Reverting to Islam

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 What is the islam? What is reverting to islam? What does reverting to islam?

Before continuing any further, at this junction the author would firstly like to convey to the reader his heartfelt congratulations on embracing Islam and becoming a Muslim. It is a great blessing from Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, that He has given such individuals the ability and the opportunity to see the truth and the light of Islam. A new Muslim—and, in fact, every Muslim—should always be thankful to Allah and praise Him that He has blessed us with this ever-important knowledge and understanding of His religion. By reverting to Islam, the new Muslim has entered into a new sphere of life that is most likely very different from his or her previous life and how he or she viewed life itself. From this new perspective, the new Muslim will grow in the knowledge and the faith of Islam; he or she will be able to appreciate the blessings and the beauty of the Truth. Insha’Allah, his or her love for Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, and for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) will reach its zenith.

One of the main challenges that new Muslims come across when they embrace Islam is the question of whether they are obliged to change their individual names. Primarily, the answer is that it is not necessary to change your name after becoming a Muslim. Any name that has a good meaning is acceptable and adaptable in Islam. Notwithstanding, if the new Muslim prefers to give himself or herself an already known Muslim name to support their new Muslim identity then it is completely the wish, the happiness and the of the individual. It is important to note here that according to the Sunnah it is recommended to change your original name if it has an undignified or unbefitting meaning. It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names.[1]  During the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) he did not require people to change their names when they accepted Islam by his hand. He only recommended changing those names that carried erroneous meanings, or such names that had connotations of ideas and concepts rejected by Islam.

It is important for the new Muslim to know that in Islam there is a belief based upon the Qur’an and Hadith, that all human beings are created with an innate nature that has an inarticulate disposition, or awareness of God (fitrah). In the Qur’an, Allah has said, “When your Lord took out the offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, Yes, We bear witness’. So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this’… [2] The covenant that Allah, may He `be glorified and exalted, took from the progeny of Adam in the previous life has not been erased from our essence and the children of Adam are always in some sense aware of the existence of their Creator. It is this fitrah (natural inclination/innate human nature) which instilled in our souls and hearts drives us to believe in Allah and creates the longing in us to know Him. In fact, at one point it may reach a level of such urgency that it pushes and compels us to acknowledge that the Creator, may He be glorified and exalted, is the only perfect Lord, Who bestows His blessings upon us and upon all other created beings. This means that the fitrah is based upon an event in the ‘Domain of the Spirits’ (ʿAlam al-Arwa) where all human beings agreed to a covenant with God on the Day of Alastu. Therefore, when an individual embraces Islam, he or she is simply returning to their innate nature; they have simply been reminded of the Covenant they took with God before they were born into this world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is known to have stated, “Every child is born on the fitrah and it is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian…”[3]

As a final point in this section, the new Muslim should know that when he or she embraced Islam, Allah forgave all his or her previous sins and wrong deeds. It is reported that a man called Amr came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my pledge of loyalty”. The Prophet stretched out his right hand but 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 him what condition he intended to lay down. Amr said: “That Allah forgives my sins.”  The Prophet told him, “Didn’t you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?[4]  After embracing Islam, the new Muslim will be recompensed for his or her good and bad deeds according to the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), “If a person accepts Islam, such that his Islam is good, Allah will decree reward for every good deed that he did before, and every bad deed that he did before will be erased. Then after that will come the reckoning; each good deed will be rewarded ten times up to seven hundred times. And each bad deed will be recorded as it is, unless Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, forgives it.”[5]

In addition to all issues mentioned above, the new revert to Islam will no doubt come across many concerns and inquiries relating to the commencement of his or her life as a new Muslim, such as, the status of the marriage that took place before Islam, family relations and so on. These cases will be dealt with, topic by topic, in the individual chapters of this book. Before we commence our journey towards the main chapters of the book, the reader will briefly be informed about the main difference that exists between Islam and other faiths; in addition he or she will be notified about the most common misconceptions that exist in the present era regarding Islam.

[1].      Sunan Abu Dawud. Book 43, Hadith 176[2].      Q. 7:172[3].      Muwatta Malik, Book 16, Hadith 53[4].      Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 228[5].      Sunan an-Nasa’i , Book 47, Hadith 14

Source: Islam For New Muslims An Educational Guide,Assoc. Prof. Amjad M. Hussain, Erkam Publications

The Definition of The Science of Fiqh (Shafii)

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