Guidance on giving shahadah to a non-muslim

اIn the name of Allāh, ar-Raḥmān (the Most Merciful), Ar-Raḥīm (The Bestower of Mercy).

It is a great virtue and blessing to be approached by a non-Muslim who is interested in Islām, a person should feel blessed that Allāh has chosen him/her to fulfil the blessed duty of conveying Islam and possibly enter a person into His religion – in essence opening the door to Paradise for that person by the guidance and permission of Allāh.

This blessing should be appreciated as there is much reward in it. If a person accepts Islām due to your guidance – after the guidance of Allāh – you will be rewarded for every act of worship they perform thereafter. This means every rak’ah they pray, every āyah they recite and every little they give in charity, for you is a share of reward from Allāh. The Prophet  said:

Whoever guides another person to a good deed, will have the reward of those who do it, without the reward of both people being decreased.
Whoever guides another person to a bad deed, he will suffer its heavy burden and the burden of those who practice it and without the burden of both people being decreased. [Sunnan Ibn Mājah]

However, this opportunity must be given its due right by a person who is able and qualified to do so, otherwise, wrong information or a lack of wisdom could distance the person from Islām.

What should you do before the Shahādah?

When a person shows interest in accepting Islām, it is assumed that they already have some knowledge about it. It is important to not delay them unnecessarily, as this may result in the individual becoming hesitant, unsure or even death coming to them before entering Islām. Nor should a person tell them to think about Islāmfurther and ‘come back when they are sure’ or delve into the finer details of ḥalāl and ḥarām. In most cases, they will have some questions they want answering before accepting Islām. The main concept they must understand is tawḥīd and shirk. Islām is a religion that recognises the One supreme creator, who must be singled out in every act of worship and no other being is entitled to any worship including Muḥammad, Jesus, any saint, or righteous person.

{O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous. [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allāh rivals [in worship] while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him]} [02:21]

After this, they must understand the risālah – that the  One creator communicates to His creation by sending prophets and has sent down divine revelation to guide humanity. The prophets such as Ibrāhīm, Mūsa, ‘Eesa (Jesus) and Muḥammad – may peace be upon them all – are not objects of worship, rather they are simply people who taught us about the creator and how to worship Him.

{…then Allâh sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent down the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed} [02:213]

The third important aspect of Islamic creed is belief in the hereafter. This worldly life is temporary, and after death each person will be accountable for their actions. The belief of a person in this life, along with their good actions or sins, will determine their final abode. Iman and good deeds will be rewarded; and sins and crimes will not go unanswered.

{As for those who had believed and done righteous deeds, they will be in a garden [of Paradise], delighted; while those who disbelieved, denied Our signs and the meeting of the Hereafter, such shall will be brought forth to the punishment} [30:15-16]

The word “God” can be used to refer to Allāh whilst giving Da’wah as it means supreme being. It is not however a name of Allāh. So Allāh is not invoked by the word “God” because we have been ordered to invoke Him by His names, and His names cannot be translated.

{…and to Allāh belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names} [07:180]

If there are other questions or misconceptions, a Dā’ee or Imām who possesses knowledge, wisdom and the correct ‘Aqīdah should be approached. In any case, the focus is on tawḥīd and risālah, and a person should not be distracted by discussing subsidiary issues such as ḥijāb, jihād, beard, marriage etc.

If the person is willing to accept these three core concepts of tawḥīd (the exclusive right of Allāh to all worship), risālah (prophethood and revelation) and ākhirah (hereafter), they are ready to enter into Islām by verbalising the shahādah.

What should you do during the shahādah?

The shahādah does not have to be said in the masjid, or in front of many witnesses, nor does a person have to be in a state of wudū, however, they must not be intoxicated. It can be done at any place and time. It is preferred however to be done in the masjid with a person of knowledge so the person will develop a relationship with the Masjid and can have any questions answered. If the person is under 16 years, it is good practice to request for a responsible adult to be present, ideally their guardian or family member.

It is important to show understanding and act accordingly, perhaps too many people will overwhelm them, conversely, a group of people may add to a positive environment; the overriding factor is to be sensitive to the person wanting to accept Islām.

It is important to explain each step of becoming a muslim to the person before they do it; do not assume he/she understands what the shahādah is. So you explain to them that in order to accept Islām they must verbalise what they already believe in the heart, and that is by saying a phrase in both Arabic and English, which they will repeat after you. This should be broken down in to smaller sets of words to make it easy.

Begin by saying:


“ash-hadu” and the individual will repeat after you.

أَن لا


إلا الله
“illa Allāh”


لا شَرِيكَ
“lā sharīka”


“wa ash-hadu”

أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا
“anna muḥammadan”


“wa rasūluhū”

If some of the words are uttered incorrectly, there is no problem in repeating those words.

*If the person wanting to accept Islām was a believing Christian who used to worship ‘Eesa (Jesus), after the second shahādah, they can be taught to add to the above:


“wa ash-hadu”

أَنَّ عِيسَى

“anna ‘eesa”

عَبدُ اللهِ



“wa rasūluhu”

وكَلِمَتُهُ أَلقَاهَا

“wa kalimatuhū alqāha”

إِلَى مَريَمَ

“ilā maryam”

ورُوحٌ مِنهُ

“wa rūḥun minhu.”

After the Arabic, the new Muslim is taught to repeat the meaning of what they said:

Begin by saying “I bear witness” and the individual will repeat after you.

“there is no deity/god”

“worthy of worship”

“except Allāh”

“He is alone and has no partners.”

“I bear witness”

“Muḥammad is”

“the worshipper of Allāh”

“and His messenger.”

* And if the person was a Christian, they repeat:

“…And I bear witness that ‘Eesa (Jesus) was a worshipper of Allāh, His Messenger, His word which He inspired to Maryam (Mary) and a soul from Him which He created…”

A new Muslim is informed that by uttering this testimony they have affirmed what they already believed in their heart, and they are now a Muslim and a brother or sister to us.

In most cases, this is an emotional step for any person and can be overwhelming, so it is important to offer words of encouragement, and celebration and make sincere supplication for them in a language that they understand.

In the future, the new Muslim may require a certificate for official documents, for traveling, for marriage etc… so again the presence of a masjid representative is a good step to take.

What should you do after the shahādah?

Entering into Islām by verbalising the shahādah is the easiest step in being a Muslim, the more difficult phase of the journey is what follows. After the emotional step of taking the shahādah and being in the company of several Muslims, the new Muslim will ultimately return home alone, and this can indeed be a lonely experience. Therefore, exchanging contact details. building a relationship and friendship, inviting them to our homes, gatherings, lessons, and dinners, and integrating them into the community is very important. It is crucial they are offered continuous support and build relationships with other Muslims with whom they can feel comfortable discussing issues relating to their private matters. Special consideration should be made at times such as Eid, Ramadān, Christmas, Easter, Diwali, etc when they would normally be with their family.

It is good practice for a ‘support worker’ or ‘new Muslim mentor’ to be designated from the Muslim community to be the first point of contact for Islamic matters. To avoid confusion and mixed messages, guidance on such matters should be coordinated and the individual should seek advice from an Imām or student of knowledge.

There should be no segregation between “reverts” and “ethnic Muslims”, in fact, such terms do not exist. There is only a Muslim. Many “ethnic Muslims” themselves are “reverts” if we consider the instances of shirk, kufr, and abandonment of Ṣalāh which they were upon. So every Muslim is obligated with the same matters, and is in need of the same knowledge. Of course a ‘new Muslim’ is in need of special care and attention during the first months, other than this they are a Muslim like any other with no segregation.

What do you need to teach them first?

The steps taken in teaching are in accordance with the teachings of your Prophet . When he sent Mu’ādh Ibn Jabal to the Jews and Christians to invite them to Islām, he said:

Verily you are going to a people who are the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians). So inform them that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh and that Muḥammad is the messenger of Allāh. If they accept this from you, inform them that Allāh has obligated ṣalāh, which is prayed 5 times during the day and night. If they accept this from you, inform them that Allah has obligated zakāh upon them, it is taken from the rich and distributed amongst the poor… [Al-Bukhārī]

The above ḥadīth sequences the obligations:

  1. Shahādatayn – tawḥīd and risālah as mentioned previously.
  2. Ṣalāh – the five daily prayers.
  3. Zakāh – the obligatory charity.

And then after this, the other pillars of Islām and aspects of Aqeedah will be learned by attending lessons, reading books etc… However, issues pertaining to ṣalāh, and before it wudū and tahārah (purification) are learned through the ‘new Muslim mentor’ and/or Imām. Initially, a new Muslim can pray ṣalāh by merely imitating the actions of the congregation and is taught to repeat “Allāhu-akbar” to start Ṣalāh, and then say “alhamdulillah”, “subḥānaAllāh” and “Lā Ilāha illa Allāh” throughout ṣalāh. Then Sūrah al-Fātiḥah should be taught, and eventually the other statements of ṣalāh.

It is important to allow the new muslim to learn at their own pace and this requires patience from both the mentor and the new muslim; more so when the Qur’ān is being taught beginning with the alphabet.

Books, apps and the masjid

The most effective form of Da’wah and teaching is in attending lessons held in the local masjid. Friday sermons, conferences. and being able to asks question to an  Imām or a student of knowledge – in person or via email; and other informal gatherings with righteous Muslims, are all excellent opportunities to learn. Importantly, the masjid should be the central focus of a muslim’s life and the base of Islamic learning, so a new Muslim should be regularly reminded and invited to attend.

In certain situations, such as work commitments or distance, a person may not be able to attend the masjid regularly. In such instances, books, websites, and apps can be helpful. Advise new Muslims with such avenues however ensure that they are authentic, and do not contain any form of “ghuluww” (extremism or exaggeration).

May Allāh guide us all to His straight path; may peace, blessing and salutations be upon our beloved Prophet.

Written by the one in need of Allāh,
Abul Abbaas Naveed Ayaaz
Nelson, Lancashire

19 Jumādah al-Awwal 1439 AH
Corresponding to 4th February 2018.

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire and is the Imam of Masijd Sunnah.

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السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Under وأشهد it is written that you say wa ash-hadū, meaning that you extend the د. But I thought that you don’t extend the د and that it would be wa ash-hadu and not wa ash-hadoo. I’ve never extended it before so would my prayers be valid when reciting the tashahhud?

Wow. I am a revert of approximately 12 years. But far from knowing much. Just still perfecting my pillars, my ex co worker a Christian and I used to discuss Islām and her interest, she is now ready to take shahada right this minute but scared. She has no one to talk about it except me but I am in another country even another continent living now. I just send her this article and she said she is going in the break room now to take her Shahada. Alone. But I think that’s ok from what I’m reading. I want to say thank you to the author of this article. It is very clearly written. May Allah grant u blessings for the forementioned co worker. Inshallah

May Allah reward you, and make both of you firm upon Islam.

Please do let us know if your friend requires any help or guidance – questions, literature, a sister to talk to, or a local masjid upon the Sunnah. We will try to help where possible.

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