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7 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Converted to Islam

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crosspost from www.islamwich.com

By Theresa Corbin

After many years of studying religion and coming to the conclusion that Islam was the only religion that made sense to my nature and who I wanted to be in the eyes of God, I converted to Islam. My life has changed drastically. And even though I took about three years to negotiate this decision and think about all the things in my life that I would leave behind and all the things I would incorporate, I had no idea how different my life would be. I had no idea… I have compiled a list of (some) things that I never expected.

#7  I didn’t expect to love dressing modestly

I thought I would have to swaddle myself in hideously, un-creative clothing in order to observe hijab.  While I wanted to have the luxury of being in control of my sexuality and only showing my beauty to the people I chose, I didn’t want to give up my style. Now, there is nothing wrong with looking bland if that is your thing, but it is not mine. I am in LOVE with color, and I am a highly creative girl with a love for fashion. I learned that I didn’t have to give up my signature style just because I wanted to be modest. Modesty doesn’t mean giving up style. I was very happy to discover that.

#6  I didn’t expect there to be so many different brands of Islam

I didn’t expect that every Muslim that I would meet would want me to subscribe to their special brand of Islam. It gets very confusing for brothers and sisters who convert. All you have to do is verify, verify, verify. Know! Your! Sources! The great thing about Islam is that everything is documented and verified. I learned this the hard way. When I first converted, I thought every Muslim knew better than me. And mostly they did, but there are also Muslims out there who feel very passionately about the brand of Islam their parents blindly took from their parents, and so on.  Muslims and non-Muslims alike – go to the source and ask your friendly neighborhood Muslims to verify the “Islamic facts” they are trying to sell you. If they become upset by this request, walk away. They have an issue with pride.

#5 I didn’t expect to save so much time not fighting a daily battle with my hair

Before Islam, I would spend about 5 hours in total grooming my mane on a weekly basis. Over the 12-year period of wearing hijab, I devoted maybe only one hour a week to making my hair look nice for the hubby (ok, so maybe more like 30 mins, -sorry hubby-). I have saved approximately 4,000 years just in hair care time alone. (I am good at math!). Not to mention the whole ditching the extensive makeup program. That is awesome!

#4 I didn’t expect to be expected to change my name

I have a perfectly fine name, thank you. “Theresa.” It means the one who reaps what she sows. How much more “Muslim” can you get? By the way, The Sahabah didn’t change their names when they converted. Their names became Muslim names, and so did mine, and so can yours.

#3 I didn’t expect attendance to be taken

shutterstock_167929001I did expect to be a part of a community. As a part of the majority in my country, community was not something I was familiar with. What I did not expect was that my attendance in that community would be monitored, questioned, and scrutinized. Where were you last Jumuah?  Why weren’t you at the lectures every night and morning? Why don’t you come out to the special Eid event? All well-meaning, but what they don’t understand is that I am a lone wolf. However, I have learned that if you want people to like you and desire your presence, don’t go, or at the very least be indifferent to showing up.

#2  I didn’t think I would be expected to be an expert on Middle Eastern politics

I wasn’t and I am still not, and have no desire to become such a thing. And most likely neither are you. Having strong opinions doesn’t make one an expert, just so you know.

#1 I didn’t expect to be loved

shutterstock_117157987

I didn’t expect that perfect strangers in every small town and big city I visit would immediately love me just because we share a love of Allah. And I didn’t expect to feel the same way for them.

 

132 Comments

132 Comments

  1. Avatar

    June

    June 16, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Assalamu alaykum,
    #7 – I took to hijab right away but it definitely took me some time to find my style. Oh the embarrassingly horrible color combinations of my early days, lol.
    #6 – I’ve heard the advice before to get most of your information from just one source at the beginning. This can decrease confusion and being overwhelmed.
    #5 – In the beginning, I cared about my hair less since I figured no one would be seeing it anyway. But I realized I do need to look good for my husband and that hijab is not just about covering up a bad hair day.
    #4 – I can definitely relate. There is nothing un-Islamic about my name and it’s the name my father gave me. I feel I would break his heart if I changed it! And in fact, the most common first two sentences people have said to me throughout my entire life are “What’s your name” and “Oh, that’s such a beautiful name” (And I am absolutely serious about this. I’m not exaggerating when I say this happens about 90% of the time) Why on Earth do I need an Arabic name to be Muslim?
    #3 – This did not happen with me but I’ve heard similar stories from others.
    #2 – Once again, I can relate. I’m Muslim, not Arabic! I follow the news as best I can but I don’t know any more than most everyone else.
    #1 – Alhamdulillah. This is one of the best parts of being Muslim!

    • Avatar

      Shahma

      June 24, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum sister Theresa and all the other sisters and brothers who might be reading this post. Firstly I would like to thank sister Theresa for sharing her unexpected findings after accepting islam. I personally find it quite intriguing to know how the perspectives of reverts develops/change. JazakALLAHu ahsanul jaza. Stay strong!!!

      I also feel compelled to bring to our sisters attention that our concept of hijab is being hijacked by people who couldn’t care less about the purpose of hijab. What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that hijab to many sisters now have become nothing more than a fashion statement (btw this is not in address to sister Theresa at all). I have found that sisters who are born in muslim families are more susceptible to this shortcoming than the sister who accept islam later on in their lives. Revert sisters are much more diligent in fulfilling the conditions of the hijab. There could be many reasons for this, but the most important of all is the ikhlaas (sincerity for ALLAH). I ask the sisters to take back the narrative and reclaim the Hijab, speak up in support of proper hijab.

      Be kind when advising but don’t let shaytan trick you into thinking that it is out of wisdom that you allow people to transgress without correcting them. Encourage the good and forbid the evil. Commend the sisters who adhere to proper hijab and with kindness encourage and correct the ones that don’t.

      • Avatar

        cheryl

        October 11, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Asalam alaikum! shahma y are we called reverts????

      • Avatar

        Chris

        June 16, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        Cheryl, you are a revert because faith in Allah is the natural state of all humans.

    • Avatar

      Chris

      June 16, 2015 at 9:29 AM

      no offense, but I’m pretty sure June is a VERY un-Islamic name.

      Juno was the wife of Jupiter, Queen of the Gods, and matriarch of the Roman pantheon.

      It’s a pagan name.

      • Avatar

        Danielle

        July 6, 2015 at 1:43 PM

        I don’t mean this comment to be rude but before someone gives a ruling on a name being pagan they should look at all sides. June may have come from Juno which Juno is pagan as you said. However, June also has a Latin meaning which is: young. So even if the original form was pagan the name isn’t the exact same and the Latin version has a completely different meaning. So to still rule the name unislamic a true knowledgeable Islamic scholar should be consulted before giving a fatwa on someones name if its not clear cut.

      • Avatar

        Mohammed

        July 17, 2015 at 4:05 AM

        It doesn’t really matter, it’s mostly the Sahaba who had names like “worshiper of ‘an idol'” are the ones who changed their names. (I remember one who’s name translates to ‘meat’)

      • Avatar

        Aissame

        July 19, 2015 at 5:46 PM

        So proud of you sisters :)

      • Avatar

        Ismael Mustafa Abdullah

        May 20, 2016 at 4:06 AM

        June is the name of a planet and that is it. You are the one creating a whole fantasy behind it brother. Take it easy.

    • Avatar

      Samina

      August 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM

      Assalam o Alaikum!
      I am in search of women who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
      I would be really grateful if you respond me.

      My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

      Best regards
      Samina

      • Avatar

        Amy

        September 8, 2016 at 8:58 PM

        Do you have specific questions sister Samina? I converted to Islam a little over a year ago and am happy to answer any questions you may have.

      • Avatar

        Sabine

        September 22, 2016 at 5:33 AM

        Hi i converted 2 years ago. it was the best decisions of my Life. my Life Changed much . the reason i converted was that i felt empty. i liked the waY of Life from Islam but i didnt understand nothing from it. i knew i wanted be Part of this Great Religion and i was curious about the Love to Allah. i was grown up in a Christian Family. very strict. i converted without telling my Family. They dont and didnt accept that i converted but Till the Day of converting I wanted to do things right for anybody. Converting was the First decisions in my life i took for myself. I think converting was One of the less things in Life i will never regret. I felt so different. the feeling when i felt Allah loved me was overhelming. Of course its difficult to understand some things but the Love God gives me makes me strong and i try my best to be a good muslima. I m Human, i make mistakes but iAllah Shows me All time his greatness and his kindness and he is Patient with me. I know i have to learn much again about Islam and being a good muslima but inshallah he will Guide me.

    • Avatar

      maimuna

      November 4, 2016 at 1:15 PM

      good sister mashaalah

    • Avatar

      Nuher

      November 13, 2016 at 10:59 AM

      I am a Muslim, who born Muslim. I believe covering my hair is a custom is a traditional custom in Middle East for both men and women even before Islam. The main goal is not to being attractive to a void getting harm from sick people. the other goal is to feel the purity inside of you. I don’t cover my hair, because there is no single word in Quran said I have to. I have to cover my hair when I am praying, but other that praying time I do it once in a while when I want to feel purity. when I am very sad and want to clear my heart, I put a simple plain shawl to clear my mind to feel I am closer to Allah. I don’t do hair style, I don’t use hair products and I look beautiful, without attraction. Since I don’t force people to look at me and grab their attention then I meet the goal. Yes, I don’t cover my hair because its custom, I do it only when I feel I need it. Honestly I don’t care if people see me beautiful or not, I know who I am, and I know my beauty. I have a self confidence., therefore, the only person who I choose and allow to see my beauty is my husband who adore me, because he worth it. if you look in the Middle East there are many women like me, they are Muslim who believes in Allah and follow his commands.

  2. Avatar

    umm habiba

    June 16, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    As salaamualaikum sister Theresa
    That was a beautiful read! Especially when i came down to the last ” unexpected” thing.
    Yes we have an instant connect. Subhan Allah! Alhamdulillah! For that. I love u both, Theresa n June, n all my Muslim n the Innate Muslims(those whose souls are so beautiful n just waiting to be Muslim)brothers n sisters out there, for the sake of Allah!!
    May Allah ta aala unite us all in the beautiful abode.Ameen

  3. Avatar

    Hyde

    June 16, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I was about to make a sarcastic comment about yet another convert story but I stopped myself and realized ‘t’s Warlord Corbin…*humbly walks away*

    • Avatar

      Danielle

      July 6, 2015 at 1:52 PM

      If you were about to make such a sarcastic comment about another convert story why bother reading her blog if muslim converts bother you so much? It seems there’s always at least one person who has to find especially muslim blogs or articles and has to troll it. If Islam offends you so much then perhaps you get your views from what the news only shows or anti-islamic websites. Why don’t you go straight to the source or a real islamic website before you judge someone else’s choice of faith. Salam alaikum.

      • Avatar

        Tmitc868

        November 19, 2016 at 12:21 PM

        Not liking Islam does not instantly mean you are ill informed. There’s are millions of people in The Who are not fans and have good reason. Perhaps it’s your gang mentalities? Idk. But as Christians and the best of people, we will welcome you to our lands for refuge. And pray for your guidance to happiness

  4. Avatar

    calwalks

    June 16, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    I agree with point 1 wholeheartedly. I had an amazing experience of being a Muslim in Shanghai recently and I couldn’t help but write about it. You may read it here – http://serioustravelfrivolouslife.blogspot.in/2011/09/day-being-muslim-made-me-prouds.html

    • Avatar

      benson

      January 17, 2015 at 5:59 AM

      thank u . may Allah grant u janna coz i also converted to muslim after 26 years in complete ignorance just being deceived by Christians. Thank u Allah.

      • Avatar

        lina

        May 20, 2015 at 4:49 PM

        And how sure are you that you weren’t deceived this time?

      • Avatar

        Angela

        October 31, 2015 at 10:40 PM

        Hello sisters I’m a new convert as well I’m 42 and I want to thank u for your post u have wrote I felt the same way lied to all my life from the Christians thank u Allah peace be among u thank u for showing me the way to the light from utter darkness peace be with u sisters as well but before I go how do I go about receiving a new name? I had no idea of that

    • Avatar

      zun

      August 3, 2015 at 12:59 PM

      Your story makes me prouder to be a Muslim….

  5. Avatar

    tarikur

    June 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    I am an ex-Muslims (was Muslim by birth). Muslims are always nice and loving to new converts.

    • Avatar

      Hyde

      June 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Do you want a medal ? A cupcake ? For being an ex-Muslim ? Or is that moniker used to issue a view point ? Was the ‘religion of peace’ not your cup of tea ? Good, Islam isn’t for every one and these days people go through religions like changing clothes. Enjoy your liberation.

      • Avatar

        tarikur

        June 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        I want to leave Islam in peace and that’s why all I want. No medal necessary. As of now, none of the my family members and friends know that I left Islam. If they knew, they will disown me and thus I have to live lonely and isolated life. Worst case scenario, they would kill me. According Quran and Hadith interpretations my most Muslim scholars, Muslim suppose to kill anyone that leave Islam. You can enter Islam but you can not leave Islam. Other words, Muslims would cry foul if countries prevent their citizens from accepting Islam but those same Muslim remain silent or encourage killing of ex-Muslim.

        So congrats to the new converts, you entered one way to Islam. Never leave Islam or you will be killed.

        I am an ex-Muslim and check out my sub-reddit (IslamicNewsAwareness) where I document Muslim world problem by collecting everyday news)

        • Avatar

          Noori Italian

          June 16, 2014 at 2:05 PM

          @tarikur… I don’t think you get it man… Go ahead, go about your way, and take whatever action you desire to bring about your desired ends… No one is really affected by it, in the least. In fact, we will bear witness for you and your words down the road, and you can do the same for us. In the mean time, while you are so carefully taking Holy Quran out of context as yet another self-proclaimed authority on an alternative form of Islam, why not take a look at 61:9. Oh, and Surah 109 too. No ones gonna hurt you man, you seem to be doing just fine with that on your own. Insert 67:29,30. Peace

          • Avatar

            Hyde

            June 16, 2014 at 2:25 PM

            Nicely said sister. Thanks!

        • Avatar

          Hyde

          June 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM

          I’m not going to go into the whole kill apostate nonsense here; plethora of intellectual discussions out there (on Theresa Corbin’s blog for example). It’s WRONG and pathetically min-misinterpreted. Half of the Sharia legislation can be only applied in an Islamic Sate, and of the 60 some donkey countries who call themselves Islamic are poor excuse both as an ‘Islamic country’ and ‘a country itself’.

          Many people leave Islam as they enter, lol that’s why the masjid always have to doors. Islam is not for everyone, nor is it easy. Two lies many Muslims like repeating like parrots. Apostasy is actually a wonderful way leave something you don’t want.

          These is NO compulsion in religion. Follow your own gods of desire.

          Personally I hope the pathway to apostasy becomes easier for everyone. I’d love to see many people leave Islam all together, then try to believe in something they don’t want.

          Islam does not need you nor are you a superstar for being a Muslim or not being a Muslim.

          For you to come on a Muslim site to show your “intelligence” and your “woeful plea” is ignorant, embarrassing and quite disingenuous.

          Ex-Catholics don;t show up in the front of Church to malign and cajole Catholics, but let’s be brutally honest, being an ex-Muslim is a sort of a superstar, a glittering sugarball for the Western Press. .
          “Ex-Muslim” is a money making machine. It further helps if your a woman and or a “sexual alternative”.

          I, too would be weary of your parents, because of the way they raised you, I would be surprised that if their cultural supremacy does not upscale any Islamic identity they have.

          Yours is a way of the future though they will always be Muslims, like Sister Corbin around. Don’t congratulate the converts, but shy away from them, because they see a light that born Muslim never do and in your case case, never will.

          • Avatar

            June

            June 16, 2014 at 4:38 PM

            I am perplexed. You compliment one comment that mentions Qur’anic verses, yet criticize the comment suggesting tarikur seek clarification from a scholar. Are you Muslim? If so, why all the hate? If not you can disregard what I say next since it is said under the assumption that you are Muslim.

            It’s because of comments like yours that people fear approaching anyone if they have doubts and wind up wanting to leave Islam. To say “May Allah guide you” or suggesting to read the Qur’an is not condescending. If making dua for someone’s guidance is too much to ask from you and instead you say “Islam does not need you” then you are the one coming across as condescending. Since the Qur’an is the literal word of Allah, suggesting that those who seem lost take the time to read and understand it is in the hopes they may find guidance.

            I ask Allah to allow tarikur to find someone who may clarify any of his/her doubts and misunderstandings.

          • Avatar

            Hyde

            June 17, 2014 at 9:36 AM

            You got your answer down below. He can quote form sources , wow..*retarded golf clap*. My Islamic knowledge is not munificent because I am not holding a noose over his neck.

            Cherry pickers.

          • Avatar

            Mahmud

            June 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM

            Imam Abdullah Hasan(who writes for this website Muslim Matters) explained the consensus ruling on apostasy.

            It is in our deen and there is no changing it. it does not contradict la ikraha fid deen. In that very same Surah the non-apostates who didn’t worship the Golden Calf from Bani Israel were commanded to attack the ones that did apostate(by worshipping the Calf.)

            Furthermore, we have the examples of the Sahaba RA who did kill apostates even when they were not violent rebels against the Islamic State.

            So, freedom of religion needs to be understood in an Islamic context.

        • Avatar

          M

          June 16, 2014 at 2:32 PM

          @tarikur, May Allah guide you. If you have any doubts about Islam you should clarify them. You have a right to clarify your doubts about theology or laws or anything else. Go to a scholar and talk to him. But that totally depends upon where you live right now. If you are living in one of those so-called “Muslim” countries, there might be a problem finding that scholar.

          And just because there are problems in Muslim countries that doesn’t Islam is bad, most Muslim countries do not follow the the Islamic laws as they should be followed. In fact there was a recent article in The Telegraph that said western countries follow Islam more properly than “Muslim” countries do. Here’s the link.
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/10888707/Ireland-leads-the-world-in-Islamic-values-as-Muslim-states-lag.html

          I also suggest that you reread the Holy Quran, because you clearly haven’t read it properly.

          • Avatar

            Hyde

            June 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM

            Gawd!!! This is the exact niceties if have to STOP with it. There is no coming back fro him; if he chooses to do so, then be it, if not then be it so. Telling people to go read the Quran or “Allah will guide them” [of course God guides who he does]. It’s probably condescending to them.

            Time to be frank and open. Those that want to leave let them go.

          • Avatar

            tarikur

            June 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM

            You lack knowledge of true Islam. Who knows more about Islam you or Islamic scholar, who studied more than 10 years? All Islamic scholar agree that you supposed to kill ex-Muslim. That’s why Saudi Arabia, Iran, Taliban and all the religious groups that follow Sharia law kills anyone that Islam. Here are some example hadiths. There are so many hadiths

            Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57:
            Narrated ‘Ikrima:
            Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

            Bukhari (83:37) – “Allah’s Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate.”

            Quran (4:89) – “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

          • Avatar

            M

            June 16, 2014 at 4:27 PM

            @hyde. Maybe this person has had a bad experience with Muslims. Maybe nobody told him to actually read the Quran or ask Allah directly for help. If Allah guides him through us we have nothing to loose, so why not at least try.

            Of course, if he’s doing it despite the nice people around him, then… well… he can go do whatever he wants. But our job is to pray for others not send them to hell.

        • Avatar

          June

          June 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

          The question is why do you want to leave Islam? Is it because of the actions and words of your parents or others around you? Was it because they claimed those words or actions came from Islam? I am genuinely curious.

          • Avatar

            chicagomc

            June 20, 2014 at 1:16 AM

            Tarikur – the killing of ex-Muslims clearly refers back to the time when becoming Muslim meant they were leaving their tribe, and the protection of their tribe, and became enemies of their tribe, and that Muslims became their new source of protection. If you left Islam, you left this group of Muslims, and therefore went to a group that was an enemy of the Muslims. This gives permission to kill those who were once Muslim, and of course all the rules of law apply (do not instigate). Any scholar should know this context, and if they are ignoring this context then they are feeding off their emotional issues. If they need further evidence – there are no stories of the Prophet (pbuh) seeking out Muslims who left Islam to kill them because they left Islam. There are no stories of the Prophet (pbuh) standing over someone who left Islam and saying “because you left Islam, I’m killing you”. It’s an approach of sadness of having to fight back in war against those who were once friends. Not seeking out to kill them, or having this crazed mission to kill those who left Islam. So people choosing to ignore how the Prophet (pbuh) actually treated people who left Islam is pretty bad. And ignoring the context of these passages is pretty bad.

      • Avatar

        shariff

        November 28, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        @tarikur

        Why would you want to leave islam?? This demonstrates to me that you have not read the Holy Quran in a language that you understand.

        You can’t leave islam anyway as truth cannot be denied and falsehood is temporary so where are you planning on going to after your new life that you want to lead becomes futile and hollow, which it will, as there is no happiness or contention in deception.

        You mean to tell me you want to be further away then you currently are from Allah (Al-mighty)? You disown the holy prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) you want to reneg on the favour conferred upon you by the only one true creator? You should open your eyes and your Quran and ask Allah to show you the way. You are lost halfway between Jannah and Jahanam and it’s your decision which way you want to go!!

        And regarding being an apostate the reason why someone may be prosecuted in sharia law court is because leaving islam is considered treason, and in most countries treason can be severely prosecuted. However the Quran states that there is no compulsion in Islam so it cannot be forced on to you.

        We are living in the time of Dajjal, deception is in the air, evil is widespread and truth is diminished. The only thing left in this world that has been preserved and will never be corrupted is the Quran so hold on to it like Allah has held on to you.

        I wish all the Muslims peace and blessings and inshallah may Allah bestow upon us all his blessings and mercy. May he reward us all Jannat’al Firdous – the highest level of Paradise, Amen.

      • Avatar

        pas

        March 6, 2015 at 11:40 AM

        Wait, one person says that the Qur’an is the literal word Allah, but then we are asked to put certain texts into context as they were written when leaving Islam meant leaving the tribe. So does that mean Allah changed his mind, or is it possible that the Qur’an was written by insecure men who wanted to use religion to secure their positions of power?

        The institution of religion is dangerous, regardless of the brand. Religious texts were written so long ago, reconciling religion with logic is nearly impossible if you seek a literal connection to the texts. This makes doubt a harsh reality, and when people leave a religion it has a tendency to reinforce the doubts everybody else holds.

        All three of the Western monotheologies include some provision for killing non-believers and apostates. It just so happens that Islam is practiced by a higher percentage of under educated fundamentalists than other religions. Believe me, you’ve got some orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians who make the clowns who sign up with ISIS look reasonable. It’s just that the mainstream branches of those religions have distanced themselves from those violent religious texts to a greater degree than Islam has.

      • Avatar

        Kridtine

        February 19, 2016 at 12:47 AM

        Why are you s ok ding her? This is her choice just like it is your choice to stay Muslim or believing islam is for you? This is why I am leaving islam, because of ignorance by people like you and such strictness .islam is not for everyone

      • Avatar

        Tmitc868

        November 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM

        Is this Islam? Your cruelty is astounding. Typical Muslims. Only nice when people are with your gang. But want acceptance from everyone else

    • Avatar

      June

      June 18, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      “You lack knowledge of true Islam. Who knows more about Islam you or Islamic scholar, who studied more than 10 years? etc…” I would have replied to this comment directly but if seems this commenting system only allows for replying twice before turning it off.

      The question still remains, why do you want (or why did you decide) to leave Islam? Is it because Islam dictates that those who leave Islam must be killed that you want to leave? Is it because you sought Islamic knowledge from news media sources instead of scholars? There is a reason for the way your are feeling and you have a justification for your decision. I ask because I want to offer the chance to have any doubts and misunderstanding removed.

      Just as much as we are accused of “cherry picking” for offering you peace, you are as guilty of “cherry picking” for accusing us of war. I want to know why your feel so hurt by Islam. What has made you so angry at Allah?

      While I am not a scholar, I can seek the advice of one for any questions you may have. Obviously a scholar knows more about Islam than I. Are you a scholar of Islam? Have you studied Qur’an, Hadith, Seerah, and Islamic history for the past 10 years or more? If not, why do you seek the advice from scholars only about apostasy and anything else you see as negative? Why do you not ask them about the positives? Before any questions can be answered though it must be understood what caused you to want to become ex-Muslim in the first place.

      You do not have to change you mind, I only want to understand why you dislike Islam as much as I want you to understand why I love it.

      • Avatar

        moh

        March 5, 2015 at 3:56 PM

        Sorry to say I felt he was never a Muslim Allah knows best

      • Avatar

        Muhammed

        June 27, 2015 at 11:39 AM

        @Tariku let me give you an example of how you see Islam in your view.

        3 blinds men heard that Elephant is the biggest animal in the earth and they wanted to know about it, they have been approach by an Elephant, the First one touch his noice and said the Elephan is like Hoose or a pipe the second one touch his leg and said it looks like a Barrel the third one touch his hears and said it is like soft cloths, that is there view of an Elephant but the reality isn’t like that.

        This is telling you don’t look islam in a very small issues but look how it helps to build societe and brought so many success to the societe. Muslim world was the cause of development of Western world.

        You have the right to choise which religion you want but at the end one will lead you to the right path.

      • Avatar

        sunny

        December 3, 2016 at 6:29 AM

        If were u june I just live my life and ingoner this people.be happy with u life:)

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      Ahmed

      March 24, 2015 at 5:34 PM

      What about Non Muslims ? I’ve heard Muslims despise people of other faith.

      • Avatar

        Sakinah

        August 8, 2015 at 4:20 PM

        We are taught to respect and have compassion for all mankind. If you follow the news, you’ll have seen Muslims come out together on more than one occasion with the Christian and Jewish/non-Muslim community to show solidarity. There are also numerous interfaith groups in existence nationally and internationally involving Muslims. What I have learned is that Islam teaches us to practice neighborliness, contribute to our community and show compassion to non-Muslims, EVEN if they do not do the same. Of course I will respectfully disagree with the beliefs of a Christian for example but with respect. In the time of the Prophet (saw) Christians and Jews practiced their own religions freely and were not under threat of harm or compulsion to convert. They shared a place of worship for a time. The Prophet (saw) did not despise or order harm to non-Muslims who degraded and injured him. In fact, he treated these non-Muslims with such politeness and respect that some were in awe of the faith that created his manners, eventually converting to Islam themselves. subhanallah. Just because SOME people who are Muslim act as though they despise non-Muslims, does not make this the teaching of Islam. Please study up on history and verify what you hear and see. God willing, you’ll find out the truth about interfaith relations and Islam. And God knows best. Peace!

      • Avatar

        Amber Sani

        August 19, 2016 at 12:51 AM

        No.. U heard it wrong.. Muslims love everybody.. Though there are exceptions in every society.. Islam teaches us to love every man kind without creating differences among muslims and non muslims.. Never ever judge islam by muslims.. Coz ISLAM is perfect muslims are not.. ???

    • Avatar

      Muslim

      April 30, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      Muslims don’t kill people. Killing is Haram(prohibited) in Islam. Your written things can stop people from becoming Muslim, you wrote white lies.Islam is a religion of Love and respect. it’s true that Islam is not for everyone because Allah stamped the hearts of many Non-Muslims

      • Avatar

        Jurgen

        November 17, 2015 at 6:38 AM

        Assalamualaikum about tarikur he maybe lost hidayah from Allah or misguiding

      • Avatar

        Amber Sani

        August 19, 2016 at 12:53 AM

        Yeah i totally agree.. Islam is the most perfect religion ever.. Who always guides us to love all muslims and non muslims even.. ?

    • Avatar

      Ammar

      November 30, 2015 at 12:40 AM

      Nah bro. You can stay or leave. I left Islam for like 5 years. I even changed my name to let people know that I left Islam. My family didn’t even verbally hurt me. And my father was an imam in my community. I left home for work and lived outside. Then I reverted back to Islam. Loneliness can teach you a lot. You see, there is no punishment for leaving Islam. Death penalty and such don’t exist in quran. Inventions!
      In fact, Allah says in quran you can leave if you want.
      2:256 – “La ikrau fiddeen”…..”” – There is no compulsion in religion
      http://quran.com/2/256

      And remember this is not just my case, I have few friends from India and Pakistan who left islam and reverted. The same story.

      • Avatar

        Zonaid

        February 4, 2016 at 8:45 PM

        Ammar I am glad you came back to the world of heavenly means,the world of allah p.s where are you from I am from Bangladesh but if you would like to communicate in other means I will be glad to I can speak Bengali Hindi Urdu and Arabic and English.

    • Avatar

      Tristan

      August 15, 2016 at 8:46 AM

      Tarikur, you are clearly a brave and honest man… I have many Muslim friends and acquaintances I’m fond of, and there are many good things promoted in Islam, along with the many lines of immature drivel one reads in the Quran and Hadith — we won’t argue about it, when one can just read thru it all and ask if a 14-year-old could have written better&self-consistently(&truer).

      The problem is that Muhammad (pbuh&e) built a heartspace and spirit that is most fundamentally based on an internal sense of power&structure, and kindness&love is secondary, instead of the other way around. The Abrahamic faiths also make Allah/God/Spirit seem “external to a large extent” instead of deep inside at our essence.

      The many moderates and nuanced thinkers in Islam are a blessing that keeps the religion from veering hopelessly towards inner power and the dark side. But ultimately, we are all together in this universe and so let’s gradually break free of religious mindtraps that our egos and insecurities so naturally feed on, and go forward together gently and kindly & in the honest and peaceful way in which you have done.

      Sadly for many of us, we feel bound to the paradigm of the Overlord God that our parents and community put in us, while the Source of Love, Kindness and Light that is at the heart of us all is so much forgotten. No matter what theology is laying claim on our minds, we can get down to what is real: living with a warm heart towards ourselves and everyone…

      • Avatar

        Tristan

        August 15, 2016 at 9:06 AM

        Truly hoping that my attempt to express sincerely wasn’t taken as condescending on anyone, because I don’t want to put up any barriers that needs to be attacked and brought down… I also feel deeply for those who rightly felt lied to by their original religious community and are seeking a home, whatever seems the best for the sense of belonging. What I’d like to add is that we live too much in reaction to ideas we are sold…

        When I was religious, a few non-believers stunned me with how big-hearted and genuine they were: they weren’t following any formula and one felt no barrier in their warmth&kindness… to all readers, I don’t know how few utterly genuine&kind people you’ve come across in your life, but please discover in yourself their secret, that goes so much deeper than any beliefs. May I replace the words “God/Allah/Spirit” with who is Real, not a set of religious/faith constructs, and let’s grow together guided by the Real Who… who fosters not personal ill-feeling/arguments, but joy&beauty? No more worrying about heaven if it extends to us already, and all it takes is some “quietspace” to see it…

      • Avatar

        Ana Maria Pardo

        November 27, 2016 at 1:18 PM

        Hello Tristan, I am not a Muslim nor looking to be, I am simply searching for Muslims with your understanding and where are they? Why is your voice not being heard meanwhile extremism is gaining so much force. My best friend is convinced Islam is evil and Allah is not the same God Christians worship. There is so much out there regarding the atrocities condoned under sharia law. Pakistan is a bed for extremist and so is northern Africa. What is going on? I feel good Muslims are simply silent by standers that look the other way instead of taking charge and fighting against all these atrocities done in the name of Islam. Can you direct me to credible resource of Progressive Muslims fighting earnestly against this dogmatic and hateful form of Islam. No, I am not going to go read the Koran or certain specific sura. I’m looking for credible news sources that actively post Muslims who are taking a stand against issues like child marriages, raping and beating your wife, honor killings, and the like. Imams actively speaking to the community and addressing these issues and making it known it will not be tolerated and that such actions are crimes and evil and deserving of the most severe punishment by Allah as well as those in authority here on earth.

  6. Avatar

    iffat sharif

    June 16, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I smiled at #4 coz it is awesome I loved #1 coz its true!!! Amazing amazing article

  7. Avatar

    Noori Italian

    June 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    What an awesome article that so correctly and beautifully shows the experience of the fastest growing group of Muslim converts: women (even more so for Caucasian women, though I don’t mean to assume)! May your efforts, intentions, and honor be increased and protected forever! I had to send this to my Mother and grandmother (who are not Muslim)! This is exactly the type of info I tweet from @NooriItalian to help dispel the falsehood surrounding converts and the deen in general! Much info on politics, deen, etc is available, and more will be made so. Please follow for more articles like this. God bless!!!

    • Avatar

      Samina

      August 18, 2016 at 12:37 PM

      Assalam o Alaikum!
      I am in search of women who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
      I would be really grateful if you respond me.

      My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

      I hope you can help.

      Best regards
      Samina

  8. Pingback: 7 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Converted to Islam – MuslimMatters | Love and Blame

    • Avatar

      goodmuslim

      July 9, 2016 at 2:38 PM

      if get divorced with your ex huppy can you marry me

  9. Avatar

    Miss HaychEm

    June 16, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    I always enjoy reading your articles, they have a feel good factor to them. JazakaAllah Khair :)

  10. Avatar

    Abu Asiyah

    June 17, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    #1 – subhanAllah, one of the most beautiful things out about the ummah. I’m a convert and that’s definitely up there for me as well.

    Beautiful article, barakAllahu feeki ya ukhtee

    • Avatar

      Samina

      August 18, 2016 at 12:35 PM

      Assalam o Alaikum!
      I am in search of people who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
      I would be really grateful if you respond me.

      My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

      Best regards
      Samina

  11. Avatar

    sam

    June 17, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    Good for you. keep it up.

  12. Avatar

    Gregory Pratt

    June 17, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    Did you expect that Islam would have a week like it just did? Tough to top, but I think that the Religion of Peace may just put its last 7 days’ labor to shame, someday soon.

    • Avatar

      Salmaan

      June 17, 2014 at 5:02 AM

      Totally unrelated to anything in this article. But well done, I admire someone who can differentiate between a Muslim and Islam. Ya Allah, guide us.

      • Avatar

        mg

        June 21, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Salmaan,This is exactly the point..We have plenty of well educated people who misrepresent Islam.People are imperfect.

  13. Pingback: 7 Things I Didn't Expect When I Converted to Islam | MuslimMatters.org | Follow the quran

    • Avatar

      Ron

      October 18, 2016 at 8:06 PM

      Is the name “Ronald” ok? It means mighty ruler , I think.
      I feel it may be because there is only one ruler..Allah

  14. Avatar

    Narayan Narasimhan

    June 17, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Theresa,
    To me a Religion should help people to respect others (humanity), and the whole planet in general. Can you explain how could you do this with Islam and your previous religion couldn’t (from your perspective)?

    • Avatar

      choomm

      November 23, 2014 at 3:00 AM

      Its the usual story for these western converts.. they walk around in skimpy clothes and then suddenly see the light become muslims and coverup in hijab and burkha and are surprised that is actually possible. For them its a physical change in clothing and also into a more subdued lifestyle nstead of the all night partying they are used to. ..

    • Avatar

      Abu Ahzab

      March 4, 2015 at 6:19 AM

      Dear Narayana Narasimhan,
      To me a Religion should help people to respect others (humanity), and the whole planet in general.
      >>> What you need to realize is, respecting other human beings irrespective of their race, caste, religion is great teachings of many religions, though not all. And Islam is certainly one among them, neither hinduism, nor christianity can claim that specifically because, they don’t even their fellow colleagues to visit the place worship. You have Churches for the Black and Temples for the high caste.

      Secondly, respecting humanity as a whole is one of the many traits one religion should have it’s not the end in itself. A religion must address issues a human being face in this world and provide solutions to it.

  15. Avatar

    Halima

    June 17, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    5 is my favorite. You are spared all the extra hair care when you’re a Muslim woman. It is also gives you this carefree attitude about your hair. I can’t help but smile real big when I see Non-Muslim women in public bathrooms obsessively grooming their hair. Although I don’t agree with your comment in 1. Dressing bland is something highly encouraged in Islam for Muslim women. The whole point is to not draw attention to yourself, and attract attention. I’ve noticed dressing brightly and flamboyantly can bring on a lot of attention to yourself. That’s why I love my abaaya. Good post overall. :)

    • Avatar

      Halima

      June 17, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      Whoops. I meant number 7. :P

  16. Avatar

    Tony James

    June 18, 2014 at 2:29 AM

    All this is about the belief in imaginary invisible beings thought up by people in ancient times. Can it be true that people argue over which imaginary man is the best one? It’s absolutely incredible that these people then figure out ways to justify the killing of others that don’t believe in their imaginary overlord. They then believe that the imaginary man will love them and reward them for killing the creatures that this imaginary being created in the first place. It’s incredible because if you’re going to invent a way of life, at least invent one that makes some kind of sense.

    • Avatar

      Zonaid

      February 4, 2016 at 8:49 PM

      Tony I understand you are probably an atheist and I respect that but please do not shape our religion in to imaginary beings, we believe in our own religion and are welcom to share it but please do not share around hate.

      • Avatar

        Tmitc868

        November 19, 2016 at 12:50 PM

        If you can share your beliefs, why can he not share his?

  17. Pingback: Minaret of Freedom Weblog » (6/18/14) News and Analysis

  18. Avatar

    Susa

    June 22, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    LOOOVE this post!

  19. Avatar

    Shahma

    June 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum sister Theresa and all the other sisters and brothers who might be reading this post. Firstly I would like to thank sister Theresa for sharing her unexpected findings after accepting islam. I personally find it quite intriguing to know how the perspectives of reverts develops/change. JazakALLAHu ahsanul jaza. Stay strong!!!

    I also feel compelled to bring to our sisters attention that our concept of hijab is being hijacked by people who couldn’t care less about the purpose of hijab. What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that hijab to many sisters now have become nothing more than a fashion statement (btw this is not in address to sister Theresa at all). I have found that sisters who are born in muslim families are more susceptible to this shortcoming than the sister who accept islam later on in their lives. Revert sisters are much more diligent in fulfilling the conditions of the hijab. There could be many reasons for this, but the most important of all is the ikhlaas (sincerity for ALLAH). I ask the sisters to take back the narrative and reclaim the Hijab, speak up in support of proper hijab.

    Be kind when advising but don’t let shaytan trick you into thinking that it is out of wisdom that you allow people to transgress without correcting them. Encourage the good and forbid the evil. Commend the sisters who adhere to proper hijab and with kindness encourage and correct the ones that don’t.

  20. Avatar

    Muhammad

    August 14, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    This is wonderful. And yes one does instantly fall inlove with strangers when they talk about Allah. May Allah help and guide us all. Hope you do have a wonderful day everyone.

  21. Avatar

    Ummer Farooq

    August 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Qur’an 2:165.

  22. Avatar

    luke

    February 24, 2015 at 12:34 AM

    Have you actually read the Koran and hadith? If so why on earth did you convert to Islam?

    • Avatar

      moh

      March 5, 2015 at 4:04 PM

      Pray to Allah,Elohim,God,Dieu,Dius,Buh,Gott etc. by whatever name you know Him.
      Pray to your Creator, the Creator of the Universe and everything in it and in-between with sincerity ask Him to Guide You In Your Heart and in Your Mind to The Religion Of Truth and to make you pleased with it and you will find if you are sincere
      He will answer your Prayer and you will find the religion of truth enters your heart.

      So don’t trust me—trust Our Creator. Read the Quran, read books and study good websites. But whatever you do, get started, take it seriously, and Pray For Our Creator To Guide You.
      Your Life May Not Depend On It, But Your Soul Most Definitely Does.

      If you are among those who sincerely Seek For The One True God, please read, Contemplate And Ponder Upon The Authentic Words Of Allah. Let the following very enlightening concrete proofs from the Qur’an open your heart and mind to accept Allah as the Only True God who Alone deserves our sincere worship:

      Read The Last & Final Testament Of God The Quran On Line With An Open Mind

      Read about Jesus(Peace be upon him) Quran Chapter 3:33-84 Chapter 5:72-78 and Chapter 19 Surah Maryam

      http://dar-us-salam.com/TheNobleQuran/index.html
      http://www.islamhouse.com/344410/en/en/videos/Christ_in_Islam

      Read on line Books( Islam, Muhammad, Jesus, Mary etc.)
      http://www.islamhouse.com/pg/9661/books/1

  23. Avatar

    Kelly

    March 30, 2015 at 10:56 AM

    Philip I pray you get confident enough in your faith to not have to rely on bigoted websites to get information about Islam or Mohammed. I have Qur’an study every Sunday with a nun in attendance who quite gracefully sees the beauty in Islam, the similarities in the religion, and is capable of not harboring the disgusting feelings you harbor. I pray you reach this level of maturity in your faith so as to fairly assess other religions, to be able to have respectful dialog about other religions without resorting to name-calling & bashing regurgitating right-wing paranoid statements.

  24. Avatar

    Muslim

    April 3, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    I agree. Although I am a sinner, but the connection and love I feel immediately for a Muslim is indescribable! It’s like I can immeidately bond and trust them and I know exactly what they believe.

    • Avatar

      sjaak

      April 13, 2015 at 5:48 AM

      I feel very connected to other human beings as well. Are you saying you need Islam only to have some close friends you can trust?

  25. Avatar

    Christian

    May 4, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    I am amazed how little love is shown by most Muslims to Tarikur. I was curious to see the fruits of your faith and all I see is hate and condemnation. The one true God that we all seek does not approve such intolerance. He loves us and keeps giving us chances despite how short we fall of his glory. How can I be convinced that Islam is God inspired when many of its’ followers are everything God is not? I love you and respect you because that is what God wants me to do. It is a fundamental characteristic of God to show love and compassion or the earth would have been destroyed many times over if God had intolerance and hate many here have shown.

    • Avatar

      Abdul

      May 5, 2015 at 12:30 AM

      I am amazed how little love is shown by most Muslims to Tarikur. I was curious to see the fruits of your faith and all I see is hate and condemnation.
      >>> If your wear a Christian Media lense that’s what you would get to see, just change your glass, you can see the fruits.

      The one true God that we all seek does not approve such intolerance. He loves us and keeps giving us chances despite how short we fall of his glory. How can I be convinced that Islam is God inspired when many of its’ followers are everything God is not?
      >>> True, God does. But certainly not a God who sleeps, not a God who ask for help when put on cross, showing helplessness, not a God who eats like human being and not a God whose takes Birth in Human Womb and Noher impure for 40 days (all these as per Bible) .The Bible depiction of God is truely what God is not.

      I love you and respect you because that is what God wants me to do. It is a fundamental characteristic of God to show love and compassion or the earth would have been destroyed many times over if God had intolerance and hate many here have shown. >>>All religious people do.

  26. Avatar

    Sarah Tavano

    June 23, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Thank you Theresa I am not a revert but I am contemplating it because I do think it makes most sense to me as well and I believe in 1 true God I share sum similar issues about the hijab that you did in your post I am afraid that I will look dumpy and stupid and not be able to keep my look and can u still wear make up? Or is that A no no?

  27. Avatar

    Danielle

    July 6, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    For those reading this wondering what I’m talking about, it’s in response to all the negative comments HYDE made towards the beginning of this blog (they are older comments but I had to response in fear this persons comments would discourage people)

    @Hyde … you posted: “Personally I hope the pathway to apostasy becomes easier for everyone. I’d love to see many people leave Islam all together, then try to believe in something they don’t want……
    Islam does not need you nor are you a superstar for being a Muslim or not being a Muslim….Don’t congratulate the converts, but shy away from them, because they see a light that born Muslim never do and in your case case, never will.”
    I completely agree with sister June who wrote: “I am perplexed. You compliment one comment that mentions Qur’anic verses, yet criticize the comment suggesting tarikur seek clarification from a scholar. Are you Muslim? If so, why all the hate?”

    Your words Hyde indicate your knowledge far surpasses that of scholars (possibly a self-righteous attitude?) and apprently compassion is useless and Muslims shouldn’t bother to pray for or help those thinking to leave Islam. No one maybe “holding a noose around his neck” as you put it to stay in Islam but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to help the person before making that choice or to help them come back. And your other comment that this person will not come back and as if there’s no hope for him seems to express your I can’t be bothered with anyone except myself attitude … me, myself and I are important and if it doesn’t effect me who cares.
    Even your first comment I replied to, when you said “not another revert story”, shows it’s like you have a distain towards reverts and one revert story is all the same, boring … show your comments to any Imam or scholar and see their reaction to you. Hence my comment to that was replying to you as if you weren’t muslim and just trolling – apparently you are Muslim (so I apologize to think you weren’t) but you’re just a Muslim with a really poor attitude and some deep-seeded pride of being born muslim and find reverts annoying.

    As regards to your comments on reverts that you made “Hyde: Don’t congratulate the converts, but shy away from them, because they see a light that born Muslim never do and in your case, never will.” —–> How shameful! Who are you to say that he will never see the light … you’re not Allah so how do you know down the road he won’t see the correct path and come back to Islam stronger than ever. So you have a lot of assumption to say “He will never.”
    As regards to reverts not being congratulated and born-muslims (or already reverted Muslims) should shy away from them … you can deny it until you’re blue in the face but it’s pure UNNECESSARY jealousy that spews from your mouth. If a person reverts they need help to learn what a born-muslim may know from an early age. They come from a worldly life and need good examples/role models to help them and congratulating them is a way born-muslims or previous reverts shows the new revert that they are happy they have become Muslim, that they want to worship Allah in the correct way. It’s a joyous moment. You said born-muslims don’t see this light, so because reverts do see it, no need to congratulate them as if to say “well they already have something I don’t have and I’m jealous so ignore them. If I can’t have it no one can” is what your mentality comes across as being. And I feel sorry for you if you really feel this way because it shows instead of welcoming them and being happy that someone has come out of the world to Islam, your bittered and annoyed by the extra attention a new revert receives.
    There are born-muslims who practice their religion simply because their family does but have no real knowledge of their faith and one day they decide to learn about their faith to gain accurate knowledge of it and guess what, they need extra attention too from practicing knowledgeable Muslims so they get that light just as new reverts. No they may not get congratulation because they were already Muslim, but being Muslim itself is a light reverts don’t have as reverts weren’t raised worshipping Allah in the correct way and many of them led a worldly lifestyle prior to reverting. This is something born-muslims don’t experience unless they choose to leave Islam. So reverts and born-muslims have lights they see, just their lights are different.
    To conclude: `Amr ibn Al-`As was amazed by the special attention that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave him. He actually thought that he is the most beloved companion to the messenger of Allah, and asked him a direct question one day: “Oh Prophet of Allah, who is the most beloved person to you” and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “`A’ishah (the Prophet’s wife)”;
    – From the men?
    – Her father (Abu Bakr As-siddique)
    – Then who?
    – Then `Umar, ..
    In `Amr’s words: “After that, the Prophet started listing names and names of people, and this made me remain silent, fearing that he will place me at the end of the list…” (Al-Bukhari)
    The messenger of Allah had this gentle effect on all those around him, especially the new comers to Islam that made `Amr seriously think he is the best companion in the eyes of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
    @Hyde —> You aren’t an Islamic scholar (not that you claimed to be) to give a fatwa on how born-muslims or previous reverts should treat reverts and tell who has no hope when you aren’t anyone else’s judge and it’s really disheartening to see your comments are filled with crude bitter sarcasm and the attitude you portrait as if your negative opinion is correct and people should listen to your unscholarly ignorant advice.
    It’s not a judgement on you but a good reminder for anyone; the beautiful hadith: The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He who has in his heart the weight of an atom of pride shall not enter Paradise.” [Muslim]
    Reverts and Born-Muslims are ALL MUSLIMS.

    • Avatar

      shahbaz khan

      January 9, 2016 at 8:06 AM

      wow theresa your writeup has elicited so maaany comments! in a world taken up by pretensions thugery deception and lies -the heart yearns for bliss and trust and a purpose for life. convert stories are such a wonder opening into the personal journey of an individual. in a world of no secrets where the furthest reaches of the planet are laid bare islam comes out as the new frontier , unexplored unknown and a mystery that was so distant and is still so close to everypersons inner being.
      theresa has stimulated people to talk and share their opinion and here there is no need of any fatwas to define the boundaries of this soul searching. juzakullah

    • Avatar

      Zonaid

      February 4, 2016 at 8:56 PM

      Subbhanalla inshalla I love your comment peace be upon you ya allah I as a born Muslim do in fact see many converts of Islam (my best friend) and they can’t even stop talking about your post آلة ةواقبر (Allah huakbar)

  28. Avatar

    Sidnie

    October 12, 2015 at 6:52 PM

    I’m a brand new Muslim, and I converted today, but it makes me really sad when some would say, “Muslims kills Christians”, or “Deserve to go to Hell”. I don’t know whats wrong with Christians, and I came from a Christian Family, however my faith was so confuse and very stress and I needed something to touch me, and I found this beautiful religion. I don’t know should I tell my parents, and will people turn away because I live in Toledo and there’s not much Muslims, can someone help me!!!

    • Avatar

      shahbaz khan

      January 10, 2016 at 12:18 PM

      hi sidnie – it is a momentous day in yore life indeed. change is the last thin g one wishes to do willingly. most changes happen of a sudden without any effort on yore part. they happen and take u along. its with time u realise the change was the best for u.
      dont bother with wat u hear or keep hearing. god is the most merciful and munificent and he has no wish to send people to hell.trust in god and he will show u the best way to let yore parents know u have changed. yore new life style and behavior will be yore ambassador to yore parents family and the world.a sidnie who is more responsible and caring more confident and strong will make yore path easier.if u move to an area with more muslim brothers and sisters or change yore work place, the companionship that this will provide will be a source of learning and strength for u . may god be yore guide

    • Avatar

      felix aliy

      February 24, 2016 at 9:16 AM

      please look for this books before you finally decide : ” who is this allah” and “the anatomy of Quaran” please google and read them my friend and God will bless you. The peace you are looking for you can find in Christ. Just accept Christ into your life and allow the Holy Spirit direct your affairs and all will be fine with and your family. if you need Him just contact me. God bless you

    • Avatar

      Samina

      August 18, 2016 at 12:31 PM

      Assalam o Alaikum!
      I am in search of women who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
      I would be really grateful if you respond me.

      My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

      Best regards
      Samina

    • Avatar

      Sammy

      December 27, 2016 at 11:49 AM

      Sidnie,

      God bless you for taking this important & righteous step.

  29. Avatar

    Abdullah Sameer

    October 24, 2015 at 11:13 PM

    I left Islam after 15 years. Science doesn’t seem to agree with the Quran. More details on my blog.

  30. Avatar

    Stephanie

    November 11, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    Seven things I didn’t expect when I encountered Islam:
    1. Intolerance (they simply do not like anyone who is not Muslim)
    2. Brutality (I have seen muslim women be cruel and ruthless with their children to the point where i have called the police).
    3. Violence (I have never seen such gross admiration and respect for violence against non-muslim peoples, especially christians).
    4. Slavery (I never imagined so many people, so many women, would support slavery, chiefly slavery of women).
    5. Rape (I was shocked and disgusted by the endemic rape culture of muslims; it seems that if a woman is not completely hidden from view–i.e. invisible–then she is a target for rape, even if she’s not a woman: even if she is just a child holding a doll).
    6. Hate (I have heard muslims speak publically about the need to “wipe jews off the face of the earth”
    7. Destruction (they hate science, they had progress, they hate prosperity–in short they seek destutition of all and the destruction of civilization).

    In the end it made me happy that I rejected religion when I was 5 and 1/2 years old. I saw it for what it was then: ridiculous stories about impossible deeds by invisible creatures. You can too.

    • Avatar

      Abu Ahzab

      November 11, 2015 at 11:46 PM

      To me people like “Stephanie” putting comments out of complete ignorance and baseless arguments continue to help me faithful to my Islamic faith post conversion. Such people are a great advantage to keep Muslims in their faith, as long as these type of people are propagating news far from truth. And Muslims tend follow Jesus than the Christians.

      1. Jesus Worship only one God and he always called others to worship only one God…….just like Muslims do
      2. Jesus used to have a beard just like all other prophets, even the picture that today’s Christians “imagine” for Jesus is for a man having a beard…….just like Muslim men do
      3. Jesus was circumcised…….just like Muslim men do
      4. The Mother of Jesus Mary was covering her hair, and all the pictures in today’s churches that they “think” that its for her is a picture of a woman with a scarf……..just like Muslim women do
      5. Jesus used to pray and prostrate…….just like Muslims do
      6. Jesus used to fast….just like Muslims do
      7. Jesus used to make ablution before prayer……..just like Muslims do
      8. Jesus didn’t eat pork………..Just like Muslims do

      • Avatar

        Casey

        November 15, 2015 at 11:58 PM

        You see the comparison of Jesus to the Muslim faith because
        the Muslim faith was established out of Catholism by Mohammad, through
        his mother who was a nun in a catholic convent. The catholic church (Jesuits) was losing converts after Christ rose from the grave and his believers went out and converted others to
        Jesus and not to ‘a church’. The catholic church then devised a religion that it felt would bring back people to the church because it existed on the wealth of it’s followers, and it wanted to maintain powers. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican33.htm Thus you have the similarities of text, the virgin mary etc. But the new religion didn’t work out well as it grew among the tribesmen, the nomads and spread. It was a false Christianity from a false church that turned into another religion. That is one of the reasons why many verses in the Koran are almost identical to Bible verses. The Bible was plagiarised to fit the ‘new religion’ with additives of other dictates, some very confusing. According to the direction of prayer was to be Mecca and Medina only, never to Jerusalum, so why the claim now of Jerusalem as a religious focus? You claim Jesus was similar but Jesus was a Jew so therefore could not all Muslims be of Jewish decent? I’d say yes because of similar practices that Jews and Muslims do such as circumcision One thing that all Muslims should know and never talk about is the faith and it’s association to a meteorite: http://www.islam-watch.org/Lennard/Islam-Sacred-Stone-of-Mecca.htm It is forbidden for muslims to worship this stone, yet it is the foundation of the religion. The stone sits in the Kaaba. I am neither a Jew nor a catholic, but feel that truth is truth, and if you all seriously want the truth and study of your faith then you should go back to the origin of where it all started before anyone converts, just as I would warn or direct anyone to check out scientology before they got involved. I wish you all the best and good luck in your search for truth and light, remembering God is light and in Him is no darkness to be found.

        • Avatar

          Kelly

          November 16, 2015 at 1:01 AM

          There is so much wrong with this statement.
          Mohammed’s mom was not that. The rock statement? Totally not part of the teachings. The kabaa is simply a place from Abraham, praying in unity.
          The reason the monotheistic teachings are so similar is because they are all teaching the same basic message via a series of Prophet’s & messengers. It’s a continuation over time from the same God but to different people of a different time or area.
          Please don’t introduce these conspiracy theories.

      • Avatar

        felix aliy

        February 24, 2016 at 9:20 AM

        you do not know Him (Jesus), The Jesus in your koran is different from Jesus in the bible. I know how the koran came about, how they copied some scriptures incorrectly from the bible.

    • Avatar

      Kelly

      November 16, 2015 at 1:04 AM

      Stephanie – it sounds like you were simply around a really bad crowd. It’s not fair to let those people represent the religion. That’s like letting gang bangers represent America and leaving the country and spouting all over the world how horrible Americans are. I’m sorry you had that experience with Muslims and hope you meet a better group of Muslims that better represent the teachings of Islam.

      • Avatar

        shahbaz khan

        January 10, 2016 at 12:23 PM

        how very correct

    • Avatar

      Ammar

      November 30, 2015 at 12:55 AM

      Dear, we are not. And how many Muslims did you really encounter. For me it seems like 0. Its the ahlak (good manners) brought me to Islam. If any of you said is true, I will leave Islam just now. I mean this religion is not a compulsion but a choice. Al-Quran(2:256) .
      Good luck sisi.

  31. Avatar

    Jemmy

    November 16, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    This religion treats non-muslims badly. I am a living witness. There is always a sinister smile on their faces. Well, am grateful to God for showing me the right way to peace, love, joy and Salvation of my soul.

    • Avatar

      Ammar

      November 30, 2015 at 1:00 AM

      Brother, I am sorry for what you feel. You have to talk to them.

  32. Avatar

    abu ahzab

    November 16, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    see the comparison of Jesus to the Muslim faith because the Muslim faith was established out of Catholism by Mohammad,
    >>> it’s partly true because Islam accepts all prophets before Mohammed (SA), such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Younus and so on. Unlike Christians they don’t consider these Prophets as God or Son of God and so on. And there is a fundamental teaching that is visible in all these prophets, i.e. to worship only one God.

    The catholic church then devised a religion that it felt would bring back people to the church because it existed on the wealth of it’s followers, and it wanted to maintain powers. bibliotecapleyades.net/vatican/esp_vatican33.htm
    >>> That’s how they altered the original teaching of Jesus (AS) and no wonder my fellow Christians have bible verses that can’t even be read to their own children/family.

    Thus you have the similarities of text, the virgin mary etc. But the new religion didn’t work out well as it grew among the tribesmen, the nomads and spread. It was a false Christianity from a false church that turned into another religion. That is one of the reasons why many verses in the Koran are almost identical to Bible verses.
    >>>> As I said Muslims believe in the original teachings of the Bible and a Muslims can’t be a Muslim unless he/she believe in the teachings of the Prophets earlier to Muhammed (SA)

    The Bible was plagiarised to fit the ‘new religion’ with additives of other dictates, some very confusing.
    >>> There was no Bible in it’s original form available at that time, neither it exist today. And that’s why you have red letter bible and revisions after revisions and still can’t find any thing close to the original. When you don’t have original teachings of Jesus, how can you claim it was plagiarized?

    According to the direction of prayer was to be Mecca and Medina only, never to Jerusalem, so why the claim now of Jerusalem as a religious focus?
    >>> absolute ignorance, it was to Jerusalem until the Quranic verse to direct the prayers to Mecca was revealed. Secondly, as I said earlier all prophets are of great significance to Islamic faith and hence Jerusalem as well.

    You claim Jesus was similar but Jesus was a Jew so therefore could not all Muslims be of Jewish decent?
    >>> All I said is that we Muslims are more Christian than the so called Christians, because we follow Jesus original Teachings and abide by, such as Praying to One God, circumcision, keeping beard, women covering head, not eating pork and so on.

    I’d say yes because of similar practices that Jews and Muslims do such as circumcision One thing that all Muslims should know and never talk about is the faith and it’s association to a meteorite: islam-watch.org/Lennard/Islam-Sacred-Stone-of-Mecca.htm It is forbidden for muslims to worship this stone, yet it is the foundation of the religion. The stone sits in the Kaaba.
    >>>> You seems to be at complete ignorance and to the core, these are specifically straw man argument. No muslims worship Kaaba , nor the black stone in Mecca/Kaaba. If somebody does that he/she is outside of the Islamic faith.

    I am neither a Jew nor a catholic, but feel that truth is truth
    >>>There is not even iota of truth what you have just said, ignorance can’t be termed as truth. ask even an ignorant Muslims he would tell you that he/she is not worshipping Kaaba/Stone there. This is basics of Islam. Get your facts !

    , and if you all seriously want the truth and study of your faith then you should go back to the origin of where it all started before anyone converts, just as I would warn or direct anyone to check out scientology before they got involved.
    >>> Yes that’s the right things to do, and if you or anyone do it, he can’t help being a Muslim. simply because all prophets taught to worship only ONE God and not the father of God, Neither the Mother of God, nor the statue of Mother Mary and so on. it’s simple and straight forward truth. and you can’t help being a Muslim.

    I wish you all the best and good luck in your search for truth and light, remembering God is light and in Him is no darkness to be found.
    >>I wish you best of luck for your inquiry. and lastly, I’m yet to see a Christian who stand up to scrutiny of his Bible. All the time I get statements like, I’m neither a Christian nor Jew, but I’m just making statements – this is a clear case of weakness on you and your faith, so that you have all the freedom to change your goal post by not disclosing your source of argument. This is quite normal of many Christians and generally Catholics.

  33. Avatar

    Rahul

    December 14, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    What is islam? Would i get respect if i join islam?

    • Avatar

      solikin

      December 23, 2015 at 2:07 AM

      1. islam = dienul islam
      dienul = way of life / rule of life, islam = save , it mean who ever follow the rules of life they will be saved.

      • Avatar

        felix aliy

        February 24, 2016 at 9:22 AM

        Is their salvation for one’s soul in Islam? show me one place in Koran

  34. Avatar

    shahbaz khan

    January 14, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    wat rubbish people are capable of. wat a negative mind set.

  35. Avatar

    Hhhh

    January 31, 2016 at 2:32 PM

    Asalum-Ali-kum,
    I was reading this article and expectedly notice that all the 7 statements you mention will have to do with your physical appereaneces. What about your heart? I believe as a woman I can be wearing hijab all the time but what about lust that is in my heart. Question is, has your heart changed not your physical appearances?

  36. Avatar

    Umm Ayesha

    May 5, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    What a beautiful article, SubhanAllah.

  37. Avatar

    Misbah

    May 23, 2016 at 11:00 PM

    Very nice blog. Personally I was always a muslim but very astray (drugs&sex) faked prayer and many sins like that. Recently ive started reading the quran again, going masjid and reducing music to quran recitations. Alhamdulliah with ramadhan 15 days away ill become a better muslim. Please make dua for me.

  38. Avatar

    ossy

    June 10, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    The difference between the two religion is the third party , which is the holy spirit, More christians may convert to islam due to lack of the Holyghost. Hndingow can you tell me that a spirit filled fire brand daughter of zion will convert to islam. Go get born again and enjoy the peace that passes human uundersta

  39. Avatar

    L

    June 17, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    I don’t know where to begin or who to talk to about converting. I am also afraid about talking to people close to me on converting due to how in the US being a Muslim is a bad thing. Help please!

    • Avatar

      Saif

      June 25, 2016 at 4:21 AM

      As long as you believe in your heart “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last messenger of Allah”, You will take first step to be a Muslim. If you even die with this believe, you will go to paradise. But you really should talk to someone who is practicing Islam. He may show you the path of converting appropriate way.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      July 4, 2016 at 1:36 AM

      L, whatever you do, don’t become a muslim. They are told in the koran to kill those who leave, the nonsense about “that was for them back then, not us” is garbage, untold thousands of ex-muslims are in hiding from their families right now, to deny this total truth is insanity and an insult to their very hard reality of not knowing when a family member will finally find them. How horrible! Mohammed clearly married a 6 year old, consumated when she was 9, had many people killed and butchered, raided and looted innocent people in caravans, took wives from other people, including his adopted son, Jesus never did anything wrong at all and did tons of miracles, which He said proved that He was indeed, from God. He was with God from eternity past and was eternal with His Father, so He loved us and died for us on the cross, there is no other religion with anything even close to this purity and love and Glory of an Awesome and loving God! He is so incredible people!

  40. Avatar

    Ummu Ryan

    June 26, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    This blog is really interesting. Thanks sister Theresa

  41. Avatar

    April Rose

    July 25, 2016 at 6:37 PM

    I wanted to convert to Islam, i don’t know anyone in Beirut can help me find an Imam so that i can start converting. And to study the Qur’an.

    • Avatar

      Samina

      August 18, 2016 at 12:29 PM

      Assalam o Alaikum Rose!
      (I am commenting this considering you have accepted Islam until now. as you commented a month ago. If not, can I help you in anyway?)
      I am in search of women who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
      I would be really grateful if you respond me.

      My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

      Best regards
      Samina

  42. Avatar

    Samina

    August 18, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    Assalam o Alaikum Theresa!
    I am in search of women who reverted to Islam. I am doing a thesis. I would like to get your few minutes to have a short interview. Mostly, I would like to know why you embraced Islam.
    I would be really grateful if you respond me.

    My email address is saminakousar11@gmail.com

    Best regards
    Samina

  43. Avatar

    Miraz

    October 10, 2016 at 3:05 AM

    Hi… I’m a Muslim. I know theressa has a childish sense of humour.. I’m not proud of my religion bcz this religion has no good base. Only fed up by cruelty… Quran is a sin to human kind. It doesn’t contain any good thoughts about nature.. it only cares about human(specially those who believe in Islam) and you all people who are eager And happy with her conversion. This is so sad bcz theressa has silly reasons such about hair care… and other things… the Muslims who encouraged her conversions is not their fault as they follow Quran which is harram. There is no satisfaction in Islam. The people who follow doesnt have a good thoughts they are brain washed. And I request every one who are muslims to think, debate and criticise this cruel Islam. I’ll give an example… if Allah wanted her women followers to get fully covered from head to toe . he will provide every women with a shell like tortoise.. and if Allah have the power to punish people who do mischieves he could destroy the ottoman empire which was very cruel.. this prophet Muhammad tried to spread his writings (Quran) by saying it came from God Allah… and made many slaves In order to enjoy happy life… but muslims didn’t think about this. I wish this Nature to give them a good mind to think and think… what I said was not to hurt the beautiful souls… and by my thoughts please don’t convert to any religion… be yourself. May u all get a success and happy life…. I too won’t convert to other bcz I don’t want to disrespect this faithless imagination….

  44. Avatar

    Keneth Kittle

    October 15, 2016 at 10:48 PM

    My colleagues needed to fill out BINDT Form PSL 57B Issue 4 recently and came across an online service that hosts lots of sample forms . If you are interested in BINDT Form PSL 57B Issue 4 too , here’s a link “https://goo.gl/y6Hzhl“.

  45. Avatar

    Angello

    November 3, 2016 at 1:02 AM

    Hi I am a non-muslim individual and I seek for advice. By no means this is intended to offend anyone despite our differences, as everything can be taken in different interpretations nowadays. I have always been interested in this beautiful culture and lifestyle. I am fully aware that I am not perfect, since we all make mistakes, which is exactly what make us humans. Despite my age, I consider myself as a thinker and I invest time in finding my own answers after analyzing a situation from different perspectives. Where I go with this? I have seen other religions and so-called good practitioners speaking about god and good practices, some of them even force their beliefs to supposed non-believers just because they aren’t part of their religion, yet his actions are negative and repulsive contrary to their own teachings making them look like hypocrites. In essence they don’t lead or predict by example. This is the worst thing you can do as a human being. You just don’t lie to a higher self but to yourself. This makes me conclude that there will always be good and bad practitioners no matter the religion or belief. The hate is everywhere and it welcomes ignorance.

    I met a muslim a few months ago, though I haven’t had a chance to touch base about these topics. I am not saying I want to become a Muslim right now, but I want to learn more about this culture as my love to it started a few years ago, but I don’t know where to start.

    I live in a country where the majority of the citizens are either Christians, Catholics or something else making this task or journey for wisdom and knowledge more harder than it looks.
    Today I wanted to look for answers and information. I came across a couple of websites and end up here for mere coincidence.

    I have heard before that you cannot convert to this religion because you are borned into it. Is this true? It may look like a stupid question considering the nature of this article, nevertheless I need to be sure to clear my doubts. I can’t embrace, crictize nor accept something if I don’t fully understand it, and no one should.

    Better then, Are there trustworthy sources to gather knowledge?

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#Life

Mindful or Mind-full? Going From AutoPilot to Aware

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Mindful

Modeling Mindfulness

Mindfull

“Remember that God knows what is in your souls, so be mindful of Him.”

[Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:235]

Mindful or Mind-full?

Ever felt frustrated when you were trying to talk to your spouse, your children, your students, or your youth group and they would just not pay attention? This is a prime example of being on autopilot and getting carried away without actually being aware of what is most important in the present moment.

A recent Harvard study shows that our minds are not present in the moment and wander about 47% of the time1. In a world of technology and continuous sensory overload, the lines between work and home, friends and family, necessity vs. purpose, world-centric vs. Allah-centric have become blurred. We are either living in the past or ruminating about the future, and in the process, we are forgetting to live, enjoy, cherish, and make the most of our present moments.

For parents, teachers, youth leaders, and anyone in the beautiful role of guiding, teaching, coaching, or mentoring others, we can make a huge difference by modeling Mindfulness ourselves. But where do we start? The answer is to go from autopilot to becoming aware.

Autopilot to Aware

Being on autopilot is when you are distracted in the present moment, where your mind is wandering into the past or the future, and you are less aware of yourself, surroundings, or others. Autopilot can actually be pretty helpful for your regular habits. Waking up, brushing your teeth, getting ready for your day, going to school or work – many of the things we do habitually every day can be done more seamlessly without having to think, and that is a good thing. But there are times when you have to learn to turn off your autopilot to become aware. But how?

Here is a Mindfulness tool that can be done in just a minute or two for you to become more aware.

Step 1: Breath as a Tool. Say Bismillah. Focus on your breath. See where you experience the breath – the breathing in and breathing out of your body. Is your breath stemming from your nostrils, your chest, or your stomach? Just bring your attention to your breath and relax and stay with it there for a few moments.

Step 2: Body as a Tool. Relax your body. We carry so many emotions in our bodies2. Our stress from the past or anticipation for the future sometimes finds its way into our necks, other times in our chest muscles or our backs. Pay attention to what emotions and sensations do you feel, and try to relax all parts of your body.

Step 3: Intention as a Tool. As you have centered your thoughts to the present moment through your breath and your body, ask yourself: “What is most important now? In this present moment?”

Just simply being aware makes us more mindful parents, teachers, youth and professionals – being aware makes us more Mindful of Allah SWT. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your mind and body and bring your attention to the present moment.

Mindful

Real Life in the Present Moment

You are an on-the-go parent: It has been a long day and you have to pick up the kids from school, but work is still pending. You’re picking up the kids from school, feeding them, and then shuffling everyone to their afterschool activities, be it Qur’an, softball, soccer, swimming, or the million other things that kids seem to have these days. You squeeze pending work in between drop-offs and pick-ups, and you function by living from one task to the next.

The Autopilot Impact: You’re getting a lot done, but are so engrossed in quickly moving your children along from one thing to another that you are unable to really cherish your time together.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: You can try to go from autopilot to awareness by focusing on your breath, paying attention to your emotions, and relaxing your body. As you do so, ask yourself: “What is most important now?” Make the intention to slow down, listen to the children more mindfully, and cherish and enjoy your time together.

You are a busy teacher: Last night you had to take all the grading home and spent two hours poring over students’ work. This morning, you woke up early to pick up some classroom supplies after dropping off your own kids to school. You’ve already had two cups of coffee and are trying to think through everything you have to do today. You like the idea of Mindfulness, living life in the present moment, and enjoying every day to its fullest, but your mind is not free to even enjoy the beautiful morning sunrise as you drive to school.

The Autopilot Impact: You want to listen and pay attention to every child’s needs, and enjoy the rewards of their growth, but you can’t. What’s more, you judge yourself for just trying to get through your activities for the day. You wish you could connect with your students better.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Whenever you are stressed with an unpleasant parent or student interaction, think about breathing, relaxing your body, and asking what you need to focus on now. Try to do one thing at a time, and relax into what you’re doing.

You are an overstretched youth director: You are a role model. You have this major weekend event you are planning with the youth. Your budget is still pending from the board, you have to call all these people, have to get the graphics and remind everyone about the event, you have to visit all these masjids and MSAs to announce and remind people about the weekend.

This weekend’s theme is Living a Life of Purpose and you are super passionate about it. However, the whole week you have had a hard time remembering to even pray one Salah with focus. Instead, your mind has been preoccupied with all the endless planning for this weekend. You love what you do but you wonder how to also be mindful in your everyday worship while you are always prepping and planning engaging activities for the youth.

The Autopilot Impact: You enjoy shaping the youth but you are losing steam. You are always planning the next program and unable to focus on your own personal and spiritual development. It is difficult for you to pray even one salah without thinking about all the events and activities planned for that week.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Get serious about taking some time for yourself. Know that becoming more mindful about your own prayers and self-development will also make you a better role model. Take a minute or two before every Salah to practice the simple, 3-Step Mindfulness Tool. You say Bismillah and breathe, focus your mind, and then relax your body. Empty your mind from everything else – what has past and what’s to come – and ask “What’s most important now?” to develop better focus in your Salah.

In Conclusion: Practice Simple but Solid Steps towards becoming more Mindful Muslims

Mindfulness is to open a window to let the Divine light in.

[Imam Al Ghazali]

Mindfulness gives us the ability to be aware. We can use Mindfulness tools to remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), refocus, renew our intentions, and engage with the present moment in a more effective and enjoyable way. Mindfulness also invites awareness of our potential negligence in being our best selves with both Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation. To put it simply, being more aware of our selves can help us be better versions of our selves.

Mindfulness is both an art and a science, with brain and behavioral science research validating the importance of Mindfulness in improving our health, managing our stress, navigating our emotions, and positively impacting our lives3. In today’s modern and distracted world, let us treasure every tool that helps us center our attention on what matters the most.

  1. Bradt, Steve (2010). Wandering mind not a happy mind. Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/wandering-mind-not-a-happy-mind/
  2. Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, Jari K. Hietanen (2013). Bodily maps of emotions. National Academy of Sciences. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/12/26/1321664111
  3. “What are the benefits of mindfulness,” American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

To learn more about how to become mindful take the Define Course on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.

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#Society

A Code of Conduct To Protect Against Spiritual Abuse

Danish Qasim

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Code of Conduct for Islamic Leadership, Institutions

When there is a claim of spiritual abuse, the initial reaction of concerned Muslims is often to go to another Muslim leader and expect that leader to take care of it.  Most of the time, however, religious leaders in the community have no authority over other religious leaders who are found abusing their position. Many of these leaders feel a foreboding sense of powerlessness to exert change, leaving those who abuse, to do so freely and with impunity. 

There have been attempts by some leaders to take action against abusive religious figures. However, when this happens, it is usually followed by a public or ‘in-group’ campaign against the abusive figure, and the abusive figure and his supporters return in kind. This becomes messy, quickly. There is name-calling, mud-slinging, and threats, but in the end, it amounts to nothing, in the end, leaving everyone involved to make their own decision as to whether or not to continue support for the alleged perpetrator. Other religious leaders may know the accused is guilty, but due to friendships or programs they wish to continue doing with the accused, they will cover for them, especially when there is only a perceived low level of evidence that the public could ever discover it. 

There are several methods and excuses through which abuse is covered up.

The Wall of Silence

In cases of tightly knit groups, whether Sufi tariqas, super Salafi cliques, activist groups, or preachers who have formed a team, the abuser will be protected by a wall of silence, while the victim is targeted, maligned, and ostracized for speaking out against the leader. They, not the abuser, are held accountable, liable, and blamed. While the abuser is expected to be ‘forgiven,’ the victim is socially shamed for a crime committed against him or her. More often than not, the victim is intimidated into silence, while the perpetrator is left free to continue abusing. 

The Kafir Court Rationale

There have been countless situations when there have been legal claims made against a transgressing spiritual leader, but through coercion and pressure, the shaykh (or those close to him) will be able to convince his victim that they are not allowed to go to kafir court systems to solve issues between Muslims. Ironically, these same shaykhs see no difficulty signing legally binding contracts with other Muslims they do business with, or when they give classes, which stands to reason, they are perfectly fine accepting the same ‘kafir court’ as a source of protection when it is for themselves. 

Stop Hurting the Dawah Plea

In other cases, when the disputes are between fellow students, or representatives of the shaykh and those lower ranking students, the shaykh himself is able to get on the phone with the disgruntled victim, give him or her special attention, and convince the person to drop it and not pursue justice, as that may ‘hurt the dawah.’ Sometimes, the shaykhs will ostensibly push for Islamic mechanisms of justice and call for arbitration by other religious figures who they know will decide in his favor. It is critical not to fall victim to these arguments. 

Your Vile Nafs Culpe

Far too often in these groups, particularly the more spiritually inclined ones, everyone will acknowledge the abuse, whether illicit sexual behavior, groping, financial fraud, secret temporary marriages, or bullying by a Shaykh, but steadfastly invoke the ‘only prophets are perfect, and our Shaykh is a wali–– but he can make mistakes’ refrain. Then, when those seeking recourse dare disclose these issues, even when there is no dispute about the factuality of their claims, they are browbeaten into compliance; told their focus on the negative is a sign that they are ‘veiled from the more important, positive efforts of the group, and it is they who should overcome their vile nafs.’ With such groups, leaving may be the only solution. 

Pray it Away Pretext

Sometimes, a target of abuse may go to other teachers or other people in the community to seek help, guidance, or direction. The victims hold these teachers in high regard and believe that they can trust them. However, instead of these teachers acting to protect the victims, the victims are often placated, told to pray it away. They are left with empty platitudes, but nothing concrete is ever done to protect them, nor is there any follow-up. 

The Forgive and Forget Pardon

They are told to forgive…

Forgiveness has its place and time, but at that critical moment, when a victim is in crisis and requires guidance and help, their wellbeing should remain paramount. To counsel victims that their primary job and focus at that pivotal juncture is to forgive their abuser is highly objectionable. Forgiveness is not the obligation of the victim and for any teacher or religious leader to invalidate the wrong that took place is not only counterproductive but dangerous––even if the intention behind the advice came from a wholesome place.

The Dire Need For A Code of Conduct

It is very easy to feel let down when nothing is done about teachers who abuse, but we have to understand that without a Code of Conduct, there really isn’t much that can be done when the spiritual abuse is not considered illegal. It is the duty of Islamic institutions to protect employees, attendees, and religious leaders. We also must demand that. 

Justice is a process. It is not a net result. This means that sometimes we will follow the process of justice and still come up short. The best thing we can do to hold abusers accountable for our institutions is to set up a process of accountability. A code of conduct will not eliminate spiritual abuse. Institutions that adopt this code may still cover up abuse, in which case victims will need to take action against the institution for violating the code. This code of conduct will also protect teachers who can be targetted and falsely accused.

As members of the community, we should expect more.  Here is how:

  •  Demand your Islamic institutions to have and instill a code of conduct. 
  •  If you are in a group outside of an institution, get clarity on the limits of the Shaykh.
  •  Understand that anyone, no matter their social status, is capable of doing horrible things, even the religious figures who talk about the importance of justice, accountability, and transparency. 
  • When it comes to money, expect more from your leadership than emotional appeals. Fundraising causes follow trends, and while supporting good causes is a positive thing, doing so without a proper audit or accountability is not. It lends itself to financial abuse, mistrust, and misappropriation.  

Establish a Protocol

A lot of hurt can be saved and distrust salvaged if victims are provided with honest non-judgment. Even in the event that there is a lack of concrete evidence, a protocol to handle these kinds of sensitive situations can provide a victim with a safe space to go to where they know they won’t be ignored or treated callously. We may not be able to guarantee an outcome, but we can ensure that we’ll try.

Using Contract Law to Hold Abusers Accountable – Danya Shakfeh

In cases of spiritual abuse, legal recourse (or any recourse for that matter) has been rare due to there being no standard of conduct and no legal means to hold abusers accountable.  In order to solve this problem, our Code of Conduct creates a legal mechanism of enforcement through contract law.

The reason why contract law is important and applicable is that the law does not always address unethical behavior.  You have heard the refrain “Just because it is legal, it does not mean it is ethical.” The law, for varying reasons, has its limits. Although we associate the law with justice and morality, the law and justice and morality are not always interchangeable and can even be at odds with each other.  

Ultimately, specifically in a secular society, the law is a set man-made rules and sometimes those rules are arbitrary and actually unfair. For example, there is a class of laws called ‘strict liability’ laws. These laws make a defendant liable even if the person committed the offense by accident.  One example of strict liability law is selling alcohol to a minor. In some states, even if the person tried to confirm the minor’s legal age, the seller could still be held liable for the offense. On the flip-side, there are is a lack of anti-bullying laws on the books in the United States. This allows employers to cause serious emotional damage to employees, yet the employer can get away with such offensive behavior.  Accordingly, the law does not always protect nor is it always ‘just.’

On Power, Boundaries, And The Accountability Of Imams

This is one of the reasons that victims of spiritual abuse have had little success in having their claims addressed at a legal level.  Because abuses are not legally recognized as such, there is often no associated remedy. For example, when a woman enters into a secret second marriage only to find that the husband is not giving her all her Islamic legal rights, that woman’s recourse is very limited because the law does not recognize this as abuse and does not even recognize the marriage.

Further, if a victim of spiritual abuse is abused due to religious manipulation unless the abuser engaged in a stand-alone crime or civil claim, the victim also has no legal recourse. For example, if a religious scholar exploits a congregant’s vulnerabilities in order to convince the congregant to turn over large amounts of money and the congregant later learns that the Islamic scholar did not really need the money, he or she may have no legal recourse.  This is because manipulation (as long as there is no fraud) is not illegal and depending on how clever the religious scholar was, the congregant would have no legal recourse. Our way of solving this problem is by using contract law to set and enforce the standard for ethical behavior.

Use of Institutional Handbooks

Whether people realize it or not, institutional handbooks are a type of contract. Though an attorney should be consulted in order to ensure that they these documents are binding, policies do not necessarily need to be signed by every party nor do they need to be called a “contract” in order to be legally binding.  By creating institutional handbooks and employment policies that relate to common issues of spiritual abuse, we can finally provide guidelines and remedies.

When an employee at an institution violates the institution’s policies, this is a “breach of contract” that can result in firing or even monetary damages. In other words, the policy is that document which victims and institutions can use to back their cases when there are allegations involving abuse.  Policies can also hold institutions themselves liable for not enforcing the policy and remedies as to victims’ abuse. Policies also serve the purpose of putting the community and their beneficiaries and patrons on notice as to what is expected of them.

Our Code of Conduct is the most comprehensive of created ethical guidelines for Muslims leaders and institutions for making spiritual abuse remedies actionable. We believe it will provide remedies to victims that would otherwise not be available through other legal means.  By binding the parties to a contract, victims and institutions can take these contracts, along with the abusers, to court and use the contract to fill in the gap for appropriate behavior that the law otherwise does not fill.

Download the Code of Conduct For Islamic Leadership By In Shaykh’s Clothing

Blurred Lines: Women, “Celebrity” Shaykhs, and Spiritual Abuse

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Ya Qawmi: Strengthen Civic Roots In Society To Be A Force For Good

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari

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For believers the traditions and teachings of the Prophets (blessings on them), particularly Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), are paramount. Each Prophet of God belonged to a community which is termed as their Qawm in the Qur’an. Prophet Lut (Lot) was born in Iraq, but settled in Trans-Jordan and then became part of the people, Qawm of Lut, in his new-found home. All the Prophets addressed those around them as ‘Ya Qawmi’ (O, my people) while inviting them to the religion of submission, Islam. Those who accepted the Prophets’ message became part of their Ummah. So, individuals from any ethnicity or community could become part of the Ummah – such as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad.

Believers thus have dual obligations: a) towards their own Qawm (country), and b) towards their Ummah (religious companions). As God’s grateful servants, Muslims should strive to give their best to both their Qawm and Ummah with their ability, time and skillset. It is imperative for practising and active Muslims to carry out Islah (improvement of character, etc) of people in their Ummah and be a witness of Islam to non-Muslims in their Qawm and beyond. This in effect is their service to humanity and to please their Creator. With this basic understanding of the concept, every Muslim should prioritise his or her activities and try their utmost to serve human beings with honesty, integrity and competence. Finding excuses or adopting escapism can bring harm in this world and a penalty in the Hereafter.

Like many other parts of the world, Britain is going through a phase lacking in ethical and competent leadership. People are confused, frustrated and worried; some are angry. Nativist (White) nationalism in many western countries, with a dislike or even hatred of minority immigrant people (particularly Muslims and Jews), is on the rise. This is exacerbated through lowering religious literacy, widespread mistrust and an increase in hateful rhetoric being spread on social media. As people’s patience and tolerance levels continue to erode, this can bring unknown adverse consequences.

The positive side is that civil society groups with a sense of justice are still robust in most developed countries. While there seem to be many Muslims who love to remain in the comfort zone of their bubbles, a growing number of Muslims, particularly the youth, are also effectively contributing towards the common good of all.

As social divisions are widening, a battle for common sense and sanity continues. The choice of Muslims (particularly those that are socially active), as to whether they would proactively engage in grass-roots civic works or social justice issues along with others, has never been more acute. Genuine steps should be taken to understand the dynamics of mainstream society and improve their social engagement skills.

From history, we learn that during better times, Muslims proactively endeavoured to be a force for good wherever they went. Their urge for interaction with their neighbours and exemplary personal characters sowed the seeds of bridge building between people of all backgrounds. No material barrier could divert their urge for service to their Qawm and their Ummah. This must be replicated and amplified.

Although Muslims are some way away from these ideals, focusing on two key areas can and should strengthen their activities in the towns and cities they have chosen as their home. This is vital to promote a tolerant society and establish civic roots. Indifference and frustration are not a solution.

Muslim individuals and families

  1. Muslims must develop a reading and thinking habit in order to prioritise their tasks in life, including the focus of their activism. They should, according to their ability and available opportunities, endeavour to contribute to the Qawm and Ummah. This should start in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. There are many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on one’s obligations to their neighbour; one that stands out – Gabriel kept advising me to be good to my neighbour so much that I thought he would ask that he (neighbour) should inherit me) – Sahih Al-Bukhari.
  2. They must invest in their new generation and build a future leadership based on ethics and professionalism to confidently interact and engage with the mainstream society, whilst holding firm to Islamic roots and core practices.
  3. Their Islah and dawah should be professionalised, effective and amplified; their outreach should be beyond their tribal/ethnic/sectarian boundaries.
  4. They should jettison any doubts, avoid escapism and focus where and how they can contribute. If they think they can best serve the Ummah’s cause abroad, they should do this by all means. But if they focus on contributing to Britain:
    • They must develop their mindset and learn how to work with the mainstream society to normalise the Muslim presence in an often hostile environment.
    • They should work with indigenous/European Muslims or those who have already gained valuable experience here.
    • They should be better equipped with knowledge and skills, especially in political and media literacy, to address the mainstream media where needed.

Muslim bodies and institutions

  • Muslim bodies and institutions such as mosques have unique responsibilities to bring communities together, provide a positive environment for young Muslims to flourish and help the community to link, liaise and interact with the wider society.
  • By trying to replicate the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, they should try to make mosques real hubs of social and spiritual life and not just beautiful buildings. They should invest more in young people, particularly those with professional backgrounds. They should not forget what happened to many places where the Muslim presence was thought to be deep-rooted such as Spain.
  • It is appreciated that the first generation Muslims had to establish organisations with people of their own ethnic/geographical backgrounds. While there may still be a need for this for some sections of the community, in a post-7/7 Britain Muslim institutions must open up for others qualitatively and their workers should be able to work with all. History tells that living in your own comfort zone will lead to isolation.
  • Muslim bodies, in their current situation, must have a practical 5-10 year plan, This will bring new blood and change organisational dynamics. Younger, talented, dedicated and confident leadership with deep-rooted Islamic ideals is now desperately needed.
  • Muslim bodies must also have a 5-10 year plan to encourage young Muslims within their spheres to choose careers that can take the community to the next level. Our community needs nationally recognised leaders from practising Muslims in areas such as university academia, policy making, politics, print and electronic journalism, etc.

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