How to become a Muslim
All praises be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad, His last Messenger
Dear reader on behalf of all the members of muslimconverts.com I welcome you to Islam. It always brings Muslims great joy when we hear of anyone wishing to convert to Islam. Muslims want to rush to tell their friends and family about this wonderful news. Muslims always love to hear how others converted to Islam. So for sure you will be greatly welcomed to Islam.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him welcomed even those people who had previously fought him and killed his loved ones. These people later on were to become the heroes of Islam. So no matter what your background and no matter what you may have done or said to Muslims or others in the past, you should rest assured that you will be welcomed with open arms.
Who can become a Muslim?
Some people are worried often worried if they will be allowed to become Muslim due to a variety of reasons. So before proceeding onto how to convert to Islam. I wish to reassure you that anyone can become a Muslim.
Islam is for the whole of humanity. Islam unites together people of different colours, languages, races. and nationalities into one brotherhood.
Allah says: "Indeed the Believers are but brothers." [Quran 4 9:10]
So you will be our brother or sisters in Islam when you convert to Islam
Any human being can embrace Islam. You do not need anyone’s permission to become Muslim. You can be any colour, race, age, speak any language and still become a Muslim. There are many American, British, European, Indian, children and Adults who accept Islam every day. On the www.muslimconverts.com site we have people who accepted Islam from all ages, all backgrounds and nationalities.
You may hear from some Muslims incorrect advice due to their lack of knowledge of Islam or due to lack of correct knowledge of Islam. So please note that:
You do not need to do a course or obtain a certificate to become a Muslim
Someone may say you have to do a course or obtain a certificate to be a Muslim. This is incorrect. You do not need to attend a course or obtain a certificate to become Muslim.
You should not delay in becoming a Muslim
If someone advices you to delay your conversion to Islam. This is also incorrect. If you believe Islam is the truth then you should not delay your conversion to Islam. You should convert immediately because we are given a certain lifespan. Since we do not know when we are going to die. Not even a minute should be lost as your time to leave this life may be up the next minute.
If you have tattoos you can still become a Muslim
Some one may say to you that you must remove all tattoos to be a Muslim. This is also incorrect. Tattoos are not allowed in Islam but they DO NOT prevent a person becoming Muslim. You should become Muslims and latter you can have the tattoos removed if you can afford it. If you can not afford it then do not worry there is no sin on you for what you did before becoming Muslim You are still a Muslim.
If you have a wild past of have committed a many of sins you can still become a Muslim
No matter what sins you have committed or how wild your past was. You can still become a Muslim.. Islam erases all sins committed prior to becoming a Muslim. Prophet (may the peace and blessings and mercy of Allaah be upon him) said, “Islam annuls what came before it.” (narrated by Muslim in his Sahih, no. 121).As soon as you become a Muslim all your previous sins are forgiven and you start a blank state. Or a complete clean record.
Muslim (121) narrated that ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When Allaah put Islam in my heart, I came to the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may swear allegiance to you.” He held out his hand and I withdrew my hand. He said, “What is the matter, O ‘Amr?” I said, “I want to stipulate a condition.” He said, “What do you want to stipulate?” I said, “That I will be forgiven.” He said, “Do you not know that Islam destroys that which came before it?”
Click here to read more about wild past...
If you are a Small child you can still become a Muslim without your parents permission
If you are a child you do not need your parent's permission to become a Muslim. If you fear they may harm, you can become Muslim in secret and tell them when you are ready.
What if their are no Muslims (or no Mosque or Islamic center) in your town
Another common question is that there are no Muslims in the city. This too is not an obstacle in you becoming a Muslim. You do not have to go to a Masjid (Mosque) or Islamic center or know any Muslims in order to be a Muslim. You can say the declaration of faith (called the shahadah) to yourself and from then onwards you are a Muslim. This is explained in the article below in greater detail.Click here to read more...
How to become a Muslim
To become a Muslim one must simply pronounce the Shahaadatayn (Declaration of Faith) with sincerity and conviction.
The shahadah is the dividing line between unbelief (kufr) and Islam. It is also called the kalimah (word). Whoever says it with truthfulness will enter the Gardens of Paradise
It is [a kalimah] that Allah Himself has testified to, as have the angels and those who possess knowledge from amongst His creation. Allah the Most High said:
"Allaah bears witness that none has the right to be worshiped except Him; as do the angels and those who possess knowledge. He maintains His creation upon justice. None has the right to be worshiped except Him, the All-Mighty, All-Wise."
[Soorah Aal-’Imraan 3:18]
It is a concise declaration that contains few letters; light upon the tongue, yet heavy in the scales.
An indication as to how weighty this kalimah is in the scales can be seen from what at-Tirmidhee reports and declares to be sound - as well as an-Nasaa’ee, and al-Haakim who said that it is authentic according to the criterion of Muslim - from Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, from the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam, who said: ‘A person from my ummah will be summoned in front of everyone on the Day of Resurrection. Ninety-nine scrolls will be unfurled for him, each scroll extending as far as the eye can see. Then it will be said: Do you deny any of this [i.e. your bad deeds]? So the man will reply: No, 0 Lord. Then it will be said: Do you have any excuse or any good deed? The man, in a state of terror, will answer: No. It will then be said: Rather, you do have some good deeds and no injustice will befall you this Day. So a parchment will be taken out for him, upon which there will be the testification of laa ilaaha illallaah and the testification that Muhammad is the Slave and Messenger of Allaah. The man will say: 0h Lord, what is this parchment in comparison to those scrolls! It will be said to him: No injustice shall befall you. The scrolls will then be placed in one of the scales and the parchment in the other; the scrolls will be light in weight, whereas the parchment will be heavy.”( Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.2641), from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr radhiyallahu anhu. It was declared to be saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaanee in as-Saheehah (no.135).
The Shahadah can be declared as follows:
“ASH-HADU ANLA ELAHA ILLA-ALLAH WA ASH-HADU ANNA MOHAMMADAN RASUL-ALLAH”.
The English translation is:
"I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger."
The first part of the Shahadah has two pillars: The first pillar is the pillar of negation
(nafee), whilst the second is the pillar of affirmation (ithbaat).
What is meant by negation is to negate divinity and worship (ilaahiyyah) for anything except Allaah, the Most High. What is
meant by affirmation is to affirm divinity and worship only for Allaah the Most Perfect; for it is He alone that is the true Deity.
So whatever else is taken by the unbelievers as deities to be worshiped are in fact all false and futile:
That is because Allaah is the true Deity to be worshiped, and whatever else they invoke besides Him is
[Soorah al-Hajj 22:62]
Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: The significance of laa ilaaha illallaah in affirming divinity and worship for only Allah is far greater than just saying that Allah is an ilaah. This is because the saying that Allah is an ilaah does not negate divinity and worship to other than Allah. This is different to the saying: laa ilaaha illallaah; which obligates restricting divinity and worship to only Allah.
All the messengers of Allah told their people none has the right to be worshiped except
Allah said: "We did not send any Messenger before you, except that We revealed to
him that none has the right to be worshiped except Me; so worship
[Soorah al-Anbiyaa 21:25]
Allah the Exalted also said: "He sends down the angels with the revelation of His commands to whosoever of His slaves that He wills, saying: Warn mankind that none has the right to be worshiped except Me. So fear Me [by keeping away from sin and disobedience]."
[Soorah an-Nahl 16:2]
It is a concise declaration that contains few letters; light upon the tongue, yet heavy in the scales. Allah’s Messenger Peace be upon him said: "Moses said: 0h my Lord! Teach me something by which I can remember You and supplicate to You. Allah said: 0h Moses! say laa ilaaha ilallaah. Moses said: 0h my Lord! All Your slaves say this. Allah said: 0h Moses! If the seven heavens and all that they contain, other than Me, and the seven earths were placed in one scale, and laa ilaaha ilallaah were put in the other, then laa ilaaha illallaah would outweigh them all." (Reported by Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh (no.2324) and al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (1/528).
Ibn ‘Uyaynah, (radhiyallahu anhu) said: "Allaah has not bestowed any favour upon His slaves greater than the favour of them realizing laa ilaaha ilallaah. Indeed laa ilaaha illallaah is to the people of Paradise, what cool water is to the people of this world." ( Related by Ibn Rajab in Kalimatul-Ikhlaas (p.53)
The second part of the "Shahada" i.e. "Wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh" means that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the servant and chosen messenger of Allah. No one should be in any doubt about this matter. In fact, the Muslim has to obey the commands of the Prophet (PBUH), to believe in what he has said, to follow his Teachings, to avoid what he has forbidden, and to worship A11ah alone according to the message revealed to him.
What is the meaning of worship? It simply means rendering sincere service; showing reverence for Allah. In a deeper shade of meaning, it implies total submission and complete obedience to Allah's Commandments both in utterances and actions, whether explicit or implicit and in private or public.
Worship falls into two categories:
1. Visible (manifest or outward) 2. Invisible (concealed or inward)
Visible worship includes acts such as uttering the two parts of the "shahada", performing prayers, giving Zakat (obligatory charity), observing the fast in the month of Ramadan, performing Hajj, recitation of the Holy Qur'an, supplication, adoring Allah by praising Him, purifying our bodies before prayers, etc.
This type of worship is associated with the movement of the parts of human body, [actions].
Invisible worship is to believe in Allah, in the Day of Judgment, in the Hereafter, in the Angels, in the Books of Allah, in the Divine Decree of destiny (that good and bad are determined by Allah alone)
This type of worship does not involve movements of parts of the body but it surely has a bearing on one's heart which, subsequently, affects one's way of life (beliefs).
It should be borne in mind that worship not dedicated to Allah alone, will be rejected as one form of polytheism or "shirk", which amounts to apostasy, from the Islamic point of view
You can declare the Shahadah to your self or in the presence of other Muslims or even go to the Mosque and declare it there.
MuslimConverts.com can even help you through the Shahadah Online as we have helped others. So if you wish for us to go through it with you step by step. Please do no not hesitate to leave us a message and we can arrange an online meeting at a mutually convenient time.
It is not a must for some one to declare the Shahadah in front of Muslim witness or even in the Mosque. A person does not need to do a course or obtain a certificate to become a Muslim.
However, it would not be sufficient for anyone to only utter this testimony orally either in private or in public; but rather, he should believe in it with a firm conviction and unshakeable faith. If one is truly sincere and complies with the teachings of Islam in all his life, he will find himself a new born person
Pronouncing the testimony of faith is sufficient to make one a convert to Islam. There are however, seven conditions that must be observed before it can effectively make one a Muslim. These are describe as follows:
1 Knowledge (Al-ilm)
Knowledge (al-’ilm) of its meaning, what it negates and
affirms. If a person says it without knowing its meaning, nor what its requirements are, then he will not benefit by it,
because he has not believed in what it requires. Rather, he is like someone who speaks in a language that he does not
2 Certainty (Al-Yaqeen)
The heart must be firmly certain of the meaning of shahadah without a blemish of doubt.
Allah the Exalted says:" Verily, the believers are only those who truly believe in Allah and His Messenger, and then doubt
not. (Qur'an 49:15).
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. No slave meets Allah with this testimony, having no doubt in it but shall enter Jannah."( Muslim) :
3 Sincerity (Al-Ikhlaas)
Exclusively worshipping Allaah, which is contrary to shirk. This is what laa ilaaha illallaah points towards.
Allah, the Exalted, said:" And they were not commanded but to worship Allah, being sincere in devoting religion to
Him." (Qur'an 98:5).
Abu Hurairah said:" I asked the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him: Messenger of Allah! Who will be most fortunate to enjoy your shafa'ah (intercession) on the Day of Resurrection? The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: I was certain that no one else would ask me about this other than you, because I have noticed your keenness for hadeeth. The most fortunate of men who will enjoy my shafa'ah on the Day of Resurrection is the one who says: (La Ilaha Illa Allah) "None has the right to be worshipped except Allah", sincerely from his heart.."(Musnad al-Imam Ahmad.)
4 Truthfulness (As-Sidq)
Truthfulness (as-sidq), which prevents hypocrisy (nifaaq). Indeed, the hypocrites uttered it with their tongues, but did not inwardly believe in what it signified.
The Messenger of Allah said: "Anyone testifies that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, truthfully from his heart, Allah would forbid his admittance to the Fire."(Muslim)
5 Love and affection (Al-Mahabbah )
Love (al-mahabbah) for this kalimah and having love and pleasure for whatever it necessitates. This is contrary to the [state of the] hypocrites.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "There are three (qualities), whoever possesses them, will taste the sweetness of Iman (belief): to love Allah and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love the Muslim only for the sake of Allah, and to dread returning to kufr (apostasy) as he dreads being thrown in fire." ( Bukhari and Muslim.)
Allah says to His Messenger (peace be upon hiim)
Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (3:31)
Allah says: "Allah shall bring forth a people whom He loves and they love
Him." (Qur'an 5:54)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said: "None of you shall (really) believe until I become dearer to him than his own father, and son and all mankind." ( Bukhari and Muslim.)
6 Submission (Al-Inqiyaad) internally and externally
Submissive compliance (al-inqiyaad), by fulfilling its rights - which are the obligatory actions - with sincerity to Allaah and seeking His good pleasure. This is its requirement.
Allah, the Exalted, says: "And he who submits himself to Allah, and does good, he has surely grasped a strong handle." ( Qur'an 31:22).
Allah also says:" And turn you to your Rabb, and submit yourselves to Him." (:Qur'an 39:54).
7 Acceptance and conformity (Al-Qubool )
Acceptance (al-qabool), which prevents rejection.
This is achieved by acting upon what Allaah has
whatever He has prohibited.
Abu Musa al-Ash'aree reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him said: "The parable of guidance and knowledge which Allah has sent me with is like a rain which fell on a land. A patch of that land received the water and produced much herbage and grass. And a patch which was barren. The latter retained water wherewith Allah extended benefits to men: they drank from it, irrigated and planted their vegetation. And a patch which was a sandy plain, it neither retained water nor produced herbage. This is parallel to the person who conceived the religion of Allah and benefited from the Message with which Allah has sent me, whereby he learnt and taught others. The other person turned away from it (from my Message), and rejected the guidance of Allah with which I am sent.." Bukhari and Muslim.)
Allah says "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad peace be upon him) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much."(33:21)
And Allah also says in Surah Al-Hashr
....And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it) , and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. (59:7)
Again Allah says:
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger ( peace be upon him), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.(4:59)
And Allah says:
But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad ) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.
In the next verse Allah again tells his Messenger
Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him)." But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbeliever's (3:32)
Islam unites together people of different colours, languages, races. and nationalities into one brotherhood.
Allah says: "Indeed the Believers are but brothers." [Quran 4 9:10]
Before Islam people in Arabia were dived into different tribes. Some of them were at constant war with each other, Islam came and Allah put peace and love in their hearts for each other.
Allah the Most High said: "And remember the favor of Allah upon you, for you were once enemies to one another but He joined your hearts together in love, so that by His Grace you became brothers." [Soorah Aal-’Imraan 3:103]
And Allah the Most High said: "He it is that has strengthened you with His help and with the Believers. And moreover, He has united their hearts with love and affection. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts with love and affection. However, Allah has united them. Indeed Allaah is the All-Mighty, All-Wise." [Soorah al-Anfaal 8:62- 63].
Allah has stated in the Holy Qur'an:
"... whoever disbelieves in false deities and believes in Allah, hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that will never break..." (2:256)
You should know, dear Muslim brother/sister , that Allah made it obligatory upon all His slaves to enter Islam and hold on to it, and warned them against following other than Islam. He also sent His Prophet Muhammad to call mankind to it. Allah has informed us in the Qur’aan that guided are those who follow the teachings of Islam, and misguided are those who reject them. He warned us in many Verses against the causes of apostasy and all forms of Shirk and disbelief Religious scholars have mentioned that there are a number of invalidators that are bound to take one out of the fold of Islam. For the sake of attaining salvation in the Hereafter, I have briefly cited in the following pages, with some explanation, the ten most critical of these invalidators so that you will avoid them and make others aware of them.
7. Magic in all its forms, including turning someone away from somebody that he or she loves, and making someone love someone or something he or she does not normally like. Whoever practices magic or approves of it is a disbeliever, as evidenced by the Qur’aanic Verse that says:
In all of these invalidators, there is no difference between one who does them jokingly, seriously, or in fear, except for one who is compelled against his will. All of these matters are most dangerous and most of them are occurring (amongst the Muslims). Therefore, it is necessary for the Muslim to beware of them and fear for himself concerning them. The fourth point mentioned above also includes those who believe that man-made laws are better than the Islamic Law, that the Islamic Law is not suitable to be implemented in the present century, that Islam is the reason behind Muslims' backwardness in some spheres of life, or that it is not applicable in other spheres of life apart from regulating one' s life with one's Lord. This point also includes those who believe that cutting off the thief's hand is a backward law that should not be implemented in the present-day society. It also includes those who believe that it is permissible to dispense with the Islamic Law in matters relating to the social life and the boundary limits for the lawful and the unlawful even if they do not believe that other laws are not better than the Islamic Law. For this means that they have made lawful what Allah had already made unlawful. Whoever makes lawful what Allah has declared unlawful, things that are known in religion by necessity such as adultery, drinking alcohol, usury and ruling with other than Allah's Law, is a disbeliever with the unanimous agreement of all Muslim scholars. We seek Allah's refuge from His painful chastisement as well as from those things that cause His wrath. Allah's Peace and Blessing be upon His Messenger, his pure family and noble Companions.
It is easy to become a Muslim. All a person has to do is declare
Shahadah can be declared as follows:
“ASH-HADU ANLA ELAHA ILLA-ALLAH WA ASH-HADU ANNA MOHAMMADAN RASUL-ALLAH”.
The English translation is:
"I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger."
We have to consider that when we declare from our hearts, "there is no god worthy to be worshipped but Allah." It implies on our part of love, devotion, faith and obedience to the rules of Islamic legislation which are legally binding on all Muslims. It is a requirement of "there is no god worthy to be worshipped but Allah," to love for the sake of Allah and to reject for the sake of Allah. This is the finest anchor of belief which make material the meaning of "AL-WALA" and "AL-BARA". It means that a Muslim should love and be loyal to his Muslim brothers. He should, as a practice, dissociate himself completely from the practices of unbelievers and refuse to be influenced by them, both in worldly and religious matters.
When one truly believes that Islam is the true religion of God and that "there is no god worthy to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger." Then he or she should declare the shahadah right away. He or she should not hesitate.
We are given a certain lifespan. We do not know when that life span will end. It may end this very minute even. Therefore a person should say the shahadah and then work on becoming the best Muslim he or she can be.
Some of you will find some aspects of Islam difficult at first. For instance some new Muslim sisters find it difficult to wear Hijab at first. However with time they have eventually grown in their faith and are now wearing the full Islamic dress and encouraging even sisters born into Muslim families to wear full Islamic dress. Some were vegetarian before they became Muslim. Eating meat seemed impossible to them. Now after a few years they have started to even eat meat. Please do not worry about any barriers you may have. become Muslims and you will see those barriers crashing down as you grow in your religion.
However one should recognize that Islam requires a complete submission to the will of God. What Allah has told us do we should try to do and what Allah has told us not to do. We should not do.
Now that you have said the Shahadah you are a Muslim.
Narrated by Abu Dawood (356) which says that the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive] (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded a kaafir man who had become Muslim, “Shave off the hair of kufr and get circumcised.” (Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood; see also al-Mughni, 1/276; Sharh al-‘Umdah by Shaykh al-Islam, 1/350)
Then take a shower and wear clean cloths . Then you should learn how to prayer and start praying if the time of prayer has arrived. Please look in the worship section of the website on how to prayer and for prayer times.
How to perform the Ghusl
|1||Intention inside ones heart not verbal.|
|3|| Wash the right hand up to and including
the wrists. Make sure to while rub and rub
between the fingers of the hand. And thus make sure no
part of the hand is left dry. Three times
Then do the same with the left hand. (also three times)
|4||Wash off the impurities (off the private parts)|
|5|| Wash the right hand up to and including the wrists.
Make sure to while rub and rub between the
fingers of the hand. And thus make sure no part of the hand is
left dry. Three times
Then do the same with the left hand. (also three times)
Make a cup with the right hand then from this hand take water into your mouth and swirl it inside the mouth and then expel out of mouth. then sniff remaining water from the cupped right hand and sniff water into the nose and then blow the water out and using the left hand remove the water from your nose. Do this three times
Some people rinse the mouth first three times and then rinse the nose three times
However the first method is the most authentic.
|7|| Wash the face three times,
from the hairline to the jawbone and chin, and from start of the
ear to start of the ear
A man should wash the hair of his beard by taking a handful of water and entering it below his chin and rubbing it through his beard and passing the wet fingers through the beard.
|8||Wash the right arm up to
and including the elbow. Three times.
The arm extends from the fingertips, including the nails, to the lower part of the upper arm. It is essential to remove anything stuck to the hands before washing them, such as dough, mud, paint, nail polish etc, that could prevent the water from reaching the skin.
Do the same with the LEFT ARM . Three times
|9||Pour water over the head Three times down to the roots of the hairs. rubbing the roots of the hair with the wet fingers|
|10||Pour water liberally over the entire body, beginning with the right side and then the left side and rubbing the body with hands. Ensuring that no part of the body is untouched by water|
|11||Move away from area were you did ghusl
and Wash the right feet up to and including the
ankles, three times,
You should enter the water between the toes with your little finger and then wash the feet (note not wipe feet but wash them) and make sure and make sure you wash the sole of the foot and the heals. Make sure no parts of the foot is left dry
Wash the left foot same as the right foot. Three times
|12|| Then say the following Duas for
Wudhu when outside the bathroom (if bathroom has a toilet inside
Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu.
( I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.)
Allaahumm aj’alni min al-tawwaabeena waj’alni min al-mutatahhireena
( O Allaah, make me one of those who repent and make me one of those who purify themselves)
Step 4. Live As a Muslim
You should try your best to live according to Islam. You cannot learn every thing at once. So try to do things in order. First is the prayers. learning how to prayer the five daily prayers. Then knowing the five pillars of Islam. learning how to dress as a Muslim and what to eat and what not to eat. This is explained in their respective sections on the website. If things seem hard at first do not worry. Things will seem so easy in say a years time.
A Muslim should not shake hands or hug a person of the opposite sex other than their mahrems. Mehrems are those people whom it is forbidden for you to marry. For a man it will be his mother, grandmother, sisters, daughters, mother and father's sisters (aunties) and nieces, For a women it will be her father, grandfather, brothers, sons, mother and fathers brothers (uncles) and nephews.
Cousins are not mahrem so you cannot shake hands or hug their cousin of the opposite sex.
Please also note that once one says the Shahadah, he or she starts
with a blank slate. No matter how bad the person sinned before embracing
Islam he or she is forgiven. So their is no need to worry
about past sins. You are sinless and pure. Now you can build start to
build your new record of deeds.