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New Muslim Guide

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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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Ethics & Values New Muslims

The Neglected Value of Greeting

How important is greeting? What moral and social impacts does it have? How do Muslims greet each other?  How can we make it a habit?

In this age of technology and science, moral values and religious teachings taught in order to promote a refined society largely are neglected by all nations, and most unfortunately, Muslims are one of them.

Islamic greeting

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’

These moral downfalls are leading the Ummah toward the ditch of destruction; thus, it’s time we examine our attitude and improve it. Each community has words of greeting that are used when members of a community meet. Such greetings are to express courtesy and promote positive feelings.

The Islamic Greeting

The greetings granted to Muslims by the Qur’an hold the highest spiritual as well as moral values among the greetings of other nations.

Prior to Islam, it was common among the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula to say, “Hayak Allah” (May Allah grant you life) and “Sabah Al-khair” (Good morning).

A person once came into the presence of Al-Husayn ibn `Ali and said, “Kayfa anta? `Aafak Allah” (How are you? May Allah keep you safe). Al-Husayn immediately corrected him in the best manner, nicely giving him the basic teaching of Islam and responding with the following words, “Assalamu qabal al-kalaamu, `aafak Allah” (Say Salam prior to talking, may Allah protect you). He then taught: Don’t give permission to anyone until he says Salam.

At another place, Al-Husayn described the reward of Salam very precisely in these words: “There are 70 good deeds in Salam: 69 for the one who says it and only one for the person who responds. One who doesn’t reply to Salam is a miser” (Bihaar Al-Anwaar, Vol. 17, Qum).

The Qur’an directs us to respond Salam in a more courteous manner:

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better (greeting) than it or return it; surely Allah takes account of all things. (An-Nisaa’ 4:86)

Proud and arrogant people never initiate saying Salam, considering it below their dignity to reply. They only slightly move their head and smile instead of saying “Wa`alaykum assalam” They are misers of the worst class, as per Prophetic traditions.

Al-Husayn said, “The greater miser is the one who displays misery in reciting Salam”. Not only this, but the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) declared in crystal clear terms, “Whoever does not reply ‘Salam’ is not from us,” while one hadith notes, “The principal of humility begins with Salam.”

Greeting in Islam not only increases friendship, harmony and respect, it simultaneously signifies fulfilling the rights of du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer) for Muslims. Additionally, As-Salam is one of the Names of Allah.

Salam is highly recommended when visiting the graves:

Salaam upon you, O people of the graves, from the believers. You preceded us and we shall meet you, Insha’Allah).

How to Say Salam?

One hadith recommends reciting Salam in a manner that each one can hear clearly. The one who initiates the Salam first is closest to Allah. Hadith literature provides us with glorious teachings in this regards.

When someone questioned who should initiate Salam, the Prophet answered, “The one who (wish to) is closer to Allah. A rider should greet a pedestrian, a pedestrian should greet one who is sitting and a small group should greet a large number.”

Salam should be offered to all Muslims, irrespective of whether they are acquaintances or strangers. Saying Salam aloud to everyone in a gathering is sufficient, as it’s unnecessary to greet each person individually. However, it’s incorrect to greet only a particular person in a gathering. Additionally, always convey Salam cheerfully.

In this regard, the following conversation is worth mentioning and available in the sacred scriptures. When Yahya met Isa (peace be upon them), he began by saying, “Salam,” and was answered with, “Salam.” Whenever Yahya met `Isa, Yahya always was happy and smiling, but `Isa was sorrowful, as if he resembled a crying person.

`Isa asked Yahya, “You smile like a happy person, as if you’re secure and protected,” to which Yahya replied, “You display such sorrow, as if you’ve given up all hope.” Then the commandment appeared, “The one who smiles the most is the dearest to Me.”

If a person is at a distance where Salam may not be heard, then Salam can be offered with a hand signal.

When?

However, it’s undesirable to recite Salam when a person is engaged in the following activities:

  • While performing salah (prayers)
  • While one is engaged in tasbeeh (glorifying and praising Allah) or dhikr; gathering for remembering and thanking Allah.
  • During khutbah (sermon), sitting together to study or listen to lectures.
  • While one is busy in reciting the Qur’an
  • During adhan; to repeat the wordings of adhan at the beginning of each prayer. It is a call to pray together in the Mosque.
  • While doing du`aa’ (supplicatory prayer)
  • While occupied in discussion or research of religious sciences
  • While a judge is delivering a verdict
  • While eating or drinking
  • While reciting talbiyah during the Hajj .

Unpleasant Practices

If one says, “Convey my Salam to your parents,” don’t reply on behalf of your parents, as you aren’t authorized and have no right to do that. An amazing practice prevalent on written invitations is, “Salam from our late parents.”

Does anyone have the power to visit, meet and hear Salam from the deceased and then forward it to others? All credit goes to the silly writer who designed such a text and which others blindly follow.

Another unpleasant practice very common today is using “Hi” instead of Salam in email and SMS prior to beginning a conversation.

Salam is also done by embracing a person and drawing him close to you upon meeting him after returning from a journey or after a long absence. Using both arms, hug the person around the neck and shoulders and draw him toward your chest. Men may practice this Sunnah with men and women can do it with women.

Always say Salam when visiting or telephoning others and care should be taken not to visit or phone anyone during times of rest or salah.

Additionally, never enter a home – no matter whose it is – without permission. To ask permission to enter, ring the bell and when the person of the house enquires as to who’s there, say Salam aloud and give your name, instead of saying, “Me,” as the Prophet instructed.

If you realize the one inside has heard your ring or voice and is purposely ignoring it, then repeat the ring three times. If there’s no permission or answer, then as per the Hadith, you must return.

_________________________

Source: www.irfi.org

Dr. Qazi Shaikh Abbas Borhany is an attorney, a religious scholar and a member of Pakistan’s Ulama Council. He received a doctorate in the United States at NDI and a Shahadat Al-Aalamiyah in Najaf, Iraq.

 

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Conversion Stories New Muslims

This Is How Islam Stole My Heart…

What she had thought all her life about Islam has nothing to do with the true religion and the real Muslims she met with. How did the new Muslim convert find her way to the truth? How did Islam steal her heart?

Heart in nature

Before Islam I kept wondering why am I not happy?

Here’s the story in her own words…

I’m very excited today to share my conversion story to Islam with you through this video.

I have been wanting to share this video with you for such a long a time. And finally I got the chance to sit down and record it.

While learning about Islam, it helped me tremendously to watch other revert/converts stories. So I hope this video will be of benefit to you….

Away from Religion

I’d like to start by saying that I came from a normal religious family. My parents do believe in God but they don’t believe in religion. And there’re reasons for that as my grandparents witnessed communism.

My parents were born and grown up  under communism. Also my country was one of the most accelerated countries at the time and religion was banned by the constitution. Basically people have more derailed from religion. It doesn’t mean my parents were not spiritual, but this was the case in my family.

So I grew up without any religious education whatsoever; no religious lessons or schools. So, basically no one ever spoke to me about God or what is going to happen to me when I die.

However, I was very spiritual ever since I was a little girl. I used to always ponder about life and the purpose of my existence, why I’m in this world, what’s going to happen to me after I die, why the world is so complex, and who created it, what the purpose of us being here, etc.

With these questions in my mind, I used to meditate a lot; going out in the garden and just looking at the stars at night and just think… who created these stars. It’s just such a perfect creation.

When I was nine I started going to church when nobody in my family wanted to go to church. My father really didn’t like that. He used to ask me all the time “How can you believe that God has a son?

He just did not like that. God is independent. God needs no son. I was very stubborn and curious. I wanted to learn things. So I kept going to the church and my parents never stopped me from doing this. They raised me to be independent and to investigate myself.

So basically my father showed me what was wrong and what was then let me make the decision.

Later on I moved to the States, and there I continued going to the church.

Dissatisfaction

So, I kept going to church from two to three times a week, and I loved people there. But then there was always a void in my heart that I couldn’t explain it… something like ‘why I have this religion. I’m reading the Bible but they’re still things that I keep wondering about and I cannot find answers to.

I went to an Orthodox church, than a Protestant church. I tried different churches. However I had questions I couldn’t find the answers, the Trinity for example. I couldn’t wrap my head around that. I couldn’t understand it and how it works

Every time I ask questions the answers are not satisfying. It’s always like, ‘Oh, well that’s the way it is. You just believe in it.’

However, for me to believe something it has to make sense for me. It has to make a logical sense. It has to be something rational.

I used to see friends from all over the world, I used to go to parties with them.

While seeing all these colleague drinking, smoking and doing all these crazy things, I felt really uncomfortable. Every time they offered me drink I replied I don’t want it. “Why don’t you want it? Don’t you want to have fun?”, they asked me. My reply to them was: “Couldn’t I have fun without drinking?”

I wanted to stay away from my friends, and from the whole world.

I felt much pressure, felt uncomfortable in this kind of environment-even with my many activities in different aspects of life.

Struggle

I was going through a lot of struggles, thinking about the people that surrounded me, life in the States which was very individualistic to me. I saw people running all the time. I see them going to work, drinking in the weekends.

I kept asking myself “what is the purpose of doing all this?

And although they are doing all these things but I see they are not happy. Girls who dress up to feel accepted and loved by friends or by guys. Guys who are on drugs. There’s a big void in such a life, I felt. I kept wondering about all these things.

And at the same time I kept wondering why am I not happy?

There were a lot of Muslim people around campus. I met friends from work and from school. And one time some Muslim girls invited me to their house- these girls were wearing the scarves. It was during Ramadan.

At that  time, I had a very negative image about Islam mainly because of the media.

With that bad image of Islam I never thought about converting to Islam or anything like that. Just hearing the Qur’an, I’d gotten scared. I didn’t have anything to do with the religion. But I had no problem going with Muslim people as long as they don’t talk to me about Islam.

So, I went to their place and they were fasting. I didn’t know then that was called fasting, but they were not eating or drinking at daytime. And at the same time, they were doing a lot of things that I thought Muslim women are not supposed to do by religion. I was shocked because I had a completely different image of Muslim women. I kept wondering, “Is this how Muslim women actually are?”

Finding My Heart …

So, I just went home, I wanted to know what Islam is all about. I went home and researched…

And this is was the first step towards Islam…

Learn what happened after that; what she found in Islam, how Islam stole her heart and changed her life upside down…

_________________________

Source: youtube/Dadashka’s World Channel

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Life of a Muslim: How Islam Shapes Our Lives?

dawn light

In every age, in every country and among every people, all God-knowing and truth-loving men have believed and lived this very religion.

The life of a Muslim will always be filled with godliness, piety, righteousness and truthfulness. How and why should it be?

He will live in the belief that God alone is the Master of all, that whatever he and other men possess has been given by God, that the powers he wields are only a trust from God, that the freedom he has been endowed with is not to be used indiscriminately, and that it is in his own interest to use it in accordance with God’s will.

He will constantly keep in view that one day he will have to return to the Lord and submit an account of his entire life. The sense of accountability will always remain implanted in’ his mind and he will never behave irresponsibly.

A Life Wrapped in Morality

Think of the moral excellence of the man who lives with this mental attitude – his will be a life of purity and piety and love and altruism. He will be a blessing unto mankind. His thinking will not be polluted with evil thoughts and perverted ambitions. He will abstain from seeing evil, hearing evil, and doing evil.

He will guard his tongue and will never utter a word of lie. He will earn his living through just and fair means and will prefer hunger to a food acquired unfairly through exploitation or injustice. He will never be a party to any form of oppression or violation of human life and honor. He will never yield to evil, whatever the cost of defiance.

He will be an embodiment of goodness and nobility and will defend right and truth even at the cost of his life. Such a man will be a power to be reckoned with. He is bound to succeed.

An Honorable Life

He will be highly honored and respected. How can humiliation ever visit a person who is not prepared to bow his head before anyone except God the Almighty, the Sovereign of the universe?

No one can be more powerful than he – for he fears none but God and seeks blessings from none but Him. What power can make him deviate from the right path? What wealth can buy his faith? What force can shape his conscience? What power can compel him to behave as he does not want to?

He will be the most wealthy. No one in the world can be richer or more independent than he – for he will live a life of austerity and contentment. He will be neither a sensualist, nor indulgent, nor greedy.

He will be contented with whatever he earns fairly and honestly and however much ill-gotten wealth is heaped before him he will not even look at it. He will have peace and contentment of heart and what can be a greater wealth than this?

He will be the most revered, popular and beloved. No one can be more lovable than he – for he lives a life of charity and benevolence. He will be just to everyone, discharge his duties honestly, and work for the good of others. People’s hearts will be naturally drawn towards him.

No one can be more trustworthy than he – for he will not betray his trust, nor will he stray from righteousness: he will be true to his word, and straightforward and honest in his dealings. He will be fair and just in all his affairs, for he is sure that God is Ever-Present, Ever-Vigilant. Words fail to describe the credit and goodwill which such a man commands. Can there be anyone who will not trust him? Such is the life and character of a Muslim.

If you understand the true character of a Muslim, you will be convinced that he cannot live in humiliation, abasement or subjugation. He is bound to prevail and no power on earth can overwhelm him. For Islam inculcates in him the qualities which cannot be driven out.

And after living a respectable and honorable life on this earth, he will return to his Creator Who will shower on him the choicest of His blessings – for he will have discharged his duty ably, fulfilled his mission successfully and emerged from his trial triumphantly. He is successful in life in this world and in the hereafter will live in eternal peace, joy and bliss.

This is Islam, the natural religion of man, the religion which is not associated with any person, people, period or place. It is the way of nature, the religion of man. In every age, in every country and among every people, all God-knowing and truth-loving men have believed and lived this very religion. They were all Muslims, irrespective of whether they called that way Islam. Whatever its name was, it signified Islam and nothing but Islam.

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the author’s book “Towards Understanding Islam”.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

How to Acquire Knowledge of God?

By: Abul A`la Mawdudi 

How does one acquire knowledge of and belief in God, His Attributes, His Law and the Day of Judgment?

How to Acquire Knowledge of God

There are countless manifestations of God around us and in our own selves, which bear witness to the fact that there is One and only One Creator.

There are countless manifestations of God around us and in our own selves, which bear witness to the fact that there is One and only One Creator and Governor of this Universe and it is He Who controls and directs it.

These manifestations reflect the divine attributes of the Creator: His great wisdom, His all-embracing knowledge, His omnipotence, His mercy, His all-sustaining power – in short His attributes can be traced everywhere in His works. But man’s intellect and capacity for knowledge have erred in observing and understanding them.

Searching for Balanced Code of Life

Some men have argued that there are two gods, others have professed belief in a trinity, and still others have succumbed to polytheism. Some have worshiped nature and others divided the Creator into the gods of rain, air, fire, life, death and so on.

Similarly, men have put forward many erroneous notions about life after death; for instance, that man is reduced to dust after death and will not rise to life again; or that man is subject to a process of continuous regeneration in this world and is punished or rewarded in future cycles of life.

Even greater difficulty arises when we come to the question of a code of living. To formulate a complete and balanced code that conforms to God’s pleasure merely using human reason is an extremely difficult task.

Even if a man is equipped with the highest faculties of reason and intellect and possesses matchless wisdom and experience, the chances of his formulating the correct views on existence are slight.

And even if, after a lifetime of reflection, he does in fact succeed he will still lack the confidence that he has really discovered the truth and adopted the right path.

Need for Guidance

The fullest and fairest test of man’s wisdom, reason and knowledge might have been to have left him to his own resources without any external guidance. But this would have meant that only those with the determination and ability to find the path of truth would find salvation.

God, therefore, spared His human creatures such a hard test. Through His Grace and Benevolence He raised for mankind men from among themselves to whom He imparted the true knowledge of His attributes, revealed to them His Law and the Right Code of Living, gave them the knowledge of the meaning and purpose of life and of life after death and thus showed them the way by which man can achieve success and eternal bliss.

These chosen men are the Messengers of God – His Prophets. God has communicated knowledge and wisdom to them by means of revelation, and the book containing the Divine Communications is called the Book of God, or the Word of God.

The test of man’s wisdom and intellect therefore lies in this: does he recognize God’s Messengers after observing their pure and pious lives and carefully studying their noble and flawless teachings? A man of wisdom and common sense would accept instructions given by the Messengers of truth.

If he denies the Messengers of God and their teachings, his denial would signify that he was devoid of the capacity to discover truth and righteousness. He would fail his test. Such a man will never be able to discover the truth about God and His Law and life after death.

Faith in the Unknown

It is an everyday experience that when you do not know a thing, you look for somebody who does know. If you get ill and you cannot treat and cure yourself, you go to a doctor and follow his instructions without question. Why? Because he is properly qualified to give medical advice, possesses experience and has treated and cured a number of patients.

Similarly, in matters of law you accept whatever a legal expert says and act accordingly.

In educational matters you trust in your teacher. When you want to go to some place and do not know the way, you ask somebody who knows it, and follow the way he points out. In short, the course that you adopt in your day-to-day life about matters which you do not or cannot know is that you approach someone who does know about them, accept his advice and act accordingly. You make every effort to select the proper person.

But from then on you accept his advice unquestioningly. This kind of belief is called “belief in the unknown (Al-Ghayb)”.

The Prophets

Belief in Al-Ghayb signifies that you get knowledge of what was not known to you from one who knows. You do not know God and His real attributes. You are not aware that His angels are directing the machinery of the whole Universe according to His orders, and that they surround you on all sides. You have not the proper knowledge of the way of life through which you can seek the pleasure of your Creator. And you are in the dark about the life to come.

Such knowledge is given to you by the Prophets, who have had direct contact with the Divine Being. They are the persons whose sincerity, integrity, trustworthiness, godliness and absolute purity stand as irrevocable witnesses to the truth of their claim to knowledge.

And above all, the wisdom and force of their message makes you admit that they speak the truth and deserve to be believed and followed.

This conviction of yours is Belief in Al-Ghayb. Such a truth-discerning and truth acknowledging attitude is essential for obedience to God and for acting in accordance with His pleasure; for you have no other medium than God’s Messengers for the achievement of true knowledge, and without true knowledge you cannot proceed on the path of Islam.

_________________________

The article is an excerpt from the book “Towards Understanding Islam” by Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

Who Do Muslims Worship: God or Allah?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Islam concerns the name “Allah”. Some people believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians, Jews and others, and some missionary organizations distribute literature in English in which they say such things as: “Allah is the god of the Muslims” and “Muhammad told people to believe in the god, Allah”.

God Allah

“Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to “God”

They thus imply and reinforce the idea that “Allah” is some sort of false deity.

This is totally incorrect because “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will find the word «Allah» wherever «God» is used in English.

“Allah” is also the proper name of God. Therefore, Muslims use the name “Allah” even when they speak other languages.

The Creator, the Sustainer

“Allah” is a special word. It indicates the only entity in existence who truly possesses the qualities of divinity and lordship, the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and earth. It is the name of the only being worthy of worship, the one upon whom all creation is dependent at every moment.

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)

O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides Allah, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all gathered together for the purpose! and if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition! (Al-Hajj 22:73)

This name belongs to God alone and no one else. “Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to “God” with a capital “G”. It is also a unique word grammatically since it cannot be made plural or given a masculine or feminine gender. This is consistent with the Islamic concept of God. In English and other languages the word “god” can be used in various forms such as “God”, “gods” or “goddess”, all with different connotations and meanings.

The One and Only “God”

The only difference between “god” (meaning a false god or any object of worship) and “God” (meaning the one true God) is a capital “G”.

Thus, a more accurate translation of “Allah” might be “the one and only true God”.

But there is another important point, which is that Islam is particularly concerned with the correct concept of God.

Someone can have an erroneous concept of Him whether he uses the name “Allah” or the word “God”.

Followers of previous religions gradually deviated from the original pure belief in God due to the fact that their scriptures were not adequately protected from loss and alteration. None of these are still available for study in their original form or language.

But this is not true of the last divinely revealed message, the Qur’an.

No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (Al-Mu’minun 23:91)

Hence, the accurate concept of God can be found therein.

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Al-Ikhlas 112:1-4)

_________________________

Source: The article is excerpted from the book Clear Your Doubts about Islam, Compiled by Saheeh international.

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I Have Been Blessed to Become Muslim

Islam has been described as being the religion of fitrah (the innate nature of all humans). It is not surprising, therefore, when we discover that Islam is being accepted as the only pure way of life a person can follow by millions of reverts around the world. Statistics show that out of every 5 who revert to Islam, 4 are females.

I Have Been Blessed to Become Muslim

I have been blessed to be one of those who have personally received the light and whose heart has been ordained to accept it.

This blows away the false concept that Islam is a repressive religion for women. The following is one account of a sister who submitted to Allah as her Lord, took Islam as her religion, and Muhammad (peace be upon him) as her Messenger.

I have always, since developing an ability to think deeply, believed in the existence of a single Creator, on Whom everything that exists is dependent.

Though my parents are Buddhist, from the age of 13, to this Creator, I have steadfastly prayed and yielded guidance from every day that I can remember. Yet, being schooled within a Christian environment, I naturally identified myself as a Christian.

Faulty Knowledge

Sadly, my knowledge of Islam was minimal. I perceived it as a bizarre religion, limited to only a few underdeveloped nations, most of which were in the Middle East, and which endorsed an astoundingly suppressive lifestyle, particularly for women.

Muslim women, I presumed, were considered inferior – a passive domestic slave, bashed often and forced to compete among four for her husband’s affections, which he could withhold from them all if he wanted to.

The majority of these ideas I developed from hearsay, interactions with others I assumed knew what they were talking about and a few documentaries on Iran and Saudi Arabia I watched on television.

Direct Contact

As I entered university nearly three years ago, I came into contact with quite a number of Muslim students from various backgrounds.

Strangely enough, even to myself, I was drawn to them and developed a curious inclination to learn and understand more about their religion. I observed how content they seemed and was very impressed by their openness and warmth towards myself and each other, but more importantly with their pride in belonging to a religion which holds many negative connotations.

I gradually became fascinated with Islam, and through a process of education, developed a greater respect for it than even my beloved Christianity. I was stunned at how wrong my previous conception had been and became particularly overwhelmed at the tremendous entitlements, equality and acknowledgment Islam provided for women. I realized the reality of the Islamic lifestyle and the truth concerning that feeble American innovation termed “Islamic fundamentalism”.

Is it said that any person who possesses the faulty of reason and an open mind should recognize logic and truth when he/she encounters it, and so it was in my case.

More and more, literature, signs and evidence were revealed to me, and more and more, my intellect was stimulated and my heart, warmed. I wanted to know everything about Islam and felt already a sense of brotherhood with and belonging among its followers.

Balanced Life

What impressed me the most was how practical Islam is – how it encompasses a rule and a lesson for almost every facet of living. And by the sheer grace of God, I at last understood the faults of Christian theology and of the concepts I had previously accepted unquestioningly.

At midday, on August 4th, 1994, before over 20 witnesses, I recited the Shahadah and became an official Muslim.

I shall never forget the bliss of that day and how much my life has turned around in only a year’s time.

Difficulties Facing the New Muslim

I have often been asked what it is like to be a revert and of the difficulties I must endure. Though I do not wish to dwell on this topic, as pity is not my priority, I shall give some examples of what I have been through.

The period up till the end of Ramadan was, by far, the hardest to get through. Family disputes took place almost daily; I was showered with verbal abuse, ridicule and threats. On many occasions, my room was physically torn apart, books mysteriously disappeared and slanderous phone messages were sent to my friends and their parents.

There have been times I have been locked out of home and forced to abstain from dinner as pork was deliberately served. Even to this day, all my mail is opened before I have the chance to do so myself. Apart from my housing and meals, I must provide for myself financially.

My readings, as my conversations over the phone are done in privacy. My writings and my visits to mosques or other Islamic venues must always be concealed. I am similarly not able to visit friends very often as I may be “brain-washed” even more.

I cannot perform my prayers until I am sure no one is around. Nor can I express my excitement and celebration during Ramadan. I cannot share the joy at knowing yet another sister has put on hijab, nor can I discuss the lesson I have learned this day or the speech given by an Islamic scholar/scientist. Moreover, I must continually defend the Muslims and the Islam portrayed on the media, and fight against the stereotypes my parents stubbornly maintain.

To see their expressions of disgust at myself is almost unbearable. I am now insecure as to my parents affections and constantly worry of how much I am hurting them. Through the entire month of Ramadan, my mother spoke to me not once. I had to hear her say time and time again at how I had betrayed the family. My pleading with her otherwise was to no avail. I am told over and over again that what I have done is unforgivable and if any of our relations or already few friends knew, my parents would surely be outcasts.

However, I do not claim to have a miserable life. I am more content and at peace now than I ever have been. My purpose in relating all of this is to try to display the opportunities that many of you have which are so often taken for granted, so little taken advantage of, but so precious to many reverts like myself.

What Islam Gave Me

To reflect on these hardships alone would imply I have gained nothing by becoming a Muslim other than pain. On the contrary, Islam has given me already so many vast rewards, I shiver to think of how much more wonderful the gifts of Paradise would be.

At the time of my reversion, although I had accepted Islam as being true, I had no idea of the vast internal changes it would incur upon me. Even I am astounded at how much I devour knowledge, how Islam is in my thoughts every waking moment, how compelling I feel my responsibility is to the Ummah and how much more of a Muslim I became every month.

It is as if as one’s life in Islam progresses, it spreads to encompass and govern every cellular and spiritual dimension in oneself.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) once said:

“Allah said: ‘… and My slave keeps coming closer to Me… then I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grasps, and his legs with which he walks…’” (Al-Bukhari)

This is precisely my experience.

What Islam Made out of Me

Remarkably, from one religion, I have gained a profound insight into the operations of human behavior and sociology, as well as geophysics and astronomy. As I mature, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that again and again, it is Islam that has already answered the social and economic dilemmas of our time.

Over the past year, I have developed quite an extensive breadth of Islamic knowledge and have studied verses of the Qur’an in much finer detail. Not once have I come across anything which would make me doubt the authenticity of the Qur’an and the relevance of Islam for contemporary society, for even one minute.

This has been the only religion I have ever been completely sure of and am more sure of each day that I serve.

Furthermore, I have established my identity, I am more confident of myself; a stronger woman and person of color, I am more aware of my existence and more secure in my battles.

I hope that I have depicted the greatness and mercy of our Glorious Sovereign, Who makes all things possible. Allah says: He guides there with whom He pleases” (Az-Zumar 39:23)

Truly, I have been blessed to be one of those who have personally received the light and whose heart has been ordained to accept it.

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Source: muslimconverts.com

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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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