Faith

When I first heard about Muslims and saw them I thought it was all culture

The women and men wore clothes that covered their hair because it was so hot in their countries, as protection for them. When I saw the women at the beach full dressed up I thought to my self that it was a pity for them to believe in something that restricts themselves from enjoying life, like bathing. I also knew about the black stone, but much more than that I didn't know. I did not know ANYTHING about their faith. I thought that they like everybody else, had a God, like the Buddhists, Hindus etc. I never thought they believed in the Messengers like Jesus or Moses. That was the religion for the Jews and the Christians. 

Islam is about faith in Allah, obeying him, adoring Him alone and acting upon his commands. 

Until now, the faith of a convert and a Muslim is still accepted by Allah and everybody still has the chance to convert to islam, because there has not been established three things: 

"On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be please with him) that the MEssenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: When three things over step, faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from his faith: The rising of the sun from the setting, the Antichrist, and the beast of the earth."

You also must have faith, because without faith, you will not have any of your good deeds counted for you (as a Christian, Jew, buddhist, Atheist, Agnostics, Hindu, Taoist etc):

"A'isha (may allah be please with her) reported: I said: O' Messenger of Allah, the son of Jundub established ties of relationship, and fed the poor. Would that be of any avail to him? He said: It would be of no avail to him as he did not ever say: My Lord, pardon my sins on the Day of Resurrection. 

So what is the faith you must have?

The faith lies in the knowledge of the person. The more you know, the more you understand, and the more faith you have, which in his turn gives better characters, morals, looks and so on. 

"On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be please with him) that the Messenger of allah (may the blessiing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Faith has seventy branches. The best of it is the saying that there is no God but Allah. The bumlest o it is the removal of what is injurious from the path. also modesty is a branch of faith."

Faith is also about conduct!

"On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be please with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Alah be upon him) observed: HE will not enter PAradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct." i.e. You must not harm the neighbours.

The faith has a big impact on its conduct and the conduct and behavor of a man (and a woman) is a reflection of his faith: 

"Abu Huraira (may Allah be please with him) reported that the MEssenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: The fornicator does not fornicate as long as he is a believer. a thief does not steal as long as he is a believer. He does not drink wine who is a believer. Abu Huraira (may allah be please with him) added: No plunderer who plunders a valuable thing that attracts the attention of people is a believerr as long as he commits this act."

And there are Plenty of hypocrites around the world today. Here are some characteristics of a hypocrite. 

"On the authority of 'Abdullah ben 'Amr (may Allah be please with him) that the holy Prophet (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Four characteristics has something of hypocrisy, till he abandons it: When he talks he lies, when he makes a covenant he acts treacherously, and when he makes a quarrels he deviates from the truth."

Sometimes you say that it is the thought that counts. 

This is true in the face of Allah: Allah counts every intention you have. If it is a good intention and you do not do it, you will have one reward and if it is a bad intention and you don't do it, then nothing will be written, with the Grace and Mercy of Allah for his people. 

"On the authority of Ibn 'Abbas (may allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) transmitted it from Allah the Blessed and Great: Verily Allah (the Exalted) records the good and the evil and makes it clear that he who intedns good and do not do it, Allah (the Exalted) records one complete good in his favour, but if he intends it and do it, the Glorious and Greath Allah records ten to seven hundred virtues and even more to his credit. But if he intends evil, but does not commit it, Allah (the Exalted) writes down full one good in his favour. if he intends that and also commits it, Allah (the Exalted) makes an entry of one evil against him. 

If you want to efface all previous misdeeds (as a Muslim) you have options (Emigration and Pilgrimage/Hajj) :

On the authority of Ibn Shamusa Mahr who said: We went to 'Amr ben Al-As and he was on the brick of death. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall. His son said: Did the Messenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) announce the good tidings of this? He (the narrator) said: He turned his face (towards the audience) and said: The best thing which we can count upon is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah. Verily I have passed through three phases. The first on on which I found myself an avers to none else more than I was averse to the MEssenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) and there was no other desire stornger in me than that I should overpower him and kill him. had I died in this state, I would have been definitely one of the denizens of Fire. When Allah installed the love of Islam in my heartt, I came to the Apostle (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) and said: Strech out your right hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you. He stretched out his right hand. I withdrew my hand. The Holy Prophet (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: What has happened to you O 'Amr? I replied: I intend to lay down some sondition. He asked: What condition do you intend to put forward? I said: I should be granted pardon. The Holy prophet (may the blessiing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Are you aware that Islam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)? Verily migration wipes out all the (misdeeds). Verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the (previous) misdeeds. And then no one was moree dear to me than the Messenger of Allah (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) and none was more sublime in my eyes than him. Never could I pluck courage to catch a full glimpse of his face due to its splendour. So if I am asked to describe his features, I cannot do that for I have not eyed him fully. Had I died in this state I had every reason to hope that I would have been among the dwellers of Paradise. Then we were responsible for certian things (in the light of which) I am unable to know what is in store for me. When I die, let no female mourner nor fire accompany me. When you bury me, fill my grave well with earth, then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may enjoy your company to ascertain what answer I can give to the messengers (angels) of Allah.  

But faith is nothing if it is not accompanied with actions: 

You have to think about the five pillar: Prayer, Zakah, hajj, Fasting. You must also purify your house, your clothes, your heart and mind. You must think about how you get money (not stealing, taking interest, wine-selling etc) and how you spend the money (not on alcohol, forbidden foods, gambling, etc). You must share your money with the people around you that are poor, orphans, eldery, your family and people in need. You must struggle with your Character and personality so that you are better and better for every year. You must garde your family and be kind to them and to your neighbours, and you must correct yourself over and over again and think about what you are watching. You must not watch women or naked men and avoid those places, you must smile, you must not get angry etc. 

Islam is so much more than this. You will find Qur'an very interesting when you start complement it with hadiths. 

If you have a pure heart, you will understand the goodness of islam!

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