

    What a beautiful article. It breaks my heart to think that, after the innumerable struggles a convert goes through, Muslims makes him/her feel unwelcome/uncomfortable/unhappy. May Allah enable all converts to Islam to overcome the obstacles that come their way with ease, may He bless them with a most welcoming support system, and may He guide all Muslims to epitomize the character of the Messenger SAW.

    Also, if any Muslim feels as though he/she has no home/place to belong, please remember that Paradise will, iA, be your ETERNAL abode, after “the Day He will call you and you will respond with praise of Him and think that you had not remained [in the world] except for a little.” (17:52)

    • Assalam Alaikum Reem. I used to blame born “Muslims” but quickly came to understand, at least from an intellectual perspective, that the Muslim world is its own Dark Ages as the Western World was when the Muslims glowed with tolerance, science and critical thought. Today the enlightened/educated among the born Muslims are deeply traumatized by the Dark Ages of their own cultures. Coming to terms with that truth emotionally is hard for anyone, convert or born Muslim. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it is, due to materialism and “usage” of the religion by those in power. They are the ones who cling to unthinking dogma and prejudice because it aids in their worldly gain.

      It took over a dozen years for my ex mother in law, a Saudi woman, to get over some of these hurdles and see, in me, a kindred spirit. By the time I left her country, I missed her like a mother. She did not see the world the way her son said she did. She was an enlightened soul. She used to say to my son, traumatized by the discrimination heaped against him by family and society due to the fact that he was ‘half’ American (i.e. tainted), “Don’t forget your mother is a convert. She gets twice the rewards.”

      Allahu Akbar. What a soul she was.

      • Paul Bartlett says:

        Thank you. JAK. I have long thought that the Muslim ummah is suffering though a deep Dark Age. Why? God only knows. Nevertheless, I think it is true.

        There was a time of Muslim enlightenment. Now there no longer is, little more than darkness. Fanatics and closed minded persons have taken over. Those (including myself, years ago, but no longer) who were once attracted to the nobility of Islam have often been profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by the deep, deep failings in the ummah. Not everyone is a hero(ine). Not everyone can surmount the deep sickness in the Muslim ummah. In all honesty, without any intention to offend, I sincerely think that many Muslims do not understand (or do not care) how deep is the illness in the ummah.

        I would have to look it up, but I vaguely recall a hadith that once Islam bagan as a stranger and that before the Hour it would be again a stranger. Do Muslims not know? Do they not care? Those of us who are almost desperate to believe in something, almost desperate to hang our lives on something, come to Islam but suffer *profound* disappointment and disillusionment in what we find in the ummah. Is it any wonder if many of us have drifted away?

  32. Saleel Mikail says:

    Bismillah

    I converted to Islam September 01, 2010 (22 Ramadan, AH 1431). I identify with many of the points expressed in this article, and some of the comments above. I live in Philadelphia PA. Many of the masjids I attend seem focused on repeatedly bashing people during khutbahs rather than wise instruction, and sadly it seems they are engulfed in the counterculture of prisons and racially oriented social activism. I think there is a general leadership failure in the Ummah at large, as exemplified in the abdication of the Caliphate in 1924. An attitude of passivity has been instilled in Muslims and this is what is killing us. What we need is not more liberality but more strictness in adhering to the deen. Taking action to purify our lives and help the Ummah makes us feel better about ourselves and more confident. Instead of pointing fingers, what we need is honesty and repentance. The difficulty of connecting to a community in the US is compounded by the culture being geared towards some anti-Islamic ideals, and the marginalization of Islam in American society. I invite any sincere Muslim or seeker of truth (male only) who would like to connect with an American Muslim committed to striving for our deen and our Ummah to connect with me by visiting my blog. I am no more perfect than you or the next person but by working together for the sake of Allah only we can get stronger to resist our enemies.

  33. Paul Bartlett says:

    And where is your blog, please? I did not find it with a quick search, although I admit that I am not adept at such things.

  34. Shirlee says:

    JAsalaam Alaikum. Just wondered if there are any New Zealand converts / reverts on this site?

  35. Shiena says:

    My name is Shiena..I just want to know if do I need to change everything in my life if I will convert from christian to Islam?.I have a boy friend for 4 years and I love him so much..he has a blood of half Islam and half christian..A few days ago I give him a surprise visit in their place in Zamboanga Phils..and in a sudden I discover that he already had a family but only he dont have a good standing with her wife now..He said if I really love him we will convert to Islam together and get married on Islam..I just want to know if I convert to Islam ?is it not unfair?I love him so much and Im willing to do anything for him..But how about his christian wife?Does she had still the right to complain in the court even I will marry his husband in Islam.?..Pls somebody answer and help my questions..

    • Greene says:

      My dear, if I were you I would avoid him like the plague. If he never mentioned that he already had a family he has deceived you, after you ” marry” him he make continue to deceive you, only Allah knows.
      He mustn’t convert just to marry you, and neither should you convert for love. Why not take shahadah and then wait and see. Once you are Muslim there is no boyfriend allowed and you must keep your distance. Then see if he’s still the right one for you. Please don’t be offended by my advice.

      • Dear Greene, says:

        Dear Greene,

        Thank you so much for the time to write & share me with your advice..I do really appreciated it.And I’ll take your advice>>>slowly..
        Thank you so much once again.
        May God Bless Us All always.

  36. Qays says:

    Asalaam alaikum dear brothers and sisters of the Ummah, of Rasullullah (salalahu alaihi wa salem)

    First of all, it must be stated that Islam is the undeniable and unfalliable, everlasting truth that is the absolute key to Ultimate success.

    The words La ilaha il Allah are worth more than the world and everything in it.

    I just wanted to share a brief story, insha’Allah: When I first became a Muslim, being a white previously non religious Canadian, it was competely foreign to me. In fact I had no idea about Islam, I simply had recently come to belive that there was a God, and an Akheera (afterlife) with certainty, so Allah led me to his deen (religion).
    Therefore, I was not quite comfortable and felt like somewhat of a black sheep. I would try and do things so that the other people around me thought I was like them. In one sense this was good (but actually it is not good, because are efforts should only be for Allah), because of my hate to be seen as different, I learned quickly.

    However, the most important thing to realize for all converts to Islam, and indeed all those born in Islam, is that the ONLY ONE IS ALLAH. Allah is it. The one. The only. The eternal, and the only decider of our ultimate fate. Everything relies on him, and depends on him. Allahu akhbar.

    At some point, with the knowledge and application of Islam, and becoming more comfortable with the Muslim people, Allah strengthened my eeman (faith), alhamdulilah. I then realized that it does not matter what any person thinks of you, indeed we were all created from dirt and mud! The people of the prophet Nuh hated him much, and yet he persevered and never forgot his Lord! In fact, all the prophets suffered for being different, but they did not change their belief!!!

    We are living our lives for Allah, and we must remember that is the reason we became Muslims, and joined the truth! It is a BLESSING that Allah chose us from among the kufar to embrace Islam, so therefore the only opinion that matters is that of Al Samed (the eternal).

    We love Prophet Muhammad and we follow him, and we believe in our return to Allah. IF we belive this, and worship Allah in our five fundamental pillars, and make efforts to learn about our religion, than Allah will make it easy for us, and establish love in our hearts for our brothers and sisters, and they in turn will love us back.

    So whatever happens, NEVER APOSTATE AND RENOUNCE YOUR FAITH!! Only Allah counts, and don’t forget that this life is a test, and indeed we will be tested in many ways. Don’t stop learning about Islam, and Allah will make it easy for you, walahi (I swear by ALLAH).

    Everything in our life has been written already, and we have Qadr (pre ordainment or destiny) Please be patient, and never leave Islam. the people are from MUD, and Allah has blessed you with Al haqq (the TRUTH)

    Please ask Allah to have mercy on the Muslims of all the times. A Saudi Arabian Muslim is not better than a British Muslim, and only Allah can judge the results. Be patient, and continue until death releases you from this difficult test of life.

    ALLAHU AKHBAR!!!!

  37. Ahmad says:

    Thank you Qays, your response has made me feel stronger. I’m an American convert and understand fully what has been said here, I particularly share the same thoughts and experience as Mr. Bartley above. I hope born-Muslims generally can become aware how important it is for us to be accepted and helped as many of us lost family support and friends in the process of becoming Muslim. Community is vital; bigotry and arrogance have no place in Islam. I am finally being able to look beyond the state of the ummah and focus on Alla swt only. It hasn’t been easy but maybe that was the lesson.

  38. Pepe says:

    Great article. I can totally understand where you are coming from. The difference in my case is that 15 years after taking my shahada I left Islam. The more I read the less I believed. I was forcing myself to believe at one point and labelling my conscience, critical thinking and doubts as lack of Imaan and the whispering of Shaitan (Surah an Naas always came to mind).

    Leaving the religion feels like the best thing I did. I am just as compassionate or more towards my fellow human beings now. I truly seek truth in all matters now instead of claiming I have it and twisting reality and facts to bend to Islam. It’s liberating to have taken my religious blinders off and be able to see the whole picture and the reality behind it. Looking back now I hate that I justified and made excuses for some things in Islam. I remember my humanity scrambling to find justifications and excuses for some horrendous things in Islam. At least now I realize what effect religion has on the brain. How when we submit our humanity and conscience to the will of religion it slowly (or quite fast in some cases) changes us into a different creature.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      If you would like to “talk some things over” of possibly common interest in a more individual way, contact me at my “secondary” email address slyphnoyde@yahoo.com and I will send you my primary email address. (I did this with one other person here at SuhaibWebb.com.)

    • mark says:

      Faith is about growth not stagnancy. maybe you left the dogma of religious shackles behind but if you still believe in God then you are on the next step of your spiritual journey. I’ve been a Muslim since 2006 and so far the majority of Muslims are more interesting in promoting Arab Culture instead of faith. it is very clique oriented as well within the Mosques and the Muslim community. faith in God transcends culture, religious affiliation (which becomes gang like) and language. Islam was never intended to be an institution like the Catholic Church, it was simply meant to be a return to faith in God.

  39. sw33t khadijah says:

    i’m a new convert, and i thought i was the only person who felt alone and not knowing what to do..im glad to now that this is a normal feeling and that i did not make a mistake. im more happy and at ease, i have met great ppl from other countries who have taken the time with me to study quran..AS A NEW CONVERT, MY ADVICE IS,,YOU DID THE RIGHT THING, YOUR A VERY STRONG PERSON, BREATH AND RELAX, DON’T GIVE UP, AND ALWAYS KEEP YOUR TRUST IN ALLAAH,,,”EVERYTHING IS OK NOW”….

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      “i have met great ppl from other countries who have taken the time with me to study quran.” You are fortunate. Not everyone has had that experience. Many years ago (early 1980s), when I was not Muslim, I sincerely, respectfully, and quietly wanted to sit in on a Qur’anic study circle in a small mosque to try to learn something about Islam. The word was passed to me that I was not welcome. Apparently some people did not want infidels “contaminating” the place, even quiet and respectful ones who would ask polite questions for their own learning. After I made shahada years later in another part of the country, I was not, apparently, judged to be “contaminating,” but on the whole the “existing” Muslims in that later mosque were not particularly any friendlier to a middle aged European-American convert who spoke nothing but English.

  40. abdurrahman says:

    This is the very thing I am going through as a new convert. But I won’t let it change my mind.

  41. Farah says:

    MashAllah Everything in this article is so true. Your comment also really struck a chord. I converted 7 years ago when I was 19, and I went through really similar feelings. It took a long time for the faith to get stronger and to feel like I wasn’t some kind of impostor. I eventually left North America to live in the Middle east for a while to study and explore more, but hands down the defining moment was Hajj. When I was in Mecca in front of the Kabaa with millions of people from all over the world- I finally felt home. I had never felt that in the same way before. We are all so different yet all part of one Ummah. Every age, color shape size language and mindset. Yet we all belong. There is room for everyone. All these different tribes and nations were circumnambulating the Kaabah, praying individually in Kazakh, Urdu, German, Turkish, Somali, Iranian, Wolof… I felt so lucky to be Muslim. In a way we were all strangers there, because we were all removed from our home and habits. Our ummah is chaotic and beautiful and complicated.. just like my birth family… and I love it.

  42. maryammmmh says:

    as-salamu alaikom,

    i read this article with much interest and although i was born muslim, i felt i could perfectly relate to it. As a mulim who grew up, lived and worked in belgim and france for years, i always had an inner dream that one day, i woul go back to my original country, egypt, and see real islam. i was quite disappointed, not because people are not religious but because there is a gap between practising rituals and morals and how some people behave once they have accomplished their prayer is disappointng. as if islam were a series of rituals, but where is sincerity, honesty? I live in Egypt now and have a mixed feeling of happiness and disappointment and i do feel alone, unable to connect with people although i am 40 y old. i think i idealized muslims too much, they are just human beings…. i wish i could meet people in egypt who are sincere, moderate muslims. i dont care if a girl is veiled or not, if we have weaknesses or shortcomings or not, we just dont have to give an image of being ideal muslims. why can’t we just be ourslves, trying to improve on a religious level, sometimes failing, oher times succeeding, the most important thing being sincerity and compassion.

    • Fayruza says:

      As a second generation Muslim of South Asian decent, I too feel alienated from the first generation Musilms. The struggles of my revert brothers ans sisters are, unfortunately, familiar to me. Tragically, this is affecting my children, the third generation. When I go to the masjid, I am ignored. I am seriously considering removing the hijab because I don’t fit in anywhere. However, my iman is strong. I have deep love for Allaah (swat), His messenger, and the deen. Sometimes, I feel that certain reverts see the immigrant Muslims as more “authentic”. Also, the first generation Muslims share a common culture and seen to have a greater support system. May Allah aza wa jul help us to become more united and compassionate ummah. Ameen.

    • A sister says:

      salam aleikum,

      “i think i idealized muslims too much, they are just human beings”

      That hits the nail on the head. Definitly something to keep in mind. On the other hand ; i have Always felt safe and accepted in my former christian community. I know someone who didnt really believe in christianity, yet she still wanted to attend schools of that particular christian sect as she said the people there are more friendly and accepting than secular schools. And this is what I experienced too. There was a whole different “mentality” and I think it would be so great if we as muslims could achieve something like that too. That when you see a brother or sister you immediatly feel safe and know “ok this one is not going to hurt me on purpose, or steal from me” and this is not an unrealistic thought. This can happen. And it should. May Allaah (SWT) help us.

  43. Hanan says:

    Grateful for the great englightment about how it is with new converts adapting to a new life style. It really made me understand and hopefully for those Muslims born in Muslim families like me how to help our new brothers and sisters. I want to assure you that even if my parents are muslims, was born in Saudi Arabia, studied most of Islam since age of 6, islam is still a religion that I’m learning from till today and still there’s more. It is a blessing by itself. So, my brothers and sisters you are all blessed. So keep moving on the right track and don’t stray away from it.

  44. Adam says:

    I converted to Islam about 6 years ago. Since then I have stopped practicing. I feel some other people may be in my situation so here’s how it turned out like this:

    I came into Islam with full conviction, prayed 5 times a day and even fasted some of the week! (didnt know the correct times to fast so just did it random days hhaa)

    In the early days I didnt have much apart from the Qu’ran (or my translation to be precise)

    There was alot I wasnt aware of it (I even showed friends at the mosque pictures of my dog saying how great she was hahaha, did not realise dogs were haram!)

    However, I realised there was only one God and I believed in what was in the Qu’ran.

    Basically…

    I got overwhelmed by the isolation and culture shock.
    I stopped going to mosque.
    I avoided the muslims I had began to get to know.
    Now I want to return to the deen, now I have studied it for years.
    But I am far too worried about going back to the masjid/community that I ran away from.
    I think mabye the only solution for me is to move and try and start again.

    I may sound fairly upbeat but I actually have fairly bad depression about the whole thing. The guilt of going to hellfire is like a constant weight in my heart. I feel like I’m in deep loss as Allah swt says in Surah Al-Asr.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      Please be aware that there are many, many, many other people who came into Islam and who also repeatedly had bad experiences with the Muslim community and became isolated and alienated. I myself am one of those many others. You have a lot of company. Many of us drifted away. You are not alone.

      I sometimes am baffled as to why so many converts have such bad experiences, time after time after time, place after place. It is shameful. Do most “born” Muslims not know? Do they not care? They should consider the dropout rate of converts in North America to be truly appalling. I have repeatedly encountered estimates that half to three quarters of N. American converts sooner or later leave Islam in one way or another. Half to three quarters!!!

      There are organizations which purport to help new Muslims, but even one of those I did not have a good experience with. (After a preliminary contact, I heard nothing further from them.)

      Recently someone in my area did contact me, and I am grateful for that, but still, I do not have contact with a serious scholar that I can really discuss some serious issues with. Whether I “really” make it back to a genuine practice of Islam remains to be seen.

      • mark says:

        Came across your comment and it is very true. I converted in late 2005. to this day I have no muslim friends. why? because the majority of muslims in the US are exclusive and isolationist. They look at converts as outsiders, especially if you take Islam seriously. If I had a dollar for every “born” muslim that told me “shave the beard, you’re too serious” and “stop praying outside, it’s too serious” I would have over 3000 dollars now. I am seriously considering leaving Islam because I am not the religion of one man (imagine how that looks). the problem with muslims from the middle east is that they are ingrained with wahhab concepts. we as converts don’t bring cultural baggage to the table and we certainly approach Koran from a very different perspective, especially if you are college educated as I am. I can’t tell you how many misreadings of the Koran I have caught “born” muslims spouting. Again, I am seriously on my way on walking out the door of Islam because as a community it is seriously damaged.

        • Paul Bartlett says:

          Salaam, Brother. I know what it is like. I myself, although I have looked at and participated in some of these web discussions, am barely hanging on by a thread. For practical intents and purposes, Islam is almost no longer a meaningful reality in my life. There is only a kind of vague “inner resonance” that I cannot fully explain. In all honesty, I do not even pretend to live according to the Sharia. If someone had not contacted me recently, I might not even be here.

          May Allah (swt) forgive me, but why, why, why is there so much sickness in the Muslim ummah in North America? Why is it that so many new (of however many years standing) Muslims are treated so shabbily? Why do so many converts fall away, and nobody even seems to care?

          I would have to look it up to be sure, but I vaguely recall a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saws) that Islam began as a stranger and before the Hour may again be a stranger (something like that; my memory may not serve me). How much true Islam is there to be found on the earth? May Allah (swt) have mercy on us all.

      • mark says:

        you asked: May Allah (swt) forgive me, but why, why, why is there so much sickness in the Muslim ummah in North America? Why is it that so many new (of however many years standing) Muslims are treated so shabbily? Why do so many converts fall away, and nobody even seems to care?

        First, people come to America not searching for God, they come to America for money. therefore, many Muslim immigrants have compromised their faith. Jesus said “A man cannot serve two masters, he will either serve the one and hate the other. you cannot serve both God and Money (Mammon)”. Jesus had it right. Muslims in America love “Things”, which corrupts the soul. They didn’t come here for Islam they came here for the Dollar. Fact. Second, converts are treated badly based on what I consider racism and discrimination. I’ve seen Chinese muslims pushed, shoved, and mocked by Arab and Pakistani muslims in the mosque. I’ve seen Hispanic muslims being told in the mosque, “Why don’t you go find fellow Mexican”. I’ve seen Anglo converts being treated like Gold while Hispanic and Chinese Muslims getting treated worse than dogs. There is serious racism and discrimination taking place. I have seen convert only Mosques because the converts don’t get along with the Arabs and Pakistanis (because the latter two groups treat converts in a very rude and ugly manner). I’ve seen fist fights break out between converts and Arabs and Pakistanis in the mosque.
        This one, I said this a few years back and I believe I have been proven correct. Americans will not embrace Islam because no one and I mean No One will tolerate being treated like a second class citizen, which is how the Arabs and Pakistanis treat converts. Those that did convert get tired of it and leave. plain and simple.

      • mark says:

        by the way, you will never come across a “serious scholar” that will discuss these serious issues. I had a serious scholar and imam tell me that if he addressed these issues he would lose members and the mosque needs money so he did want to alienate anyone. Money talks and trumps all these serious issues.
        But, you are the scholar. you, as well I myself and others, see something seriously wrong in Islam as a community. We see discriminatory practices and other nonsense. From reading your post I can see that you know you want to leave even it saddens you. I feel the same. But, like a relationship that is no longer working, that becomes a burden instead of a joy the decision must be made to leave for the sake of mental, emotional and spiritual health. God is beyond the label and box. Faith in God doesn’t need to be labeled.
        A wise man once said:
        “When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”

        • Adam says:

          I think the world needs a “western Islam”, or mabye “European Islam”. I know this comment often sparks disaproval but I do not mean in any way that Islam should change. In one sense, there is only one islam, which is the Qur’an and the Sunnah brought by the Prophet Muhammad (saw). But in another sense we have to understand that there isn’t JUST ONE Islam. There is Asian Islam, African Islam, Balkan Islam, Indonesian Islam, Chinese Islam, Mongolian Islam, Thai Islam, Chechen Islam. All these cultures have accepted the truth of the sacred scriptures whilst still holding onto the aspects of their culture that don’t go against the principles of Islam. Doesn’t anyone think it is time for a western Islam? I live in England and converts he are not pakistani, we are not Arab, or African, FACT.

          I know colour and race does not matter in how we are viewed by God, and that is exactly why we, as converts, are not converting to Pakinstani culture, we are not converting to Somali culutre, we are converting to ISLAM!

          I sometime imagine a future of my country being converting to Islam and what a beautiful place it would be :) inshallah.

    • mark says:

      Hey Adam, I am with you on much of what your wrote. I have come to believe that faith in God is about growth not stagnation. How we were, when we first came to Islam and faith can never be the same 3, 4, 5 or 10 years down the road. Faith is growth and change. Sadly too many muslims as individuals suffer from arrested development. Those are the type of people to avoid. We must grow, however painful it can be. Faith in God is not stagnant and it is not confined to a box. God is truth and truth cannot be contained. Where you were at the beginning of your journey is what you needed at that time and moment, as you move forward you will need other things. those things God will place before us. we have to be open and sensitive to God’s voice. Again, sadly, too many muslims are simply aping what they see and hear. Being a good little monkey doesn’t allow for spiritual growth. I am seriously leaving Islam behind not as the theoretical foundation of faith but as far as the community is concerned.

      • Talut says:

        Assalam Alikum brother Mark

        Sorry to hear the sad stories regarding the bad/prejudiced treatment of Reverts. And i totally agree with ur above mentioned behavior of some Muslims of other communities treating Reverts worst than animals.

        I was also in contatc with br Paul Bartlett as u can see in the above trailin comments only becasue i felt so sad and pathetic as well.

        I m not from USA but from Pakistan,but i can undersrtnd wat u said since i m very much into new muslims through you tube vidoes and blogs and internet generally.

        Muslims have lost the value of Dawah and thus dont know wat it means to be Muslim. Reverts to me as i have always said many times,more than anything,they are treat to have,so many sacrifices…… and u guys are much much near to Sahaba then we are since most of them were reverts.

        So inshAllah u guys have nothing to loose,keep ur head down,stay persistent in ur deen,seclude yourself from other Muslims if u think thye are corrupting you and InshAllah this world is a game of few days,Swish….and eyes closed

        You can keep contact with me at this address (talut_a@yahoo.com)

        I cant promise that i will promptly reply since i m busy working/studying, but we can communicate.

        MAY ALLAH SOFTEN THE HEARTS OF BORN MUSLIMS SO THEY BECOME MORE ACCOMODATING TO OUR BELOVED REVERT GUESTS…AMEEEN

        • Bint Nuh says:

          To all my brothers and sisters out there reading this that feel let down my the Muslim community. My heart goes out to you all. May Allah grant you strength and keep you steadfast upon the path that pleases him.

          The people around you including Muslims, no matter how much they love – or claim they do – you will always fall short in helping you with the problems you go through in life. But Allah is always there. His response is immediate.

          Therefore my advice is to connect with Allah, the Lord of the Universe, through the special connection he has given us all. A connection available to us 24/7 days a week and in which response is instant… Prayer.

          After each prayer, raise your hands up and beg Allah. Let him know all your problems, even in your own language. It’s fine. Cry before him and I promise you, you will feel better then you were before. Allah will open up avenues that you least expected.

          Finally, I just want to end of saying that the very fact that you are on this website is proof of your sincere desire to come closer to Allah.

          Therefore continue to be sincere and amidst all the struggles, remember that life is short. Very soon we are all going to be leaving this world and so make this life count for it determines our eternal place in the hereafter.

          Your Sister in Islam
          - Bint Nuh

        • Paul Bartlett says:

          (I have been away from this website for a time, so I am catching up some. Also, I hope the threading comes out intelligibly.)

          To Sister Bint Nuh (and all others): Salaam alaikum. Yes, those of us who came to Islam as mature adults (the older we were, the more difficult it may be) and who have had major difficulties and disappointments with the Muslim community, sometimes are barely hanging on by a thread.

          At times I wonder why I even bother looking here and at other Muslim websites. I have had so many disappointments, and my faith (iman) has been so weak for so many years, that it often seems hardly worth the effort any more. To be sure, it so often happens that people disappoint, but for some of us, people is about all we have — if we even have them, which many of us do not! When you are an older person who has had difficulty after difficulty while being all alone in the world, hanging onto the “rope of Allah” is easier said than done. Without some kind of real world support from real human beings, it is all too easy just to slip away.

          It is sad, really. Read the comments in this and other threads on this and other websites. Time after time, converts have had such disappointments with the community, and often even “next generation” Muslims have had also with the “older generation.” Even more sadly, not everyone is a spiritual hero(ine) who is able to hand onto the rope of Allah by him/herself without support from others. And so often, that support is not there.

  45. Aijaz says:

    And we born muslims understand the nervousness and admire the curiosity and sincerity of new converts.

  46. Badr Ahmed says:

    Dear Readers, As Salamu Alaikum,
    People of the world changed somuch that Muslims & Muslims have stagnated feelings . Holy Prophet Mohammed MSAS truly advised His Shaabies that as the end time will come near ,There will be 73 sects among Muslims but Only one sect will truly follow the true teaching of Islam. Sign of end time already began. There is no more love & unity among Muslims. Beside unruly people misinterprete Holy Quran & attack innocent people in a number of Countries. Also We find that India has trained a number of Muslims to act as terrirists In Muslims countries to create division between Shia & sunnies.
    Again Many Anti Muslims try to confuse Muslims misinterpreteing Hadis & Holy Quran. The more evil they do, the More we see convertion to Islam.
    World is a ground of test. We see many a time our prayers remain unanswered , Prophet Adam was forgiven after 200 Earth Years. Holy Adam & His wife were living nearby
    yet They remained unknown in Safa & marawa or in its vicinity. Some prayers answered very easily: ” If you want to fast & feel unsafe, seek the help of ALLAH & instantly you will be strengthen.
    Will Athiest find any benefit without believing in ALLAH,
    All Holy Books came to 124000 Holy Prophets contained
    same thing ” Believe in the Creator ALMIGHTY ALLH & serve HIM alone & love mankind”.
    Athiest make mockery As they believe Everything in this earth & no next world. But it makes no sense that we will never see our Bygone Parents & relatives & friends.
    Holy quran & all previous Scriptures were enough to give the proof of next world. Simply note Holy Adam & his wife were not born in this Earth .So there is another Earth(Paradise & Hell). If you are confused seek help of ALLAH SWT to guide all of us to truth.

  47. Em says:

    To all of my dear convert brothers and sisters,

    I wanted to take the time to tell you that you are worthy of being Muslim, that you are important to Islam and that Allah (swt) is the only guide you need. Many of us ‘born-Muslims’ are 2nd generation Americans who did not really come to Islam fully until in our teens/20s or even later in life. We had to go through growth, set backs, and lots of trials to get to where Allah (swt) wanted us to be. Along the way, we also got our fair share of ‘your clothing isn’t appropriate’ or ‘where’s your hijab?’.

    I often find myself drawn the most to converts when seeking Muslim friends as I feel the regular struggle weeding through the culture and religion and really see the practice of the true deen in converts, their children, and so on.

    It’s so hard to separate culture from Islam, but much of the ‘interference’ in others’ lives and practices and much of the prejudice against other races and ethnicities comes from individuals’ cultural backgrounds. It is my own personal opinion that real submission does not involve judgment and the best Muslims I have met are often following the tenets but do not enforce those upon others and have big loving hearts full of an inkling of the forgiveness that Allah (swt) has.

    I hope you find it in your hearts to regularly forgive those Muslims who do not live Islam regularly. And even if you leave and return 100 times over the course of your life, He will still be here, waiting for you with open arms.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      Salaam.

      “I often find myself drawn the most to converts when seeking Muslim friends as I feel the regular struggle weeding through the culture and religion and really see the practice of the true deen in converts, their children, and so on.”

      Those whom you know are fortunate, indeed, because so many of us converts have been (and sometimes continue to be) more or less completely ignored, so eventually a lot of us, who may not be spiritual hero(ine)s with deep faith to begin with, just give up.

      “I hope you find it in your hearts to regularly forgive those Muslims who do not live Islam regularly. And even if you leave and return 100 times over the course of your life, He will still be here, waiting for you with open arms.”

      Forgiveness we can struggle with. Coming back a hundred times can be much more difficult, especially when we wonder what there is to come back to. Again, not everyone is super strong and able to hang on to the “rope of Allah” by their own strength. Without the support of others, some simply walk away, embrace non-Islamic religions for good (which I almost, but not quite, did), or else give up on any kind of religion entirely (which I almost, but not quite, have).

      • Bint Nuh says:

        @ Br. Paul Barlett.

        JazakAllah Khair for your response earlier. Honestly, I completely understand where your coming from. We as a community have a long way to go. I pray that Allah helps you in this difficulty and surrounds you with people who remind you of Him.

        I also want to share with you this short talk on hardships. I took lots of benefit from this personally and I pray that you too find benefit in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WtHpvDzjJo

        • Paul Bartlett says:

          Salaam. Thank you for your kind words and the reference to the video. God willing, when I have an opportunity I will watch it.

          Yes, the Muslim community (in the US, anyway) does have a long way to go. Just read the comments in various threads on this and other websites. Why is there so much difficulty in the Ummah today? Why is it that so many “new” Muslims (of however many years standing) are sometimes so poorly (if at all) accepted into and supported by the community? I don’t know. I really don’t.

          So many of us come to Islam with issues, whether intellectual or “personal” or both. At times even just feeling connected to Allah (swt) at all is a struggle, especially when we are all alone and have come through long years of religious doubt and skepticism which left us more or less spiritually dead. Genuine scholars who understand westerners (if you don’t understand where someone is coming from you may not be able to help him/her much), can explain Islam, and are compassionate toward those who are struggling seem to be few and far between.

        • mark says:

          you said “we as a community have a long way to go”.

          A. There is no community
          B. The racism and discrimination that is rampant is deeply rooted. sadly. the tree is rotten.

          C. Culture and Faith are two distinct different things. Culture has become King in for Muslims.

          I don’t foresee anything being fixed anytime soon or even in my lifetime.

          I believe there is a hadith that says:

          There will come a time for my people when there will remain nothing of the Qur’an except its outward form and nothing of Islam except its name and they will call themselves by this name even though they are the people furthest from it.(Ibn Babuya, Thawab ul-A’mal)

  48. A sister says:

    As-salam aleykum,

    I have read the whole discussion here, it is interesting and though i know it is sad, i am also somehow “glad” to see there are more people going through doubts. I have never really tried to connect to muslims. I was scared to be rejected or not be able to connect with them. Now when I read all these stories I think it might have been good that I didnt do that.

    I did tried to find a muslim man to marry, i searched online. I meet, i thought, a really good muslim man. In the end of the day it didn’t work out and we haven’t even meet in real life, but it still caused me a huge heartache. I thought he was a good muslim, i thought he was my friend, and he told me he was. He told me he would support me. But now he totally ignores me. I know I have made my mistakes too of course, and I know i can’t know his intentions but it does affect me and my iman heavily. I think I have been decieved and i just took a bit of sweet/romance talk way too serious. It has been years ago now and I still can not accept this and succeed in seperating Islam from that experience. I guess this is also because this man was knowledgeable and serious and good in many other aspects of Islam. May Allaah (SWT) forgive him, and me, and guide us to the right path. I do not want to talk bad about him, but I do need to pour my heart out and maybe get some advice.

    Today I had a big breakdown. I was thinking about that man and then at the news I saw the reports about the men in London who killed this soldier. I felt sick to my stomach, completly neaseous and cryed my eyes out. I kept thinking ; “What is this? What am i doing? Am i a part of this?” I find it so so hard to be a muslim.

    And then there are the awful descriptions of hell and judgement day. I often feel it is too much. I wonder how other muslims can live with this knowledge.

    • Paul Bartlett says:

      Salaam, Sister. May Allah (swt) give you ease of heart in your disappointment. Years ago, before I came to Islam, I had relationships with members of the opposite sex, and those relationships ended sadly. (I have never married, but I have always been told that Allah forgives us our errors when we are outside the fold of Islam without its guidance.)

      Yes, there is sadness in the Ummah today. Many of us come to Islam from seriously non-Islamic environments, and we struggle. Having been all alone for many years (I have no Muslim family, and my only real friend is a temperamental middle aged pet cat), I know what it is like. Many “born” Muslims who come to western countries may be honest and sincere, but they don’t really understand what some of us have to go through.

      On the one hand, we need to struggle to be tolerant toward the disappointments in the Ummah, but at the same time we have to acknowledge that many of us are weak and hurting, and we have to acknowledge that many of us are *not* hero(ine)s in Islam, and many of us are almost too weak to try to hold on to the “rope of Allah” by ourselves. To be blunt, there are those who come into Islam and then, for whatever reasons, leave. I have read estimates of half to three quarters.

      It is all very nice for others who do not have our struggles to bid us to have faith, to pray, to trust in Allah (swt), to never give up, but the whole point is that many of us *are* very weak, and without the support from the community — which often is not there! — then like it or not, some of us will leave.

      • A sister says:

        salam, brother. Thank you for your reaction. I do agree with you that the Ummah disappoints us sometimes and I might not be the right person to say this but in the end of the day it is about our relationship with Allaah (SWT) , our Creator. Do you know Yasmin Mogahed? I believe there is an article from her on this site as well called “why people have to leave eachother?” Maybe it is something you will learn from as well. I know what it feels to be lonely, and it is not good,, but I do find comfort in knowing that our Creator does think about us and wants to have a relationship/connection with us. And that is all that matters. I try to remember that.

        • Paul Bartlett says:

          Salaam. I am not myself familiar with Yasmin Mogahed, although I can try (God willing) to look up any articles she may have here. My own situation is one of coming out of many, many years of spiritual dryness and even isolation.

          On my bookshelves I have many copies of the Holy Qur’an, ahadith, and many other Islamic writings, but I also have shelves and shelves of books on flat out atheism. I came out of so many long years of unbelief, in which any notion of any sort of God was just a dry philosophical abstraction. I came to Islam honestly, genuinely, and sincerely thinking that I was really doing the right and correct thing professing myself a Muslim, but in isolation that profession did not instantly moisten all those long years of dryness. How do you pray to Allah (swt) when your heart is as dry as sandpaper?

          I would go to the mosque many evenings and try to pray, but time and again after the prayers be invisible. No one would greet me, give me salaam. Read so many of the comments on this and other websites from converts who were not accepted. People who are just barely hanging on, whose faith is so weak that they can scarcely call on Allah (swt), slip away.

          Some of them go to other religious groups where they are warmly welcomed, accepted, and made to feel at home (as I was), and in the end they accept explicitly non-Islamic religions — which I almost did but did not quite! — just because they are so lonely and isolated.

          May Allah (swt) have compassion on us all.

    • mark says:

      It is not about doubt. I don’t doubt God. I have faith in God. What it disgusting and frustrating is the behavior of fellow muslims. I’ve seen some ugly stuff. recently I was told about a muslim group where muslims can socialize, but the catch was you had to be an engineer and make over 70,000 a year. I was like “REALLY? is that sunnah?” the love of money has corrupted a faith I love, and sadly feel I must walk away from. Like I told Paul Bartlett, faith is about growth and what you needed at one point in your life is not the same thing you may need as you progress and grow. Faith in God is not stagnant. it is living and it grows or dies.

  49. Anon says:

    As an Arab American reading these comments, it truly breaks my heart to hear of the racism and mistreatment of converts occurring in our communities. It is shameful, and it is extremely saddening. From what I have seen, however, younger generations are much more accepting, and I think we, as Muslims, can with confidence have hope that things will be better in the future.

    But of course, we are in the present. While a definite problem exists in the Muslim community in regards to convert treatment, this problem cannot be easily mitigated. Realistically, you can’t do that much to fix the Ummah. Prejudice especially is something very difficult to erase from someone’s psyche–you usually can’t do anything except wait for the person to die (but really). So, as a struggling convert, what do you do? Although as a born Muslim I do not pretend to even fathom what you’re going through, and my comments will perhaps come across as naive, I have a few words of advice that may, inshaAllah, help:

    #1. While Americans are generally very friendly and outgoing, most born Muslims hail from countries where it is more natural to keep to yourself. Just because so-and-so does not immediately embrace you and give you his phone number when he finds out you’re a convert (and trust me when I say that the thought is NOT occurring to him) doesn’t mean that he’s not willing to help. If you mention to a Muslim that you’d like to get to know more Muslims, or make friends with more Muslims, or are struggling with a certain concept in Islam, or are having doubts, will that Muslim just walk away? No matter the state of his/her iman, I think the vast majority would try to help. If you take the initiative and open up, I think the results might, inshaAllah, surprise you.

    #2. Not all born Muslims are created equal. Lots of them are going through struggles of their own, and a disheartening proportion of them hardly believe in Islam themselves. While many of them are racist, prejudiced, or arrogant, not all are.

    #3. Life is a test. Allah says in Surat Al-Mulk that He created death and life in order to test which of us is best in deeds (67:2). Some people are struggling with cancer; others are struggling with money; others are struggling with disabled children; others are struggling with psychological illness in the family, and so on and so on. No one is left untested. It may be that you have most everything and that your test is in maintaining Islam. Test aren’t supposed to be easy, especially the kind of test whose passing will result in being in Heaven FOREVER, as long as . . . ever.
    Just think about that.
    Forever.
    The way to pass this test is as a Muslim. PLEASE don’t let yourself fail this test. You can’t do that to yourself, not after you’ve come this far. Don’t think about what you’re missing and all the things that are going wrong in your life. Look at what you have. Think about how much worse it could be. And focus on the reward that awaits in the life to come. Think about Allah’s pleasure in you, His slave who had to work so hard to stay on His path. Does He not know? Of course He knows. Will He not reward you? Of course He will. He says in Surat Al-Anbiyaa: “Whoever does righteous deeds while a believer–(there will be) no denial of his effort, and indeed We, of it, are recorders” (21:94). Your attempts to stay a Muslim, to hold onto Islam, however difficult, will be recorded for the Day of Judgment. Allah will not deny your effort–He will recognize it. Not only that, but He says in Surat atTaghabun: “If you lend Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you, and Allah is Ever-Thankful, Ever-Forbearing” (64:17). Thankful. Allah is thankful. He is thankful for and appreciates your efforts. What more could you want than for Allah, the Creator of the Heavens and of You, to be thankful for what you did, for how you’re dealing with His test? To appreciate what you’re going through? Allah is there, always, and He knows. He knows.
    Moreover, the test is always something you can handle. Allah says multiple times in the Qur’an, but most notably in Surat Al-Baqarah: “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” (2:286). In another surah He says, “Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease” (65:7).
    Final note about the test: If the test were easy, think about how much less your reward would be. It may seem that you prefer an easier test now, but things will seem DRASTICALLY different when all’s said and done, and you’re looking back on your life after being resurrected from your grave, “On the Day He will call you, and you will respond with praise of Him and think that you had not remained [in the world] except for a little” (17:52). This life will seem so incredibly short in comparison.

    #4. Always strive to please Allah. Always. Think, “What would please Allah?” and do it. Focus on Him. For surely He knows what you’re going through better than anyone else and will reward you unimaginably for it. “Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, while if there is a good deed, He multiplies and gives from Himself a great reward” (4:40). In fact, in Surat Al-Anaam, Allah tells us that good deeds are multiplied by 10, while bad deeds are not multiplied at all (6:160). That is the Mercy of Allah. So strive for His pleasure.

    #5. Make du’aa to Allah always. Pray for guidance. Ask Him to make the path to and on Islam easy for you. Ask Him for certainty. Ask Him to send you awesome Muslim friends. Or the most amazing Muslim husband/wife. Ask Him to ease your transition to Islam. Ask Him what your heart desires. Pour your heart out to Him. Beg him. But most importantly, ask Him for guidance, as long as you live. We all need His guidance, no matter what stage we are at as Muslims. And the best du’aa for guidance is Surat Al-Fatihah.

    #6. Trust in Allah. After you’ve made du’aa to Him, you know that He will either answer it or give you something even better. Verily, He is Al-Hakeem, and He knows what’s best for you. Trust Him. “And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (65:3). He Suffices.

    #7. Taqwa. Love Allah and fear His anger or His displeasure in you. Put your hope in Him. “Whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty (has taqwa to Allah), He will make for him of his matters ease” (65:4). That is the way to have ease in this life. Taqwa.

    #8. This is rather random but… if you’re having an eman low or having doubts about Islam, listen to Nouman Ali Khan’s tafseer of Juz’ Amma, available for free at Bayyinah’s website (http://podcast.bayyinah.com/category/juz_amma/). Changed my life, might just change yours.

    #9. We always imagine that certain things would make us happier than they really will. I end with a simple yet profound ayah: “And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment” (13:26). The Arabic word translated here as enjoyment is mataa’. If you look at the original linguistic meaning of the word, mataa’ was a sponge that ancient Arabs used to scrub dishes. It was a rather undesirable possession (the Dr. Ghali translation specifically has ‘belonging’) that merely served a simple purpose. That is the word used to describe our life here on Earth. It is a life with ups and downs, brief enjoyments. The ultimate purpose of this life is not for us to enjoy all of it or even most of it. The purpose of this life is for us to use it. To do what?

    We are supposed to use this life as a tool to ensure success in the life to come.

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