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Got a Survival Kit? Help for Muslim Apostates ©

Got a Survival Kit? Help for Muslim Apostates ©

“I'm just calling to let you know I'm not Muslim anymore,” the woman said to me after I picked up the phone, “and I'm cutting off contact with all Muslims except you.”

This was one of the most difficult conversations I've ever had.

My heart ached for this woman; I knew her story all too well.

I had been in the “frontline” with her as she tried to find her place in the Muslim community, and repeatedly failed.  masjid after masjid, community after community, yet so few were willing to assist her in securing a roof over her head and food each night; and she had been just eighteen years old at the time she was repeatedly turned away.

She had accepted Islam in a small Northern town when she was still in high school, got kicked out of school because she wore hijab, and moved to the D.C. metropolitan area with nothing but her name, her faith in Allāh, and her knowledge that a “strong Muslim community” was there to receive her…

“We don't discriminate against anyone,” the masjid administrator said with pride.  Other board members chimed in from time to time. “Sister so-and-so teaches kindergarten, Sister so-and-so works in the daycare, and Brother so-and-so…”

I sat speechless as I listened to them list the commitment of about five “comfortable, happy, dedicated” Americans who worked at their Muslim school or who were regular participants in the community. I felt like I was listening to a Southern self-proclaimed anti-racist in the 1950s tell me their “black folk were happy”, proof being that Black folk smiled at them each day and always “without protest” used the separate Jim Crow facilities.

What made the board's proclamations so heartbreaking was that they actually believed themselves.

I tried another approach: I mentioned how even non-Muslim communities and schools set up multicultural awareness programs and offered cultural sensitivity training and—

“That's from jahiliyyah (ignorant of the guidance from God),” a board member said before I could finish speaking.

What?

Though I was deeply offended, I gathered my composure enough to remind myself why I was there.

It was then that I realized I could use this moment to make them understand my point. After all, even word choice created cultural barriers. And since I knew how much brotherhood and sisterhood meant to them, I expressed how their words made me feel as if they were putting up a wall between us.

“And your words make me feel as if you are putting up a wall…”

Little did the board know, I had not called this meeting on my own account; days before, several community members (a multiracial group of mostly converts to Islam) felt I could meet with the board as a “last resort” to help the community. They'd imagined that my good standing in the community would allow the board to hear the concerns with open hearts and ears…

“If you ever have any more concerns,” a board member said as she followed me to the door (The meeting ended once it was clear we were getting nowhere), “feel free to come talk to us at any time.” She wore a broad smile that exuded warmth and kindness. “We're always open to suggestions.” She placed a hand on my shoulder. “And please know we love you like a sister…”

I tried not to break into sobs right then…

Were you at Jumu'ah last Friday?” a masjid board member said to another. “Ohhh, it was so beautiful. A young American girl took her shahaadah. We were all in tears…”

It was only by the mercy of Allāh that after the apostate woman and I talked for some time, she decided to come back to Islam. But she remained discontented and distant from the Muslim community after that.

However, her story is actually a rare one. Apostates generally don't give Muslims phone calls to say “I'm through.” But nearly all apostates give Muslims warning calls before they leave…

The first warning call is quite unambiguous: They ask for help—literally.

How can I learn to pray?

What activities are there in the community?

What do I need to know as a new Muslim?

Do I have to cover?

What do I tell my parents?

Is it true that Islam teaches such-and-such?

Given the popularity of da'wah (inviting to Islam) programs in masjids across America, it's quite shocking that so few have after-the-da'wah programs. Unfortunately, convincing a non-Muslim to accept Islam is the “end of the journey” in most Masjids…while this moment is just the beginning for the one who accepts Islam.

Too many Masjids are content with providing teary-eyed after-Jumu'ah entertainment for the soft-hearted congregation more than they are concerned with providing a helping hand to the one evoking tears in Muslims' eyes. I suppose we can't get enough of hearing that heartfelt “I bear witness…” echoed through the microphone…

But where do all these new shahaadahs (Muslims converts) go after that tearful Jumu'ah?

…One of them gave me a call once to let me know.

My suggestion to any Muslim who wants to help stop the revolving door of “Muslim today, apostate tomorrow” is to get a survival kit—one for yourself and one for the struggling Muslim you meet.

 Here's what your survival kit should contain:

  1. A three-sentence instruction guide that essentially reads: “Forget getting the support of the masjid or 'model Muslim community' you're so fond up, and just roll up your sleeves. You're on your own in this one, I'm afraid. If you have plenty of spare time and are not prone to bouts of laryngitis, then set up a weekly or monthly meeting to share with them your concerns and suggestions.”
  2. A merciful, patient, determined heart. This is going to be your lifeline during this project.  How so? …Well, start the project, and bi'idhnillaah (God willing), you'll see.
  3. Thick skin. Ever heard the saying “You asked for it”? Well, if you ask new or struggling Muslims their needs and concerns, be prepared to actually hear what they have to say. These Muslims have a lot on their minds and hearts, and it's not always pretty. The good news is that if they're talking to you, then most likely they actually want to keep their emaan (faith).
  4. A prayer mat and several supplications from the Qur'an and Sunnah. (Prayer and du‘ā’ for your own soul and steadfastness upon Islam will be indispensable every step of the way.)
  5. Some really balanced, knowledgeable Muslim friends. (You'll be needing lots of advice and support yourself.)

Here's what their survival kit should contain:

  1. A one-sentence instruction sheet that essentially reads: “Forget getting the support of other Muslims, and just focus on getting the guidance and support of Allāh.”
  2. A “back to the basics” approach to holding on to your Islam. This means you focus on primarily three things during your “recovery period”: studying Tawheed (the Oneness of Allāh), establishing regular prayer (with sincerity and concentration), and reading Qur'an (in your native language and, if possible, in Arabic too).
  3. A prayer mat and a few supplications from the Qur'an and Sunnah. (Prayer and du‘ā’ for guidance and steadfastness upon Islam will be indispensable during this time—and at every stage of life.)
  4. Willingness to, if you have doubts or questions, ask… not just any Muslim, but one you feel you can trust. (Unfortunately, not all Muslims are  understanding or honest).
  5. The realization that this internal “fight for spiritual survival” is a lifelong process that will never end until you meet Allāh. (But the good news is this: It does get easier if you persevere.)

If we keep these “survival kits” on hand and actually use them, perhaps we can help someone on the verge of leaving Islam. Then maybe one day we'll pick up our phone and hear: “I'm just calling to let you know I'm still Muslim. Thank you for helping me realize I made the right choice.”

And when we get all teary-eyed at hearing this heartfelt testimony, we'll know we didn't abandon the one who evoked the tears.

 Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and the novels Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost.  To learn more about the author, visit themuslimauthor.com or join her Facebook page.

allah du'aa masjid

About Umm Zakiyyah

36 comments

  1. Jazakallah khair for discussing this very important topic and emphasizing that we need to support new Muslims long after they take their shahadah!

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  2. jazakAllah.
    Two years back this very issue was bothering me. There were a few reversions in a span of two weeks. One such person was a 52 year old man, former employee in some engineering firm from Dubai. He was jobless, homeless at the time of embracing islam. Initially the one through whom the man gave shahada sponsored him with INR 5000.
    Then there was this young guy, 17 years old. His family not only disowned him but also bashed him. He was sleeping on the streets with emaan as his bed.
    We had a meeting. Nothing concrete came out of it.
    The whereabouts of these two guys is unknown now.
    Now, I’m not vocal in my dawah. I’m focused on making money. Dawah needs money. A lot of money.

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  3. Jazakh’Allah for this. As a revert of 20 years, I’ve seen various attempts to integrate new Muslims into communities with varying degrees of success. One thing that seemed to help was assigning new reverts a mentor that would partner with them for at least the next year, possibly longer. This gave the new revert somebody to go to Eid prayers with, a family to spend Ramadan with, etc.

    What’s missing is a need to address the long-standing issues within the Muslim community which are taboos to discuss… like Aisha’s age at marriage, Qur’an sanctioned domestic violence (4:34), women’s rights in Muslim countries, etc. Reverts are not shy about asking these questions, and an answer like “we don’t question the Prophet’s character” or some such thing really doesn’t work for people who came to Islam by questioning. :)

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  4. You made me cry! So many times I have very nearly walked away from Islam. And here I am, one year completed as a new Muslimah! The Muslim community of the born-Muslims really need to wake up! Us new Muslims are scared and nervous and shy and have NO CLUE what is going on! We just entered into a faith that is being attacked daily and we entered it purely because Allah wanted this for us. So if we could love Allah enough to take this leap, how hard is it for the born-Muslims to hop over and help us?

    Astaghfirullah… I may not be the best Muslimah in the world, but I am doing my best to make sure newer Muslims than I receive more help and love than I received after their shahadah. Inshallah.

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  5. Unfortunately this is an issue, like many others, which our community just shoves under the carpet and doesnt even want to acknowledge

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  6. I m fully agree with u in this issue Ummzakiyya ,this is a dish earting reality ,which we don’t realize willingly or unwillingly, but we should do something about it and the best u mentioned is “our survival kit” to deal with those newcomer Muslims who are but a newborns who need our shoulder to reach to the maturity of truly-safe-religon.

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  7. Great article, Mashallah. Thank you Umm Zakiyyah for this timely advice.

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  8. Salaam. This is second article you wrote on somewhat similar issue. For some reason I find it uncomfortable that you talk about ex-muslims in quite favorable term. The crappy muslims that did not do enough to keep someone muslims are still muslims at the end of day. A person who leaves islam because some muslims did not help him/her, perhaps is more concerned about acts of other muslims than his/her own actions.

    Secondly, was there a reason to associate people’s actions with racism rather than them being just not good enough to help others? Did they help shelter white convert but refused black convert?

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    • Wa alaikum salaam,

      While it’s true that someone who rejects Islam does it on his/her own terms and will be held accountable for it themselves, that doesn’t absolve other Muslims (including the crappy ones) from being concerned about this issue. We will still get questioned and be held accountable for how we treated Muslims with doubts, who then went on to reject Islam partly out of our treatment of them. It’s similar to how parents aren’t held accountable for whether or not their child rejects Islam later in life, but they are held accountable for how they treated them growing up, how much they helped them through their problems, and how much they taught them about the Deen. So I believe it’s important to bring issues like this up, instead of ignoring them.

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      • Yes, muslims (or anyone of that matter) are responsible for their actions, if they act in a way not befitting a muslim, they would be answerable for their actions.

        Similarly people who convert to islam and then leave are responsible for their own actions. They should not be portrayed in a way that sends a message that they would go into heaven because they did nothing wrong.

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  9. mashallah, this sure hits home. I ran into a sister I have known for twenty years in the grocery store today. She let me know that she wasn’t quite sure if she would call herself a Muslim anymore. So disillusioned with the behavior of Muslims, the hypocrisy and the lack of empathy for others, she had decided that she would just believe in God and worship on her own, without a label. This broke my heart, this is a kind, caring, sister. She is married to a Muslim who is well known and active in our community. Most of those in our community throw back the excuse that those who have doubts “don’t really have Islam in their heart”, that those who question or complain have “weak Islam”. I have often wondered how much an who will bear some of the responsibility for those who have fallen off the path over the years. Surely there is a good reason why we are advised to care for the converts. It seems that our community loves to celebrate the shahada of a new Muslim as some kind of proof or accomplishment of their own “rightness” but are unwilling to do much beyond instructing as to what they believe the duties and rules are.

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  10. Being a crappy Muslim is easy when you’ve been one all your life or for a long time and all your friends, family and people in the community accept you as a crappy Muslim. In fact its probably difficult for a crappy Muslim not to be Muslim. Being a convert you often have to go it alone. Family are un-supportive, friends leave you or you leave them because of their un-islamic ways. You feel the whole community looks at you with hatred or suspicion. You have rejected what is the norm and are no longer accepted as American or British. In the masjid you are not bengali, arab, pakistani, somali etc and so are an outsider and often treated like one. So you are left to struggle alone to learn your new religion. Feeling that it is a huge task that involves a complete change in the way you live and act. When meeting other Muslims you get criticisms about the way you do things (often conflicting with what you have been told before) which knocks your confidence. New Muslims often go through a period of feeling completely inadequate and depressed that they are unable to transform themselves into the ideal perfect Muslim and there is no one there to tell them it takes time to change, you don’t need to be the perfect Muslim from day one, even crappy Muslims who have been Muslim all their lives are still trying to reach that goal. The result is the feeling that Islam is too difficult, they are not able to be a good Muslim, they still believe in God but being Muslim makes even the smallest problems more difficult and complicated. They feel it is therefore not possible for them to do Islam justice, to please their creator, to be a good Muslim. Don’t forget also the heavy weight of shaytans whispering. I think most of the ex-Muslims still believe in one God but don’t believe Islam is a way of life they can achieve and live with any element of peace and happiness.
    http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/islam-101/misconceptions/8-things-you-should-understand-about-converts/
    This is an excellent article on some of the issues the majority of converts have to deal with.

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  11. Jazakillah ul khair sister for bringing up this important issue. I believe that so long as masajids/Islamic centers are unwilling to deeply look into these issues, that it would have to be up to us individual Muslims, who have the obligation and determination to help others, to help both converts and weak Muslims. And that’s a good point sister Naomi mentions about the difference between a crappy Muslim and new Muslim full of doubts. I believe for those of us really wanting to help out the community, should set up informal networks between ourselves, separate but connected to a masjid, where all Muslims (both reverts and born-Muslims) can find a safe space to discuss and learn about Islam as much as they can and to work to help each other out at the time of need.

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  12. Jazakillahu khairan for the article. Chicago has some great convert support programs. See the link for more info:

    http://ccchicago.wordpress.com/

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  13. JAZIKALLAHU KHAIRAN UZ, may Allah make us better Muslims and make us all firm on the right path. I hope you get to read your mails.

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  14. mashaAllah, this is a very important piece. I would like to mention that there is a great online mentoring community for female converts, thanks to a project started by Anse (Teacher) Tamara Gray, who is herself a convert and is now a scholar of Islam.

    Project Lina is designed to address the needs and issues of female converts. This workshop, designed specifically for female converts, will be held in several states over the next few months inshaAllah, starting with Michigan, inshaAllah :)
    The workshop focuses on 3 core principles:
    Know Yourself
    Declare Independence
    Tend Your Ties

    A “Lina” is a palm tree with deep roots that bears fruit. Anse Tamara Gray’s biography, from Rabata.org:
    Tamara L. Gray, born 1966 in Minneapolis Minnesota, became a Muslim when she was eighteen. At nineteen she married a Syrian-American student and over the next eight years, she completed her BA in political science and a Masters in Education, had two daughters and visited Damascus where she yearned to seek formal Islamic knowledge. When the family moved to Syria she studied the Prophet’s sira with the professor whose book she would later help translate and studied the Islamic subjects of hadith, tafsir, fiqh, aqidah and others as well as receiving an ijazah (certificate) in Qur’an and tajwid. The seventeen years she has spent in Syria have witnessed the birth of her son, acquisition of fluency in Arabic, several full-time jobs in international and renowned private schools, the co-authoring of English ESL programs, running many teacher training workshops, but most importantly her work in dawah.

    To find out more, please see: http://www.facebook.com/RabataRetreats – you can write to ask for more information and how to receive mentoring and help (all free).

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  15. by the way, you can request to have this travelling workshop visit a community near you; Anse Tamara also has online classes that can be attended by converts and any Muslim sister, and they will find someone with whom they can really identify easily and speak their mind, be open about their needs and questions, and get real answers, support, and comfort.
    Please support this noble effort to reach out to converts. Share with others and make dua for its success.
    JazakumAllah alf khair

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  16. Hassan mentioned, “They should not be portrayed in a way that sends a message that they would go into heaven because they did nothing wrong”. I read the article twice to find this “portrayed” message to exists in her article and did not find one. In our present day, who goes to heaven or hell is not revealed to anyone that includes ex-muslims. BTW…”how do we know crappy muslims are either muslims or not at the end of the day !”

    There are characteristics of hypocrisy among muslims who are in a state of denial, have the sickness of discriminating based on color and are unaware. Discrimination based on color is a real problem among muslim community. It’s a sickness not absent across different cultures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_based_on_skin_color.

    Here’s a personal experience, I’ll never forget. Ayaah School in Birmingham, al. some years back ran a matrimonial service ad where brothers & sisters anonymously fill in a profile & interest questionnaire. This sheet of paper gets put on a public information board. In practically all cases, “desi / Arabs” added “Caucasian, American” in their ethnic category of choice including their own (arab/ indian/ pakistani). There was at least one muslim moron who unashamedly inked in “no blacks” in the list above.

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    • It is unfortunate that Muslims in America are so very discriminatory in the way they speak, act, etc. Perhaps this is something unavoidable because Muslim communities are so diverse. Or perhaps it’s because Muslims tend to be quite arrogant in their own way, especially immigrant Muslims. Anyway, we can’t complain of discrimination from others while we practice it so freely and openly in our own Muslim communities. I’ve seen too many masjids that are run by one ethnic group, Turkish, Pakistani, Somali, etc., where other groups are clearly not welcome, or they are welcome at a most superficial level. I’ve also witnessed discrimination and superiority-affirming tactics by even extremely practising Muslim women. women that have perfect hijab, beautiful manners and even pray qiyaam. Yet their behavior with other ethnic groups is often lacking. Perhaps mine is too. This is unfortunate. A masjid and Muslim community must be open and welcoming to all, regardless of color/ethnicity/nationality/SES etc. On a different note: We can’t blame people for their personal preferences in marriage. Attraction and preference is part of a person’s personality. I know a dark-skinned woman who is married to a fair-skinned man. He was not attracted to women with fair skin and was bored with the blue eyes he saw everywhere in his family. She mentioned that her husband specifically refused to marry any of the Bosnian and Turkish ladies in his community. He wanted only a woman with dark skin and also dark eyes. Can you say this man is discriminatory and berate him? Certainly not. But we should try our very best not to let these preferences dictate how we behave within our communities, starting at a personal level – ourselves.

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  17. I too suffer with non-support from ‘born’ Muslims. I will not gove up, and will learn on my own. InshaAllah..

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    • dearest Lisa
      i feel for you. please accept my support – via Dua…(asking Allah to support you…)
      and I recommend you try to access the Lina Program for convert women, run by a convert woman who is now a scholar of Islam, and understands the unique struggles of converts and is wonderfully warm, supportive, funny, kind, and cool…she is so American, it’s heartening, and so Muslim ! amazing to see how she has been able to maintain her natural identity while breathing, living, sharing Islam in such an organice, confident, informed and sure manner. Alhamdulilah…

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    • Dearest Lisa,
      May Allah keep you firm on HIS path always, Ameen. Please let me know what city you reside in, if it is Houston, insha Allah we can meet.
      Ghazala

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    • Warm salams, dear Lisa. (That was my name before I was incorrectly told that I HAD to change my name.) I’m a Muslim sister and 12th generation American. I wasn’t born a Muslim, and in my 35 years as a Muslim, I’ve personally witnessed the most incredible and sometimes even despicable and deplorable behavior from ‘born’ Muslims. I can only imagine what you’ve gone through/are still going through. Please feel free to contact me. My shoulders are wide, alhamdu Lillah. :-)

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      • Wow… This post stirred some pretty raw feelings. In the interest of fairness, I must also add that I’ve enjoyed sharing some of the most intensely happy moments of my life with ‘born’ Muslims. In the end, we are all humans – we are all sinners. We have our agendas and our frailties. May Allah enable us to get beyond these shortcomings and enable us to encourage goodness, insha’ Allah.

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  18. Whatever you call yourself, Muslim, apostate, Atheist, God loves you anyway. Why bother ? Live and let live.

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  19. I no longer practice Islam. If someone wants to leave Islam, please let him leave. We are all adults, and you don’t have to be a protector/guardian to protect a would-be-leaving-islam from hell Fire.

    Many Muslims understand the consequences and leave it. Secondly, I stopped practicing Islam because of the hypocrisy of Muslims. Yes, it was my interaction with Mullahs and their intolerance that lead me to question this faith.

    Before anyone accuses me of anything, I practiced Islam thoroughly. I performed Hajj when I was about 19 with my parent. I had a fairly religious upbringing, where my parents are religious, but have been cheated/deceived by Mullahs and other more practicing Muslims. From what I have learned, in Muslim countries, the Muslim Sheikhs are very intolerable and openly preaches racism, on the contrary, in Western countries, a Muslim Sheikh needs to be more tolerant and reasonable.

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    • Hello Jackaria,

      Are you saying you only left Islam because of the hypocrisy/bad practices of some of its adherents, albeit some of them were scholars? It sounds like this is what you are saying, though I’m not inside your head, hence the question.

      There’s a good article (http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/withthedivine/will-you-turn-away/) over at SuhaibWebb cautioning us against tying our Islam, and faith, to people. If the one of the greatest men to walk this earth, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (R.A.), needed this reminder, I’m sure you can agree we can both benefit from it, as well as anyone who is questioning their faith based on people, their proclaimed beliefs, their actions, the disparity between the two, etc.

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      • Hello Zaheer,

        Thanks for your reply.

        There are many reasons and listing all of them is beyond a single comment. Some of them has to do with ideals of Islam but the intolerant preaching of Muslim Sheikhs is one of the primary reason.

        Islam is just like any other religion to me. One shouldn’t be Muslim just because they sheerly happen to be born into a “Muslim” family. We should be free to choose/question and leave it.

        In North America, I have seen with my own eyes, practicing Muslims (with beard) who are taking Unemployment Insurance and also working on Cash almost full time, and yet again is preaching “the beauty” of Islam. I would rather be friends with a Honest Kafir, than a dishonest/hypocrite Muslim (even though the Muslim is better, according to Islam because they believe in Allah swt and his Rasul).

        “By their fruits you shall know them” (not preaching Bible, I am not a fan), but the fruits of Islam from my childhood till mid 20′s has given me a clear grasp (to be fair, there were some exceptions, who were very good/honest, but vast majority weren’t). Also, I haven’t lived within a practicing Christian community, maybe they suffer the same problem; I do not know.

        Since you brought the issue of Umar r.a., A point on the Sahabah, I always found that Mullahs are always whitewashing or Sugarcoating early history of Islam. The conflicts & battles between the Sahabah is not mentioned (yes they did happen). We are brainwashed to believe they were like Angels & early history of Islam were like bed of Roses, we must follow the Sahabah. A simple reading of history gives a different picture.

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        • Hello,

          Thanks for sharing – I must re-iterate again that your faith should not be dependent on the behaviour or actions of other people. Besides being Islamically incorrect, it shows a lack of conviction in your own belief and actions.

          Reading your response, I can’t tell whether there are any other reasons besides “intolerant preaching” and hypocritical behaviour of (some) Muslims, which made you leave the fold. You mention “the ideals of Islam” and the “sugarcoating” of our history and the actions of the Sahabah (R.A.J.). You’re not being very specific, so I’m not sure I can comment here.

          Suffice to say that all scholars who have received the correct training, will inform you that the Sahaba were not sinless, or infallible, in any way. The ” conflicts & battles between the Sahabah” is indeed mentioned, analyzed, debated, etc. You may notice that the major split in Islam (Shi’i-Sunni) is about this very reason – people kill each other over it, in fact (may Allah protect us all). Rather, I would say it is overemphasized, mentioned too many times, false divisions and conflicts between Sahaba are created, and entire belief systems built around this.

          Unless by ” conflicts & battles between the Sahabah” you meant something else.

          Similarly for the history of Islam. No qualified scholar will be able to relate the early history without mention of the numerous battles between Muslims and the non-believers. If this is a ‘bed of roses’, well, then I’m not sure I understand what you mean. The willingness to undergo hijrah and jihad for Allah’s sake is what made the early Muslims most sincere and strong in their faith. So I think your analysis of sugarcoating needs more evidence.

          Possibly you have had the misfortune of meeting and knowing a large proportion of scholars and ordinary Muslims who were not good ambassadors for Islam – may Allah guide them, you, and me to his Deen. If this is the case, then remember that this is a test from Allah, one which you can respond to in many ways. May Allah guide you and me to show the correct response to all that He tests us with.

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          • “..I must re-iterate again that your faith should not be dependent on the behavior or actions of other people…”

            The people I am talking about are Scholars who justifies their actions using Islam; racism, hatred, intolerance against non-muslims – all justified using Islam.

            For example, I was told that it is fine for Muslims to enter a land and destroy idols in it. This was done by several Muslim Rulers in parts of Central Asia and India. I can’t recall what hadith was used to justify it, but I do recall the story of Ibrahim a.s smashing idols was also used as an example.

            Issues such as Islam (or any religion’s) exclusivity (Muslims being better than non-Muslims despite their hypocrisy or the lowest Muslims is better than a non-Muslim) is something I can never fully grasp.

            “.. The ” conflicts & battles between the Sahabah” is indeed mentioned, analyzed, debated, etc. ..”

            The first time I had encountered that there existed Battles between Sahabah (Battle of Jamal ex.), and atrocities of the early Muslim conquest was when I attended a Shia talk. I come from a Sunni background and atleast from my experience, I never heard of them. They do exist, but are whitewashed.

            In Sunni Islam, Sahabah, while not considered sinless, but are often told that they were the best generation as said by Prophet, so their actions cannot be criticized. When you block someone from being criticized, I don’t think their actions can be “analyzed, debated & criticized” they way you put it. Shia sources are very critical of the early conquests of Islam, and gives you a picture they you can never get if you come from a Sunni background.

            Anyway, I do not wish to go on forever on this. I don’t think Islam or any religion (for that matter) makes sense to me if I am critical of it.

            If one chooses to believe that Islam is the truth and a Muslim should submit / obey Allah swt without being critical or analyzing the command, that his or her choice.

            And, I have made my decision as well and I intend to stick with it.

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          • Dear Jackaria, peace be upon you.
            i completely sympathize with you. There`s a lot wrong with a lot of misguided scholars out there…i’ve had my fair share too of their wacky and embarassing ideas….enough to make you run far in the opposite direction…which I did….and bumped right into the real Islam… thankfully…meaning, God. Just a belief in Him, that He created me, that He cares for me (as He does for you and others, including non-Muslims and non-believers in fact), that the Day of Judgement exists, that this life here is but one stage of existence…that His Prophet peace be upon him was a true and good person.
            I was truly fortunate to meet some amazing women teachers who modelled true goodness and actually could convey the truth about this faith. I agree with you 100% that having bad scholars, who cannot explain anything properly, is a huge turn off….i hope that you meet with good people, or that God even makes it possible for you to meet with HIm directly, to be illuminated by His Presence.
            I just want you to know that i and many others would never judge you….and we hope you find meaning….don’t give up….the one thing i kept saying to myself is that just because of some bad people, i don’t want to lose out on something that might be quite great.
            As for the issue about Sahabas, you are right, as Sunnis we really don’t know enough. But at the same time, the mistakes they made are not a sign that there is something wrong with teh religion or that they did not really benefit from the Prophet peace be upon him. i think they were really put in a very tough position, and it was a huge test. i am sure i would have made a million worse mistakes. which i do everyday. But it is beneficial to know that they made these mistakes as it reminds us that no human is perfect….and we are all in a state of decay, and we really miss the Prophet peace be upon him, who brought out the best in each. THanks for posting here, Jackaria, for sharing your personal story. It`s seriously brave of you.
            Sending you care and prayers,
            your sister

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          • PS. i think you’d like some real scholars, like Habib Ali Jifri. for real, he’s a true man. He’s a man of the world, a man of all humanity, not just a man for Muslims. I consider him a person like Dalai Lama or Gandhi, as his message is for all and he addresses all people with positive words that are not hiding agendas. You should hear some of what he says. It will restore your faith in humanity….
            and you know what, he`s honest, he doesn’t try to hide issues, and he even criticizes himself.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSrkt8AglLE

            he tells it like it is…
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZG6ibK8mwo

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OfQjEY7x0s

            and may Allah forgive those bad and hypocritical scholars who have hurt you! I know they will have a big hisab with Allah for the things they say and do that are so wrong. may Allah change them before they ruin more people’s innocent hearts and minds.
            Fight past them, Jackaria! :-) you’re bigger than them, and the ocean of God’s love is bigger than them. don’t let their wrongheadedness (or anyone !) prevent you from what is your right as a human being….fight the good fight.
            in solidarity!

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  20. Jackaria’s comments about the Big Fitnah (al Fitnatal kubra) that happened in the early years highlights the msitake made by Sunni Ulemah of latter centuries (esp. in Esp in the Syrian area and in India/Pak), in deciding to avoid speaking of this subject for fear of causing people confusion/allowing people to think badly of Sahabahs. Before they made this decision, it used to be taught as part of Islamic history, as it is. If Sunnis decide to not talk about this issue, it’s like a family that does not teach their kids about the birds and the bees. What happens? They leave it to someone else to teach them about this, and they might do so in a totally wrong way/skewed version.
    That’s what’s happened. Sunnis swept this piece of history under the rug, and Shias and orientalist sensationalists became the only ones telling the story. Sunnis, wake up. tell the story. Include the part about the khawarij and the terrible role they played of agent provocateur.
    Let’s get this knowledge out there so we can understand better how to deal with the fitnas coming up. and there will be many. May Allah protect us.

    Secondly, a message to my bro Jackaria: listen, have you ever picked up someone else’s glasses and looked at a book or things around you? Can you see clearly? What if their prescription is stronger than what you need? What if they haven’t cleaned those glasses in a while…would you judge the book or things around you that you are viewing through those lenses like that? Or would you rip off them glasses and try to focus on your own?
    All I would ask you, and every Muslim: be a seeker of truth. Yes, it is your choice to shed Islam if you wish. But don’t give up on looking for truth, and don’t let other people’s skewed vision mess with you. you are not wrong to question, doubt, and ask and challenge. You are following in the noble tradition of the great Imam al Ghazali. Find out about his journey. Don’t let those Mullahs (and I think it’s telling that you mention Mullahs – many indo-pak/afghan scholars have lenses SO culturally tinted it’s scary – they spout many understandings that are totally based on tribal and Hindu beliefs and not even Islamic in the least, God save us).
    Don’t let other people’s blindness and misty lenses hold you prisoner. Have you ever read the Quran in its original language? How can you dismiss this faith if you have not even read its message? Don’t let translators also mess you up, because the majority of translations are really really bad and totally skew the message. How many barriers there are between searching humans and God, that we have put up? may God help us to take down those barriers and not be barriers!

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    • Hello FN,

      Thanks for your reply and in regards to your message I have stated the saying “By their Fruits you shall know them”. I have seen enough fruits of Islam throughout my life and I have no interest in it anymore. Most of these fruits are educated Sheikhs (not some ordinary guys) that uses Islam to justify hatred, racism.

      I have read some of Al Ghazali’s work and his life’s struggle. His focus on importance of “intentions” of actions is very enlightening.

      Thank you for highlighting the issues of early history of Islam and how Sunnis tends not to discuss about them. The Sahabahs are crucial to the foundation of modern Islam. We should study them – we can’t hide their battles & atrocities and focus on their good sides.

      I can recite the Quran with proper (or atleast decent) Tajweed – I don’t understand it entirely. Arabic is not my language; but many words in it are similar/same to Persian. My parents are quite religious and ensured that I had a proper Islamic upbringing. To give you an idea, I have been memorized the many duas used in everyday life. I still know what to recite before/after eating, going to/coming out washroom, before/after sleeping, drinking water, etc.

      My decision about Islam is after a prolonged journey; not an overnight decision.

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  21. i almost left Islam. i was in a no-man’s land of doubts and questioning. this was the result of hanging out with atheists, of reading orientalist muslim writings, and the wrongheaded opinions i heard from traditional scholars (lacking mercy, lacking logic). when i finally met good teachers, abroad, it was, believe me, like i had discovered A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RELIGION than what i had thought (and been taught) was Islam. it was like it was something totally else. i found a treasure. God led me to it. so i just really want to thank God for that…and say to all Muslims…we need to hold out a hand of real understadnding and mercy. when i met the person who showed me the real Islam, and she is an authority – she is an actual scholar – and i told her i was thinking of walking away from the faith, she said to me: even if you decide you don’t believe in Islam, you might still consider living the Islamic lifestyle – as it’s a healthy and balanced one. I was blown away by her confidence, and the fact that she did not judge me. the fact that she did not freak out and try to “save me” but just gave an objective piece of advice.
    can we do that? can we not be reactive when people share that they are goign through a struggle? i seriously think that that is step one. don’t become hysterical. let the person say what they are going through.
    and wake up and night and pray that Allah gives them the light to walk by.

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