What you need to know before converting to islam

There was a recent question on Yahoo Answers :

“As a woman what do I need to know about converting to being muslim?

I am currently christian and have been all my life. I’m willing and ready I just do not know were to start although I must admitt that im alittle worried about the reaction of others about my decision.”

My reply:

Salaam Aleykum – Peace be upon you! I am a muslim Convert. I would say one of the things I think people should be aware of before they convert to islam is that there are many different approaches to islam. Traditional Islam, for example, is not based solely on the Quran. I am a Quranist muslim which means I believe the Quran is the sole divine source of islam. The likelihood is, when you convert to islam, if you do, inshaaAllah (God Willing) is that you will be taught Sunni Islam (Traditional Islam, Mainstream Islam)
You might want to find out more about Hadiths and their origins, and not just their authenticity but also what authority they hold in islam not only from Traditionalist point of view but try to also find out what the Quran itself says about Hadiths. You can use an online Quran and do a search for the word “hadith”.
Unfortunately Islam is being sold as a package deal these days. To be considered a “valid” muslim you cannot accept just the Quran on its own, you must accept all the hadiths too. If you reject the hadiths, this is quite a big deal and you may find yourself made to feel “outside” the fold of Islam. There are a lot of hadiths which do not contradict the Quran and which DO have their basis in the Quran – it’s likely you will be taught these first. The problem is that the hadiths sometimes contradict each other and often either have no basis in the Quran or even in some cases contradict the Quran.
The good news is that there are many muslims including a very high percentage of converts that think ex-communication is an unfair way to treat sincere believers who also believe that the Quran is the Holy Word of God and that the hadiths, whilst a rich source of information, are not divinely inspired. Should you decide to follow a more Quranist type approach, you would be very welcome to join the Quranists Reverts and Converts Support Network on Facebook . I would recommend giving the Sunni approach a trial first though so you can have first hand experiences of the teachings of Traditional Islam. Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of good in Sunni islam as well as in Shia islam, and most of the followers of the Traditional kind that I have ever met are sincere friendly honest kind and good people. May God guide you (inshaaAllah – God Willing) and make your journey pleasant and rewarding. God Bless.


About Quranists.net

This section explains who we are as an association. Since there are numerous misunderstandings that we are a sect, we will attempt to correct that with the articles below. Who are Quranists? Please read below:

1. Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’ by Farouk A. Peru

2. An Analysis of Quranist Fundamentalism by Farouk A. Peru

3. Quranism: The Metaphor of the House by Farouk A. Peru

4. Quranists: Between Reading and Interpretation by Farouk A. Peru

5. Submitters and Quranists by Asfora

6. Quranism is not a Sect ! Here is Why by Farouk A. Peru

7. Justifying the Quranism / Quranist labels by Asfora

8. Quranism and Traditionalism: Not Mutually Exclusive! by Farouk A. Peru

9. Who are the Real Sectarians? by Farouk A. Peru

10. A Quranist’s Response to the term “Hadith Rejector” by Asfora

11. “Quran Alone-ism” and Quranism by Asfora

12. Multiple Paths to Salvation by Darcus

13. The Deceptive “Just Muslim” Label by Farouk A. Peru

14. Who is a Kaafir? by Kashif Shahzada

Marrying a Revert

Here is a question about Marrying a Revert on Yahoo Answers

This is the question:

I want to marry a ” reverted to islam ” girl ?

i am a muslim guy and i always had a dream of marrying a ” revert to islam ” girl from another culture for so many reasons , i believe that reverted are the most believer of islam , i envy them , sure iam grateful to God i was born as a muslim but i see that reverted had the chance to choose they leave there old life and pay a high cost and face alot of Obstacles in there way to become a muslim , i know its a very great feeling to choose islam and work for it , i wish i was reverted and choose islam by myself , but iam grateful to god for what iam anyway ,also as i can see from few friends its the best to have a Partner from another culture , the relationship is very very richso my question is : my dream is that i want to marry a reverted girl from different culture but it seem that it is diffcult to meet and know anyone in my country as i live already in a muslim country ” Egypt ” , i think it the time to marry now , so do i keep looking for what i want or i just stop looking and just marry a muslim girl from my country ?

also am i wronge and shallow in this thinking ? to put these rules in my searching ? or iam right to try to find what i dream of ,what i want and what i see it the best or me or what ?

what do u think ? also if u have any ideas about where i can meet reverted girl tell me ?

My reply:

Salaam Aleykum
There are thousands of Reverts and Converts to Islam. You just have to know where to look! One of the risky things though about Reverts / Converts is that they are undergoing an intense spiritual journey and learning about Quran and Islam. The danger of studying the Quran is that it highlights how much out of sync SOME OF the hadiths are with the Quran. This inevitably leads to the Revert being very wary of hadiths in general and wanting to verify their authenticity and authority. When they study the Quran, this leads to them having some insight about islam as described by the Quran itself which may appear to be VERY different from Islam taught in some Traditional circles which is often very much hadith based. So if you have your heart set on marrying a revert, you may wish to consider finding out more about the Quranist approach to islam which is one of the naturally preferred approaches for Reverts and Converts AFTER they have become disillusioned with contradictions and dogma within Traditional Islam. No offense intended. Just trying to give the best advice I can, inshaaAllah, speaking as a Quranist Revert myself. (I am already married btw) Also bear in mind possible language barriers and / or possible differences in culture, if the revert is from a different country. It may seem exotic at first but once the novelty wears off, you may find it difficult to bridge the gaps. If you meet someone, who fills the criteria of being a Revert Muslimah, be honest, sincere and realistic about your expectations of her as a future wife and find out hers about you as a future husband. Be very aware that Reverts (new ones especially) on a spiritual journey may not yet have settled into 1 closed set of defined beliefs and may still be seeking the truth and their beliefs can evolve with time. Changes of beliefs even though they still believe in the Quran and 1 God does not mean they will always conform to what YOUR personal interpretation / understanding / expectation of what Islam is. InshaaAllah you will have many very deep, philosophical and thought provoking discussions with your bride-to-be. I wish you all the best and much happiness inshaaAllah.

An Afternoon with Kashif Ahmed Shehzada

I think in life, there are only a few occasions when you can say ‘so and so changed my life’ and really mean it. For me, one of these few people was Kashif Ahmed Shehazada. During my early years as a Quranist, it was Kashif who helped introduce me to the world of quranism . Kashif was one of those rare individuals whose mastery of the Quran is rare …and dazzling.

After 8 years, I was fortunate enough to meet with Kashif this afternoon at Regents Park masjid. Of course, like the tafseer-hungry geezer that I was, I immediately sought for the latest insight into the stories of the Quran. The ‘inner meanings’ as it were. I guess this was a throwback from my Ibn Arabi admiring days. Kashif as usual suprised me. Instead of giving me what I asked for, he instead asked if I was governing myself by the ayat. That is, was I living by the signs of Allah and achieving salam? A good question indeed. This is the quality of Kashif, to point you to what matters , that is your salvation. Intellectual exercises must be secondary to this.

As if that wasn’t enough, out of nowhere there came a detractor. A person who overheard our conversation and decided that it was time to correct our view that in fact, Islam did spread by the sword. Kashif displayed great patience with the man and deftly overturned his arguments. I don’t know if the chap will abandon his Sunnah inspired imperialistic ambitions but at least he was reminded of some very merciful acts of the Prophet from Hadith literature.

We also had some friends of the Christian faith drop by. They were friends of Kashif and followed his interfaith work closely. I was very enthralled by the conversation and how we can work closely together to promote humane religion and overcome fundamentalism on all levels. Great hope ahead.

I must say, I hope it will not be another 8 years before I see Kashif again….

Need a fatwa?

Some recent discussions of Facebook reminded me of a blog entry by RP, The Concept of God in the Quran (intro):

“Well, religious individuals forbid all sorts of things – especially every-day requirements. There is no way to follow all these laws without a major heartbreaking sacrifice: the sacrifice of oneself. Everything becomes a sin. Small issues become major sins. The wars, the slavery, the patriarchy system. All these are things that can easily be justified in the name of God. People’s love for Allah can be used.”

The heartbreak is something many of us who were traditionalists would have felt at some point. One that stands out for me was deleting my entire mp3 collection! Yes, I smiled through the pain and convinced myself that this was indeed an act of piety and God may be pleased with me as a result. And I could list countless other things that secretly distressed me in the pursuit to be closer to God.

Why do people do this? Unfortunately, the slogan “Islam is a way of life” is rendered by traditionalist classical scholarship to mean that every facet of life has an “islamic ruling” to go with it. Islam is thus a universal acid, burning through everything and leaving nothing untouched. It means that scholars are on constant standby, ready to tell you the correct way to behave in any given situation. So sincere, energetic, and concerned muslims are conditioned to believe that they must search for the correct ruling for everything they do. I always found it upsetting when I’d go onto an islamic forum and find girls asking, “is it okay if I pluck my eyebrows?”, only to be met with a barrage of fatwas saying it is haram and the behaviour of a whore. Sad.

Does the quran suggest that everything in life has a ruling from Allah and His messenger? The quran is a book of finite text, so obviously it cannot contain detailed step-by-step instructions for every possible situation life throws at us. So then does it say that we should search and derive rulings for everything from the quran to be made binding upon us? I believe the issue is explicitly addressed in the following verse:

5/101 O you who believed! Do not ask about things [ashyāa], if made clear [tub’da] to you, (may) distress you [tasu’kum]. And if you ask about it when the quran descends [yunazzalu l-qur’ānu], it (will be) made clear [tub’da] to you. Allah pardoned [ʿafā l-lahu] regarding it, and Allah is oft-forgiving, forbearing.

The verse seems to condemn the prevalent culture in traditionalism of incessantly looking for rulings for absolutely everything. It is ironic then, that in their desire to be pious, traditionalists manufactured divine rulings for everything only to fail to live by all of them, thus manufacturing their own disobedience! The verse says that if you have a question that is worthy of God’s explicit instruction, He would have given a clear answer in the quran. If one reads the quran and does not find an explicit ruling/instruction, then he is left to his intellect and moral compass.

All those women who are concerned about plucking their eyebrows should take heed of this verse. Read the quran and see if Allah cares about what you do to your eyebrows. If you find He hasn’t said anything, then do not ask for a ruling, because a ruling will only cause you distress if it doesn’t match your desire. Instead, use your intellect.

The above verse also implies something else (at least to me): that nothing in the quran should cause you distress. Allah has made everything in the quran clear, which answers all of our questions needed to be moral and upright beings:

12/111 Verily there is in their stories [qasas] a lesson for people of understanding. It is not a narration [hadith] invented, but a confirmation of which was before it and a detailed explanation [tafsila] of all things [kulli shayin] and a guidance and mercy for a people who believe.

5/101 says that there are things that if made clear, may distress us. Which means that the things that have been made clear (i.e. in the quran) should not distress us. This gives credence to the quranists approach to the quran, which is to examine things that seem questionable and not entirely in-tune with our moral compass. Our innate sense of morality and the teachings of the quran should be in sync with each other.

Why do People Leave Islam?

Asked Renae today in QRAC. Sure people can lose faith from being turned off from hadith and even the Quran. But really, who knows what goes on in someone’s heart.

Renae’s First True Connection.

It makes me very heartened to hear stuff like this. It was on QRAC by Renae, she said: so today by the grace of Allah I made my first connection in Qur’aan by myself! Thanks God! I always wondered what it meant when Allah tells us that People of the Book “killed Prophets” because I know Jesus was not killed, so it couldn’t be him …then today I read verse 3:81 and it says how… “…of KILLING the Prophets by defying of right…” 183 and 184 of the same chapter are further proof that “killing” is indeed rejecting or forgetting what they came with… subhan’Allah.

My comment: I do believe it’s connections like these which keep us on the path. May Renae get many more of these , and may we all get them too 🙂

Meaning vs Metaphor

As Quranists, many of us were often accused of taking the Quran to an excessive, over-metaphorical level. You would think this accusation came from anti-Quranic (and NOT Sunni, Shitte of other) parties, yet instead it came from fellow Quranists who first refused the name at the time Farouk was launching the website and forum (www.quranists.net)!

I can hardly say I’m religious in the terms of organized religion. My belief in God is still natural rather than based on a sacred text, which is safe for now. I figured that before reading the Quran again, I had to establish a mechanism, a way, a more appropriate language than the currently dealt-with Arabic, and a new (yes! brand new) mentality… and probably more age since I doubt my brain is developed enough for all this.

Many things in organized religion never appealed to me. The constant call for rituals that I did not understand (although I don’t deny the beauty of rituals), the unnecessary-seeming Quranic details (for example, why it was so important to say that Abraham offered his Angelic guests roasted beef, or why Moses was traveling with a Whale, he lost for some reason etc), and the constant call for fundamentalism – all these seemed of no value whatsoever.

So, many Quranists began to question these details. They were NOT questioning Allah SWT, and NOT questioning the validity of the Quran, but they were questioning the Quranist-Traditional (which Farouk might like to call QFists) understanding of Quranic verse.

Based on many Quranists challenging the current “silly” (oh, yes it is silly!) understanding of many well-known Quranic verses, other fellow Quranists accused them of exaggerating in extracting a metaphorical, symbolic, “wider” meaning, and by that “drifting away” from God, trying to “make our life easier by eliminating rituals”.

What is worse that all this is that these Quranists deny the title and study approach “Quranist”, prefer to be called on Muslims AND call any those who have tried to think harder, dig deeper and find another way “Quranists”, and by that refusing us, dividing the ummah on a mini-scale on the internet. I have absolutely no issue with people calling themselves “Muslims”. That is simply beautiful and up to them, but to entirely separate themselves from those who seek a wider Quranic meaning (which doesn’t include all Quranists) in the name of God? Why, any 17-year-old can spot the intolerance there!

In response, many Quranists stood up to say, “Yes, we do take the Quran metaphorically and we believe many verses were meant to be understood metaphorically!”

Here is where I highly disagree. There is no “metaphorical” meaning, but the words are deeper and have more angles than we assume. We’re not trying to find a metaphorical meaning in the Quran, but we’re trying to find the actual meaning!

Once you reach the point of realizing Salaat cannot be a ritual, you start wondering what ablution is for. Then you follow a trace, and you discover that “ablution” has much greater angles. Later on, you discover that the “whale/hoot” means something “unstable” and that this instability would visit The People of the Sabbath on the Day of “Sabbath” – the Day of “Rest” when they are under-equipped and unprepared for trouble.

I doubt the Quran is a life schedule, but it’s a grand philosophy by which Allah teaches those who seek guidance the means to patience, balance, “prayer” and life.

Traditional Islam created a whole new language called “al-mustalahat ash-sharia”, where (ironically) every Arabic word connected or found in the Quran has a “sharia” meaning and an “actual” meaning. For example, “safira” is a word Islamists use to describe an “exposed” hijabless woman, but they don’t tell you how it’s from the same root as the word “safar” which is found in the Quran,  roughly translated as “traveling”. Now, everything has a twisted sharia meaning to fit into a religion that aims to drown you in sunnah details of eating with your right hand and entering the bathroom with your left foot.

I highly disrespect those who say Quranists joggle with root words (as if it’s a sin to brush up on our Arabic!). They would tell me the Quran is easy to understand which to them means that words have a limited range of meanings as long as the majority of translators agree to deliver to us, (good enough for any mediocre thinking style), EVEN if these words were based on hadith, historical sources and other things they themselves consider to be “dogmas”. Due to this faulty understanding of the Quran, they themselves end up relying on outside sources to complete their religion, such as using a calendar to know when Ramadaan is, although we made that calendar with our own hands.

God’s word is clear. Sure, but do your eyes know clarity? Are you not looking through the eyes of traditional, intolerant, “ban-thinking” people?
– Take the word “nisa'” for example, which, root-wise, has nothing to do with women! Can you find anyone who ever translated “nisa'” as anything beside “women”?

– Take the word “rajeem” (a word used in the Quran to describe the Devil) that everyone flipped from “the oft-banishing” to “the banished one”.

– Take how “fatayat” and “banat” are both translated as “daughters”, or how both “zawj” and “imra’a” are both translated as “wife”.

– Take how Satan is The Devil although the two concepts are different and featured separately in the story of Adam.

– Take how “jald” could mean many other things beside flogging and whipping.

– Take how Sujjud (prostrating) does not fit as “physical prostration” in many verses and means “submission” at the same time. Do you see how many people are afraid to give up the meaning stuck in their head (that sujjud is about kneeling and lowering your forehead to the ground) although it doesn’t always fit?

Understanding God’s word cannot and will not happen overnight. It’s a life-long journey of giving and taking.