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What Did I Learn From the Reverts?

“Mühtedi” is a word that means a person who has been guided. It is a word used for people who embraced Islam as an equivalent of the English words “convert” or “revert”. In this article, I shared what I learned from working with reverts on the A New Person project. It is refreshing to listen to people who set out on a journey of search and feel content with where they arrived. Reverts are people who start a new page in their lives and are full of a sense of renewal in every aspect, so what they say can sometimes be the points that we have become blind to in our habits. In this sense, listening to them reminded me especially of the sincerity, being in search, and being close to the Quran, as well as allowing me to see the problems they experience.

 

One of the first things that came to my mind without even needing to look at the notes I took from the interviews was the message of reverts about preserving good intentions and being in search with sincerity. Many converts, when asked for advice, reminded that those who want to find the right path should keep their hearts at ease. When I think about our Creator, whose mercy encompasses everything, I can’t imagine him not guiding the servants who really want to reach Him, pray and try. This was the point emphasized by the reverts and I found it very encouraging, because sometimes we can feel that no matter how hard we try, we cannot be tranquil and we cannot earn the pleasure of God.

 

“Trust yourself because we are all given the heavenly nature which directs us to the truth.”[1]

 

Another point that I noticed among the reverts was a misunderstanding that they were going through. A revert said in an interview that people treated them like scholars, expected a lot from them and could pressure them. At this point, perhaps it would be beneficial to remember that they are also human beings like Muslims who are born into the faith, they just learn their religion from scratch at a certain age. This is a decision that a Muslim can also make. Finding religion “late”, having the chance to compare it with its absence; these can make converts cling more to their religions. However, these do not make them superior to born Muslims and it does not mean that born Muslims can never have taqwa[2] as much as reverts do. I believe this misunderstanding is a crucial issue.

 

Finally, I want to touch on the matter of becoming friends with the Qur’an. If I were to piritiz these points, I would put this one at the beginning, but by putting it at the end I hope that it stays in your mind. When learning a new religion, reverts spend so much time with the Qur’an because it is the most basic source that they can trust. Without exception, every revert in the interviews recommend that we include the Qur’an in our lives. In Turkish tradition, the Qur’an has become a book that is read on certain days, and the culture makes us perceive the practice of starting the day with reading Qur’an, studying the Qur’an, and studying tafsir[3] as something that only experts can do. However, at this point, I think we should stop looking for someone to blame and make the Qur’an, which is a guide to life and the words of God, a friend that we frequently come into contact with. I believe that the stories of reverts serve as a good reminder and motivation on this topic, and I want to end this writing with a beautiful quote from Ms. Lauren Booth:

 

“When you speak to Allah every day, everything makes  sense. You will know why you’re here, where you go next, and how to make things better inshallah.”[4]

 

[1] Abu Hakeem Maeno, one of the reverts that we interviewed.

[2] Piousness

[3] Detailed explanation and interpretations of the Holy Qur’an.

[4] Lauren Booth, one of the reverts that we interviewed.