My experiences …


My experiences of Islam started from a young age.

My mum’s brothers converted to Nation of Islam over thirty years ago, and steadily, other members of my family have embraced many different approaches and understandings of Islam.

My early years were spent in an Irish Catholic home. I was taught about Mary and Jesus (peace be upon them) and the many saints- St Francis, St Christopher, etc., but very little about God.
I remember one day, at around the age of 7 years old, telling one of my cousins that the Arabic word for God was ‘Allah’. My aunt was extremely cross with me and I got into a lot of trouble for it.

Later in my primary school age years, my best friends were a Morroccan boy and a Pakistani girl, then, throughout secondary school, my best friends were of Turkish heritage. I always felt very welcome and close to their families, which was a huge contrast to how I felt at home with my stepmother, and I spent a lot of time with them. The elders of the families always ‘salaamed’ me (said ‘AsSalaamun alaykum’ (*peace be upon you)) and taught me Arabic terms such as ‘InshaAllah’ (*if God wills), and ‘Alhamdulillah’ (*thanks and praise be to God). I also learnt a few Turkish terms- many that I can’t write here!

My dad didn’t raise us with religion. We were given a pretty free reign over most aspects of our lives, but he was very strict about certain other things- such as how we viewed and felt about ourselves, which was extremely important being mixed-race and British and growing up where we did. Education was also extremely important to him- that which we learned from books and at school, and from the ‘School of Life’- for which I will always respect him greatly and appreciate, even more so as I get older and raise my own children.

The Bible, the Quran, God, and religion in general, along with music and social issues- especially those affecting youth- have always been passions of mine. I found school very difficult around the age of 14, not because I wasn’t academic- I was very bright, according to my teachers- but it bored the life and soul out of me and I didn’t feel like I fit in at all. It was during this time that I started volunteering at youth clubs and elderly respite homes, and my passion for music was honed in on by my teachers in attempt to bring me back into school.

The rest of my life is full of ‘typical’ teenage and early-20’s ups and downs. Broken hearts, shattered dreams, changes of direction and ambitions, and then just before the start of Ramadan 2010, at 27 years old, after around 15 years of loving and believing what the Quran says, but not particularly liking the idea of being a Muslim, I took my shahada (*declaration that there is ONE God, and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God).

Nothing awful had happened in the time running up to me deciding to ‘practise’ Islam. No great tragedy. Nothing. In fact, I was really quite happy with my lot in life at that time.
I just really wanted to learn to read and pray in Arabic, so, I dropped in to the mosque at the end of my road.
The sisters there were really welcoming and it was really easy to settle in with them.
They were all so interested in hearing my story and helping me learn. I was introduced to a sister who is very active in the mosque and involved in working with reverts (*converts to Islam) in particular, and was invited to her home to learn how to make my salah (*prayer).
She was so warm and loving, the kind of person that on first meeting her, you feel as though you have always known her. She showed me how to make wudhu (*ritual washing) and ran through the basics of salah with me.
As I was leaving, her sister popped in for a visit. I was introduced to her and she immediately asked when I had taken my shahada and how I was finding things. On telling her that I hadn’t actually taken it, they were both shocked. They couldn’t understand how someone so ‘Muslim’ hadn’t taken it yet, and both insisted I say it right then and there. I was a little apprehensive, after all, didn’t God know what was in my heart? [*3:29] And it wasn’t like I was hiding the fact that I had chosen to make changes in my life. But, not wanting to offend my new sisters, I made my declaration before the two of them, and God. Then, they did one of the first things that was going to lead to me taking the path that I have chosen- they called their husbands to check if my shahada was ‘valid’, as it was made in front of female witnesses only. Their husbands said that it was ok, so I got ready to leave.  I didn’t say anything about it, just hugged and kissed them both.
When I got home, I searched on Amazon for a prayer guide book. I decided to buy one written by Louis Farrakhan, just because it had the Arabic, English and transliteration side by side and came with a cd.
I took it with me the next time I visited the mosque. The sister whose home I had visited was rather alarmed that I had this book and proceeded to warn me about avoiding sects. I explained to her my reasoning behind purchasing this particular book and she finally accepted it, but I suppose it was to be expected knowing my families ties with NOI. (My uncles, however, are no longer involved with them and haven’t been for many years.)
After a very short while, I had made some very strong relationships with sisters at the mosque and was asked to be part of a ‘revert committee’ that would help other converts settle in and teach them to pray, etc. It was whilst researching to make a booklet on salah that I had another alarm go off in my head. Running up to this time though, I was also struggling with a lot things. I took my children to school 6 miles from my house. It was winter and the bus journey took over an hour, and I was finding it almost impossible to make my 5 prayers at the prescribed times and was feeling very stressed about it. I’d also been told that I could no longer ‘hang out’ with my step-brother and should always be in full hijab in front of him, which I found ridiculous and inconvenient. Eyebrows had also been raised at the fact that I spent a lot of time with my ex-partner, and father of my two children, without a mahram (*responsible male) present, and that he and my mum’s partner are both non-Muslim. My 9 year old son (who is autistic) was also  made to feel unwelcome on the sisters floor of the mosque on numerous occassions.
I’d also been told that the Quran did not stand alone, and in order to be a true muslim and practise properly, I also had to accept hadith (*narrations about Muhammad (pbuh)), Sunnah (*ways of Muhammad (pbuh)), established from the study of the hadith, and the rulings of particular scholars. I felt totally overwhelmed by all of it, and in the meantime, the connection that I had always had with God, was growing weaker.
I started researching hadith and Quran verses for the salah booklet, and it was becoming more and more apparent that the way I was praying was not found in a comprehensive format in either of these two sources, without the consensus of one scholar or another, and within the hadith literature and writings of scholars, I was coming across things that I was really uncomfortable with.
The book was put together in the end by another sister and the revert classes began. And more and more my light was going out. I was told that my prayers were invalid if I was not correctly dressed- body completely covered, including feet- with loose fitting clothes. I often prayed Fajr (*early morning prayer) without socks and in three-quarter length pyjama trousers, so, did this mean that all the morning prayers I had made for the last 6 months were invalid? I was also told that only Arabic was to be recited. I was still learning Arabic, so often made some of my prayers in English, after all, didn’t God make all languages [*30:22], and wasn’t I supposed to know what I was reciting? [*4:43]

During the Christmas school holidays I got seriously ill with flu. It also snowed very heavily, making access to my home almost impossible. Caring for two young children in the state I was in was impossible (one night I was so bad that an ambulance had to be called, but it was difficult for them to get to me, and I refused to leave my children because of the difficulties it would cause my disabled son), so my ex moved in with us. Apart from a very kind neighbour and a sister who brought us dinner on Christmas day, I had no contact with anyone outside of our home for over 3 weeks.
During this time, my ex walked 3 miles in the snow on numerous occassions to get us groceries and medicines for myself. He watched hours of Peace TV, Human Planet and Life with me and cared for me and the children the best that he could. Even on Christmas day, when he was invited to spend time with his own family, he wouldn’t leave me. But in the back of my mind, it niggled away at me that he wasn’t ‘allowed’ to be here, but he, and my very kind non-Muslim neighbour were the only people who were there for us during this difficult time.

I found it very hard to settle back in to life at the mosque with the sisters once I had recovered, and had a great deal going on in my personal life. I became very depressed, and not knowing who to turn to, for fear of being judged and shunned, I went to visit one of my aunts. Whilst I was there, my uncle also came to visit, and he gave me a book called A Study of the Quran by M.A. Malek http://www.astudyofquran.org/web/index.php. I hadn’t told him about the internal struggles I was going through, but this book gave me all the answers I had been looking for and reignited the spark in me that had gone out over the last few months. The book discussed the many issues I had found where some sahih (*authentic) hadiths contradicted my understanding of Quran verses.
I felt a huge weight lift from me and began to look for others on the internet and Facebook, that shared similar beliefs to my own.
This, however, created new problems. I kept coming across groups that believed in the number 19 having some bearing on the understanding of the Quran and removed verses from it, others who believed that there were messengers after Muhammad (pbuh) who were to be followed. I didn’t agree with their views, but respected that they were entitled to hold them, and then, when I was just about to give up, I was invited to a Facebook group- Quranology Discussions. The discussions there blew my mind! Once again, I didn’t agree with a lot of views, but I appreciated the fact this was a safe place to discuss a wide range of beliefs and I was comforted by knowing that there are many others who have faced similar struggles to my own.

Over the last year, I have made new friends that are as dear to me as my own family. Some consider themselves muslim, others don’t. And I have a whole new way of viewing myself.

Al Haqq: The Truth
Ar Rahman: The Compassionate
Ar Raheem: The Merciful
Al Khaliq: The Creator
As Salaam: The Source of Peace
Al Wadud: The Loving

These are some of the many names of God in Arabic. Many of us, regardless of religion, believe in some of these qualities, and in striving for them.
Verse 5:69 in the Quran tells us that followers of other religions will not grieve on the Day of Judgement. Verse 18:30, and many others, tell us that the deeds of those who believe and work hard will not be wasted.

I choose to interpret God’s final message to us using the Quran, and His Signs in my environment, and within myself. This approach is commonly known as quranism, or the quranist approach. It does not mean that I am in a sect. I firmly belive that I am not to separate myself from any people, be they muslim or not [*6:159, *30:23] as God created us as one community [*2:213].  This is the approach that I feel most comfortable with.

[14:12] “Why should we not place our trust in God, when He has guided us to our paths. We will be resolute against the harm you inflict upon us. In God those who trust should put their trust.”

I have recently started working with youth again, something that I did not feel I was able to do when I followed Traditional Islam.
And I no longer feel so bad about listening to and promoting music that raises awareness of issues affecting humanity- e.g. Lowkey, Logic, etc.- something I was made to believe was not allowed.
And most of all, I feel blessed to be a woman and to know that I don’t have as many restrictions on me that I once believed I did.

These are my thoughts as of December 21 2011. Anything that is not growing and changing is dead, and so, my beliefs are subject change as I do.
[84:16-19] I swear by the glow of sunset, by the night and what it covers, by the full moon, you will progress from stage to stage.

May the peace and blessings of God be on all of His messengers, and all of us who strive for His Causes, along the many Paths He has placed us on.

Discussions about headgear


Here is a discussion in QRAC about the Hijab

Here is a discussion in QRAC about the Kufi (Skullcap)

A thread on Free-Minds about taking off the hijab

When tools fall into the wrong hands


A few days ago I found a great, easy to use program that lets you create animated videos simply and quickly. I used this software myself to make some Quranism Awareness type videos for helping to dispel the misconceptions about islam as described by the Quran, Quranism and Quranists. You can watch them here

Today I was very disappointed by what I saw in this FB group. It seems that the same program I used (“goanimate”) is being used by some Quranist Fundamentalists to monger hate and intolerance towards Traditionalists (they refer to them as “Hadithers”) and the links to their versions of the videos were posted in the said group.

It is hugely disappointing and bitterly ironic that the message of peace, tolerance and inclusiveness that the Quran teaches is found nowhere in these videos. This not only undermines the work that Quranists are doing to promote the vision of Quranism, but also creates a false first impression / perception of association or collaboration. Although Quranist Fundamentalists (QFists) are considered by Quranists to be within the description of what a quranist is (one who holds a belief that the Quran is the sole divine source of islam) this does not in any way mean that QFist views speak on behalf of Quranists or all quranists’ beliefs. To anyone who doesn’t know the terminology it might sound confusing but it is not. Basically the term Quranist Fundamentalist is a term which is described here. You can see a striking difference in the mentality and attitude of such an approach. This does not make QFists any less believers in God and the Quran and only God knows what is in the hearts. The approach of Quranists is simply not the not same as the approach of Quranist Fundamentalists. The fact that the same animation software has been used to create videos and that the Quran is being discussed in them can lead people to make false assumptions.

Basically I am saying, even though I, Asfora, made some cute animated videos which were intended to help to spread a positive and welcoming message for quranists, new muslims, reverts and converts, I do not want people to see the other videos which contain rudeness, insults and prejudice and think that I have anything to do with them or that they are videos that Quranists.net or QNet TV will ever promote.

I, as a Quranist, do not support this mentality of intolerance and hatred towards a generalized group of people. I do not support the use of vulgar and obscene language in videos which are supposed to be inviting to the path of God. I do not want to be associated with this at all. I personally find it tasteless, juvenile and disgraceful.  We are to invite to the path of God and debate in the best way. Rude, insulting, sarcastic videos only seek to repel. We need to remember to humble ourselves and purify our intentions, inshaaAllah.

It is very difficult for me to make this disassociation crystal clear if videos from the Quranist Network TV channel are being promoted on Quranist Fundamentalist sites and Youtube channels. Unfortunately there is no way to stop people adding YouTube uploads onto their channel as part of a favourites list or Playlist.  After all, people have the same right to use the software as anyone else.  I am sure there are other people using “goanimate” to make anti-islam vids too or anti-Quran vids, and if there are not yet, then there no doubt will be soon.
I trust that readers and viewers will be able to detect from the type of content contained in videos whether it is promoting a Quranist attitude or a Quranist Fundamentalist attitude, and will not conflate one with the other. And also to remember that a video on an individual’s personal Youtube Channel does not mean that the author of the video has the right to speak on behalf of the views of any group. Each person is an individual and is responsible for their own content.

I hope I have made my point clear, inshaaAllah. Any questions, comments on this, please ask in the comments below.

Special thanks also to Marisa who also made a wonderful animated video here : Telling your parents about your conversion to islam . It was a pleasure working together with you on this, maashaaAllah. And thanks also to Yasin who generously bought the upgraded version of the software for us to use.

We hope to be able to continue working together to bring more animated videos focussing on Quranism, and reverts and converts in the future, inshaaAllah. 🙂

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.

Source(s):

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.

Invitation to Quranists Converts and Reverts Support Group


Salaam Aleykum!

I am Asfora, a Revert/Convert to islam since 2006.

What I have noticed is that a lot of converts to Islam have difficulty with the contradictions of the Hadith/Sunna/traditions. Sometimes upon investigation of what the Quran says about such things, they become “quranist”, seeing as the Quran is free of all contradiction and is the Truth, the Light and the True Guidance – alhamdulillah.

I am a Quranist muslim – (a Quranist muslim is a muslim who believes that the Quran is the sole source of divine guidance) The reason why I am Quranist muslim is here :
https://quranistvoices.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/why-i-over-analyse-everything/

Since I started to identify myself as a Quranist muslim, it has been quite difficult for me to fit in to typical Traditional Muslim environments. It’s not that people are unfriendly as such, quite the opposite actually, most people I have met have been very welcoming – it’s more that they pity me or think I am misguided or that I have not learned enough about Islam yet, and keep trying to “save” me by telling me hadiths, usually the ones that contradict the Quran so it can be quite frustrating.

So I am trying to find other revert/convert muslims who have a similar mindset who would also like to have a support network, where we accept each other for who we are, appreciating the diversity of our beliefs and understandings of islam.

I have set up a FaceBook group called Quranists Reverts and Converts Support Network http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_132847503458321

Please do feel welcome to join, if you think this is something you might benefit from. And if you know a friend who you think might benefit too, please feel at liberty to invite them along too.

No offense whatsoever is intended by this message. Please do accept my apologies if this message is irrelevant.

Sending best wishes for peace and wishing you Salaam Aleykum

Asfora 🙂