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Surrendering One's Whole Being to God

Surrendering One's Whole Being to God

Issue 62 November 2009

As a British Muslim convert, I sometimes feel that I am regarded as neither a true Brit nor an authentic Muslim. Well, I don’t happen to feel that in becoming a Muslim I have in some way betrayed my “roots”, nor do I have any sense that not being born a Muslim disqualifies me from being a “proper” Muslim.  I do not feel that I occupy a kind of no-man’s land between two tribal encampments, even if I am sometimes made to feel so. We converts can get it from both sides. From the Muslim side, I have been reminded in various ways that I am a greenhorn, a learner-Muslim, in need of basic education about Islam.

My first experience of this was when I went to a prominent mosque ten years ago to ask an official there to hear me recite the fatihah and offer me advice on my pronunciation of Arabic. After hearing my recitation, he approved it, and asked me where and when I had become a Muslim. I told him a few weeks before in Istanbul. He grimaced and said, “Brother, there are no Muslims in Turkey; there are only Sufis.”


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