GUIDELINES FOR NEW MUSLIM
Becoming a Muslim is as easy as reciting the shahadah (or the testimony of faith), but living Islam requires that each and every person seek knowledge about their new religion. Once a person has accepted Islam he or she then becomes obligated to learn how to worship Allah in a way that pleases Him. From the many thousands of authentic ahadith we have access to, we find that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم vigorously pointed out the importance of seeking knowledge. “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” Ibn Majah 225
After guidance a Muhajir(New Muslim) is obliged to follow the guidance of Prophet Muhammadصلى الله عليه و سلمand the way His companion understood. Allah said: “And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers - We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.” Qur’an surah Nisa 4:115
Amr b. al-As said: When Allah instilled the love of Islam in my heart, I came to the Apostle (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said: Stretch out your right hand so that may pledge my allegiance to you. He stretched out his right hand, I withdrew my hand, He (the Holy Prophet) said: What has happened to you, O 'Amr? replied: I intend to lay down some condition. He asked: What condition do you intend to put forward? I said: should be granted pardon. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Are you not aware of the fact that Islam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)? Verily migration wipes out all the previous (misdeeds), and verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the (previous) misdeeds… Sahih Muslim 121
However Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life. It was designed by our Creator in such a way that every act a person performs can be a form of worship. Islam teaches us the correct way for human beings to act in any given situation, from sleeping, dressing, eating and working, and even how to use the toilet and bathe. To an outsider Islam often appears to be little more than a list of impossible rules and regulations, this can also be how Islam is perceived by some who adopt Islam as their new faith without having any knowledge about Allah, the only One worthy of worship.
Thus we come to the most important lesson of all – believing in and knowing about Allah. The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلمover a period of 23 years and he taught the Sahabah about Allah the Almighty for 13 years before he began to introduce a system of rules that bought about the Islamic nation. Knowledge of Allah and belief in Him constitutes the very foundation of Islam.
Once a person believes that Allah exists he must seek out the knowledge that will cement this belief in his mind and heart. A person must learn Allah’s Attributes and Names in order to understand that every perfection and absolute goodness belongs to Him, and no defect or wrong applies to Him. In short, the love of Allah for His creation is immense and beyond human imagination; we cannot measure or count the bounties and blessings He bestows upon us. He creates in humankind the mind to understand this and to seek out knowledge to confirm this.
Belief in Allah is the first article of faith, and professing that belief is the first of five pillars of Islam. Thus it is clear that believing in Allah and knowing about Him is one of the two most important pieces of knowledge a Muslim will ever gain. The other is learning how to pray or how to offer salah.
Any Muslim who fails to perform the prayer without a valid excuse is committing a serious sin. However having said that it must be borne in mind that Allah is not in need of any person’s prayer because He is free of all needs, however human beings are in need of prayer. The benefits a person can derive from prayer are immeasurable. It purifies the heart, comforts the soul, develops the mind, fosters morals and good manners and repels evil, indecent or unjust deeds.
The Islamic prayer combines a sequence of physical movements with recitation of the Quran and becomes a unique connection between the human being and his Creator. Prayer begins with the opening chapter of the Quran and includes bowing and prostrating while proclaiming God’s greatness, glory and majesty. Learning how to pray is one of the most important pieces of knowledge a Muslim will ever learn.