It’s a stereotype which everyone holds, at least in Sri Lanka. If you revert to Islam, they say, you will revert back out of Islam. In some way I feel they say it so much that it becomes true, and as much as I would like to say “No, it does not happen”, it does. I have seen it numerous times. But why and how does it happen is the question people should be asking, but they never do.
Converting to any religion in Sri Lanka is controversial. The roots of it lies with respecting your ancestors and carrying on some made up family legacy. Personal choices in most cases do not exist. An example is how difficult it is to get married these days, it literally becomes a battle of who you want and who your family wants. With all that pressure when someone decides to change their religion and then try to make a life for themselves, there should be immense support from the by standers.
Usually when you convert your family outcasts you, so you end up alone. You find a spouse and think maybe I can finally be happy. Days go by, and issues crop up, differences in culture, habits, opinions on religion. Some cases it maybe abuse, you may feel trapped in a marriage because you have no one else. You go on, until the last drop of strength disappears. You talk to those who are most comforting to you, your family. They say you made a mistake, but it’s alright, come back now. So you do. Some where along the line you find Shaithan poisoning your mind. He tells you to hate the religion that belongs to your spouse. He tells you it’s not just their fault, it’s the religions fault. Then you find your self a reverted revert.
This scenario is what I have seen time and time again when it comes to reverts. I can’t say it’s anyone’s fault because it probably is everyone’s fault. Everyone involved made one or more mistakes along the way. But I will say that as a Muslim of 9 years, I have been disappointed at how judgemental and unhelpful the Ummah in Sri Lanka is. I’ve seen mistreatment of reverts far too much to ever feel welcomed in social situations. Not everyone is bad, there are people who will support you to the end, but the majority look at you with eyes of wonder as to when you will cease to be a revert. It’s like they are waiting for a coconut to drop, so sure it will but wondering when.
Whatever the case maybe, whether it was a reversion out of faith, or marriage. We should not judge. Allah has guided them and made that situation, it is His plan. They may remain in Islam, they may not. Allah sees all and knows all. How can we pass judgement on something He has planned? Maybe the one who converts for marriage will find Iman and Thaqwa far more than the one who converts with faith. We do not know, we can not know. I think as a Muslim our duty is to accept anyone who is interested in Islam with open arms. The rest is with Allah.
I can’t say people will never move out of Islam. There is a basket of various reasons which could lead to their decision. However I think we as Muslims should not be one reasons. Reverts are lonely, I know that from experience. If they only see Muslims treating them harshly they automatically let their image of Islam be tainted with that behaviour. Again, I know this out of experience. It takes a long time to understand Muslims practice Islam, but Islam is not represented by Muslims, the only representation of Islam should be Allah and his Prophets (Peace be upon them all).
No one chooses to convert for the fun of it, there is a thought process involved. We should respect that and try to support them with whatever they need. In most cases I think reverts just need someone to talk to, someone to say don’t worry, Allah is with you and I am also with you. All I ask of everyone who reads this is to be that someone. You would be surprised at how powerful and valuable a few lines in comment or a few minutes of words are to a revert. So let us help the reverts, remain reverts.