By Dr. Imad Benjelloun
Believing and uttering that there is no god except God, and that Muhammad is His messenger, is all it takes to become a Muslim.
What is meant by God, the One and only One, Creator and Sustainer of the all creation. “Say: ‘The truth is that God is the One and Only. God, the Besought of all, needing none. He neither begot, nor was begotten. And there is none like unto Him.’.” (Quran, Chapter 113)
Muhammad is God’s servant and last messenger. He is seal of all prophets and messengers. No other messenger shall come after him.
The next step to becoming a Muslim is to embark on a journey of learning and practicing your new faith, Islam, with the primary purpose of achieving nearness to God, His satisfaction, and His love.
Such journey is founded on the five pillars of Islam:
(1) uttering with certainty that there is no god except God, and that Muhammad is His messenger; this is called the shahada which shall be recited in Arabic as follows: ash hadu alla ilaaha illallah wa anna muhammadan rasulullah and it must be said with true intention
(2) praying the daily five obligatory ritual prayers
(3) giving to the poor and needy
(4) fasting the month of Ramadan; every day from sunrise to sunset
(5) performing pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime, only if able financially and physically
The best way to stay the course on your new journey is to pray to God, humbly and extensively, to guide you in finding His righteous people upon whom He has bestowed His grace. These righteous people will help you increase your faith and provide you with all the necessary support and strength in your lifetime journey to your Lord, the Most High.