How You Become a Muslim
If you are ready to embrace Islam as a way of life, then the first step you need to take to become a Muslim is to recite the Shahadah.
The Shahadah is the Islamic declaration of faith in Allah and in His Messenger. Reciting the Shahadah with conviction makes you a Muslim.
You should be certain that this is what you really want to do. The decision to become a Muslim must be your own decision. No-one can force you to become a Muslim, it has to be of your own free will.
There is no compulsion in Islam.
It is OK to be nervous
It is perfectly understandable to be a little worried or apprehensive before saying your Shahdah. This is a big step you are taking.
However, it is not so unusual for people to convert to Islam and many other people have taken this same step as you. Each one has probably been as nervous as you.
Probably the biggest worry that people have is that they will make a mistake in reciting the Shahadah statement and that they will get it all wrong.
Don’t worry, it is easy.
Reciting the Shahdah
You must recite the Shahadah in Arabic for it to be valid.
It is a very short statement in Arabic and it is easy to pronounce.
After reciting the Shahadah in Arabic, it is recommended that you should also repeat the statement in English – or whatever your language is best for you. This is just to make sure that you understand what you are testifying to in Arabic.
If you can, it is probably best to go to a local mosque or Islamic centre in order to take your Shahadah.
The Imam at the mosque, or whoever is there to help you, can slowly take you through the correct pronunciation of the Shahadah and make sure that you get it right. They can also answer any questions you may have about taking the Shahadah.
If you cannot get to a mosque, then you can recite your Shahadah with the help of another Muslim – perhaps a friend, a work colleague or someone at your college/university.
Whoever helps you will usually say a few words of the statement in Arabic which you can then repeat after them. They will then recite a few more words for you to repeat after them until you have completed the Shahadah statement in full.
Don’t worry about making a mistake, the person helping you will make sure that you get things right.
Can You Recite the Shahadah on Your Own?
If you cannot find an Imam or another Muslim to help you in taking your Shahadah then you can recite the Shahadah by yourself.
If you do recite the Shahadah with no-one else there with you, then you should also recite the Shahadah with some Muslim witnesses as soon as this is possible for you to do.
” Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illaallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-ar-rasool ullaah“
“I bear witness that there is no God worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Sometimes, a slightly longer version of the Shahadah statement may be used.
Another form of the Shahadah you might hear is :-
“Ash-hadu Al-laaa Ilaaha Illa-llaahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareeka Lahoo Wa-Ash-hadu Anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhoo Wa Rasooluhu.”
“I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.”
Once you have recited the Shahadah, you are now a Muslim.
After Taking Your Shahadah
After you have said your Shahadah and become a Muslim, you should take a full shower or bath as soon as you are able to.
This is known as performing Ghusl and it is an act of purification signifying that you have entered a new life as a Muslim with the aim of pleasing God in all that you do.
Ghusl is explained in more detail on the Wudu page of this website.
As a new Muslim, you should also now begin to learn how to pray as a Muslim and begin to establish the five daily prayers that all Muslims must perform each day.
Video 1 – A Step-by-Step Guide to the Shahadah
Video 2 – A Helpful Lesson on How to Say the Shahadah
Video 3 – Real-Life Shahadah #1
Video 4 – Real-Life Shahadah #2
Once you have officially taken your Shahadah, it can be a good idea to ask your mosque or Islamic centre to provide you with a Shahadah Certificate.
It is not a requirement to have such a certificate but it can be very useful to have one.
If you want to go on Hajj or Umrah, some Hajj travel companies may ask you for a Shahadah Certificate – certifying that you have embraced Islam – when booking your trip. This makes the task of getting a visa for the trip from the Saudi authorities much easier.
This is especially the case if you have not changed your name to an Arabic-sounding one and where your original name is still on your passport.