Converting to Islam has certain effects regarding the legal status of the convert in sharia. He is no longer a kafir, burial rites are to be read according to Islamic tradition, inheritance changes, some behaviors become criminalized for him (e.g. regarding apostasy, drinking alcohol, having extramarital sex), some contracts are broken (perhaps most importantly: marriage to a kafir).

One question that is relevant in this regard is "how recent was the conversion", and another may be "are converts permanently different from born Muslims, legally". The second question can probably easily be answered with "no": all Sahaba were converts after all, and once a ruling was established, they were expected to follow it as soon as they learned about it.

My knowledge of these matters is spotty however, so I'm interested in the following:

  • Which contracts does conversion to Islam break?
  • How can you identify the point in time at which a convert is expected to follow every ruling he learns about? I.e., how is the transition period from life as a kafir to life as a Muslim demarcated after conversion?
  • How does the legal position of a kafir who converts to Islam change under sharia, which rights does he/she acquire, and which does he/she lose? This will depend on gender, for example a female convert will need a wali.
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    @Medi1Saif Yes, I think it would be clearly off-topic otherwise.
    – G. Bach
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:03
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    :) I know! Unfortunately I have no clear answer except for a story saying that Imam abu Hanifa had a non-Muslim neighbor who wanted to convert but was addicted to alcohol, abu Hanifa convinced him by saying: Become a Muslim first and than we'll see. One day his neighbor came and made the shahada and asked and now what about alcohol? Abu Hanifa said now you are a Muslim, alcohol is prohibited, but if you drunk you'll be punished ... This on one side shows that once one converts on has to follow the rules, but on the other hand there's the issue that he knew about this special ruling!
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:12
  • Well to focus the question more: Is it ok to summarize it by saying: If a former non-Muslim converts in a Muslim country what benefits or disdavantages would he/she have in matters of legal contracts? Would you expect a list, single examples or a full list?
    – Medi1Saif
    Mar 6, 2017 at 9:55
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    @Medi1Saif That is a fair summary of what I'm looking for; an overview over important legal effects would be enough, doesn't have to be every last detail.
    – G. Bach
    Mar 12, 2017 at 1:13
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    Lol I might have found a book covering the other way around! But if honestly the topics and issues would be the same your question would end up as too broad!
    – Medi1Saif
    May 8, 2018 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


Assalamu Alaikum (may the peace and blessings of Almighty be upon you).

I will try to answer part of the Question here, that is the Conversion (actually reverting to Islam).

Being a Muslim starts well before you announce to others that you are Officially a Muslim. Allah says in the Quran,

Quran 2:62 Indeed, those who believed and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabeans [before Prophet Muhammad] - those [among them] who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteousness - will have their reward with their Lord, and no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.

This in itself says Believing that "There is no God but Allah" will make you a Muslim but it will be the beginning of the graduation process which goes on life long. Then you need to learn to read Quran, Prayer etc. It will definitely not going to happen in a day.

So You are a Muslim now if you believe this wholeheartedly. It is a treaty between you and your Lord(Allah) and Allah sees your Heart(intention) and not your paperwork.

As for as the second part is concern, I suppose it differs between countries(legal Matters).

Below is my own understand on my interaction with the Reverts.

How can you identify the point in time at which a convert is expected to follow every ruling he learns about?

It basically goes like this,

Know then Learn then follow.

It is when you know the about a particular ruling for some time and you no longer making effort to learn/follow the ruling.

I hope this clarifies some of your Questions.

  • This doesn't seem to answer the question.
    – UmH
    May 5, 2017 at 6:17

Once someone became Muslim, his or her rights and obligations are the same for both convert and born Muslims in Islam

According to the Prophet saying a person who embraces Islam he or she like newborn baby - all his sins will be forgiven, I sincerely hope that their past good deeds would be intake

Once a person has become Muslims they should seek knowledge it is Muslim community responsibility is to assist them with transition

Any practices and beliefs which Muslims have consensus everywhere and any era must accept it without any reservation or proof

Any practice and belief which Islamic community defers with valid reasons then you adopt them as per your preference

  • This answer does not address my question at all.
    – G. Bach
    Oct 8, 2017 at 10:23

Conversion to Islam is a personal decision. I think it's safe to say that Muslims of the era of the Quraysh would ideally try to follow all the laws set down by God in the Quran; there is no "transition timing" mentioned in the Quran, and I think that the moment you do accept that there is One creator, there are a few creeds that God may expect you to accept. As for the rights in a so called Islamic state (God never really asked/ advocated one). These states were created through expansion by political motives and the attractiveness of power, though the Quran, a specific guide on HOW to live your own life, was turned into constitution for land. Jizya is generally considered a substitution for the zakat paid by Muslims, and while Muslims were obliged to join the army of a state, non Muslims were not:

They ask you what should they give: say, "The good that you give should be to the parents, the close ones, the orphans, the needy and the homeless, and any good that you do, God is Knowledgeable thereof. (Quran 2:215)

[And] fight against those who - despite having been vouchsafed revelation [aforetime] -do not [truly] believe either in God or the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth [which God has enjoined upon them] till they [agree to] pay the exemption tax with a willing hand, after having been humbled [in war]. (Quran 9:29)

Note: Though some interpret this to be an order for violent jihad, it should be remembered that God is vehemently opposed to "aggression" and "transgression", (see Baqarah 190 and at Tawbah 36 and al Anfal 61) therefore it only refers to those who fight YOU. Some consider it as a reference to the supposed battle of Tabuk, but there is no historical evidence that the battle really ever occurred, emphasising on the weaknss of hadith.

Though an Islamic state may require a guardian for a woman, note that the Quran does not, and this is not a law that God has decreed. Other laws held for the time: adultery (which is done openly) was forbidden, apostasy was punished by death (not ordained by the Quran but adapted), and blasphemy laws were binding upon all civilians. Note: There is no proof for any punishment for blasphemy, and the only instance seems to be the execution of al Harith by Muhammad for insulting him, though this is considered a very weak narration (as almost all are).

The rights of non Muslims were usually trodden upon in future Islamic caliphates. Radicals like Ibn Qayyim gave a far too extremist and seemingly saristic interpretation, though it does not comply remotely with the Quran:

"Since the entire religion belongs to God, it aims at humiliating ungodliness and its followers, and insulting them. Imposing the Jizya on the followers of ungodliness and oppressing them is required by God's religion. The Qur'anic text hints at this meaning when it says: `until they give the tribute by force with humiliation.' (Qur'an 9:29). What contradicts this is leaving the infidels to enjoy their might and practice their religion as they wish so that they would have power and authority." (Ibn Qayyim)

This did form the basis for lives of non Muslims in a few caliphates. Al Tabari writes that in the reign of the second Rashidun Caliph, an army general wrote to Umar after conquering Zoroastrian land, about their sacred books at the city of Ctesiphon, and Umar said:

"If the books contradict the Qur'an, they are blasphemous. On the other hand, if they are in agreement, they are not needed, as for us Qur'an is sufficient."

This lead to the destruction of thousands of books, and burning down of libraries, and one has to think: Where on earth did Umar get this from? Not the Quran for sure. The Abbasids were generally kind to non Muslims, while the Umayyads, under al Hajjaj, forbade non Muslims from serving in the government, and burnt, once again, thousands of books of non Muslim literature. The Ottoman Empire - in its former stages - introduced the practice of Devsirme, in which Christian boys aged 8-18 were taken from their families, converted to Islam, and forced to serve the state. In contrast, Muslim rulers of Jerusalem - especially Saladin - were tolerant of all faiths and practiced tolerance. In India, Mahmud of Ghazni forcefully converted 10000 Hindus to Islam, while raiding one of Hinduism's most prominent temple, the Somnath temple. While the slave dynasties and the first five Mughal emperors generally adopted an equal view, Aurangzeb - controversially - has been said to destroy thousands of temples, given non Muslims the ultimatum of "Islam or death", and executed 780 Sikh Prisoners for their refusal to convert to Islam.

The Quran is absolutely clear, however, on the treatment of non Muslims in Muslim majority lands:

"Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Quran 60:8)

“Now if they incline toward peace, then incline to it, and place your trust in God, for God is the all-hearing, the all-knowing” (Quran 8:61)

And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. (Quran 5:48)

It should be noted, that (according to me, at least), the verses above present God's true message of peace, and indicate the importance of context of those verse which talk of the "idolaters" and the "disbelievers"; the two words almost always only refer to Quraysh, who persecuted the Muslims and tried to assassinate Muhammad. The beauty of Islam lies in recognition of diversity and the shunning of unnecessary violence. Why else would the God of humanity tell us:

And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers? (Quran 10:99)


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    Leaving apart the attacks and ad hominem, I still cannot see how this addresses the question. I strongly recommend that you refer to How to Answer in our help center as sectarianism is not welcome in this forum.
    – III-AK-III
    Feb 27, 2018 at 21:20
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    "according to me, at least" This is a fair summary of the post, which disqualifies it as a useful reference - and like III-AK-III, I don't see how it addresses my question.
    – G. Bach
    Feb 27, 2018 at 21:44
  • Well, your question doesn't really have an answer, does it? There IS NO transition period; yes, obviously ALL Muslims are to follow the Quranic guide to personal life; YES, non Muslims are restricted by an Islamic state. What else? Feb 27, 2018 at 21:52

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