A few days ago, I was invited over by an Egyptian friend for dinner with his family, and a long-term friend who was willing to meet. “Lukman, will you come to have dinner and some tea with my family”, he said, and “YES”, was the answer. He lives just a few blocks away, so, I was there within a few minutes.
His friend with us had lots of questions as he was anxious to know more about me. He had learned that I was a revert from our host, Mustafa, whom I had given a copy of my book, “Truth for the Truth Seekers” (available on Amazon).
Having stated that he is aware of lots of confirmed stories of reverts to Islam, he made note of his cynicism when it comes to reverts stories; some just want to belong, others for marriage, etc. I told him that, based on my experience as the convener of the KnowIslam Project, I am cognizant of the problem and went ahead to give more insight based on a document I prepared a few years ago on reverts challenges.
People who convert and end up as apostates do so for many reasons. While it is a fact that there are cases of fake conversions (many the KnowIslam Project has exposed) as much as impostors like Imam Tawhidi, fake conversion does not account for all cases of reverts becoming apostates. Below are some reasons why converts backslide and apostate;
The Spiritual Challenge
Reverts to Islam encounter challenges regarding the fulfillment of certain spiritual aspects of Islam. This is so, because, they are coming from a religion and/or culture that may differ from that of the religion of Islam.
A Christian or Hindu who reverts to Islam may not be used to waking up as early as 5:30 AM-6 AM to observe the Fajr Salah. Completing the observance of the five daily salah may be difficult.
Also, to observe Salah, verses of the Qur’an must be recited in Arabic. A new revert would then need to learn Arabic. Even if the revert is an Arab, he or she still needs to memorize certain portions of the Qur’an
What we have done to tackle the spiritual challenge
In an attempt to tackle the spiritual challenge reverts encounter, we have been;
- Receiving books explaining different aspects of Islam from different organizations. These books are being given to the new reverts to having an understanding of the deen
- Enrolling reverts in Madrasah willing to accept them. Consequently, they learn Arabic, memorize the Qur’an and acquire knowledge regarding their faith; al-Islam
- Providing hijabs for female Muslim reverts who are willing to wear but cannot afford to buy one.
The Psychological Challenge
Being a revert can be psychologically disturbing. Life after reversion cannot be separated from rejection, dismissal, and disassociation.
There are records of reverts who have been disowned and rejected by their friends and family on account of their reversion. These reverts who have become strangers amongst their people need a family (a sense of belonging)
Reverts to Islam are most likely to need a new set of people to talk to and move with as the new revert’s moral foundation is now based on the Islamic culture, hence, a need to associate with people of his kind.
A revert mustn’t engage in the celebration of festivals of their former religion. Therefore, reverts become faced with a psychological challenge. They no longer celebrate with their family and may probably have to celebrate ‘Eid alone while others celebrate with their loved ones.
How we are tackling the psychological challenge
Knowislam.com.ng team had been working tirelessly to address the psychological challenge facing reverts. The team, consisting of a reasonable number of reverts has a proper understanding of the psychological challenge reverts encounter.
At present, we organize “Host a revert this ‘Eid” every year. We collect numbers of willing hosts and reverts willing to be hosted then connect them. This is to see that no one celebrates ‘Eid with the spirit of loneliness.
Our social media handles are also open to reverts to send messages concerning any related issue.
The financial challenge is the most common amongst reverts, especially in Africa.
Students in higher institutions are being disowned by their parents, who stop paying their tuition fees and most times, stop their feeding allowances as well.
Pastors, Bishops, and Evangelists who live in the Church are faced with a greater challenge when they find the truth in Islam and decide to embrace this path of bliss. They are threatened, dishonoured, and kicked out of the accommodation provided with Church funds.
Wives are also being divorced by their husbands following their reversion while some are sacked by their Islamophobic employers.
Our solution to the financial challenge
Over the years, we have provided financial assistance to over one hundred reverts. These assistances cover medical, educational, and accommodation expenses.
We have been able to do these by publicly raising funds on social media.
It was time to go, Zidan, Mustafa’s friend said he was inspired. It was a beautiful evening. While my experience with Mustafa and Zidan may not necessarily reflect the personality of Egyptians as a whole, yet, on account of my experience with them, Egyptians are a lovely people.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman