Struggles of a Revert

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As a revert you find yourself in some difficult situations with so many mixed emotions. The enormous peace and happiness at having accepted Islam; the pressure and strain of having to learn so much from scratch; the confusion at being told different opinions. I wanted to share some of the struggles a revert might face, though this by no means affects all reverts and is by no means all of the struggles.

Finding where you belong:

For a while, you find yourself in a kind of no mans land. Many reverts lose a lot of friends when they convert to Islam. Many reverts also sadly experience difficulties in their relationships with their families. I have heard of many reverts who are completely disowned, shunned and pushed out of their family. It isn’t always this bad but most reverts experience backlash of some kind from family and/or friends. The lucky few who are accepted lovingly and without question by those around them still have to find where they belong in the Muslim community. Again I have heard many varying degrees of acceptance of lack of it for reverts in the Muslim community.

Initially there is often a great warm welcoming from Muslims when they meet/hear of someone who embraced Islam. How long this warm welcome lasts is the issue sometimes. There are unfortunately, born Muslims who don’t regard revert Muslims as ‘proper’ Muslims. Sometimes it can feel like you aren’t wanted or welcome by non-Muslims or Muslims. It can take some time to feel like you are in fact a proper Muslim. It can take some time to feel like you belong in a mosque. It takes time to feel like you have the right to say you are Muslim.

Fear of doing something wrong:

A Muslim with anxiety of going to a mosque. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Scared of doing something wrong, something offensive, something frowned upon. This is especially the case when the mosque is predominantly attended by Muslims of a particular background who tend to have cultural practices attached to their routines in the mosques.

Not being taken seriously as a Muslim:

This can happen from both non-Muslims and Muslims. When born Muslims hear you are a revert, they can make assumptions that you don’t practice fully. Non-Muslims can make allusions to things you must have done before embracing Islam and not being convinced that you don’t do them anymore.

Being viewed as extreme:

The other end of the spectrum. Again this happens from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Many reverts embrace Islam and as they learn about all of the acts of worship they begin to practice them as much as they can. The love of the new found religion and the strength of imaan helping them do this. Born Muslims view can view reverts such as these as ‘extreme’ and unnecessary. Likewise with non-Muslims. They know of/have Muslims friends who don’t wear the hijab, so why do you need to? Etc etc

People assuming you converted for a guy:

This tends to mostly be the case for female reverts, in my experience I haven’t heard of male reverts being met by assumptions that they converted for a girl.

Many people jump to this conclusion especially if they know you are a revert and that you are married: never mind about when either of these events occurred. There is nothing wrong with the fact that some people learn about Islam through a guy. This is a means for Allah to guide them and it does happen a lot. What I find irritating is that the assumption is automatically made and people don’t hesitate to ask me this. I found Islam before I met my husband.

People not believing that you are British (or whatever your nationality is):

I have lost count the amount of times people ask me where I am from

Britain, I tell them. Yeah but where are your parents from? My parents are British. Oh ok, so where are they originally from? My dad is Scottish and my mum is half Scottish half English. Looks of confusion. Even Muslims assume I am not originally British, and proceed to guess my country of origin.

This encounter doesn’t bother me but it can get tiring having to explain and convince people of your country of origin.

Muslims assuming you don’t know things:

This still happens to me and I’m sure it always will. There is nothing wrong with reminders and every reminder benefits the believer but it can feel disheartening when Muslims assume you don’t know anything. I’m talking about simple and basic principles of Islam. I know people usually have the best of intentions but it can be hard not be sensitive about these things at times.

 


There are may changes a revert has to go through when they become a Muslim and they can be met with difficulties from both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in their lives. All of the struggles of being a revert, at the end of the day it is all worth it. Alhamdulillah.

To be continued…

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39 thoughts on “Struggles of a Revert

  1. Shukrallah says:

    People not believing that you are British (or whatever your nationality is)

    This happens to me all the time lol! I used to get really offended and disheartened but nowadays it really makes me laugh!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Safiyah says:

      Yes exactly that’s what gets me as well, it’s something I chose and decided for myself before I ever met my husband. People do revert through learning from husbands or whatever and that’s still their own decision anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Safiyah says:

    As a revert, I experienced and still experiencing most them. Some of my friends are even calling me “Muttawa” (the religious police here in Saudi) because they think I’m so strict. Haha! But I am not. I’m just trying to do everything that pleases Allah.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Safiyah says:

      I guess a lot of the things we experience as reverts will never go away but we just get used to them! lol I know what you mean exactly, just trying to please Allah!

      Like

      • theempoweredmuslima says:

        I know exactly how you feel, my mum’s family are catholics and my dad’s are muslims, neither practice but it is culturally engrained in them. When i decided to start practicing Islam neither side has been able to understand. Weird right? You r damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Alhumdulillah for Allah and Islam or sometimes I’d think I’m crazy.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Safiyah says:

        I know what you mean, I’ve heard of many Muslims as well whose family are Muslim but not practicing so when they do decide to practice they face difficulties. SubhanAllah… Exactly though, alhamdulillah.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. SwedishSquadleader says:

    You made me think. Which is a good thing. That’s why I read your blog. πŸ™‚
    I’ve not meet with a convert. But I’d love to. We would need to go for a coffee on the spot. I’d ask a million questions. Out of genuine interest. Why, what, when, and so on. I think it’s amazing for someone to find God. It’s worth to share. But no, I’m not curious about the hijab question. I’d pass on that one. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

      • SwedishSquadleader says:

        I read your post EMPOWEREDMUSLIMA. I agree with you on everything but the first thing. The Quran suggestions on clothing and covering. I can not see that hijab is mandatory. But I can see why it’s a choice for many women. Now, I will not argue on the matter. I don’t read Arabic and I do appreciate to hear all views in a matter.
        However, I can’t see why westerners should question this all the time. It’s really ridiculous to see the headlines of a stupid french leader not respecting the rules of where she is. But that’s very off topic. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 3 people

      • theempoweredmuslima says:

        Isn’t it great to be in a space where we can all agree to disagree and still be respectful of each other. In France, for example there is not respect for women in hijab. They can’t even work as hijab is not accepted in most industries. And now a new law has been passed in the UK where employers can ask employees to not show their religious affiliations including the hijab!! I’d say I’d rather eat my hijab than work for an employer like that bit you can only have those kinds of ethics if you can afford it. Right now I can afford to say that I’d rather eat my hijab, as for in the future, May Allah make it easy for me.

        Liked by 3 people

      • SwedishSquadleader says:

        France is not like the rest of Europe. It seem to be a very hostile environment for people to live in. It’s gone to extremes on both ends. If one push people they will eventually push back. I don’t know what to eat but I’d reject a employer that differentiates people because of religion.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Safiyah says:

      I’m glad I did, that’s always my aim πŸ™‚
      Yeah I think for many people love to ask questions to converts both Muslims and non-Muslims because it is someone who has chosen the religion rather than brought up with it. True and it’s lovely to be able to share it with people! Lol πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

  4. revels1 says:

    Aww it’s sad that reverts have to go through so much – they’ve been through so much to get to the reverting stage itself! I hope you can patiently take it all, and in Sha Allah your reward awaits πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. quietwatercraft says:

    I’m not Muslim, just kind of dark-skinned, and I get the “where are you *really* from?” thing so often. It’s the 21st century, why on earth do people still think you can tell country of origin from someone’s skin colour??

    Liked by 2 people

    • Safiyah says:

      Haha yes as though you have to prove to them you are what you say you are! Exactly, anyway with all the migrations and invasions that have happened, we’ve all got a more complex heritage than we think..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thetoleranceparadox says:

    Thank you for a well written and thought provoking piece.

    If you look at my WordPress site you will see that I know a fair amount about Islam, but I am critical of its compatibility with liberal democracy. I write as I honestly see it, without malice, and deeply troubled at where a failure to talk frankly may lead. I have no doubt, from this and other posts, that you are intelligent and well intentioned, and I confess that I find people such as yourself pose me an enigma. What do you see in the Quran and the life of Mohammed that inspires you, that despite my reading has passed me by.

    I find it difficult to engage Muslims in an honest discussion. I engage with many (generally lovely) Muslims at work, but in a context where such conversations would be inappropriate. Last year I attended an Understanding Islam course but was asked to leave for raising questions the tutor said were ‘distracting’.

    May I ask that you have a look at my site and see if there is anything that you can add to my understanding?
    You may find some of the things I write uncomfortable to read, but I ask you to accept that I genuinely do not want to write anything that is untrue or unfair.

    Paul

    Like

    • Safiyah says:

      Thank you for reading. I will check out your site and your writing, I think it’s important for everyone to be able discuss Islam and share their views, as long as it is done respectfully and without malice as you say.
      I’m curious as to why I would pose an enigma because I seem to be well-intentioned and intelligent?
      In regards to your question what has inspired me in the Qur’an and the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him)… that is a question which could take me days to answer! I think we have to remember that even the majority of Muslims interpret it differently and are inspired by it on different levels so we cannot expect anyone who reads it to feel the same way about it. I can only tell you that everything made sense to me and resonated with me to the extent that I have accepted it as the truth.
      I’m sorry to hear that you were asked to leave that course, that is a shame… I will definitely have a look at your site.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SwedishSquadleader says:

      If I held a “Understanding Islam” course, which I very well could do, I might have kicked you out too. Especially if you suggested a change of law, prohibiting the ability to take advice from a religious leader. We’d have to have that discussion on the side. Maybe you should contact a scholar or imam to sort your thoughts out. It seems like you have particular views that you need to address. It’s difficult in a classroom. I wish you good luck and peace πŸ™‚

      Like

      • thetoleranceparadox says:

        Why might you run an Understanding Islam course and kick people off it who ask questions? I do not come to Islam ignorant or bigotted. I genuinely want to understand what people like Safiyah see in the Quran and the life of Mohammed that I do not. If you wish to have a go at sorting my thoughts out, may I invite you to post on my site where you think what I have written is incorrect, illogical or unjustified for preserving a tolerant democratic society.

        As for my proposal, I was not attempting to draft actual legislation. I would not wish to stop anyone seeking spiritual advice wherever they wished. But I am concerned that people, often quite vulnerable people, are put under intense social pressure to submit to a de facto parallel legal system which then denies them their rights under the law as established by Parliament and the courts.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. SwedishSquadleader says:

    thetoleranceparadox, I see where you’re going and I wouldn’t put that discussion in “Understanding Islam”, rater in “Understanding Shariah”. To any Muslim it’s a way of living your life. That you know if you know Islam. In the “Understand Shariah” you would find your answers on how Islam works with democracy. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. monpetitworld says:

    I have few friends reverts to Islam, and I Can only say they are doing some stuff better than me. Sometimes I admire them for their will and strength. I am born Muslim but I think that we are forgetting sometimes the things we learned before. And we’re not reading and researching as we should, and you guys do. And you are questioning things far too much then we do. That’s why I love to talk and discuss some topics with reverts. They opened my eyes few times. We cannot judge anyone’s faith, only Allah knows what’s inside our hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Safiyah says:

      I guess for reverts it’s all still new, we have so much to learn so we have to try and learn as much as we can… Born Muslims are often inspiration and reasons for reverts finding Islam in the fist place πŸ™‚ exactly only Allah knows

      Liked by 1 person

  9. thari says:

    I think that born Muslims take Islam for granted and so they don’t really think about it the way reverts do. Reverts try to go deep inside and seek out the true knowledge and meaning of the deen. I mean the way I see myself and my social circle, I think reverts are stronger in eman because they make a conscious decision. Maybe we don’t appreciate the deen as much? But looking down upon reverts is really idiotic. I sincerely pray for you that Allah may grant you ease and may He strengthen eman in all of us! Remember me in your duas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Safiyah says:

      I guess the thing is we all take our blessings for granted at times.. that’s in our nature as humans. A lot of the time born Muslims are an inspiration and a means for reverts being guided in the first place without them even realising it. The majority of Muslims accept reverts and respect them just a minority that don’t.
      Ameen ya Rabb! I will, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sana Khan says:

    May Allah make it easier for you and for all Reverts. I think the born Muslims have to be more mindful and welcoming in their behavior and should be more accommodating . The cultural thing also exists depending on which part of the world you belong to, My husband sometimes goes to a Mosque (nearest mosque) which is run and managed by all Bangladeshis and the people praying there are also mostly Bangladeshis, My Husband who is not a Bangladeshi felt a bit out of place, they were all talking and greeting to each other and just pretended he doesn’t exist , where as while being a Muslim it shouldn’t matter to you if someone is from your Country or not or he/she doesn’t speaks your language. Saying Salaam or a smile doesn’t hurt and overall mosque is not something personal that someone foreigner entered your place and you stare at him .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Safiyah says:

      Ameen ya Rabb! Aww I definitely know what you mean that’s very true this kind of thing happens in the Muslim communities. My husband has had similar experience when going to our local mosque which is mostly Asian and he doesn’t always feel welcome as he is North African so they speak a language he doesn’t understand and don’t always try and include him… the only thing that should matter is being Muslim and even then we should still treat non-Muslims with nothing but respect and kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sana Khan says:

    No intention to hurt any Bangladeshi people hear, it was just an example of situations arising our of cultural differences which are not aligned to the teachings of our prophet and Islam.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. beautydesignsco says:

    Muslims love knowing a revert had found the love for Islam and Allah I’m a born Muslim and a teen you still get those reminders that ” honey that’s not islamicaly appropriate and it does get repetitive but there doing it to help you.

    Liked by 1 person

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