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How to Be a Muslim

Four Parts:Learning about IslamConverting to IslamStudying the Qur’anPraying and Fasting

Being a good Muslim is about living with your faith everyday. It is a way of life and active work which manifests in a variety of ways. You need to keep up with prayers and observe and live by the five pillars of Islam, as well as other requirements. There is a wealth of literature out there about Islam, so get as much information as possible.

Part 1
Learning about Islam

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    Learn about the most important parts of Islam. Before you think about becoming a Muslim you should have good understanding of the religion and its requirements. This is a serious commitment, so take your time to prepare and think it over. While you’re doing this you should begin developing your understanding of Islam.
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    Educate yourself about the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars express the key elements of Islam. To be a Muslim you should live in accordance with them, so get to know them in advance of taking any further steps towards becoming a Muslim. In brief, the pillars instruct Muslims to testify their faith; pray five times a day; fast during Ramadan; give money to charity; and go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
    • One pillar concerns the testimony of faith (Shahada), that you must perform to become a Muslim.
    • Another pillar requires Muslims to pray five times a day (Salaat). Each prayer takes only a few minutes to perform, and is a direct link between the worshipper and God.[1]
    • One of the pillars requires Muslims to fasting during the holy month of Ramadan (Sawm). This is a major event for Muslims and involves abstaining from food, liquids, and sexual activity between sunrise and sunset.[2]
    • Another pillar (Zakat) requires the paying of alms (or charity) tax to benefit the needy. There is not a fixed amount that Muslims are expected to pay, although it is recommended that you give at least 2.5% of your surplus wealth each year.[3]
    • The final pillar is the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj). This requires all Muslims to visit Mecca once in their lives, if they are physically and financially able to do so.
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    Find out about daily life as a Muslim. Educate yourself about requirements like cleanliness (which is said to be half of faith). Investigate how being a Muslim will impact on your day-to-day life. A good way to do this is to speak to Muslims you know in your community.
    • If you are looking for advice, it’s much better to talk face-to-face with somebody you know than with a stranger on the internet. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about Islam and life as a Muslim. They should be open and keen to explain it to you. Remember, don't take the Qur'an as an answer - the scholars are sure to disagree.

Part 2
Converting to Islam

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    Say the declaration of faith (Shahadah). When you have decided that you want to become a Muslim, the process is pretty straightforward. You just have the say the testimony of faith: There is only One God, and Muhammad (Peace be Upon him) is His messenger (Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Allaah, Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad ar-Rasoolullaah).
    • Some suggest that this declaration must be made in the presence of two witnesses.[4]
    • Pronouncing the declaration is enough to become a Muslim, but it won’t mean much if you do not then observe the faith.
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    Learn to live as a Muslim. Remember, a religion is not a part-time thing. You can look at chapters of the Qur'an and Hadiths of the Prophet to help you with certain things.
    • There are specific things to do with hygiene and cleanliness, how to act around others, etc. You can look for books on these topics. These include not using your left hand to eat because the Devil eats with that hand, not talking or looking at the opposite gender, and having an obsessive washing routine.
    • There are lots of small books to advise new Muslims about how to behave, talk, etc. Islam isn't just about reading the Qur'an, it's the way you live your life.
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    Begin life as a Muslim. Once you have testified your faith, you should immediately begin to observe it by carrying out the requirements of Muslims. High in these priorities are the five daily prayers, and study of the Qur’an. Involving yourself in your local Muslim community will be a big help in getting to know what is expected of you.

Part 3
Studying the Qur’an

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    Study the Qur'an. As with other religions, the study of scripture is a big part of being a Muslim. You can learn a lot from translations of the Qur'an, the most accurate guide to being a Muslim that there is. You may find the organisation and structure unusual to start with, but remember this isn’t a straight-forward book of clearly delineated and consecutive chapters. [5]
    • Some translations may be harder to understand than others, however Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Pickthall are the two most common.
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    Contextualise verses. When you are studying the Qur’an always try to look at specific verses in their broader scriptural context. This means reading the surrounding verses, and not taking specific lines out of context. Picking up one short line and quoting it without reference to, or awareness of, the lines it follows and precedes can give a misleading picture of what is in the Qur’an.[6]
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    Learn the Qur’an, don't just recite it. Try to attend classes related to the explanation of Quranic verses. Extract the message God is trying to give to us. Contact people in your area about Quranic study groups, and try to participate. Examine peaceful passages such as Surah 9:5, 2:191, 2:244, 4:104, 8:12, 8:15, 8:67, 9:88, 9:123, 47:35, 61:4.
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    Be aware of interpretations. In Islam, the Qur’an is understood as the exact words of God to the Prophet Muhammad. None of its 114 chapters (Suras) has been changed, but like every text, religious or not, it has to be read.[7] As such, it has been, and will continue to be, interpreted in different ways by different people in different periods of history. Read up on the history of Islam to help you deepen your understanding.

Part 4
Praying and Fasting

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    Perform the five daily prayers: Fajr, Zuhr/Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha. These prayers are a big part of the daily observance in Islam, so remember to persevere with them. It seems like a lot to start with, but each prayer only takes a few minutes. The prayers are a moment for you to completely concentrate on your religion and your submission to God. This may also seem like a lot to remember if you are praying for the first time, but you can start by learning about the easier prayers at first, like Fajr. pray.
    • There are books with detailed step-by-step guides on how to complete your five daily prayers.
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    Preparing for Ramadan. Learn about how to fast in the holy month of Ramadan in advance, don’t just jump in without being prepared. Be certain you understand what is permitted and what is not. The basic rules of no food, liquids, or sexual activity between dawn and sunset are easy enough to remember, but there are many more rules to be aware of, as well as information on what you can do to make up for a mistake you might make that breaks your fast.
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    Fasting during Ramadan. When the holy month comes, you might find it helpful to spend time with other Muslims. You can get support and guidance from others who have more experience than you. Fasting is always difficult at first, but after a week you'll be completely used to it.
    • Be aware that fasting can be healthy, but can also cause some health problems. Look up a Ramadan health guide for some advice. [8]
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    Reflect and worship. The holy month of Ramadan is the month which begins with mercy, before forgiveness and ends with freedom from hellfire.[9] The Qur’an tells us that the primary purpose of fasting during Ramadan is to increase Taqwa (Allah consciousness) through worship.[10] So during Ramadan really think about your faith to bring you closer to God.
    • "Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, in order that you learn taqwa." (2:183)


  • Remember Allah (God) is always with you.
  • Your religion should show through in your behavior. Muslims are not permitted to lie, gossip or badmouth others. A Non-Muslim deserves your respect just as much as a Muslim does.
  • Find an Imam or someone who knows about Islam to teach you
  • Search online. You can find many Islamic websites that tell you rules of Islam.
  • The prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said in his last speech, Keep hold unto the Quran and Sunnah (what the prophet used to do and say), if you keep tightly hold to this you will not be misguided.


  • Don't forget about your family members--how will they react when you tell them you are becoming a Muslim? They might not be too happy about it, but don't let them change your choice to become a Muslim. Be ready to explain, firmly and calmly, why you chose to be a Muslim. Say things like, "It's my choice to what religion I want to follow." Remember, being a Muslim might change a few things in your life that you were used to!
  • Remember to read the Qur'an closely and with the help of a teacher.
  • If you really want to learn about Islam, then you should listen to Muslims that you know.
  • Not everything you hear or read about Islam is true, so be careful. These includes statements such as "Islam is a religion of peace", "women are respected in Islam", "Muhammad was a peaceful man", "the Qur'an is miraculous", and "Muhammad's wife was older than 9 when he consummated the marriage. See these verses; Surah 9:5, 2:191, 2:244, 4:104, 8:12, 8:15, 8:67, 9:88, 9:123, 47:35, 61:4.

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Categories: Islam