Monday, 12 January 2015

How Does Someone Become a Muslim?

Simply by saying with conviction, La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah, one converts to Islam and becomes a Muslim .  This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.”  The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son.  To be a Muslim, one should also:
n  Believe that the Holy Quran is the literal word of God, revealed by Him.
n  Believe that the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) is true and will come, as God promised in the Quran.
n  Accept Islam as his or her religion.
n  Not worship anything nor anyone except God.
The Prophet Muhammad  said: {God is more joyful at the repentance of someone when he turns to Him in repentance than one of you would be if he were riding his camel in the wilderness, and it runs away from him, carrying his food and drink, so that he loses all hope of getting it back.  He comes to a tree and lies down in its shade (awaiting death), for he has lost all hope of finding his camel.  Then, while he is in that state (of desperation), suddenly it is there before him!  So he seizes its halter and cries out from the depth of his joy, “O God, You are my servant and I am Your Lord!”  His mistake comes from the intensity of his joy.}2





The saying, “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God”
The saying, “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God,” inscribed over an entrance.

What Does Islam Say about the Day of Judgment?

Like Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence.  This life is a test for each individual for the life after death.  A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment by God.  This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end.  This day is the Day of Judgment.  On that day, all people will be rewarded by God according to their beliefs and deeds.  Those who die while believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” and are Muslim will be rewarded on that day and will be admitted to Paradise forever, as God has said:
 And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever.  (Quran, 2:82)
But those who die while not believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” or are not Muslim will lose Paradise forever and will be sent to Hellfire, as God has said:
 And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter. (Quran, 3:85)
And as He has said:
 Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if it were offered as a ransom.  They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers. (Quran, 3:91)
One may ask, ‘I think Islam is a good religion, but if I were to convert to Islam, my family, friends, and other people would persecute me and make fun of me.  So if I do not convert to Islam, will I enter Paradise and be saved from Hellfire?’
The answer is what God has said in the preceding verse,“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter.”
After having sent the Prophet Muhammad  to call people to Islam, God does not accept adherence to any religion other than Islam.  God is our Creator and Sustainer.  He created for us whatever is in the earth.  All the blessings and good things we have are from Him.  So after all this, when someone rejects belief in God, His Prophet Muhammad , or His religion of Islam, it is just that he or she be punished in the Hereafter.  Actually, the main purpose of our creation is to worship God alone and to obey Him, as God has said in the Holy Quran (51:56).
This life we live today is a very short life.  The unbelievers on the Day of Judgment will think that the life they lived on earth was only a day or part of a day, as God has said:
 He (God) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?”  They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day....”  (Quran, 23:112-113)
And He has said:
 Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to Us (in the Hereafter)?  So, God is exalted, the True King.  None has the right to be worshipped but Him...  (Quran, 23:115-116)
The life in the Hereafter is a very real life.  It is not only spiritual, but physical as well.  We will live there with our souls and bodies.
In comparing this world with the Hereafter, the Prophet Muhammad  said: {The value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like what your finger brings from the sea when you put it in and then take it out.}1  The meaning is that, the value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like a few drops of water compared to the sea. 

Examples of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sayings

n  {The believers, in their love, mercy, and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever.}1
n  {The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best of them in morals.  And the best among them are those who are best to their wives.}2
n  {None of you believes (completely) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.}3
n  {The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful.  Show mercy to those on earth, and God will show mercy to you.}4
n  {Smiling at your brother is charity...}5
n  {A good word is charity.}6
n  {Whoever believes in God and the Last Day (the Day of Judgment) should do good to his neighbor.}7
n  {God does not judge you according to your appearance and your wealth, but He looks at your hearts and looks into your deeds.}8
n  {Pay the worker his wage before his sweat dries.}9
n  {A man walking along a path felt very thirsty.  Reaching a well, he descended into it, drank his fill, and came up.  Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst.  The man said, “This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt.”  So he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water, and gave the dog a drink.  So, God thanked him and forgave his sins.}  The Prophet  was asked, “Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?”  He said: {There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.}10

Is There Any Sacred Source Other than the Quran?

Yes.  The sunnah (what the Prophet Muhammad said, did, or approved of) is the second source in Islam.  The sunnah is comprised of hadeeths, which are reliably transmitted reports by the Prophet Muhammad’s companions of what he said, did, or approved of.  Belief in the sunnah is a basic Islamic belief

Some Basic Islamic Beliefs

1) Belief in God:

Muslims believe in one, unique, incomparable God, Who has no son nor partner, and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone.  He is the true God, and every other deity is false.  He has the most magnificent names and sublime perfect attributes.  No one shares His divinity, nor His attributes.  In the Quran, God describes Himself:
 Say, “He is God, the One.  God, to Whom the creatures turn for their needs.  He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him.”  (Quran, 112:1-4)
Chapter 112 of the Quran written in Arabic calligraphy
Chapter 112 of the Quran written in Arabic calligraphy.
No one has the right to be invoked, supplicated, prayed to, or shown any act of worship, but God alone.
God alone is the Almighty, the Creator, the Sovereign, and the Sustainer of everything in the whole universe.  He manages all affairs.  He stands in need of none of His creatures, and all His creatures depend on Him for all that they need.  He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and the All-Knowing.  In a perfect manner, His knowledge encompasses all things, the open and the secret, and the public and the private.  He knows what has happened, what will happen, and how it will happen.  No affair occurs in the whole world except by His will.  Whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not and will never be.  His will is above the will of all the creatures.  He has power over all things, and He is able to do everything.  He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the Most Beneficent.  In one of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad , we are told that God is more merciful to His creatures than a mother to her child.1  God is far removed from injustice and tyranny.  He is All-Wise in all of His actions and decrees.  If someone wants something from God, he or she can ask God directly without asking anyone else to intercede with God for him or her.
God is not Jesus, and Jesus is not God.2  Even Jesus himself rejected this.  God has said in the Quran:
 Indeed, they have disbelieved who have said, “God is the Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary.”  The Messiah said, “Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.  Whoever associates partners in worship with God, then God has forbidden Paradise for him, and his home is the Fire (Hell).  For the wrongdoers,3 there will be no helpers.” (Quran, 5:72)
God is not a trinity.  God has said in the Quran:
 Indeed, they disbelieve who say, “God is the third of three (in a trinity),” when there is no god but one God.  If they desist not from what they say, truly, a painful punishment will befall the disbelievers among them. Would they not rather repent to God and ask His forgiveness?  For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.  The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a messenger... (Quran, 5:73-75)
Islam rejects that God rested on the seventh day of the creation, that He wrestled with one of His angels, that He is an envious plotter against mankind, or that He is incarnate in any human being.  Islam also rejects the attribution of any human form to God. All of these are considered blasphemous.  God is the Exalted.  He is far removed from every imperfection.  He never becomes weary.  He does not become drowsy nor does he sleep.
The Arabic word Allah means God (the one and only true God who created the whole universe).  This word Allahis a name for God, which is used by Arabic speakers, both Arab Muslims and Arab Christians.  This word cannot be used to designate anything other than the one true God.  The Arabic word Allah occurs in the Quran about 2700 times.  In Aramaic, a language related closely to Arabic and the language that Jesus habitually spoke,4 God is also referred to as Allah.

2) Belief in the Angels:

Muslims believe in the existence of the angels and that they are honored creatures.  The angels worship God alone, obey Him, and act only by His command.  Among the angels is Gabriel, who brought down the Quran to Muhammad .

3) Belief in God’s Revealed Books:

Muslims believe that God revealed books to His messengers as proof for mankind and as guidance for them.  Among these books is the Quran, which God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad .  God has guaranteed the Quran’s protection from any corruption or distortion.  God has said:
 Indeed, We have sent down the Quran, and surely We will guard it (from corruption). (Quran, 15:9)

4) Belief in the Prophets and Messengers of God:

Muslims believe in the prophets and messengers of God, starting with Adam, including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them).  But God’s final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad .  Muslims believe that Muhammad  is the last prophet sent by God, as God has said:
 Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets...  (Quran, 33:40)
Muslims believe that all the prophets and messengers were created human beings who had none of the divine qualities of God.

5) Belief in the Day of Judgment:

Muslims believe in the Day of Judgment (the Day of Resurrection) when all people will be resurrected for God’s judgment according to their beliefs and deeds.

6) Belief in Al-Qadar:

Muslims believe in Al-Qadar, which is Divine Predestination, but this belief in Divine Predestination does not mean that human beings do not have freewill.  Rather, Muslims believe that God has given human beings freewill.  This means that they can choose right or wrong and that they are responsible for their choices.
The belief in Divine Predestination includes belief in four things: 1) God knows everything.  He knows what has happened and what will happen.  2) God has recorded all that has happened and all that will happen.  3) Whatever God wills to happen happens, and whatever He wills not to happen does not happen.  4) God is the Creator of everything. 

Forgiveness for All Previous Sins

When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all of his previous sins and evil deeds.  A man called Amr came to the Prophet Muhammad  and said, “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty.”  The Prophet  stretched out his right hand.  Amr withdrew his hand.  The Prophet  said: {What has happened to you, O Amr?}  He replied, “I intend to lay down a condition.”  The Prophet  asked: {What condition do you intend to put forward?}  Amr said, “That God forgive my sins.”  The Prophet  said:{Didn’t you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?}1
After converting to Islam, the person will be rewarded for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad : {Your Lord, Who is blessed and exalted, is most merciful.  If someone intends to do a good deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him.  And if he does do it, (a reward of) ten to seven hundred or many more times (the reward of the good deed), will be recorded for him.  And if someone intends to do a bad deed but does not do it, a good deed will be recorded for him.  And if he does do it, a bad deed will be recorded against him or God will wipe it out.}2

Real Happiness and Inner Peace

Real happiness and peace can be found in submitting to the commands of the Creator and the Sustainer of this world.  God has said in the Quran:
 Truly, in remembering God do hearts find rest. (Quran, 13:28)
On the other hand, the one who turns away from the Quran will have a life of hardship in this world.  God has said:
 But whoever turns away from the Quran,1he will have a hard life, and We will raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.  (Quran, 20:124)
This may explain why some people commit suicide while they enjoy the material comfort money can buy.  For example, look at Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam), formerly a famous pop singer who used to earn sometimes more than $150,000 a night.  After he converted to Islam, he found true happiness and peace, which he had not found in material success.2

Salvation from Hellfire

God has said in the Quran:
 Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if one offered it as a ransom. They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers. (Quran, 3:91)
So, this life is our only chance to win Paradise and to escape from Hellfire, because if someone dies in disbelief, he will not have another chance to come back to this world to believe.  As God has said in the Quran about what is going to happen for the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment:
 If you could but see when they are set before the Fire (Hell) and say, “Would that we might return (to the world)!  Then we would not reject the verses of our Lord, but we would be of the believers!”  (Quran, 6:27)
But no one will have this second opportunity.
The Prophet Muhammad  said: {The happiest man in the world of those doomed to the Fire (Hell) on the Day of Judgment will be dipped in the Fire once.  Then he will be asked, “Son of Adam, did you ever see any good?  Did you ever experience any blessing?”  So he will say, “No, by God, O Lord!”}1

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