Born Innocent

The Misconception about ‘Conversion’

The practice of people converting to or reverting to Islam has been a long-standing debate and source of misunderstanding. The term ‘conversion’ implies a drastic shift or alteration, which often leads to misconceptions about the essence of the spiritual journey into Islam. Instead, many adherents and scholars suggest that the process is not a ‘conversion’ but rather a ‘reversion.’ This approach reflects the Islamic belief that every human being is born with an innate sense of monotheism (tawheed), but it is the influences of society, upbringing, and environment that lead individuals towards diverse paths.

Misinterpretation of Conversion

In Islamic philosophy, the word for conversion, “Ihtida,” is often misinterpreted as a transition from one religion to another, but its actual meaning is to guide, to direct, or to lead in the right way. According to Islamic belief, every child is born with a natural belief in God (fitrah), an innate inclination towards tawheed. Therefore, the concept of ‘reversion’ in Islam is not about abandoning one’s previous faith but about rediscovering this inherent belief, which has been overshadowed by societal influences and personal experiences.

The Concept of Fitrah

Fitrah, in Islamic theology, refers to the innate disposition and natural inclination towards virtue, knowledge, and the understanding of God. It is believed that every child is born in a state of fitrah. As per a narration from the Prophet Muhammad, “Every child is born in a state of fitrah, then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.” This essentially implies that it is the influences of society and upbringing that lead individuals towards different faiths or belief systems.

No Compulsion in Religion

The Quran, Islam’s holy book, clearly states, “There is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256) This verse sets a foundational rule in Islam that faith cannot be forced upon anyone. It has to be a conscious and willing decision made by the individual. This profound statement ensures freedom of belief and rejects coercion in matters of faith. In other words, the decision to revert to Islam should be one of personal choice, not compulsion.

Divine Will and Salvation

The Quran also indicates that it is ultimately God’s decision who shall receive salvation. As mentioned in Quran (28:56), “Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” The verse reiterates that guidance and salvation are divine prerogatives. This further strengthens the idea that there is no force or coercion in the matter of faith, as only God determines who shall enter heaven.

To sum up, the concept of reverting to Islam is often misunderstood as a form of conversion. However, in reality, it is seen as a return to the natural state of monotheism that every human being is believed to be born with. The freedom of faith is a fundamental tenet in Islam, and the ultimate judgement of salvation rests with God. In Islam, the most important criteria are belief in the oneness of God and leading a life of righteousness and virtue, all of which contribute to one’s journey in faith.

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