While all one needs to do to embrace islam is utter the shahada with sincerity – la ilaha il Allah, Muhammadur rasul Allah – there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah (swt), and Muhammad (saws) is His messenger – having a certificate can be helpful down the road.
If you don’t adopt a “muslim” name as your legal name, you may have problems when you apply for a visa to make hajj. Apparently, the Saudis aren’t aware that muslims can be named Jennifer :P
In that case, a certificate declaring your conversion, signed by 2 muslim witnesses, can be the difference between hajj and no hajj.
If your local masjid does not offer a certificate, draw one up yourself and have them sign it. It would probably also be ideal to have a translation of the certificate in Arabic as well.
InshaAllah I’ll be on the lookout for more certificates and post them as I find them. Here is what I’ve found thus far:
- From Sacred Caravan Umrah group
- From Al-Ehsan travel, which appears to be a template used by many hajj travel companies.
Alhamdulilah, while in Cairo in 2003, I had the opportunity to obtain a certificate of conversion from al Azhar University. Because it isn’t really convenient for everyone to just stop on by al Azhar to get one, I’ve written out the English text of my certificate here. The text that is underlined signifies where there was a blank on the form that was filled in with my information. My notes on the text are in italics.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Certificate of Embracing the Islamic Faith
Praise be to Allah; peace and blessings be upon His prophets and Messengers and upon the final prophet and Messenger Muhammad (P.B.UH) Al Azhar Administration hereby certifies that:
Miss. My Name
of American NATIONALITY, who had been previously an adherent to Christian, Protestant, has presented herself today 5/6/1424. A.H. (Corresponding to 13/8/2003 A.D.) expressing her desire to authenticate her embracing the Islamic Faith. (I made them write a note in here in arabic that I had converted some time earlier).
In view of the fact that the applicant has convinced us of her identity by presenting the appropriate documentary, we have discussed several points with her to make sure that sincerity is deeply rooted in her desire, we have further explained to her in general the principles and the essense of Islam, its pillars, the lawful and the unlawful in accordance with Islamic legislation (shari’ah)
She, henceforth, reiterated her acknowledgment of the Islamic Faith, saying:
أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger.
I also acknowledge that Moses, Jesus and all other Prophets are servants and Messengers of Allah. I renounce all religions other than Islam. Furthermore, I hereby and henceforth adhere to Islam as my Faith and Shari’ah.
Having realized that she has adopted Islam by her own free will, we have informed her of the rights and obligations of a Muslim. She has chosen a Muslim name as:
(I didn’t change my name, so I didn’t write anything in here)
This certificate has been issued to the above mentioned, in order to authenticate her adoption of Islam and her decision to act in conformity with its provisions.
May Allah, the Almighty, guide him permanently along the straight path. Verily Allah is the best Guide.
Declared by: (my signature)
Sheikul Azhar Al Sharief: (here I have Tantawi’s autograph, ha)