Ask any revert in the West, and you will find that there is much difficulty in their paths to become closer to God. There are dozens of obstacles for our new Muslim brethren; the domination of immigrant and cultural Islam, weak community integration, and having to find an American Muslim identity during a time when speaking for Muslim American rights can label you a fanatic.

Not to mention the minute percentage of Muslims that even make thought of contributing to helping out new Muslims. Shaykh AbdulBary Yahya mentioned in the Chain of Command seminar that when new Muslims come to Islam, we often ignore them. We're too busy with our own lives to take the time to help these brothers and sisters, and couple our weak Islamic drive with assumptions that the imam of the masjid and the reverts Muslim friends will take care of them.

While the situation is grim and we find bad examples and case scenarios galore, things are looking up.

whyislam_billboard_2007_-02.jpg
Two of these billboards are up around Chicagoland.

There are huge projects launched in the name of da'wah all over the West. Muslims, born and reverts alike, are realizing the need for catering to reverts, resulting in beautifully innovative and creative means of da'wah. Things are progressing, and alhumdulillah, we're moving beyond the da'wah pamphlets.

Personally, I found the most beneficial advice on how to best help reverts came from actually asking previous reverts themselves. An unheard of notion, I know, but it really did help me in gathering the best resources and tips for reaching out to reverts. With that in mind, we open it up to YOU, reverts and born Muslims alike!

To our beloved reverts:

  • What is your story of reverting to Islam?
  • What knowledge resources worked best for you that you would recommend to reverts and those helping them?
  • What community practices were gold for you? What should we reform or do away with?

To everyone else:

  • Have a beautiful story of helping or witnessing someone embrace Islam? Share it here!
  • What tips or resources do you have that you've found succesful in helping reverts?

May Allah (SWT) help us bring millions more into His religion.

42 Responses

  1. Leslie

    Salaam Alaikum,

    Wow, this is a great topic. I read this blog often, but have never commented. I am a revert, and a new one at that. I said the shahada at the beginning of this past Ramadan. So, what? 3 months ago.

    And honestly, it has been difficult to find support. For the most part, the resources that have helped me the most are online. I have been able to meet other muslimah, and I message with them frequently. They have been very welcoming and open. I have a hard time speaking with people who have always practiced Islam because frequently I feel judged… that I am doing something wrong, that I am not good enough. There is this sense that I must meet certain standards before someone will help me. Several muslims that I have spoken to, (friends, even), have interrogated me on my beliefs and deen. Or at least that is how it felt. I came to them in excitement and joy for my new life and identity and instead of sharing that they would say, “how often do you pray? do you wear hijab?”. it is very frustrating. So, needless to say, I am careful about who I ask. I know that my relationship with Allah is clean and that I am doing my best, and I certainly do not want someone else to muddy the waters.
    I agree so much with what you were saying about culture. It is hard. People who come here have their own ways and ideas and it is very hard to conform to that, and really, I don’t think I should have to. But what are the other options? Stay isolated from the ummah? Please don’t misinterpret me, I have every respect for immigrants, and if I were in their shoes I would fight to keep every ounce of my culture.
    So, the advice that I would share with other reverts is to reach out in whatever way feels safe. And don’t rush. There is no way to know it all at once. I appreciate that I have been on this journey by myself. It has allowed me to know Allah in a very private way. However, it is also very lonely at times and reading is no substitute for people. Wow, clearly, I am in need of advice more than I can give it!

    But to people who grew up with Islam: Be patient and do not push new Muslims beyond what they are comfortable with. Most likely, they have lots of questions and they will let you know what they need. And there is a lot of information, but they do not want it all RIGHT NOW. And be welcoming. It is hard enough to feel separate from your family and most of your community, but to feel as though you have to fight your way into a new one is very daunting. Also, share in their joy and congratulate them on reaching Islam!

    Anyway, thank you for all of the articles and your hard work.

    Fi Aminilah,
    Leslie

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    • Asha

      Assalamu Alaykum sister,
      I’m so sorry that you had to go through a lonely journey through Islam. I wish I knew you so i could help but Masha’Allah you sound like an extremely strong person to have fought through it :)
      I wanted your honest advice on an idea i had and i believe only a revert could possibly give me insight to it. I was proposing an idea with an established organisation in Melbourne (which i had recently seen happening in Sydney) in which myself and a group of committed muslim brothers and sisters in Islam would serve as a support group to any reverts or new muslims who needed it. Although we are all willing to work hard to make this happen, this is still very new to us all and so i wanted to ask you for advice on what we should expect, how we should approach it perhaps etc
      Any input is appreciated sister
      Jazakallahu Khayr,
      Asha

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  2. h.ahmed

    check out http://www.meccacenter.com. mashallah a really great and devoted group of ppl run this organization which provides one on one mentoring along with live classes. mashallah dozens of new muslims have benefitted from mecca’s work. inshallah we should support mecca and work to help spread its work throughout tbe country

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  3. Amad

    salam Sr. Leslie, which part of the world are you in… just a city or state would do (whatever you are comfortable with)… perhaps between all of us we may know more sisters who you can hook up with…

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  4. AnonyMouse

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum, sis Leslie! Welcome, to Islam and to commenting on MM :D

    At my old Islamic centre, masha’Allah we had a lot of converts and my mom and her friends would fondly call them our “babies” – because we’d be trying to help them step-by-step, as they adjusted to being Muslim and the zillions of challenges they faced.

    One thing that I think is extremely important for us “born-Muslims” is to reach out to the new Muslims, NOT to judge them (as sis Leslie mentioned), and to do our best for them! Welcome them to our homes, invite them for dinner and ask them if they need help with anything… try to ‘adopt’ them, in a way, so that they feel they’ve got a Muslim family to turn to when their own families are being harsh or difficult.

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    • EmA

      That’s not true. I do not believe that & why would you say something like that?
      You are suppose to cover another’s fault as Allah (swt) covers your faults
      You are not suppose to mention that kind of Shaytan play.

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  5. Hood

    While this is a good topic, the suggestions at the end reek of fetishism of “convert stories”.

    To be real, yes we need more care for New Muslims, but by highlighting the fact that they came to Islam recently (some still referred to as ‘new’ muslims years or decades after accepting Islam) in the long run only causes more problems for community interaction. Some new Muslims become narcissist with regards the fact, while others already Muslim want to use the newbie as a token for personal gain (whatever gain that might be in the community).

    In the end what do we get? A really cure amazing story about how someone accepted Islam, with the one that accepted Islam feeling this is all he has to offer the community, and the community feeling that this is all this person can offer. And a vicious cycle starts.
    So while I appreciate the sentiment of the post, it does little in the way of finding solutions and instead reverts to the “cutesy” story telling we are all so familiar with when “converts” are mentioned.

    Education is the key with a new Muslim, sadly though many in our communities need education themselves.

    A note on the term “convert”

    There is something inherently elitist about referring to those that accept Islam as ‘converts’ and only furthers the view that they are second-class in the view of both the Muslim community and their own families.

    When the companions of the Prophet accepted Islam, the term that was used to describe their entering Islam was ‘he/she accepted Islam’ (أسلم ، أسلمت ) and not converted, reverted, or changed which was a derogatory term for those that accepted Islam (صابئت ، أنت صابئ ).

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    • EmA

      Salaam
      I love how you know what you’re talking about. You even included the Arabeyy which I will have to memorize.
      You’re absolutely correct in that mention of terms. Also I would add that it makes division in Islam not just to us individually but to the complete umma
      We newly guided people could easily label the born ins the same way.

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    • EmA

      Furthermore, all the Sahaba RA
      Are much better than any of us, but were they not also ‘new muslim’
      So why the ignorance of people who think they are elite

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  6. Aboo Uthmaan

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum

    It is very sad to see Muslims so eager to get the people to testify to Islam, yet not being so eager to offer the support that the “new” Muslim is entitled to after their reversion, with da’wah comes responsibility.

    Was-salaamu ‘alaikum

    Aboo Uthmaan

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  7. Amad

    asalamalikum.
    Br. Hood, I think it is unfair to call the desire for hearing stories about Islam-acceptors as being some sort of fetish. These stories can themselves be lessons for dawah and also a boost of iman for all Muslims (born-Muslims and otherwise). Furthermore, if I achieved something in life, and there is no bigger achievement than leaving the religion of your parents to ascribe to the truth of Islam, then I would be quite happy in talking about this metamorphosis… So, please explain to me how this is a problem, I really do want to understand.

    I should add that I agree that this is not the first or necessary thing to ask every new Muslim because they may get “sick” of it eventually… I also agree that it is a problem if this becomes the last conversation we have with them. But setting these two concerns aside, pls explain further.

    Secondly, I am also surprised by your indignation with the terms “convert” or “revert”. It seems that you don’t like either term. So, that makes our common Islamic lingo rather complicated. If I didn’t use this term, what would I have named this post? “Hey Islam-acceptors…”? Even writing this comment, I was having a hard time not using the convert word.

    Also, I don’t know if anyone uses this word in an elitist sense. And this is the first time that I have heard that some may find it condescending. Because honestly, when I call someone a convert, it is with full honor and respect, raising that person’s level in my eyes (exact opposite of elitism) because of what this person achieved. It is no achievement for me to be a Muslm, I was born such. But those who accepted the deen in the face of the massive weapons of misinformation, then that is indeed an achievement.

    I would appreciate your clarifications.

    w/s

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  8. inexplicabletimelessness

    As salaamu alaikum,

    Great article mashaAllah.

    Also, Sr. Leslie, mashallah, it was very nice to hear from you. I agree with what you’re saying completely and think everyone should be supportive of our new brothers and sisters in faith.

    If you need a support group which will help you to learn at your own pace, have supportive sisters and be in an environment in which over 50% of the sisters are reverts, then please join Islamway sisters forum: http://sisters.islamway.com/forum

    It’s important for all of us to have some sort of support group, inshaAllah. :)

    take care

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  9. Ruth Nasrullah

    An unsettling development recently has been suspicion that new visitors to the masjid who don’t quite know how to go about things are likely FBI informants or some similarly paranoid idea. I know one case where a non-Muslim woman who was very interested in Islam was also very nervous about going into the prayer hall, wearing hijab/abaya, and so forth, and after she finally got up the nerve to go to the ladies’ halaqa a rumor started that she was a spy.

    Speaking of hijab and abaya, I would make the suggestion that people lighten up regarding the issue of women’s dress in the masjid. I know a brand new Muslim woman who wore high heels that went clicky-clack down the hallway and some brothers complained and she was told to go by a different entrance if she was going to engage in this “inappropriate” behavior. How could she have known anyone would find her shoes un-Islamic? (If they even are; I still don’t know.)

    An additional point regarding the dress of women who have recently embraced Islam – don’t obsess over hijab. I always explain that hijab is a requirement but that if a sister is not comfortable wearing it yet she should focus on simply learning about the basic beliefs of her faith. Although there are sisters who start covering right away without difficulty, for many of us (myself included) donning hijab was far from easy and it should neither be treated as a sign of a new Muslim’s piety nor as a *prerequisite* for learning to be a good Muslim.

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    • EmA

      ASA
      How about when a Caucasian women does something it’s big haram like loose jeans , be ause lack of wardrobe
      But when a arabic girl deliberately wears tight jeans etc It is ok
      For example myself i had a trench coat knee length and super wide leg jeans. Sister came & says you know you can’t wear jeans.
      However she was wearing jeans!!!
      Interesting how they do no wrong.

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  10. Amad

    Sr.ruth, great comments… I am also interested in your take about br.hood’s perspectives and if, as a non-born-muslim :), you feel the same way?

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  11. Ahmad AlFarsi

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    As a “revert” myself, I would like to share some thoughts:

    - I have never felt the terms convert or revert to be condescending, personally. I probably wouldn’t use it in an Arabic conversation, if it is not the norm in the language, but when it is ppropriate to mention it, in an English conversation, I think it makes perfect sense to use the term revert.

    - I might be a major exception to the rule… but… I have never felt that I was being regarded as a “second-class” Muslim. In fact, and again, I maybe the exception here, the overwhelmingly most common feeling I have gotten when people learn that I reverted is the “arms-wide-open/ welcome my brother/ we’re family now” type response.

    In fact, subhanAllah, this has been so much the case, that, before accepting Islam, I had NEVER experienced such an absolutely amazing phenomenon, where someone who did not even know my name 30 seconds ago is suddenly treating me like I am his own blood-brother!

    Also, I can’t say that I have ever felt that I was being judged for being a convert… again, it looks like I might be the exception… but many others I know have had a similar experience to mine.

    I could make a really brazen ( :) ) comment and say that my wonderful experience with the American Muslim community is only because I am middle-eastern (Iranian)… but I don’t think that is true, as I know quite a few brothers of varied racial backgrounds (black/white/etc.) who have had a similar experience to mine with the American Muslim community.

    (also, when I was in Egypt for a few months, I felt the same level of brotherhood as I did in the US, esp. when people would find out that I reverted to Islam).

    - I also agree that sharing reversion stories is EXTREMELY beneficial for one’s eemaan. Everyone knows the very long report from Salman AlFarsi (radhiAllaahu anhu) who shared his entire story of embracing Islam with ibn Abbaas (radhiAllaahu anhuma). Surely, we cannot say the sahaabah had a “fetish” for hearing convert stories, na’oothubillaah.

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  12. Amad

    ASA, Jak Br. Ahmad for your perspective. The more we hear perspectives directly from the horses’ mouths, different as they may be, the more we can appreciate the diversity of opinion and even feelings among the “non-born-Muslims”. This may allow us to improve our interactions with the ever-growing population of recent Muslims.

    I would also like to go back to Sr. Ruth’s point. She points to a very interesting and ongoing phenomena that is hitting our communities. And I can concur by saying, with some hesitation, that I have indeed become weary of new “born-again” Muslims, esp. those who display a sudden great zeal. Perhaps weary is not the right word, more like “careful”. There have been too many examples, one in Houston with NOT a new Muslim, but a well-known Muslim activist (convert) who was involved in entrapment of good brothers.

    I mean we have nothing to hide, but that is not the issue. Entrapment doesn’t need existing issues, it creates the whole scenario.

    So, what to do?

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    • EmA

      SA
      What about the Arabs who are spies on their own people
      Like that does not happen!
      IE Filistin
      Spy agencies are not stupid, they would not be obvious. How would that be spying?
      If we don’t understand your language how could we spy?!
      Face the facts that sadly they put the closest people against each other
      Thanks for your ridiculous fathom however
      Doesn’t bother my faith in the Islam

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  13. ruth nasrullah

    LOL @ Amad – “non-born-Muslim.” If anything, I also think the phrase “born Muslim” is kind of strange, especially if you say converts are reverting to their religion – in that case “born Muslim” is redundant. But we need to establish common phrases so we all know what we’re talking about. Similarly, many people say “She’s American” by which they actually mean Caucasian or non-immigrant…you’ll find naturalized American citizens referring to Caucasians as Americans, and again it’s just use of common language. In that vein, I don’t think there’s any judgement attached to “convert” or “revert.” I personally prefer “convert” because it seems the more natural word and everyone, in and outside the ummah, understands what a convert to a religion is. I don’t think either term is elitist or offensive and I don’t mind at all being referred to as a convert or a revert.

    Br. Ahmad, I’m glad you made your comments because I have also had the same experience – with one major exception, nearly everyone has been nice and welcoming and friendly. In fact, at least here in southeast Houston, “born Muslims” often make the comment that they may well know less about their deen than those of us who have to start from square one.

    I hear a lot of women converts talk about feeling shunned because women in the masjid speak their own language to each other, but I think that’s being over sensitive. What upsets me more is the Desi dinner parties where all the sisters speak Urdu and won’t speak English to me even when I initiate conversation with them. Fortunately those have been few…and I’ve learned to bring a book just in case :)

    The one glaring exception was my first eid salah at a big masjid in East Orange, NJ, where I was questioned, ignored and abused. I got over it, though.

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  14. Hood

    Salam Alaikum Amad,

    definition of Fetish:

    An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence
    and
    An abnormally obsessive preoccupation or attachment; a fixation

    So when people have an unhealthy fixation on hearing the stories of those that accepted Islam (while many not all at the same time offering nothing in the way of support, education, and brotherhood) that is a fetish with convert stories.

    When someone has accepted Islam they are usually approached to tell their “story” and for many people that is all they want to hear, your story, and then find out nothing more about you as a person, a human being, or a Muslim. Your problems and needs are irrelevant, just give them that iman rush they need.

    This pandering to “convert stories” is detrimental to that person’s faith, because after a while they begin to believe that one of the only ways to gain attention and relevance from those whom he/she sees as “real” Muslims is to tell his/her “story”. Embellishment soon ensues, because no one wants to hear “Oh yeah i was in class and this guy said ‘Hey why don’t you become a Muslim’ and I was like OK it sounds good.” No, people want mystical magical occurrences and dreams etc. Granted this does happen, but expecting it from every convert becomes a norm, and Riyaa becomes a big problem. The more socially acceptable that person is in the community, the more people will want to hear their “story” (the convert acceptability gender-race scale).
    So much more could be said, but most of it centers on things like Riyaa, lying, and general detriment to faith. I posted a while back on the psychology of religious conversion.

    On the part of many “Born-Muslims” (another incorrect term, we are all born on the Fitrah, Islam, submitting and wanting to worship God) “stories” become a form of drug taken to make one feel good and all cozy inside, and generally you will not find much effort to raise one’s Iman other than that. So people subsist on “stories” happy to hear that there are at least some good Muslims around, and as such they don’t really have to make that much of an effort because of this great new spiritual vanguard.

    As for using the term “convert” and its inherent elitism, than anyone that has ever cringed at hearing an “American” say “…yeh you know those immigrant Muslims..” will know what I am talking about.

    And as Ruth mentioned, there is an inherent distrust of new Muslims and those that are interested in accepting Islam in many, many Mosques nowadays, as if Muslims have something to hide in their faith and practice. I was even told by a person involved with Mosque responsibilities this past summer “Yeh, you know they ‘ve got alot of these people posing as converts coming here to spy on us in the Masjid.”
    To sum up the story I’ll quote one of the great poets of (my personal) jahiliyyah:

    …when they shoot no it won’t be a cracker, They’ll use somebody much blacker

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  15. Amad

    He he, you can’t beat Houston for hospitality and warmth (pun-intended). Its snowing here in NJ… this is my 3rd winter and I am still not used to the cold weather or the cold attitudes.

    I can see how the desi part can be an issue. Most wives (esp. the older, uncle crowd) have wives who are “imports”… who just can’t do their normal back-biting and vain conversations in English (ok that was a joke, the import part wasn’t). Even when I get together with 4 uncles, and 1 convert brother, its tough to keep them talking in English. So, what I do usually is to invite desi FOBs separately and converts/arabs together, because the latter will be forced to communicate in English!

    I think Sr. Ruth you should learn a few choicy urdu words, like “mujhe pata hey aap kia kah rahein hein” (I know what you are talking about) or “aap ko english nahin aati” (don’t you know english?” and that will be useful for some stunning action.

    There is some interesting contrast here… Sr. Ruth while you are married to a Pakistani man, Br. Ahmad is married to a Pakistani sister. I wonder if the dynamics are similar… though I have a feeling that they are worse among the sisters…. :)

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  16. SaqibSaab

    Leslie
    JazakAllah khair for the wonderful tips. All Muslims need community, and the immigrant Muslims have monopoly over it. Please let us know how we can help you find more people!

    Hood
    I understand the frustration. Sometimes we only think of our reverts for convert panel line ups, forgetting other important items . There’s nothing wrong with telling stories of accepting Islam, so long as that’s not all we do. Maybe “only-story-telling” is one thing we can add to the list of things to have less of.

    For the term “revert” or “convert,” I questioned the use of the term for the post myself and asked some friends here and there. One even suggested using “invert,”as they came back to Fitrah. Not my slice of cake. :)

    In the end, it’s a matter of semantics. You’re right in that we can’t think of them as second-rate Muslims because they’re “new” and hope we all know this. JazakAllah khair for the advice.

    Amad

    I think it is unfair to call the desire for hearing stories about Islam-acceptors as being some sort of fetish. These stories can themselves be lessons for dawah and also a boost of iman for all Muslims (born-Muslims and otherwise).

    Yes! This is the very reason why I wrote this post. In the past month or so, three brothers accepted Islam at the local masjid. One an attorney from Houston, another a young married rock band kinda guy, and the latest a stay-at-home dad. Hearing their stories made my Eman increase, and I hope by hearing more we can remind ourselves of how important this religion that we undermine really is.

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  17. AnonyMouse

    Another tip/suggestion I have:

    Try to make ‘Eid special for those more used to celebrating Christmas with family. This is especially important for those whose families have shunned them… although ‘Eid events are common in the bigger cities with larger Muslim populations, there are many places where ‘Eid salaah is the only thing that the Muslim community will gather for and the rest of the day will be spent with family and friends.

    Make an effort to include the converts/reverts! (Please don’t kill me for using those terms! :P)
    It can be a bit awkward or uncomfortable at first, but if you really try your best to make them welcome, trust me, they’ll appreciate it!

    As Hesham al-Awadi mentions in his “Children Around the Messenger” lecture series, positive association is key – with children and with others. So, try to create positive memories and experiences for our new brothers and sisters in Islam and insha’Allah the results (in this world and in the Aakhirah) will be definitely worth it!

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  18. Siraaj Muhammad

    LOL, no man, invert because they’ve brought the fitrah back out.

    I think Leslie’s issues with other Muslims illustrates a problem we Muslims have in general – a very strong focus on one’s own personal pet peeve fiqh issues rather than starting with where the person is, and prioritizing what is most important.

    For example, brothers often complain to the shaykh, tell the sisters to wear hijaab, not realizing that the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim didn’t start with fiqh issues, but with Eman issues, and once the person’s heart and commitment was earned, then the different fiqh aspects of Islam were put on the people.

    I think we all have to remember that none of us were doing all the things we are as Muslims now that we were five years ago, and insha’Allah, 5 years from now we’ll be even better and doing a lot more and have better akhlaq and manners, and that everyone is either on a continuum of progression or regression, each one of us at their own level. I think when we see people behind us, we don’t understand why others have not caught up to our level of understanding already, which is a mistake.

    Siraaj

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  19. ruth nasrullah

    “I think when we see people behind us, we don’t understand why others have not caught up to our level of understanding already, which is a mistake.” (Siraaj)

    Good point. In the same vein, I would recommend not assuming a convert’s level of knowledge. And if you see a blank look when you use an Arabic word, back up!

    (BTW, Br. Amad, just for accuracy’s sake…my husband is from Hyderabad, India originally.)

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  20. Amad

    BTW, Br. Amad, just for accuracy’s sake…my husband is from Hyderabad, India originally

    Oh ok.. I should have said from “greater Pakistan” ;)

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  21. Amad

    So when people have an unhealthy fixation on hearing the stories of those that accepted Islam (while many not all at the same time offering nothing in the way of support, education, and brotherhood) that is a fetish with convert stories.

    salam Br. Hood. I understand your context here, but I still don’t think “fetish” is an appropriate terminology in this context. There are words that may technically apply to what you are saying, but their common usage may still make them unfit in certain contexts. Fetish is one word that doesn’t fit very well here. Furthermore, I contend that the only reasons people want to hear these stories is for the iman boost and for ways of dawah… so even if it is an obsession, that is far from being an unhealthy one. Of course, I don’t disagree with you and others that this shouldn’t be the only conversation that occurs.

    than anyone that has ever cringed at hearing an “American” say “…yeh you know those immigrant Muslims..” will know what I am talking about.

    So, I think I am getting it. If someone calls me an “immigrant”, which I have no problem calling myself (because it is accurate), then in most contexts that is ok. But if it is in the context of demeaning me, then of course that will make me cringe.

    I guess what you are then saying then that your problem is with the terminology of convert/revert is a certain contextual usage, i.e. “what to THOSE converts know”… rather than the terminology itself. Is that a fair reflection of what you meant?

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  22. Anisa

    Asalaamu Alaaikum,

    True, we should focus on imaan before fiqh, and should not judge reverts just because they don’t do this or that. insha’Allah instead of judging them we should just share our knowledge on the matter, and leave it at that!

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  23. Miss Zaman

    It must be hard for reverts. I think that it would be nice for Muslims to help genuine reverts learn more about their new faith and support/ help them to grow into their faith.

    If any reverts want someone to give them info about Islam, feel free to e-mail me on fahmzam@aol.com

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  24. Sister Kamillah

    As’salamu Alaikum,

    i embraced islam over 30 years ago and have taught islam to muslimah’s. I am willing to teach muslimah about the religion of islam via the phone or the internet and those who would like to meet for halaqa’s if they are close to where I live. They also can write and ask any questions concerning islam questionsaboutislam@yahoo.com

    When a individual says the shahadah there are alot of changes and learning that needs to take place and this does not happen overnight but over the coarse of numerous years. The important fist steps is to build a very sound foundation by teaching them tauhid and the six articles of Emaan. Then the understanding and memorization of the Qur’aan. For a new muslimah it is important for other sisters to teach her how to pray properly and help her to learn the surah’s that are needed for the salat. Also to stress the importance of the Salat and it being an obligation upon every muslim. Once the Salat is established then everything else Insha-Allah will come easy.

    It is also important to give those who have just said their shahadah some learning material such as a translation of the Qur’aan(Arabic/english), and the saheeh summarized Ahadeeth books- to start off with, so they will learn to love reading ahadeeth and this will help them learn about there importance and it also help to build Emaan.

    The best dawah is through example and by treating the newer muslimah’s with gentleness and kindness and being there for them if they have any questions or anything.

    Sister Kamillah Khan

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  25. MuslimHomeschoolers

    Sis Ruth,
    I have to laugh at some of the paranoia other Muslims have toward guest at the Masjid. I used to volunteer regularly at the Islamic School in the Masjid and frequent Halaqas back home before I became Muslim . I never really felt the “love” from a group of the teachers and wasn’t sure why. After I became Muslim one of the teachers had told me that a rumor was going around that I was some sort of spy.

    WHAT?

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  26. Brian

    As-salaamu alaykum,

    Masha’Allah there has been so much covered that I don’t know if I have anything to add. Let’s see… things that have been helpful for me…

    I have learned so much from Islamic literature, much more than one may expect. I guess there are websites that give out free books to new Muslims, and I was lucky enough to have a friend retrieve those for me.

    Invite a revert to any halaqas that you may know of. These have been immensely helpful in my Islamic education, and they are a great compliment to basic literature, as they usually cover topics not mentioned in such books.

    http://www.islamibayanaat.com/EMQ.htm
    This is a website that gives tafsir of every chapter of the Qur’an, which I have found very helpful.

    Also, I just want to add that for the most part, I don’t notice people thinking less of me for being a revert. Quite the opposite, actually. However, I get the impression sometimes that people think that just because I’m a new Muslim, and thus don’t know as much about Islam as they do, I must not know much about anything else, either. I know it is in good will, but before giving advise just think to yourself first, “Is this the kind of advise I would give to a child?” If so, it is probably something that is common knowledge for adults and may seem insulting to one’s intelligence. Don’t worry Saqib, I’m not singling you out, I don’t think you’ve ever done that to me! For the most part, I think people are doing a good job.

    Oh, one more thing…
    If you happen to be one of the brothers or sisters that the revert is probably closest to (it may be hard to realize if the person is new to Islam, as there has not been time to build a really close friendship), it would be a good idea to invite them over for Eid or iftaar. It can be depressing for a new Muslim spending such a special occasion by him/herself.

    Wa alaykum as-salaam.

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  27. AnonyMouse

    Comments from some sisters on the IslamWay Sisters forum:

    “I accepted Islam about 3 years ago elhumdulillah! I’d have to say that it would help much for fellow muslims to be more accepting and less judgemental, more open minded and less “you must do exactly as I say”, friendlier, to keep in touch more, be less preachy and more welcoming. Subhanna’Allah! no one likes to be told what to do all the time and it is much better if one can learn by a good example instead of being bombarded by “do this” and “do that” all the time. Remember the first muslims did not change everything at one time and the Qur’an was revealed over two decades, so it does take much time for change to come. I also wish that there would always be spaces insha’Allah available in mosques for us women to pray, regardless of how few women may need that space. It is something terrible to be told by another muslim that “there is no place for you here to pray”AstufgAllah! , and a locked door at the mosque for the “women’s section” at time of prayer is something that few men have ever happened upon. I wonder how men would feel if there was no place for them to pray? A heavy curtain in front of him while he prayed instead of a nice, healing open space? Aestetics are very important masha’Allah and open spaces are made healing by Allah swt! Interesting if they could wear our “shoes” for a day in the masjid.

    -Kim”

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  28. AnonyMouse

    “It been a year since i reverted and i quess the one thing that has confused mre the most is prayer. When i was first trying to learn OMG it was enough to make you cry I finally went to a site that was posted here where a video of real people praying all 5 prayers were shown, that helped alot. But even now it still confusing with the words used to decribed the different parts of the prayers, the special prayers to say at different times when you say them and how you say them.

    I also wish there was somewhere a revert could ask real life questions ie: relationships, work, thier past life thats still part of their current life)and not feel like they were going to be judged

    -newpath”

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  29. MuslimHomeschoolers

    “When i was first trying to learn OMG it was enough to make you cry I finally went to a site that was posted here where a video of real people praying all 5 prayers were shown, that helped alot.”

    Reading this reminded me of the first time I prayed by myself ,not in congregation. I was so confused. I did cry. I felt horrible. I thought I would never get it. I really did feel so alone.
    Everyone is always so helpful when describing to a new Muslim all the things that they have to start doing, no one ever says to take your time, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
    That is what I would have appreciated and that is what I tell every new Muslim I meet when they first enter Islam.

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  30. Hermana

    Asalam Alaykum,

    MuslimHomeschoolers: I can totally identify with what you are talking about. I remember attempting to pray in my dorm room after I became Muslim and feeling like a complete failure. If it weren’t for those websites with audio on how to make salat, i would have been done for!

    I was very stagnant in terms acquiring knowledge for a long time. I was getting most of my information from the Internet. There were and are a lot of websites out there that with misleading information on everything: salat, aqeedah, hijab, the role of women and so on. It was so hard to decipher what was correct. I had to spend a lot of time reteaching myself after becoming more knowledgeable later on.

    Sister Leslie: I understand what you are going thru. On one hand you want to be part of the community on the other hand the community can literally be the biggest headache imaginable! I had some negative experiences with Muslims early on after my conversion. I can remember one time in particular where my mother was treated in a not so nice way because of an incident at the masjid -there is your dawah down the drain!

    Many Muslims find a lot of support thru online forums and message boards, I know I definitely did. It is also important to have those close ties in real life. Having that close Muslim friend in your life to lean on and talk to can save you a lot of grief!!! That is something that i wish i had early on.

    Focus on cultivating your relationship with Allah. Don’t let other people and their treatment of you discourage you from becoming involved in your local community. You have to learn to ignore the short comings of ignorant people (even if they are at the masjid). This is something that you will always have to do. It takes time to find your own niche within a community.

    In terms of advice for people who do dawah or who work with new converts; I am at a total lost. My own initial experiences have made me a bit weary about doing dawah. Perhaps something of a buddy system might be a good thing. I think i would have gotten more out of a one on one interaction verses a new Muslim class (that is just me). Obviously teaching someone about salat is very important, but also focusing on the spiritual aspect of connecting with Allah is key. Let them know that no matter how minor or major the subject or question that they should feel comfortable asking. Let converts know that you are not there to judge them!!

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  31. Mustafa

    Well, I’m sorry to say it, but I think it’s good to make people aware…

    I embraced Islam at the age of 20, in 1987. I left family, friends, and Ivy League hopes to move to Arlington, TX. Alhamdulillah, began traveling the US and abroad in learning my Islam, learned Arabic, made a lot of effort as a young man. Due to the confusion in the immigrant Muslim community, due to their lack of understanding what I was going through,and due to the fact Muslims typically refer you to Allah when you tell them you are having a problem, I suffered a total mental collapse at the ripe age of 23.

    I could not get medical help, could not get intelligent advice, could not get an invitation for dinner, masha Allah.

    20 years later, I’m looking back:
    There was no help in learning my Islam.
    There was no help in returning to college – had to take a government riba loan
    No help in getting married
    No help in getting divorced from a woman I never should have married
    I have lost my career, lost my mental and emotional health, lost over $1M in net worth, lost my home, will be homeless one day…

    And Muslims wonder why I’m angry!

    By the way, I’ve never received a phone call or a knock on my door in 24 years to see if I’m alive or dead, or Allah forbid, if I actually need help with living life alone!

    Now, I won’t attend any of the 4 masaajid, because I don’t think anyone here is a human being.

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