You are now feeling tranquil with Islam as your religion and your way of life. You are now obligating yourself to Allah The One. The reason behind your reversion may vary — you fell in love with a Muslim man or woman, your heart was touched by the virtuous deeds towards you by the Muslims, or you were a seeker of truth — but still, you have gone through a lot to reach where you are today.
The alienation and hostile reactions that you receive from the public or your own family members regarding your change in religion are expected. However, the conjecture differs depending on your geography. While at some places the change of religion is viewed as betraying the hereditary culture, at other parts of the globe it is considered as a threat to national safety.
Due to the 9/11 incident, the prejudiced perception has been invigorated further in this millennial age. The fear of Islam — Islamophobia — the religion that promotes terrorism has now spread across a lot of countries. Even the born-Muslims are inescapably affected by this pandemic, not just the newly-reverted Muslims like you. Perhaps, you are being antagonised even more because of it since they perceive you as making a wrong choice in your life.
For the reverts, Islamophobia is an added unwanted challenge for them as they are currently struggling to cope with their new life and having a lot to learn about their new religion. While they may have expected some opposition and estrangement for their choice from their surrounding before this, they are certainly not prepared and properly equipped (with knowledge) yet to face such disturbing allegations about their own religion from global-scale foes that aim to tarnish this pristine faith of theirs.
What more, the narration seems to tell that their newly-embraced religion is bad and they have made a great mistake in choosing it as a way of life.
On the other hand, there are some who embraced Islam because of their initial intent of digging out supposedly ugly truths about Islam and their Islamophobia crusade have instead brought them to the real truths about this peaceful religion. Ironically, the public phobic itself brought them to the actual, untainted truth about Islam.
So, what is it that actually gave them the strength and serenity in persevering with the path of Islam despite all the chaos created around them? The answer: they found a clear and unobstructed view of the actual stance of Islam on terrorism.
What does Islam say?
To calm you down, first and foremost, you are not converted to a terrorist just because you have now embraced Islam.
Islam is peace.
Islam: the name itself originates from the Arabic word ‘Salama/Aslama’ which means peace, purity, submission and obedience. Truly, that is what Islam is all about: to bring peace to the world by submitting to Allah’s ordained way of life.
In addition to that, the approach that is used to bring people to Islam is also on the basis of peace. To prove this, you could review the history of the Prophets before Prophet Muhammad PBUH, as it has been revealed in the Quran. You could personally verify their peaceful way of inviting people to Islam.
“We have sent you forth (O Muhammad) as nothing but mercy to people of the whole world.” (al-Quran 21:107)
Alas, it is mostly the people opposing the Prophet that returned the peaceful call to the truth with violence and intimidation.
Accordingly, one should find it illogical that the religion of Islam established on the foundation of peace would promote the believers to do grievous harms to others.
The history of Islam is one that is rich with wars and battle (but it does not mean they were all started by the Muslims)
Badar, Uhud, Tabuk, Ahzab, Khaybar, you name it. There are so many battles and wars recorded in the history of Islam, and this led to the belief that they are encouraged by the teachings of Islam.
But hold on to your horses. For 13 years during the early age of Islam in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims had to bear with unbearable prosecution by the non-believers without a fight. Some of the Companions even asked the permission of the Prophet to fight back, in which he replied,
“I have not given permission to fight.”
After the Hegira (migration) of the Muslims to Madinah, the non-believers of Makkah gathered an army and pursued the Muslims to Madinah to finish them off. Finally, the Quran revealed the consent to fight back, on the basis of defending themselves from the attack.
Islam promotes Jihadists?
The Muslims are not proud of battling the non-believers with swords. Indeed the Islamic term Jihad is being misunderstood nowadays. Jihad does not mean “to wage holy war,” “to kill the infidel,” or “to commit terrorism as some people put it.
Jihad, in fact, means to struggle or strive, as in you “struggle” in doing your revision to score in the examination.
In Islamic history, jihad was about the struggle to be firm in their faith despite being alienated and persecuted by the people around them.
Jihad, back then, was about the effort to share the peaceful message of Islam even though they were met with obscene and hateful words.
So, what is the greater jihad, according to Islam? It is the struggle against oneself, to do good as what Allah has decreed and to prevent from doing His prohibitions. A struggle to be a better person that gives benefit to the society.
A struggle to refrain from doing sins, including killing people.
However, when a Muslim is persecuted or oppressed, it is the duty of a Muslim to fight back or to come to the rescue of another Muslim. Self-defence should not be construed as terrorism.
If we take a moment to think about the pain and severity faced by the Muslims during the early age of Islam, it is mindblowing (no, not literally) to fathom the decision of Prophet Muhammad to give pardon to the people of Makkah, the non-believers included.
The Prophet returned their evil deeds with forgiveness, beholding the power of peace and kindness. He taught us to manifest the peaceful spirit of Islam at all times, the benevolent religion of Allah which you are currently embracing right now.
Today, chaos reigned throughout the world, and the peace of Islam has been deliberately tainted. Agents are appointed to portray the wrong understanding of Islam, driving people further away from knowing what Islam is truly about. News and media are falsely influencing public opinions, hence it is for us to be selective and verify the things we read in the media.
And you, yes YOU, are our hope for the religion. Not just the reverts, but the born-Muslims included. While the former group possess great internal strength when they made the decision to choose to revert to Islam despite knowing the repercussions of their choice, the latter group has a different kind of advantage in the form of accumulated knowledge about Islam due to earlier exposures on Islam that they have received throughout their entire life.
It is the responsibility of all of us to tell the world — peacefully — that Islam is not a religion that promotes terrorism. The world has to realise that the parties who push the identity of terrorism to Islam are the real terrorist themselves.