Sunday, December 30, 2007


Almost all Muslims admit that revert Muslims are more 'true' Muslims than born Muslims. This may be because reverts get interested in knowing about Islam with questions being born in their minds which born Muslim apparently lack. How can a born Muslim have a motivation to know Islam more deeply?

I have heard some Muslims say this before and I think what they are referring to is that Reverted Muslims tend to all have one thing in common, the need to know the truth about Islam and the desire to learn as much as they can about their ‘deen’. Reverts are often the type of people who break away from the rest of the pack regardless of the difficulties to themselves provided it’s what feels right.

To study Islam, to become a Muslim is a very different way of life but one that is fully embraced by the Revert type. Once we learn about Islam we are in love with our faith and Allah (swt) and with this comes strength. I’ve come to believe that the born Muslims who are not as committed to their faith are much like some westerners who are distracted by the material world and events in their life that take from what is truly important. They have come to take their religion for granted and the desire to learn about Islam has all but disappeared. Sometimes even mixing their culture with Islam and not even knowing that at times it vastly contradicts the Qur’an and Sunnah.

There are some who have said that they have become inspired by Reverted Muslims and have rediscovered their faith after having them in their lives. It comes down to rediscovering this amazing religion; the words of Allah (swt) are there for us in the Holy Qur’an, the words of Allah (swt)!!! Do you understand what I’m saying?

I honestly can’t get over it, at times; these are the words of our creator, the Magnificent, and the Merciful. Stop, and take the time to understand that there truly is a creator, He has given us life, He has given us all that we see, feel, and love. WE exist because of HIM. Stop, and consider what we know. We know that Allah (swt) is real, that He does exist, we know that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the true messenger and last of the Prophets of our Lord. We know that all that he recited to bring forth the Qur’an is true and are the words of Allah (swt). This is a way of life, a message given to us to change our ways, to be the best we can be, to find peace, to end suffering, to fund the poor, to shelter the old/widowed/orphaned, to be loved and to love, to live in a diverse community of Muslim men and women finding unity within our common goals, a guideline has been laid out for us.

All of this is there in front of us, just stop and look and understand the truth. Stop and say, 'Lord! Increase my knowledge', as it is the key to a just and fulfilling life in this world. Take the time to learn more about Islam and keep those who are pious and truth seekers near your side. The more you discover, the closer you become.

Well, now something more about your website.

When researching about Islam, I did not find a lot of sites that fit all of my needs as a revert. I wanted a place where I could find it all in one. This is when I began to think about creating ' ''. I felt there was a need for an uplifting and encouraging and resourceful site for new reverts; a place to learn the truth about Islam in a comfortable setting; a place where you can learn the fundamentals of Islam, to learn how to pray, to live as a Muslim should live on a daily basis.

Being a web designer I also had the erg to create a place on the Internet that would be resourceful; a place that would encourage new reverts. I wanted a place that was appealing not only for Reverted Muslims but also for born Muslims. My goal was not only to have reverts unite but to help encourage unity within the Shia Muslim community.

Soon, Revert Muslims along with an on-line forum was born. The forum proved to be helpful for those needing support and the resources began to build. So far we are pleased to say the growth is most impressive and each month we find hundreds more who visit Revert Muslims from around the world. We share our stories, similar paths and the same goals.

As a revert website we have a great responsibility to help guide those newly converted to the truth. The larger our on-line community grows, the larger our Shia community grows. It’s so nice to meet so many kind and faithful Muslims through our site. I have had so many e-mails from so many who are finding their way to Islam and are looking for support. Insha'Allah Revert Muslims will continue to offer the support they need.

I do my best to be a good Muslim, a good human being. I do my best to give back as Allah (swt) has given me so much in my life. My goal is to work for Islam as much as possible in an effort to bring unity and understanding.

How do Sunni Muslims, especially reverts, react to your website? How do you interact with them?

I have not had any bad reactions from any Sunni Muslims on the site or forum. They come and add their remarks and to my surprise have even pointed reverts to the website from their own sites. I have had the occasional Internet hacking problem that may be brought on by people not wishing for the site to exist but so far nothing too serious. We did have someone recently post offensive material but we quickly removed it and I am not sure who it was or what religion they may have been. I wish to show tolerance for the different views and my hope is that when they visit they will see the truth.

Many Reverted Muslims become Sunni first because they often live in a predominant Sunni community and are steered that way. They are sometimes moved further away when they are shown the common misconceptions of Shia and they are then discouraged to learn about the sect. I feel confident that the Sunni or the Muslims who have not yet found their way will learn the truth when they visit the site and Insha’Allah will change their path. I recently received a nice email from a fully Reverted Muslim family from Sunni to Shia and they were so pleased to find our site and were enthusiastic and thrilled to be able to talk to others who have also discovered the truth. I have come to talk to born Sunni Muslims who reverted to Shia Islam and they speak much the same way as Reverted Western Muslims. When Allah (swt) wishes to guide you, you are filled with the desire and passion to learn more and to become closer to Allah (swt). Alhamdulillah.

Have you ever made a pilgrimage to Hajj? What about Mashhad?

I have not yet had the opportunity to do the pilgrimage to Hajj or to Mashhad, but it is something I feel strongly about doing. I am already so moved and touched by all that I learn of Islam and the Ahlulbayt. To actually walk on the footsteps of the Prophet (pbuh) in Medina and Mecca or to touch the walls of the Shrine of Imam Reza, Mashhad would be a humbling experience to say the least. I’m sure I would be moved to tears and overcome with joy and sorrow both. I am not one of much money and so this trip will likely be in the very far future but Insha'Allah it will happen before I leave this world.

Please tell me more about your upcoming series for Ashura.

Without revealing too much about the technical side to my series of artwork, before it’s showing, I will do my best to give you the feel of it because this is what truly matters when it comes to art. First I’d like to mention I have been studying Islamic Art for the past few years and I have enjoyed viewing the geometric Art, Architecture and Calligraphy created by many Muslim artists over the centuries, such intricacy and talent with such accuracy is most impressive. I’ve always been into the arts and so I studied under a Montreal Concordia University Art Professor for four years.

When discovering Islam it was natural for me to also learn as much as I could of the Art History of Muslims. I found I could not find much contemporary work that I felt would be expressive of Islamic art with techniques of our times.

When reading the stories of Karbala I often found them accompanied by the same artwork images that have been telling the story, effectively, of the battle for many years. Although I find much of it very well done and very telling I was struck with the thought that I was not seeing anything new and so I was then inspired.

The battle of Karbala, ‘the everlasting stand’ is an old story but one that we replay each year and one that I wish to reveal by a new method. I will be presenting a series that is visually abstract but emotionally moving. The ten pieces will be approximately 8 feet by 4 feet wide on Mylar (a flexible, semi–transparent material). I chose to use this material so that the works can easily be transported for exhibition as well as the fact that it suits the tactile surface I will need to represent the work as I envisioned it. I want the works to be touched as well as viewed, to enhance the viewers experience and to bring them closer to the piece. Their size alone will help the viewer understand the impact of this event on history. The ten pieces of art will be a mixed media adding textures and sound that I hope will allow the viewer to experience the past and encourage them to learn more. My goal is that you walk into this room and feel the air of Karbala, the mood is set, I wish to grab the emotions of the viewers and Insha’Allah I try to reveal the tragedy of this event in history through my art.

Please explain more about the first ever International Revert Conference you held last spring.

I feel so privileged to be a part of a small group of committed reverts who planned the first ever International Revert Muslims Conference, spring 2007 in Toronto, Canada. Our goals were to bring a sense of Ummah to the Revert Muslims who often find themselves a bit lost. As reverts we are spread all over the world and we don’t have fixed communities as many born Muslims do. As much as we are often times welcomed into the Muslim community there are some who are misplaced due to cultural barriers. This is something we look to improve upon through our community support. The conference was unique in that it had workshops primarily for the newly reverted or those who were considering a reversion to Islam. For more details, please visit our website.

Why did you choose 'Preparing the Way for Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his return)’ as the theme of the Conference?

I love the theme so much, it really warms my heart. My dear friend sister Fatimah, a reverted Muslim from Quebec, who was our events coordinator, came up with this theme idea. The sister's explanation was that as Muslims we have a tendency to say, ‘Oh Allah! Please hasten the reappearance of the 12th Imam’ which is nice, but we should follow up these noble statements with actions. We should be in an active state of waiting. As we wished to convey through this conference, this state of waiting is not docile, but mobile. We need to arouse our senses and prepare our minds for his reappearance.

The newly reverted Muslim should be made aware of the importance of this Imam of our time. We often speak of the Mahdi (AS) as if he existed a long time ago, ONLY, but as we should remind ourselves he is the Imam of our time. He is here now. It is so easy for us to put our faith and trust in Allah (swt) even though we do not see Allah (swt) but it is, for some reason, harder for us to imagine the Imam, a human, here present today. Why do we struggle with this? Let us remind ourselves that Allah (swt) can do all, can create all things, to have the Imam here is so easy for Allah (swt).

How did the 'theme' of the Conference affect the atmosphere of the events?

I felt that as a first-time event this theme was most important. Preparing yourself for the eminent return of the Mahdi (as) should be in our minds and in our hearts. If we do what we need to do to prepare for his (as) return then we are, in turn, becoming stronger in our iman and more productive in our lives and within the community. I was happy to see each speaker took the time to relate to this theme within their workshops and so the theme resonated in the minds of each participant through-out the Conference.

On the Friday when activities began at the Masjid a homeless woman, a very old Revert Muslim woman entered. She was looking for food and shelter for the day. I and others made sure that everyone was aware that she was welcome to take part in our conference and to not be alarmed by her appearance. At the end of the conference we had raised money for her, Alhamdulillah. Sister Hajar, one of our speakers and a professional Social Worker, took time to work on her case and is still working on helping her find full-time shelter and government funding. Helping this woman was to me the highlight of the weekend. The grateful Muslim woman cried with tears of joy and so I hugged her to comfort her and do you know what she said to me? She said “Oh Sister Jennah! Please do not hug me as I am dirty and I smell offensive”. I felt so sad when she said that and I hugged her closer and told her not to worry. Oh my heart was so sad for this soul. Insha'Allah she will find a good home soon. Many in attendance were eager to reach out to her.

Some of our conference workshops/lectures regarding Imam Mahdi (AS) were: History of the 12th Imam’s (as) Occultation & How to develop a relationship with Him, Role of Women in the 12th Imam (as) Return, and Commentary on Ziyaraat Aale Yasin.


otowi said...

asalaam alaaykum wr wb

Very nice article. I didn't know Sr. Jennah is an artist!

Ahmad Abdollahzadeh said...

Wa Alaikum Assalam wr wb

Thank u very much for the comment. You didn't know that really? Perhaps I've uncovered a secret about her!