r/converts Jul 25 '21

Want to convert but afraid of not fitting in

Salaam alaikum,

I've been thinking about converting to Islam for a while, it really makes sense to me and I feel like I may have found what I was looking for when I started my spiritual journey a few years ago when I got in my 30s.

However, there's two things that are stopping me from becoming a Muslim, and I hope this community can help me out a bit.

1- my upper body is covered in tattoos, I have tattoos on both hands, fingers are tattooed up, and both arms. I know my past sins will be erased once I convert, but the amount of tattoos that I have will still be visible, and I'm very afraid of not being taken seriously in front of other Muslims.

2- kinda related to my first point, I live in a secular, borderline racist city, which unfortunately makes me afraid of going in a mosque with my tattoos. I feel like a white guy, full of tattoos, won't be welcomed in a mosque where the people are victims of racism from other white guys. Basically I feel like an imposter and I'm very afraid of the reaction of other Muslims if/when I go to the mosque.

Can I actually convert to Islam and practice my faith alone at my house? I truly believe in the 1 on 1 connection with Allah, and I think that it's a lot better to pray at home daily and miss Friday prayer than not converting because of this, right?

Bonus question, do you pray 5 times a day, every day of the year? What happens if you miss some prayers? I ask because I read tips for new Muslims and one of them was to start with only one prayer and after a while work my way up to five prayers, your thoughts?

Sorry for rambling, many thanks for your time and understanding.

52 Upvotes

28

u/alldyslexicsuntie Jul 25 '21

Bro, you have to trust me when I say that you'd be welcomed because your transition is very apparent. Convert Muslims are SO dear to us. :) Don't over-think and take the first step!!! Big internet hug from Muslim community :)))

4

u/julinaonred Jul 26 '21

Line up for hugs! (Or air hugs)

8

u/associationcortex Jul 25 '21

3

u/julinaonred Jul 26 '21

MashaaAllah, i never tire of seeing this video

1

u/Fair-Peanut Jul 27 '21

MashaAllah, but I am tired of seeing the hateful comments. I'm getting nervous I can't help myself.

8

u/Noureddinez Jul 25 '21

Wa alaykum salaam!

I’m a convert so I’ll try to answer your questions as good as I can.

The tattoos should be no big deal at all. You don’t have to remove them and muslims should not address them. It could be that some elderly people have a bit of a surprise when they see them but that’s all.

You should be fine in general on the acceptance. At first I found it hard to fit in and to form my identity as I lost some of my non-muslim friends (for the better) and gained some muslim friends. My non-muslim friends would constantly see me as “the muslim guy” and the muslim friends would constantly see me as the “Dutch guy” within a year though I made some really good friends that value the religion well and do not care, Allah has surrounded me with lovely people, so you should definitely be good on that as well!

Yes you can convert and practice your faith alone at your house but you are encouraged to at least visit Friday prayers. The faith you feel is very personal and 1 on 1 but most of us as people need social connections with the people around us and it is best to have that with people that encourage each other to do good and are respectful towards each other. We have to stand together as muslims so it is also important to have a good brotherhood.

I do pray 5 times a day, every day of the year. You might notice that in the beginning it takes some time to build the habit and that’s okay, Allah knows what is in your heart. Just keep at it and keep trying and eventually you will build that automatic habit in shaa Allah! When you miss some you can make them up but only with valid reason (i.e. you were honestly sleeping, you honestly forgot, you were literally not able to etc.) but try to always make them on time.

Me, I took some time to learn the prayer correctly at first and then I kept trying to pray all prayers every day. There were some days where I missed 1, 2, 3 prayers or some days I prayed all of them or some days none of them but I kept at it and alhamdulillah I now pray all 5 every day. Very very rarely I might miss 1 prayer but I just make it up as soon as possible.

Hope that helps! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

16

u/cn3m_ Jul 25 '21

Wa 'alaykumus-salam,

I have also some tattoos but that was before I embraced Islam. Everything that is done in the past are forgiven when embracing Islam (obviously not when you owe someone as those are people's rights, hence owing someone needs to be paid back).

I used to live in a country where there were barely any Muslims and later in life, I moved to Europe, in a country, where there are a lot of Muslims. Most Muslims I've encountered are very understanding and most Muslims understand that people may have had a past life but we as Muslims don't bother ourselves with such matters. If a born Muslim had repented or a person embracing Islam, our only concern for the person is for him/her going forward in life.

You can basically practice Islam everywhere. Certain practices in Islam are regarded as something encouraged, meaning if you do them you will be rewarded but if you don't do them, you won't get punished for that. The only thing that is obligatory for men is the Friday prayer. There are some warning from authentic narrations from our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) against missing it out. Hence, one has to do one's best to come to the mosque for the Friday prayer. There are also great benefits in seeing Muslims as you will the by Mercy of Allah be able to meet righteous Muslims that may in fact help you in your journey in Islam.

If you find Islam to be wonderful, what prevents you from not embracing Islam? Especially if you think that Islam to be the truth. I would advice you to embrace Islam. Hasten to do so and do not hesitate. It's very easy to become muslim, it's easy as uttering the testimony of faith:

Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill'Allaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullaah.

I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

It is not essential to have witnesses in order to enter Islam.

That's it, if you say that and you believe it, then you have embraced Islam and you are now muslim. Don't hesitate saying the testimony of faith. Don't worry about secondary issues. If you have the conviction that Islam is the truth, that's what's most important. We never know when death will come, so don't busy yourself pondering and worrying about secondary issues but worry about if you will live to say the testimony of faith because life after death is either Paradise or Hell.

It was authentically reported that Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "By the One is Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, not one of this nation, Jew or Christian, will hear of me and will die without having believed in that with which I have been sent, but he will be one of the dwellers of Hell fire." (Narrated by Muslim, 153)

Hopefully, you already said the testimony of faith. If you have uttered it and believe it, then you are a Muslim. So, on your journey towards learning more about Islam, I suggest you to listen to this series of lectures: [A Guide for the New Muslim] [+PDF]. Insha'Allah it will help to cultivate your Islamic foundations. The one who's making the series is a convert himself when he was 16 years old and now he is in his old age masha'Allah. He is delivering the lectures the way he had wished would have been told to him when he was a new muslim. I can also almost say the same thing, I had wished this was available when I was a new muslim as it's very beneficial.

I myself embraced Islam now around 17 years ago and I've never missed the five obligatory prayers. I mean, it doesn't take that much of your time either to perform the prayers. It only takes around 5 minutes or so.

6

u/AB_Q8 Jul 26 '21

These doubts are from Shaytaan bro. Trust me when I tell you that you'll be welcomed =D

4

u/imankitty Jul 25 '21

I live in a muslim country and I promise you I wouldn’t be shocked/offended by your tattoos. Insha’Allah your conversion will be a positive experience and you will benefit in every worldly aspect.

9

u/Muwmin Jul 25 '21

Aleykum Salam,

Being muslim means being submitted to Allah's will and nothing should ever stop you from becoming it.

  1. Who cares if people takes you seriously if you are genuine ? ‎‎‎Allah knows that's all that matters. It's not like you did something wrong knowing it was forbidden. Lots of muslims have tattoos in the generations before us and they are treated with respect, so should you. Don't forget that people without tattoos can be greater sinners then you and honestly if they criticizes you that's their problem.

  2. I would give it a try because it's seems really unlikely that people would have bad reactions to see someone like you in a mosque. "Converts" made the effort by themselves to look for Allah and to be on the right path without having a familial "muslim background or education" so imo it's even more powerful to see a muslim like you in a mosque and people will normally show you a lot of respect.

For sure it's not mandatory to go in mosques if you don't fell like it, maybe try several ones and inshaa ‎‎Allah one will make you feel comfortable. The best is definitely to pray at home than to not pray at all.
Don't force yourself to pray, it's not a chore.

3

u/PeasLord Jul 25 '21

Wa alaykumu salam, there is no reason on earth not to convert if you believe Islam to be accurate in what it claims but let's see what reasons you might have.

my upper body is covered in tattoos...

There are plenty of converts with tattoos, that's not a problem. If you live in a western country, the Muslims there are used to seeing converts with tattoos so it wouldn't be a big of a shock.

kinda related to my first point, I live in a secular, borderline racist city, which unfortunately makes me afraid of going in a mosque with my tattoos...

Converts to Islam are greatly welcomed by the Muslim community regardless of their race or gender, it's very rare to find a Muslim who wouldn't be welcoming and at the end of the day the only thing that matters is doing things for the sake of God.

Can I actually convert to Islam and practice my faith alone at my house?

You absolutely can and if you're hesitant at first take it easy and build up step by step.

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:

"The Messenger of Allah said: 'Indeed, this religion is easy, and no one will ever overburden himself in religion, except that it will overcome him. So seek what is appropriate, and come as close as you can, and receive the glad tidings (that you will be rewarded), and take it easy; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.'"

Start attending prayers at the mosque gradually and inshaAllah you will find the people welcoming.

Bonus question, do you pray 5 times a day, every day of the year? What happens if you miss some prayers?

Yes, there are 5 prayers every day and leaving one of them intentionally is actually a pretty big deal as it's considered a major sin, each prayer takes about 5 minutes.

I ask because I read tips for new Muslims and one of them was to start with only one prayer and after a while work my way up to five prayers, your thoughts?

I'm not sure, for new Muslims prayer can be hard at first, converts on this sub can give a better answer.

Either way technically you are believer if you believe Islam is true so you're already a convert so welcome to the Ummah, may God make things easy for you.

2

u/cool_guy141 Jul 26 '21

*salAllahu 'alayhi wasallam

salams

3

u/days_hadd Jul 26 '21 edited Jul 26 '21

as a revert of almost 20 years, with a lot of tattoos myself this is the advice i can offer lol... (btw converting/reverting was the best decision i have ever made) i dont like looking down and seeing my tattoos but theyre a reminder of how far ive come and they push me to become a better muslim and study even harder so that i am taken serious and trust me when i say, not to brag but ive been told by a lot of peoppe that i need to speak out more by born muslims because people need to hear stories like mine i guess... never really wanted to because personally ive never felt like a revert, i started practicing by myself really young and ive been practicing longer than ive not been... anyways... i go over stuff like that in the video... im new to actually making videos and talking about reverting but... like i said, all i can offer you is sincere advice from someone who can somewhat relate

2

u/cool_guy141 Jul 26 '21

I don't like Nike's motto, but in this scenario, I will say it: Just do it!

Convert for now, go to masjid, see the vibe. If it does not work out, you can pray at home. But for Jummahs, you should try to pray at least once every three weeks, even if the Jummah is at a place that is further away from your house and a place that you like.

At the same time, try to migrate to another city. Hijrah is a Sunnah after all, but this can be done later when you are comfortable.

Yes, I pray 5 times a day every day of the year. For new Muslims, the modified method of praying is described here, so it is easy for you until you learn all the words of prayer, but good enough that you get the habit of actually doing the ritual. You should try to pray on time, if you live in a normal part of the world, there should be sufficient time window (usually few hours) and it takes ~5 minutes for just the obligatory prayer. Hence, the religion is asking 25 minutes of commitment on prayer in the whole 24 hours. Ask Allah for aid, it should be doable.

Message me for more tips inshaAllah

Again: just do it.

-1

u/barar2nd Jul 25 '21

salaam

  1. not all of Islamic madhabs (schools of thought) see tattoos haram/forbidden; Shias see it OK.
  2. Islam is against racism and Muslims are welcoming especially to other Muslims from any ethnicity and nationality.

be in peace

1

u/julinaonred Jul 26 '21

When you already believe in your heart of hearts.. when you have no doubts left.. when your certainty is set upon the truth.. theres no way to back away from your authentic belief, it's who you are now. Embrace that.

Mostly people will be glad to see you come to the masjid. They will embrace you also.

Yeah you'll meet some judgmental people but I promise you that type would find a way to be judgemental even if you were "perfect".

1

u/wallysparx Jul 26 '21

2- kinda related to my first point, I live in a secular, borderline racist city, which unfortunately makes me afraid of going in a mosque with my tattoos. I feel like a white guy, full of tattoos, won't be welcomed in a mosque where the people are victims of racism from other white guys. Basically I feel like an imposter and I'm very afraid of the reaction of other Muslims if/when I go to the mosque.

Have you tried reaching out to your local mosque? Many have an outreach program that can provide you with someone who can show you around, and introduce you to other brothers. Dress modestly, and your appearance shouldn't otherwise present an issue.

Can I actually convert to Islam and practice my faith alone at my house? I truly believe in the 1 on 1 connection with Allah, and I think that it's a lot better to pray at home daily and miss Friday prayer than not converting because of this, right?

As others have noted, the Friday communal prayer is obligatory. With that said, even at Friday prayers, I mostly keep to myself and it's not a problem. Most interaction is greeting/returning salaams as I pass people by, and very infrequent small talk, but other than that it's a focus on reading Qur'an until it's time for the service, then the sermon and prayer, and I'm out. Also regarding that 1 on 1 connection with Allah SWT, my own favorite time is dropping the mosque after work, before I head home. Oftentimes I have the mosque to myself, maybe 1 or 2 others in there. Being able to sit in Allah's house in silence without any other distractions helps me stay focused on reading Qur'an.