Becoming Muslim: Between Confusion & Shahada

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God tells us in the Qur’an “Allah guides to His light whom He wills.” (24 v. 5)  If your journey in search of God has brought you here, then there are some important things you should know about becoming Muslim.  Most importantly how easy it is.

Often times due to the fact that Islam still seems “foreign” to a majority of the American population, which it undeniably is not, many people interested in or curious about Islam are hesitant or apprehensive about becoming Muslim.  Many think that Americans; such as Latinos, Whites, Blacks, or Asians, are not Muslims.  In America and around the world, Islam is as colorful as the rainbow.

1. Can you become a Muslim? Yes, as a matter of fact anyone can become a Muslim with ease.  Islam is not a religion just for Arabs or Indians, it is a universal religion and is welcoming to people of every ethnicity “Say : O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of God to you all” (7:158), “mankind is a single nation” (2:213).  Muslims come in every color and the only race Muslims pay attention to is the human race.  Some of the largest Muslim populations are actually in China and Indonesia, not in the Middle East. There are also large Muslim populations in Bosnia and Albania.

2. Is it weird for me, an American, to become Muslim? Not at all, becoming Muslim is a path to having a pure conception of God and a healthy relationship with your Creator.  It is a means to bring discipline and priorities into our lives through practices like 5 daily prayers, fasting, prescribed charity, etc.  It is also a means to perfect our character and enhance our experience with others through values with specific practices such as maintaining family ties, humility, reflection on God , eliminating anger, etc.  It should also be noted that Islam is one of the most ethnically diverse religions on Earth.  In America you walk into a given mosque and you will likely find Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Arab, Black, and White Muslims.  People embracing Islam is not an anomaly, it is natural.

3. How do you become Muslim? The funny thing about becoming Muslim is that often times you become Muslim without even realizing it. Many people who research Islam and agree with the most basic principles and agree with them become Muslim unknowingly.  If you believe that the only thing worthy of Worship is God (devoid of co-gods, children, or parents) your belief in God is the belief that Muslims find to be the natural belief in God. The next step is to believe that Prophet Muhammad is a Prophet from the biblical prophetic family.  If you believe this in your heart you are a Muslim. Many people already believe in God’s oneness at a basic level, however, believing in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a Messenger of God is sometimes and area of research people need to spend some time.

Shorter Reads:

Medium Reads: 1.  In the Footsteps of the Prophet- Tariq Ramadan 2. Muhammad- Martin Lings

4.  Do I have to become a different person if I become Muslim? Often times people coming to Islam find themselves asking questions, such as, “Do I have to___”change my name? change my friends? change my clothes, change my interests)  The simple answer is that to become Muslim all you have to do is hold our basic beliefs, then work towards establishing the basic practices and towards consistently improving yourself. Having a mindset such as, “Im going to be better than I used to be, but I am worse than I am going to be.” is key to being a Muslim.

5. Muslims don’t drink, have sex out of marriage, etc, what if I do these things?  If you decide to become Muslim, you should realize that these are not things our religion approves of, however, engaging in them does not bar you from being a Muslim.  Rather it is an area you might need to work on developing.  We all have our own struggles in life and Islam is the path to help us tame our vices and control our inner selves.

6. So then what makes me a Muslim?

Belief in the following:

1. There is nothing worthy of worship except for God

2.  God has created other creations such as angels

3. God has picked excellent human beings throughout history to serve as role models and spiritual leaders such as, Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Jesus.  Prophet Muhammad being a part of this prophetic family and bringing a conclusion to the biblical era by being the final Prophet to humanity.

4. God has revealed scriptures to specific Prophets throughout history. Such as, believing in the original Torah and Gospel before they were changed at the hands of humans.  Also, believing that the Qur’an is the final scripture revealed to humanity and will be the final guidance until the end of times.

5.  There will be a day when we will all be called to account for all of our actions at the God’s Justice will reign supreme.  No one will be slighted and everyone will get what they have earned.  That is the Day of Judgement where all humans will be resurrected to stand before their Lord and account for their deeds.

6.  To believe in Divine Decree.  That God has ordained specific matters in our life and has knowledge of how our lives will play out. At the same time we also have free fill to make our own decisions.

In addition, we you should know the Five Pillars of Islam, accept the fact that they are obligations upon us and strive to eventually fulfill these five pillars.  You do not have to already be doing them in order to become a Muslim.  Upon becoming Muslim you set on your journey to establishing these pillars in your life.

1. Shahada

2. Five Daily prayers

3. Fast during the Month of Ramadan

4. Pay a purifying chairty ( small portion of your money)

5. Go to the Pilgrimage (hajj) to Makkah once in your life if you have the money and health to do so.

So long as you believe in the pillars of faith and you understand the pillars of Islam with an intention to implement them in your life, then you are a Muslim.

What does it take to become Muslim? To believe these things in your heart.  Then you can take your shahada, by contacting us, your local mosque or a friend.  You do not have to publicly take a shahada, however, it is highly advisable.  If you are a Muslim, the Muslim community becomes responsible for taking care of you.  If you fly under the radar, then no one will know that you are a part of this beautiful family.  That way you can meet other Muslims, find teachers to teach you Islam, and if hard times fall on you, you can find some people to give you a hand.

The shahada is as follows

-I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except for God and I bear witness that Muhammad is a Messenger and Slave of God.

This shahada summarizes all of the beliefs posted above.  The first part indicates ‘who’ we worship ( God and God alone) and the second part indicates ‘how’ we worship (following the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. Even without publicly taking your shahada, if you believe these things, you are a MUSLIM!

Welcome to Islam:)

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