Becoming a Muslim
"There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger."
This is the basic statement of the Islamic faith. To become Muslim, you must recite this saying in Arabic, which can be transliterated as:
Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah
When a Muslim recites this they proclaim:
- That Allah is the only God, and that Muhammad is his prophet
- That they personally accept this as true
- That they will obey all the commitments of Islam in their life
Anyone who cannot recite this wholeheartedly is not a Muslim. The Shahadah is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.
A Muslim is expected to recite this statement out loud, with total sincerity, fully understanding what it means.
The Five Pillars of Islam
The most important Muslim practices are the Five Pillars of Islam.
The Five Pillars of Islam are the five obligations that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam.
The Five Pillars consist of:
- Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith
- Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day
- Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy
- Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan
- Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
Why Are They Important?
Carrying out these obligations provides the framework of a Muslim's life, and weaves their everyday activities and their beliefs into a single cloth of religious devotion.
No matter how sincerely a person may believe, Islam regards it as pointless to live life without putting that faith into action and practice.
Carrying out the Five Pillars demonstrates that the Muslim is putting their faith first, and not just trying to fit it in around their secular lives.