If a person truly believes there is no god but God, he or she should accept Islam immediately.
Islam is the religion of forgiveness; no matter how many sins a person may have committed, he or she never becomes unforgivable.
God is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful and the Quran stresses these attributes more than 70 times:
وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ يَغْفِرُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (QS:Ali Imran : 129).
The One Exception
There is however, one sin that God will not forgive and that is the sin of ascribing partners or associates to God. A Muslim believes that God is one, without partners, offspring, or associates. He is the only One worthy of worship:
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ Say: (Muhammad) He, Allah, is One, (QS:Al-Ikhlas :1), اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ Allah is He on Whom all depend, (QS:Al-Ikhlas :2), لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ He begets not, nor is He begotten. (QS:Al-Ikhlas :3), وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ And none is like Him. (QS:Al-Ikhlas :4),
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَىٰ إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin. (QS: An-Nissa :48)
It may seem strange to say that God is the Most Merciful, and stress that Islam is the religion of forgiveness while also saying that there is one unforgivable sin. This is not a strange or unreliable concept when you understand that this grave sin is only unforgivable if a person dies without repenting to God.
At any time, up until a sinful person draws his last breath he or she may turn sincerely to God and ask for forgiveness, knowing that God truly is the Most Merciful Oft Forgiving. Sincere repentance assures God’s forgiveness.
قُلْ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ يَنْتَهُوا يُغْفَرْ لَهُمْ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِنْ يَعُودُوا فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّتُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed. (QS: Al-Anfal : 38)
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:
“God will accept His slave’s repentance so long as the death rattle has not yet reached his throat.” ( H.R. At-Tirmidhi,18)
Prophet Muhammad also said:
“Islam destroys that which came before it (sins)” (H.R. Muslim)
Often when a person is contemplating accepting Islam they are confused by or even ashamed of the many sins they may have committed over their lifetime. Some people wonder how they can ever be good, moral people when in the shadows lurk their sins and crimes.
Accepting Islam and pronouncing the words known as the Shahadah or testimony of faith, (I testify ‘La ilah illa Allah, Muhammad Rasoolu Allah: I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God Alone and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God), wipes a person’s slate clean.
Accordingly, he or she becomes like a newborn baby, completely free from sin. It is a new beginning, where one’s past sins can no longer hold a person captive. There is no need to be haunted by past sins. Every new Muslim becomes unburdened and free to live a life based on the fundamental belief that God is one.
When a person is no longer held back by the fear that their past sins or lifestyle prevents them from leading a good life, the path to accepting Islam often becomes easier. Knowing that God can forgive anyone, of anything, is certainly a comforting prospect. Nevertheless, understanding the importance of not worshipping anything or anybody other than God is paramount because it is the basis of Islam.
Islam is a Gift
Allah did not create humankind except that they should worship Him alone:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me. (QS:Adz-Dzaariyat :56)
And knowing how to keep that worship pure and unadulterated is imperative. However, the details will often be learned after a person has recognized the sublime truth of the way of life that is Islam.
وَاتَّبِعُوا أَحْسَنَ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ
And follow the best that has been revealed to you from your Lord before there comes to you the punishment all of a sudden while you do not even perceive, (QS: Az-Zumar :55).
أَنْ تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يَا حَسْرَتَا عَلَىٰ مَا فَرَّطْتُ فِي جَنْبِ اللَّهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُ لَمِنَ السَّاخِرِينَ
Lest a soul should say: O woe to me! for what I fell short of my duty to Allah, and most surely I was of those who laughed to scorn,(QS: Az-Zumar :56).
Once a person has accepted the truth of Islam, thus accepting that there is no god but God alone, there is time for him to learn about his religion. There is time for him to understand the inspirational beauty and ease of Islam, and to learn about all the prophets and messengers of Islam including the last prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
If God should decree that a person’s life would end soon after accepting Islam it could be seen as a sign of the mercy of God; for a person as pure as a newborn baby would be destined for eternal paradise; by the mercy of God, and His infinite wisdom.
When a person is contemplating accepting Islam, many of the barriers that he or she perceives are nothing more than illusions and tricks from Satan. It is clear that once a person has been chosen by God, Satan will do his upmost to lead that person astray and bombard them with small whispers and doubts. The religion of Islam is a gift, and just like any other gift it must be accepted, and opened before the true worth of its contents can be revealed.
Islam is a way of life that makes eternal bliss in the hereafter an achievable dream. There is no god but God, the One, the Only, the First and the Last.
Knowing Him is the key to success and accepting Islam is the first step on a journey to the Hereafter. (T/Imt/RO6)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)