How do I become a Muslim?
Do I have to register?
Do I have to change my name?
What is the difference between ‘born Muslims’ and those who embraced Islam?
Is a male required to circumcise to become a Muslim?
Do I have to stop eating pork meat immediately?
What is halal food?
Do I have to learn Arabic?
Do I have to perform the daily prayers and other obligatory duties in Islam immediately after becoming a Muslim?
Testimony of faith
Becoming a Muslim is a lot easier compared to getting a visa or a passport!
You become a Muslim when you accept that there is no god to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is His final Messenger.
The Noble Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet [pbuh] will be the basis of a Muslim’s efforts to achieve the good life here and salvation in the Hereafter.
Proof of testimony
As proof of your status as a Muslim is required for certain things such as marriage or applying for a Haji visa, it is better to register your testimony of faith.
You may do this in a mosque or with the appropriate organization in your country.
A certificate from the appropriate authority is the formal proof of your Muslim identity.
Change of name
There is no requirement in Islam to change your name when you embrace Islam.
However it is better for you to have a Muslim name as well as it will be easier for others to identify you as a Muslim.
Choose a name that reflects your desire to lead a life in the way of Allah.
According to a tradition of the Prophet [pbuh]. The best names in the sight of Allah as Abdullah (Slave of Allah) and Abdur Rahman (Slave of The Merciful).
Brothers and sisters
In Islam there is no difference whatsoever between born Muslims and those who embraced Islam.
In Islam the believers are differentiated only on the level of their piety.
When a person embraces Islam, he returns to his original sinless status like a newborn.
When a person embraces Islam he becomes a Muslim.
All believers are brothers and sisters in Islam.
You become a Muslim by the mercy of The Almighty.
Tradition of the Prophet
Circumcision is a tradition of the Prophet [pbuh]. It is mentioned as fitra or a rule of cleanliness.
It is not obligatory for Muslims to follow the tradition of the Prophet.
It is exempted if it poses a health risk.
Not just pork meat
Those embracing Islam must ensure that their food consumption conforms to what is accepted as ‘pure’ in Islam.
It is not just pork meat and intoxicants that are prohibited in Islam.
The rule is that all food consumed must be halal.
Meaning of halal and haram
Halal means permitted or lawful.
Haram means prohibited or unlawful.
To be halal, food products must meet several criteria including cleanliness in preparation and non-contamination with impure food products.
In Islam, halal and haram apply not only to food products but to all aspects of life.
The original is better
It is not mandatory to know Arabic to become a Muslim.
As The Qur’an is recited during prayers, one has to memorize a few chapters.
The shortest chapter has only three verses.
Learning Arabic will be an advantage ad there is a big difference between reading the translation of The Qur’an and the original text in Arabic.
Allah knows what is in your heart
A person embracing Islam is allowed reasonable time to learn and perform the prayers and other obligatory duties.
Remember that you have to perform these duties not to please others but to submit to Allah the Merciful. Who knows what is in your heart.
By Dr Y Mansoor Marican, Ph. D