How To Take Shahada And Become A Muslim

How To Take Shahada And Become A Muslim

The first step to accepting Islam and becoming a Muslim is learning how to take shahada.

According to Pew Research, Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion.

In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).

Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group

A lot of this has to do with Muslims having higher than average fertility rates compared to people of other faiths. A lot of it also has to do with new people entering into the religion.

You don’t have to be an Arab to be a Muslim. It’s not just an exclusive religion for Indonesians, Pakistanis, Indians, Turks, Bangladeshis or Egyptians either.

Nor do you have to be born into the religion. You can be the only revert Muslim in your family.

There are Muslims from all over the globe. If Allah wills someone to accept Islam, He will make it so.

You can find out how to take shahada and accept Islam below.

One Of The Pillars Of Islam

How to take shahada

The five pillars of Islam are the principal acts of worship towards Allah that Muslims need to perform.

Learning how to take shahada is one of these pillars.

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity). 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.

Sahih al-Bukhari

Understand The Six Articles Of Faith

Before learning how to take shahada, make sure that you understand the six articles of faith. These are the core beliefs that a Muslim must have to call themselves a Muslim.

The six articles of faith are:

  • Belief in Allah, The Only God
  • Belief in the Angels
  • Belief in Holy Books (Tawrat, Injil, Zabur, Qur’an)
  • Belief in the Prophets
  • Belief in the Day of Judgment
  • Belief in Allah’s predestination

The Oneness of Allah is described in Surah Al-Ikhlas:

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,
Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
He neither begets nor is born,
Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Qur’an 112:1-4

Allah also says in Surah Al-Ma’idah that He isn’t a trinity:

They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Indeed, he who associates others with Allah – Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers.
They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

Qur’an 5:72-5:73

Learn How To Take Shahada In Arabic

The shahada is as follows:

.أشهدُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلاَّ الله وأشهدُ أنَّ محمّدًا رسولُ الله

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa ash-hadu anna muhammadan rasulullah.

I bear witness that no one deserves to be worshipped except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

Take Ghusl

After learning how to take shahada for the first time, the new Muslim should do ghusl. Ghusl is an Islamic method of washing the entire body with water for purification.

Narrated Qays ibn Asim: I came to the Prophet (ﷺ) with the intention of embracing Islam. He commanded me to take a bath with water (boiled with) the leaves of the lote-tree.

Sunan Abi Dawud

A Clean Slate

How to take shahada

When a new Muslim learns how to take shahada and accepts Islam, Allah forgives all of their past sins. They’re like a newborn baby.

Learning how to take shahada can be very emotional. You feel cleansed spiritually, mentally and physically. You begin to feel a powerful relationship with Allah – The All-Merciful, The Forgiver and Hider of Faults, The Source of Peace.

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al Khudri:Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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.”

Sahih al-Bukhari

The new Muslim is able to turn their life around.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Continue to strive towards achieving Allah’s pleasure through piety and righteousness. Perform good deeds. Strive as much as possible to keep that record clean.

Say to those who have disbelieved [that] if they cease, what has previously occurred will be forgiven for them. But if they return [to hostility] – then the precedent of the former [rebellious] peoples has already taken place.

Qur’an 8:38

Repent immediately after accidentally sinning.

Do You Need Witnesses?

There’s no requirement for someone taking their shahada to have it witnessed by Muslims. If someone wants to accept Islam, but fears for their life or their well-being in doing so, they can keep it private.

Accepting Islam in secret is demonstrated in Surah Ghafir:

And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who concealed his faith said, “Do you kill a man [merely] because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’ while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you. Indeed, Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.

Qur’an 40:28

You don’t need to make your taking of shahada public. It doesn’t have to be taken at the mosque. You also don’t need to hold a ceremony or be given a certificate by an imam.

However, you can if you want to. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the Muslim community. It will allow you to make friends and meet the imam.

It’s also a pretty big step for a new Muslim to step into a mosque for the first time. It can be incredibly nerve-wracking. You can feel out of place.

The process can be made a whole lot easier by contacting an imam and saying “I’m here to take shahada”. They can show you around the mosque and tell you about any upcoming classes that you can join, to learn more about the religion of Islam and become a part of the community.

Do You Have To Change Your Name?

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. famously changed his name to Muhammad Ali after accepting Islam. However, this isn’t necessary unless your name has a forbidden or undesirable meaning.

I remember co-workers asked, “do we still call you by Katie?” I assured them all that, yes, I’m still Katie.

My Islamic name is Khadijah.

I didn’t go about changing my legal name or passport or anything like that. I just use this name at the mosque or in the presence of other Muslims. My husband calls me Khadijah.

One thing to be wary of, though, is that the Prophet (ﷺ) changed the name of women named Barrah, which means righteous or dutiful.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Zainab’s original name was “Barrah,” but it was said’ “By that she is giving herself the prestige of piety.” So the Prophet (ﷺ) changed her name to Zainab.

Sahih al-Bukhari

What is necessary, is keeping your father’s name or surname.

Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “If somebody claims to be the son of any other than his real father knowingly, he but disbelieves in Allah, and if somebody claims to belong to some folk to whom he does not belong, let such a person take his place in the (Hell) Fire.”

Sahih al-Bukhari

Do You Have To Wear Hijab?

How to take shahada
[Tee Cee / CC BY 2.0]

When accepting Islam, you can take things one step at a time. You don’t have to master everything all at once.

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

Qur’an 2:286

Focus on learning how to take shahada first. If you are taking shahada at the mosque, you can wear hijab. But this isn’t necessary. The mosque is the house of Allah, and everyone is welcome. Not just the most pious Muslims.

Once you’ve learned how to take shahada, then you can start thinking, “okay, what other things can I work on now to show my devotion to Allah?”

The desire to start wearing hijab full time should come naturally after doing some research on it.

And Then What?

After learning how to take shahada, the new Muslim should then start to learn how to pray their five obligatory daily prayers. Salat is the second pillar of Islam.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salat, the Glorious and Exalted Rubb will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Salat so that the obligatory Salat may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.”

Riyad as-Salihin

It’s compulsory for Muslims over the age of puberty to perform salat.

You can ask a shaykh or research online how to perform salat.

Get Started With A High Quality Prayer Rug

When performing salat, it’s essential to find a clean and dry space which is facing the qibla. To achieve this, I recommend getting your first prayer rug from Dar-us-Salam Publications.

Please note this is an affiliate link. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my Affiliate Disclosure to learn more.

Extra Advice

A Modest Argument – Muslim convert Nuha Bailey writes, “Thinking About Becoming Muslim?” Read the full post here.

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How To Take Shahada And Become A Muslim