Convert Troubles

Convert Troubles [A Critique of Born Supremacy]

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by Lenna

I want to do a quick post about Muslim converts and how we’re sometimes treated. I apologize in advance if it’s kind of a rant. 🙂

There are a few things I really dislike about the way some Muslims treat Muslim converts. Grrrr.

Oh, and the way we talk about converts generally starting with…

The Word “Revert”

I get it. Since we’re all born muslim (deliberate small “m”), when we accept Islam, we are really just “reverting” back to our natural state. Except not really!

Dog in Poland
The word “revert” even makes the puppies sad. 

There is a difference when you consciously embrace Islam and become a Muslim, not just a muslim. But even if describing the process of “reverting” made sense to me, using the word “revert” still wouldn’t.

So many times, people have to ask, “What’s a revert? Why introduce unnecessary ambiguity?

If we just use the word “convert,” you know what? It’s crystal clear.

Can we strike the word “revert” from our lexicon? Now. Pretty please?!?

“Born Muslim” Supremacy

On a debate forum, someone said Islam is a supremacist “ideology.” The other party to the debate said it can’t be “supremacist” because anyone can join.

I thought that was a great point! Supremacist groups exclude people.

Photo by Erik Zunder, Unsplash

Nazis exclude Jews, for example, just as the KKK excludes black people.

Everyone is welcome in Islam. Awesome.

But even though Islam doesn’t exclude people, some Muslims do.

If you are a convert, you are always suspect, and what you say will be discounted or dismissed. There is no way you can become a “born Muslim.” It’s an exclusive club!

To some, I’ll ALWAYS be a second class Muslim. What I actually do or say cannot change the status.

Not even a respected scholar like Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad can escape this stigma in the minds of such critics! I posted something about him, and was told his view was dismissed “precisely because he is a revert.”

Is that really fair criteria?

Not only is this unfair, I think it’s illogical. I know “born Muslims” who barely know anything about Islam!

They were from nominal families, and they didn’t learn much. Or worse, what they did learn about Islam is actually wrong!

This can happen when their own parents mix culture with religion and confuse their kids so they are not even starting with a clean slate. They may have a bunch of wrong things they have to “unlearn.”

I’ve seen it, but hey, these kids are still “born Muslims.” So they will always rank above me!

Of course, if someone grows up from birth in an observant, righteous Muslim family learning from Day 1, that’s ideal. That is a huge advantage.

But merely being a “born Muslim” doesn’t mean anything!

Muslim Converts: Evergreen Syndrome

I’ve been a Muslim for a long time now. More than a decade.

Yet once someone knows I’m a convert, I suddenly become a “new Muslim” in need of coaching. I call this “Evergreen Syndrome,” and it seems to be a fairly common affliction.

emerald scenery
Photo by Jason Blackeye, Unsplash

Like the “born Muslim” prejudice, this one is hard to shake. You just ARE a “new Muslim,” and it’s a condition without a cure!

It reminds me of the movie Talladega Nights, where Ricky Bobby keeps praying to “baby Jesus,” and another person gets tired of it and points out that Jesus wasn’t a baby forever!

He grew up! He had a beard! Likewise, we are NOT “new Muslims” forever, people!

Conclusion

It’s really frustrating when your words are judged NOT on their own merit. When someone pigeonholes you and won’t let you escape some category in their mind.

Of course, this happens with other categories too, like age, race, gender, etc. We all do this!

We all see others through categorical lenses, so it’s a matter of degree. But I think we should make a conscious effort to evaluate people’s words fairly.

lions
Photo by Geran De Kierk, Unsplash

And anyway, convert issues aside, why not be polite? I really hate being pounced on by other Muslims!

Unfortunately, it happens often enough that I find myself becoming shy. I think maybe it’s better just not to say anything!

Why can’t we debate with one another in the spirit of kindness and mutual respect?

Of course, we can…and I think we should! 🙂

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Floki
Guest
Floki

Lenna,

I fully understand your frustrations here. From my manner of thought, the most faithful – really – are those who study from their hearts, immerse themselves in own journey, and find peace with themselves and others in their “newly” obtained knowledge.

Having gotten to know you over the years, I know you are Muslimah – for that is your heart.

—Floki

Admin
Admin

Thank you, Floki. Your support means more than you can imagine. 🙂

Floki
Guest
Floki

I will always support my bestie! In fact, I will support anyone who has taken her/his self away from the crazy world around us – if but to simply find her/his most true and genuine Self.

You’re a special “case”, however. LOL! Meaning, I already understand how genuine you are. 🙂

Malyka
Guest
Malyka

This strikes a cord in me, it is very true and dear and near. This convert is a ‘2nd class’ muslim by many. For a religion that is spreading and many converts this stigma must change for it to go on. We must hold our heads high and help others learn to accept us. Insha’allah

Ghutae
Guest

Lenna, I understand your pain. All I know is, Muslims are the most judgmental nation, I don’t know why but they are. I live in a small place, a small country in a small world, Created by Him, Who is the King of the Heavens and the Earth, who am I to judge someone He created.. Right? I have seen a lot of people who judge Muslims because they think that the Muslims who live in the West aren’t true Muslims or something like that! And exactly the stuff you stated above. All I mean to say is, You are… Read more »

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[…] long ago I wrote a piece called “Convert Troubles” which was about discrimination against converts by “born Muslims.” I still […]