Conversion to Islam

Conversion to Islam is the adoption of the set of beliefs identified with the Islamic faith to the exclusion of others.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 2 weeks ago

No need to recite the Kalimah of Islam ( I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger) in front of witnesses. The person must believe in Islam in his heart and accept Islam as his religion. He will be then a Muslim.
Reciting the Kalimah in front of others is good but not necessary condition to become a Muslim. Even if some one believes in Islam between himself and Allah, with out informing any one else, is a  Muslim.

Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 3 weeks ago

Best of wishes on this next stage of your spiritual journey, and, yes, it is enough to have the intention to follow a marja' and to do your best to do so; you do not need to notify the marja'.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 month ago

It is nice and humble to focus on service. Some people do feel called to serve communities other than their own, and I have met some people who are not Muslim who dedicated their lives to working for Muslim communities or the Islamic cause. Sometimes it is a lifelong calling, and sometimes it is a temporary calling (for instance, on a specific sociopolitical issue that one feels strongly about, or as a stepping stone to discovering one's identity or beliefs).

That being said, the psychological motivations behind dedicating one's self to service (especially to serving the "other") can be complex. There are psychologically healthy and unhealthy reasons for service. For instance, a genuine desire to help someone in need, versus the desire to feel needed. Wishing to aid those who are marginalized, versus re-living unresolved psychological trauma surrounding feelings of non-belonging. Etc.

For that reason, it doesn't hurt to look deeply at one's motivations for service to be sure it continues to be a healthy arrangement. Also, I could foresee such an arrangement eventually breaking down due to the tension of wanting to serve the Muslim community while at the same time not wanting to be part of the Muslim community, which might strike some Muslims as strange. Not everyone wants an "outsider" to help them; this may be particularly poignant today, given the legacy of European colonialism in the Muslim world, and the way some Western organizations take a paternalistic approach to Muslims and try to "save" Muslims from practices they deem backwards or uncivilized. Basically, while some people want to serve, not everyone wants to be served. 

Anyway, from an Islamic perspective, what is important is the view of Allah. That is, what is important is your relationship to the divine. What is important is the view of the divine on your religious beliefs and practices, and overall actions in life, not the overall view of Muslims or the view of Islam as a faith. 

Similarly, the core teaching of Islam is serving Allah, not serving Muslims. There are many ways to serve Allah; serving Muslims is religiously meritorious when it is done as a way of serving Allah, but it is not the only way to serve Allah.

From a historical perspective, there are some respected figures in Islamic history who were not Muslim but aided Muslims or the Islamic cause. For instance, the Christian king of Abysynnia who protected the early Muslims from persecution. If you go through the account of Karbala, you will see that a number of people who were Christian also stood up for Imam Husayn. Also in the classical era of Islamic history, Muslims and people of other faiths worked harmoniously together on scientific and other projects and also occasionally shared the same site for houses of worship. (That being said, there was more of an equal playing field in those times; there wasn't the post-colonialist or "clash of civilizations" imbalanced power dynamic.)

Overall, despite the stereotypes of Muslims being intolerant, I think most Muslims are comfortable with religious diversity because the Quran gives a place to other religions and doesn't say that all other religions are false or that all other people are doomed. Also, most Muslim cultures have historically had religious minorities. I think some Muslims also secretly like people who are different because it can get a little boring seeing the same type of people again and again. That being said, if you do work within the Muslim community, I am sure some Muslims will encourage you to convert!

Anyway, I certainly don't mean to be discouraging in any of the above; your situation is unique to your own self and surroundings; these are just some thoughts on the overall dynamics that might arise. I wish you the best in whatever paths you take in life!

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answered 1 month ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

If this woman you are getting to know says that she will accept Islam, then you can marry her. If she chooses to stay atheist, then all types of marriage (temporary and permanent) are not allowed with her. 

So before marrying her, she must accept Islam and sincerely utter the testimony of faith. 

May Allah grant you success

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Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answered 1 month ago

as salam alaikum

it is not necessary to change your name if it doesn't have a meaning in contrast with Islam. However it would be good to choose a new name that manifest in some way and degree the relation between the servant and his Creator.

With prayers for your success.

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answered 1 month ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

A Muslim man (not female) can marry a non-Muslim who is from the people of the book. This includes Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Some scholars allow both permanent and temporary marriage with the above mentioned categories, and some only allow temporary marriage with them. 

If someone says a Shahada and professes faith, we judge on the apparent and consider them Muslim. If however a Shahada was not taken seriously or said in a joking type of way, it has no value.

So if a person has the intention inside them to say the Shahada just to get married - and this has happened before - it will be accepted if we aren’t aware.

This is similar to hypocrites who utter the Shahada but don’t believe in Islam with their hearts. 

If a non Muslim is genuinely willing to accept the faith and marriage is also a motivation for him, it will still  be accepted. 

May Allah grant you success 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 2 months ago

It is not obligatory on new Muslim to change his non Muslim name as far as the name does not contain wrong meaning.

Wassalam.

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answered 2 months ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

Your sisters are unfortunately giving opinions which contradict Islam. You may marry any suitable believer regardless of his race. You should try to convince your parents to meet the person and remind them that Islam doesn’t discriminate based on race. 

May Allah grant you success 

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 2 months ago

Religious conversion is like marriage; it is good to approach it with the intent for it to be a life commitment, while at the same time, we never know how it will go, how we will change later in life, or how we ourselves will change because of the experience. 

Like marriage, religious conversion can have a lot of challenges, especially unexpected ones - it is a journey that can be rewarding, but, like most rewarding journeys, it is not necessarily easy. In fact in the Qur'an God specifically promises to try those who say they have faith, so one can expect some challenges! 

Above and beyond that, due to the socio-cultural situation of the world today, there are some specific (and unfortunate) challenges associated with converting to Islam in a Muslim-minority country or if one is not part one of the main ethnic groups of the Muslim world. Often these challenges are felt both in "mainstream" society, if one is visibly Muslim (for instance, wearing hijab), as well as in the Muslim community. It doesn't hurt to talk to people and listen to their experiences and be sure this is something you are ready to navigate. 

If someone regrets becoming a Muslim and later decides to be not-Muslim, it is not as if the religious police or angels are going to swoop down from the heavens and arrest them. The main pressure to adhere to a religion (Islam or otherwise) usually comes from immediate family/blood relatives, such as parents (and I am guessing you do not have Muslim immediate family/blood relatives, so that is not a factor). As an individual, in practice, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. 

However, it is rarely as simple as flipping an on/off switch. A person who genuinely converts to Islam for 2 weeks and then changes their mind is unlikely to be deeply changed by the experience. However, a person who genuinely converts to Islam for 10 years and then changes their mind is likely to have a lot of spiritual, psychological, social, and possibly family, practical, or financial ties related to their life as a Muslim (such as a Muslim spouse or children whom they were raising as Muslims). As with anything else in life, the more you invest into something, the more difficult it is to break away from it.

Also, sometimes, when someone regrets converting to Islam, the problem is not actually Islam, but rather, they are regretting life choices (such as regarding career or marriage) or unhealthy behaviors (such as being a doormat), especially if they are using Islam to justify unhealthy behaviors. Sometimes they also are regretting choosing unhealthy or needlessly restrictive ideologies as being "more Islamic". There are many ways to live life as a Muslim and, if one is in that situation, it can be helpful to ask one's self what really needs changing, and if there is a different way to live life authentically as a Muslim. 

(This is unless it is actually a theological concern, which is a different issue.) 

In any case, I feel it is important to remain true to what you believe and true to yourself, including an acknowledgment of what your priorities are and also how things are going for you. This is true both before conversion and after conversion. There is no point in lying to ourselves since God knows what is inside us. However I also believe that if you sincerely pray and listen to your inner voice, you will know what is the right decision for you, now or at any other time in life. 

(Also there are some interesting stories of people who were thinking of converting to Islam asking God for signs - it never hurts to ask God for a sign!)
 

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I'm not sure there is a single "right reason" for conversion since people's reasons are often complex. I don't think it is necessarily wrong to convert for a significant other, as long as there is: (a) belief (on some level), and (b) commitment. The reason why I say this is that no one is going to have a fully formed belief as a Muslim without actually being a Muslim (just as no one is going to have a fully formed belief as a Catholic without actually being a Catholic). However one should at least agree with the general tenets (such as belief in God, belief in the Prophet, belief in the Qur'an as divine revelation, belief in the Hereafter) and have the willingness or desire to make a leap of faith, and to develop that faith.

In this case, assuming that the end goal is marriage, one should also have the desire to have a Muslim family and raise one's children as Muslims (which may or may not be what you want for the rest of your life).

However, there are no guarantees regarding marriage or relationships, and a good rule of thumb here would be to ask yourself, what if the relationship/marriage didn't work out - would you still be committed to being a Muslim? If the answer is "yes" then it is a good sign you are on the right track (even if a primary reason for converting is your partner); if the answer is "no", that warrants more consideration.

However, what concerns me about this question is that you say you are feeling pressured. This suggests that somewhere inside you don't want to do it or aren't ready. If you aren't ready, you aren't ready, and you shouldn't push yourself. Assuming you are in a Muslim-minority country, living as a Muslim and as a minority can be challenging, and if you don't have full commitment, it can be a difficult to manage that challenge. 

Anyway, things in life usually happen when they are ready to happen, and not before that. So maybe it is good to give it some time now and do prayer, reflection, and more research about Islam. (Even if you have already researched, there isn't a limit to how much one can research!) I am sure you will come to a decision when you are ready.

Also perhaps it is good to ask your partner to give you some space and not to push you, since this is a decision that affects your life and future and so it is one that you should be certain about.

From my observation, when someone converts to Islam specifically for the sake of a partner, the dynamics can sometimes get a little weird since their partner often becomes their first teacher about or model of Islam. That can set up a very slanted power dynamic and a loss of self (especially if it leads to their partner dictating to them a new identity and a set of instructions on what they can or cannot do in life). That, in turn, doesn't lead to the happiest of marriages. Anyway, I am not saying that is automatically going to happen, but it's another thing that you could keep an eye on if that is a factor here. 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 months ago

Yes she can, as she has become a Muslim.

Muslim unmarried female can marry Muslim male.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 months ago

As both of you are Muslims, Alhamdulillah, marriage is very simple and
easy according to the Islamic rules. Both of you should agree an
amount which is called Mahr which is the right of the female. If she
is a virgin, means if it is her first marriage, then she needs the
permission of her father. But if her father refuses for any reason
which is not valid in Islam to object on the marriage, then she is
allowed to get marriage to a suitable Muslim believer to save herself
from sinful acts. After agreeing the Mahr, you need a person who knows
Arabic language properly to recite the marriage agreement which is
called Nikah or Aqd of marriage. In this marriage agreement she, or
anyone on her behalf, says in Arabic, that she agrees to become your
wife for the agreed Mahr (ZAWWAJTUKA NAFSI ALAL MAHR AL MA'LOM) and you or someone on your behalf, say in
Arabic “I accept the marriage for the said Mahr”(QABILTU AL TAZWEEJ ALAL MAHR AL MA'LOOM). Witness of two pious men is recommend
but not compulsory in marriage.

May Allah SWT grant you both the best
and keep you blessed with more Imaan and prosperity.

Wassalaam.