Q&A with a Muslim Convert

Monday, June 19, 2017


Asalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wa’barakatu, firstly I would like to say Jazak’Allah to my friend for agreeing to answer my questions. I think this is something many of us (Muslims/non-Muslims) are curious about and it will definitely be an eye-opener for some. Plus with everything going around the world, I thought it would be nice to share a post that shows the positivity, and realism of Islam. So, let’s get into it!

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1. One of the main questions I would like to ask is why did you convert to Islam?
Well, I would say there were a lot of factors which made me decide to convert but after researching meeting some older people who had converted when they were my age and having a lot of Muslim friends I grew a big interest in Islam.  After seeing how their life was and how dedicated they were I knew that this is what I wanted.  When I decided to convert I was told to wait and think about it as it is a decision that will change a lot of my lifestyle but Alhamdulillah it was one of the best choices I made 

2. Now having been a convert for over a year, what do you love about the religion?
I really love how peaceful I am how patient and just how I have a different view of my life. 

3. Was there anything you didn’t expect when you converted?
At first, I didn't expect so much support from people who didn't even know me however this also worked against me as some people were also questioning my ways, for example, some of the close friends would not understand it and distance themselves. 

4. I know it’s not easy to change your lifestyle, whether its religion, a habit, or anything. And usually, with changes comes ups and downs. What has been your ups and down through this journey?
Again, the hardest part I would say would be some people whom you'd expect to be happy for you or help you, weren't there. Or having to keep things secret because you didn't know what to expect from people's reactions. Additionally, for me, I would say having the passion to know more and more was there. I always felt like I need to know more and kept pushing but started to realise everything comes with time and it's okay to not know everything. 

5. Who were and still are your motivation?
I would definitely say for myself, a few fellow niqabi ladies which I met in bayans that introduced me to their life and are excellent role models. The way they act dress and go about their lives just motivates me to be like that, they are such goals Masha’Allah. 

6. Masha’Allah, you are wearing the full veil (Hijab, Niqab, Jilbab) right? Were you forced to wear it? What were your thoughts about it before you converted and what is it now?
At the house which I converted all the ladies wore it and Masha’Allah, they all looked so good and I just loved the way they dressed. As a new convert, I started off by only having around one scarf so when I decided to go abaya shopping I stumbled across a shop which also sold niqab's and I was so intrigued to try it and when I did I just loved the feeling so much that the lady from the shop actually gifted it to me, just from seeing my reaction.  

After this, I always wanted to wear it even when I didn't have the opportunity I would leave my house and get ready elsewhere, I would feel so free and happy while wearing my niqab. I would feel so uncomfortable when I was not able to wear it.  I later decided to also wear khimar/burka/jilbab (there are so many names for it) again by influence I saw such beautiful ladies Masha’Allah and it's just so easy I literally slide my abaya on my khimar my niqab, my gloves and I'm out the door.

I would say I am changing the way I dress with time and with the knowledge I am gaining. I don't feel like wearing niqab stops me from anything I still go about my day, even in the heat because Allah protects me and I think of it as I am pleasing Allah protecting myself and still gaining reward from following a sunnah what more could I ask for?   

In regards to being forced let me ask people this I am currently not married, my family isn't Muslim and I work, study and live alone so who could possibly be oppressing me or forcing me to do anything?  

I also think anyone who is wanting to please Allah will never feel forced they will feel happy to be doing their obligation they will feel complete in this life. I am aware that there may be people whom might be forced by parents and others which is not the right approach this could actually make people want to not be Muslim due to the constant stress it would be good if people started by telling children and others of the benefits and make them have the love for Allah which they would do it voluntarily. May Allah guide us and protect those who are in a situation they can't control. 

7. Do you have any personal favourite hadith that you know of?
This is a tough one as they are so many good and beautiful ones but I feel like this part from Quran just speaks for itself and what it's like to convert. 

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Qur’an, 2:155).

Because as a revert family tensions are high, friends leave us, we feel like we don't know anything in this new world we have entered we don't know what to learn and who to learn from I feel like the only way to get through it is to have full faith in Allah. 

8. What do you love about Ramadhan?
Oh, Ramadan for me there's so much I love about it. I love the way it gets us in routine, the way we are rewarded much more for our namaaz. I love feeling blessed at Iftar and thinking wow food and water just tastes so good Alhamdulillah. I love breaking my fast with dates and zamzam and then praying first then going to eat more than I should (and then feeling like a ball when praying Esha). I would also say I really like the bayan’s during then because more people come and there are more than usual. 

9. What’s your favourite food?
As a major foodie, I don't even know where to start but my top choices in no particular order cause I love them all equally

1. Chicken Pakoras 
2. Chocolate (Galaxy bar) 
3. Lamb chops 
4. Watermelon, mangoes and strawberries 
5. Samosas
6. Crab, lobster, octopus, squid 
7. Wotsits or any sort of Cheetos 
8. Mozzarella sticks 
9. Pizza mostly tuna and olives 
10. Cheeseburgers 

10.  Have you faced any conflict because of your religion change?
I would say sometimes friends will want to do something which is not permissible for me making it hard to sort out the situation but Alhamdulillah so far Allah has helped me and conflict wise there isn't anything too severe. However being a revert sometimes you feel like you don't fit as you can't continue with your old life and in your new life the community (very few who aren't perhaps very dedicated to their deen or choose to follow their culture instead of the teaching of Islam ) sometimes decide to not see you as an actual "Muslim" but because of the support of the majority this is nothing and when we know what we are doing and we know Allah is with us nothing is too big for us to face. 

11.  Now I will get into a bit of the deeper side, and what to ask what is it like to convert to Islam, when many people around the world think you’re a “terrorist”?
Converting was very easy thanks to the families that helped and would ask how I was etc. I would say the word terrorist is used a lot and when people who aren't aware of Islam or even know any Muslims  they tend to act on what they don't know many people don't understand why I would want to change my ways etc and it's hard to explain to people who don't have that love and fear of Allah I would say the best way to  address people like this is which calmness and patience because we are representing Islam and we don't know that maybe the way we talk to them will change their minds. 

Despite all of this I feel like there is also a majority of people who know Muslims are not terrorists and are standing up when they see situations of assault. The world is what it is there will always be people with negative comments about Islam and negative views but we should just remember what our purpose here is and keep ourselves safe also. 

12. Although you weren’t really practicing, you were a Catholic. So, during that time, did you ever think Islam promoted violence, killing etc, as the media circulates Islam to be like?
Before because I had no contact with any Muslims I didn't even know there were any Muslims who wear Indian, English , Pakistani, Italian etc I mostly thought it was an Arab thing and also coming from a country where there aren't any Muslims it was hard for me to believe anything other than what I was taught or what the news would say which tend to be negative things, making it hard to even consider what I know today. 

13. And now as a Muslim, having known what Islam is about, what would you like to say to people who think very negatively about Islam?
Now as someone who is still learning I know the best way is to have patient to understand people who might not know any better to have good responses and not get angry it's very easy to be angry so we should try to be calm we are representing Islam and we could also have the power to change people's views. I would say to think about your teachers, friends any workers who have families and friends just like you why would they want to harm the world or the environment they are in. I would say to people that the best thing to do is promote peace and good relationships whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Sikh we are all humans that have to live together so what is the purpose of causing conflict or harming innocent people? 

14.  Lastly, what is your message to others who are finding it difficult to tell their parents/friends/family that they want to accept Islam.
First of all, you have to know what it is you are coming into. Who is there to help you. And if you are going to be safe because having gone through all of this I know first-hand how difficult it is.  I would advise asking help from a family or someone who is knowledgeable, don't do this by yourself. 

I would say you have to really assess your family there is no point of putting yourself in danger or feeling like you are giving up your family. Converting to Islam is the best things that happened to me but with it still to this day, I have problems with family and friends who don't understand and are not very supportive or can even begin to be abusive. My advice is to take things slow and gain as much knowledge as you can there is always going to be people who can help you in times like this. This isn't something that should be rushed as it is a choice for your whole life.
  
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I would like to say, Subhan’Allah. Allah has blessed you, and you really have come into a beautiful religion. I will always remember you in my dua, and hope for your journey to stay steadfast and you remain close to Allah. Nothing is easy, and that is a test within itself. And I pray that you have the Imaan (faith) in Allah to continue doing good <3 Jazak’Allah for being part of this Q&A!

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When I myself was going through the answer after getting it, I was so engrossed. Subhan'Allah. It honestly was so beautiful to read it because as a Muslim, born into the religion (Alhumdillah), I don't realise the huge struggle converts and reverts go through until I stumble upon a story on social media, or I know someone. So by asking these questions to the friend I know, made me more aware of it, hence why I wanted to share this Q&A for all you guys to read. Let's not make it hard for the converts and reverts, if you know any, then invite them over for iftar, or talk to them. It really may make a difference, because not every revert and convert's life is perfectly fine. They took a beautiful step into this religion, now they just need a helping hand, in order to continue their journey and not astray. 

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