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Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

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    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd (OP)


    When we hear that someone has entered Islam, we often ask .How did you accept Islam? . We also say Al hamdulilah (All praises are due to Allah alone) when someone says they have reverted to Islam, Right? These remarks show that we are heartened to see someone accepting the Truth!


    Life is not easy for any believer. Life is a test!, a Jihad (struggle), for every believer whether you are a "born" Muslims or reverts to Islam.

    As for reverts to Islam they undergo a great struggle. The moment they declare their faith (Islam), most of them lose their loved and dear ones. Their old friends refuse to accept their new lifestyle and new faith. Some of them tend to lose their family who are unable to digest the fact that they have embraced Islam. Whenever I hear a revert saying, "I love my parents so much… my family showered and lavished me with affection until I embraced Islam. My family’s attitude towards me is causing me much pain that sometimes I even think of leaving Islam, then Allah would shower His mercy on me that I would be reminded that this is a test and this World is just a temporary abode... and I would say 'I should not fail this test and Allah, The Most Merciful will shower His mercy and blessing on me and my family...'" The pain which, reverts to Islam undergo is something which cannot be felt unless we are in their shoes.


    During this time it our duty as brothers and sisters in Islam to lush them with friendship, brotherhood, love, kindness, affection, etc. To the contrary we find some of our brothers and sisters in Islam (who are born into a Muslim family) cause our new brothers and sisters much ache in their heart, by being prejudiced, intolerant and proud.


    I intended to write this essay after hearing about the treatment of our revert brothers and sisters in Islam by some of the "born" Muslims. I feel outraged to the core when I hear the spiteful attitude of these Muslims towards reverts to Islam. The new Muslims feel disheartened when they face this kind of behaviour.


    I wonder how someone can neglect the brothers or sisters who reverted and consider them inferior.

    Prophet [Salla Allaahu .alaihi wa sallam (May Allah peace and blessing be upon him)]
    observed: Are you not aware of the fact that Islam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)? Verily migration wipes out all the previous (misdeeds), and verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the (previous) misdeeds. [Collected by Muslim: Book 001, Number 0220]


    I have heard and seen so many Muslims who are born into a Muslim family and raised as a Muslim collecting revert stories. When asked, "Why are you collecting these stories?" They would either reply, "We are curious to know how they found the truth and got the guidance?" and I have heard them saying, "Their reversion stories are truly inspirational and it helps us to boost our Iman (faith)..." The stories of reverts are published in Islamic magazines, Islamic newspapers, Islamic websites and sometimes a book is made out of these stories.

    Why?
    Because we know these brothers and sisters were not raised in a Muslim family and many would not have had met many Muslims before they reverted, yet they were still able to find the Truth and Guidance. This stirs curiosity in the minds of a raised Muslim or anyone, be it Muslim or non- Muslim, who is immersed and attracted to the "striking" lifestyle of the West. The influence of the west is so great on these Muslim that they tend to lose Islam. People become curious to know the reason why a person from the a non Islamic world, who was living in this "attractive" life of "freedom", suddenly is ready to forgo all his/her liberty and enter a religion which is considered to be irrational, extreme and oppressive. Thus, these revert stories (which are true life stories) act as a food to feed the curious mind.

    ---

    Nobody is infallible except Allah (swt) and everybody would have committed some sins or the other knowingly or unknowingly in their lifetime. When Allah is ready to forgive, who are we judge anyone??


    Mariam* 27 from Germany said, “ Seriously, I don't want to go to the Masjid. I find some Muslims are so intolerant towards us (reverts)..." She added, “I find them to be mean and spiteful. They are being so judgmental for the errors which I committed before I completely entered Islam...”


    A renowned scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Jibaly said, “It is only to Allah to give final judgment in regard to any person. Anyone who takes it upon himself to do so would be overstepping his human boundaries, and may deserve Allah's punishment.”


    The Prophet (saws) told that once a self-righteous man saw a sinner, he said: "By Allah, Allah will never forgive him. Allah then said, "Who are you who should dictate to Me what to do? Indeed, I have forgiven so-and so (the sinner), and demolished your deeds. "[Sahih Muslim no. 2621]

    He (sheikh) further added: Righteous people are told to be merciful towards those who committed mistakes, even if their mistakes harmed them personally. During the fitnah of accusing ‘Aaishah (ra) with zinaa, one of those who transmitted the falsehood was a poor relative of Abu Bakr (ra) that Abu Bakr used to give sadaqah. When Allah declared ‘Aishah's (ra) innocence in His Book, Abu Bakr made an oath that he will never give any more help to that relative. He showed us a daleel (proof) from the Qur’an:

    "Let not those of you with virtue and wealth swear not to give aid to the relatives, the needy, and the emigrants for Allah’s cause. Rather, let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.." [Soorat an-Noor 22]


    As a Muslim, I love all my brothers and sister for the sake of Allah and it causes great pain to hear our brothers and sisters describing their experience as a Muslim after their reversion. Many reverts feel excluded and hurt by this kind of treatment.


    One sister said, “I just don't feel lonely but excluded, when I am among Muslims. I would be sitting for hours listening to relatives talk in Urdu. They know I don't understand but still they continue to do that.”


    I remember showing a sister an essay. It was an essay for the youth, which tells us that Allah is the Wali (Protector and Friend) to the believers. This essay was actually meant for the youth but this sister (revert) who is in her late thirties told me that this essay made her feel good Alhamdulilah! Why? Because she felt so lonely and barred after reverting and this essay made her realize that she should not accept anyone to be her friend and she is heartened to know that Allah is her Friend.


    A brother who had accepted Islam few years’ back said, "I faced a lot of racism in Islam..." I wondered why he said that and then realized he said that because unfortunately the Muslims treated him that way. Then it was explained to him, "One cannot judge Islam based on Muslim's attitude. Because it looks like Muslims haven't submitted completely to the faith. We pick and choose what is convenient for us to follow and leave which is not convenient for us and our culture."


    When Sr. Fathima* 42 from the USA was asked to describe the experience of her first
    Ramadan, she said, "My first Ramadan was one of my most spiritual.... and was completed in the near total absence of Muslims. I hate to tell the story because I fear it sounds like bragging for having overcome some hardships, but I think it’s a sad commentary on where our community stands that the most spiritual Ramadan I had was done pretty much alone."

    Sr. Lamina*, 26 from Chennai, a strong and bold new Muslimah says, "It is really sad to note that some Muslims are behaving like creeps. I started acquiring Islamic knowledge from the time I declared my faith. I witness so many unislamic cultural acts carried on by Muslim in the name of Islam. They tell me what I am doing is wrong and they know better because they are born Muslims. Just because I am new Muslim I have no right to voice the evils happening in the society in the name of Islam? She further ad," Didn’t the prophet say that everybody is born in state of fitrah (natural) and everybody are Muslims when they are born and it is only the way they are raised which makes him a person of another faith? ...Doesn't Islam insist on humility? "


    Do these Muslims (who calls themselves born Muslims) know that almost all the Sahabah were reverts? Are they better than the Sahabah (reverts) in understanding and interpreting Islam (Qu’ran and Sunnah)? It is such a pitiful situation that some of these "born" Muslims are corrupting Islam with their shameful and horrible attitude, which has no place in Islam.


    This kind of behaviour made many Muslims say "Alhamdulilah! We found Islam before we met any Muslim."


    But I would say it is heartening to see there are still many brothers and sisters in Islam who are conscious of Allah. They are like a source of warmth and haven for our new brothers and sister in Islam. They are ready to shower them with love, kindness, encouragement and brotherhood!


    Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and harmony but we see that this is lacking among us. It's so unfortunate that many reverts to Islam tend to leave Islam! Maybe if the community was more welcoming and supportive reverts to Islam would find it easier to stay on the straight path (Islam). These ugly stances by ignorant Muslims should be rejected and amended. Let us be conscious of behaviour towards anyone be it new Muslim, non-Muslim, children or servant. We will meet our Lord soon and let us strive to amend our ways before we meet our Lord.

    Source
    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd



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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

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    Peace to all.

    One of the more interesting threads, so far. It mentions the place I live. It mentions struggles, confusion, realisation, outreach, discovery, realities, choices, conflict to name some.

    Where to start?

    I'll start with the topic of Malay in Malaysia..

    Without going to too much detail, it is true that the Malay culture was derived from the hindu, at least where I originate. In the 10th century, they were hindus. In the 11th, they converted to islam. The Brits and secularism changed the entire landscape in the country after WW2. The Malays lost a lot. They lost, in the main, islamic laws were replaced by British common law. Second, they lost the economy.

    Masuk Melayu was really thing said with certain humour behind it because you are right, Malays = muslims. And for the same people, white man = Christians. Nothing can sway their thoughts otherwise. It's just their culture here. So, I guess they tried to protect their identity from disappearing altogether with the advent of fashion and everything 'western'.

    On the eating habits, there are places and masjids that eat from talam/trays depends. Things are changing here too. There was a time, in the 60's and 70's where drinking was openly accepted. 80's people began to be aware of how the nation had 'strayed'. The 90's and turn of the century saw a 'new' spirit of faith emerge. Much fewer numbers drink now. More attend the mosques, but the Malays now are not the same as the Malays of old. Much has changed.

    I read with inspiration the challenges faced by our brothers (and sisters) who made that paradigm shift. It was a momentous step. Earth shattering experience. That is just on the shahada. What, as you all describe, leaving all that you were and into what you are, alone. And that is where you have to start, all over again, with each breath and step henceforth. Words cannot do justice.

    My struggle for a while was to differentiate tradition and sunnah. As Ali quite correctly pointed out about the peculiarities of the Malay/islam relationship. People are more aware now than they were back in the 60's and 70's. Alhamdulillah. And I attended a for a while the masjid that homes the tabliiq. Observed and listen to taskirah(?), chatted with them, they smile an awful lot, even when they are explaining, or should be irritated, that I got to know some of them.

    One thing reading this thread has made me realise is that Allah tests everyone in His own way, and everyone will get their fair recompense, but it is how we deal with our own trials that determines the form. Are we grateful or ungrateful, do we accept or complain?

    Lonely in a crowd people, it must be that your rewards in the hereafter is FAR superior to the rewards I will get if we were to do the same thing side by side. I stayed where I was, you 'hijrah'. It must count for something. Allaahu'alam. Just stay true to your course.

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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Here's a bit more about 'masuk Melayu' from the perspective of someone who 'masuk Islam' and never 'masuk Melayu'.

    Truth be told, I have nothing against the Malays. What I cannot accept is that the general consensus is that to be a Muslim, in Malaysia, you have to be a Malay. Unfortunately to be a Malay involves a lot of things which have no basis is Islam. Take clothing, for example. The Malay baju is nice and comfortable but it's still quite some way from being near to a kurta or a thobe. Same with the songkok. That's standard Malay headgear. Haven't seen anyone wearing a serban with a songkok yet.

    I think the most telling differences between Malay and Muslim are in some of the most important occassions in a person's life. Like a wedding. A traditional Malay wedding is not really that much different from a Hindu wedding. Just compare the setting of a bersanding with that of a Hindu wedding and you can see clearly what I am talking about. A Muslim wedding is totally different from a Malay wedding.

    So, for a revert like me who chooses to 'masuk Islam' and not 'masuk Melayu' the sense of loneliness is heightened a thousand-fold. I don't take part in many Malay gatherings, especially not bersanding. I look very out of place in a crowd of Malays, not because I am Chinese (nobody thinks that I look Chinese) but because I don't wear Malay costume. No songkok for me. No baju Melayu. No seramping. Definitely no kris (just kidding).

    Ah, the feeling of loneliness suffered by reverts can only be understood by reverts. We are not really that different from 'yatim piatu', ie orphans. That's one reason why I don't have to pretend to cry when I perform solat.
    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd






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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    format_quote Originally Posted by Ali Mujahidin View Post
    What I cannot accept is that the general consensus is that to be a Muslim, in Malaysia, you have to be a Malay
    Sorry, Ali, but this is not true. It is a 'sense of humour' (but lost over time). Islam is not the exclusive right for Malays. Just happens that Malays are, by and large, muslims. Everyone knows you cannot change your origin or race. Perhaps when they were 'jesting' with you they were not aware of you taking offense to the statement. It is unfortunate that you feel this way. Historically the Malays have been very compliant and welcoming people and willingly accept newcomers. People tended to assimilate the lifestyle and I suppose the general population has come to accept this as part and parcel of the custom here and automatically assume that everyone wants to participate.

    Baju Melayu for ceremonial occasions in Malaysia is not unlike wearing a suit to go to work in international companies.

    I am not taking offense to your statements, just like to clarify the 'fading away humour' of yesteryear about masuk melayu.. It is hardly spoken off nowadays as the 'humour' has worn very thin.
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Something for Everyone to reflect upon:

    The New Muslim


    By Muhammad Daniel

    I was born from an act of idealism
    To a world where ideals are sold


    I looked for the way to be muslim
    Got confused with what I was told


    Each group claimed to be on the right path
    Citing strong evidences to prove


    But my heart found no peace with this conflict
    So restless I started to move


    From this one to that one I staggered
    Nowhere did I seem to fit in


    But in fear of the fire I kept searching
    Wondering at the state we are in


    Soon I grew tired of meetings
    Of conferences, speeches and shows


    I longed for some friends to be close to
    As we lined up to pray in the rows


    But the rows said salaam and dispersed
    To the cultural lives whence they came


    I went home to no group to be part of
    Past the pubs looking warm in the rain


    But Allah is my refuge my solace
    He alone do I turn to to ask


    That the muslims get out of their ghettos
    To unite on their God-given task


    And take in the wandering converts
    For God surely will reward those


    Who share the diamonds they’re hiding
    In the peace of their family homes
    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd


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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Pumpkin Seeds

    You will not be asked about your culture in your grave
    And you will not be judged based on your father’s last name
    When the trumpet blares, there will be no more kings’ only slaves
    And your family traditions will not be able to keep you safe

    Your language will bring you no comfort on that day
    And no one will care about the kind of food your mother used to make
    The angle of death does not discriminate
    No matter your ethnic group, clan or race

    We were created from the exact same clay
    Many nations have come before, many nations have been replaced
    Disgraced and erased, so which one of you feels safe
    And which one of you remembers what life was like back in the day

    When we used to be brothers,
    And we used to stand up for one another, in the face of trouble,
    We used to love each other, and understand that your struggle is my struggle
    We used to be one, a nation brought together in praise under the morning sun
    For those who would dare, we would defend our rights to life and liberty
    We used to care, before than about the orphans and anyone else in despair
    We used to believe in justice we used to be fair

    Unity was not a word; it was a state of mind
    Before states, nations and flags we were mankind
    From the same seed we were created and to the same dirt we shall return
    Now we are diseased with innovations in the fire left to burn
    We seek to please heads of nations, compromising what we’ve learned
    Indeed this is a time of humiliation for those who are concerned
    The state of our affairs is unbearingly absurd
    Taking enemies as friends after the wrath they have incurred
    Empty threats and broken promises, vision is becoming blurred
    Wanna raise your hands up to the sky but most of you are unsure
    That the end is coming near, and only one can judge us
    How can you be sincere when you forgot your purpose?
    This is the final frontier; did you not think we would be tested?
    Ridiculed, abused, confused and arrested
    Made to feel strange in a place that’s infested
    But blame is a game that they win uncontested.

    We like to huff and puff about all of our stuff being protected
    But what’s the point of reading books when you don’t understand the message?
    Divided and conquered, but we used to be connected
    And you didn’t have to like us, but you still had to respect us
    Every corner of the globe but we still facing one direction,
    Standing row by row, if not today, than on the day of resurrection
    Where there will be no protection, without the permission,
    Of the One true God, takbir: “Allahu Akbar”

    And we used to be brothers,
    But today I’m only really your brother until I ask to make your sister my bride
    Now a days it aint girl what’s your size, its girl what’s your tribe?
    But what good are your eyes, when taqwa is colour blind?

    And Alhumduallah, praises to the Lord of both you and I,
    Who created us from difference so that we may learn to love what’s inside?
    Honoured us with this religion, the last of its kind
    And a messenger with a message for all mankind

    But I wonder what he would say, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    To know that his ummah has gone astray, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    He showed us how to behave, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    He even taught us how to pray, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    He was the best who ever came, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    So where is his example today? sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    He emphasised solidarity, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
    It seems like we have forgotten his ways, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam

    ‘Cause we used to be brothers,
    But how many of you would leave your brother on the front line to die?
    There are children in Palestine getting buried alive
    It’s scary to think we change the channel before we change our minds

    There is no hope for a nation that is not unified
    Do you really see me as your brother, or am I just some guy?
    Do you protect me or do you put me on trial?
    ‘Cause some of you are so stingy you won’t even donate a smile
    Subahanallah, Where is the love?
    The state of our Ummah is that we forgot where we came from?

    But when your soul begins to quiver in the shade of your rattling chest,
    You will see that this world was nothing but an illusion you were in
    Ya Bani Adam, don’t be fooled be wicked men
    Cause there is only one God, but nuff people who don’t remember him
    I am your reflection; our connection is stronger than any election
    We seek protection in our Lord, may he grant us direction

    May he make us amongst those who love each other for his sake,
    May he make us amongst those who receive his will shade
    May he make us amongst those who are content with our fate,
    May he make us amongst those who have the honour of seeing his face
    We ask Allah for his mercy, we ask Allah for his grace
    We ask Allah to unite this Ummah and to keep us safe
    We thank Allah for the countless blessings we receive everyday
    And may we give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way


    Aameen
    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd


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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Aselam aleykum
    Thanks for your appreciation. It's true, I often feel isolated. The first few years are great and everybody welcomes you. But some people have a certain niche for you, a certain expectation of how they want you to act. They expect you to be a newbie, no matter how long ago you accepted islam, and once you show that you've outgrown it you're no longer that welcome. Or allot of people also change their behavior and think that they have to act this or that way...

    The area where I felt it the most was looking for a wife. Many girls of the younger generations might be open minded toward marrying a revert, but at the same time they fear their fathers reaction. Be it that he might disagree because he wants his daughter to marry somebody from the same race, or out of fear that a revert might leave Islam just as suddenly as he (seemed to have) entered it.

    It was a difficult challenge, but Alhamdoelillah i'm happily married now (and father of a lovely one-year old girl ).
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    Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    I dont know but from my experience I never noticed the difference between myself and the revert brothers. When I used to live in the U.S. my best friends used to be reverts, we used to laugh and joke a lot. Many of them were ex gang members so their stories were very interesting to me!!

    It was just amazing when I used to go me and Jamal (James) to a buffet while I have a long beard and his nick was full with tattoos but is wearing the small hat (I dont know its name) but we had stuff to share, how to get a Halal job, both of us wanted to move away from the U.S. to live next a masjid and put our children in a segregated school, we liked to workout and boxing, talking about knowledge, about how Allah saved us many times ... The same thing with Hassus, Abduallah and all my reverted friends.

    I engaged to a revert sister for a couple of months, and never noticed the difference.

    For the culture issues we just try to act like our prophet prayers and peace be upon him in most of the things like food, weddings..etc so our culture was the culture of Mohammad prayers and peace be upon him.
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Actually I will never forget this, when Allah blessed me and I moved to KSA, James had his eyes watery and told me I have butterflies in my stomach may Allah hold him steadfast.
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    format_quote Originally Posted by Ali Mujahidin View Post
    No born Muslim, however well-meaning, can understand the situation of a revert as well as another revert.
    As-salamu 3laikum, sorry, but as a revert myself, I totally disagree with you. Please don't generalise so much, we are all individuals and have our unique sets of circumstances. Actually, I have had the opposite problem, where other reverts thought they completely understood me because I am a revert too, and actually they didn't understand my situation. There is nothing wrong with reverts sharing their experiences and problems with each other from time to time if that will benefit them, but I don't think they should form clubs or separate from the main community. I have been part of various Muslim communities in different countries, some much more mixed than others, and alhamdulilah I have not had problems with any of them because of being a revert. I think there is too much tendency for some reverts to blame any problems they may have with others on being a revert, when actually these are just normal problems that can come up with any group of people - we all have different personalities and different ways of dealing with things.
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    format_quote Originally Posted by Ali Mujahidin View Post
    Just as an example, I want to eat from a tray (or talam, as it's called here) but they prefer to eat from a plate. I want to wear the salwar but they would rather see me wear a sarong. They hold wedding functions with all kinds of Malay customs which are derived from Hindu customs and I don't want to have anything to do with that.
    I am not sure if this is happening in Muslim communities all over the world but here, the Malays have been Muslims for so long that they have forgotten about the essence of Islam and thought that being Malay and being Muslim are synonymous. In fact, the common term for reversion here is to 'masuk Melayu' meaning 'become a Malay'.
    This can happen in any community where the Muslims are all from the same culture and where they are not used to mixing with Muslims from other cultures or even listening to scholars from outside their country. I lived in a community like that for two years (not Malay though). Occasionally people would tell me you should do this or that, but if I knew the thing in question was not required in Islam but just a custom of theirs, I didn't let it bother me. I didn't see it as a big deal, as long as it wasn't something forbidden in Islam. I would try to fit in with their culture as much as I felt comfortable with, and if they told me to do more, I would just say ' I'm still not completely used to this new culture'. Occasionally there were bad customs that had crept into the culture that were against Islam (but of course not everyone did those things), in that case if you can advise them with wisdom, good, if not, just stay away. Don't let it make you feel lonely.
    Last edited by tearose; 09-10-2013 at 08:12 AM.
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  15. #31
    insann's Avatar
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    May Allah hold us steadfast whether we are reverts or not.
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    jawad555's Avatar Limited Member
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    Re: Reverts to Islam: Lonely in a Crowd

    Great Article I like your post.
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