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Often we say a person reverts to Islam, since

...we all have a fitrah (innate nature) to the values of Islam, because we are all born as Muslims. -- ashes999, in answer to Why are converts to Islam called reverts?

At the same time, we are forbidden from imitating non-Muslims (or disbeliever, or kafir). There seems to be some level of incompatibility between these two notions: how can we imitate a non-Muslim when they're innately Muslim anyway?

Question: How is the notion of a "revert" compatible with not imitating non-Muslims?

I'm tempted to think that "revert" is meant as an unessential nod towards the idea of fitrah, and is not intended to be taken too literally. I don't recall seeing it directly mentioned in the Qur'an or Hadith (but maybe I missed it).

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    "Revert" is a modernist misnomer. No one is born Muslim in the doctrinal sense since no one is born believing in Allah, Muhammad, Judgement Day, or the Quran, so the only genuine reverts are the ones who believed Islam's doctrines at one point, then became Non-Muslim, then converted to Islam again. – G. Bach Dec 26 '16 at 8:51
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Fitra has no bearing on the question since it is about a potential in humanity that allows for recognition of faith not actual faith, as well as the idea that non-Muslims will be bound by the same Divine universal laws as revealed by religion (such as experiencing Divine judgement in the next world) as will be Muslims themselves. Islam is revealed to enlighten humans about this very potential and how it is actualized. And faith is all about actually recognizing the doctrines of Islam as the way to actualizing the potentials that fitra represents — whereas absence of this recognition inevitably leads to violating or leaving idle the said God-given potential and thus suffering from its eternal consequences. So it is by this significant and consequential recognition that Muslims become distinguished from non-Muslims despite their common first nature.

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