Help! How Do I Tell My Family I’m Muslim?

I know there are many ways that you can tell your family you are muslim. As a convert myself, I know how difficult and challenging this can be. Where do I start? How do I say it? What if they don’t accept it? How should I react? That’s why I thought it would might be helpful to give some advice on how to talk to your family about this.

1. Know the Frequently Asked Questions Muslims Get, and Try to Not be Defensive

You may be the only Muslim your family knows or will ever know, so, be ready to get asked plenty of questions about Islam. If you feel you don’t know the answer, just tell them you don’t know the answer, but you can find out for them. It’s better you teach them and tell them about Islam, than them finding out from other places. So, try to teach them yourself. Show them the religion you fell in love with. Also, you will get plenty of stupid questions so try not to get defensive all of the time.

Just to name a few, here are some questions you can expect: Why don’t you eat pork? Why do you pray that way? Why do you wear that thing on your head? So you do not believe in Jesus anymore? Who is Allah?

2. Take a Friend With You

It’s difficult to face your family alone. If you can bring a close friend or your spouse/significant other, that would be beneficial.

3. Tell Your Family You Want to Stop talking about Islam

Your religion will always be the elephant in the room. There will come a time when you’re overwhelmed with constantly talking about religion. You will become extremely sick of your family not being able to see you as the same person. You will get frustrated about the fact that your family thinks the only thing about you is your religion. If you get too overwhelmed, like I did, you will have to put your foot down and let them know that you don’t want to talk about religion anymore.

3. Let Your Family Know You are Still You

It seems like when we convert we get treated differently by family members and friends. For some reason, people cannot see past the scarf you wear, your new religion, the new way you pray, stopped drinking, or the fact that you no longer eat pork or bacon. Let your family know you are still you.

4. Do Not Wait Too Long

I know it’s difficult and awkward to talk to your family about this. I recommend that you rip off the band-aid as soon as possible. I hid this from my family to protect them. I was worried about what they would think or say. I also did not want to tell them I converted to Islam until I was practicing. I did not start practicing until a year and a half after I converted.

Want to know how I told my family? I never directly told them. I ended up making a video about my conversion story four years after converting and then posting it on YouTube.

5. Be Honest But Above all, Be Patient

Tell them why you converted or how Islam makes you feel. I know that my grandma told me that she saw Islam made me a better person, though she wishes I was still Christian. She saw that choosing and practicing Islam changed me for the better. Of course your family will be shocked at first and it will take time for them accept. Be patient, and give them the time they need to adjust.

6. Expect the Worst

If you have read any of my previous blog posts, I don’t sugarcoat advice. You should expect the worst. As one of my friends told me in regards of advice to telling your family of your conversion, “When chairs start flying…. duck”. I doubt this will be the case, but you never know.

7. Don’t Be Scared

Telling your family about your new religion is not the end of the world. No one is dying. You are still alive and the same person. Yes, it will be hard to tell them but the sooner you can be honest with them, the more time you will give them to heal and get used to the idea.

8. Live By Example

I didn’t tell my family I was Muslim right away because I thought I wasn’t good enough or practicing. You don’t have to do that. To best represent Islam, just act nice and show them that Islam made you a better person.

Written by Kaya Gravitter

Kaya Gravitter

Kaya is 23-year old, reverted to Islam and from the United States. She is currently working on video blogging, writing poetry, and freelance writing. Kaya has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and International Studies. She has a passion to make a change in the world, even if it is small.

  • The long history of the stigmatization of Islam, propelled by semi-intellectual arrogance, made “shadow” maneuvers commonplace. Most Muslim women wearing hijab are striving to loosen what once appeared to be a tightly-sealed box. Things are changing. It is easy for people all over the world to have the illusion of knowing what Muslim women are like–from images provided by widespread electronic media to magazines and other forms of literature. Your parents will need time to accept your identity, but they will. You are who you are. With each passing day, you must live, as who you are. Life is a demanding game. You can win it only by maintaining your birthright to be a person. In your case, that person is a Muslim. The hijab is a badge of honor. Perhaps you are hesitant to be inflexibly identified with Islam, considered contentious in the times we live in. Typecasting has, senselessly inferred that women of the Muslim faith cannot articulate the kind of rights that promote a position of legal and social equality sought in the West. As a result, some of our non-Muslim parents were fearful. We overcame, took our place beyond the shadows, and so will you.

    Khalilah Sabra, Executive Director
    Muslim American Society
    (Immigrant Justice Society)

  • Lambda Moses

    Salam! I’m also a convert, from an atheist family. Telling my parents that I converted to Islam was very difficult and painful, since they were Islamophobic. I really should have talked more about Islam with my parents, and I regret waiting and trying to hide; it’s been over 8 years since I converted, yet my parents still know little about Islam. I’ve been living away from family for 13 years, from boarding schools to college far away, so I have had plenty of opportunities to hide and avoid talking about Islam in order to avoid conflict. I remember the first time I informed my dad, I intentionally used an online messaging app and typed to communicate, and pretended that vacuum separated my dad and I, to prevent conflict from escalating. But that only hid the problem rather than solving it. My parents converted to Christianity to attempt to turn me away from Islam, but that didn’t work, but in the end, my parents became devout Christians. Contrary to American political stereotypes, my parents actually became more tolerant of my faith after they became Christians, so I’m now pretty comfortable talking about Islam with my dad, though my mom is still kind of intolerant and often tried to forced me to convert to Christianity so I’m still uncomfortable talking about Islam when she is present. Anyway, Trinity never convinced me, even though I have read works of Christian philosophers. It seems that what fuels Islamophobia is largely ignorance, so I pray that God gives me courage to speak up and dispel such ignorance. There’s also bigotry, which is harder to dispel. It’s kind of like how young earth creationists don’t understand what the theory of evolution really is, and it’s really hard to dispel the myths, for people can hold those opinions very dearly and risk rejection by their community if they question those opinions.