The appearance of a new Muslim.. Standards first
Notes on calling non-Muslims to Islam
Embracing Islam is one of the greatest blessings which Allah (may He be Exalted) granted a person. When a person embraces Islam, he/she will be a brother/sister for every Muslim.
He/she will have equal rights of Muslims and should fulfill the same dues as soon as pronouncing the two testimonies of faith; the matter is connected with his heart and tongue not his appearance, shape, or name.
A new Muslim rejoices at the great blessing of Allah (Islam) and that joy may be accompanied by an intensive desire in showing his joy to the people around him, whereas some may exaggerate or err against themselves and others or against Islam without intention, therefore it is important to remind the people of some matters, of which:
First, some new Muslims want to change their names or seek to do so. However, changing his/her name is not of the prerequisites of Islam unless if his/her name contradicts the Shari`ah. His eminence Sheikh `Abdul-`Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah be merciful with him) said: "There is no proof in the Shari`ah entails changing the name of those converted to Islam except if there is a necessity." "Majmu` Al Fatawa" (vol. 4, p. 153).
Second, changing his/her appearance may be necessary such as Sunan-ul-Fitrah (Islamic practices of personal hygiene), likewise in garments in terms of its kind, permissibility, and proprieties.
Some actions should take into account the gained benefit, perhaps it is better not to change anything because he/she may stop others from entering Islam by this change because some non-Muslims may refuse to embrace Islam because they do not want to change something they got used to.
This reason prevents many people from accepting the truth and embracing Islam, therefore rushing in change is not necessary, but should take into consideration the benefit gained according to conditions, persons, times, and places.
Western not Arabian
As for clothes, a new Muslim should pay attention to the Shari`ah standards in term of clothes and it is not permissible for them to change their clothes without a valid and good intention or an intention that may contradict their society by just embracing Islam because they may harm Islam by this, especially when they think that their action is one of the prerequisites of Islam or if they are in a non-Muslim society.
Murad Hoffman, one of the Germans who embraced Islam, said: "I thinks it is not conceived that the German who live in Europe in the twentieth century live as the Arabs of Hijaz used to live in the seventh century whether in their clothes, food, or others because by this, they will be stranger in their own home. Moreover, this approach turns Islam into a branch culture but to one of the religious folklore types which could in turn cause harm to Islam. "The way to Makkah" p. 174.
Circumcision and the benefit!
Third, of the things which relate to appearance is circumcision where this matter should not busy the mind of the caller when calling non-Muslims to Islam because circumcision may turn some non-Muslims away from Islam. Scholars said: "Callers to Allah should disregard talking about circumcision when calling non-Muslims to Islam if that may turn them away from embracing Islam." Fatwas of the Permanent Committee (vol. 5, p. 116).
Therefore, there is no harm for a caller to stop talking about circumcision if it is hard for him because the benefit gained from his Islam is greater than the benefit of circumcision.
Scholars said: If a person left circumcision after his old age there is no harm." Fatwas of the Permanent Committee (vol. 5, p. 117).
A caller should not rush things up because many of those who embraced Islam did not perform circumcision then were circumcised after they had been firm on Islam and applied its teachings and instructions.
Sincerity not appearance
Fourth, of the major issues in regard of appearance is to pay more attention to sincerity and intention.
A new Muslim should beware of fame and the love of appearance before people even if this matter contains a manifest hardship, where a new Muslim and a repentant have the desire to show the people around them that something great has happened in their lives.
A new Muslim does this sometimes to protect himself and to inform those around him that he became a Muslim so that they would treat him differently.
A repentant may do this to keep away the bad companions and to inform the righteous people about his repentance to support him.
However, he should recall that this is a kind of devotion to Allah (may He be Exalted) and correction of intention, moreover he should recall the danger of hypocrisy and its harm on a person in this world and in the Hereafter.
Asceticism or negligence?
Fifth, some new Muslims may neglect their appearance after embracing Islam, thinking that is part of asceticism and humbleness.
However, these were valid and correct objectives but they should consider the Shari`ah standards, especially when the behavior of a new Muslim has an effect on the call to Islam.
So, He either exhorts people to Islam or drives them away through his behavior and appearance after embracing Islam because the people around him judge Islam through him, whereas some of them deliberately wear mean clothes or do not comb their hairs which is not laudable but its doer may be blameworthy.
Imam Ibn Al Qayyim (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: Wearing mean clothes is blameworthy in one position and is laudable in other positions. So, it is blameworthy if it is done for fame and pride and is laudable if it is done in humbleness.
Likewise, wearing elegant clothes may be blameworthy in some positions and may be praised in other positions: It will be blameworthy if it is done out of pride and haughtiness and is praised if it is done out of beautification and showing the blessings of Allah.
Cleanliness of clothes and body is also important, so it is not permissible that some new Muslims neglect cleanliness because it is something exhorted to by Islam and one of the prerequisites of faith.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to keep to cleanliness, used not to leave Miswak (a tooth stick) or perfume, and undertake the conditions of himself at home and on the journey.
Good appearance is the first message which a new Muslim sends about Islam, so, a Muslim should preserve that and know that good appearance, cleanliness, and preserving Sunan-ul-Fitrah are parts from the instructions of prophets (peace be upon them), and a Muslim is rewarded by following and obeying these instructions.
تحمَّلتُ وحديَ مـا لا أُطيـقْ من الإغترابِ وهَـمِّ الطريـقْ
اللهم اني اسالك في هذه الساعة ان كانت جوليان في سرور فزدها في سرورها ومن نعيمك عليها . وان كانت جوليان في عذاب فنجها من عذابك وانت الغني الحميد برحمتك يا ارحم الراحمين
Allah knows best .
I think that in short , Islam doesn't force one to wear anything and it definitely doesn't say you should dress like the Arabians since over 1000 years . Still , there are general rules which must be followed such as covering the private areas as mentioned by Islam .
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