5 Things it was Hard to Give Up when I Converted (and they’re not what you’d expect!)

1.Gummy bears

So, I can distinctly recall the first time I shocked someone with this one: I was at dinner at an awesome Thai restaurant with a friend and a friend of hers, who happened to be a convert liaison at one point in her career. Without missing a beat when she asked me what the most difficult part of converting had been for me I said, “giving up gummy bears.” But it is true….all of those gooey, squishy, gummy delicious sweets are my favourite. And now I can only eat the 3% of them that say “vegetarian” or “halal” because all of the rest have pork gelatin in them. Why, why, why couldn’t everyone just make their sweets with fish gelatin and make my life happy???

2.Cute Sundresses

So, this is mainly a thing because I just haven’t adjusted to my new wardrobe yet I think. My go to thing used to be a dress, tights if it was winter, cute shoes, and probably a cardigan on top. Add a cute hairdo and earrings and I was good to go. I am still navigating how to make myself still feel as feminine and cute as I always did then (admittedly I have gained a bit of weight as well and that doesn’t help!) while keeping covered. With some recent purchases of pastel toned blouses and scarves though, I think I am well on my way! If you want to read more about my decision to wear hijab you can find that here, by the way.

3.Pubs

I know you are thinking, well yeah, of course you miss alcohol! But no, that’s not it at all! Before I converted I had enough booze to last me and my poor liver a lifetime, and I have not looked back since that last drink on my 21st birthday. I do, however, really miss the cosy atmosphere of a good neighbourhood pub. I loved the feeling of just kicking back with friends in a warm pub with good food while it was super cold outside! Luckily for me, I have found it decently easy to replace this one with cafΓ©s, if they have the right ambience. Unluckily, this has enabled my tea addiction even further.

4.Tattoos

This one is more straightforward: I super miss getting tattoos. I have two (you will see a post about that later, I am sure. *wink, wink*), and before I converted I had really big plans for my body-art future. But, alas, they are forbidden. Which means I am sticking to henna for the rest of my life, which is a beautiful substitute if I do say so myself!

5.Male Friends

Notice, I did not say “boyfriends.” I don’t miss the whole dating scene at all, and marrying my husband has been one of the best things to happen to me (besides embracing Islam, that is!). But I do miss having male friends- all throughout high school and my undergrad studies I was constantly hanging out with the guys because, well, relationships with girls are just too much energy. Someone is always offended, she said this, she said that, drama, and catty-ness. It is just not my thing. Guys were always so much simpler to hang out with. Hang out, play video games, go home, done. But since converting and getting really into understanding the gender relations in Islam, I have given up most of my male friends. I have one or two really good girlfriends, plus my best friend of around 15 years isn’t going anywhere. As for the rest…I am mostly just friends with cats these days…

 

I hope today’s post has injected a little humour into your day! Be on the look out soon for a follow up post on the 5 things that Islam has given me in my life (because they far outweigh what I have had to give up!)

Peace.

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15 thoughts on “5 Things it was Hard to Give Up when I Converted (and they’re not what you’d expect!)

  1. Jeanette

    I miss gummy candies too! I converted a couple of years ago, and I am still fumbling through my growing knowledge of Islam (alhamdullilah). I can really relate to everything you listed. From the pub scene to the candies, it all strikes a cord.

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    1. ashleybounoura

      I can still remember the day I realised I couldn’t have gummy sweets anymore…I was right in the middle of a handful of gummy bears and the thought slowly dawned on me like “oh…nooooo…..” Haha but I am so glad to hear that you can relate alhamdulillah πŸ™‚ how long has it been since you converted?

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      1. Jeanette

        It has been two and a half years. Being southern and having Christian family has been difficult as well, but they are supportive of my decision, so that is a blessing.

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      2. ashleybounoura

        Ah ok, I am a little bit behind then…it is almost exactly two years for me; still a long way to go in the journey! πŸ™‚ but alhamdulillah for supportive families! I am from a small town in CA that may as well be in the south, but the people who matter most to me were very supportive as well.

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  2. The thing I miss a lot is something I actually gave up after having been Muslim for quite a few years. After having studied for some time, and to make a long story short deciding to follow the Hanafi madhhab, giving up every kind of seafood but fish has been difficult. I was a seafood fanatic; everything from octopus to oysters was going directly in my face as often as possible. But after having looked at the proofs and being most convinced by the principles of the school I follow now… well it’s just fish for me now!

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    1. ashleybounoura

      Really? That is super interesting…I have always just assumed all sea food is halal, but then again I haven’t ever really needed to look into it because I can’t stand sea food in the first place! πŸ™‚ I am just beginning to be at a point where I feel like I need to start looking at the four madhhabs more in detail and choosing one but I am not sure where to start. Do you happen to have any resources that you found particularly useful in that study?

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      1. As far as I know, the only seafood free-for-all madhhab is the Malikis lol. What madhhab does your husband follow (being North African, I’ll assume Maliki)? I’d start there, to be honest, just for the sake of ease of access to information; my English convert friend who tried following the Maliki madhhab himself found resources in the English language a bit scarce. A bit weird, because all the giants of American scholarship are Maliki converts (Hamza Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, Dr. Umar Farooq Abdullah).

        I’m a huge believer in the primacy of `aql rather than naql, so I pretty much started off by looking at the rulings of each madhhab on a few various issues (seekershub has answers for all but the Hanbali madhhab) and the basic principles each madhhab employs, etc, and came to my own conclusion about which was most logical. Believe it or not, the Wikipedia articles for each of the four madhhabs pretty accurately represents their methodologies (though it doesn’t emphasize enough that each madhhab also has its own hadeeth principles – that’s something that nobody really talks about for some reason).

        If you decide to go the Hanafi route, or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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      2. ashleybounoura

        Yes he is culturally Maliki, which I guess is good because he eats anything that comes out of the water! Haha but thank you for the advice- I didn’t know all of those scholars are Maliki. I think starting there will be indeed the easiest way to go. I will let you know if I come up with any questions about the Hanafi school! Thanks again for the resources, I can’t wait to get started now that I have somewhere to start!

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      3. Also! I suggest watching Tim Winters’ (aka Abdul Hakeem Murad) lectures on each of the four mujtahid imams. It’ll give you a vague idea of each of their usool, and if nothing else, will really make you fall in love with them, the amazing geniuses (literally) they were. He’s also Maliki as far as I’m aware πŸ˜ƒ

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  3. Pingback: 5 Things that Islam Gave Me – Muslimah According to Me

  4. Hahaha mashaAllah, i had a little laugh reading this post. It’s been 4 years..heading to 5, since I reverted to Islam Alhamdulillah. Reminded me of how much I had to change. I had to change up my company, because we all know the company you keep heavily influences who you are. Alhamdulillah I was lucky to make good muslimah friends who help me out.
    The food was a little tricky, because I live with my family (they’re Catholic) and no one really cared for halal eating except me. However I managed to get them to purchase from a halal butcher etc.
    Ala kulli hal, all I’ve given up is incomparable to immense peace of mind & heart i’ve found in Islam.

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    1. ashleybounoura

      Salaam, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I certainly had to give up some company as well, though I have found it harder to find good muslimah friends to replace them with…perhaps because I have been on the move quite a bit from country to country lately. But I agree, the things you have to give up just make room for something so much better πŸ™‚ thank you for your comment!

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