The Arabic word ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’, and is derived from a word meaning ‘peace’. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must totally submit to the will of God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law.
Islam is not a new religion because ‘submission to the will of God’, i.e. Islam, has always been the only acceptable religion in the sight of God from time immemorial; from the time of the first man, our father Adam (peace be upon him) all through the times of all the Prophets and Messengers of God in history lane till the last Messenger of God and the seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and after. For this reason, Islam is the true ‘natural religion’, and it is the same eternal message revealed through the ages to all of God’s prophets and messengers. The main message of all the prophets has always been that there is only One True God and He alone is to be worshipped. These prophets start with Adam and include Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be upon them all. God says in the Holy Quran:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ (25)
Which can be translated as: “We did not send before you (O Muhammad) any messenger but We revealed to him: ‘none has the right to be worshipped except I, therefore worship Me.’” (Q.21:25)
However, the true message of these prophets was either lost or got corrupted over time. Even the most recent books, the Torah and the Gospel were adulterated and hence they lost their credibility to guide the people to the right path. Therefore 600 years after Jesus, God revived the lost message of previous prophets by sending the Prophet Muhammad with His final revelation, the Holy Quran, to all of mankind. Since the Prophet Muhammad was the final prophet, God Himself has promised to preserve His last revealed words so that it is a source of guidance for all humanity till the Last Day. It is now imperative for everyone to believe and follow this final message from God. God Almighty says in the Quran:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (28)
Which can be translated as: “We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but to all mankind as a giver of good news and as a warner, but most people do not know.” (Q.34:28)
He also said:
وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (85)
Which can be translated as: “Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” (Q.3:85)
The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of his/her race, nationality or ethnic background. Hence, any person who is ready to submit to the will of God is eligible to become a Muslim.
After Reverting to Islam, what is next?
Mind you, the very first step into reversion to Islam, after total conviction in one's self that it is the only true religion today is to proclaim the Testimony of Faith (Shahaadah)
After the testimony, one is expected to:
· Observe a ritual bath which is not different in any way from that which all Muslims take almost on a weekly basis if not daily basis. This ritual bath is referred to in Arabic as "al-Ghusl". It is also observed after sexual intercourse, after the end of both menstrual and post-natal bleeding periods, before going for the Friday (Jumu'at) prayers and when one has a wet dream or whenever there is an ejaculation or release of sperm from a man and vaginal discharge from a woman. So, it is a household practice, and should not be seen as strange or discriminating. In fact, it helps the new revert learn one very important and recurring factorial practice in the life of a Muslim, which actually depicts the level of cleanliness and purity in Islam. However, taking this bath is not a compulsory exercise upon reverts. It is desirable as a means of cleansing oneself from the previous way of life and going into a new life under total submission to the will of Allah.
· Seek for knowledge that will enhance his practicing the religion and being a good and upright Muslim. The Prophet of Allah was once asked by one of his companions to tell him what to do so that he can attain the Paradise, and he, (peace be upon him replied: "Say, 'I believe in Allah and remain upright (and steadfast)"
· Be eager to transmit this good (Islam) Allah bestowed upon you to others who are yet to get this light of Islam.
· Be eager to learn the Arabic language in order to have a first-hand understanding of the Qur'an and the teachings of the best of teachers, Muhammad (peace be upon him), which will in turn help you appreciate the religion better.
- Observe Salah, fast, Zakah, Hajj and other obligatory and supererogatory aspects of Islam.
These are just a few from among so many things that are expected to be done and carried out by the new Muslim to keep his faith ever-growing and to remain strong and steadfast in the religion. May the Almighty Allah strengthen our faith and make us better Muslims, and also join us among the group that will drink from the fountain of our noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the Garden of Firdaus on the day of Judgement. Ameen.