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My Prayer, Life and Death… for Allah

Question and answer details
L
2014/01/19
Salam. I am a Christian and I have been one all my life. For sometime now I have been drawn to the teachings of Islam. I don't know how to go about a conversion from my religion and how to learn to pray. Your response is highly sought after.
Shahul Hameed
Answer
Salam dear brother,

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

May Allah bless you for choosing Islam as your religion and as your way of life!

The first thing you have to do in order to convert to Islam is to acknowledge the two key tenets of the Islamic faith:
  • That there is no one worthy of worship, except Allah, the One and Only God.
  • That Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the servant, worshiper and messenger of Allah.

Even though the above two tenets of Islam are stated in a quite simple form, they involve a lot of transformation in the life of the new believer. If you are prepared to order your life henceforth in accordance with the commandments of Allah embodied in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (the example and traditions of Prophet Muhammad), you can officially “convert” to Islam.

In fact, you are a believer the moment you accept that the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and everything in it is One, and that He has sent His prophets to guide mankind to a most balanced life here, leading to a life of eternal happiness in the hereafter.

Every human, according to Islam, is born a Muslim (one who submits peacefully to God). This is in the sense that he or she submits to the laws of Allah, in a normal way that goes simultaneously with the human nature, as well as the laws of nature. But humans are different from other creatures in that they have an intellect; which means that they have intelligence, imagination and freedom of will and action. This fact is underscored in the Qur’an by the idea that man is Allah’s khalifah (vicegerent) on earth.

The freedom of humans implies that they have got to be responsible and accountable as well. They should be responsible enough to lead a life of peace and harmony here on earth, making good use of the blessings given to them by Allah. This is along with the state of innocence and original human instinct to worship God, by which they were created.

Allah in His infinite mercy has given guidance to mankind through His prophets, and we humans have to follow that guidance. But, Allah has given humans freedom either to follow His guidance or not to do so. The choice is theirs.

When you have decided to convert to Islam - or rather to revert to Islam; because as you become a Muslim willfully, you are returning to your original natural religion of God - you have chosen to submit to Allah or lead a life of obedience and peaceful submission to Allah.

Your becoming a Muslim is really a bond between yourself and your God; but for the sake of society and official purposes, you have to publicly acknowledge your change of status. This is necessary for a number of reasons, such as the need to belong to the global community of world Muslims and the need to be recognized as a Muslim for cultural, as well as official purposes. For instance for marriage or for the performance of Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), you need to give proof for your Muslim status.

How to revert to Islam:

Once you choose to revert to Islam, forthwith without delay, you need to pronounce the Shahadah or the testimony of faith.

The Shahadah (the statement to testify the faith) is as follows:
ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha illa-llah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh

The meaning is:
"I bear witness that there is no god [deity – worth to be worshipped] but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger."

The most important point to bear in mind is that Allah is the One and Only God, Who alone should be worshipped, as He is the Creator, Sustainer and Law-Giver of Mankind.

The next important point is that the final of the prophets of God is Muhammad (peace be upon him), and he is an exemplar par excellence for all the believers. That is to say, a Muslim has to accept him as a model and follow his teachings.

In Islam, the term “worship” (Arabic: `ibadah) does not signify merely the ritualistic activities such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving or pilgrimage. It encompasses all aspects of the daily life of a believer. In fact, it stands for everything a Muslim believes, says or does.

When a Muslim performs all the activities of his life for the pleasure of Allah, then all his deeds become `ibadah or worship. Naturally this includes his/her ritualistic worship, such as Prayer also.

Islam requires a person to submit himself/herself whole-heartedly and fully to Allah, as Allah commands:


{Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are [all] for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds.”} (Al-An`am 6:162).


Also, Allah clearly states what means:


{….true path is distinct from error…}

(Al-Baqarah 2:256).


That is to say, there are only two paths of life to choose between: the right way and the wrong way – the path of righteous truth and the fake path of falsehood. One is the way of Allah, while the other is the way of the devil. Of course, you can never stand with one foot on the path of Allah and the other is on the path of the devil.

As Muslims, we have willfully submitted our whole self, our whole life… to Allah, and now His right is to be obeyed by us. We cannot split our life into compartments and say that this is where I will obey Allah, and these are the areas where I will follow others.

Once we accept Allah as our Creator, Sustainer and Lawgiver, we cannot worship other gods; and we cannot go after anybody who presumes to give other laws.

Islam is a complete way of life that asks its followers to model their entire lives in accordance with its principles, in every aspect of life.

This may sound somewhat difficult for many; but in fact it need not be. Because what we mean here is chiefly a change of attitude and approach. Of course, it will have its impact on our life, both internal and external; but for those who wish to lead a good life here, and in the life after, Islam is the way…

What is important here, is to understand that Islam does not value rituals for the sake of rituals, especially when they are performed as a habit and have no influence on one's heart and course of life. Allah says what means:


{It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the angels, and the book, and the messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and give zakah [obligatory alms]; to fulfill the contracts, which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain [or suffering] and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.} ( Al-Baqarah 2:177).


This means that if our rituals do not have any influence on our day-to-day life, they have no value. Similarly, when we do our daily duties with sincerity and faith expecting Allah’s reward, they become important acts of worship.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about faith, that it:


"Faith is made up of over sixty branches: the highest of which is the belief in the Oneness of Allah, i.e. there is no God but Allah; and the lowest in the scale of worship is removing obstacles from people's way." (Muslim)

He has also said:

"If a person embraces Islam sincerely, then Allah shall forgive all his past sins, and after that starts the settlement of accounts, the reward of his good deeds will be ten times to seven hundred times for each good deed and one evil deed will be recorded as it is unless Allah forgives it." (Bukhari)


In another hadith he said:


"There is no one who goes out of his house in order to seek knowledge, but the angels lower their wings in approval of his action." (Ibn Majah)


Again, the Prophet said:


"Receiving your friend with a smile is sadaqah (charity), helping a person to load his animal is sadaqah and pouring some water in you neighbor's bucket is also sadaqah". (At-Thirmidhi)


The Prophet once told his companions that they would be rewarded, even for having sexual intercourse with their wives.

The companions were astonished; they asked:


"How are we going to be rewarded for doing something we enjoy very much?" The Prophet asked them: "Suppose you satisfy your desires outside wedlock, wouldn’t you indeed be violating Allah’s commandments by that?" They replied: "Yes!"


"So…" he said, "by satisfying your desire as He wanted you to do–lawfully with your wives-you are rewarded for it". (Muslim)


Thus, Islam does not consider sex as a secular act that a believer should avoid. Islam sees it as sinful only when it is satisfied outside marital life. Of course, this reward is for both husbands and wives.

This comprehensive approach to worship enables a person to purify and spiritualize the entire spectrum of his/her life. But, this is not to belittle the importance of rituals in worship. Actually ritual worships, if performed in its true spirit, elevate Man morally and spiritually and enable him to carry on his activities in all walks of life according to the Guidance of God, especially if performed collectively.

Thus, worship in Islam, whether ritual or non-ritual, trains the individual to lead a life in perfect obedience and peaceful submission to his/her Creator, thereby wiping out all evil from his life and paving the way for making the word of Allah dominant in the world.

Now, before you formally take the Shahadah, it is recommended that you wash yourself clean, as a token of your giving up all the vestiges of unbelief or wrong beliefs and practices; and then you embrace the truth of guidance from God, as you take the Shahadah. And once you revert to Islam, you get hold of *{the most trustworthy hand-hold}*, as Allah states in the Holy Quran what means:


{... whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks...} (Al-Baqarah 2:256)


You are also advised to contact the masjid (Mosque) or Islamic center near you, to get all the help needed in learning the practical aspects of Islam.

You may write to us of any doubts you have in the matter and please, do keep in touch.

May Allah purify your heart of all impurities, and make you ready to take in the truth of Islam! And, may He accept you as one of His most beloved servants, deserving of His grace and mercy!


Useful Links:


Starting to Pray


About to Convert

 

Interested in Islam


How Islam Affects Our Lives


Why Are So Many People Accepting Islam?


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