Common Questions By Newly Reverts
1. Do one who choose to become a muslim need to change their name to Islamic name?
Firstly, we have to understand what Islamic name is. Islamic name is any name in any language that has a good meaning. If the name is not islamically acceptable, thus it can be used. The Prophet did not command everyone who accepted Islam to change their names. One has the choice to retain their name or to add an Arabic word in front of their name.
If one choose to change their name, one is not allowed to change their father’s name. This is the same even if their father’s name is islamiccally unacceptable. This is based on the command of Allah in the Quran:
“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allah.” (Al Ahzab 33:5)
Thus here the newly reverts have the following choice regarding their name:
a) Remain – remain their name with condition that it does not contain name that is bad in meaning.
Example: Ng Kuan Beng
b) Add – To add Arabic name in front of their current name
Example: Amin Ng Kuan Beng
c) Change name / Add their fathers name.
Example : Amin Ng Kuan Beng bin Ng Sing Yan
2. If one wants to become a muslim, is it necessary for them to say the Syahadah in front of people?
No, You do not have to say the Syahadah in front of people. What is more important is that:
a. You verbally say the Syahadah.
b. You understand the meaning of the Syahadah
c. You accepts the meaning of Syahadah from your heart and will try your best to live with it.
3. After I become a muslim, can I still live with my parents who are non muslim and eat their cooking?
Of course you can stay with your parents. Islam makes it compulsory for us to be kind and generous to our parents whether they are Muslim or not. Thus as a child to our parents, we must show them that we are a better person after we become muslim.
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as] ‘uff’ [i.e., an expression of irritation or disapproval] and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say: ‘My Lord! Have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.'” [Al Israa 17:23-24]
Regarding food, if you have informed your parents of your identity as a muslim, you can eat whatever they cook if it is halal. If you are still in the state of underground, thus try your best to avoid non-halal food.
4. Can I use the utensils that have been used by my non-muslim family to eat non-halal food?
Basically one can used the utensils that have been used to eat non-halal food as long as it has been cleaned. Method of cleaning the utensils according to Imam Nawawi from Mazhab Syafii is that one just needs to wash the utensils as normal washing using water. This is because there is no clear evidence to say that one need to wash the utensils using soil.
Moreover there are hadith that say one just needs to wash it.
Abû Tha`labah al-Khushanî said to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him): “We come from a land populated by the People of the Scripture. Can we eat from their dishes? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Do not eat from them unless you do not find anything else to eat from. In that case, wash them and eat from them.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Guidelines for newly revert
1. Importance in seeking knowledge.
a. Islam a religion which gives much emphasis to education. Seeking knowledge is made compulsory upon both male and female. The importance of knowledge is also being emphasis by Allah Himself when the first verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad pbuh is about the knowledge.
“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), (Al Alaq 96:1)
b. There is a big difference between a person who has knowledge and one who don’t have. As one who is new in this religion, we will need to learn in order for us to know the beauty of Islam. Through learning more about Islam it will strengthen our belief in Islam when we face obstacles and troubles in our life. In addition, we will only know about what are permissible and impermissible things in Islam when we learn.
c. What a newly convert must learn.
i. Islamic beliefs – This is the core of this religion and must be learn by every muslim. This part of religion is being emphasis during the period when Prophet Muhammad pbuh was in Mecca for duration about thirteen years. This part of religion is emphasis on the worship of Allah alone. During the first thirteen years of prophethood, only a few commandments were revealed by Allah.
ii. The knowledge of obligatory worship in Islam – In Islam, Allah has commanded believers to perform certain act of worship. There are some of these act of worship are compulsory such as Solah. In order for us to be able to perform it, we must first learn how to perform it. Thus it is compulsory for us to learn how to perform act of worship which is compulsory.
iii. Knowing what is permissible and what is not in act of worship and worldly matters. As muslim, we are encourage to do good deeds regardless of as act of worship or worldly matters. In order for us to know what is consider a good deed in act of worship / worldly matters, we first need to know about how to differentiate between act of worship and worldly matters. From there we will learn about the ruling on the conditions sets to determine what is permissible and what is not.
2. Always have good friends
a. One of the best way for us to remain strong and also to preserve our faith in Islam is through having good friends and be close to them. We are human and we cannot live alone. Thus it is important always to have friends around us.
b. A good friend is one who always reminds us of Allah and also bring us more closer to Allah. Whereas a bad friend is the one who encouraging you to do what is pleasing to Satan, that which misleads you, and leads you to the Hell-Fire. Thus we have to carefully choose who is our friends.
“A person is upon the religion of his close friend, so beware whom you befriend.” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]
c. A good explanation about the effect of having a good friend and bad friend is:
“The case of the good companion and the bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the blower of the bellows (iron-smith). As for the seller of musk, he will either give you some of the musk, or you will purchase some from him, or at least you will come away having experienced its good smell. Whereas the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing, or at least you will come away having experienced its repugnant smell.” [Bukhaari and Muslim]
3. Having good conduct of manners
a. It is very important for a muslim to maintain good manners at all times. As a newly revert, one have to learn the good manners that one should have towards parents, relatives, friends, and also community.
The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character. (Bukhari)
Rasulullah pbuh said: There is none heavier in the scales of the Hereafter than good character, (al-Tirmidhi and Abu Daud).
A Muslim is one whom other people are safe from his tongue and his hand. (Bukhari).
b. More importantly, by maintaining good manners at all times will be a good daawah towards our parents, relatives and friends who are non-muslim and this may change their perception towards Islam.
c. The best way of daawah at this initial stage of period for a newly revert is through having good manners towards their parents, siblings and relatives.