Know that upon entering the folds of Islam, Allah has effaced all your previous sins and evil deeds. The Prophet said:
“Do you not know that Islam effaces all that is done before it?” (Muslim #121)
Rather, the evil deeds you committed before you entered Islam are changed into good deeds by the Bounty of Allah. Allah says:
"And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. * The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace. * Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (25:68-70)
Listen to this good news from Allah. Those who embrace this religion from the People of the Book will be given double reward, due to their belief in their Messenger and their belief in Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says:
"Those to whom We gave the Scripture [i.e. the Tawraah and the Injeel, etc.] before it, - they believe in it (the Qur`an). And when it is recited to them, they say: ‘We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims (like ‘Abdullah bin Salaam and Salmaan Al-Faarisi, etc.).These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided them." (28:52-54)
The Prophet said:
“Whoever accepts Islam from the people of the two Books (the Jews and Christians) they will have a double reward. They will receive the rights we enjoy, and they must give the rights we give. And whoever accepts Islam from the pagans [other than them] will have their reward, and they will receive the rights we enjoy, and they must give the rights we give.” (Ahmad #22288)
Your records are white and clean, so be careful not to taint it by doing any sins.
Now that you know the truth, set aside a part of your time to learn your religion. The Messenger of Allah said:
“If Allah desires good for a person, He gives him understanding of the religion.” (Bukhari #71 & Muslim #1037)
Seek the knowledge of ‘Aqeedah (Creed) and then study everything else you need in your daily life about your religion, such as Tahaarah, Salah, and the rest. You should also study the rulings of trade and the rulings pertaining to your source of livelihood, so that you do not unintentionally fall into things which are impermissible. Also, try your best to memorize the Book of Allah.
You should understand your religion from its proper and trusted sources, the Book of Allah and the authentic Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him).
Your example should be Muhammad (peace be upon him) learn his biography so that you can emulate him. Try your best to be in the company of the scholars and students of knowledge who practice what they preach.
Be advised that not everyone who claims to be a Muslim is a true Muslim. Therefore, you should be careful who you seek knowledge from. Whatever you read or hear should be scrutinized in light of the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (The Sunnah should be understood in light of the understanding of the Pious Predecessors). The Prophet said:
“I advise you with the taqwaa of Allah, hearing and obeying even to an Ethiopian slave with amputated limbs (if he be your leader). For indeed whoever lives long amongst you will see many differences. So adhere to my Sunnah, and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Hold tight and cling on to it with your molar teeth. And beware of innovated matters [in religion], for indeed every innovated matter is an Bid'ah, and every Bid'ah is misguidance.” ( Abu Dawood #4607, Tirmidhi #2676 & ibn Majaah #42)
Whatever is in accordance with his Sunnah take it, and whatever opposes it, leave it. The Prophet said:
“The Jews split into seventy-one sects, one is in Jannah and seventy are in the Hellfire. The Christians split into seventy-two sects, seventy-one are in the Hellfire and one is in Jannah. By Allah, my Ummah (nation) will be split into seventy-three sects, one will be in Jannah and seventy-two will be in Hellfire.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He answered, “The Jamaa‘ah .” (Abu Dawood #4596 & ibn Maajah #3993)
Al-Wala and Al-Bara. You must love and stand with the believers, and hate the disbelievers and take them as enemies. But to hate them does not mean to oppress and transgress against them or usurp their rights. You should not hate them merely for their selves, but rather due to their disbelief and misguidance. This should encourage you to do your utmost to help save them from the Hellfire. Do not prefer disbelievers over Muslims, and do not help them against Muslims. Allah says:
"The believers, men and women, are Awliyaa´ (helpers, supporters, friends, allies, protectors) of one another." (9:71)
Know that whoever accepts Islam would face opposition, disagreement and harm, especially from those closest to them. You should keep this in mind and know that if you are oppressed in any way, this would elevate your rank, purify your sins, and would serve as a test through which Allah is trying you to see the extent of your truthfulness and steadfastness on your religion. Allah says:
"Do people think that they will say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. We indeed tested those who were before them. * And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test." (29:2-3)
Also, the Prophet was asked:
“Which people are the most tested?” He replied, “The Prophets, then the righteous, then those after them, and then those after them. Every person is tried according to the strength of his religion, if his religion is strong, he is tested more, and if his religion is weak, his trial is lessened. A person continues to be tested and tried until he walks on the earth totally free of sin (for they would be effaced due to the trials).” (Tirmidhi #2398 & ibn Majaah #4023 )
Know that they will try to raise doubts in your mind about Islam and constantly mention these doubts to you. Ask the People of Knowledge, so that you may find a proper reply to these doubts, from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Calling to the religion of Allah (Da'wah) and his authentic Sunnah. You must be knowledgeable to what you call people to. In this manner, the doubts that the enemies of Islam bring about can be easily answered. Give Da'wah as Allah says:
"Invite (mankind, O Muhammad «peace be upon him») to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in the best way. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided." (16:125)
Save others from the Hellfire, just as Allah saved you from it, and start with those closest to you. Be mindful of the words of the Prophet:
“Allah did not send me to make things hard...rather as a teacher and to make things easy.” (Muslim #1478)
Know that there is much good and great Bounty from Allah in helping a person to become Muslim, The Messenger of Allah said to ‘Ali («may god exalt their mention»):
“If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.” (Bukhari #2783 & Muslim #2406)
You will receive the same reward as all those who have been guided through you, without their reward being decreased in the least. The Prophet said:
“Whoever calls to guidance, he will receive an additional reward equal to those who follow him, without their rewards being reduced in the least. Whoever calls to misguidance, he will receive the sin of those who follow him, without their punishment being reduced in the least.” (Muslim #2674)
Know that conveying this religion to non-Muslims and calling them to it is a duty upon every Muslim, so do not fall short in doing this duty. The Messenger of Allah said:
“Convey to others (the religion), even if it be one verse.” (Tirmidhi #2669)
You should make people love the religion of Allah. The Prophet said:
“Give glad tidings, and do not cause people to flee from the religion; make things easy for people and don’t make things hard.” (Bukhari #69 & Muslim#1732)
Know that in calling others to Islam, you are not responsible for the results, for your calling is restricted to merely clarifying and showing people the way to the truth. Allah says:
"And verily, you (O Muhammad «peace be upon him») are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism). The Path of Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Verily, all the matters at the end go to Allah (for decision)." (42:52-53)
As for the guidance by which one actually practices Islam, this is from Allah alone. Allah says:
"Verily! You (O Muhammad «peace be upon him») guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided." (28:56)
Try to choose righteous companions who encourage and help you to do good, warn and prevent you from doing evil, and will be a support for you in your life. The Prophet said:
“The example of a righteous and evil companion is like one who carries perfume and another who is a blacksmith. As for the one who carries perfume, either he will give you some perfume, or you might buy it, or [at least] you will find a pleasing scent with him. As for the blacksmith, either he (the blacksmith) will burn his clothes, or he will find a hideous odor from him.” (Bukhari #1995 & Muslim #2628)
Be careful not to go to extremes in the religion. There is neither monasticism nor fanaticism in the religion. Allah says:
"Allah intends for you ease and He does not want to make things difficult for you." (2:185)
Anas bin Maalik («may god exalt their mention») said:
Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking about the worship of the Prophet. When they were informed, they thought it was too little and said, “Who are we in comparison to the Prophet for indeed Allah has forgiven him his past and future sins.” One of them said, “As for me, I will pray the whole night long.” Another said, “I will fast every day without breaking it,” and yet another said, “I will stay away from women and never marry.” The Messenger of Allah came [and when he heard of this, he] said, “Are you the people who said such and such? As for me, By Allah, indeed I am the most god-fearing and most cautious amongst you, but I fast and I eat, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. Whoever desires other than my Sunnah (Way), then he is not from me.” (Bukhari #4776)
On the other hand, there should be no compromising or improper lenience in the religion of Allah. The Prophet said:
“Leave me to what I have ordered you. Indeed those before you were destroyed due to their [persistent] questioning, and opposing their Prophets. If I forbid you from something, abstain from it, and if I command you with something, do of it as much as possible.”
(Bukhari #6858 & Muslim#1337)
You will see many Muslims who do not fulfill their obligations and do not refrain from the prohibitions of the religion. They do not fulfill their obligations towards the Da’wah. People differ in this; such that some fulfill their obligations in a more complete way than others. In any case, the reason one does not fulfill these obligations is due to the fact that Shaitan is trying his utmost to misguide the Children of Adam. Allah, the Exalted, says:
"[Iblees (Satan)] said: ‘By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all." (32:82)
Shaitan has promised to exert all his efforts to mislead the Children of Adam. Allah, the Exalted, says:
"And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam’, and they prostrated, except Iblees (Satan), he refused to be of those who prostrate. (Allah) said: ‘What prevented you (O Iblees) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you?’ Iblees said: ‘I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.’ (Allah) said: ‘(O Iblees) get down from this (Jannah), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.’ (Iblees) said: ‘Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).’ (Allah) said: ‘You are of those allowed respite.’ (Iblees) said: ‘Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).’ (Allah) said (to Iblees) ‘Get out from this (Jannah) disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all." (32:82)
Do not be discouraged from fulfilling your duty in the field of Da’wah to the religion of Allah; let this be an incentive to yourself to strive in spreading the religion of Allah.
Practice Islamic conduct in your daily life; such as helping someone who is in need whether you know him or not, and smiling in the face of your brother. The Prophet said:
“Smiling in the face of your brother is a charity, enjoining good and prohibiting evil is a charity, showing someone the way when he is lost is a charity, helping the weak-sighted is a charity, removing a rock, a thorn, or bones from the path is a charity, and pouring water from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is a charity. (Tirmidhi #1956)
Your clothes and all your things should be clean. A Muslim must always be clean, for his religion is the religion of cleanliness. Allah says:
"O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying." (7:31)
You should try to do as many good deeds as possible, such as giving charity, performing supererogatory prayers and other acts of worship.
When one performs these deeds [mentioned above] they are giving indirect Da’wah to the Muslims who are heedless of their religion. They are also giving Da’wah to the non-Muslims; since they would become curious and ask about Islam when they see its beautiful aspects.
Treat your relatives well, and do not sever your relationship with them even if they oppose your acceptance of Islam. You should have better relations with your relatives, in order to bring them closer to Islam. They would also know that after you became a Muslim, your manners improved and you became a better person. Asmaa´ («may god exalt their mention») said:
“My mother, who was a pagan during the life of the Messenger of Allah, came to visit me, so I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘My mother has come to visit me…should I keep ties with my mother?’ He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Yes, keep your ties of relation with your mother.’ ” (Bukhari #2477 & Muslim #1003)
Know that the struggle between good and evil will last till the Last Day. The weakness of the Muslims and the strength of the disbelievers, the minority of Muslims and the majority of the disbelievers, the backwardness of the Muslims and the advancement of the disbelievers, the humility of the Muslims and the might of the disbelievers are not evidences indicating the falseness of Islam. It is a definite result of their distance from implementing the legislation of their Lord and their abandoning righteous deeds and calling to the path of Allah.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab («may god exalt their mention»), the second Khaleefah (Caliph) said:
“We are a people who Allah honored and gave might through Islam. If we seek honor in something else, Allah would humiliate us. The truth should be followed, for indeed Allah created Jannah and Hell, and He has promised that each one will be filled.”
Know my brother that we are in the last of times (the Last Day is near) and that each year that passes, we come closer to the end of the world and the establishing of the Final Hour. The Prophet said:
‘I myself and the Hour have been raised like these two,’ and he joined his index and middle fingers.” (Bukhari #4652 & Muslim #867)
The Prophet foretold the state of Islam [and Muslims] in this time. He (peace be upon him) said:
“Islam started as a strange thing and it shall once again return to this state. So may glad tidings be to the strangers.” (Muslim #145)
Having many followers is not a proof of the correctness of a methodology. The Prophet said:
“Glad tidings to the strangers! Glad tidings to the strangers! Glad tidings to the strangers!” Someone asked, “Who are the strangers O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Righteous people amongst many evil ones. Those who disobey them are more than those who obey.”(Ahmad #7072)
He also clarified the state in which the Muslim who holds on to his religion will be, and the various hardships he will face [in practicing his religion] whether physical or psychological. The Prophet said:
“Enjoin the good and forbid the evil, but when you see that greed is obeyed, desires followed, the life of this world playing its affect on people, and that people are pleased with their own opinions, stick to yourselves and leave commanding the general public with good, for indeed there will be days after you, having patience in them is like grasping a hot coal. One who does righteous deeds in them will receive the reward of fifty people doing the same deed.” ( Saheeh ibn Hibbaan)
The Prophet informed us that when the Day of Resurrection draws near, the religion would diminish. No person who says “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah” will remain on the face of Earth. Only the most evil of creation will remain, and upon them will the Final Hour be established.
Nawwaas ibn Sam‘aan narrated the Hadeeth of the Prophet in which he describes the story of the Dajjaal (Pseudo-Christ) the descending of ‘Eesaa ibn Maryam, and the coming of Ya'jooj wa Ma'jooj (Gog and Magog) saying:
“… then Allah will send a good and pure wind which will take them underneath their armpits. It will take the soul of every Mu´min and Muslim, and only the most evil of people will remain. They will engage in sex in public in front of people like donkeys, and upon them the Hour will strike.” (Muslim #2937)
Know that all affairs are judged by the way they end, so be keen to always ask Allah that He keeps you steadfast upon Islam, and that He causes you to die with a good end. Make sure your speech and deeds are purely for Allah’s sake, that they are done according to what He legislated, and that you spend your time in Allah’s (peace be upon him) obedience. Take account of yourself, before you are taken to account, and let Allah see you doing what He commanded not what He forbade.
May Allah keep us steadfast on His religion, and cause us to die as Muslims.