السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه
I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged, I haven’t got around to writing about anything new. I took to twitter to find out which topic would be best for me to write about (Jazak Allahu Khair for those who gave feedback). In sha Allah in this blog post I will be opening up to how it is like to live as Revert. My story may not be a general perception, everyone has their own difficulties and struggles as set by Allah swt. I will include my own experiences and experiences of other reverts within this blog.
When I came to Islam, everything changed. I was exposed to a whole new life, new routines, new eating habits, new way of understanding and thinking and I loved every single bit of it. However, taking on a new life even as amazing as Islam doesn’t mean there are no struggles, and in sha allah this blog will show the Ummah and help new reverts with their situations.
The hardest part of being a revert is being lonely sometimes, no one is in your position. You have great Muslim friends… but no one can really understand what you’re going through, how this big realisation is, how it is the first thing you think about when you wake up, and the last thing you think about when you go to sleep. Your brain is working overtime and you become so tired of your own thoughts, for a while it’s like your brain doesn’t switch off even in sleep. The adjusting time is probably different for all reverts.
Born Muslims will not really understand or know the feeling of how people now look at you differently, like there’s a great big ‘loony’ sign on your forehead after once being so “normal” amongst those around you. Also, how everything that you used to do, you can’t do, you’re not familiar with some things. You drop everything because this is your life now, there’s no half way there’s no getting to it, you’ll feel incredibly bad, so you drop everything and run towards right, then you see born Muslims doing what you used to do and what you’ve changed, and then you still feel different from them, you know that it’s wrong so then you still kind of feel alone. An example could be eating halal, over-checking ingredients before you eat, avoiding everything single haram food ingredient possible.
Low Imaan is tough, at times of low Imaan there’s no one around you that can make you feel motivated, there isn’t parents motivating you to do stuff and even worse if you don’t have a good set of practising friends. Although you’re pretty capable, in times of low Imaan there’s no big family to drag you up to pray, to read with or learn with, to fast with, to have iftar with or to pray fajr with.
In terms of family, you then sometimes pretty much have no one to talk to or debate with, because now everything you say is “because of your religion”. Like you could say something something literally on the terms of “There’s so much traffic” and they can pretty much respond to you with “it’s because of your religion”, so imagine what it’s like when you have an actual opinion on something. Nothing you say to them is pretty much held at value because even if you want to sleep for an extra hour it’s because “your religion told you so”. Forgive me if you think I’m exaggerating, I’m actually not lol.
This furthers into your friendship groups. You probably have groups of friends that now feel like you’ve mentally flown to Syria or something. Some feel like they are being rejected by you or especially looked down on (as well as family) just because you won’t really take an interest in what you used to do. Which could be anything from simple activities like listening to music or hanging around with male friends etc.
My personal experience of not wanting to join something or disagreeing with is normally “oh you think your so holy now -insert something that used to happen here-“. In some cases reverts might be left with no friends because of their friends being now the complete opposite e.g. Party goers, regular drinkers etc and the revert may be from a scarcely populated Muslim area making it very hard and lonely.
You can also get thrown into the vulnerable category, everyone now thinks your vulnerable to becoming extreme and ditching wherever you’re from to go wave a gun at BBC from another country. To me personally, I feel strong enough coming to the religion off of secure help and own choice that I am not particularly into extremism, don’t get me wrong some reverts can go straight into extremism but for me and probably for most reverts our extremism is halal ingredients and the paranoia over the perfection of wudhu! Lol!
However, some reverts being alone in terms of family and no ties ofcourse can be targets. Also for sisters it can be easy for us to be drawn into marry into such and without our family knowing such of their family is another form of lack of protection from this possiblity (can be the same for brothers). Also having a set of friends like this can morph your opinions and lifestyle more than we think.
There is also a bunch of assumptions of why you reverted and no matter what you say, they know why you reverted more than you do so don’t worry about it! because they are right! Lol jk. An example of mine is I used to go to a college and on my bus journey there was family friend who worked by a school near the college, so would often be on the bus and get off at the same stop. At this point I hadn’t told anyone but 3-4 members of family (I think) and I was observing hijab.
I managed to avoid being identified by her a few times as we shared the same bus by tapping my oyster and turning my face to wherever she wasn’t sitting, why would she assume it was me right? However, this one time I got on and tapped my oyster she happened to be paying attention to who was getting on the bus. I noticed she then became fixed on my face but I quickly scurried down the bus and sat down where the buggies are placed. Two stops before we were to get off she stood up and “subtly” hovered where the buggies were supposed to be. I kept my face down and on my phone, I was thinking “maybe she will just continue after she gets off the bus and think wow that Muslim girl looks just like her! But nope. Our stop came and she got off and I purposely let everyone get off before me. I got off the bus and just in case, I bent down and fixed my perfectly intact laces on my boots. After fiddling around I stood up and she was standing with her colleague who she was on the bus with in front of me like “really, you thought I wouldn’t notice”. She wasn’t hostile she was just shocked, we giggled about it and I told her all the times I managed to sneak past her and she wasn’t mad, she understood. Ofcourse she was asking why and saying its nothing to do with ISIS right?! But as I was assuring her and as she was asking, her colleague who I don’t even know butted in like “she’s married”. So me and my family friend stopped in our tracks and looked at her like …? She had assumed that I converted and was wearing the hijab because of a husband, even though I was midway explaining to my family friend with her right there. After both of us being baffled my family friend was like no she’s not. Like SubhanAllah at least someone had an open mind and was listening.
This last thing I will discuss (because I’ve made this post so long!) is family members dying as Non-Muslims. This is an experience nearly every revert may have to go through. To watch the closest people to them die upon other religions that may contain shirk or complete and utter disbelief. Imagine the case of having a parent die on disbelief and we can’t even make dua for them. Imagine watching them die on things that you know Allah Swt has said He will not forgive, such as shirk. Rejecting any form of higher being and they die while they haven’t accepted the truth, while their hearts aren’t open. In some cases have family members who actually commit suicide. Reverts have to deal with this, knowing that everything is out of their hands and while they are trying not to despair, trying to pluck every ounce of hope they have and trust in Allah Swt.
Being a revert is the biggest blessing that I could wish for or the other reverts could wish for, but it doesn’t come without these hardships and pain. Some reverts put everything they have on the line to accept the truth. We get through this with the trust of Allah Swt and his verse “Verily after hardship comes ease 94:5-6”. We also trust in the fact we have such a big blessing out of all the world, we were chosen to be on his path and to pray to him whereas others accept ignorance. We are not perfect, and we are not meant to be, we are all sinners, but we must try to never lose hope and we must try to get up after we fall down and never turn back to what we used to know. If we haven’t gotten back up, we must recognise that the doors of repentance are always open for us and Allah Swt wants us to come back. This advice is for me to remember and to my fellow reverts and even born Muslims.
I ask Allah to grant the Ummah the highest health and imaan and sincere repentance and guidance for our family members who are not on the right path, Ameen. 🌸