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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Family Members of Converts to Islam Say The Things They Do

Salam alaikum sisters.

A few months ago I found an Aunt of mine on Facebook and added her as a friend. Two days ago I realized she still hadn't added me, so I messaged her and asked why she hadn't. She replied that she didn't want to be "associated" with someone like me. 

Needless to say, I was shocked by her frankness (which I shouldn't be, as she is my father's sister). I honestly thought that after nearly 2 1/2 years of my conversion everyone would have gotten use to the idea and there wouldn't be so much drama about it. But I thought wrong.  

So I thought I would compile a post of things that are said to us reverts (converts) by our family members. Insha'allah, I will be able to explain why it is said to us and proof that what our family may say to us is wrong and spoken out of ignorance.

I am sure every convert has heard this at one time or another. In my opinion I believe our family says this as it is much easier to believe that your child, or family member was forced or convinced to join a strange and foreign religion, rather than to believe that you actually chose this religion for yourself. This accusation is completely shut down when I tell them that I was in a Christian only Medical Missionary College when I decided I wanted to be Muslim.

I never got this when I was single and a new Muslim, obviously, but after I married, suddenly that was the obvious reason I converted (said in sarcasm). Many are 100% sure you must have known him before you converted one way or another, but they are just as shocked when I tell them I didn't even know he existed until 5 days before we married. I always remind them, rather they are a family member or a stranger, that in Islam there is no compulsion in religion.

Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

Now, I will admit, no one had ever accused me of being with a cult until my Aunt replied to me. So I wanted to look up what cult meant (definition wise).

  • formal religious veneration : worship
  • a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
  • a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
  • a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>
  • great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
  •  the object of such devotion, usually a small group of people characterized by such devotion

As you have probably already noticed, none of this describes the religion of Islam. I suppose some of those definitions describe religion in general, especially when it says "a system of religious beliefs and rituals". 

Is Islam "unorthodox"? No. 

Is Islam "greatly devoted to a person, idea, object, movement, or work"? No, we are only devoted to Allah (the Arabic word for God, even Christian Arabs refer to God as Allah), God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Yes we love Prophet Muhammad, but we also equally love Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Adam and all the other prophets.  

Is Islam a "small group of people characterized by such devotion"? No, there are over a billion adherents to our wonderful religion of Islam. 

So, to say that Islam is a "cult" is completely absurd. 

I will begin with a little bit of what Islam's way of life is and compare it with Christianity. In Islam, it is an obligation to pray 5 times a day.

    Matthew 26:41 
    "Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!" (NLT)
[29:45] "Observe the Salat (Contact Prayers) for it prohibits evil and vice."

As you can see, both Islam and Christianity encourage prayer. It is also an obligation to pay zakat (charity).

Blessed is he that considers the poor: Yahweh will deliver him in time of trouble. Yahweh will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. – Psalms 41:1-2
The alms (Zakat in this specific verses case) are meant only for the poor and the needy and those who are in charge thereof, those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free those in bondage, and to help those burdened with debt, and for expenditure in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (9:60)

As you can see in these verses here, both Islam and Christianity, once again, encourage charity or also known by, zakat. Islam believes in one God.

 'You shall have no other gods before Me...You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' Exodus 20:2,3
 "Your God is but one God. There is no god other than Him, Compassionate and Merciful. In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of night and day, in the ships that ply the seas to the benefit of man, in the water sent down from the heavens to revive the earth after its death, in the different species of animals scattered across the earth, in the rotation of the winds, in the clouds that are subordinate to God's command between heaven and earth, in all of this, there are signs for men who use their intellects." (2:163-164) "
Christianity and Islam both support the ideology that there is only one God. I could go on and on providing evidences from the Bible and the Quran, but today I wanted to show only a few just for the sake of proving, Islam is God's way.

Astafirugallah, insha'allah, Allah will forgive my father for saying this out of pure ignorance. I can not think of anything better to provide then this awesome, well said video:

I am sure there are many, many things said to us as converts that I can not cover right now. This post is getting long as I am sure you have noticed. So I just want to bring you reassurance, that, insha'allah, one day our family members will come to accept us and our decisions. Until then, just remember, most of what they say is out of confusion, hurt, ignorance, and not wanting to accept the fact that you went against the "norm".

Insha'allah all of you are having a lovely day!

Salam alaikum.


  1. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah sister, a post here I can relate to without a doubt.
    Been there, done that and had the t-shirt.
    I come from a very large family. I think in total I have like 65 cousins from both sides from my first aunts and uncles and when I tell you I am in touch regularly with one of them whose daughter attends the same school as mine it is not a joke.

    As soon as my Islam became apparent they fled. For I didn't even see it coming because I was young and naive and thought my faith wouldn't change a thing. How wrong was I? Lol

    I see some of my cousins on the street and from a far I see they have spotted me and turn away quick or get their phones out to avoid eye contact.
    I smile or laugh it off most days but I did feel their rejection naturally when they added my dad and brother on fb but refrained from adding me even and even avoiding returning my 'hello's' and 'how are you's' when they commented on my brother or dad updates.
    That bluntness did take me by surprise as before my reversion we were once all so close but that the companions may Allah be pleased with them went through the same kind of things and even worse went to battle opposing their family so it all life at the end of the day isn't it?
    I know my family is this big, wide ummah mashaAllah and their actions like you said above are out of ignorance, fear of the unknown so I leave them to it. I have better than them, my sister's in Islam.

    I thank Allah my mom embraced HAMDULILLAH and subhnallah what a comfort that is for me and I am still close to my dad, brother and my aunt so al hamdulillah ala kulli haal they are enough for me.
    It is probably better your relative was so frank with you because it saves the two faced behavior which ultimately hurts worse. That was awful for her to say though. Then you ask 'How christian was that?"!?. SubhanAllah what happened to 'love thy neighbour' even more your family?
    When I first embraced and put mt hijab on my brother saw me and smiled and came over to me and asked 'Who is he?' implying I had met man and did it for him. When I told him there wasn't anyone it kind of left him silent not knowing what to say next.

    I love the references you brought to show the beautiful similarities of righteousness in Islam that was ordered to do before the message was sent to our prophet of Allah, Muhammed, sallahu alayhi wa salam. May Allah reward you much and bless you ameen.

    1. Mashallah sanaa that's actually sweet hugged you and said who is he? Lol no one!!!! Umm mohamed

    2. Subhanallah, I am sorry to hear about your troubles with your family, but alhamdulilah that your mother is accepting, that is all that matters to begin with, right?

      My mother's side of the family is very accepting and treat me the same as they did before. My father's side of the family though, they are a bit stand offish, though a few of my cousins (on my father's side) do not mind and still speak with me.

      Jazakalkhair for writing such a long reply and telling me so much about your life and struggles! <3 Insha'allah Allah will give you the best in life, and the best in Jinnah. Ameen.

  2. Mashallah may Allah reward you for your hardships that you triumph.

    Mashallah I was in Dubai when I was 21 ( not married) I had been muslim for 5 years alhumdulilah my dad was meeting friends and my aunty his sister for dinner at a hotel so before dinner we went to a lounge I was like dad is this a bar? He said no look around there are Muslims everywhere ( which was true there was khaleegy men and women everywhere) I told dad I don't want to be around alcohol he said don't worry so we were all sitting and everyone tarted ordering drinks alcoholic drinks!!!!!!! When the drinks came out I couldn't help it I started whimpering actually crying so my dd was completely embarrassed in front of his friends about me crying and my aunts took me outside said it was ok. Mashallah after 5 years she said to me "you really take this serious don't you?" Lol

    The words and comments arnt a problem for me alhumdulilah I know the truth of islam and my husband didn't force me. It's when non muslim family disregard your belief and buy you bacon fried rice, and say don't worry there is no pig and get offended when u don't eat it lol
    But the girls in my high school some classics.
    Do you wash your hair?
    Your religion is ok but I don't like how you doorknock ( thinking I was Mormon)
    We are fundraising for girls that are mad to wear scarves against their will. ( then they would see me sitting in class)
    So has your marraige been arranged?
    What if you marry a man you don't like?
    Are you gonna make your baby girl wear a scarf?

    Umm Mohamed

    1. Masha'allah, I am happy that you were able to show how much it bothered you and they understood that. My mother's family is very respectful of my beliefs, my father, he is vegetarian and doesn't drink so I don't have to worry about those things. :)

      When I first converted I heard a lot of weird and strange questions that I didn't think were worth mentioning in the blog. LOL

      Insha'allah, your family is more understanding and accepting. <3

  3. Subahanallah. I can not even begin to think how hard it was for you and others. Mashallah really shows the inner strength of reverts.

    I have family members who left Islam and have married non muslims... and although not the same as you. We have been alienated because we are Muslim, to the extent that i am not able to see my little cousins and now grown up as embarrassed to be seen saying hello to me while they are with their non muslim friends. That stings, so to have those words said to me, like you described I know it would really hurt.
    May Allah give you more strength and sabr and guide your family to Islam. ameen.

  4. Sister, I just tried to subscribe to your blog via email using the box to the right side. Something is amiss, there. Inshallah, you can fix it or let me know a better way to stay notified of your posts. Jazakallah khair.

  5. Salam ALaikum sister, I absolutely love this specific post. I have had the similar problems and things said to me as well. It has been 13 years and believe me it doesnt let up. But just trust in allah swt and believe that Islam is the right path, and you will never be sorry! I have actually gone to iraq a few times and it is absolutely amazing. I cant say it will get easier but you have allah swt so what could be better! take care and great blog!!!


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