Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Does saying the Testification of Faith (shahadah) suffice for becoming a Muslim? I have heard that one needs to shave and cut his/her nails as well. Is this correct?
Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question.
For someone to become a Muslim, they simply have to say the Testification of Faith (the Shahada) and have belief in this statement.
It is not a condition of one’s faith that the testimony is said aloud or in front of witnesses. However, it is highly recommended that one does say the Testification aloud and in front of witnesses for many practical and legal reasons, such as burial and inheritance, Hajj and Umrah, marriage contracts etc., as well as just to avoid any doubt.
As for if a person believes in his heart but does not utter the Testification, or utters it to himself but no one ever knew that he is Muslim, or no one ever saw him pray or do anything that would suggest his Islam, then between the person and God, his belief is sound and he is counted as a believer, but in terms of legal affairs, people would have to go with the apparent.
It is not a condition to shave one’s head or cut one’s nail to become a Muslim. However, shaving the head is a sunna (recommended act), as is taking a ghusl, after one has become Muslim. [Bushra al Karim]
Please also: How Do I Enter Islam? I Want to Become Muslim.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.