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Hulk
09-26-2012, 08:14 PM
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. Thesahaba 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.

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-stud...bout-converts/
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Scimitar
09-26-2012, 09:56 PM
Post of the week ^
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جوري
09-26-2012, 10:40 PM
Originally Posted by Hulk
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.
I don't think it has anything to do with open arms or not. To me that's a superficial understanding of them and I can give a few examples.
Islam isn't to be entered into based on some silly reason, like the kid we had here a couple of days ago, he couldn't even say the shahada correctly and yet decided well Muslims must hate Jews and I hate Jews so I am going to be Muslim.
Does that seem like a good reason to convert? I have known personally a relative through in laws who converted just to get aid money. When the aid money became scarce due to bad economy, NOT CUT OFF BUT SCARCE to meet with her bare necessities not to indulge her obese habits, she decided to be christian again. Do you with all honesty think those as examples are good reasons to enter Islam or good reasons for us to be guilty of their leaving the religion? Such people are a liability.
I am not withholding the religion from anyone but we should have some standards. Please.
I call for the motion of better more educated Muslims than a dime a dozen Muslims who are worthless like the foam on the ocean floor. And maybe that many here will disagree with this opinion (and I am free to opine) and even rip into me for saying it, but think that Allah swt doesn't care for our quantity. Think that there was a time when Abraham (p) and Lut were all there was with their entire folks kaffirs.
You can only do so much and you can only do your part, but you're not responsible for other people's decision nor can you spread open everyone's heart to see what's in there, why they chose this or that, but their actions, deeds etc. are made manifest .. Allah swt equips us for that 6th sense. Best to use it then spread ourselves too thin.. Ma shaa Allah we're nearly 2 billion if not already so. So how about we work on those we do have.
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CosmicPathos
09-26-2012, 10:49 PM
yea, it is our fault if some random joe 2000 kms away accepts Islam and then leaves it.... we did not cuddle him/her and hence we shall be thrown into hellfire.
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Aprender
09-27-2012, 12:13 AM
I cannot blame the existing Muslim community for people leaving Islam entirely.

What I can say is that some Muslim coverts do love Islam but don't want to be around Muslims because too often have I seen people cursing scholars, arguing that some Muslims are kaffir because they don't follow whatever scholar they follow or whatever crazy sect they have with Islam now. It's very off-putting and atrocious behavior but not enough for me to leave the religion. Just stay away from people like that.

I agree with some of the posts above. When you're new to Islam it's really easy for people to attack you about your decision and try and bring up a bunch of erroneous claims about illogical consistencies in Islam or contradictions in the Quran. And if you don't know your deen you'll fall for it very easily. Which is why I find it awfully strange when people who haven't even read a decent translation of the Quran in its entirety or even a biography about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) chose to convert to Islam. And then they wonder why they can't answer basic questions about their faith and feel insecure about it and lost. You didn't learn. Not learning makes you vulnerable. Very vulnerable, and I don't feel sorry for people who chose to leave for not doing their homework. That's a fault on your part for being lazy.

I think now somewhat becoming a Muslim is like this new trend where people think saying shahada is a get out of hellfire free card. But they don't want to pray, don't want to do dhikr, don't want to try to read Quran everyday, don't want to seek more knowledge about Islam and the history of it. Instead they chose to interpret it through whatever Western lens they see it from to fit their own worldviews and understandings. But then they wonder why they feel no connection to Allah (swt) and conclude that since they feel nothing then Islam must be wrong so they should leave. Or think that because other Muslims aren't helping them they must leave. It's time to grow up.

If anything a lack of community activism is the PERFECT opportunity for a new convert to get some things going and strengthen the local Muslim community! Go to the mosque and start talking about getting some new things going. Start a program for reverts where you can meet up with others and talk about things and learn more if you feel neglected then! Don't sit back and wait for everyone else to do something for you.

As a convert I don't really care for the way the article makes it seem like I am helpless...and have to have someone hold my hand completely through this. At some point you have to take control for your own learning.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 12:19 AM
My personal belief is that convert or no convert we all have to renew our covenant with Allah swt. I mean I think the only difference is family. But I have seen some Muslim families who fight their religious kids and vice versa.
I cruised through life not caring for religion in spite of a deeply religious family and having lived in KSA. I must have said this more times than I care to admit. I came to religion on my own, post 911 and while in grad school and living on my own. I think that's the time most people sort of grow up and start thinking of what kind of person they're going to be and what sort of life they want to live..

:w:
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PurpleCup
09-27-2012, 01:30 AM
Good thing I was a loner before I embraced Islam.

We also tend to look at born Muslims as good examples and can get discouraged of what we see.

We may wear our heart on our sleeve because when we ask another Muslim for help we assume you know well about your religion.

When we smile to you we expect you know your religion to smile back.

When we give salams we expect you do not walk right by as if you did not really see us.

We expect help and community spirit and when we do not find that we feel the only community that is close to us is the online community.

We struggle in our isolated worlds away from the ummah because you speak a language I do not speak and you do not see I am sitting a lone in the masjed for five years and you never invite us to your homes.

It may be bad of us to look at the born Muslims as examples but we do...
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CosmicPathos
09-27-2012, 01:37 AM
To be honest, I have not met many convert Muslimahs around me at school/uni. Do not know where they all are.
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جوري
09-27-2012, 02:03 AM
Originally Posted by PurpleCup
It may be bad of us to look at the born Muslims as examples but we do...
Most people view Muslims (the ones who convert based on reason and study alone) the likes of Dr. Laurence Brown for instance as the example to look up to.. they have reached and on their own pure unadulterated Islam. Believe it or not, many of us spend a life time re-learning everything growing up in cultures so steeped in ancient traditions & superstitions the exact thing that Islam came to rid us of.
Imagine the shock finding out for the first time that when folks randomly say 'la 7wal illah' (astghfor Allah il3atheem) and it is so natural to them, they don't get that it means that they implicate God the weakness they wish to seek refuge from, or when they color eggs for 'shamm el'niseem' that it isn't an Islamic holiday, or that 'mowld e nabbi' which is celebrated as Christmas is a bid3a.. Sometimes you actually have to get away from all that you grew up with to understand why you believe the way you do.
At the end of the day I think we're pretty equal in challenges, except perhaps I think in the sight of God converts who are truly so and face all these challenges head on with zeal and determination, love and piety in their heart, trump entire nations of us.

:w:
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Hulk
09-27-2012, 06:30 AM
I personally don't mind with the idea of someone converting to Islam without having "fully" done their "research". I used to think that one should research fully first then make a decision, which is very important as well but when it comes to Islam I would say that even if you have a feeling that it is the truth then by all means convert if you want. At least if you die you won't be a rejector. So I'm ok with people converting over "small" reasons as long as they continue to seek knowledge. ("small reason" is probably a horrible way of calling it though.)
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glo
09-27-2012, 04:39 PM
^
If you consider our faith journey as an ongoing process, then we never reach FULL understanding of it. Not in this earthly life time, anyway.
Therefore, if you were to wait until you understand Islam fully before becoming a Muslim, you'd never get there.

I would say that once you accept the faith you continue growing in faith and understanding ...
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جوري
09-27-2012, 04:42 PM
As with any academic discipline you need to at least develop a solid foundation to be able to function in that field and then you can like with every field continue education. We never fully complete our course of studies in academia and learn more in a practical setting. However, what's there to build on if the basics are missing.
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PurpleCup
10-03-2012, 09:41 PM
Originally Posted by Aprender
I cannot blame the existing Muslim community for people leaving Islam entirely.

What I can say is that some Muslim coverts do love Islam but don't want to be around Muslims because too often have I seen people cursing scholars, arguing that some Muslims are kaffir because they don't follow whatever scholar they follow or whatever crazy sect they have with Islam now. It's very off-putting and atrocious behavior but not enough for me to leave the religion. Just stay away from people like that.

I agree with some of the posts above. When you're new to Islam it's really easy for people to attack you about your decision and try and bring up a bunch of erroneous claims about illogical consistencies in Islam or contradictions in the Quran. And if you don't know your deen you'll fall for it very easily. Which is why I find it awfully strange when people who haven't even read a decent translation of the Quran in its entirety or even a biography about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) chose to convert to Islam. And then they wonder why they can't answer basic questions about their faith and feel insecure about it and lost. You didn't learn. Not learning makes you vulnerable. Very vulnerable, and I don't feel sorry for people who chose to leave for not doing their homework. That's a fault on your part for being lazy.

I think now somewhat becoming a Muslim is like this new trend where people think saying shahada is a get out of hellfire free card. But they don't want to pray, don't want to do dhikr, don't want to try to read Quran everyday, don't want to seek more knowledge about Islam and the history of it. Instead they chose to interpret it through whatever Western lens they see it from to fit their own worldviews and understandings. But then they wonder why they feel no connection to Allah (swt) and conclude that since they feel nothing then Islam must be wrong so they should leave. Or think that because other Muslims aren't helping them they must leave. It's time to grow up.

If anything a lack of community activism is the PERFECT opportunity for a new convert to get some things going and strengthen the local Muslim community! Go to the mosque and start talking about getting some new things going. Start a program for reverts where you can meet up with others and talk about things and learn more if you feel neglected then! Don't sit back and wait for everyone else to do something for you.

As a convert I don't really care for the way the article makes it seem like I am helpless...and have to have someone hold my hand completely through this. At some point you have to take control for your own learning.

Bismillah Hir Rehman Nir Raheem "

'Assalaamu Alaykum Warahmatulla hee Wa Barakaatuhu '.




The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
quoted Allah as saying: -

"My love is obliged to those who Love each other for My sake,

who Sit with each other
for My sake,

who Visit each other
for My sake,

and who Give to each other generously
for My sake."

Source:-Al-Muwattah, Volume 51, Hadith # 15.


The Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him) said:-

"It is not permissible for a man to be estranged from a believer for more than three { 3 } days.


If three days have passed, then he should go and give Salam to him;

if he returns the Salam, then both of them will have share in the reward, and if he does not respond then the one who gave the Salam will be absolved of the sin of estrangement."

[Source:-Bukhari]
...My 'Salaams' To All...

This was courtesy of a Yahoo Group...
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hur575
10-05-2012, 12:23 PM
I agree that some people convert for the wrong reasons so they easily get out of Islam as fast as they got in BUT we Muslims have huge responsibility on presenting what the prophet peace upon him has thought us. I am against the idea of trying to hide things to convince someone of converting. We have to be truthful, and honest.

I met a newly reverted sister, the stories she told me she encountered with Muslims, are unbelievable!!I was really shocked; I even witnessed one of them. Luckily she told me if I judged Islam by its followers I would have never converted.

Islam spread in Indonesia, and India and many places by the manners of Muslim traders. We have huge responsibility brother and sisters, and we will be asked in the day of judgement what have we done for this deen ?
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MustafaMc
10-05-2012, 12:41 PM
Originally Posted by Hulk
I personally don't mind with the idea of someone converting to Islam without having "fully" done their "research".
I agree with you. Sometimes the initial faith that comes before the shahadah is merely a seed that germinates and comes to maturity later. No one can be expected to be a scholar about Islam before becoming a Muslim.
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