“How to Enter Islam and Why”
We begin by mentioning the name of God, Allah, the-Merciful, Compassionate, Loving Lord. May the best benedictions and peace be upon all of the prophets and messengers sent for the guidance of mankind, from the first of them until the seal of prophethood, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (peace and blessings be upon him). To proceed:
Looking at the world around us, be it at a molecular level, a cosmic level or even the everyday things which we experience, we see that everything in creation has a purpose which works in harmony with everything thing else. Perhaps the biggest mystery mankind encounters is our own existence and what is our purpose. If everything in the world performs some function, what is the role of mankind? This question is answered directly in the Qur’an Where God says,
“I have not created Jinn-kind or mankind except to worship Me.”
And some of the greatest of commentators on the Qur’an have said that, “to ‘worship’ in this verse means to ‘know’.” Accordingly, despite mankind’s ability to find meaning in their lives and to establish for themselves legacies, the true purpose of every human being and mankind as a whole is to come to know their Creator.
What this means is that they arrive at certainty in His existence, they come to know Him by His attributes, and they establish a dynamic relationship with Him. The Universe and everything in it has been created with exact proportions which allow for the existence of mankind upon the earth. By observing the natural laws and the harmonious designs found throughout creation, as well as within ourselves, mankind can come to recognize, not only the existence of God, but also some of His attributes. By the existence of creation we can recognize His power, by the diversity we can come to know His absolute volition, and by the mathematical exactness in both laws and design we can know that He is All-Knowing, Wise.
Mankind was created with His five senses, rational thought and the unique ability to record and transmit knowledge. Still, God did not leave man to his own devices; despite giving mankind the faculties to see and recognize His signs throughout creation, from time to time, throughout history, He also sent human beings with guidance from Him, Prophets and Messengers, so that mankind would receive guidance as to their purpose, the nature of the life of this world, what was expected of them, as well as what could be expected after death. Though the rules and regulations brought by these Messengers did change due to situations and circumstances, the beliefs and ethics they brought never changed as they are the absolute Truth from God. In this way, the call to know that God is absolutely One, without partner or equal, is a universal message taught by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all of the Prophets and Messengers between them (peace be upon them all). This is also the pivotal message brought by the last of the Prophets sent for the guidance of mankind, the seal of prophethood, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace and blessings be upon him), who was sent over 1400 years ago. His call, like that of all of the Prophets and Messengers before him (peace be upon them all), was that we come to know the One True God, our Lord and Creator.
This “coming to know God” should lead us to have a sense of Love, Awe and Yearning for Him and this should move us to submit ourselves in worship to Him, manifesting our faith throughout our lives by adhering firmly to His guidance as it is found in the Qur’an, the final scripture which He revealed for our guidance. This was the book He revealed upon His prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who explained and exemplified it so that we can achieve our fullest human potential and arrive at success in this life and the hereafter.
In the Qur’an and the prophetic teachings, we find that true faith consists of believing in God, that He exists, has no beginning, no end, no need, is absolutely One and there is nothing which resembles Him in anyway. Faith also consists of belief in angels which are beings made of light, neither male nor female, who have no freewill and hence, are incapable of acting except according to the commands of the Lord. It also consists of belief in the Prophets and Messengers as well as the divinely revealed scriptures, both of which ceased with the revelation of the Qur’an upon the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Faith also consists in the belief in death at its appointed time, a physical resurrection, standing before our Lord for reckoning, as well as belief in the reality of heaven and hell. Faith also entails a belief in the divine decree, the sweet and the bitter of it.
For the person who believes, it becomes incumbent upon him/her to manifest their faith throughout their lives by treating that which God has deemed unlawful as unlawful and observing that which He has deemed lawful as lawful; by fulfilling that which He has made obligatory upon them and refraining from that which He has prohibited. They should do this to the best of their ability despite the time, place or circumstances they live in, and this is done out of hope and longing for God’s good pleasure, exposing themselves to His Mercy, while fearing His displeasure and seeking to shield themselves from it.
Once the person has understood this affair well and arrived at a certainty that this is the truth from their Lord, they should enter into a pact with Him. From their side, they declare their faith publicly and adhere firmly to His guidance and from His side, they hope in His forgiveness and mercy in this life and His eternal grace in the hereafter. In other words, they enter into Islam, becoming a Muslim. That is the message of Islam.
• How does one become a Muslim?
A Muslim is one who submits themselves to their Lord. To become a Muslim one need only bear witness to their Islam openly, declaring the Islamic declaration of faith. That is, they say, “I bear witness that there is no God other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.” That is it. It is preferable if these words are said in the language of the Qur’an (saying: Ash-hadu al-la ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu ana muhammad rasulu-Llah) in front of at least two Muslim witnesses, but if these conditions can not be met, Allah is the knower of hearts and realities. If these words are said with faith and conviction in the heart, intending to enter into the fold of Islam, the individual becomes a Muslim and all of their previous sins are removed and they are as pure as the day they were born. This is how one enters into their contract with their Lord.
Once a person enters into Islam certain acts become obligatory and certain acts become forbidden. For example, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to establish the five daily ritual prayers known as “salat”, to fast the lunar month of Ramadhan, to pay the 2.5% yearly poor due called “zakat”, and to make the pilgrimage to the sacred precincts in Mecca at least once in thei life if they are able to do so. Likewise, it is forbidden for any Muslim to eat pork, predators or carrion, to deal in interest, to gamble or partake in intoxicants. What is more, Muslim women must cover the shape of their body, protecting everything of their beauty except for their face and hands, and Muslim men are forbidden from exposing anything between their knees and navels or shaving off their beards. Also, their should be no private interactions between men and women who are not related to one another in order to protect their honor. This is from what is expected from our side of our contract.
As for the promise of our Lord, if we arrive to Him on the day of judgement without having associated partners with Him after being guided aright, having striven to fulfill our duties and having sought to purify our heart, He will manifest for us His Mercy and Forgiveness. As Muslims, we do not believe anyone deserves Paradise, no one earns their way into the gardens of bliss, nor is it guaranteed to anyone. Rather, everyone who enters Paradise enters by the grace of our Lord alone. On that day there are only two outcomes, either we will experience the Grace of our Lord or His Justice and by entering into our pact with Him, by entering into Islam, by striving to come to know Him, submitting to Him and living lives adhering to His guidance we expose ourselves to that grace.
We pray that this message is made clear and that the reader is given understanding and guidance, as truly, all success is with God alone…ameen.