Guide for New Muslims

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Guide for New Muslims

1. How do I become a Muslim?

All praise is due to Allah Who has guided you to the straight path due to His love and mercy for you. Once you have acknowledged that Islam is the supreme and only truth, you should hasten to become Muslim.
This is very straight forward, yet there are certain conditions that you must fulfill. Some of these conditions are outward actions like uttering the testimony of faith (shahadah) and then beginning to pray to Allah, others are internal actions no one can see except Allah, like holding a strong and correct belief in your heart.
The following is a brief summary of the steps needed to become a Muslim:

Internally within your heart, upon your tongue and your limbs (i.e. in your actions) accept that Allah alone is worshipped to the exclusion of all other gods, idols, celestial bodies and beings. He is the sole Lord, Creator, Controller and Sustainer of all of creation. He has beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that are unique to Him, and His creation does not resemble Him. He is the only Deity worthy of Worship and has no associates and partners. Also believe that Muhammad is His final Prophet and Messenger in a line of Prophets and Messengers including Jesus, Abraham, Noah, Moses and Adam.
You must submit to Allah with your heart, accept to be a slave to Allah, and surrender to Him with love, fear and hope.

Utter this belief verbally by saying in Arabic “Ashadu an La Ilaha Illa Allah wa Ashadu Anna Muhammad rasool Allah”. This means, “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.

You can listen to its pronunciation here:

Nb. If you were previously a Christian and have now entered Islam it is recommended for you to also say the following:
“Wa anna Isa Abdullahi wa Rasooluh”. This means “…and Isa (Jesus) is the servant of Allah and His Messenger”.

You can say this testimony whenever and wherever you are and you do not need witnesses to this, as Allah suffices as a witness for you. He sees you and hears you.

After the above it is recommended to take a bath (called ghusl) with the intention of purifying yourself.

Begin to pray to Allah and act according to your submission to Allah. This step is about acting according to this submission and acceptance with your limbs by performing the various acts of worships.

You are now a Muslim, welcome to Islam! Praise Allah for He chose you and guided you, this is the greatest bounty He has ever bestowed on you. Be sure that Allah loves you and this is why He has opened your heart and made you see the truth. Entering Islam wipes away all your previous sins so you can start life afresh. Do not feel overwhelmed, Allah has put you on the path to happiness, He knew you would be from those who testified to the truth, He prepared you for this day since before you were even born and He will aid you and teach you gradually. Allah willing, we are here to help you in every step of the way to worshiping Allah.

Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, so that he is in light from His Lord (as he who is non-Muslim)? [39:22]

O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing proof from your Lord and We sent down to you a manifest light {this Quraan}. So, as for those who believed in Allah and held fast to Him, He will admit them to His Mercy and Grace, and guide them to Himself by a Straight Path. [4:174-175]

2. What is Islam and what invalidates it?

Islam is to submit oneself to Allah in complete worship of Him and obediently yield to Him, and to free oneself from all forms of idolatry and the people of idolatry.

All our actions of worship must be done for Allah alone. Worship constitutes everything that Allah loves and commanded us with, this includes actions of the limbs (prayers, charity, etc), words (e.g. supplications) and actions of the heart (such as reliance, fear, hope etc).

It is not enough to simply believe that Allah is the Creator and Sustainer of everything, rather one must direct all worship to Allah also.

If you give any of Allah’s rights to other than Him (i.e. you make an equal to Him) or direct any act of worship to other than Allah this is polytheism (Shirk). This is the worst wrong and injustice. It is the one and only sin Allah does not forgive if you were to die whilst not having repented from it. For this reason Islam is the only accepted religion by Allah as it is the only true religion that singles Him out in worship and disallows all forms of polytheism.

“If you invoke {or call upon} them, they hear not your call, and if {in case} they were to hear, they could not grant it {your request} to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you like Him Who is the All-Knower {of each and everything}”. [35:14]

Remember that there are no intercessors between you and Allah. Dead people won’t bring you closer to Allah. They cannot do anything for you or for their own selves. You don’t have to ask forgiveness to other than Allah such as a righteous religious man as he is in as much need of Allah as you. And nobody can forgive sins except Allah, The Most Forgiving and He is the only One Who puts us on the right path again after we have wronged ourselves. If you want protection seek it from Allah only, you do not need talismans, amulets, statues or images to seek help from. Allah is your Protector, your Guardian and your Patron. If you attach your heart to Him only and seek help from Him only, He will surely aid you and will send you His slaves offering you help. No doubt He will give you ways out to every difficulty through means you never imagined.

Know that Angels, stars, dead people, saints, Mary the mother of Jesus, Prophets (including Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad) or anybody else cannot harm you, or benefit you except Allah and no one answers to your supplications other than Him. He is all Hearer, The Bestower of Favours, The One Who answers your supplications.
As Muslims, we should love and follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He called people to worship Allah alone and struggled very hard in his life to do so, but we never worship him. None of the Prophets and Messengers preached to their people to take them as deities but they all called them to direct each and every single one of the acts of worship to their Lord, Allah.

What will bring you closer to Allah is your eeman, righteous actions and knowledge which is acted upon. The more you read the Quran and study the Sunnah (way of the Prophet) you will come to know what pleases Allah and what to avoid.

As a Muslim, your religion is the most precious thing and you need to be aware of what would invalidate your religion or make it deficient. We have created a section here to help you learn these.

3. I have just become a Muslim, what do I need to do next?

You must be wondering what happens next now that you have testified to Islam.
Don’t overburden yourself trying to do everything at once, there are priorities in terms of your practising the religion.
Ask Allah to aid you and He will, you are not alone, He is the One who guided you in the first place and He won’t leave you to yourself. He is your supporter and He will guide you to path of understanding His religion and acting upon it. Make the intention of seeking knowledge, take your time to study and gradually you will find yourself understanding more and more, with Allah’s permission.

Below we will lay out for you in an easy to read manner, the most important bits of information that will help you complete what is obligatory for you to do, to continue to stay a monotheistic worshipper of Allah.

What is most beloved to Allah is that you fulfill your most important obligations before anything else, these are the what Allah has made obligatory for you such as the pillars of Islam. This is what you should focus on. The most important thing you need to learn now is that which you will use to worship Allaah.

Learn how to purify yourself and be consistent in your five daily prayers. Learn the legislated times to perform them. You will find details of this in next question.
If it’s the blessed month of Ramadan, it is upon you to start fasting from sunrise to sunset. However, some people are exempt from this. For example young children, menstruating women and sick people whose condition may aggravate if they fast, such as diabetes.
If your wealth reaches a certain amount, it is upon you to give the zakah (compulsory charity amounting to 2.5% of your saved wealth every year). This is a way of purifying your wealth.
If you have the physical and financial ability to do so, you should perform Hajj (the pilgrimage to Makkah) .

All of the above must be done exactly as the Prophet Muhammad told us to. This is a very important principle in the religion. Allah sent him for us to imitate him, particularly in the way he worshipped Allah. This is the way Allah loves and accepts. Allah does not accept deeds and worship done in manner which wasn’t done by His Prophet..

Say (Oh Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh then follow me, Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]

4. Why should I pray? How do I pray?

Indeed prayer brings tranquility to believers, is an enjoyment to the souls of the humble pious people, and is a test of one’s truthfulness and sincerity in worshipping and submitting to Allah. Through prayer Allah showers mercy upon the believers and dignifies and ennobles them.

Some people wonder “Why should I worship Allah? Isn’t the belief in my heart enough?”.
Allah has created us to worship Him alone as He says in the Quran (that which means):

“And I did not create jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.” [51:56]

We worship Him because Allah is our Lord and the Lord of all creation. He is the One who provides for us, who sustains us, who protects us, who nurtures us. Allah gave you life and gave you your family and He has given you everything you have. He made the earth suitable for us to live upon and made everything run in perfect harmony in this universe.
Allah said in the Quran (that which means):

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them…” [14:34]

“Allah it is He Who has subjected to you the sea, that ships may sail through it
by His Command, and that you may seek of His Bounty, and that you may be
thankful. And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply”. [45: 12-13]

Now that you have acknowledged that He is the Only One worthy of being worshipped you should put into practice the next most important command, salah (prayer). Salah is the actualization of monotheism (Tawheed). Eeman is not only in heart but it shows in your actions and words. Obeying Allah by establishing the salah is from the main ways of showing gratitude to Him.

Unlike christianity, prayer for us holds a very high status. It is not merely invoking Allah and asking Him for things. Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the command of salah during his ascension to the heavens, such is its status!

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The whole of the earth has been made for me as a place of purification and prayer.” So an able bodied, adult, sane Muslim has no excuse to miss the prayer and should pray on time, even if this is in the street or office at work.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked, “Which of the deeds are the most beloved to Allah?”. The Prophet said, “The prayer on it’s time”.
[Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Between a person and his committing Shirk (polytheism) and disbelief (kufr) is the abandonment of the Prayer.” (Muslim, no. 88)
So the abandonment of the daily prayers removes a person from Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked his companions, “Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?” They replied, “No soiling would be left on him.” He (The Prophet) said, ”That is the five (obligatory) Salat (prayers). Allah obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed us It is the first thing that we will be asked about on the day of resurrection. If your prayer is sound, the rest of your deeds will be sound. But if your prayer is corrupt then likewise the rest of deeds will be corrupt.

The prayer is conducted 5 times a day at fixed times that Allah has ordained for us. It is important to purify yourself (physically) before praying by performing ‘wudu’ which we have explained how to do on this site.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “When the time for a prescribed Salat is due and a Muslim performs its Wudu’ and its acts of bowing and prostration properly, this Salat will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he does not commit major sins, and this applies for ever.”

You will find salah becoming a light and comfort for your heart when you pray attentively to Allah. Prayer acts as a barrier between a person and sinning as it will purify your thoughts and body through the day.
Allah said in the Quran (meaning translated as):
“Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e., great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil, wicked deed).” [29:45]

The Prophet (peace be upon him said) “Pray as you have seen me praying”. To make it easy for you, we have created a video on this site which demonstrates how to do the 5 daily prayers.
To learn more about the conditions and nullifiers of this important pillar of Islam including the video on how to perform the ablution and prayer click here.

5. How can I learn Quran?

As a new Muslim it is likely that you are not familiar with the Arabic language. Knowing the Quran is important as it is the literal word of Allah and reflecting on its meanings with the intention of acting upon them is from the greatest virtues ever and through it, Allah will increase you in guidance, in honour and understanding.The Quran is a book full of blessings and light. It was spoken by Allah Himself in the arabic language, therefore it only exists in Arabic. All translations of the Quran are translations of its meaning and are not the actual Quran.

Do not worry if you don’t know any Arabic yet, Allah has promised to make it easy for you:

“ And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember” [54:17]

Whilst you are trying to learn the Quran so you can recite its verses in your prayers, you can use the following words of praise instead until you become more confident, Allah willing.
For your prayers in each position of the prayer you can say in Arabic “subhanAllah (Glory to Allah), Alhamdulillah (All praise if to Allah), La ilaha ila Allah (There is no Deity worthy of worship except Allah), La hawla wa la Quwata illa billah”.

You can even say words of glorification in your own language whilst you are trying to learn. Allah made the religion easy for us and He never overburdens us. Take it step by step and Allah will facilitate things for you as long as you have the intention of learning and becoming better. Ask Allah to aid you and make a sincere intention to learn Arabic and learn the Quran. You should first learn and memorise the arabic words we use in salah to praise and glorify Allah, The Most High.

The most important part of the Quran for you to learn at this time is the chapter called Al-Fatiha, which is the opening chapter of the Quran. You should strive to learn the proper pronunciation of it and perfect this before any other part of the Quran. This is because the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said that the prayer without chapter Al-Faatihah is incomplete.
You should try to learn this from an individual who can teach you its correct pronunciation. It also helps if you listen much to a reciter who recites in a slow clear manner.
Likewise you should also try your best to learn its meaning. What does all Praise be to Allah mean? What does Lord of the ‘Alameen mean? What does the Most Merciful mean? So that when you read the Quran you have an understanding of it. Likewise when you read the Quran, it will increase your reverence of Allah, the Almighty. After chapter Al-Fatiha you can start learning and memorising other chapters.

6.What do I need to study first?

Firstly don’t feel overwhelmed, we are here to help you and you can always write to us for advice and we will sincerely do our best to guide you to put your Islam into practice (if Allah wills).

It is important you start by learning who Allah is. After all, he created all of us for the purpose of worshipping him so what greater knowledge can there be? Knowing Allah’s names and attributes is a way by which you will be able to understand Allah’s religion, verses and rulings because every aspect of the religion is a result of His attributes and actions.

Be aware that at times you may find it difficult to implement or understand a ruling that Allah has ordained. Allah legislated everything with complete wisdom, absolute knowledge and mercy. He created us and knows our inner selves and knows what’s best for us and what’s harmful to us. We should be tranquil and submissive to the command of Allah as it is coming from the Creator of the heavens and the earth. With patience and learning, you will come to have great ease and tranquility and joy in your hearts at the perfection of Allah’s wisdom in all His commands.

After learning how to purify yourself for prayer and learning to pray, you should then start studying some of the basic aspects of Islam, these include:
-Correct belief about Allah. What is meant here, is how to understand Allah’s names and attributes, not likening him to the creation, knowing there is nothing like him, understanding where Allah is and so forth.
-Pillars of Eeman
-Pillars of Islam
-Rulings regarding how to worship

We will endeavour to guide you to the correct sources to learn these from.

6.Where are the correct sources for learning Islam?

There are only 2 sources from which a person learns about Islam, turns to for guidance and from which come it’s rulings and regulations. These are the Quran and the Sunnah.

The Prophet (may Allah’s peace be upon him) said:
“I am leaving two things among you, and if you cling to them firmly you will never go astray; one is the Book of Allah and the other is my Sunnah.”

He (may Allah’s peace be upon him) was sent with two things:
The first is the Quran. It is known as revelation and it is the speech of Allah. It was sent down by Allah, with the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) and recited to the Prophet Muhammad.
The second is the Sunnah. It is also revelation from Allah. The details of the Prophet’s example and guidance is called Sunnah and are also considered revelation like the Quran, as Allah says:

“Your companion (Muhammad, may Allah’s peace be upon him) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed.” [53:2-4]

The Sunnah is transmitted by narrations from the Prophet to his companions and each narration of a particular event or saying of the Prophet is called ‘hadeeth’.

Both the Quran and the Sunnah are equally important and are a complement to each other.
An example of this is that Allah tells us in the Quran to worship Him Alone. The details on HOW to worship Him are found in the Sunnah. The Prophet taught his companions this who memorised it. These were subsequently written down and transmitted from generation to generation.

So how do we go about trying to understand the Quran and Sunnah? We understand the Quran and Sunnah by taking from the teachings of the trustworthy Scholars of Islam and their books explaining this. Scholars are callers to Allah, their role is to explain to us the Quran and the Sunnah with proofs and based upon the understanding of the first three generations of Muslims (collectively known as Salaf).

7. Advice to new Muslims from Scholars

Shaykh Muqbil al Wadi’ee, who is a Muslim scholar from Yemen, advised new Muslims to sit in gatherings of righteous Muslims so that their good manners and characteristics and rub off on them.
He also reminded new Muslims that Islam is not judged by the actions of Muslims. Some Muslims may be very sinful and disobedient to Allah yet Islam is free of their sinning. He advised for a new Muslim to hold tightly to his religion and to practice it correctly following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, even if he is the only person on the face of this Earth who is doing so.
Finally he advised to start learning Islam authentic sources like Scholars and books and not simply from other Muslims who may be sinful or not know what they are doing. He recommended the books ‘Riyadh al Saliheen, Fath al Majeed Sharh Kitab al Tawhid, Buloogh al Maram and tafseer ibn Katheer.

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen, a scholar from Saudi Arabia, advised a new Muslim with 6 steps:

  1. He should constantly ask (supplicate to) Allaah to make him firm.
  2. He should increase in recitation of The Quran with contemplation. This is because recitation has a major (positive) effect on the heart, especially when coupled with contemplation and reflection.
  3. He should be diligent in being obedient to Allah and he should not become bored or lazy. This is because The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) sought refuge from inability and laziness.
  4. He should be diligent in befriending good companions and distance himself from evil companions.
  5. He should also advise himself when he finds himself thinking: ‘Time is extremely lengthy and the path is too long!’ At this point, he should advise himself and remain firm. This is because Paradise is surrounded with trials and difficulties, while the The Hell-fire is surrounded with desires.
  6. He should distance himself from bad companions even if they (those companions) are individuals he knew in the past. This is due to the fact that evil/bad companions influence an individual. Because of this, the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: The example of a bad companion is the example of a blacksmith; either he burns your clothing, or you experience from him a disgusting odor. (Bukhari: 5534, Muslim: 2628)

8. Glossary of terms

Glossary of Terms for the non-Muslim and the new Muslim

9. Advice to new Muslims

How to deal with your non Muslim parents

“Birr to the parents is from most beloved actions to Allah.This is how Allah pleases that you deal with them..”

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