Quran Project - Appendix - How do I become a Muslim
The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Becoming a Muslim is a simple and easy process that requires no pre-requisites. If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islām is the true religion of God, then, all one needs to do is pronounce the “Shahada,” the testimony of faith, without further delay, ideally witnessed by fellow Muslims.
The “Shahada” is the first and most important of the five pillars of Islām. With the pronunciation of this testimony, or “Shahada,” with sincere belief and conviction, one enters the fold of Islām. Upon entering the fold of Islām purely for the Pleasure of God, all of one’s previous sins are forgiven, and one starts a new life of piety and righteousness. The Prophet said to a person who had placed the condition upon the Prophet in accepting Islām that God would forgive his sins: “Do you not know that accepting Islām destroys all sins which come before it?”
When one accepts Islām, they in essence repent from the ways and beliefs of their previous life. One need not be overburdened by sins committed before their acceptance. The person’s record is clean, and it is as if he was just born from his mother’s womb. One should try as much as possible to keep his records clean and strive to do as many good deeds as possible.
The Qur’ān and Hadeeth (Prophetic sayings) both stress the importance of following Islām. God states:
“Indeed, the religion in the sight of God is Islām.”Qur’ān 3:19
In another verse of the Holy Qur’ān, God states:
“And whoever desires other than Islām as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.”Qur’ān 3:85
The Prophet Muhammad said “Whoever testifies that there in none worthy of being worshipped but God, Who has no partner, and that Muhammad is His slave and Prophet, and that Jesus is the Slave of God, His Prophet, and His word which He bestowed in Mary and a spirit created from Him; and that Paradise (Heaven) is true, and that the Hellfire is true, God will eventually admit him into Paradise, according to his deeds.”
The Prophet of God also said,“Indeed God has forbidden to reside eternally in Hell the person who says: “I testify that none has the right to worship except Allah (God),’ seeking thereby the Face of God.”
The Declaration of the Testimony (Shahada)
To convert [or more accurately revert] to Islām and become a Muslim, a person needs to pro-nounce the below testimony with conviction and understanding its meaning - with other Muslims present:
"Ash hadu Anla ilaha Illa Allah...Wa Ash hadu Anna MuHammadan Rasoolu Allah."
“I testify that there is no true God (deity) but Allah (God), and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (God).”
When someone pronounces the testimony with conviction, then he/she has become a Muslim.
The first part of the testimony consists of the most important truth that God revealed to mankind: that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God. God states in the Holy Qur’ān:
“And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”Qur’ān 21:25
This conveys that all forms of worship, whether it be praying, fasting, invoking, seeking refuge in, and offering an animal as sacrifice, must be directed to God and to God alone. Directing any form of worship to other than God (whether it be an angel, a messenger, Jesus, Muhammad, a saint, an idol, the sun, the moon, a tree) is seen as a contradiction to the fundamental message of Islām and it is an unforgivable sin unless it is repented from before one dies. All forms of worship must be directed to God only.
Worship means the performance of deeds and sayings that please God, things which He com-manded or encouraged to be performed, either by direct textual proof or by analogy. Thus, wor-ship is not restricted to the implementation of the five pillars of Islām, but also includes every aspect of life. Providing food for one’s family and saying something pleasant to cheer a person up are also considered acts of worship, if such is done with the intention of pleasing God. This means that, to be accepted, all acts of worship must be carried out sincerely for the Sake of God alone.
The second part of the testimony means that Prophet Muhammad is the servant and chosen messenger of God. This implies that one obeys and follows the commands of the Prophet. One must believe in what he has said, practice his teachings and avoid what he has forbidden. One must therefore worship God only according to his teaching alone, for all the teachings of the Prophet were in fact revelations and inspirations conveyed to him by God.
One must try to mould their lives and character and emulate the Prophet, as he was a living example for humans to follow. God says:
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character.”Qur’ān 68:4
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of God an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in God and the Last Day and [who] remembers God often..”Qur’ān 33:21
He was sent in order to practically implement the Qur’ān, in his saying, deeds, legislation as well as all other facets of life. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, when asked about the character of the Prophet, replied: “His character was that of the Qur’ān.”
To truly adhere to the second part of the Shahada is to follow his example in all walks of life. God says:
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love God, then follow me.’”Qur’ān 3:31
It also means that Muhammad is the Final Prophet and Messenger of God, and that no (true) Prophet can come after him.
“Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of God and last of the prophets. And ever is God, of all things, Knowing.”Qur’ān 33:40
All who claim to be prophets or receive revelation after Muhammad are imposters and to acknowledge them would be tantamount to disbelief.
We welcome you to Islām, congratulate you for your decision and will try to help you in any way we can, God willing. Log on to www.quranproject.org/newmuslim for more information.