All Praise be to Allah the Lord of Alamin,
The zeal with which a convert enters Islam is magnanimously beautiful. The feeling of being absolutely clean and free from the past sins and the contentment which just brushed their heart when they found their lost faith makes them feel back home, and not to forget the sukoon of experiencing the joy of worshiping the Lord that they had abandoned for years, is overwhelming. For their newly found faith and identity, they jump into this pool happily and are ready to take any risks, because that’s how much this means to them.
For the reverts, all is GREAT in the beginning because the picture is painted like that. Gorgeous warmth illuminating from everyone, welcoming sisterhood where we love each other for Allah’s sake, sincere love blossoming in the community with no chances of being left out, as Muslims we are supposed to be the perfect examples of ‘Human being’ on earth, but all of this is short lived, because unfortunately, this scenario changes quicker than a blink of an eye. Things change! Big time!
It’s when the reality strikes that the REAL tests begin. Suddenly, everything is black and blue with these new reverts having nowhere to go. Coming from the Non-Muslim families, and going against them for accepting the new religion leaves them with no room for going back to take aid from their parents. And now, Muslims who were supposed to be a sword in their battles end up being the poison of their lives, making it even worse at each step. Constant criticism, lack of understanding, high expectations in the deen and seclusion from the majority force converts to think over their decision of whether they had been right.
We often see Muslims bombarding the converts with comments like, ‘’But tattoos are haram’’ ‘’Western clothing isn’t allowed in Islam’’ ‘’You can’t mingle with your female cousins, that’s not appropriate’’ ‘’ How can you not wear Hijaab, its fardh’’.
All these things are correct, but when we are dealing with reverts, we have to keep in mind: it’s like a baby who has stepped into a completely new strange world from a mother’s womb. For them, every step is a struggle, from learning Salaat to Quran to adopting a completely new way of life.
If we continue acting like Haraam polices, keeping them at gun points ready to shoot fatwas 24x 7, then the time isn’t far where they wouldn’t even want to continue the struggle anymore.
We can’t be harsh in our advices and be judgmental. We have to pull them towards Allah and not take them further away. Hikmah and politeness are the two wings that we have to master before we start giving Da’wah. We need to go through the Seerah of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam and learn his manners, how he taught the Sahabahs and the rest. Why did people come running to him with so much of trust and love in such a short span of time? Ever wondered?
It’s nothing but Akhlaaq, the mannerisms and the Divine wisdom. Subhanallah!
And even though we are supposed to be the best examples following the Sunnahs of Rasulullaah salallahu alaihi wasallam , we as an Ummaah are really falling short and the issue is serious, because we are becoming a major reason for new buds (who just entered this divine religion) to leave Islam even without thinking twice!
So it’s high time, we bring the change in. Here are a quick pointers that we need to keep in mind while dealing with the reverts In sha Allah –
#1 Outburst of Knowledge
Don’t over load them with excessive information all at once, so much that their brain explodes and refuses to fathom the meaning of moderation in Islam. This will leave them in utter confusion and dismay. Simplify things as much as possible, this will help them hold on to the rope of faith, as the Hadeeth goes —–
“Make things easier, do not make things more difficult, spread the glad tidings, do not hate.”
#2 Madhab Issues
Know when is the time is apt for you to shoot them with madhab ideas that you follow. This definitely can come later, let them get the basics straight and clear for now. Help them settle down first, allow them to choose for themselves when it comes to Madhab
#3 Be Knowledgeable Enough before Preaching
One of the major issue for reverts is to figure out the hidden seed that a culture sows and the Sunnah which is the reality, so avoid confusing them. If you aren’t sure about a certain thing, then don’t just go and preach it out to the new bees, making it a hassle for them.
Da’wah is fardh on each one of us, but first LEARN, cross-check and be sure it’s authentic before you transmit that piece of knowledge.
Stop being negative and harsh at the same time. They are new, vulnerable and LONELY in this ride which they recently chose. A slight blow sometimes can get them out of the race which they started. If they are falling short in a certain action, then advise them politely and lovingly, with a soft tone and warm heart, because every human can feel the internal vibes, whether negative or positive. There is a certain mechanism that needs to be followed, don’t just simply go out there in the name Da’wah and ruin it for someone, who must be fighting real hard.
#5 They are a family now, don’t push them away
Before you put them down, learn to accept and educate them. Just because they are new to the community doesn’t mean they don’t have potential. Don’t sideline them, in fact include them in, trust them with major chunks of responsibilities and work at the masjid. Many reverts complain that no matter how long it’s been since they converted, they are always made to feel like an ‘‘outsider’’.
This was never from the traits of the Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam. He always gave complete attention to every single individual. His methodology and acknowledgement were the tools for people entering Islam in hoards. That’s why no one ever felt distanced or left out in a gathering which he addressed. So, make sure you make the blending-in process beautiful for them, without complications.
#6 Tattoos and Piercings
Usually this becomes a mega reason for defaming and torturing new converts. We all know for a fact that the moment a person enters Islam, he is a like a new born, cleansed from all of his past sins, that’s how abundant Allah’s mercy is.
It’s clear from the rulings, that if the procedure of the tattoo removal is painful and expensive, then it’s not necessary to do it, however if you can remove without much harm, then its fine. About piercings, if it’s used for adornments, as far as it’s not exposed to non mehrams and done only for one’s spouse, it’s permissible. So stop harassing them for something which is done in the past for which they can’t do anything about now. Sometimes, we really need to back off and let Allah be the judge.
Hijab is an adornment that liberates a soul but only if it comes through the heart, and not by pressure. So please don’t force new Muslimahs towards this step, guide them but continuous pressure could actually drive them away. Let them take their own time; your job is only to direct, not to rule.
#8 Changing Names and getting married
This is something ridiculous and has no basis in Islam. Changing of names is required only if its meaning calls out to something inappropriate, evil or shirk, otherwise a sound name with a positively good meaning is absolutely fine, so forcing them to change their name, which has been a part of them for years would be depressing.
Apart from the name change, we shouldn’t nag someone to get married either. Marriage is half of deen but it’s totally their decision on WHEN they want to get married. Pressurizing them towards a new bond could disturb them. They already have a lot on their plate so let them focus on that. Allah is Ar- Razzaaq and spouses are a form of rizq too, and it will reach them when HE desires so. There is definitely no need for you to drive them insane with proposals every now and then.
# 9 Cutting Family Ties
Where in the Deen do we promote cutting family ties? It’s absolutely wrong to advice the reverts to maintain distance from their families because they will be influenced by them, because if that was the case, they wouldn’t have accepted Islam in the first place. We need to tell them to be at their best conduct with their families and strive in bringing their families towards ‘Laailaha Illah Allah’ by inspiring them through the beauty of Islam.
#10 Absurd Assumptions
The next issue is the stigma between Born Muslims and reverts. The entire idea that all reverts had essentially lead a haram life filled with drugs and alcohol, had premarital sexual relationships and basically were into every wrong act before they entered Islam is disgusting. These assumptions are preposterous and ugly which will have severe consequences in the lives of reverts. There are many converts, who had pretty much lead a decently virtuous life even before Islam, so we need to put a break on our assumptions that’s destroying their image.
# 11 Emotional and financial Support
It’s obvious that after conversion, the new bees need emotional stability; they are vulnerable and need our constant support. But mostly, after a few conversations, the Muslims do take a step back and get busy with their own lives, thereby leaving the reverts isolated and emotionally empty.
The reverts not only need emotional support but financial help as well. When the time for da’wah comes, we immediately jump up on the first opportunity, send them hordes of emails and videos; and grace their doorsteps with a bulk of hadeeth and fiqh books but wait, when they are dealing with debts JUST because they converted to Islam and are settling into a completely halaal environment, we disappear!
We have to make efforts and be generous enough to give our time and our wealth, a little at least. If we can’t help out then at least, we should link them to people who can.
At the end, remember that their struggles are severe, they weren’t gifted with Islam from birth like us, they had journeyed a long thorny path just to get the first ray of guidance, so don’t force them to take a U-turn. Their Imaan is already fluttering, their Taqwaa isn’t build up yet, they are weak in many ways. We shouldn’t be the reason for their breakage, but instead, we should help them lift their broken pieces together and walk ahead with the light of Islam in their hearts. Let’s work together towards being a better Community, a better Ummah in sha Allah.