I've been asked at times, why I call myself a Muslim revert, not a Muslim convert.
No, I was never officially a Muslim before, who converted to another religion and then return to Islam.
No, I am not a born Muslim who was murtad, and have reverted back to Islam. Truth is, I am a Muslim who officially embraced Islam in 2006. Period.
Here in Malaysia, some groups of people are easily offended when Muslims call ourselves as Muslim reverts. They want us to call ourselves Muslim converts only. Why? Simply because by calling ourselves as Muslim reverts, we are boldly telling people that we are returning to our fitrah (origin), which Allah our God and Creator, has made us all Muslims, as are all the living things in this world.
A revert is a person who returns to his or her original religion, while a convert is one who changes his or her religion.
The Prophet Muhammad said, "No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist." (Hadith Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426)
So, just as the child submits to the physical laws which Allah has put in nature, his soul also submits naturally to the fact that Allah is his Lord and Creator. But, his parents try to make him follow their own way and the child is not strong enough in the early stages of his life to resist or oppose the will of his parents. The religion which the child follows at this stage is one of custom and upbringing and Allah does not hold him to account or punish him for this religion. (By Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips quote from http://www.islam101.com/dawah/newBorn.htm)
However, once a person reaches puberty, he or she is responsible for his/her actions and thoughts. Thus with all the information available today, it is quite impossible for human beings not to know about Allah swt, but not all are believers. Thus, when Allah gives some of us hidayah or enlightenment, we search and find our way back to Islam, and by reciting the 2-kalimah syahadah, are once again Muslims. Thus, the term "Muslim reverts".
You see, I'm not converting to another religion but have merely returned to my Creator the way I was when I was born on earth. That's why when I recited the 2-kalimah syahadah, I was told that I was a clean as a new-born baby, as all my sins have been forgiven. On the other hand, converting implies that when embracing a religion, one is changing into another form, a different person with a different set of religious order. A
While Christianity and other religions clearly imply that people who embrace their religion are new and different from their past life (born-again Christian and Christian converts but any Christian revert for 1st time Christian?), Islam states that Muslims all over the world have continued to follow its teaching as passed down by prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Hence, all Muslims pray the same way, recite the same doa during prayers, and face only in one direction during solat 5 times a day, since the days when prophet Muhammad (pbuh) revived Islam.
As Muslims, we understand that our souls have always been Muslims since we were born; we were just ignorant of the fact. So we are thankful when we are able to find our way back to Islam. And Muslim reverts are rather different from born Muslims, because most of us have searched for God and the truth, and we tend to view Islam in a different perspective compared to most of the other born Muslims.
I read (sorry,can't remember which Islamic book but it was a very good book) that not only are human beings (Muslims and non Muslims, regardless) have souls which are Muslims, but all living things on earth and the universe are created by Allah swt, and all - the animals, the insects, the plants, the planets- bow to Him in submission. Even the heart that beats in our body is working according to Allah swt's Will. And not only are human beings created to submit to Allah swt, all of us have two invincible angels that record our sins and deeds from the time we were born till the time we die. And on Judgement Day, all will be revealed.
If non Muslims find all these rather offensive [yeah la, who wants to believe that one's soul and all parts of the body are Muslims (one that bows in submission to Allah swt?) when one profess to other religions], well, you can argue your case before God on Judgement Day.
I have always call myself a Muslim revert or a mualaf or a saudara Islam, but I'm fine about others who are more comfortable with the term Muslim convert. Each to his/her own concept, but I disagree with anyone who claim that I shouldn't call myself a Muslim revert as it's insulting to other non-Muslims, hehehe.