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Do I have to change my name?
If I become a Muslim, will I have to change my name to an Arabic or Muslim name?
Answer – no, there is usually no requirement to change your name when you become Muslim. Only where your name could be seen as offensive in Islam are you strongly advised to change your name – otherwise it is up to each person what they want to do.
If you do want to change your name, then this is okay but you should think carefully about the new name you are going to adopt. Take your time in choosing a name.
It can be seen as very disrespectful to your parents if you change your family name or the name they carefully chose for you. So think carefully about what you do and try not to alienate your family – perhaps have some kind of combination of names, keeping some of your original name and adding an “Islamic” name.
Some people may tell you that you have to take a “Muslim name” when you convert to Islam but they are mistaken in their understanding. If someone tries to give you a Muslim name, politely tell them that there is no need for you to change your name. Or say to them that you will change your name but that you have not decided on the right name yet.
Will I have to learn Arabic?
You will have to learn how to recite a few verses in the Qur’an in Arabic and also a small number of phrases used in the formal Islamic prayer. This will take time and you may have to pray in your own language until you can learn how to pray in Arabic.
It is also good to learn a few common greetings and expressions in Arabic – these will come in useful when speaking to other Muslims.
For example, you greet someone by saying “Assalamu alaikum” to them. This means “Peace be upon you”. You should return the greeting of “Assalamu alaikum” by saying “Walaikum assalam”. This means “And peace be upon you also”.
How should I tell my family and friends I am becoming a Muslim?
This can be a big worry for people who are thinking about becoming a Muslim. You wonder how people will react to your news of entering Islam.
There is no need to make a big announcement and let the whole world know that you are now a Muslim.
One thing to be very careful of is social media. It’s perhaps not the best way to announce a such a big change in your life. Anything posted there will quickly become known to all who know you. It might be better to sit down with those closest to you and let them know personally that you have made this decision rather than have them find out by reading a social media post.
You also don’t have to tell everyone at once. You can perhaps tell one or two people who are closest to you and then, as you grow in confidence and faith, gradually let other people know.
Remember that it is not necessary to make an announcement to the whole world about your decision. It is nothing to do with those who don’t know you.
If you make a public declaration of your shahadah in a mosque or Islamic centre, be aware that someone might wish to film it and post it on-line. They are pleased that you have come to Islam and want to share this good news but it might be best if you control how and when you let people know about you becoming a Muslim. So you can ask that the shahadah is not filmed or that the news of you becoming Muslim is not made public.
Your decision to accept Islam will be accepted by the vast majority of people without any comment. Unfortunately, a few people might react badly. This can be due to misconceptions about the religion of Islam or because they are anti-religion and don’t like the idea of you “finding God”. Sometimes people have a streak of racism or intolerance hidden in their character and your decision may cause these feelings to surface.
Someone I know is becoming interested in Islam and I am concerned about them. What is going on?
If someone is contemplating Islam then there can be a lot going on in their head as they question their morals, standards, prejudices and experiences. They might seem pre-occupied or introverted and cut-off from you. They might not have the same time for you as before.
This is not intentional. Please, do not worry.
It’s just that they are so involved with working things out internally that they don’t realise that they have become remote. A bit selfish.
Give them some space. Give them some time. You will soon have them back.
Sometimes it’s hard for your friend to tell you what exactly is going on in their lives. This is because they don’t know either, they are still trying to work things out for themselves. They are not being evasive.
Once they resolve some of the questions bouncing around in their heads then they will be able to be open with you and explain things.
You might not understand or agree but, hopefully, you will come to respect their position.
It’s good to be worried. It shows you care.
Look at your friend’s behaviour. Can you see anything bad going on?
Has their behaviour and attitude not, in fact, improved. Are they not more … thoughtful … considerate … polite … at peace … content … less angry?
If you can see these attributes, these changes for the better, then surely nothing bad is happening.
I’ve recently become a Muslim and people are telling me that I have to get married!
Marriage is strongly encouraged in Islam and it is seen as a great help to you in your life of faith if you have a partner with whom you can share your life with.
However, you should never rush in to a marriage when you first convert to Islam.
There are so many new things that you are trying to get used to, living as a new Muslim, and it takes a bit of time before you have managed to learn and implement the basics. It might be best if you establish the practice of Islam in your life before you move on to seeking a spouse – or accepting a proposal from someone.
Some people recommend that you should wait a year or two before you seriously consider marriage – and some people are keen to get married sooner.
The main point is to never allow anyone to pressure you in any way to get married.
One of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, is that it is better for you to get married sooner if the attraction of sex in your life is liable to lead you in to trouble/sin. Starting married life will help you to channel your desires in a way that is good for you.