What should a new Muslim do? What should he pay attention to?

The Details of the Question

- What can be done for a newly converted Muslim after he utters kalima ash-shahadah and what should he pay attention to?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

First of all, we should state that every blessing has some burdens. Being a Muslim, which is the greatest blessing, will definitely have some burdens.

Showing patience in the face of them, never despairing, focusing only on what we need to do, seeking refuge in and praying to our Lord in any case, leaving the result to Allah after doing our duty and showing consent to it will relieve us in terms of all aspects.

Islam is on the Agenda of the World

Islam is spreading rapidly around the world. Russia takes the first place in Islamization; Europe is the second and America is the third. This fact is not regarded as news for the media, which is busy with wars, pandemic, gold and oil prices, global economic crisis, inflation, etc. and keeps most people busy with them.

Most of the non-Muslims become Muslims after researching Islam. The resource people refer to most today is the Internet. The lucky minority who can reach the right information on the internet, where there is much more information pollution about Islam than anything else, chooses Islam without hesitation. However, some of them exit Islam for different reasons. For example, according to statistics of the year 2000, nearly half of the 500,000 Americans who were converted to Islam in a year exited Islam. The main reason for it is as follows: Americans embrace Islam at the cost of being abandoned by their families and friends. However,

1. They cannot see the examples of ideal believers defined in the Quran and hadith in the Islamic community they live in.

2. They do not receive the attention and support of the other Muslims in mosques, which are the social environments of the community they live in.

Having been disappointed at not seeing a Muslim who fits the description of Islam truly in the Islamic circle he joined and been pushed into loneliness by Muslims, the newly converted American, unfortunately, can return to his old environment if he does not have a strong spiritual structure.

It seems that the most important reason why those who were converted to Islam remained in Islam is that those who became Muslims before them did not neglect them and took care of them.

What should be the roadmap of the new Muslim?

It is necessary to teach the true Islam and the righteousness worthy of Islam consciously to the new Muslim and somebody should be a role model for him.

For example, a Christian believes in the trinity. Hz. Isa (Jesus) is either the son of God or God himself in his eyes. When a Muslim says “Muhammadur-Rasulullah”, the Christian thinks - with a false comparison - that the Muslim claims that Muhammad (pbuh) is the son of God - God forbid - out of spite. When an American becomes a Muslim by uttering kalima ash-shahadah, he embraces Islam by getting rid of his wrong beliefs about Allah and the Prophet.

However, there are six pillars of belief in Islam. One of them is belief in the hereafter. A Christian who does not believe in bodily resurrection might not believe in bodily resurrection when he utters kalima ash-shahadah. Again, he might not believe that both good and evil came from Allah when he becomes a Muslim by uttering kalima ash-shahadah by leaving his previous Christian life, in which he lived unaware of the concepts and meanings of good and evil in his own world because he has not even been aware of their existence.

Based on the fact “the highest reality in the universe is belief; after belief comes prayer...”, the first lesson that should be given to a new believer to embrace Islam is the lesson of belief.

There are Muslims who work hard to serve Islam in the Western world. However, the books they write to invite people to Islam are full of examples of how Christianity was distorted in general - as if taking revenge for the West’s constant attacks on the Islamic world. In other words, they focus on what a bad religion Christianity is rather than explaining what a good religion Islam is. Such books do more harm than good to those people. Those works are far from the potential to teach the belief lesson in question. The importance of the Risale-i Nur Collection on the issue is realized once again.

We said ‘after belief comes prayer’. The five pillars of Islam should be taught in a conscious order. For example, the issue of hajj, which is fard only for the rich and once in a lifetime, should not be instructed before prayer, which is fard for everybody, five times a day, regardless of being sick-well, young-old and poor-rich.

The other pillars, i.e., fasting and zakah can also be taught in order of importance in this context.

In short, before we make the mistake of thinking that a newly converted person believes as we believe, he should first be taught the principles of belief, along with prayer, and, over time, fasting, zakah and hajj, which are the other fard deeds of worship. In addition to the memorization of the chapters needed for prayer, he should be taught to read the Quran.

What should a new Muslim pay attention to?

 If a new Muslim is not junub, it is not necessary for him to make ghusl but it is sunnah to make ghusl because the Prophet (pbuh) wanted such a person to make ghusl. (see Ahmad, Musnad, 5/161)

First of all, he should learn the principles of belief and Islam; it is not necessary to change his name if it does not have a non-Islamic connotation. Besides, men are recommended to be circumcised.

When a person became a Muslim, the Prophet (pbuh) would teach him how to perform prayers and then advise him to pray as follows:

اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَاهْدِنِي وَعَافِنِي وَارْزُقْنِي

“Allahummaghfir li warhamni wahdini wa afini warzuqni / O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, grant me well-being and grant me provision!” (Muslim, Dhikr, 35)

Learning Islam

The most important turning point in the life of a new Muslim is doubtlessly the moment he is converted to Islam. It erases all the sins of the past and opens a clean, white page in his life. It is like being born again.

Therefore, it is very important for that newly opened clean page not to be polluted and that a good start to be made for that person’s happiness in this world and the hereafter. After entering Islam with a pure belief that leaves no room for doubt, it is necessary to make an effort to learn Islam correctly because without knowing the basic and indispensable teachings of Islam, it is not quite possible to practice Islam fully.

A true believer should know Islam well, embrace it consciously and try to practice it in his life. The best Muslim is the one who shows the highest respect to Allah. It is necessary to know how to be pious (muttaqi) in order to show the best respect to Allah - to put it in Islamic terms - to be one of the pious ones.

It is not possible to practice Islam in one’s life without knowledge, or at least to practice it as desired.

A Muslim who learns the principles of Islam can clearly see the bright path of Islam. Thus, he can realize the elements of unbelief, polytheism, and immorality that are contrary to Islam.

Unfortunately, many Muslims in our age have not been able to display the beauties of Islam in their lives because they have not learned enough about Islam. Therefore, it is not quite possible to practice Islam correctly only by imitating today’s Muslim communities.

In that case, Muslims should try to live according to Islam itself, not their mistakes. The mistakes and deficiencies of Muslims should not cause them to turn away from Islam. That issue is as important as being a Muslim for a newly converted Muslim.

Firstly, it is essential to read and understand the Quran, to act according to its contents and to put its principles into practice.

Secondly, it is necessary to take the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a model in all aspects.

A new Muslim should try to learn Islam from the true sources in the appropriate way. Accordingly, he should try to learn the Quran and the Prophet’s (pbuh) practice of Islam so that he can fully surrender to Allah and benefit from the example of the last prophet.

In this regard, it is possible to benefit from the guidance of people who know Islam.

He should begin by fulfilling fard duties, especially the five daily prayers, and by avoiding harams, especially the major sins.

Prayer (salah) must be the first thing to do beginning from the first day of becoming a Muslim. The five daily prayers, which are daily deeds of worship, must never be neglected.

A Muslim who has just been converted to Islam should either benefit from the practical guidance of other Muslims or from educational and instructional video publications prepared regarding the issue.

Thus, a believer first starts to perform the daily prayers as much as he can; then, he gradually tries to make up for his deficiencies, to learn what is necessary, and to perform prayers in accordance with the rules.

Willpower and Effort are Necessary

There may be some difficulties awaiting new Muslim. The way to overcome those difficulties is to continue the will and effort shown while becoming a Muslim. Allah will bestow many conveniences and make him successful in good deeds. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the verses of the Quran:

“And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” (al-Ankabut, 29/69)

“But to those who receive Guidance, He increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil).” (Muhammad, 47/17)

Dying as a Muslim

Dying as a Muslim is just as important as being a Muslim. It can even be said that dying as a Muslim is more important than being a Muslim. Allah states the following in the Quran:

“Behold! his Lord said to him: ‘Bow (thy will to Me):’ He said: ‘I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe.’ And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; ‘Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.’” (al-Baqara, 2/131-132)

To sum up, being a Muslim is the greatest spiritual treasure and a means of happiness for both worlds. Learning and practicing what is in that treasure must come before anything else.

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