I accepted Islam in 1995 after about 6 years of gathering information myself. I wanted in my heart to be Muslim. I arrived at the masjid one Friday for jumah, but I was early. Two other brothers were there and they asked me if I had taken shahadah. I said yes because I had professed the faith to myself, although I had not recited it publicly in front of two witnesses. They then helped me with wudu and we talked about Islam before the khutbah. I remember this as one of the best days of my life.
Since then, some say that because the shahadah was not public, it was not valid. What is your opinion? Should I take shahadah again publicly after all this time?
The main reason for the requirement of announcing Shahada is to publicise (among the Muslim community around you) the fact that you have become Muslim. From what you have written it is clear that Muslims around you already know of your conversion. It is therefore (purely from Shari’ah point of view), unnecessary for you to take Shahada again. You have become Muslim and not saying the Shahada at the time of becoming Muslim does not invalidate this.
However, from social point of view, being accepted by the Muslim community as a Muslim is very important. As I said, this is in fact the main reason for announcing the Shahada. As such, so far as we are not required to do something that goes against our belief and religious values, I see no harm in accepting the advice of your Muslim community (if this is the advice of the majority of them or at least the influential figures among them) and to pronounce the Shahada publicly. However, if you are going to do this, I recommend that you also make it clear (when pronouncing Shahada again) that you have been a Muslim since long ago and only upon the request of some brothers and sisters, who were keen to hearing you saying the Shahada in public, that you are doing this again.
March 22, 2006