Sunday 25 November 2018

The Long and Winding Road (for Reverts)

Taking one's ultimate decision to accept Islam is just the tip of the iceberg for after taking one's shahada one is to travel a very long and winding road to keep one's newly acquired faith. In fact the life before taking the decision of reversion is very exciting as one has not tasted yet the tests and difficulties one would have to embrace and encounter after entering one's new faith. I have been reading many personal accounts of the those who reverted to Islam and found that their initial few years have been very tiring for suddenly the entire perception of life changes: From a carefree life lived for many years without following any rules, one suddenly finds himself bound in the rules of modest life, far from fanfares and sparking lights.

Thus I thought to write a few hazards of life after Shahada which if not braved with determination and resilience may leave one clueless and demoralize. And this is the stage when some lose heart and give in to the pressure from those near and dear ones of the older faith to fall back, yet again.

So before one takes one's ultimate decision to embrace Islam, one has to be prepared for the long and winding road that lays ahead and how to finally find the straight path to the truth. Reading one's account of reversion, I came to know a struggle and understanding Islam for almost ten long years before one took the decision to change faith. So one should not hurry up in changing one's faith of birth or thereafter to Islam as an emotional outburst - rather it should be a very cool and calculated decision weighing pros and cons of reversion and seeking answers to all question which a non Muslim can have, like the concept of Trinity, Original Sin and Baptism, and crucification of the Prophet Eesa, the Jesus Christ, peace be upon him. .

Now once the shahada has been taken, the life full of tests begins for which one should be adequately prepared by interacting with those who have been blessed with this reversion earlier. Herein under I append a few hurdles and tests along the winding road that one would immediately, which though would grow lesser and lesser as time goes by, but new tests creep in for which one should be mentally ready. 
  • The first test is that of Loneliness. No sooner the news is broken, there is a sudden pull back of all near and dear ones, specially friends of decades, for obviously no one is prepared for a sudden outburst of shock wave that follow after the revelation of one's decision. Remember this the first test to ascertain your steadfastness and be assured that "No one is tested beyond their capability." If one has read the Muslim history before reversion, one would find how families were separated, sons from fathers and how the newly reverted were cornered and even tortured. But they all stood the test of time and were at last victorious. In once case one reverted lamented that before she took shahada, there were many Muslims around her or even attending her shahada taking ceremony. But soon after that the crowd went away for they had their jobs and families to attend to. Well that is obvious - everyone was trying to show here the path to the truth and when it was taken, it was a solo move forward. But I am sure one can always bank on the support of a few friends to move on.
  • The Fallout on Parents is rather strong. Those who have reverted feel bad when their parents are being questioned by their relatives as to what weakness or shortcomings they had accrued in the bringing up of their children that resulted into leaving their faith of birth. Many feel responsible for the plight of their parents and a scene of remorse prevails on them which is sometimes very demoralizing.
  • Losing Relations is most painful. In many personal accounts, I find such lamentations. In one case the reverted sister was robbed of her children and the judge at the court gave her two options: Come back to your faith you have left or lose your children. And I salute that sister who stood to her ground and gave away her children to her husband with a bleeding heart. It was after many years that Allah rewarded her for her steadfastness and not only her husband but children too embraced Islam and the family was reunited.
  • Facing Intense Islamophobia is interestedly painful. One is followed, abused and even threatened and attacked by people who were their very own. Many people often take the reverted Muslims as radicals and jihadis. Though it is just a few who become radical for they may have had reverted by a group of extremists Muslims. 
  • Losing jobs is one of the many threats that one faces, specially females because of their adherence to wearing khimar or the most commonly known hijab. One may have to find ways and means to adjust one's new attire in an environment where it is generally accepted but detested by some. One has to be very cool about it and may have to wade one's through with utmost care.
  • Confronting many brands of Islam may surprise you. While one may me interacting with a select group before embracing Islam, one would come across many brands of Islam when one is in it. This should not distract you. In fact one should concentrate on the basics without going into too many details for there are always different interpretations of the same verse of Qur'an or Hadith. I for myself, though being a Muslim by birth, have never aliened myself to any brands. Become a practical Muslim and concentrate on basics that can take you through for many initial years. Of course by reading and differentiating between these brands by logic and discussions, one may adopt one particular brand. But ask me, it is not must at all.
  • Changing names? Well one should not be in a hurry to adopt a Muslim name, which are mostly in Arabic, for Arabic is the language of Qur'an. But one must understand that name gives one's identity as a Muslim - so take time and may decide at your convenience when to to do it for a non Muslim name may be misleading at certain places which may embarrass a host or even yourself.
I could go on for list is very long and many sites can offer more details on the subject. Just remember that Islam is a  beautiful and wonderful way of life for it has been set forth for us by none other than Allah. So from day one must try to adopt a life which is according to the dictates of Islam. and remember, radicalism is certainly not what Islam teaches us or becoming out rightly emotional and volatile to defend one's decision. It is with love and patience that families of many reverts have come back to them and live happily despite following different faiths now. In some case whole families have followed suit and embraced Islam too.

So from now on you are a practical living ambassador of Islam.  Who else other than you can know the difference between two faiths and how to invite others to Islam. Wish you very best of luck to Islam and fear not of the winding road full of turns and bumps, for faith in Allah will lead you to the straight path - the path to ultimate truth, happiness and blessing. In Sha Allah (God Willing) !!

To read personal accounts of many a celebrity who have reverted to Islam, please visit our page: Embracing Islam: Revert Experiences.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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