Salam Dear Brother,
Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
May Allah bless you for choosing Islam as your religion and as your way of life!
The first thing you have to do to convert to Islam is to acknowledge the two key tenets of the Islamic faith.
- That there is no one worthy of worship, except Allah, the One and Only God.
- That Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the servant, worshiper and messenger of Allah.
Even though the above two tenets of Islam seem simple, they involve a lot of transformation in the life of the new believer.
But, if you feel ready to order your life henceforth by the commandments of Allah embodied in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah (the example and traditions of Prophet Muhammad), you can “convert” to Islam.
When you have decided to convert to Islam—or rather to revert to Islam, as you are returning to your original natural religion of worshipping God—you have chosen to submit to Allah and lead a life of obedience to Him.
Your becoming a Muslim is really a bond between yourself and God. But for the sake of society and official purposes, you have to publicly acknowledge your change of heart.
This is necessary for many reasons, such as the need to belong to the global community of world Muslims and the need to be recognized as a Muslim. For instance: for marriage or for the performance of Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), you need to give proof for your Muslim status.
Saying the Shahadah
Once you choose to revert to Islam, you need to pronounce the Shahadah or the testimony of faith, without delay.
The Shahadah (the statement to testify the faith) is as follows: “Ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha illa-llah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh.” The meaning is: “I bear witness that there is no god [deity or one worthy to be worshipped] but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”
The most important point to bear in mind is that Allah is the One and Only God, Who alone should be worshipped, as He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Law-Giver of Mankind.
The next important point is that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last prophet God will send. He is an exemplar par excellence for all the believers. So, a Muslim has to accept him as a model and follow his teachings.
Now, before you formally take the Shahadah, it is recommended that you have a full shower, as a token of your giving up all the vestiges of unbelief or wrong beliefs and practices.
And once you revert to Islam, you get hold of “the most trustworthy hand-hold”, as Allah states in the Holy Quran what means:
… whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks… (Quran 2:256)
You are also advised to contact the masjid (Mosque) or Islamic center near you to get all the help needed in learning the practical aspects of Islam.
What Does It Mean to Worship Allah?
Here, a few points on what it really means to live life as a Muslim.
In Islam, the term “worship” (Arabic: `ibadah) does not signify merely ritualistic activities such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, or pilgrimage.
It encompasses all aspects of the daily life of a believer. In fact, it includes everything a Muslim believes, says, or does in accordance with Islam.
When a Muslim performs all the activities of his life for the pleasure of Allah, then all his deeds become `ibadah, or worship. Of course, this includes his/her ritualistic worship, such as prayer, also.
Islam requires a person to submit himself/herself whole-heartedly to Allah, as Allah commands:
Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are [all] for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds.” (Quran 6:162)
Also, Allah clearly states what means:
….true path is distinct from error… (Quran 2:256)
There are only two paths of life to choose between: the right way and the wrong way – the path of righteous truth and the path of falsehood. One is the way of Allah, while the other is the way of the devil.
Of course, you can never stand with one foot on the path of Allah and the other is on the path of the devil.
Full Submission to God
As Muslims, we have submitted our whole self, our whole life, to Allah, and now we must obey Him. We cannot split our life into compartments and say that this is where I will obey Allah, and these are the areas where I will follow my desires.
This may sound somewhat difficult for many; but in fact it need not be. Because what we mean here is chiefly a change of attitude and approach.
Of course, it will have its impact on our life, both internal and external; but for those who wish to lead a good life here, and in the afterlife, Islam is the way.
What is important here is to understand that Islam does not value rituals for the sake of rituals, especially when we perform them as a habit with no influence on one’s heart and course of life.
Allah says what means:
It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels, and the book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; be steadfast in prayer, and give zakah [obligatory alms]; fulfill the contracts, which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain [or suffering] and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (Quran 2:177)
This means that if our rituals do not have any influence on our day-to-day life, they have no value. Yet, when we do our daily duties with sincerity and faith expecting Allah’s reward, they become important acts of worship.
A Striking Example of Islam’s Practicality
Believe it or not, the Prophet once told his companions that they would even be rewarded for having sexual intercourse with their wives! The companions were astonished! They asked:
How are we going to be rewarded for doing something we enjoy very much?” The Prophet asked them: “Suppose you satisfy your desires outside wedlock, wouldn’t you indeed be violating Allah’s commandments by that?” They replied: “Yes!” “So…” he said, “by satisfying your desire as He wanted you to do–lawfully with your wives-you are rewarded for it.” (Muslim)
Thus, Islam does not consider sex a filthy act that a believer should avoid. Islam sees sex as sinful only when it is satisfied outside marital life.
This comprehensive approach to worship enables a person to purify and spiritualize the entire spectrum of his/her life.
May Allah purify your heart of all impurities, and make you ready to take in the truth of Islam! And, may He accept you as one of His most beloved servants, deserving of His grace and mercy!
And Allah knows best.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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