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In the Name of God بسم الله

stefan804

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About stefan804

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  • Birthday 09/30/1975

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    Austin, TX

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  1. Asalaamu Alaykum Brother Stefan. Here is the link if you are interested:
    />http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?/topic/234973228-sayed-ammar-in-houstontexas-arbaeen/page__pid__2009855__st__0entry2009855

    May Allah bless you. Ameen.

  2. Salaam Alaikum, Sometimes I wish we could all just sit in a room and talk about this. I think that an online forum makes it harder to gauge intent and emotion. I pray that nobody has become too offended or irked by the comments made here. My every intention was to make things better in my community by reaching out to those who want help. People like myself. I will refrain in lumping reverts all into one category, but I want to emphasize that I feel many reverts do want the help. I know the ones I talk to in the community do. I want to welcome those brothers and sisters and I too want to be welcomed. In regards to what Sister Ananda Zahra stated, I really like that concept. The fact that the classes were available in your community to anyone is great. I would like those classes for the Shia community as well. I agree with the concept and the implementation as far as the basics you gave us. The Shia community in Austin, TX is small so I am not sure we have the teachers necessary but maybe for at least one or two. To Sr. Bint Al Hoda I know who Safdar Razi is. He was the aalim here before I arrived. I did have the opportunity to meet with him before he left. I think he is in Tanzania right now. I have had the website bookmarked and will revisit it. Thank you for the suggestion. In summary, so far, I have come to this conclusion. I need to be mindful as to who my audience is. That audience is "new" or "interested" reverts. Those who are asking for and seeking knowledge on an empirical level. How do we welcome, integrate, and educate? How do we continue to involve them in the community? I have heard some wonderful advice and would love to hear more.
  3. Salaam. Yes I too am gleaming a lot of information from the thoughts of others. You think things are black and white and find that it is not always so. I think the ultimate goal is to add organization in your specific community. I, for instance, have two brothers who keep in contact with me at least once a week. What started as a "big brother" effort has really evolved into a mutual friendship. They have given me their knowledge and view points and I in turn give them a different perspective and energy. We are trying to add a "mentor" program for those who want it. It does not have to be a separate institution at all (although I like the idea). It ought to be handled and thought of by the community. Through the email link on the website. I have gotten two people who were interested in Islam, two classes who wanted someone to do a speech about Islam, and a couple people who wanted to be observers. What a great opportunity! But it is front end only right now...meaning we have made the initial step but what next? We need greater organization for the individuals who want to know more and want to have that structure in their lives. If I scroll down the "Reverts" message board here, how many posts will I find from struggling reverts? At least a handful. These reverts struggle with their new life and who is there for them? The answer is....the brothers/sisters in their community. Those are the people that can really make a difference. Dawah is sometimes taken for granted. It is easy to hand out a pamphlet, but the follow thru takes a much greater commitment. The masjid has been the center of Islamic communities for centuries and it needs to be ready for the changes that have come and are coming. Reverts regardless of their wants and intentions are looked upon by many as inspiration. It is proof that Islam is for everyone. It is proof that being Muslim transcends skin tones and ethnicity. Reverts, whether we like it or not, are proof of the power of Islam to those who are fortunate enough to have been muslim their entire lives. I can understand why some of you are tired of the label, though I do not agree. I am going to give you a positive response that I have had as a revert. I have a brother who hugs me every time he sees me at the masjid. He does not say very much but when he sees me he greets me with the warmest smile and the biggest hug. He does this because he wants me to know that I am welcome. To let me know that I am his brother. And in the end he does this because he is happy I have accepted Islam. I have gone to this masjid for a year and still every time he hugs me as if it was the first time he ever saw me there. This brother, regardless of whether he knows it or not, is the definition of what it means to be an ambassador of Allah (SWT). And I will certainly not tell this brother to stop being so enthusiastic in his welcome. We all have different thresholds as people. I for one have a fire that burns in my chest when I talk about Islam. My salat makes me weep because I remember where I was one year ago, and to be in the prescence of Allah (SWT) is overwhelming. I know I can help people. I know I too can be a good ambassador of Islam. What I lack for in knowledge, I will double in my sincerity. If someone wants me to speak on my reversion because it will be of some benefit, it is not place to decline. I am Allah's (SWT) servant. My ego does not get stroked , nor does it break down because someone of good intention said something patronizing. I don't look at my brothers and sisters as being on different planes. We are equals with different experiences and proceed with expectation that I can learns something from each one. Thank you for everyone who is participating in the discussion....my eyes are open :D
  4. Salaam Sister, Yours is a very interesting perspective and vastly different from my own, albeit we did convert at different times. I can appreciate it. And I don't want you to think that I don't. I have to remember that making shahadah and becoming muslim is not as shared an experience as I thought it was. For some it is breath-taking and the start to another way to live and to others it is not as meaningful and the meaning can be found later. Where it seems like you are ready (very ready lol) to shed the revert tag, I am still coming to embrace it. I don't mean to lump all reverts together. I mean only to say that those of us in the infancy of Islam. I realize the limits to my knowledge (as many reverts do) and bear notice that I can only increase this knowledge with my own willingness and another's service. You are completely right that I have to be the one to initiate change if I want it. This message, in this forum, was a litmus test to see if my feelings were shared or rebuked. If I am the only who feels the way I do then the task is more daunting and I would take a different approach. If a change can be initiated through me, by the grace of Allah (SWT), and then implemented by the ummah I think that this would be the greatest success. As it is, I put my email up on our Centre's web page as the person to talk to if you need help in understanding Islam. It was the first step in becoming the catalyst in my community. I am trying to organize education opportunities for nonmuslims to understand Islam. I run a small blog to help reverts (need to step this up a notch). I have made a few You Tube videos detailing my experiences with commentary. In short, I try to make myself available to the opportunity. At the same time, I need to address my own short comings and deficiencies and that is a true challenge. If I am not alone in my feelings then I was just looking to have a group think as to how we might make it better. How have others instituted change? What are some thoughts? Mashallah I have heard some nice ideas and the video was very inspiring.
  5. Thank you for sharing. I think it would be an incredible story to listen to, as you and your whole family came to Islam. Very inspirational. I think your analysis compares pretty well to my own. I was welcomed with open arms by the community (which is multicultural), however there is that lack of structure and communication with reverts that I need. As a revert I sometimes feel disconnected in my own household. I communicate with brothers and sisters maybe once or twice a week and the rest is spent in somewhat of a solitude. I want the dialogue and the communication but people in general are busy so the isolation becomes pretty intense. I want to learn arabic. Where are the classes? I broke down and bought Rosetta Stone and have tried to learn it myself. I could use a fiqh class. I want to learn some duas. But who will teach me? I can also agree with another thing said...as reverts, we have to want to help ourselves and others and maybe we can build something special. Maybe the weight to do something great is on our shoulders? It is one of the reasons I brought up this topic. I want to be a part of the solution. Nobody should feel isolated and everybody should be encouraged.... Wa'salaam, Br. Stefan
  6. How did you guys personally feel that you were welcomed to Islam by your local community, whether that be this year of ten years ago?
  7. Salaam, Yes. I like a lot of what you are talking about. One of the things our Sheikh tries to do is meet with the revert brothers and sisters in the community and asks them if they have any questions. We eat together and just talk. I myself crave the time I can spend with Sheikh and the elders in teh community. I am constantly in pursuit of the knowledge to be a better servant of Allah (SWT). I am too new to be aggravated when people ask my story. I gladly tell it. I put it out there as much as possible in hopes that it can help someone else. At the very least I find that it boosts spirits and moral of those around me. It serves as an affirmation of the power of Islam. Nobody treats me like a dolt, it's just they are surprised with what I may know already. Nobody wants to be judged on the complexion of their skin, however, the only way that we can show that we do in fact have a level of education is to have the conversation to begin with. Thank you so much for your ideas! Your thoughts and input are much appreciated. .
  8. I am thinking of ways to help my brothers and sisters for the good of Allah (SWT)

  9. Salaam Alaikum, you can email me at stefan804@gmail.com. I will help you in any way that I can. What region are you in?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Wa'salaam,

    Br. Stefan

  10. Salam

    I am new to this site.

    I am also a revert and felt inspired by some of your comments.

    I feel that you may be able to help me, how can I get in contact with you please?

  11. Salaam Alaikum, I very much understand what you are getting at. I am targeting those who would like to know more and want to have that continuity of education like myself. For instance, a brother came to the masjid, he was Caucasian, nobody said anything to him for the most part and when he was asked why he never went back to the masjid, he said, I am paraphrasing here, he did not feel like he would be missed if he did not show up. So basically he was not welcomed. He did not feel like he was made part of or invited to join the community on any level. This needs to change. As a community we are not prepared to invite and educate when we are called upon to do so. (with the understanding that some do not need this). But when we are called upon, we must act and have a plan. I find it unacceptable to not help those who need and request that help. If you have ideas, comments, and thoughts please share.
  12. Salaam Alaikum, Really beautiful. That is what I am talking about. That video describes what it at the heart of the matter. I feel like I need to do more. Inshallah I will have the capacity and the where with all to initiate this movement in Austin. I was talking to one of my revert brothers in Austin and he said he went to Boston to visit family and he could not find one majalis in English. Not one!!! Another said that he could not even recommend an masjid in Chicago to a revert brother. It is imperative that we think introspectively what it means to invite people to Islam. Thank you for showing me this....
  13. Salaam Alaikum, I have joined the outreach committee at my masjid and I am a revert myself as of a year ago and I was curious as to how other reverts, both brothers and sisters, have been received across the globe. When you first went to the masjid did people introduce themselves to you and welcome you? Did you have someone to show you what a majilis was about? Did someone offer to answer your questions? Have you made many connections or friendships since you have come to your masjid? If you are not a revert, how does your center welcome reverts? Do you have a welcoming committee? If someone calls up to the center and is interested in Islam, how does the center handle that interest? Does your center have a website with information? Thank you for your time. I am just trying to catch my bearings. Wa'salaam, Br. Stefan
  14. salaam alaikum, The struggles are indeed mighty at times. As a former Christian I have had to sever ties with some of my family (not my mother or father mind you). They would not eat with me and shun me and that is fine. I am content with that. Every day I try and build myself up and bring myself closer to Allah (swt). If there is a particular time that I draw strength from, it is Muharram. When I think of the example of Imam Hussein (as) I feel very empowered. I feel that much is possible with sacrifice. The closer I bring myself to Allah (swt) the easier things become even in the darkest hour. I wish you the strength from the example of Ahlul Bayt (as). A good character builder would be to read the hadith and stories of Lady Zaynab (as). They are the best examples. Please know that your brothers and sisters are with you. wa'salaam, br. Stefan
  15. Certainly....Al-Kafi Let me know what you think. I think it's fantastic. I did not think something like that existed until I found it a few days ago. If you know of where I can find PDF versions of these books I will be eternally greatful. Al-Khisal Al-Mawaaizh Mishkatul Anwar Nahj Al-Fasahah Oddatal Daee
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