Should a Convert Do His Shahada Publicly?

Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have uttered the shahada many times privately, but not in public. Do I need to take my shahada around other people? Would it be more legitimate if I gave the shahada in public?

My husband believes in the Oneness of God, and he accepts the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as God’s messenger, but he doesn’t consider himself a Muslim. Do you have recommendations for how to proceed?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.

Doing your shahada publicly is just so that the muslim community is aware you are Muslim, so that in the event of death that the community knows to bury you as a muslim woman. I have heard it is better to say the shahada publicly, (even with just a few people) but if it is causing you any kind of anxiety it is not strictly necessary.

Your husband sounds as though he is Muslim since he accepts the oneness of God and that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. Perhaps with time and more learning he will also come to accept Islam.

Do you have all of the resources you need to learn how to pray? We have a course that may help and perhaps your husband could listen to it as well: Introduction to Islam: What It Means to Be Muslim

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime insha Allah.

[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.

Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.