Ruling on changing one’s name and being circumcised after converting to Islaam

Question: Is it necessary for new reverts to Islaam to change their names? Should an adult convert be circumcised?

Answer: It is permissible for new Muslims to change their names if they carry wrong or bad meanings, as this is a sign of conversion to Islaam. If one asks the reason for a convert having changed their name, in most cases, their names before converting to Islaam were not suitable, thus they felt it necessary to change them to Islaamic names such as Saalih, Ahmad, `Abdullaah, `Abdul-Rahmaan, Muhammad, etc. Names which suggest slavery to other than Allaah such as `Abdul- Messiah, `Abdul-Zahraa, or `Abd-Moosaa must be changed to `Abdullaah, `Abdul-Rahmaan and the like, as servitude is to Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) Alone. Therefore, it is best to change names which express servitude to other than Allaah and which are familiar and used by the Kuffaar (disbelievers) to Islaamic names… read more here.

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Explaining the manner of entering the fold of Islaam

Question: Some people frequently say that Islaam is a condition for offering Salaah (Prayer) and performing Hajj, so can a person be a Muslim although they do not abide by other pillars of Islaam. Please, clarify this matter!

Answer: Anyone is a Muslim who pronounces Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith, i.e. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger), and believes in the Oneness of Allaah and the truthfulness of the His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). If a person offers Salaah, they are considered Muslims, otherwise they are Murtad (apostates). Likewise, anyone who denies that Salaah, Sawm (Fast) of Ramadan, Zakaah (obligatory charity), or Hajj for those able to perform it are obligatory or mocks Islaam or insults the Messenger (peace be upon him), is regarded as a Murtad. A person is considered a Muslim once they declare Shahaadah. If they become steadfast in adhering to the truth, they are Muslims. However, if they do something that nullifies Islaam such as cursing Islaam, belying the Messenger (peace be upon him), denying acts of worship which were prescribed by Allaah, or regarding something that Allaah has forbidden as permissible, such as Zinaa (adultery), they become a Murtad… read more here.

Considering anyone who practices Islaam to be a Muslim

Question: Is the person who practices any of the teachings of Islaam considered to be a Muslim? Does this depend on knowing their `Aqeedah (creed)?

Answer: Anyone who practices Islaam should be judged as a Muslim. For example, if a person declares Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith, i.e. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger) or prays in congregation, he is a Muslim. If it is proven otherwise, it is compulsory to advise and clarify matters for him. If he apostatizes from Islaam, his case should be referred to the authorities who must ask him to repent; if he repents, all well and good, otherwise he will be subject to capital punishment. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated: Whoever changes their Deen (religion) of Islaam must be executed. (Related by Al-Bukhaaree in his Saheeh (authentic) book of Hadeeth)read more here.

The articles of faith (Eemaan) in Islaam

Question: What are the conditions of Islaam?

Answer: There are two conditions of Islaam:

The first is sincerity to Allaah. When entering the fold of Islaam and performing any deed, a person should seek Allaah’s Pleasure. All acts of worship such as Salaah (Prayer), Sadaqah (voluntary charity), Sawm (Fast), Shahaadah (Testimony of Faith), etc should be done purely for the sake of Allaah; otherwise this is Riyaa’ (showing-off ) for which a person is considered a hypocrite. When a person pronounces Shahaadah (i.e. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger) it must be coupled with sincerity of intention. A person must acknowledge Allaah as the Only One Who is worthy of worship and acknowledge Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the true Messenger of Allaah and the seal of prophets. A person must offer Salaah, pay Sadaqah, recite Qur’aan, observe Sawm, perform Hajj, and other acts of worship purely for the sake of Allaah in order to be successful.

The second condition is that all of one’s actions must be in accordance with Sharee`ah (Islaamic law), not accordance with one’s whims or personal judgment. A person must offer Salaah, observe Sawm, pay Zakaah (obligatory charity), participate in Jihaad (striving in the Cause of Allaah), and perform Hajj in the manner prescribed by Allaah… read more here.