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We would like to welcome all the brothers and sisters who have taken the decision and found their way to Islam. We welcome you all to the fold of Islam.

At this critical and turning point in your life, we present you this “New Muslim Guide” which will help you live your life as a true Muslim and embrace Islam in your daily life.

Have taken the courageous step of submitting to the will of God, you , through devotion to Him alone, are truly free and able to fill the void in your life; to lead a life of devotion to Him, and still enjoy life.

The New Muslim Guide includes materials in the form of PDF books, audio and video files which will help you get to know more about Islam.

Click here to DOWNLOAD the guide.

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How Should I Declare the Shahadah?

shahadah

In order to be recognized as a member of the Islamic community one needs to do Shahadah in front of people.

What are the procedures to follow if someone wishes to convert to Islam?

Conversion to Islam is a simple procedure; it does not entail any complicated rituals or ceremonies, since Islam allows for no intermediaries in worship, and as such there are no priestly classes to administer specific rites.

Conversion therefore is mostly a person’s own choice; as long as he/she is willing to accept the basic tenets of faith, without any external coercion or pressure, and as long as one expresses it in words in front of people the conversion is acceptable.

However, because of the need for documentation, it is best that a person goes to an Islamic center which can issue a certificate of conversion. For this one needs to simply book an appointment with the imam of the local mosque; he would be more than willing to facilitate the conversion.

At the time of conversion one will be asked to repeat the following words of testimony: Ashhadu ana la ilaha illa Allah wa ashahdu anna Muhammadun rasulu Allah (I bear witness there is no god but Allah; I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God).

Besides this, it is also good to affirm faith in the following tenets of Islamic faith: I believe in Allah; in His angels; in His scriptures; His messengers; the Last Day and the fact that good and bad are decreed by God. You should request a certificate indicating the date of conversion as you may need it for purposes of pilgrimage to Makkah.

Finally, let me also suggest that you consult the following excellent work entitled, ”Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam“ by Yahya Emerick (2nd edition) as it has all of the essential information you need to know about Islam.

In Public

Is it enough to declare the Shahadah (Testimony of Faith) by oneself order to be converted into Islam or is it considered obligatory to make the declaration in front of two witnesses?

Although between you and God it surely is enough for you to say Shahadah (the Testimony of Faith) by yourself, however, in order for you to be recognized as a member of the Islamic community you need to do so in front of people.

As mentioned above, you are best advised to do so in the presence of an imam in a recognized Islamic center or mosque, for in this way you can hope to gain proper orientation in regards to your actual practice of Islam.

Islam teaches us that we should do whatever we do as professionally and efficiently as possible. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has enjoined excellence in each and every act one performs.” (Muslim)

Therefore, I advise you to call on the nearest Islamic center and get an appointment with the imam; let him facilitate your task of reversion to Islam; in the meantime, if you haven’t already found some useful books on Islam, let me mention another important book – besides Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam – which, I urge you to read and study well; “Islam in Focus” by Dr. Hammudah Abdul `Ati.

I pray to Allah to grant us all steadfastness in faith, and may He grace us all with His mercy and forgiveness in both worlds. Ameen.

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Source: askthescholar.com

 

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The Five Pillars of Islam: Their Meaning and Priority

By Jamal Badawi

What are the Five Pillars of Islam and what is the origin of this expression?

The term and the specification of the number appear in more than one saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). One of the most famous sayings is narrated in the collection by Muslim and says that “the infrastructure of Islam is based upon the Oneness of Allah, the performance of regular prayers, the payment of Zakah or the poor’s due, the fasting, and the pilgrimage”. (Muslim) The term was based on the mention of this hadith.

More specifically the first pillar on the Oneness of Allah means that in order for a person to be Muslim they would have to confess with conviction of the heart and mind that there is no deity but one God and that is Allah who is the One and Only universal God of all. One is required to mention this a minimum of one time in their lifetime in order to be Muslim.

The second pillar is the performance of regular prayers and these are also specified as five specific prayers which follow a specific format during the day and night. This is not prayer in terms of supplication, I use the term prayer in English because it is the closest translation. It is not prayer in the sense of sitting and making supplication but requires lots of preparation.

The third pillar is the payment of poor’s due and is called Zakah in Arabic.

The fourth is fasting and this refers to observing the fast from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan which is the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar.

Finally is the pilgrimage to the Holy places in Makkah (Mecca) at least once in a life time if a person is able to.

When non-Muslims write about Islam and mention these Five Pillars quite often one is under the impression that these Five Pillars is all that Islam is about. Is this correct?

Unfortunately, it is not. The problem with many non-Muslim authors, writers, film producers, and narrators is that they try to interpret Islam from the point of view of their own background which is like placing Islam in an alien framework and this is where the mistake occurs. Most writers in films and so on and many who pose as experts on Islam come from a background which views religion as a large set of dogmas or rituals or something that focuses on the spiritual aspect of life with some kind of separation from the secular or mundane activities.

True Islam is an all embracive comprehensive way of life, it is a way of looking at life and taking it as a totality not making an artificial separation between religion and secularism.  The lack of understanding of this particular point makes many people view the pillars of Islam in the sense that doing those five things is all that Islam is about.

Any particular structure pillars are not everything but essential for a building’s support. In addition to the pillars one needs a roof, walls, partitions, insulation heating system and furnishing. The same thing applies to Islam. Many people think that once we talk about the Five Pillars of Islam that they’ve got everything. No they have not.

If we look at Islam the same way we look at the structure of a building as a functioning religion as a faith that is not limited to the spiritual aspect but is a complete way of life. One doesn’t have a functional building just with the pillars one has got to have all the other things that go along side with the pillars.

The pillars are essential and are the create the base but they are not everything. There is a difference between saying the pillars are everything and between saying the Five Pillars are the basis of everything. This is the way a Muslim looks at the Pillars of Islam.

In fact Islam addresses spiritual, moral, social, economic and even political aspects of life. When those writers refer to the Pillars of Islam they do not even depict it in sufficient depth. It is depicted as a formal ritual, whereas if one looks very closely in depth at the nature of those pillars one finds that they give lots of lessons which regulates social, moral, economic and even political life. In a way Islam goes far beyond the simple notions of rituals or formalisms.

Is there any significance as to the order in which these pillars appear and if so which come first and why?

Yes, there is a hierarchy. For example the first pillar which we mentioned which is the corner stone of Islam is the belief in the one universal God of all. Belief in God and faith in Him and acceptance of his prophets represents the very foundation upon which any good deeds can be accepted by God. This is the source of all virtue.

One notices that the second Pillar is the keeping of regular five daily prayers which is the most noble act of communicating directly with God without an intermediary. This is a reflection of how a Muslim after accepting God tries to nourish this direct relationship with his creator.

The second pillar is followed by the poor’s due which is an instrumental pillar in building social equity and justice in society. This is followed by the fourth pillar which is fasting. This is a method to discipline one’s self and control our desires and as such lead a virtuous life. Finally is the pilgrimage for those who are able to. As I understand it there is a hierarchy of relative importance.

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Source: jamalbadawi.org

 

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The Conditions of the Shahadah to Be Accepted by God

It is not enough that one merely utter the Shahadah for it to be accepted by Allah. It is the key to the gates of Paradise, but in order for it to work, it needs to have the right ridges.

The Shahadah must meet the following conditions for it to be accepted by Allah:

1- Knowledge

One must have knowledge that all other deities worshipped besides Allah are false, so there is no deity worshipped in truth except Allah. Never should anyone else be worshipped, even if he be a prophet, a messenger or an angel. Allah is the only one who deserves all types worship, such as salah (prayer), du`aa’ (supplication), hope, sacrificial slaughtering, making oaths, etc.

Whoever directs any type of worship to other than Allah has committed kufr (disbelief), even if he uttered the Shahadah.

2- Certainty

One must have certainty in the Shahadah. Certainty is the opposite of doubt, so there is no room for a person to doubt or waver in his belief. Allah says:

The believers are only those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not, and strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful. (Al-Hujurat 49:15)

3- Acceptance

One should accept the Shahadah fully and not reject it. It is not sufficient that a person merely know what the Shahadah means and believe it with certainty. Rather he must accept it my pronouncing it openly and accepting to become a Muslim. Allah says:

Truly, when it was said to them, “La ilaha illa Allah (no deity is worshipped in truth except Allah),” they puff themselves up with pride and deny it. (As-Saffat 37:35)

4- Compliance

It means obedience and acting upon all what the Shahadah necessitates.

A person must do according to what Allah ordered and abstain from what He prohibited. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

And whosoever submits his face to Allah, while he is a muhsin (doer of good), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold [La ilaha ill-Allah]. And to Allah return all matters for decision. (Luqman 31:22)

We should note that the word muhsin” in the verse literally means a person who does something well. Here it means one who does righteous deeds sincerely for Allah, according to the method the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us.

Here we see that Allah mentions both submission to Allah along with doing righteous deeds, and only if a person does this has he grasped onto the sure handhold of the Shahadah.

5- Truthfulness

One must be truthful in his Shahadah. Even though a person may be doing all these things on the outside, he might be hiding disbelief in his heart, like the hypocrites.

Allah says:

They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. (Al-Fath 48:11)

6- Sincerity of worship

One must make his worship and obedience sincerely for Allah alone. And it may be that one fulfills all the previous conditions, but he directs worship to other than Allah at times, like supplicating to the dead, etc. He has not made his worship purely for Allah.

Allah says:

And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, following the religion purely and sincerely for Him, turning away from other religions. (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

7- Love

One must love Allah, His Messenger, and His righteous slaves. He must hate and show enmity towards all who show enmity to Allah and His Messenger. He must prefer what Allah and His Messenger love, even if it is different to what he desires. Allah says:

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight… are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the rebellious and disobedient to Allah. (At-Tawbah 9:24)

Shahadah & Oneness

The Shahadah also necessitates that Allah is the only one who has the right to legislate, whether it be in matters concerning worship, or matters concerning the government of human relations in both the individual and public affairs. The act of making something prohibited or lawful is for Allah alone. His Messenger merely explained and clarified Allah’s commandments.

And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). (Al-Hashr 59:7)

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The article is an excerpt from”How to Become a Muslim” by Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha.

 

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Tawheed: Its Meaning and Categories

By Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin `Abdullah Al-Tuwayjiri 

Tawheed is to single out Allah (Exalted be He) in what is distinct to Him and obligatory for Him. That is, for the slave to know for certain that Allah is One with no partner in His rububiyyah (lordship), His uluhiyyah (servitude) and His Names and Attributes.

Tawheed: Its Meaning and Categories

Allah is One with no partner; One unparalleled in His essence, His names, His attributes and His actions.

It further means that: The slave knows for certain and acknowledges that Allah alone is the Lord and Sovereign of everything; that He alone is the Creator, the Ever-Living and the Sustainer of all that exists who alone maintains the whole universe; that He alone is worthy of worship with no partner; that everything which is worshipped besides Him is false; and that He possesses attributes of perfection, free of every imperfection and deficiency, and to Him alone belong the best names and loftiest attributes:

Allah – there is no god (worthy of worship) except Him. To Him belong the best names. (Ta-Ha 20:8)

The Fiqh of Tawheed

Allah is One with no partner; One unparalleled in His essence, His names, His attributes and His actions; to Him alone belong the dominion, creation and command with no partner. He is the Sovereign and everything besides Him belongs to Him; He is the Lord and everything besides Him is His slave; and He is the Creator and everything besides Him is created:

Say, ‘He is Allah, (Who is) One; Allah, the Self-Sufficient Master; He neither begets nor is He begotten; nor is there any equivalent to Him.’ (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

He (Exalted be He) is the Most Strong and everything besides Him is weak; He is the Most Powerful and everything besides Him is powerless; He is the Most Great and everything besides Him is minute; He is the Self-Sufficient and everything besides Him is in need of Him; He is the All-Mighty and everything besides Him is subservient; and He is the Truth and all that is worshipped besides Him is false:

That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon besides Him is falsehood, and that Allah is the Most High, the Most Great. (Luqman 31:30)

He is the Most Magnificent of which there is nothing more magnificent than Him; the Most High of which there is nothing higher than Him; the Most Great of which there is nothing greater than Him; and the Most Merciful of which there is nothing more merciful than Him.

He is the Most Strong who has created strength in every strong one; the Most Powerful who has created power in every powerful one; the Most Merciful who has created mercy in every merciful one; the Most Knowledgeable who has taught every creature; and the All-Provider who has created all sustenance and those who receive it:

That is Allah, your Lord; there is no god (worthy of worship) except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things. No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision; and He is the Most Subtle, the Well-Acquainted. (Al-An`am 6:102-103)

He is the True God who alone is worthy of worship besides everything else due to the perfection of His essence, His majesty, His beauty and His graceful kindness; and to Him alone belong the best names and loftiest attributes:

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (Ash-Shura 42:11)

He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing who does what He wills and commands what He desires:

Surely, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Al-A`raf 7:54)

He is the First before everything else; the Last after everything else; the Most High above everything; the Most Near closer to everything; and the All-Knower of everything, alone with no partner:

He is the First and the Last, the Most High and the Most Near; and He is the All-Knower of everything. (Al-Hadid 57:3)

He is the True Sovereign in whose hand is everything, while nothing is in the hand of anything besides Him. So turn to Him alone with no partner:

Say, ‘O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will; You honor whom You will and You humiliate whom You will. In Your hand is (all) good. Indeed, You are Able to do all things.’ (Aal `Imran 3:26)

He alone is the Owner of all things, the All-Powerful over all things, the All-Knowledgeable of all things and the Granter of all things. He alone is the All-Encompassing of every encompassing one, the All-Powerful over every powerful one, the Subjugator of every subjugating one, the One and the Owner of everyone:

Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Mulk 67:1)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Summarized Islamic Fiqh In Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah”, translated by Kamil Ahmad & Jawad Beg

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The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (Tawheed)

By Abdul-Rahman Al Sheha

This is the phrase of Tawheed (the concept of the Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah). Due to this concept Allah brought the creation into being, and due to this concept He created Paradise and Hellfire. Allah (Exalted be He) says:

The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (Tawheed)

This is the belief which all the Prophets and Messengers called to.

And I have neither created the Jinn nor humans except to worship Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

This is the belief which all the Prophets and Messengers called to, from Adam, the first Prophet, to Muhammad, the last messenger (peace be upon them all). Allah says:

And we have not sent before you any messenger except that We have revealed to him that there is no deity that is worshipped in truth except Me, so worship and obey Me. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:25)

Meanings of the Shahadah

There is no Creator of this existence except Allah. Allah says:

Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship and obey Him (Alone), and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs, Guardian, etc.) over all things. (Al-An`am 6:102)

There is no True Master and Owner present in this existence except Allah. This is known as Tawheed Ar-Rubobiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Attributes of Lordship. This is the belief that there is no Creator, Sovereign Master, Administrator, Provider, Sustainer, and Owner except for Allah:

Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the ‘aalameen (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)! (Al-A`raf 7:54)

No deity deserves servitude and worship except Allah. This is known as Tawheed Al-Ulohiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His Worship. This is the belief that no worship should be directed to any except Allah. Allah says:

No doubt! Verily, to Allah belongs whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth. And those who worship and invoke others besides Allah, in fact, follow not the (Allah’s so-called) partners, they follow only a conjecture and they only invent lies. (Yunus 10:66)

All the Names and Attributes of Allah are perfect and complete. This is known as Tawheed Al-Asmaa´ wa As-Sifaat, that Allah has all the Best of Names and Attributes, and that there are none equal, comparable to, or like them. He is high above and free from all faults and shortcomings. Allah says:

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. (Al-A`raf 7:180)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “How to Become a Muslim”.

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The Prophet, New Muslims and Us

sun_nature_field

How will the Muslim community welcome that new Muslim? What advice(s) will be given to them?

We all like this moment, when a brother or sister enters the masjid on a Friday, and announces the Shahadah (Declaration of Faith), and the whole masjid start saying “Takbir, Allahu Akbar”; I cannot deny that this is such an amazing moment, to witness someone who just found the right path, and took that extra step closer to God.

The bitter question is: What is next? How will the Muslim community welcome that new Muslim? What advice(s) will be given to them and how are they going to start their long journey in learning the deen of Allah.

I tried to search the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to examine what approach he used with newly converted companions after they became Muslims. Sometimes this aspect is overlooked when we focus on the event itself (saying the Shahadah) and consider it to be the ultimate goal of da`wah (Islamic outreach), and we neglect – or consider it to be less important – the post-Shahadah advice or curriculum given to new Muslims.

1- Recognizing New Muslims Talents

“The best among you in the days of ignorance are  the best in the days after accepting Islam, provided that they acquire true knowledge and understanding of Islam (fiqh; jurisprudence)”, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Every human being has their unique sets of talents and skills, and the Prophet recognized that fact and motivated people from the moment they accepted Islam. Two legends of the Muslim history, Khalid ibn Al-Waleed and `Amr ibn Al-`As, embraced Islam at the same day and gave a huge boost to this deen.

Khalid was the one who led the Muslim army to conquer `Iraq, Persia (Iran), Armenia, and Shaam (Syria & Lebanon). `Amr ibn Al-`As was the one who spread Islam in Palestine and Egypt.

Imagine the huge impact that these two men gave to Islam, and how many people were introduced to Islam and later on contributed to it and to humanity. All that was influenced by those new (and in comparison to other companions, late) converts.

It is interesting to note that both fought the Prophet and the Muslims fiercely in their early days; both had Muslim blood on their hands, especially Khalid ibn Al-Waleed, who was a main reason behind the defeat of the Muslims in the battle of Uhud. Despite all that, look at how the prophet welcomed the two new additions to the Muslim family:

– “O Allah, he (Khalid) is one of your swords, so support him”. From that time on, Khalid used to be called ‘the Sword of Allah’. (Al-Albani)

– “All people became Muslims, but as for `Amr ibn Al-`As he became a believer” (indicating that he immediately entered into a higher rank of faith than other new Muslims. (At-Tirmidhi and Al-Albani)

Khalid was given the leadership of the Muslim army in many battles, without this being a concern to those Companions who knew more Qur’an than him and embraced Islam years and years before him.

The seerah (Prophet’s biography) tells us about some battles where Khalid did take a wrong decision, due to his lack of knowledge; this did not discredit him or let the Prophet overshadow his talents and potential contribution to the Muslim nation.

2- Giving New Muslims Special Attention

`Amr ibn Al-`As was amazed by the special attention that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave him. He actually thought that he is the most beloved Companion to the Messenger of Allah, and asked him a direct question one day: “Oh Prophet of Allah, who is the most beloved person to you” and the Prophet said: “`A’ishah (the Prophet’s wife)”;

– From the men?

– Her father (Abu Bakr As-Siddiq)

– Then who?

– Then `Umar, ..

In `Amr’s words: “After that, the Prophet started listing names and names of people, and this made me remain silent, fearing that he will place me at the end of the list…” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah had this gentle effect on all those around him, especially the new comers to Islam that made `Amr seriously think he is the best Companion in the eyes of the Prophet.

road_nature

We note his wisdom in recognizing the weaknesses in people and dealing with them based on that.

3- Da`wah Mission from Day One

Some Companions were commissioned to preach Islam from day one, and were given “ad-hoc” da`wah courses for that purpose. At-Tufail ibn `Amr Ad-Dawsi accepted Islam in the early days of Makkah, and immediately went back to his tribe to deliver the message of truth. He had a tough way of preaching Islam where he tells people: you either follow Islam or I will never talk to you again!

While this method may not work in year 2013 in downtown Manhattan or Paris, apparently it worked for some members of his tribe but not to all of them.

He came back to the Prophet (literally this was his second meeting with the Messenger after accepting Islam) and complained about his people. The Prophet made du`aa’ for Daws (his tribe) and told him: “Go back to your people, call them to Allah and be lenient with them”. (Ibn Ishaq)

4- Gradual Change in People’s Behavior

People might accept the idea of submitting to the one God, but they might have problems in some of the commandments (such as hijab, fasting the long days of Ramadan, etc…). The tribe of Thaqif agreed to embrace Islam but told the Prophet: “We will not give out any charity, and we will not fight in the way of Allah (jihad)”.

The Prophet accepted that from them, and he told his Companion: “They will (willingly) pay charity and perform jihad when they embrace Islam” (Abu Dawud and Al-Albani).

Again, we note his wisdom in recognizing the weaknesses in people and dealing with them based on that.

Other Companions had certain demands, such as praying with sujud (prostration) but no ruku`(bowing) (Ibn Rajab, Jami` Al-`Ulum Wal-Hikam), and others requested permission to pray only two prayers a day instead of five.

It is really important here to note that the Prophet did not ‘customize’ the religious teachings for those individuals; he rather considered that to be an introductory stage that was given to a particular person in their new journey in Islam.

Such exceptions were not given during a Friday sermon, for example, and were not taught and spread by other Companions; all those incidents and others teach us how the messengers of the Messenger of Allah (i.e. us) should have wisdom in inviting people to this great deen.

Sometimes and in certain situations with certain people, raising the bar and challenging people will produce the best out of them. In other occasions, we have to understand the human weaknesses and give people a gradual plan while they get up to speed, of course without compromising the basics and essentials of our deen.

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Source:  mohakeem.com

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