Seven out of every ten converts, leave Islam, by Imam Luqman Ahmad


enter and exitWe are constantly being told that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States. We are also being told that the Muslim population is anywhere from 2 million, to six million and that a third of them are converts. That would put the number of converts from around 700,000 to 2,000,000. However, I’m not sure if those numbers are accurate because many converts are leaving Islam, and or never even begin to practice Islam in any appreciable way other than take their shahaadah (declaration of conversion), and you don’t see anywhere near those numbers reflected in the nation’s masaajid.

Nor do you see too much evidence that most people who became Muslim say, 20 years ago have stayed in the religion, raised their children upon it and started a second generation, or even third generation. The overall estimates of the Muslim population may be accurate, but the stated percentage of converts does not seem reflected on the ground. In almost every major city in America except for maybe Philadelphia and to a certain extent, Atlanta, you don’t see too many large communities of converts to Islam. You see a lot of young people who are recent converts and that’s great but where are the thousands upon thousands of Muslims who converted ten years ago? Twenty years ago? Thirty years ago? Where are their children, their grandchildren?

We need to re-evaluate the statistics that are being fed to us, because it has lolled many of us into a false sense of accomplishment to the point where we brag about how well Islam is doing amongst converts in America while in reality, it seems converts, by and large, are not faring that well and that the largest concentrations of Muslim men in America are those in our nation’s prisons. When I used to volunteer at Folsom prison in California, there were hundreds of male converts in attendance, and I have never seen hundreds of Muslim male converts at any Masjid anywhere in California.

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Converting to Islam is one of the most significant life changing events that will ever happen during your time on this earth.  To a true Muslim, faith is central to his or her entire being. How they understand and practice Islam will impact virtually every area of life; family, children, profession, character, marriage, and most importantly, the afterlife. So whatever you do, if you are a convert to Islam, do not ever take your Islam for granted. You have been given a gift that is more valuable than you may realize. You owe it to yourself as a Muslim to follow the guidance of the religion you have accepted as your way of life, as do we all. You also owe it to yourself to take the necessary steps in order to preserve your faith, spread it to your family, and pass it down to your children.

Statistically, there is a great chance that after a year or two, you will not be practicing Islam at all. Chances are that the euphoria that accompanied your conversion to Islam will be gone. Chances are that you won’t be attending a Masjid on a regular basis, and may not even have learned your prayers or how to purify yourself. Chances are that you will not be grounded anywhere in particular, not part of any Muslim community, and just floating from here to there, picking up bits and pieces of information when you can. All the while not finding specific the specific answers to your life’s problems that you need.

Of course this is not the case for every convert to Islam, and it may not be the case for you. However, based upon recent history, the chances are high that if you are a Muslim convert, and have been Muslim for less than 5 years, you will not be a practicing Muslims 5 years from now. There are many Muslims who convert to Islam, and gradually understand and practice the faith, get married, perhaps, have children and produce healthy Muslim families that continue into the next generation. However, that’s not the way it is for the majority of converts during these times we live in today. Most Muslim converts in America these days are a one shot deal. They convert to Islam but it doesn’t really spread to the next generation. The average convert today is simply subject to too many fluctuations, and quirky influences in his or her faith and ideology in the name of Islam to keep up.

If you are one of them, it is likely that even though you still believe in Allah, and His Prophet (SAWS), you still have not been able to connect the dots. You are still searching for what is the best Islam; one day something is haram, the next day it isn’t.  Maybe you’ve put your heart into one or the other popular brands of Islam and then realized that it didn’t give you all the relevant answers you needed for your life as a Muslim convert, born and raised and living in America.  Perhaps you’ve tried your hand at salafiyyism, and really believed the fatwa from 10,000 miles away that told you that you must be saddened by the happiness of any non Muslim, or that told you that you have to spend an inordinate amount of time debating with other Muslims, or that told you that you can’t wish your mother happy birthday or buy her an anniversary gift .  Or maybe you tried Sufism and found that even though you sat around doing thousands of thikrs, paid hundreds of dollars to attend seminars of a visiting shaykh, or traveled hundreds of miles to kiss somebody’s hand, has not removed your inner demons.  Or maybe you’ve simply given up and just kinda hold on to the basis of faith while having no real spiritual feeling or propulsion in your life. If you’ve been particularly unfortunate, you jumped on the bandwagon of Muslims who spend so much time arguing with each other, and trying to uncover faults in one another that they have lost track of their own spiritual health. If any of this is the case with you.  then know that you are not alone. These are the things that happen to the majority of Muslim converts in America. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the dots can be connected and there are answers to morally dysfunctional Islam, and if you can hang on for about 5 to 7 years, you’ll have realized that the simple Islam of the Prophet (SAWS) was all you needed in the first place. If you’re still new to the deen and don’t have the time to do the merry go-round approach, it should please you to know that these faith fatalities can be avoided if you are aware of the obstacles before you. You don’t have to make things up on your own as you go along, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, and you don’t have to grope around in the dark, hoping you’ll figure it out in sha Allah. None of the above methods work, and all three contribute to moral dysfunction which contradicts the whole purpose of your accepting Islam in the first place. Islam works wonders for the soul when practiced correctly. When it is not, the results can be devastating. Islam is a path, not a destination. Don’t assume that you can travel the path of Islam, without any direction, and do not ever assume that you can lead yourself. Once you do that, the devil takes the reins.  Even Dorothy, had to follow the yellow brick road in order to reach the wizard of Oz.

Islam has been in America for more than 400 years and people have been converting to Islam in relatively large numbers since the seventies. Unfortunately, many new converts to Islam are deprived, and sometimes deprive themselves the opportunity to benefit and learn from people who accepted Islam 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and are still practicing it. This is due partially by the absence, or scarcity of Muslim communities, which contributes to the generational disconnect between Muslims. Not only are new Muslims, not benefitting from seasoned Muslim converts, in many cases, largely because of foreign influence, newer Muslims show less and less respect for Muslims who have practiced Islam in this country for decades. It’s not uncommon to find a two year convert to Islam, condemning an Imam or Muslim who fasted thirty Ramadans! Muslim Americans are finding themselves dealing with issues that have long been settled by their predecessors.

In virtually every human discipline on earth, new members learn from the ones who immediately preceded them and benefit from their experiences. Scientists, educators, people in the military, law enforcement, doctors, lawyers, builders, scholars of Islam, artists, carpenters, and even athletes learn from the ones who immediately preceded them in their craft. Sadly, the same is not true for many converts to Islam. Many converts to Islam are making the exact same mistakes, attempting the same failed (un-Islamic) methods of deen, falling for the same cons, arguing about the same issues, running into the same brick walls, and repeating the same misdirected actions that some Muslims have been doing for nearly half a century or more. The difference now is that we are heading into the last days and things are deteriorating very rapidly. Subsequently, the condition of the convert is steadily worsening, and the amount of confusion is much higher. It’s time that we have honest discussions about our journey so that we can learn from our mistakes. In the age where our country has elected its first African American President, American muslim converts, most of whom are African American, are third class Muslims in their own country.

I have been a Muslim for half a century. My parents converted to orthodox Islam in the fifties. I’m certainly not the best Muslim, and make no claim to be the quintessential example of everything a Muslim is supposed to be.  That job has already been covered by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). I have managed however, through the years, to pay close attention to what was and is going on in Muslim America. After teaching classes on Islam and lecturing to Muslims and non-Muslims for nearly three decades, serving as an Imam of a Muslim community for nearly fifteen years, administering the shahaadah to hundreds of American Muslims from all walks of life, speaking with thousands of Muslim converts, I’ve started to notice recurring patterns of how Muslim converts in America have fared. Most of them seem to not practice the religion, leave it all together, or hold on to the central theme of Islam (monotheism) and languish in bewilderment about the rest. Many just wait around to see what the next CAIR inspired protest is going to be. It is interesting to note that Muslim Americans endured discrimination, torture, name calling and abuse decades ago only to arrive in the 21st century and we can’t endure a cartoon, or a simple disparaging remark. A great scholar of Islam, imam al-Qurtubi once said: “knowledge is acquired through two things; nusoos (textual evidences from the Quran and the Sunna), and tajriba (trial and error). The goal here is to learn from our experiences, connect the dots, pinpoint specific problem areas of deen practice and provide solutions based upon the Kitaab and the Sunna.   Islam is a system of faith that works, when you believe sincerely, employ correct measures of knowledge, and stay focused on the prize, which is eternal bliss and salvation.

Nevertheless, it still remains that nearly seven out of ten Muslim converts, end up either not practicing the religion or leaving it all together. The most common causes are information overload, coupled with too many different directions of instruction, and spheres of foreign influence, and a woeful lack of facility and resources amongst indigenous American Muslim communities (most of whom are struggling). The new Muslim is often given conflicting information about what they should do, which group they should join, who and what they should love and hate, and where they can and cannot go to worship. The average muslim convert spends about 5 to 7 years literally going around in circles with their religion, sometimes embroiled in research, or dispute with other Muslims about what is haram, about  what is halal, or the meaning of this or that verses in the Quran or this or that prophetic tradition.  Other times they are busy trying out different types of Islam, different labels, each one requiring that he or she re-adjust their faith foundation, while repudiating the other group. One day a Salafi, the next day a Soofi, the next day a Maaliki, the next day a Habashi, the next day a Tablighi, and so on.

Multiple intra-faith changes in fundamental spiritual foundation can take its toll on any Muslim. For the children of converts, it can be devastating. Children are born in the state of fitra (natural godly disposition). No one embodies the pure fitra in his being, character and path, more than Rasoolillah (SAWS). This is why Aisha (RA) the wife of the Prophet (SAWS), has said; “His (The Prophet (SAWS)) character was the Quran”. This is the truth. If you care to believe it, al-humdu lillah, otherwise, my response is; Allahumma salli alaa Muhammadin WA alaa aali Muhammad

All of the aforementioned sub groups of Muslim, and Islam have some benefit in them. Following a madhhab can give order and stability to practicing Islam, especially in areas of technicality such as inheritance, marriage and divorce and other matters. Salafiyyism has reinvigorated the spirit of learning, despite its drawbacks. Many Muslims have learned humility and simplicity by association with Jamaa’atul Tabligh, and Sufism has its benefits as well as it directs one to focus on his or herself. However, like the other aforementioned, it is not all-encompassing. In fact none of the secondary sub-groups of Islam can offer as much as Islam itself, as a total faith. Furthermore, no one, no Imam, no sheikh, no teacher, no Sufi path, no faqih, or amir can equal the guidance found in the unadulterated sunna of the Prophet (SAWS). The best Islam for American Muslims and all Muslims across the globe is the Islam of the Prophet (SAWS). Islam can exist without Salafiyyism, Sufism, the schools of thought, the Habashis, the Shehu, the Saabiqoon, the Wahhaabis, and the Qaadirees, but none of these groups or disciplines would exist, or could exist without Islam. Laa ilaaha illa Allah!

None of the sectarian versions of Islam are good enough for us here in America. We are a free, independent, and fairly educated people. A third grade level kiddy fatwa is not good enough for us. We don’t believe that language and a foreign accent is tantamount to being better than us (well, some of us do). However, the point is that one third of American Muslims are a convert community (at least that’s what they say but the numbers are questionable), and as converts, guidance to Islam was a personal decision of Allah. Converts by nature are more spiritually intuitive upon their conversion than the average Muslim. First of all, their sins are all forgiven on the spot so the convert is operating as a person without the stain of sin, at least in the beginning of their Islam. The only Islam that will suffice us in the long run is the Islam of the Prophet (SAWS) in its original form, without the added on names, the added on ideas, and the added on culture

The second most common cause of leaving the religion or not practicing it for the convert is the ill treatment, and indifference they receive from other Muslims. Many Muslims have complained of walking into a Masjid and receiving less welcome than they would if they walked into a local Wal-Mart. Some Masaajid in America do not even allow women to come in to pray! When Umar ibn al-Khattaab wanted to prevent his wife from entering the Masjid for prayer the Prophet responded by saying; “Do not prevent the bondmaids of Allah from entering the houses of Allah”. The divide between immigrant Muslims and indigenous American Muslim converts is wider than it has ever been in our domestic history. As institutions (including masaajid) that are run by, cater to, and controlled by immigrant Muslims and their communities are flourishing whereas institutions of means that pay attention to the needs of our nations converts to Islam are virtually non-existent.

Unfortunately, Islam in America is ruled by political Islam which is built upon the agenda of fear and reaction, not faith and pro-action. Political Islam does not offer the same nurturing environment that spiritual/moral Islam does. Much of Muslim America has become a colony of one or more Muslim groups or ideological platforms from abroad. Many of whom are embroiled in conflict, fratricide and power struggle. It is a harsh environment, as Americans are learning to cooperate with one another, and live side by side with one another without conflict and chaos, the Muslim world is still struggling with basic civility and respect for differences. Much of that has crept into the American Muslim reality so we too, have become harsh, unforgiving, extremely sensitive, and impatient with each other and so on.  Converts usually expect a nurturing environment when they become Muslim and often find the contrary. It is the right of every Muslim to find safety amongst his or her brethren. “The Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his hand and his tongue[1] Without safety, there is  no co-operation, or forward movement, except by force, and we as Americans are free, and force does not work for us in areas of faith, thus, many of us are stuck.

The third major cause of people leaving and not practicing the faith is arguing back and forth over every petty issue they can find. A decent teacher will also instruct his students not to argue with people about deen because any Muslim leader should know the damage that it causes;  ”And obey Allah and His Messenger. and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere” 8:46 It was reported about the Prophet (SAWS) that he said;  and if your are comfortable enough in your faith to fight and argue about it, you would be practicing it and not trying to beat it over someone else’s head. History has shown that teachers, who are more familiar with the student, and his or her condition and environment, are more suited to teach the religion to American Muslim converts. Unfortunately many indigenous American Muslim converts are still under the delusion that in order for information to be correct, it has to have an accent, thus, the few American teachers that we have, as a whole get a lot of push back from indigenous American Muslims.
Lots of Muslims bicker back and forth on the internet; most of them bicker on behalf of their group. African Americans tend to bicker on behalf of themselves since most of us are floaters without an Imam, a community, a shaykh, or a communal foundation. Many of them bicker back and forth on behalf of one of the dozen or so foreign spheres of religious, sectarian influence that has blanketed our nation’s converts to Islam. Of all the peoples in the world who share the same language, same socio-economic and demographic conditions, same race, religion, and national identity, African American Muslims are arguably the most fractionalized of them all. That’s why we have nothing, and our communities whatever is left are crumbling before our eyes like huts made of sand.

The fourth major cause of people leaving Islam is the lack of congregation , and Muslim congregations that cater to, or are at least welcoming to American Muslim converts. The Prophet ﷺ said: “I enjoin you to be in congregation for verily the wolf devours the stray sheep”. It is imperative to have to have congregations and communities of Muslims who share the same localities, the same problems, the same conditions and the same or similar backgrounds. It will be nearly impossible for African American Muslims converts to be duly served without institutions that cater to their needs. It is difficult and nearly impossible to establish viable institutions that serve their interests without critical mass, and you can never have critical mass without having congregations, and I’m not talking about Facebook congregations either. I mean real congregations with leadership, people who are focused, and willing to put in the work required to rescue a civilization. It is only through congregation that we can make use of our own elders, scholars, experienced Muslims who were also converts, and seasoned imams, and leaders who know us, care about us, and are accessible to us. Granted, there may not be many in these categories, but they are there, and they are underutilized.

The fifth cause, which I alluded to earlier in this article, and which may, or may not contribute to the hemorrhaging of the convert community, is that masaajid and communities where converts usually attend in high numbers tend to be small, poor facilities, with scant resources or funding. Converts communities are almost exclusively in the inner cities, and in the poorer neighborhoods of America. Of the billions of dollars that have been raised and spent on building and upgrading masaajid in the United States, hardly any of it was spent on indigenous American Muslim communities. It would be illogical to believe that this reality does not negatively impact converts, and convert communities in some way. These problems that I mention in this post will not go away by themselves; and what I posted here is just the tip of the iceberg. May Allah help us…..

Imam Luqman Ahmad

Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad, a Philadelphia native, is a writer, a researcher and Imam of the Islamic Society of Folsom, in Northern California. He is a former executive committee member of the North America Imams Federation (NAIF), and the CEO of ‘Mosque Without Borders’, an organization that address Muslim sectarianism in the United States. He is also and the author of the new book, “Double Edged Slavery “, a critical and authoritative look at the condition of African American and convert Muslims in the United States, and the book: “The Devil’s Deception of the Modern Day Salafi Sect “, a look at the ideological underpinning of modern Salafist extremism. He blogs at imamluqman.wordpress.com, and can be reached at imamabulaith@yahoo.com.


[1] Collected by Muslim

 

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73 thoughts on “Seven out of every ten converts, leave Islam, by Imam Luqman Ahmad

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  1. sir

    if you know your root well, you will not even think of converting.

    we hear stories of conversion these days, most of them for monetary and marital bliss. The new converts, when they face reality, pain starts from the root of your body….then they start looking for escape route, alas they cannot find it. Many new women converts now regretting their wrong decision, especially in marriage.

    Be a human being, share your love and be helpful to needy….that is what we can do. Don’t worry about converts….leave them to their way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such a ignorant comment, you say “leave them to their way”….why? Did we in the first place force Islam down their throats? No we did not, that was their choice and leaving Islam, although wrong, was their choice too. Only those whom Allah chooses will continue to be led by the noor “light” that comes from Him, the rest, even if they become Muslims for 50 years, if not among the chosen, they will never remain in that Noor and believe me, it make no difference whatsoever to Islam, Muslims or Allah, Islam will continue to grow with the best of the best.

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    2. I converted 13 years ago. I didn’t do it for a man, or for any reason other than I believed that the Quran was telling the truth. I am still Muslim. I am not a perfect human being, but I try my best . You are arrogant and ignorant to feign pity for us, we don’t need or want your pity. We are the ones who pity you, yet you think you are superior to us.

      Arrogant imbeciles like you, who think you are better than us, are the reason women are treated so badly in the world in the first place. I am a female convert and made a purely free and informed choice. What makes you think you are more intelligent than I am? What makes you think you are more enlightened than me? What makes you think it is acceptable to use that haughty tone towards converts?

      You may disagree with my choice and my beliefs, but I can guarantee you that I have a higher IQ and I am far more educated on theology – and Islam in particular – than you are. You are no better than the Atheists and misogynist Christians that think they “know better” for women converts and try to force their opinions onto us because they think we are too stupid to make our own informed choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @American Revert … take it easy lady … your IQ is far superior … ofcourse you made the choice of being among the 72 virgin package in paradise … ROFLAO.

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  2. I am not sure where you are getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.

    Thanks for great information I was looking for this info for my
    mission.

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  3. Unfortunately the diversity of reasons for which people might leave religion or faith partly or altogether is much more complicated than this. For some of us, it’s simply that our pressing moral question were not adequately answered by Islam, which may later lead to seeing that faith in a religion is at its base not provably true nor rational. This has a lot of implications. It’s complicated. I would be interested in seeing extensive professional studies on the issue. It’s a good topic.
    A lot of us born-agains or converts come to realize much later that we were sold on a religion in an incomplete, apologetic, bait-and-switch type way that’s seriously philosophically challenged.

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    1. every religion is going to lose some of its converts.

      people look for God to fit them, and for whatever reason, a particular religion may not be it. but if the stat, 7 out 10 apostates is true for Muslim converts, than something, not necessarily the religion, is very wrong: the delivery, the interpretation of the delivery, the Muslims themselves (you ever hear the saying: “thank God i found Islam before I met Muslims?”), insincerity on the part of the convert, insincerity on the part of the daiees, etc.), a non-existent community (read suratul-Asr) and that God damned shaitan has made the situation pretty sad. Lots of casualities on all sides.

      sign of the times.

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      1. Or perhaps it’s because they discover the religion is nothing but empty rules and regulations and it hasn’t satisfied their inner yearning to connect with their Creator and have a true RELATIONSHIP with Him. I have read numerous stories of those who convert and most of them have no idea what the religion or the prophet was really like. They marry a Muslim boy and convert for him. Or they want some structure in their lives and Islam seems to have it. After a few years they are sick of all the legalism and lack of real answers.

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  4. i converted to Islami in college in the early 80’s, durig the Iranian revolution–a time of a total Islamic spiritual surge. Idealistic, young and energetic my co-students amped up their dawah. When anyone took their shahada a family or a core of believers would adopt the new muslim like you do any “baby.” They called, visited, invited, paid your ways to conferences, cooked, gave clothes, prayed with and in general made sure you were not left alone to figure it all out. And even better, at that the time, sunnis, shias, sufis, all got along! There was none of the pull to join this or that “side;” there was no haram police scrutinizing the smallest of details. Masha’Allah, it was the kind of foundational support that has helped me stay true to Islam through the fitna of the next 30 years.

    I don’t know how we can get that same kind of group conscious fervor going again, except for each of us making a vow to do the same for new converts ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and pay Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

    (The Qur’an, 9:71_Translation)

    Whoever is guided is only guided for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laiden with burdens can bear another’s burden. And never would We punish until We sent a Messenger [to give warning].
    [The Qur’an, 17:15 _ Translation}

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    1. While it is true beloved, that Allah guides who He pleases and leaves astray whom he pleases, we must make sure that we are not committing acts which chase people away from the religion. The Prophet said: “Give glad tidings, and do not cause people to flee from the religion; make things easy for people and don’t make things hard” . This is called ‘tan’feer’ (repelling), and many times we are guilty of it. People are still responsible for their own Islam; however, we are responsible for the way we treat each other as Muslims. And Allah knows best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Akhi…no one can be Muslim without following the salaf (salafiyyah). Salafi/sunni are synonymous. The best of salaf-us-saalih is the messenger of Allah, he is our salaf. The terms ahlus sunnah, salaf, al jamaa’ah, etc…. were not by the the first two generations of Muslims themselves(although the messenger did say he was an excellent salaf to Fatimah), these terms came about by the early imams (third generation) to distinguish truth from falsehood when the people of deviation(shee’ah, murji’ah, khwaarij, qadariyyah) reared their heads. So everyone has to follow the manhaj of the salaf-us-saalih. Everyone is gonna say that they follow the sunnah, what distinguishes is, do they apply the understanding of sahabah…!!

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  6. I had converted to Islam because I liked many things about Islam. However I left it within a year, because, I realized that though Quran might be the word of god, the “muslims” have made a mockery of this religion and are not progressive. Almost everything was haraam and I found it very suffocating. The most important thing I disliked, was the khutba on Fridays. They keep talking about non-muslims. They believe that non-muslims will not be prefered in heaven by God. If that is the case, I felt very strongly that I would rather go to hell with my parents and all non-muslim brothers and sisters. I simply did not like being a muslim, and I see most of my muslim friends suffer a lot in life, but they have been made to believe that, they will suffer for the sake of allah in this life, but the next life will be amazing. I feel very sorry for those people.

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    1. Brother Thomas forget what the people did and said no one is perfect God gave you a huge blessing don’t throw it away for anyone.

      Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? (Qur’an 29:2)

      Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned. (Qur’an 21:35)

      Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Qur’an 39:53)

      Salaam!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. im glad you saw them for what they really are . JEALOUS.and you made a beautiful statement to prefer your family which is the way of a true God to muslims:)
      I also met muslims going to mosque every Friday yet talking about non muslims,saying even LITTLE CHILDREN will “turn out bad wen they grow up” ive never seen a more hurtful SICK VILE EVIL nasty bunch of demons.

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    3. Religion is for God alone, not other people. Even if nobody on earth was a muslim, if I knew that Quran is word of God, i’d follow it. You don’t follow religion because people do, but because God said to. Obeying God has nothing to do with other people. You’re not worshiping those people, are you? If you are, then youll let them influence your opinions. If you are worshiping God alone, youll obey Him no matter what anyone else does.

      I was treated badly by muslims who were not practicing and who didnt even pray, yet they were judging me. So what? That had nothing to do with me loving God and wanting to please Him. And you know what? If everyone else chooses to go to hell, then fine, that’s their choice. It doesnt affect me. Don’t let it affect you either.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. asa…Imam, May Allah Most High Make it easy for you and your family…I have not seen you for some time the days of MANA…however, I follow your posting…Sunni-Ali Islam, Columbus, Ohio…ma salaam

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    1. I’m not yet convinced that Umar lee is an apostate. I’m taking the position right now that he is going through some trials in his life, like many of us do, and that may Allah make things easy for him and keep him firm in faith. However, i read your blog post and it is good, relevant reading. wal Allahul Musta’aan.

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      1. I used to follow Umar Lee’s blog. Right after he famously threatened Michael Knight, his blog changed and then stopped. He apologized to Michael immediately, and then I think he wondered at himself- what made me say such a thing? I, an American man, have just threatened someone with death for thinking differently than I. What made me do that? Then I bet he answered himself: Islam.

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  8. Imam Luqman, Jazaakum Allahu Khair:

    Alhamdulillah, I entered Islam in 1987, and have been Helped by Allah to stay. My own situation is quite simple: I’ve been without human society for 26 years. For me to maintain my Deen, I had to separate myself from my family, friends, and have only nominal relationships with non-Muslims.

    The immigrant Muslims have come only for enjoyment of life in America, to escape the chaos of their collapsing societies. For a convert who presses forward in his Deen, he/she may be standing very much alone in that we have a sense of purpose the immigrants simply don’t have.

    My own program for converts stresses this humanistic aspect. Humans haven’t been created to exist ALONE in this life, yet most converts find ourselves exactly there. This can wreak havoc on all aspects of life. The human being is socially dependent, and in communities like mine, there is no connectivity between the men based on Islam.

    Additionally, the program seeks the success of the convert at each critical stage:
    1) accepting the basic ‘Aqeeda (converting the mind to Islamic belief)
    2) establish spiritual connectivity with Allah
    3) establishing an understanding of Rasulullah’s personality, status, and purpose
    4) providing access to a variety of traditional education resources
    5) providing assistance at each critical life necessity: halal employment that doesn’t distract one away from Deen, marriage, home ownership, an environment for children, counseling and problem-solving throughout life.

    It’s a huge undertaking with little support from the immigrants. Subhan Allah, there are 20,000 “muslims” here but it’s like a maqbara of Deen. Yaa Allah !

    Anyway, I’m very happy to have found your site, and will be following, insha Allah. Here’s a link to my site for anyone interested. I’m in North Texas.

    http://bondsofbrotherhood.wordpress.com/about-the-program/

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      1. Alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. It’s interesting that you refer to it as claims. Which part do you think is just a claim? The percentages of converts who have left the practice of Islam or left the religion? Or the other parts of the article about some of the problems that converts face? Are you yourself a convert to Islam? If so, then how long have you been a Muslim? The reason that I ask, is that anyone who has been a Muslim longer than 15 or 20 years already has seen, and is aware of this problem first hand. I’m not really interested in going back and forth with anyone about whether this phenomenon is real or imagined. I suggest that you do your own research, or look at some of the conclusions by Dr. Ilyaas Yunus that I posted on my Facebook page, or look at the documentary; Unmosqued, or interview some real converts who have been engaged in Islamic affairs for the last quarter a century or so. My conclusions are based upon dozens of conversations with Imams, activists, people who are close to the ground, as well as my own 30 year history of giving da’wah, teaching and administering shahaadas. Dr. Yunus’s concludes from his research that the number is more like 75% who leave the religion. Some people say it is 80%. Either way, it is a high number, and it is real. Nothing imagined about it brother.

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      2. It’s a pretty strong and informed hunch. Jazaaka Allahu khairan, I appreciate your perspective. Al-humdu lillaah your family is heading for their fourth generation. My own family is four generations and I know many families that are in their third, fourth, and fifth generations. However, those instances are scant when compared to the overall number of converts to Islam during the last forty years. Most of the Imams, activists, and on the ground observers that I have spoken to about this, consistently estimate the number of converts that leave Islam or abandon the practice thereof to be between 40 and 80% depending on where they were from. In our own community, the number who have left the religion or the practice of religion seems to be about 70%. Here is a quote from a brother who commented on my Facebook page:
        “When I was living in Philly, I personally gave shahadah to a large number of people, some of whom I grew up with. Similarly in college, a good number of my friends became Muslim. Out of maybe 50 people whom i’ve seen take shahadah or given them the shahadah, maybe 10 continually practiced Islam, maybe ten. And I assume that some simply went to different masjids, but others I saw and they simply were either completely outside of Islam, or nominally Muslim. For college, out of my 15 closest friends, 8 became Muslim. Today, I think about 5 of us are practicing Islam. There is a lack of community and spirituality that creates the conditions for people who come into Islam, see nothing of obvious value, and then leave.” [Luqman Ahmad Facebook page] even here, we’re talking between 48% and 80%. In Philly, the number may be a little lower since Philadelphia has a different history and Philadelphia is the strongest center in the country for converts.
        Still, there are dozens of people that I have spoken to have recounted similar observations and experiences. Look; nobody wishes that converts to Islam leave the practice of Islam; quite the opposite is the case. However, we need not fool ourselves that convert communities are thriving and growing because that is not the case for the majority. Exact numbers are hard to come by since, there has been very little empirical (funded) research on the matter, and convert Muslims by and large are not members of established congregations. We have had to rely mainly on our own observations and current realities. Still it is not irresponsible in my view to raise the alarm regarding this issue. It is more irresponsible to ignore the obvious. Thanks for the input, and would you be willing to submit to an interview? I have been compiling data on the issue and your responses would be helpful. Jazaaka Allahu khairan

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      3. Walaykum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu ya Imam,

        “Claim” is appropriate and merely refers to the fact that the information presented is avowed to be true.

        That I asked for a source, particularly when numbers are being asserted, is not a disparagement.
        Declarations such as:
        -7 out of 10 leave Islam
        -those with less than 5 years in have a high chance of leaving
        -most converts are a “one shot deal”
        -the numbers of Muslim converts are questionable
        -there’s little evidence that Muslims who converted 20 years ago are still around
        -etc.
        all require at least some proof.

        As for Dr. Yunus’ 75% number: It’s based on a phone survey he conducted in Chicago in 1996. He also stated that 60% of the sample consisted of people who converted while in prison or shortly thereafter (ex-convicts, in his terminology). And it’s also useful to note that this survey isn’t found in any of his published material, not even his last book “Muslims in the United States” (2003).

        I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that extrapolating the results of a very limited phone survey conducted in 1996 to the generality of Muslim converts is itself quite a stretch.

        Lastly, though my own background isn’t really relevant to my question, since you’ve asked:
        I converted to Islam in November 1992. I’ve been continually Muslim since then.
        My spouse’s parents converted to Islam (Orthodox, Sunni) in the 1970s.
        My father in law’s sister is also a convert (she preceded him in the Deen and introduced him to it).
        Both of those families are in their 3rd generation of Muslims (the grandchildren) and some of those kids are now in their teens, so we’re looking forward to their marrying in the next decade or two and producing the 4th generation.

        So that’s my background and anecdotal experience.
        You might not see it, but it exists.

        That said, I actually agree with most of what you wrote. I just don’t think it’s helpful to be cavalier about facts, even if they sound about right.

        And I also don’t think the numbers are as high as claimed here. But without an emprical source one way or the other, it’s just a hunch.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Good wishes bit not true. According to many studies by US universities prove that Muslim are joining Islam move than ever before because of simplicity as worship creator, not as in many other religions that worship leader of religion

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    1. The article was not about people joining Islam; it was about people joining and then leaving. Yes, record numbers of people are joining. They’re just not staying. That is the problem the imam is addressing.

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  10. Brother Ilyas Lahoz

    Unfortunately, in the vast majority of communities, no one is doing empirical research. As a matter of fact, in the vast majority of masajid, no one is even asking how converts are doing, much less where they are disappearing to.
    In my own community, we’ve seen a loss of 80% or more, and that’s based on my own count over the last 27 years. In a new upstart mega-mosque nearby, they claim to have received over 370 shahadas, yet there aren’t 20 converts left in that community.
    The problem will continue until intelligent, concerned, committed, and SUPPORTED people are able to put the full range of needed solutions in place.

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    1. I can tell you Mustafa… most have just given up being in a supportive environment. They often just wonder about with no community because they feel or were treated like outsiders while at the masjids. They hear the anti-American talk at the masjid…which is fine for those sitting there reaping the rewards of immigranting to America —but HATING the culture they benefit from, but not so easily swallowed by the AMERICAN convert whose culture is being verbally assaulted. They are the Muslim who suffers an identity crisis after a while because the first thing that happened when they took their shahadah was they were old to change their clothing to thobes, kufis, abayas hijabs… niqabs and other cultural clothing… but soon find they have no support as their own family &f riends move away from them… those who promoted that cultural dress,,,,, they are busy changing the wardrobes of someone else. The clothing…. however does not get food on the table of the American Muslim family. It does not pay the bills. They do not have a family “Back home” sending them a check or a govt paying their way, while they go to school. THEY need jobs and sometimes jobs require they work during prayer times…but the Muslim mentors tell them QUIT that job and find one that will give you prayer times… but doesn’t offer money to support them in the meantime. They instead throw them to the wolves of economic destruction & tell them HAVE FAITH… They talk about zakat and sadaqa but the New Muslim doesn’t get any from their community as they make that transition. Instead they are left to fend for themselves, especially if they are a single mother with more than one child.. (who is seen as unmarriable by many Muslims)

      After about two or three years of this bitter pill they give up and accept that alone they just can’t do it. And having experienced the isolation that the Muslim community put them in RECOGNIZES that they truly will be ALONE if they profess the faith openly in this society for they can never change their ethnicity, or nation of birth to fit into the larger community of Muslims and can only HOPE their spouse is of one of these “muslim” cultures so that they will be marginally accepted into that community (if their marriage survives)… and if it doesn’t then they are once again outcasts in their own country in a faith community that doesn’t not truly accept them because they aren’t “REAL” (ie Born into a Muslim family that is from a Muslim nation).

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      1. This has been my experience. Alhamdulillah, I am still a Muslim, but I seriously resent the Muslim community. As a 30 something sister, marriage has been nearly impossible. After 3 years I finally got married, but the man immediately started being abusive, calling me bad names, saying I wasn’t a real Muslim because I wasn’t born Muslim, and telling me I was worthless because I wasn’t Arab or kurdish.

        The marriage was over in less than 3 months and we didn’t even live together. His behavior was so foul towards me, the imam immediately gave me khula based off of the nasty emails my husband sent me, cursing me, my family, my ethnicity (white people), you name it.

        With almost no support from the Muslim community except for wanting money for traveling shayhks and classes and charity, how do converts like me even survive without loving, supportive community?

        I feel that God is one and Muhammad was a prophet and messenger of God, but the negativity and ethnic pride of Muslims is a hard pill to swallow. Your family constantly fights to get you back, and the Muslim community has annamocity towards you (Muslim men at my employment have even spread rumors of me having sex with Muslim coworkers because according to them, no white woman would ever convert to Islam unless she was sleeping with a Muslim) which isn’t true.

        I mean seriously, how does one get past this bad behavior of the so called pious people in your community.

        I really hope Allah gives ease with these hardships. Please make Dua for me to keep me on the right path that is pleasing to God.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A penetratingly insightful treatise on some of the woes of the African American segment of Muslims in the USA in particular.Clearly we must all do a better job of continued outreach and support of our newly reverted fellow Muslims.In the pursuit of Sahih Islamic knowledge and rigorously guarding our respective tounges we have an opportunity to hold on to , nurture, develop and unite with those who have been guided by AR RASHIED to this most beautiful, utilitarian, rewarding and true deen. Let this work begin from the heart of every sincere Muslim by the grace of AR RAHMAN, amin.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Salam Aleikum, Rahmatullah Wabaraktu,
    Iaka nabudu wa iaka nastain Ihdina sirata al mustakem..
    You and You alone we ask to keep us completely committed to the Straight Path
    Allahu Akbar! Allhu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! God is Greater! God is Geater! God is greater!

    Jazakalakhair for your call to action and for your advice.

    If you permit me to share a thought. It is by the Mercy of Allah SWT that one comes upon Islam be it by birth or by conversion. And perhaps this call to Islam might be a test of one’s sincerity ( I remind myself first).

    I say this because in hearing many stories of conversion there is one common thread in all of them to me. Converts have each received inspiration in a way that best speaks/appeals to their individual nature, their personality their sensitivity. Each one different. It seems to me that this personalized call is such an honor and an example of how Allah SWT is Magnificent in His closeness and mercy for each individual. The only thing that is befitting for one is to honor Him by staying focused and always remembering Who brought us to Islam and why we have chosen to follow. I feel that if we remain inspired in this way, there will be No Umah, no country, not anything mundane that would deviate us from our direction. InshaAllah. And may Allah SWT make us of the successful ones.

    Jazakalakhair for your reminders to the Umah in regards to their responsibility to support converts. This might be our test at a societal level.

    In my poor opinion though, I feel that ultimately converts should hold themselves accountable for developing their Islam.

    I have a beautiful story about a friend who converted by the Mercy of Allah SWT by going to a Muslim business owner (because she had heard him say he was Muslim). She asked him if he had a book he recommended about his religion so she could look it up at the library and learn what it was about (she was expecting his answer to be something like The History of Islam or something like that.) The Muslim man (may Allah SWT have mercy on him and grant him Janah Al Firdous) said “the Quran and the Hadith.” She asked who was the author of the Quran, to which, he chuckled and said: “God”. She was be baffled knowing that the DEWEY decimal system did not include the section of authors “God”. He then explained that she would find the Quran under one of a few translators name. She began reading and as she found herself at odds or had questions she would go to the business and wait patiently for the man to have a minute then she would pull out the passage and state her concerns, questions, etc. —readers should understand at this point that there was no romantic interest in either one of them –you might say that they met for the sake of Allah– He would do something interesting. Read the passage in Arabic and explain the nuances of the language, the historical background, and other. One day she made a criticism of people from her previous religion she upheld. His answer to her was unexpected. He said remember, that people are only people, religion is religion. All religions hold within them people who are pious, people who are developing, deceivers and evil ones. This does not change that God has revealed the directions correctly to us. Never look at people to find confirmation of the righteousness of a religion. Only the prophets are worthy of imitation and of all the prophets Muhammed sallahu aleihi wasalam was the best of men.

    These were the two things that this man gave to her: Direction to find Allah in the Quran and the Hadith and the reminder not to taint the intention or determination of her heart by facing the reality of the weakness of humanity. Allahu Allam.
    I find this to be a wonderful love story. The love story of a woman who found the right book and fell in love with it and who was given wise advice to focus in developing her love with Allah alone. I believe with all my heart that if He brought her to Islam, He would not abandon her as long as she keeps calling for Him.

    Also I believe that we need to focus in being welcoming and supportive of ALL Muslims because Islam is not a dogmatic religion ACTION by INTENTION, so even if someone has been born to a family who is Muslim, it still comes the time that a heart and a mind examine the validity of their actions and their faith. Many born Muslims have grown in homes that were more culturally inclined that religious, some of them have experienced a distancing from their faith and their religious communities and when they come back to the fold of Islam they themselves are sometimes not supported, mistreated, ostracized. So my dear beloved brothers and sister, lets stop this division of convert non-convert. We are all on the path InshaAllah, we all need respect, support and encouragement. Islam is a religion of empowerment not one that creates victims or victimizers. Let’s stop counting statistics and start counting our interactions around us. Sure every community has the aunties and uncles who have a rough around the ages approach to all. Many of us stay within the comfort of our cultures — yes brothers, white, black, Arab, Asian, etc. we all do it–
    Let’s live Islam and seek to repair our own accountability to Allah SWT first.
    Jaakalakhair, all wrong and all mistakes come from me and all goodness from Allah alone. Please forgive me should I have offended anyone.
    Fee Amana Allah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humbly, I believe the Muslim community should hold itself accountable for how it treats its converts. and FEW communities are willing to treat their convert communnity members with anything but rudeness once they (1) find they can’t use them for gain (2) marriage (3) whatever other use they can justify using them for. This is what I have noticed over 30 yrs.

      Its so dang easy to blame the convert who is after all having RIGHTS over the Ummah, but rarely getting those rights.

      I have heard these excuses by born Muslims so often & for a time I accepted them…but then I noticed its FAR too easy for the born Muslims to do this.. and then I noticed THEY are the one more often victimizing the converts.

      So I know better & I am willing to speak up even if I’m called names.

      Its time ACCOUTABILITY fall at the feet of the Muslim Ummah.

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  13. I fall for the bait and switch myself. Just follow one god that’s all until you get into Islam. Then everything becomes haraam oh no I listen to music well why wasn’t I told about this before hand oh that’s right u most likely wouldn’t of became a member of the faith if I was. Then was oh you can’t watch sport cause that’s time spent wasting time oh really I can’t watch basketball for the sake of just enjoying the game. You better not have non Muslims as friends cause that also is a no no. I better not enjoy a milk shake cause that’s just to American you can’t be an American now cause western is just to evil. Don’t even try to get married cause trust me if your white and not a Dr you pretty much out of luck or a family member from the east your on a paith of being alone for the rest of your life cause dady wants fame and country club passes but wouldn’t that be a time wasting event but that’s only for the convert born Muslims don’t fall into them rulings. That’s just some stuff I learned from my short 2 year stay in this switch and bait game. Ps sorry for any spelling mistake and paragraphs as typed from phone

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    1. I totally understand your post Shawn! I saw that going on all the time! I started demanding DAhleel! PROOF from the Muslims making such claims. They always said “well my sheikh said it… and I don’t question what he says”. I then replied “well I don’t worship your sheikh! So show the dahleel or shut up! 😀 Amazingly I’m Not a Real Muslim because I use my brain, not their sheikism worship theology 😀 Sorry… but I can deal just fine with name calling 😀 Which I think is quite funny how name-calling is so prevent in the Muslim communnity and so is marginalizing women… once they find we still use our brains after converting. 😀 or GOD forbid our Mouths to speak with as women converts

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  14. I think the problem is that the author failed to actually connect with the Muslim converts of America and ask them. There is far too much assumptions. I not only converted, but RAISED my kids in Islam… but for 30 yrs I’ve been harassed, abused, neglected & persecuted by none other than the Immigrant Muslims who define me & other converts like myself as “not real Muslims”. We are not included in the masjids or other Islamic Institutions in decision making or given an opportunity to develop support systems in the institutions UNLESS we speak FLUENT Arabic… but then 95% of those NEEDING support WON’T speak FLUENT Arabic or any other language… but they do need support – EVEN if they are single Women with Kids! Women shouldn’t be marginalized by the male Muslims immigrated to this nation nor should we have to put up with their sexual harassments at the mosque if we try to bring our kids there to learn Islam.. nor should we be forced to “convert” to another cultural way of doing things — which is often the case. I for one NEVER converted to Arabism, or Bangladishism— or Pakistanism.. or any other culture. Yet over and over and OVER again that is how the mosques are organized… based on NON-Islamic Cultural traditions. So perhaps its time to Separate these other cultures from ISLAM. Perhaps the IMAMS and SHEIKHS need to take the time to LEARN the difference betwen THEIR cultural & Islam…. and quit assuming that they are the same and expecting the American Convert to CONVERT to that culture. I for one am So sick of being mistreated and even threatened by Imam’s and board members whose egos are so huge and Dahleals so weak that not only have I quit attending the masjid, so has my husband (also a convert) and my two grown kids (also Muslims)…and our grandkids (also Musliim)… and most of the Convert American Muslims I Know). We all were driven away from our only regional mosque because we dared QUESTION the beliefs of three Egyptian professors who used classism and nationalism to take control of our Islamic institution. So before blaming CONVERTS perhaps its time to address the Classism, nationalism, racism and other ISMS being promoted and practiced by the immigrant population who fail to recognize that they aren’t practice Islam but instead are practicing HISlam — which many converts are rejecting — thus are rejecting the buildings as Masjids but merely cultural clubs . That is how I see the local facility now.. its merely an Arab Cultural club. And My money is not going to be used to support such a vile facility.

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  15. As-salamu alaykum Imam Luqman. I actually heard you speak last night at UC Davis (I asked about Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, may Allah reward him). I enjoyed the talk and that is why I immediately went to check out your blog. Mashallah you are gifted and have passion. I want to say I agree with most of your above stated points. However, we should think about more than the converts. I’m sure you are aware Muslims en mass are leaving Islam. Maybe they aren’t leaving the religion fully as apostates but they are just becoming “cultural Muslims”. Many only adhere to monotheism and don’t eat pork. Some only know a few Arabic terms from some class their parents forced them to go to. Some now are agnostic or don’t follow a organized religion. My own brother has given up on Islam but he still believes in God but he doesn’t adhere to our religion. My mother and father were deeply religious and sent both of us to religious school. I have seen this with many Muslims. I heard a Sheikh Humza Yusuf lecture that is fairly new and he said only about 20% of Muslims in this country go to the mosque (I don’t remember the source he used or if it was an estimate). I believe all the issues that you said drive away converts also drive away those born in the Deen as well. I think my own brother was turned away by the obsession with hate for America and forcing everyone to have a beard and things of that nature. He did not tell me this but I’m making an educated guess these things played a role. I have a friend who is Mexican and wanted to go to Jummah with me a few months back. I picked him up and on the way I continuesly praid that it would be a “good Khutbah”. By that I was hoping it wasn’t an angry Arab or Pakistani bashing the West and going off about how we should not visit graves. I kept saying “Oh Allah I hope this is going to be a spiritual talk.” Alhamdulliah the Khutbah that day was one of the best I’ve ever heard in my life. The Imam mentioned racism and real issues and the Khutbah didn’t just focus on ritual. The Imam spoke about the Fergusson shooting and how we as Muslims should stand for justice and support our Black brothers regardless of their faith. He also spoke about how we should treat others in our community. The lecture was spiritual and I could feel Nur on the young Imam’s face. He was an Arab but his English was immaculate and he delivered everything perfectly. My friend loved the Khutbah and the spirituality and his interest has grown. Inshallah he will one day take Shahada. I bring this story up because many sermons I hear I would never intentionally bring someone to it such as a fresh convert or someone interested in the faith or even a cultural Muslim who want to find his roots. Yesterday a Puerto Rican friend of mine showed interest in going to Jummah with me. I am now debating which Masjid I should go to because I want him to get the best first impression of Islam (I would go to your Masjid but the brother lives in the East Bay). I am sure the Niyat of most Imams are good but sometimes the Khutbas are irrelevant. Sometimes the speakers have bad English wich is no fault of their own. Which brings up the point some of the commenters made in regards to our Imams. More young Muslims who understand America and the language have to step up and take leadership roles. Many of these foreign Imams keep preaching because no one else will. Many are more than willing to allow others to take their spot but no one rises up. Sometimes we think only foreign Arab or Pakistani etc Imams have true knowledge when at times they may have less knowledge than those brought up here. Sometimes the Imams throw a lot of Arabic terms into the Khutbah assuming we all know those phrases. I feel I have a decent background in Islam and even at times the meanings escape me. When a convert comes to a mosque or someone interested how does he know what “aqeeda” or “madhab” etc mean? I think Imams should always give a translation after using Islamic Arabic terms. They should never assume we know them all. Many are to embarrassed to ask what a simple term means because they don’t want to look stupid. Sometimes a person may try to look up the word on their own but by the time they go to look it up they forgot it due to the hardship of pronunciation etc. I had a Sikh friend who became Muslim and I took him to the Masjid once. Everyone congratulated him but one brother told him to grow a beard or the “wrath of Allah” would be on him. This friend called me weeks later extremely worried saying he is trying to grow a beard but he naturally is not hairy. I was very upset. These are the type of things that drive people away wether converts or not. Alhamdulillah the brother’s Iman was rock solid. He was kicked out by his family for his conversion but kept he still kept the Deen so something as small as the beard comment was not enough to drive him away. I have an uncle who Mashallah is a good man. One time at the Masjid some brothers refused to pray behind him because his beard was not long enough. These are the things that turn people away. Imagine if a fresh convert was in the masjid that day? I saw a Sheikh Humza Yusuf lecture online and people in the comments were saying don’t listen to him because he doesn’t have a Sunnah beard. I don’t agree with everything the Sheikh says but to attack him for that is bewildering to me. A lot of the comments I have read below speak about Arabs or Pakistanis etc. pushing their culture on converts. This is a big issue but is also an issue for American Muslims who don’t see their faith as limited to wearing the Arab tobe etc. I personally on Friday like to wear the traditional Shilwar Kameez. I do this because it is the only opportunity I get to wear one. I know it does not make me more pious in front of my Rab. Also, we must not lie to our selves. Islam is not the fastest proselytizing religion but only the fastest growing due to procreating. Christian missionaries are dominating us in their work and are even in historic Muslims lands giving charity etc. Yes, we do Dawah but it is no where at the scale, organization, or sophistication of Christians. At times countries like Saudi Arabia spend billion on people who are already Muslim so they can become Wahabi. What a shame when that money could have been spent reaching out to our brothers in Latin America who are disenchanted with Catholicism and are hungry for truth! At times we focus on getting someone to leave his/her Madhab to join which ever one we prefer. Another issue with our Dawah is in jail. Many such as yourself are doing great work. May Allah give you Barakah for it. However, in the past I have been in and out of jail due to myself succumbing to the temptations of Dunya. I strive to better myself Inshallah. During one of my stays in jail the brothers had one Quran only and passed it around day by day. They shared it between the Muslims and those who wanted to read it for spiritual guidance. Subhanallah the owner of that Quran was a Christian I came to befriend. He was basically doing Dawah for Islam as a non-Muslim. I was so ashamed of myself because I had multiple Qurans at my house. I saw them praying and I joined them and since then I have been attempting to change my trajectory and get back on my Deen. Subhanallah in the darkness of jail surrounded by murderers and criminals I found a glimmer of light. I believe we should have more donations for Qurans etc. for these brothers. Also, we have to keep in contact with them when they are released. Some of these people when they get out we shun them even though Allah has forgiven their sins. I have met former prostitutes who found Allah and now wear hijab. We must learn to not judge such people from their pasts. Also, as you said we must not drive away converts and cultural Muslims with hate for the West etc. We should denounce the policies that are unjust and strive to change them but also recognize the good this country offers. The founders of this nation respected Islam and some owned Qurans. Many Enlightenment Era thinkers had a great respect for Islam because they found it didn’t conflict with reason in the way that dogmas of Christianity did in their opinion. In many majority Muslim countries you cannot even practice Islam. If you grow a beard they torture you etc. Alhamdullilah with all the short comings of this country we are free to build Masjids, grow beards, go to Jummah, proselytize, and our women can freely wear hijab (some hate comes for that but it is not government sanctioned). When a convert or cultural Muslim hears hate for America it confuses and angers them. This country is their home. I notice many Muslims speak of America in the third person for example using “they” instead of “we” and when using the word “America” they make it evident they are not apart of it and we are separate. For some converts who are not patriotic this might not matter but for some who love their country this is definitely something they notice and it drives them away. I have met older Muslim converts who fought in Vietnam. I doubt they appreciate those types of attitudes. Another issue a sister mentioned in the comments was the problem with regards to women. For a female American convert being relegated to a back room in the masjid is pretty insulting. I believe Masjids should invest in a separate room for children and have volunteers look after them. Also, individual communities should decide if women should sit in the masjid but behind the men or in another room with adequate picture and audio of the Khutbas. This decision should be made by the sisters prior to committing to one or the other. If the sisters choose a separate room it should be well maintained and be adequate in size and comfort. They should not have to be packed like sardines in a room too small for them. I think the issue of American Muslim female converts is dire. As you said we would like to see every convert’s children and grandchildren grow up Muslim. That cannot happen if the converted woman herself leaves the fold. Another brother mentioned how the immigrant Muslims only marry their daughters to doctors etc. This is a huge issue even for the non-converts. Materialism is huge in our community. We define potential matches for our women solely on how much he can provide monetarily. What about the brother who found faith in jail and got out? How many will give their women to that man? These types of attitudes drive many away. We all love to tell the Black brothers that Islam is not racist and Hadhrat Bilal (RA) was black etc. However, when a Black man asks for their daughter’s hand they forget all those hadiths they were parroting. In my own family a cousin married a Black man and at first some were against it and there was some opposition. It was not necessarily because he was Black but because he was not from our own ethnic denomination. Regardless of motive their opposition was wrong. However, Alhamdulillah they came to accept him because he was a great man Mashallah. At first some in the family had those prejudices but I am grateful that over time they diminished. This issue is not only pertaining to converts it affects Black brothers born Muslim in America or immigrants from Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, etc. Another big issue brought up in the comments by Thomas Garcia is that some of our leaders say don’t befriend non-Muslims. In my opinion that is a very naive way to think. Befriending non-Muslims is one of the greatest way to do Dawah. As long as these people are good in character I believe we should befriend them and teach them by example. I had a Mexican friend whose mother stopped cooking pork because I was always at their home. He lost weight and told me thank you for encouraging us not to eat pork. I hope brother Thomas Garcia who said he left Islam because of such issues finds the light again. We should all pray for him and correct our behavior to make sure we don’t drive more away. A big issue is Muslims feel we are free of faults. We think we are all great Muslims and only Christians and Jews have problems and hypocrites. We believe any criticism is an attack on Muslims as a whole and we see it as Kuffir or Fitnah etc. We are not perfect and we have a lot to work on. As long as we recognize the issues and confront them Inshallah we will overcome them and become a better community. By doing so we can gain more Muslims and retain the new and old alike. I apologize for writing so much but I found this issue to be dire. This issue is especially important in my view because my father owned an Islamic books and gifts business for over thirty years. He did Khidmat for Islam and did a lot of Dawah. At times he housed converts who were kicked out of their homes. He use to set up booths at Masjids and spread the knowledge. To know the Dawah that many including my father did for many years is being undone by the heedlessness of some is like a knife in my heart. I am not a trained scholar and these were my opinions and observations. May Allah forgive me for any thing wrong I wrote out of ignorance. Please continue spreading the truth to non-Muslims and Muslims alike. May Allah reward you for your work Imam. As-salamu alaykum.

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  16. Thankfully the community i found myself entering was very convert-centric. It was a community run by mostly convert women, so it didn’t feel too “foreign” to me although i did get treated with clear disdain for no apparent reason by the immigrant born Muslim sisters when i started going to masjid. I think i eventually became embarrassed for the community and how it functioned. There was so much disorder-no one seemed able to plan things efficiently, the kids would run riot, events were chaotic and everyone was always late. There was so much hypocrisy and competition, not to mention domestic violence where the victims were encouraged to simply keep their abuses to themselves, “within the community”, and discouraged from reporting to the police. None of the women that i knew had actual jobs. Instead they would laze around eating and cackling about how superior they were to the kuffar and denigrating them, whilst at the same time relying on them for their sustenance by receiving welfare and cheap housing. While they would brag about their status above the kuffar and their collectively strong emaan, they would play the victim card to the extreme. I noticed that, with a lot of these women, they had failed in one or more aspects in their lives. They were the divorced, single mothers, with failed careers that subsequently found respite in fundamentalist religion. I often thought that, without their active roles in the community, they would indeed be nobodies in the world. At least, in Islam, they were somebodies, and i hated that the religion that i loved should be used in such a way. I was a Muslim because i loved Islam, not because i was a loser that needed to feel important and useful. Worst of all was their insistence that i be married off immediately. They would make suggestions of potential partners that were, frankly, insulting. They didn’t seem to care at all who they married me off to, as long as i was “locked in” by marriage. No thought was given to actual compatibility but moreso on the brother if he was desperate to marry or stay in this country. This is when i learnt that the sisters cared more about the brothers than me and that they didn’t “love me for the sake of Allah” (actually i never appreciated that sentiment, “feesabilillah”. Can you not just love me for my own sake?).
    Anyway, needless to say, i left Islam eventually. I had come to realize that the inherently contradictory nature of Islamic scripture itself created this sort of schism in the community, and that the encouragement of strict adherence and practices that don’t exactly matter or make sense in this day and age induces this sort of weird neurosis in Muslims, especially when it comes to sexual matters. I maintain that i have never met a people more sexually. ideviant thanMuslims. The Quran says that Muslims are the “best of mankind”, but they are not, simply, and the ones that practise the most are often the worst.i think it inevitable that you get such intolerant and tribalistic personalities when you follow a code that divides humanity into believers and nonbelievers, good and evil. The world doesn’t even work like that. All things are not black and white and Islam does not even begin to cover the complexities of the world. Islam ia held up to be the one true religion, thereford Islam should be the most important thing in the world, but it’s not. It’s adherents only comprise a quarter of the. lpopulation, and its teaches limited to what the founders believed to be true in the 6th lcentury.

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  17. jazakallah pak man for your comments, they are truly insightful. some time ago my daughter came home from university one day & announced that she was in love with a man from rwanda. I immediately asked for Allah swt to guide them both. the rest of my family were not very happy as he was from a completely different race, culture & religion. I spoke to the different members of my family & advised them that actually the only problem here is the issue of him not being a muslim. I spoke to the guy & explained to him that for us as muslims it will be unacceptable if they decide to marry, unless he accepts Islam, which he understood. he has a very kind & caring personality and we came to respect him. unfortunately now it seems as if my daughter is favouring his religion, Christianity. this is heartbreaking for me as a mother but I continue to make duaa that Allah swt guide both of them & grant them hidaayat. please keep them in your duaas too. shukran jazeelan.

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  18. Salaam alaikum to Imam Luqman and all others. Even though this is an old article, I have found it of value. Yes the apostasy / dropout / leaving / detachment rate of converts to Islam in North America is appallingly high. I almost put myself in that category. Imam Luqman refers in part to the African American community, but the case may be even worse for us “old white guys.”

    I am European American, never married, living alone, and I was already well into my forties when I made Shahdah at what was an established masjid many years ago. My very first!!! experience the morning after I took Shahadah was disconcerting to say the least. And then my experiences went downhill from there.

    In that masjid, which was the only one in my area which I could get to with any frequency, converts were almost completely ignored after the initial takbirs. There were a few dry as dust lectures consisting mostly of almost incomprehensible rules of minute behavior without justification, and that was it. I would wait outside after the salaat in the evening. Someone might come up to me and start chattering in God knows what language. If I politely answered with salaam and said that I speak only English, sometimes the person would just walk away without even a courteous response. And over and over again.

    I am now an older person, all alone, with life issues, and my experiences with the Islamic community have been almost consistently bad. Is it any wonder that people like me drift away from the Islam which we once hoped would transform our lives but which outrageously did not?

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    1. Assalaamu alaikum dear brother. I was particularly touched by your story, even though I’ve heard and read hundreds of similar accounts over the years. I suspect that you hardly touch the surface here, and I can only imagine the whole gambit of emotions, spiritual consequence, and trial that you’ve been through after your conversion. This is a big issue with many compartments, consequences, hidden variables,and has impacted the moral/ spiritual trajectory of Islam in America. I feel you brother, more than you know. Believe me when I say that I understand the profound sense of emptiness, isolation and disappointment that one gets visiting, or trying to integrate one’s self into these masjid communities. I have devoted myself to addressing this issue, and I will not quit, so help me God. Would you mind if I shared your story beyond this medium? Oh and one more thing; you are not completely alone. Feel free to contact me any time. imamluqman@masjidibrahim.com

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I guess I’m one of those 7 that left Islam. I became muslim 15 years ago when i was in high school, and now at the age of 33 I’m leaving Islam. I couldn’t reconcile the Quran and science. As well the stories in the Quran have been found to be invented or copied. More details on this on my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, the situation of Islam in North America is not good. For those who have questions, difficulties, and uncertainties, there often is no one, or almost no one, knowledgeable to talk to. Unfortunately I have noticed even on this forum (no offense intended) that personal issues may go unanswered (I myself never got a reply to an invited email). If you are about to leave Islam after many years, you are not at all alone. I am (almost) one with you. I am much older than you and was nominally a Muslim for more years, and my personal experiences with the Muslim community here in North America have been almost consistently bad. I myself am nearly on the verge of leaving Islam, and nobody seems to care.

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      1. If you are not rich, famous or successful – then welcome to the world of loneliness, no body will really care about you. I am sorry to say this but coming from another part of the West (i.e. Australia), I am one of the only white Australian converts left that is still resisting the verge of apostasy.

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    2. I’m a Muslim and i can answer your questions, you can email me dabeast4352@yahoo.com
      I’m very sorry for what the Muslim community is doing to you, I know some Arabs may be arrogant on the Muslim converts but that’s the opposite of what the prophet told us to be in Khutba el Wada’a.
      Please if you have any questions, i will gladly answer you on the email above.

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  20. This has been my experience. Alhamdulillah, I am still a Muslim, but I seriously resent the Muslim community. As a 30 something sister, marriage has been nearly impossible. After 3 years I finally got married, but the man immediately started being abusive, calling me bad names, saying I wasn’t a real Muslim because I wasn’t born Muslim, and telling me I was worthless because I wasn’t Arab or kurdish.

    The marriage was over in less than 3 months and we didn’t even live together. His behavior was so foul towards me, the imam immediately gave me khula based off of the nasty emails my husband sent me, cursing me, my family, my ethnicity (white people), you name it. Plus many, many other abusive things.

    With almost no support from the Muslim community except for wanting money for traveling shayhks and classes and charity, how do converts like me even survive without loving, supportive community?

    I feel that God is one and Muhammad was a prophet and messenger of God, but the negativity and ethnic pride of Muslims is a hard pill to swallow. Your family constantly fights to get you back, and the Muslim community has annimocity towards you (Muslim men at my employment have even spread rumors of me having sex with Muslim coworkers because according to them, no white woman would ever convert to Islam unless she was sleeping with a Muslim) which isn’t true.

    I mean seriously, how does one get past this bad behavior of the so called pious people in your community?

    I really hope Allah gives ease with these hardships. Please make Dua for me to keep me on the right path that is pleasing to God and to get the support we converts need to continue on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A bit of an old article, but I think still relevant. Yes, there is often encouragement, or even pressure (speaking from experience), to pronounce the words of the Shahada almost as if they are a magic formula. Just pronounce these words, and presto!, you are now a faithful Muslim. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way. I can speak, again, from experience.

      Long ago (more than twenty years), I was almost pressured into making the Shahada. I have been a mental patient for many, many years, and one da’ee even told me to throw away my psychiatric drugs, become a Muslim, make the salaat for a month, and then I wouldn’t need any drugs any more. Thank God I did not take his advice and throw away my antipsychotic medication, which have (literally) kept me alive and a semblance of stable.

      As for the salaat, I received almost no instruction (I even had to ask on my own how to make wudu, or I wouldn’t even have known that it was proper), and I received almost no instruction otherwise about the prayers. I admit that I personally was never able to get over the obstacle of babbling what were to me meaningless syllables in some foreign language whose meanings I could not hold in mind at the same time, so eventually I just quit trying. Considering that in the masjid there was no appreciable support for those who make “quickie” conversions, I am not at all surprised that a lot of them / us fall away.

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  21. There is no evidence from a reputable source to support this claim. This was a myth perpetrated by non Muslims following the findings of a study among a small group of reverts in CHICAGO. One city and a small sample size is utterly meaningless. Pew’s research, conducted with a far larger sample size, suggests Islam is the only faith that is growing, which should be no surprise to practising Muslims as we see people new to the faith all the time.

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    1. you purposely forgot in the pew research center they mention conversion play low role if no role of islam growth
      its the birthrate which make it growing and even that its falling faster of all religion -0.3 point against 0.1 point for christian

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  22. Assalamualaikum, I would like to ask an opinion.
    There’s this one muslim convert who says he converted since he was a child because he was adopted by a muslim father. But now he’s not practising it well. He sometimes drink and not praying regularly. Does this mean he left the fold of Islam or is he still considered a muslim after many years not practising? Does he need to retake his shahadah?
    Thank you.

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  23. Assalamualaikum
    I have one query
    If someone claims to be a muslim convert when adopted by a muslim father since child, but now the father has passed away is no longer practising well, i.e, not praying the daily prayers and sometimes still drinks, does it mean that this person is no longer a muslim or left the fold of Islam? despite still believing the Oneness of Allah? I’ve heard that those who don’t pray is considered to have left the fold of Islam. So am confused.
    Thank you for answering.

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    1. Alaikum salaam, there are of course, diference of opinions amongst Muslim scholars but the best short answer is that if a person still believes in the beliefs of Islam and still considers the salat to be a part of Islam and something they believe they should do, then they are still a Muslim. They have not left the fold of Islam. They are just Muslims who are not perfect and are lack in their faith practice. This is the condition of 99.999 percent of us.

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  24. The entire premise of the article is flawed because there is no truth to the statement that “7 out 10 reverts are leaving Islam”. This so called fact was based on a study, from a very small sample size – Muslims interviewed in Chicago in about 2009. Pew’s comprehensive study about Islam, from a massive sample size across many countries, painted a very different picture,

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/23/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/

    “The expected growth of Islam around the world is perhaps the most striking finding in the recent Pew Research Center report projecting the future of religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2010 and 2050 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.

    While the world’s population is projected to grow 35% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73% – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. In 2010, Muslims made up 23.2% of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29.7%).”

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/christians-are-leaving-the-faith-in-droves-2015-4?r=US&IR=T

    109 million are expected to leave Christianity over the next few decades and only 40 million will come into it, a swing of -69 million. 9 million will leave Islam and 12 million will come into it, a swing of +3 million. That’s not birth-rate, that’s people becoming members of the faith. Again based on the PEW report.

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    1. true but conversion plays barely a 1.5% role of this growth the birthrate is what lead the growth and it slowing down
      its also in pew research center please read everything not what you only want to see

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  25. I have been on the verge of reverting and have said shahada but want to do with someone , something for official. I am a Caucasian male livening in Philadelphia in forties covered in tattoos from a very white family and have a very hard life of drugs crime dysfunction and so forth. I have been searching my whole life to live better and find God. The last thing I would thought to stumble upon was Islam but it has and ever since hearing an azan I cannot let the thoughts keep me from wanting it, like it’s not my culture, I don’t fit in , I have no idea where to find others who reverted , even the fact that I have ruined my Muslim identity already because I have still after saying shahada months ago Iive as a non Muslim even forgetting , back n forth back n forth a struggle, reverting will most likely make me homeless in my situation and I have very little people in my life . I cannot express how bad I want this but seems out of reach , and now sadness has overtaken me as I see how badly I have lived. I know all sins are washed before reverting but what about after, can I be forgiven in my cycle of not committing not being more dedicated? Anyhow I wanted to post to say please anyone that would like to be my friend and Muslim brother or sister , please contact me.

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    1. Assalaamu alaikum. I just read your comment. Don’t fret. I am from Philadelphia but I live in california but i know a lot of goodpeople in Philly and your story is not that uncommon. You’re goo, and the fact that you believe, no one can take that away from you. If you don’t mind, I’d like to forward your information to some people. In the meantime there is a very nice Mosque in Philadelphia that I would recommend for you. In fact there are a couple but one in particular is the Bawa Muhiyyiddeen Mosque near city line ave. The Imam is Muhammad Abdul-Razzaq, he is a very dear friend of mine. I don’t know the exact address but you can google it. Go there and tell him I sent you. he will put you with the right people. Congratulations brother, and welcome to Islam. You can also contact me anytime @ imamabulaith@yahoo.com and I will always respond.

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  26. Salam Alaikum, Thank you for your article. Unfortunately, my father is now using your article as evidence that it is a terrible idea to marry a recent convert to Islam. I am 30+ years old and trying to marry, but he has convinced himself that there is a 90%+ failure rate so he is forbidding me to marry the good man who has offered me marriage. Would you please reach out to me? If you could speak or respond directly to my father perhaps that will help. He refuses to speak to anyone. JazakAllahu Khairan.

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  27. Great article, restores my faith in common sense, glad that these clueless converts are realizing how dumb this religion really is.. I reverted to atheism 15 yrs ago… Never been more happier..

    Muslims really really need to do some research and soul searching into their religion, read the haddiths and tafsirs with an open mind.

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  28. Alsalaam Alaikum wa ramotulla wa barakatu brothers and sisters
    (Though i dont feel remotely anywhere near close to any muslims).

    I reverted 4.5 yrs ago as a very strong practicing christian who was fully involved in church missions ministries groups and public address.

    When I came to Islam I went to Intro to Islam classes but the sheer lack of mature reverts made it near impossible for me to engage on a serious level with muslim ‘sisters’ most of whom are married and as I am non mahram cant be trusted around husbands etc!

    I lost my entire world my family relationships Wonderful meaningful relationships in my faith. My job became difficult, i lost income home And I even married and because both (yes twice i trusted muslim men) becauze they turned out to be liars, users, cheats MY REPUTATION is in tatters according to the local imam who asks why Can i not settle down!
    Im lonely, isolated, fumbling through my faith, ramadan and now Eid…Alone
    Ive never felt so empty and disillusioned by a population as I have done these last 4.5 years…

    I love Allah and cannot for the life of me understand why He’d pull me from a wonderful life full of faith to this lonely sad life that I have now.
    My hope is Jannah

    Like

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