I’m not sad. Even though it’s hard for me to fit in, I’m not sad. But I sure do think it’s unfortunate. I often have to face and deal with awkward situations. I do not fit the predefined profile of anyone’s inner circle members. I often feel that I am not Arab or Pakistani enough to be treated the same as others.
I have been a convert since January 17th, 2014, almost 3 years so far. I know I made the right decision by converting to Islam but I will not sugarcoat the truth. I have had a lot of struggles along the way and I want my fellow converts to read 6 things that have been lingering in my mind.
I know there are a lot of new converts out there that can find comfort in the following words. And I know there are a lot of Muslims out there who need to be confronted with the way we feel.
1. Making friends is not easy for us
Making friends is not easy for converts, let alone for a convert living in Western countries. There are not many converts in the Muslim community in those countries.
The few who actually are converts, often get shunned away from the Muslim community. This unfortunately results in them not attending events or even going to the masjid.
2. Please non-converts, stop telling us how to feel
No one understands converts except converts themselves.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to understand us and continue making us feel welcome. Because we want that, and to be honest, we even need that.
But please, don’t tell us how being a convert feels or how I should feel. If you are not a revert, just be there to support us, offer to spend time with us, and be our friend. And if we are getting along, we sure don’t mind learning new things.
Another thing I personally never understood is why some people, who teach Islam to new converts, focus on everything that is wrong or on what a Muslim is obligated to do.
We often need to feel the unity of Islam instead of the rules. We can find the rules ourselves whenever we want to.
Tell us stories, inspire us, help us become better people through experiences.
3. Our families often don’t support our religious choices
We often get asked if our family supports our religious choices. Unfortunately, the answer frequently is no. They don’t.
That’s why we need that support a little bit more than born Muslims. We need to feel supported in order for us to feel free to be ourselves.
4. Some of our family members don’t even know we’re Muslim
In my case for example, my family figured out I was Muslim only a few months ago.
I never actually told them I was Muslim. I wanted them to figure it out for themselves. They knew I observed the religion and did many things practicing Muslims do. I just didn’t straight out declare my faith to them.
I was too scared to break the news to them. I didn’t want to break their heart.
But they finally figured it out, for sure. They realised I became Muslim when they found my YouTube channel a few months ago. They were outraged and scared for my life.
5. We sometimes wish we were born Muslim
I know everything is predetermined and everything that will happen has been prewritten. That’s what my religion teaches me.
But I sometimes think it would be better to have a family who was Muslim. I would know way more about Islamic history and more about the religion itself. I would also perhaps know how to speak and write in Arabic.
6. If you’re a fellow convert, please don’t give up
Please do not give up on Islam or its people. You are not alone, even though I know it sometimes feels like that.
God is always watching over us. He obviously loves us very much for guiding us to Islam. There are people who love converts and want to help us in anyway they can.
Keep educating yourself about your religion. Knowledge will give you constant strength. The beautiful thing about Islam is that it pushes us to keep learning, both men and women. I am still learning about Islam everyday.