Handling Christmas can be quite difficult as a revert. You see, I was born Muslim and raised Muslim until later in my life. When my mother decided she was going to become Roman Catholic, I was no longer allowed to practice Islam. After a while, I decided to revert back and practice again.
My journey back to Islam was really tough. After mom stopped letting me practice Islam, I kind of rebelled and said, “Okay, God isn’t real.” After about six years, I realised I still heavily believed in Islam, so I started praying again. The period of not believing in God was not a happy time for me. I was a very angry person, and coming back to Islam has helped me process the world better, and to be more grateful.
I do, however, try to keep the peace in my household as much as possible with my Roman Catholic family. This year, I bought each person in the house a gift, and of course I’m helping cook the meal just so there is something halal available to me.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones, because where I’m currently living, there is so much support for reverts from the local mosque. I’m in about five groups on Whatsapp, and if there are any issues at home, I can talk to my sisters. Yes, even the ones who aren’t reverts. That ability — being able to reach out for support whenever it’s needed — and the closeness of the Islamic community has helped me so incredibly much.
Then again, I do have some family who will never accept that I am Muslim, so if things get really bad, I choose to just go to my room, close the door, and ask Allah for guidance. The dinner table can prove to be the hardest time during a holiday because it requires togetherness no matter what, giving those who don’t trust your religion the space to test it — and your patience — heavily. My family likes to talk about how Islam grants women no rights, so I have a small list of 13 rights that women have, and I read it out to them. I don’t mean to be a jerk when I read them the passages on mother Mary, but I do get very sick of having to be so defensive in my own home. Additionally, me being prepared gives them the opportunity to not be so ignorant about my beliefs.
At the end of it all, after picking up Islam again, my friends have said I’ve changed and become more lively! Meanwhile, my family hopes this is just a short phase I’m going through. I think (or at least, I hope) it helps them when they see that I’m more happy, grateful, and willing to give than before.
Coming back to Islam meant doing so much research. When I retook my oath of faith, the Imam was incredibly kind, and gave me an English Qur’an as a gift. One sister helped me get all of the things we need to pray. Alhamdulillah, I’m so grateful for Islam, and Inshallah Christmas goes smoothly this year.