How to become a Muslim
There is a false idea spread among those willing to adopt Islam as their faith. Some people are facing difficulties on the basis of their mistaken belief that entering into the Islamic fold requires an announcement from the concerned person in the presence of high ranking scholars or sheikhs or reporting this act to courts of justice or other authorities. It is also thought that the act of accepting Islam, should, as a condition, have a certificate issued by the authorities as evidence to that effect.
We wish to clarify that the whole matter is very easy and that none of the above mentioned conditions or obligations are required. For Allah; the Almighty, is above all comprehension and knows well the secrets of all hearts. Nevertheless, those who are going to adopt Islam as their religion are advised to register themselves as Muslims with the concerned governmental agency, as this procedure may facilitate for them many matters including the possibility of performing Hajj and Umrah.
If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islam is the true religion ordained by Allah for all human beings, then, one should pronounce that “Shahaada” (The testimony of faith) without further delay. The Holy Qur’an is explicit in this regard as Allah has stated, “Truly, the Religion on the sight of Allah is Islam” (Al-Qur’an, Chapter 3: verse 19).
In another verse of the Holy Qur’an, Allah has stated: “And whosoever desires a religion other that Islam, never will it accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who are lost” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 3: verse 85).
In addition, Islam is the only Religion prevailing over all other religions. Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an; “And to thee. We have sent the Book in truth, (This Qur’an) confirming the scripture that came before it, and a witness over it…” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 5: verse 48).
Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), said:” Islam is based on five pillars: testifying that there is no God worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and His Servant; performing the prayer; paying the Zakat (obligatory charity); fasting the month of Ramadan; and performing Hajj”.
The Shahaada can be declared as follows:
“ASH-HADU ANLAA ILAAHA ILLALLAAH WA ASH HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WARASUULUH”.*
The English translation is: “I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.” However, it would not be sufficient for anyone to utter only this testimony orally either in private or in public, but rather, one should believe in it by heart with a firm conviction with the teachings of Islam in all his life he will find himself a new born person.
This will move him to strive more and more to improve his character and draw nearer to perfection. The light of the living faith will fill his heart until he becomes the embodiment of that faith.
What would be next after declaring the testimony of faith (Shahaada) and then becoming a Muslim? He or she should know the real concept underlying this testimony which means the Oneness of Allah and accept Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as the last of the Prophets, and meet its requirements. He or she must behave accordingly applying this true faith to every thing they speak or do. What do the words of “Shahaada” signify?
The significant point which every Muslim must know very well is the truth that there is no God to be worshipped other than Allah, (Glory be to Him). He is the only true God, Who Alone deserves to be worshipped, since He is the Giver of life and Sustainer and Nourisher of mankind and all creation with His unlimited bounties. Man must worship Allah, Who Alone is worthy of worship.
The second part of the “Shahaada” i.e. “Wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh” means that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the servant and chosen messenger of Allah. No one must have two opinions about this matter. In fact, the Muslim has to obey the commands of the Prophet (PBUH), to believe him in what he has said, to follow his teachings, to avoid what he has forbidden, and to worship Allah alone according to the message revealed to him.
What is the meaning of worship? It simply means rendering sincere service; showing reverence for Allah. In a deeper shade of meaning, it implies total submission and complete obedience to Allah’s Commandments both in utterances and actions of man whether explicit or implicit and whether private or public.
Worship falls into two categories:
- Visible (manifest of outward)
- Invisible (concealed or inward)
Visible worship includes acts such as uttering the two parts of the “Shahaada” performing prayers, giving Zakat (Obligatory charity), observing fast in the month of Ramadan, performing Hajj, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, supplication, adoring Allah by praising Him, purifying our bodies before prayers, etc. This type of worship is associated with movement of the parts of human body, (actions).
Invisible worship is to believe in Allah, in the Day of Judgement, in the Hereafter, in the Angels, in the Books of Allah, in all the Prophets of Allah, and in the Divine Decree of destiny (that good and bad are determined by Allah alone).
This type of worship does not involve movements of parts of the body but it surely has a bearing on one’s heart which subsequently affects his way of life. (Beliefs).
It should be borne in mind that worship not dedicated to Allah alone, will be rejected as one form of polytheism or shirk, which amount to apostasy from the Islamic point of view.
The next step for a devotee (newly reverted to Islam) is to purify himself by taking a bath (total ablution). He should then resolve to comply with all the principles and rules of Islam in their entirety. He disowns all forms of polytheism and false beliefs. He should reject evil and be righteous. Such rejection of evil and being righteous is one of the requisites of the motto of Islam that is, Laailaaha Ill Allaah.
Allah has stated in the Holy Qur’an: “… Whoever disbelieves in false deities and believes in Allah, hath grasped the most trustworthy Handhold, that will never break…” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 2: verse 256).
We have to consider that when we declare from our heart that “there is no god (deity) worthy to be worshipped but Allah.” It implies on our part of love, devotion, faith and obedience to the rules of Islamic legislation which are legally binding on all Muslims. It is requirement of “there is no god worthy to be worshipped but Allah,” to love for the sake of Allah and to reject for the sake of Allah. This is the firmest anchor of belief which materializes the meaning of “AL-WALA and “AL-BARA”. It means that a Muslim should love and be loyal to his Muslim brothers. He should, as a practice, dissociate himself completely from practices of the unbelievers and refuse to be influenced by them, both in worldly and religious matters.
We conclude with a humble prayer to Allah that He may cleanse the hearts and souls of those who are genuine seekers of truth and may He bless the community of believers. Ameen.
* We repeat the issue that one may ask, “If Islam teaches that all the Prophets and Messengers are equal, then why does the testimony of faith only affirm the Prophethood of Muhammad without mentioning the other Prophets?” It must be understood that anyone who affirms the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) is acknowledging all the Prophets and Messengers of God that came before him. If one were to testify for example, that, “There is no deity except God, and Moses is the Messenger of God,”this does not necessitate the person’s acceptance of the Prophets and Messengers that followed Moses (PBUH), such as Jesus or Muhammad (Peace be upon them)