Monday, 4 April 2016
We are Converts; Never Reverts
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
There is no such hadits stating that we are all born Muslims. That is either a misunderstanding or a deliberate mistranslation of the hadits that is muttafaqun ‘alayh, from the Shaykhayn.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (r.a.), the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that we are born upon fithrah, and it is our parents who turn us into Jews, Christians or Zoroastrians. The full text of the entire hadits is here:
The matn does not have the word ‘Muslim’. To be born upon fithrah means that we are born with the natural disposition of knowing that there is a God, of possessing a conscience and instinctively knowing right and wrong. And that is why the Prophet (s.a.w.) also said to Wabiswah ibn Ma’bad (r.a.), “Istafti qalbak”, “Consult your heart,” when asked about differentiating righteousness from error.
As such, there is no basis for using this hadits to claim that since we are all magically Muslim, we ‘revert’ to Islam. We never revert to Islam. We convert, as in there is spiritual growth and metamorphosis. We did not ‘revert’ to any prior, lesser state. This term ‘revert’ in terms of coming to Islam is an innovation based on a false understanding. I personally consider it as an insult, since it dismisses who we are before we became Muslim, as if our culture, our family, our knowledge and our life experience suddenly do not matter. It is a form of cultural genocide that Muslim impose upon converts. Who we are prior to our conversion does matter.
Hakim ibn Hizam (r.a.) a relative of Khadijah (r.a.), was renowned for his compassion and generosity. Before Islam, he used to buy the daughters of those families who wanted to bury them alive and took care of them. He asked the Prophet (s.a.w.) about these good deeds done prior to his declaration of faith in Islam, whether he would be Rewarded. The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “These good deeds are but the reasons that brought you the honour of being Blessed with Islam.”
We are converts; never reverts.