I Want to Be a Muslim but …" Myths about Converting to Islam in Islam(1)
- Written by : Osama Emara
Parent Category: Islam
The most fundamental belief in Islam is that there is no true god (deity) but Allah. He, the One, the Only, the First and the Last, has no partners, sons, daughters or intermediaries. He is Alone in His Dominion and in His Omnipotence. It is a very simple concept, it is simply the truth. Nevertheless sometimes the pure belief in God can be overwhelming. Often we are surprised when we call for God and He answers immediately.
The religion of Islam encompasses that simple concept – that God is One and wraps it in a package called submission. Islam means, submission to the will of God. The root word of Islam (sa-li-ma) is the same that is shared with the Arabic word meaning peace and security. In essence, peace and security comes from living life according to God’s will. Like a circle of life it always begins and ends in the same place – there is no god but Allah. When we submit to the will of God, we are Muslims and to demonstrate our sincerity we testify that we are Muslim by saying, alone or in the company of other Muslims, la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasoolu Allah. There is no true god (deity) but Allah and Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is His messenger.
Whenever any human being experiences and understands God’s mercy, Satan tries his best to harm that individual. Satan does not want us to feel comfort and mercy; he wants us to feel anxious and depressed. He wants us to make mistakes and commit sins. Satan despairs of ever feeling God’s love therefore he wants to corrupt as many human beings as he can: “…surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…” (Quran 7:16-17)
Whenever a person realises the truth and wants to become a Muslim, Satan introduces the word ‘but’. I want to become a Muslim...BUT! But I am not ready. But I don’t speak Arabic. But I am white. But I don’t really know about Islam. God warned us against Satan and his cunning ways: “O children of Adam. Let not Satan deceive you.” (Quran 7:27) and “Surely Satan is an enemy to you so take him as an enemy.” (Quran 35:6)
Satan’s whispers try to prevent us from converting to Islam. These ideas should not stand in the way of a person connecting, or reconnecting with the Most Merciful God. In this series or articles we will discuss some of the most prominent myths, lay them open to scrutiny and see that God is indeed Most Merciful. He makes converting to Islam easy, not difficult. No buts!
- I want to be a Muslim but I do not want to change my name.
A person embracing Islam does not have to change his or her name. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said that everybody was entitled to a good name, a name that had meaning or character. For the vast majority of people it is not an issue, however if you discover that your name has a bad meaning or an association with sinners or tyrants it is better to change it to something more acceptable. If the person’s name is a name of an idol or reflects servitude to something or someone other than God, then it has to be changed. Remember though that Islam is easy. If changing your name officially would cause hardship, distress or harm, it would suffice to change it only among friends and family.
- I want to be a Muslim but I do not know any Arabic.
The religion of Islam was revealed for all people, in all places, at all times. It is not a religion exclusively for Arabs or Arabic speakers. In fact the majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims are not from an Arab background. A person can become Muslim without knowing a single word of Arabic; it does not affect his or her ability to accept Islam. However, the language of Quran is Arabic and the daily prayers are performed in Arabic, so although it is not necessary to learn the whole language, after conversion it will be necessary to learn some Arabic words.
If a person is unable to learn enough Arabic to perform his prayers because of a speech defect or because he is not able to pronounce the Arabic, he must try as much as he can. If learning at least some Arabic is not possible, then he is relieved of this obligation, because God does not burden people with more than they are able to bear. However God also says that he has made learning Quran easy, therefore it is obligatory for a person to try his best. Allah says, “God burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (Quran 2:286) And says, “And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember.” (Quran 54:17)
A man came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God, I cannot memorize something from the Quran so teach me something suffices me.” He said, “Say, Subhaan-Allaah wal-hamdu Lillaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa la quwwata illa Billaah (Far removed is God from every imperfection, praise be to God, there is no god except Allah and God is Most great, and there is no power or strength except with God).”
Entering the fold of Islam is easy. It is a simple process, free of complications. In part 2 we will discuss circumcision, the fact that Islam has no ethnic or race restrictions and becoming Muslim without knowing very much about Islam.
There is no god but God. It is a simple statement that should make converting to Islam easy. There is only One God, and only one religion, nothing could be more uncomplicated. However, as we discussed in the previous article, whenever a person realises the truth and wants to become a Muslim, Satan introduces the word but. I want to be a Muslim...BUT. But I am not ready. But I don’t speak Arabic, or but I do not want to change my name. Today we will discuss more myths that prevent people from converting to Islam.
- I want to be a Muslim but I do not want to be circumcised.
Prophet Muhammad said that every child was born in a state of fitrah, with the correct understanding of God. And the traditions of Prophet Muhammad tell us that the conditions related to fitrah (the natural state of being) are five.
“Five things are part of the fitrah: shaving the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hairs, and cutting the nails.” This is believed to be the ancient way, the natural way, followed by all of the Prophets, and enjoined on the believers by the laws that they brought.
The majority of Islamic scholars agree that circumcision is obligatory for men providing they do not fear that it may harm them. When assessing the degree of harm a man must look to the Quran and the authentic teachings of Prophet Muhammad for guidance. If a man is not able to be circumcised due to fear of injury or any other valid reason that may make his life miserable, the obligation is waived. It is not permissible for the issue to become a barrier that prevents a man from accepting Islam . In other words, it is not a condition for becoming a Muslim. Also, it does not prevent a man from leading the prayers. There is no requirement for female circumcision in Islam.
- I want to be a Muslim but I am white.
Islam is the religion that was revealed for all people, in all places, at all times. It was not revealed for a particular race or ethnicity. It is a complete way of life based on the teachings found in the Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad. Although the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language and Prophet Muhammad was an Arab, it would be wrong to assume that all Muslims are Arabs, or for that matter, that all Arabs are Muslims. In fact the vast majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims are not Arabs.
There are no racial or ethnic requirements for one to be a Muslim. In his final sermon Prophet Muhammad reiterated this fact very succinctly.
“O people! Your god is One and your father is one. Verily, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab and a non-Arab has no superiority over an Arab; a red person has no superiority over a black person nor does a black person have superiority over a red person, except by piety.” “O humankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another.” (Quran 49:13)
Source: Islam Religion Website