Convert or Revert? The accepted Bidah.

Convert or Revert: is this even applicable to the Muslims much less the Children of Israel


The modern phenomenon of asking people whether they are reverts or converts to Islam has no basis in the Quran or sunnah or from the speech of the companions (rah). It is a complete cultural innovation. But, yet it persists and has gathered acceptance from most of the Muslims. It is no surprise behaviour such as this has become wide spread within the Muslims just as other undesirable ideas and behaviours have taken hold and become acceptable norms.

All of the companions had to, at some point, accept the message and therefore they were new to Islam but never will you hear of them being labelled as reverts or converts. At the time of the companions (rah) and the blessed Messenger (saw) you were either Muslim or not, there was no intermediate stage or another state of being. If ever there was a time that a concept of convert or revert would have been appropriate it would have been at the time of the companions (rah) because they all, at some point, were non-Muslim and then accepted Islam but we do not find this idea in that time. So, if it is not good enough for the companions to be labelled as reverts or converts then surely it is not good enough for other Muslims.

This clearly indicates the esteem of the label as it is not fit for the companions of the messenger of Allah (swt) but it is good enough for the people from non-traditional Muslim cultures to be labelled as such. This fact has always betrayed the label and its connotations. If the Muslims had used these labels for the companions even though it was not used in the text it could be argued that it was used as a label of celebration of new Muslims.

When those who use this term are challenged to supply evidence for using them and even asking the question, they instantly say ‘we know it’s not from the sunnah but we enjoy the stories of people coming to Islam so much.’ I can’t deny that hearing these stories can be interesting but if they were of any real benefit the Prophet (saw) would have done it himself thus making it a sunnah for us. He didn’t do it not even to the believers who became Muslim at the hands of other sahabahs. So, if that isn’t enough reason not to do it then this is an indication of why the Muslims are in the state they are in. Take what the blessed Prophet gives you and leave that which he doesn’t give you.

One of the reasons this concept has been developed is because Islam is now a cultural label which is used in the modern era to identify a cultural belonging rather than a state of being in relations to one’s Creator. It seems as long as you come from a traditional Muslim culture you are a Muslim regardless of what you believe or do. Therefore those who do not come from your culture or a culture that was traditionally accepted as Muslim would be seen as different. This term was never really about recognising a situation but just about making some cultural Muslims feel comfortable in acquiring a Deen by blood, which is impossible, rather than having to actually commit energy to being in a true state of Islam.

There also seems to be no end-date to a person being labelled as a revert which is strange because some traditional cultures have only been in the Deen for 5-6 generations but they never refer to their ancestors as reverts or converts but, you could have persons from non-traditional cultures who accepted Islam and his or her children will be referred to as reverts or converts indefinitely. This is further evidence of the cultural acquisition of the term Islam.

Despite the above reasons the label is even more inappropriate in regards to Banu Israel because as a nation and tribe we have a covenant with Allah (swt) that has always existed whether we were aware of it or not or whether we were fulfilling it or not. The covenant remains until Judgement Day and nothing we do can break or end it. The only state of being in reference to the covenant is fulfilling it or not. So, our relationship could be described as fulfilling or not fulfilling.

But instead of inventing new things or terms, it must be better to consult the Quran and sunnah for what we have in the way of wahy for our guidance. Allah (swt) never left us without guidance in such an important matter and he defined the reality of the Children of Israel when they were fulfilling their covenant or when they were not fulfilling. When we were not fulfilling our covenant and being disobedient we were called Yehood when we were fulfilling our covenant we are referred to as al’Asbaat.

But, I assume because of the esteem of the name of alAsbaat within the Qur’anic literature none or very few Muslims will want to use these labels to describe Hebrew Muslims. I am perfectly happy to be proved wrong. Allah (swt) also uses the term wafaa to fulfil or awfu which is the plural imperative in regards the covenant. An alternative could be those who fulfil and those who do not fulfil (waafi or non-waafi). In reality it doesn’t matter what others name us because it is Allah (swt) who defines our reality, if Muslims reject Allah’s explicit definitions this is between them and Allah (swt).

The time to stop allowing other human beings, besides the Prophet (saw), defining our reality has begun. Allah (swt) and his messenger define our reality first then where they have remained silent we define our reality. We must end this passiveness in our own affairs and begin to reclaim our sovereignty in our matters and not accept interference in our tribal affairs.