Monday, August 2, 2010

Poll for converts or non-Muslims who looked into Islam and didn't convert

(Please comment with your answer!)

These are people who have looked into Islam pretty seriously and converted or did not convert:

1) Did you have what you would call a good childhood (no abuse, no parent left while you were a child, no major unhappiness caused by family or peers)?

2) Did you convert afterall?

3) Do you follow "traditional" Islamic interpretations (Sunni, Shia, other maybe...) or a re-interpretation of Islam (Qur'an only, generally less importance to hadiths, code 19, as examples)?

Wish I could have real data to see if there's a relationship between having a difficult childhood and the final act of converting. My hypothesis is that people who looked into Islam and had a difficult childhood are more likely to convert to Islam. Second hypothesis is that people with a happy childhood who ended up converting are more likely than those with a difficult childhood of following a more open form of Islam.

Forgive all the labels I had to use. I think most know what I mean and we can go without causing a fuss over the use of these terms.

And thanks! And vote please! Also, considering this is a comment poll, you can add extra details to your answer if you want, and if you are a born Muslim or something else that makes you not able to answer, you can still post your thoughts!

23 Comentários:

Amber said...

1. No

2. No

3. n/a

World's shortest poll! :)

Though I am curious as to what led you to these theories.

Nora said...

I had a pretty happy childhood with no significant tramas. I looked at Islam for a good long while, and then didn't convert.

Thought I'd throw my $.02 in.

Zuhura said...

I had a good childhood. My parents were divorced but I don't think that caused me any great unhappiness.

I did convert.

I consider myself a progressive Muslim, and believe that both the Qur'an and hadith must be interpreted in context.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting survey. While I had a "happy" childhood (had more materially than I could ask for/than I needed, was involved in every activity you could think of, had toys, a pool etc) I had a mostly absentee father due to a demanding family business, a major drinking problem, and a preference to spend time with friends rather than family. My parents divorced when I was 20 (am now 27). My parents are also both atheist and raised me to be one as well. Christmas was for Santa and presents and Easter for bunnies, candy and eggs. I knew basically nothing of Christianity until a required class in high school.

My interest in Islam began after 9/11, although it was not a very serious interest at the time. After moving to Turkey, and meeting my now husband, and witnessing his growing interest in Islam did I come to believe in God/Islam. I converted 1 or so years after really becoming curious about it.

I follow a somewhat 'conservative' version of Islam. I try to follow the Sunnah as best I can, am careful with bid'at(innovations) etc.

Hope this helps, looking forward to reading other replies. I have a few friends who also have had difficult childhoods and who have converted.

Sarah said...

1. Yes
2. No
3. I approached it in a non-traditionalist way.

Interesting! I definitely think childhood instability is one of many factors influencing religious choices.

UmmSqueakster said...

1. Fairly decent, the bad parts were through no fault of my parents but rather biology

2. Yes, alhamdulilah

3. I'm about as traditional as one can come, a madhab loving, tariq taking muslim.

Candice said...

Amber: Thanks for your imput! Theories are from observation... Seems like lots of converts have difficult pasts... Seems to be a connection between bad childhoods and needing to believe in a power greater than us. Also seems to be a conection with bad childhoods and needing some security through strict rules (like traditional Islam) and the contrary, a connection between happy, secure children and being able to take a more open interpretation (less need for that security since they are more secure with themselves).

Might be lots of false in there, but poor me, I won't be able to know with this small poll and it'd be impossible to make a real one! Just an interesting thought I had. I still find it interesting to see individual results on this.

Thank you to the people who gave their answers so far. Keep them coming!

Nikki said...

1. absolutely yes. the best :)

2. yes, I converted about 6 months after my son was born. My husband is Muslim and I was having a bit of a crisis raising our son both religions as we had agreed upon beforehand. He would get upset when I took him to church, and I would get upset when he took him to a Muslim gathering. I started researching so that I could prove my husband wrong....and found I no longer believed in the truth of Christianity myself.

3. supposedly I follow Shia interpretations, that is, at least, what my husband would like to believe. I think on the inside though I'm a bit of a Qur'an only, girl. More of a Qur'an takes priority, hadith can offer context and specifics kind of girl. I take most hadiths with a grain of salt.

LK said...

1. I had a great childhood.

2: I did not convert.

3. N/A but had I converted it would have been a more progressive form. The large emphasis/confusion with rules had a large part in me not converting.

Amber said...

Hmm...then you could expand the questions, for those who didn't convert to Islam. I mean, did they choose another religion? Do they follow a strict interpretation of that?

Not that this is in answer to your questions, but I'll say it anyway, since I think it's germane. I didn't, as I said, convert to Islam, but I did convert to a much stricter and older 'form' of Christianity than what I was raised with. And I've followed that as strictly as I can. Admittedly, that level of strictness has led me to consider another 'branch' of Christianity as being the true Church, but given your observation that people with bad childhoods tend toward belief in a higher power and desire strict rules to feel secure, I think this does support your hypothesis.

Banana Anne said...

1. Alhamdulillah, my parents are still happily married, and we always had enough money. I did have obsessive-compulsive disorder pretty bad when I was in middle school, but it has gotten much better over time.

2. Alhamdulillah, I did convert after years of waiting.

3. I consider myself a Sunni Muslim, leaning toward the Maliki madhab but not at the expense of other madhabs.

I think that Islam actually helped me with my OCD symptoms, Masha'Allah. Before I knew about Islam, I called myself Christian, but I honestly didn't know what that meant. I wore a cross necklace constantly and refused to take it off for fear that something "bad" would happen if I did, which is a very OCD thing to do (in fact, if my memory serves me right, I took off the necklace for good when I went to visit a masjid for the first time). I would also do compulsive behaviors like pray every time I heard a plane overhead (if I didn't, I thought the plane would crash). After learning more about Islam, I realized that these were probably just waswasa (whisperings from Shaytan with the purpose of messing with people) and, according to Islam, I should simply ignore any obsessive thoughts or compulsions and ask ALLAH to help me get over them. I did that, and Alhamdulillah today when I get a "bad thought" or compulsion, I remind myself to ignore it because it is part of my test in life.

Tanya said...

1. No

2. Yes

3. LK captured my views precisely. I, however, decided to convert anyway and practice islam progressively. Makes it lonely sometimes (am i the only one out there?) but islam resonates with me and my internal compass is satisfied :).

Great question!

ellen557 said...

1. Yep! My parents were divorced but my childhood was still a good one.
2. Yes.
3. Yes - Shi'a and more of an emphasis on Qur'an as opposed to hadith... I wouldn't call myself Qur'an only but I'm more influenced from Qur'an than hadiths.

NeverEver said...

alhamdulillah good childhood, no trauma just normal lol

alhamdulillah yes I did convert

I consider myself sunni, still haven't landed on a madhab yet but that doesn't stop me from trying, haha
I have this weird feeling that I'm meant for Hanbali in general, but there just isn't a lot of English literature out there
for the most part I just look for the strongest evidence
and also I would characterize myself as conservative but open minded ;-) I have obviously developed my opinions, but inshaAllah I don't force that concept on others

Becky said...

1.) Yes, though my father did pass away (from lung cancer) when I was 17. I grew up in a very Christian family, had read all of the Bible myself by the age of 12 and had chosen to be a Christian myself.

2.) Yes, after years of studying Islam, first focusing on similarities, and then deciding not to convert since I (then) believed Jesus (PBUH) was the son of God, but a few years later focusing on the differences and coming to the conclusion that I did not believe Jesus (PBUH) was the son of God, and that I did believe Muhammed (PBUH) was a messenger of God. After this realization, I converted a few weeks later.

3.) Non traditionalist, I believe the Qu'ran and Hadiths must be interpreted in their context, and I would always emphasize more on Qu'ran than on Hadiths. I don't wear the hijab, and am not personally convinced it is a requirement, but rather that dressing modestly and ACTING modestly, is more important. My views are definitely influenced by Sufism.

Anonymous said...

You know, I was kind of thinking the same thing tonight actually, how funny!

1). No, but sometimes yes. :p
2). Yes
3). Without going into details, I will just state I am not Sunni or Shia. ;)

Anonymous said...

There were many aspects of my childhood that were just plain tragic. I have seen a lot in my relatively short lifetime.

I converted to Christianity at age 15. And for many years I was extremely conservative. In some ways I still am. But I'm DEFINITELY a Bible-aloner.

That having been said, I like interacting with people of other religions, I end up asking myself questions I might never have asked otherwise. So one could say that I am both very conservative and very liberal simultaneously.

As far as Islam is concerned, I have investigated it at great length over a period of more than a decade. And I have come to an understanding of those things in my own faith that people of other faiths find problematic.

Let's say that I now view the Trinity as simple, logical, obvious and can't be any other way. And I have found that the difference between the Bible's message and the Qur'an's boils down precisely to this: the question of whether Allah is or is not the Messiah. And I'm on the Biblical side of the fence. So this precludes me from converting to Islam.

Elisa said...

1-I had a wonderful childhood due to my parents being amazing, alhamdullilah!

2-Yes, alhamdullilah!

3-I take the medium road. I believe in the Qur'an to its fullest and strongly consider the "strong" hadiths. I am still growing.

Great blog sister!!

Sophia said...

1) Kind of a mixed bag. Very compassionate but flakey mom, very intelligent but abusive father (whom I no longer have contact with).
2) Started learning about Islam on my own when I was pretty young (12-ish), but only seriously considered it as "my religion" in the past couple of months... so I guess its too soon to tell!
3) I'm quite sure I will not be an orthodox Muslim, if I do end up converting. I'm leaning towards a Quran only - or at least Quran very much primarily - interpretation, because I just can't stand some of the hadiths (but I am new to all this so I'm trying to keep my Western mind open) and I'm also looking into Sufism. I found some Baha'i beliefs interesting (like, all major religions are from the same truth), but I'm not convinced by many of their core beliefs so its a no-go for me.

جيسي فهد said...

1) I would consider my childhood "average". There was no abuse physically but I think my mother left me with some mental abuse. My mom struggled on her own for a while. She did what she could to keep us safe and healthy. But expressing love or concern was distant in the teen years. I grew up not knowing who my "real" father was until I was 9. At this time my "other" father and mom split and she was with a new man getting married. Now she is divorced with her 4th man.

2) I'm in the process of reverting. Almost there just wanting to make sure of my choice.

3) I just read the Qu'ran and want to live as just a Muslim from the Qu'ran/Hadith.

Candice said...

Nikki: What a great story! For you two to even have agreed to raise your son both religions is pretty amazing... I guess it was meant to just be (you to be Muslim) though. :)

I went with Islam just because of who reads my blog for the most part. I was thinking about how your case supports my general hypothesis though and will count it like that :P

Banana Anne: Thanks for your inspiring story! :D Allahu akbar!

Tanya: You're not alone! I feel much like you do!

NeverEver: I don't know *anything* about different madhabs... I wish there was a "Madhabs for dummies" or something that was very simple and in not much detail!

Sophia: I didn't know you'd been learning about Islam since so long ago!

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

1. Good childhood, I have good relationships with my siblings and parents.

2. No. However, I would say that I am definitely influenced by Islam in my everyday life and relationship with God.

3. I would say I was looking into somewhat progressive forms of Islam, less focus on hadiths, but basically conservative socially. I.E. I don't think that Islam leaves room for same sex marriage, not eating halal, alcohol, etc.
I think that studying Islam has helped me to understand the cultural background of Christianity better and see some areas where the Church has gone wrong.

sade said...


1. Yes, I had an excellent childhood (and have got a lot of grief since growing up when realizing that not everyone have had that "luxury").

2. No. I have studied Islam quite actively for some 6-7 years now (since getting engaged to my husband who is a born muslim) and our two children are brought up as muslims. I take it as a question of honour to bring my children up to be as good muslims as possible and that's why I myself try to be as "muslim" as possible - to the extend of having considered at one point to convert to Islam. But I don't think that Islam in its traditional interpretation is the whole Truth and that's why I don't feel comfortable calling myself a muslim. (Though, many of my muslim friends do consider me as a muslim, since I pray regularly, wear scarf and dress modestly, fast during ramadan, study Quran etc.)
I consider myself to be a Truth-seeker but use different labels depending on whom I'm talking to. To muslims I say I'm a God-believing follower of Prophet Jesus/Isa ("nasraani") which is quite accurate; to others I might emphasize more my spiritual kinship to Mohandas Gandhi whose thoughts are very close to Islam in many aspects (and who actually liked a lot the thoughts of Jesus...).

3. I'm a bit confused in this part. I have a great tendency for strict rules: I like to create rules for myself (out of nothing sometimes... ;) ) and I'm striving for greater self-discipline, but I'm not very fascinated with the most strictest interpretation of Islam which seems to over-emphasize the importance of rules in the expense of remembering the importance of loving God and being kind to your fellow human beings. I'm eagerly reading many so-called sufi-websites since they have a lot of good articles on increasing your iman and your love for God but at the same time I hope to be able to bring my children up being aware of the many rules that many muslims find so important.
My husband is very tolerant (in my opinion maybe a bit too tolerant... ;) ) and I have usually stricter interpretation of Islam than him (and our discussions about it many times end up in him calling me a fundamentalist... ;) ). Our family is of course Sunni and because of my husband's birth country mainly Maliki.

Well, I don't know if this helped you much in your "research"... :) (I think some of it I have already explained earlier in some older comments...)


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