Reverting Reverts

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.

Peace.

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YOLO

You only live once.

As a Muslim I would say, no, no you don’t. No offence, but this statement to me is an excuse to do whatever you feel like with a fake comfort of justifying it. It lacks conviction, discipline, maturity and depth. In today’s world it’s really easy to live your life according to others, and to claim that if everyone is doing it, it’s probably ok. This statement has no religion. Whether it be reincarnation or heaven/hell, there is an afterlife in every religion which tells us that we aren’t living this life just for the mere sake of it. Whatever we do in this life will be carried forward to the next and it is our duty to ensure that our hereafter is better than this life.

I have heard so many people tell me, you get one life, make the best of it. While I admit this is a good quote for motivation, today it is seldom used for that purpose. It is used mostly to shower themselves with meaningless nights and materialistic objects. Is that really making the best of it? Einstein said, be men of value rather than of success. I believe, whatever religion you are, you are encouraged to bring value to this world. It’s not about drifting away your life with immature “I do what I want” choices. It’s about doing something good for those around you, for the world, for the future. It’s about doing something which might seem meaningless at the time but would give your soul great value.

A big part of Islam is helping the poor and doing various charity. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and look for people, you can start with your family. Charity isn’t about money, it’s also about time. How we spend our time is important. If we really only live once isn’t it even more important to spend the little time we have wisely? Isn’t it a waste to do something meaningless if we have no afterlife? If we really only get one chance shouldn’t we make it count? I might be speaking for myself but I rather spend every precious minute I have on bringing happiness to someone else than selfishly hoarding things which will never really fill me with any happiness.

I’m not asking people to immortalize themselves by doing grand things, but leave something behind which will bring happiness to the world. Do we honestly want to be remembered as people who did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or do we want to be remembered for our contribution to the world and our knowledge.

Finally, it comes to my ‘to each their own’ policy. If someone honestly believes that this is their one chance to experience every single pleasure in this world (both good and bad) then I guarantee I will not stop them. But I can’t help reach boiling point when they try to convince me that I should ‘live a little’ because ‘you only live once’.

The way I see it, this life is a stepping stone. I have to survive it to the best of my abilities and live according to the guidelines set by Allah (swt), then maybe, just maybe I’ll reach the next level, where real life will begin. Sure I’ll indulge in cotton candy and a lot of gelato on the way, but insha’allah I pray I never forget where real life begins.

Peace!

I stopped writing

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I stopped writing

I used to picture a little island that would
whisk me away for days.
I should have never stopped writing.
It is what gives me the strength to move on.
I put it aside and carried on.
I used to be scared that someone would find
what I wrote and read it.
So after a while of having a precious
writing I’d rip it up.
I was embarrassed about some of the ways
that I felt, Ashamed.
My paranoid feelings made me put down
My Pen and Pad.
So I stored my emotions in the back of
my head.
Rigorously they built up in my brain
until it was too late to realize.
I held in so much pain.
Only to have my conscience haunt me and
by not writing, delete me.

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I Will Not Break

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Sticks and stones,
I will not break.

Blood and sweat,
I will not break.

Discrimination and condemnations,
I will not break.

Exclusion and ill treatment,
I will not break.

Hardship and loneliness,
I will not break.

Tears and betrayal,
I will not break.

Hurtful words and looks
I will not break

I am a mother, wife, sister and daughter,
I will not break.

I am a Muslim, Sinhalese and Sri Lankan,
I will not break.

Do your worst,
By the will of Allah I will never break.

Ramadan is Coming!

I honestly haven’t felt this in a couple of Ramadans now but with Sha’ban approaching, I’m starting to feel the little bubbles of excitement, Ramadan is near!

I love Ramadan so much! I really can’t stress than enough. Once again this time I’m determined to make it better than ever. I have a little toddler running around this time but that just means I need early preparation.

I want to cleanse myself as I always do during Ramadan and I want to try to improve myself, hopefully revert back to what I was before these two years. I want to be happy and I don’t think anything makes me as happy as Ramadan.

Insha’allah! this Ramadan I shall come back!

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I Will Not Make Him Choose

I’ve always told myself I would never make my Husband choose between me and his family. Simply because that’s what they did, and it’s obvious what they did was unfair. I don’t want to be that, I don’t want to make him go through something like that again, especially knowing how hard it was on him the first time.

I keep trying to revert back to how I was three years ago when life was so good, I felt so spiritually connected and I could call myself a Muslim with out a shred of doubt. I think what I hate the most is how much all this has changed me. I am no longer nice, even when I try to be. I don’t like it but it’s like every time I try to get back to how I was and I get a glimpse of life before, I spend 3 hours with them and I lose it all.

I feel so stripped of my identity. I just go in to a house, sit like a doll with a smile. I watch for body language and sudden movements to know if I am suppose to stand, sit, eat, drink. I don’t talk. I am barely acknowledged. I feel invisible, like I am nothing. I don’t really do anything but watch my child move about but when I get home I feel so exhausted! I literally jump right in the shower because I am always so angry and then so sad and hurt, I don’t even know how to make sense of it all. In the end I end up slightly resenting my Husband for making me visit them.

It’s not his fault, he can’t control any of it no matter how much he wishes he could, but as much as my mind knows that, my heart just fails to comprehend. Since I can’t really speak to any of them I end up telling my Husband all my grievances, and naturally he gets defensive since after all he can’t do anything about it.

I want to be a supportive wife and do the right thing but it’s been one and a half years and honestly about 90% of my head is saying “there is no point to this!”. Each time I mentally prepare myself but there is always nothing for me to be happy about. I wish after all this time I could be happy that they at least responded to my Salam, but they do that to a Muslim shop keeper! Am I really not above a random shop keeper? Apparently not…

So yeah…

I will not make him choose. I will grit my teeth and keep trying, until I have to choose myself over them. I hope Allah gives me enough strength to not have make that choice, and if I do then I pray he lets my Husband understand my feelings.

Peace!