I Did Not Revert

When I meet Muslim people for the first time, they invariably ask me, “When and how did you revert to Islam?”

I answer, “I did not revert. I converted many years ago while living in Saudi Arabia.”

I wish Muslims would stop using the word, “revert” in reference to someone who comes to Islam from a non-Islamic background. Oh, I get the idea…a baby is born in submission to Allah. The root word of Islam means, “submission” in Arabic, and therefore, new babies are born Muslim. Their parents intervene and put other religions into them until they grow up and “revert” to their original state of submission to Allah– Islam.

That’s like saying a lump of dough is a loaf of bread before it gets baked, but a  lump of dough is a lump of dough. It has the potential to become bread, rolls, cake, pie, cookies, or biscuits. If baked incorrectly, it can burn. If left alone, it will spoil. Babies are not Muslims. The logic is faulty and the linguistic sleight-of-hand is disrespectful to believers who follow religions other than Islam.

It’s an insult to their intelligence, and to the intelligence of those of us who convert to Islam after having been raised in other religions. I did not become Muslim because someone told me I was born “in submission to Allah” and therefore I was Muslim from the start, and now lucky enough to have discovered my true nature. That’s ridiculous. Any thinking person knows that babies are born through no will or effort of their own, therefore they’re born in response to the will of God (if you even believe in God). To imply that their parents divert them from the path to which they had been born is nothing but hubris on the part of Muslims who espouse the idea.

Besides, some of us believed thoroughly in the religion in which we’d been raised. It wasn’t “wrong”. It wasn’t “unintended.” Some of us have spent many years studying religions, and have lain awake at night pondering the qualities of God and the precepts of religion. When I accepted Islam, I did not go back to a previous state of being. I advanced into a more developed state of being, so please don’t call me a “revert.”  I am a convert. 

About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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4 Responses to I Did Not Revert

  1. Marahm says:

    I’m glad you agree. Now, I hope some Muslims would agree, and revert to the use of the correct word, “convert.” Maybe I’m making a one-person protest against “revert” but I’ll continue to make it.

  2. Good say. But I think the article should be more informative and we have to study more and more regarding the issue. A lot of Muslim Women struggling the situation like you. Allah (SWT) help all of us….

  3. Marahm says:

    Thank you for your comment, Morsheda. I am surprised to hear that a lot of Muslim women are struggling with this issue. I thought everybody had jumped on the bandwagon of “reversion.”

    What is it, exactly, that you suggest we study more about? The issue is a linguistic one and has nothing to do with the pillars of Islam.

    I will go to your link and explore the topic; I’m sure I will learn something.

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