7 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Converted to Islam

My name is Theresa Corbin, after many years studying religion and coming to the conclusion that Islam was the only religion that made sense to my nature and that I wanted to be in the eyes of God, I converted to Islam. My life has changed dramatically. And even though it took me about three years to negotiate that decision and think about all the things in my life that I would leave behind and all the things that I would incorporate, I had no idea how different my life would be. I had no idea … I compiled a list of (some) things that I never expected.

7. I didn’t expect to love dressing modestly

I thought that I would have to cover myself in hideous and not creative clothes to watch the hijab . Although I wanted to have the luxury of being in control of my sexuality and just showing my beauty to the people I chose, I didn’t want to give up on my style. Now, there’s nothing wrong with looking boring, if that’s your thing, but it’s not mine. I am passionate about colors and I am a highly creative girl with a love for fashion. I learned that I didn’t have to give up my own style just because I wanted to be modest. Modesty does not mean giving up style. I was very happy to discover that.

6. I didn’t expect there to be so many different types of Islam

I did not expect that every Muslim I meet would like me to subscribe to his special type of Islam. It is very confusing for brothers and sisters who are converted. All you have to do is check, check and verify. To know! Your! Sources! The great thing about Islam is that everything is documented and verified. I learned it the hard way. When I first converted, I thought that every Muslim knew better than I did. And most of them know, but there are also Muslims who are very passionate about the kind of Islamism that their parents blindly follow from their ancestors, and so on. Muslims and non-Muslims – go to the source and ask your friendly Muslim neighbors to check the “Islamic facts” they are trying to sell you. If they are upset by this request, go away.

5. I didn’t expect to save so much time without fighting a daily battle with my hair

Before Islam, I spent about 5 hours in total preparing my hair weekly. Over the 12-year period wearing a hijab, I spent maybe just an hour a week making my hair look nice for my husband (ok, so maybe another 30 minutes, husband -child-). I saved approximately 4,000 years in hair care time alone. (I’m good at math!). Not to mention the entire extensive makeup model. This is amazing!

4. I didn’t expect to change my name

I have a perfectly good name, thanks. “Theresa.” It means the one who reaps what she sows. How much more “Muslim” can you be? By the way, the Sahabas did not change their names when they converted. Their names became Muslim names, as did mine, and yours too.

3. I didn’t expect to participate

I expected to be part of a community. As part of the majority in my country, the community was not something I knew. What I did not expect was that my participation in that community would be monitored, questioned and examined. Where were you last at Jumuah? Why weren’t you at the lectures every night and morning? Why don’t you go out for the special Eid event? All well-intentioned, but what they don’t understand is that I am a lone wolf. Sometimes I like to go to lectures and events, but I also need to have my own space.

2. I didn’t think I would be a Middle East policy expert

I was not and still am not, and I have no desire to become such a thing. And you probably won’t either. Having strong opinions does not make someone an expert, just so you know.

1. Didn’t expect to be loved

I didn’t expect perfect strangers, in every small town and big city I saw, to immediately love me just because we share Allah’s love . And I didn’t expect to feel the same way about them.


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