La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah
(None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)
Shahada has three aspects: A, B, and C
A. To be a Muslim is to pledge the above covenant with Allah, the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Ruler of all that exists, the Lord of Majesty and Highness, stating La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad -ur-Rasool-Allah, but first one must understand what this means.
Believing “La ilaha il Allah” (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)
Point 1: Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya
A confession with your heart that the Creator (of everything) is Allah, subhana watala, it is that you have to say: “I testify that the Creator of all the universe, including the stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the heavens, the earth with all its known and unknown forms of life, is Allah. He is the Organizer and Planner of all its affairs. It is He Who gives life and death, and He (i.e. Allah Alone) is the Sustainer, and the Giver of Security, etc.” And this is called your confession for the “Oneness of the Lordship of Allah,” Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya.
Point 2: Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya
A confession with your heart that you have to say: “I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone.” The word “Worship” (i.e. Ibadah) carries a great number of meanings in the Arabic language: It conveys that all kinds of worship are meant for Allah (and none else, whether it be an angel, Messenger, Prophet Jesus – son of Mary, Ezra, Muhammad, saint, idol, the sun, the moon and all other kinds of false deities). So pray to none but Allah, invoke none but Allah, ask for help from none (unseen) but Allah, swear by none but Allah, offer an animal as sacrifice to none but Allah, …etc. and that means, — all that Allah and Allah’s Messenger, saws, order you to do (in Qur’an and in As-Sunnah [legal ways of Prophet Muhammad (saws) you must do, and all that Allah, swt, Allah’s Messenger (saws) forbid you, you must not do. And this is called (your confession for the) “Oneness of the worship of Allah”, Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya. And that you (mankind) worship none but Allah, subhana watala. Those whom they invoke besides Allah have not created anything, but are themselves created. [The Noble Qur’an 16:20]
Point 3: Tauhid-al-Asma was-Sifat
A confession with your heart that you have to say: “O Allah! I testify that all the best of names and the most perfect qualities with which You have named or qualified Yourself in Your Book (i.e. the Qur’an) or as Your Prophet Muhammad (saws) has named or qualified You, with his statement, I confirm that all those (names and qualifications) are for You without changing their meanings or neglecting them completely or giving resemblance to others.” As Allah, swt, said:
“There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (v.42:11)
This holy Ayat (verse) confirms the quality of hearing and the quality of sight for Allah, subhana watala without resemblance to others, and likewise. Allah, subhana watala, also said:
“To one whom I have created with Both My Hands,” (v.38:75)
and Allah also said:
“The Hand of Allah is over their hands.” (v. 48:10)
This confirms two Hands for Allah, swt, but there is no similarity for them. Similarly Allah, swt, said:
“The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne.” (v.20:5)
So Allah rose over the Throne really in a manner that suits His Majesty. And Allah is over Allah’s Throne over the seventh heaven, as the slave-girl pointed towards the heavens, when Allah’s Messenger (Muhammad, saws) asked her as to where Allah is? He only comes down over the first (nearest) heaven to us on the day of ‘Arafat (Hajj, i.e. the 9th of Dhul-Hijja), and also during the last third part of the night as mentioned by the Prophet saws, but Allah is with us by His Knowledge only, not by His Personal-Self (bi-Dhatihi). It is not like that, as some people say that Allah is present everywhere here, there, and even inside the breasts of men. He sees and hears all that we do or utter, etc. And this is called (your confession for the) “Oneness of the Names and Qualities of Allah” Tauhid-al-Asma was-Sifat and this is the right Faith, the Faith which was followed by the Messengers of Allah (from Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus to Muhammad, peace be upon them all, and the companions of Prophet Muhammad (saws) and the righteous followers [i.e. the salaf ] of these Messengers, saws.
Believing “Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah” (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)”
A confession with your heart that you have to say: “O Allah! I testify that Muhammad is Your Messenger.” That means that none has the right to be followed after Allah, but Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, as he is the last of Allah’s Messengers. As Allah said:
“Muhammad (saws) is not the father of any man among you but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets and Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything.’ (v.33:40).
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad, saws, gives you, take it
and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from it.” (v. 59:7)
And Allah said:
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you (really) love Allah, then follow me.’” (v. 3:31)
As for others than Muhammad (saws), their statements are to be taken or rejected as to whether these are in accordance with Allah’s Book (i.e. the Qur’an) or with the Sunnah (legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) of the Prophet, saws, i.e. Sunnah or not. As the Divine Inspiration has stopped after the death of Muhammad (saws), and it will not resume except at the time of the Descent of Jesus, son of Mary and he (i.e. Jesus) will rule with justice according to the Islamic laws, during the last days of the world as it has been mentioned in the authentic Hadith (i.e. narration) of Prophet Muhammad (saws) in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, Hadith No. 425.
B. It is essential to utter, La ilaha ill Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad saws, is the Messenger of Allah, swt). As it has come in the statement of Prophet Muhammad (saws) to his uncle Abu Talib at the time of the latter’s death: “O uncle, if you utter it (La ilaha ill Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool Allah), then I shall be able to argue on your behalf before Allah, on the Day of Resurrection.” Similarly, when Abu Dhar Al-Ghiffari embraced Islam, he went to Al-Masjid-al-Haram and he proclaimed it loudly in front of the Quraish infidels until he was beaten severely.
C.It is essential that the limbs and all other parts and organs of one’s body testify to it, and this is very important as regards its meaning (i.e. the meaning of La ilaha ill Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool Allah). So whoever has confessed this (with his or her Lord), he shall not commit sins like robbing, killing, stealing, illegal sexual intercourse, eating pig meat, drinking alcoholic beverages, taking undue advantage of orphan’s property, cheating in trade, bribery and earning money through illegal means, telling lies, back-biting etc., or otherwise the limbs, all other parts and organs of his body will testify against him that he was a liar in his words which he pledged to Allah, swt. In case he commits the above sins, he should know that it is a sin that obliges him to repent to Allah, swt, and ask Allah’s Forgiveness, as (his) body parts (i.e. skin, private parts, hands, tongue, ears, etc.) will testify to the above mentioned crimes (i.e. actions) against his self on the Day of Resurrection.
And with the confession of this great sentence (i.e. principle) a person enters in the fold of (i.e. embraces) the Islamic religion accordingly. It is essential for him to believe in all the Messengers of Allah (peace be upon them all) and not to differentiate between them. As it is mentioned in Allah’s Book (Qur’an):
“Do then those who disbelieve think that they can take My slaves (i.e. the angels; Allah’s Messengers; Jesus, son of Mary, etc.) as ‘Auliya (lords gods, protectors supporters etc.) besides Me? Verily We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism). Say (O Muhammad (saws)); ‘Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds?’ Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought they were acquiring good by their deeds?”
“They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord and the meeting with Him (in the Hereafter). So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight.”
“That shall be their recompense, Hell; because they disbelieved and took my Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) and My Messengers by way of jest and mockery.”
“Verily! Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, they shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaus (Paradise) for their entertainment.”
“Wherein they shall dwell (forever). No desire will they have to be removed there from.”
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely the sea would be exhausted, before the Words of my Lord would be finished even if We brought (another sea) like it for its said.”
“Say (O Muhammad ): I am only a man like you, it has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God, –i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (v. 18:102-110).
What are some of the other basics of becoming a Muslim?
The acceptance of the righteous deeds (such as your Shahada/confession to become a Muslim) is stipulated with the following two basic conditions which must be fulfilled:
The intentions while doing such deeds must be totally for Allah’s sake only without any show off or gaining praise or fame, etc.
Such a deed must be performed in accordance with the As-Sunnah (legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) of Allah’s Messenger Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah, the last (end) of all the Prophets and the Messengers, saws.
You are only held accountable for that which you know. And you are also held accountable to make the time to learn that which you don’t know, in areas you know you need to learn about.
So, if you are not a Muslim, it is your responsibility to seek the knowledge of Al-Islam, to ask questions about things you do not understand or agree with regarding the basic fundamental beliefs of Islam (as explained above).
How do I become a Muslim?
By first attaining the above understanding of Shahada (“La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah”) and then confessing it to Allah, glory and praise to Him.
To take your Shahada (i.e. make the confession of faith), just make your best attempt at pronouncing, in Arabic, the statement, “Ashadu an (I bear witness that) La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah”. You do not have to have witnesses to this event, and you should not make a big ceremony out of it, because it is a very personal commitment. It is, however, recommended, if you can, to make your Shahada with Muslim witnesses, but do not delay becoming a Muslim for this or any such reason. After you become a Muslim, then you are held responsible for learning when and how to do salah and wudu, acting upon the pillars of Islam and faith, and for implementing what you learn, when you learn it.
What should I do after becoming a Muslim?
Immediately upon becoming a Muslim, you should take a bath or shower (i.e. Ghusl).
If able, you should then offer a two Rak’at prayer.
Then you must study and act upon the five principles (pillars) of Islam, and study and believe in the six articles of Faith.
The Five Pillars of Islam (or the five basic duties of a Muslim):
[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/7, Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar]
Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: Islam is based on the following five (principles):
To testify La ilaha ill Allah wa anna Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger).
To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salat, i.e. Salah).
Says al-Khattabi, “Basically, one’s prayer does not suffice if he does not recite al-Fatihah. If one can recite neither al-Fatihah nor other portions of the Qur’an, he should recite at least seven verses of a similar meaning from the Qur’an. If he can not learn any part of the Qur’an (due to some innate inability, poor memory, or because it’s a foreign language), he should say the tasbeeh (Subhana Allah – Glory be to Allah), the tamheed (al-Hamdu lillah – All praise is due to Allah), and tahleel (La ilaha illal-lah – There is no God except Allah). It is related that he said, “The best remembrance after the speech of Allah is Subhana Allah, al-Hamdu lillah, La ilaha illal-lah and Allahu akbar.” This is supported by Rafa’ah ibn Rafa’, who narrated that the Prophet said, “If you have something from the Qur’an, recite it. If not, then say the tamheed, takbir and the tahleel and then bow.” [This Hadith is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i and al-Baihaqi. The former considers it as hassan]
To pay Zakat (a specific charity paid yearly for the benefit of poor Muslims; 2.5% of wealth).
To perform Hajj. (i.e. pilgrimage to Makka).
To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
The Six articles of Faith, (found in Sahih Muslim) are the belief in:
To believe in the ONENESS of Allah, swt. (i.e. Tauhid-ar-Rububiyya, Tauhid-al-Uluhiyya, Tauhid-al-Asma was-Sifat).
Part of the belief in Allah is the belief in all that with which He has described Himself in His Book or with which His Prophet (peace be upon him) has described Him without any distortion, negation, speculation (as to the exact nature of these attributes), nor analogy (i.e. between Allah’s attributes and those of His creation bearing the same names)
The Jahmiy (follower of the deviations of Al-Jahm ibn Safwan) negates Allah’s statement about himself that he “sat on the throne” by adding an extra letter to the word in the Qur’an.
[Istawaa ‘alaa al-‘arsh] innovated to [Istawlaa ‘alaa al-‘arsh]
The innovators who changed the case of a noun in the Qur’an in an effort to negate Allah’s attribute of speech:
[Wa kallama Allahu Musa takleeman] innovated to [Wa kallama Allaha Musa takleeman]
Others distorted meanings of Allah’s attributes without actually changing the words. Examples include those who said that Allah’s anger (Ghadhab) means His intention to punish, His mercy (Rahma) means his intention to have mercy, His hand (Yad) is His generosity or His power, etc.
Negation/Denial (At Ta’teel)
Negation of the Exalted Perfection of Allah Most High via the negation of His Names and Glorious Attributes.
Negation through negation of appropriate interaction with Allah and neglect of worship of Him and obedience to Him, or the association of others with Him in acts of worship and/or obedience.
Negation of the relationship of the creation to its Creator, such as the negation of the philosophers who claimed that this physical universe has no beginning, and that it has always and will always work according to its own internal rules. They turn Allah into an essence with no attributes – which is an impossibility.
Speculation and Analogy (At-Takyeef wa At-Tamtheel)
At-Takyeef means attempts to ascribe a detailed understanding of the exact nature of the various attributes with which Allah has described Himself. Just use the words and understanding given in the Qur’an and not your own philosophies as to what Allah is.
At-Tamtheel means to make a direct comparison or analogy between one of Allah’s attributes and a human attribute having the same name, such as the comparison of Isa (Jesus) by the Christians to Allah Most High, or that of Uzair by the Jews or that of the idols by the polytheists to Allah Most High. Likewise the Mushabbiha among the Muslims who compare Allah with His creation by saying that He has a face like our faces, hands like our hands, hearing and sight like ours, etc.
Angels are real beings, not illusions, a metaphysical force, or figments of human imagination. They are created from light.
A Muslim must believe specifically in all the angels named and/or described in the Qur’an and the Sunnah:.
Jibreel (“Gabriel”): in charge of delivering revelation.
Mika’il: in charge of bringing the rain.
Israfil: the blower of the horn on Qiyama (Judgement Day).
Malik-ul-Maut: the Angel of Death who takes people’s souls at death.
The Noble Recorders: those who record people’s actions.
The Protectors (Al-Mu’aqqibat): who keep people from death until its decreed time.
Ridhwan: in charge of Paradise.
Malik: in charge of Hell.
Munkar and Nakir: the questioners in the grave.
The Carriers of the Throne.
Those who record the future of the fetus.
Those who enter the Haraam: 70,000 every day.
Those who move about, descending upon gatherings at which Allah and His Book are mentioned and studied.
Belief in the angels is an integral part of iman (faith). [See 2/285 Al-Baqarah]
Kufr (disbelief) with respect to the angels is kufr (a state of disbelief). [See 4/136 An-Nisaa]
Belief in the prophets, prayers and salutations of Allah be upon them.
Belief in the process of prophet hood.
Allah in His wisdom did not neglect His creation.
Prophets sent to guide us in this life and the next.
Specific belief in the 25 prophets named in the Qur’an: (1) Adam, (2) Nuh, (3) Idris, (4) Saleh, (5) Ibrahim, (6) Hud, (7) Lut, (8) Yunus, (9) Isma’il, (10) Is-haq, (11) Ya’qub, (12) Yusuf, (13) Ayub, (14) Shu’aib, (15) Musa, (16) Harun, (17) Alyas’, (18) Dhu Al-Kifl, (19) Daud, (20) Zakariya, (21) Sulaiman, (22) Ilyas, (23) Yahya, (24) Isa, and (25) Muhammad, prayers and salutations of Allah be upon him and upon all the messengers of Allah.
General belief that there are many other prophets and messengers, but never assuming anything without knowledge from Allah (i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah).
The subject matter of the prophet hood.
Warnings and glad tidings.
So the disobedient will have no excuse before Allah. (Prophets sent to every nation.)
Enjoining the worship of Allah and the avoidance of At-Taghoot (Shaitaan, etc.) [Study: 4/165, An-Nisaa; 16/36, An-Nahl]
Attributes of the Prophet Muhammad:
Seal of the prophets; Imam of the pious; Foremost among the sons of Adam; Imam and Khatib of the prophets when they assembled; Possessor of the Praiseworthy Position which all of mankind will wish they had attained (and which is mentioned in the Du’a of hearing the adhan); Owner of the pool in paradise; Intercessor for all mankind on the day of Qiyama (Judgment Day).
Allah sent him with the best of the books and the best of His law. Allah made his nation “the best nation brought forth for mankind.” Allah gave him (and us) all of the good that was given only partially to the previous nations. His nation is the last in creation, the first in resurrection.
From the moment of his prophet hood, Allah made him the criterion (Al-Farooq) for distinguishing Allah’s allies and their actions from His enemies and their actions: None can have any relationship to Allah except through belief in the Prophet (saws) and following what he brought in public and in secret. Whoever claims love or closeness to Allah while disobeying the message is actually drawing closer to Shaitaan, farther from Allah.
Allah’s revealed Books
Muslims should have general belief in the phenomenon of the sending of the revealed books. Keep in mind, all the revealed books were allowed by Allah to be corrupted, except the Qur’an.
Six specific books mentioned in the Qur’an:
As-Suhuf of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses).
Az-Zaboor given to Daud (David).
At-Taurat (The Torah) revealed to Musa.
Al-Injeel revealed to Isa (Jesus).
Al-Qur’an – the final revelation.
Attributes of the Qur’an:
Flawless and untampered with: [See 41/42 Fusilat]
The final authority over any remnants of the previous books. [See 5/48 Al-Maidah]
A guidance and a mercy. [See 10/37 Yunus]
The Qur’an must be followed and applied. [See 6/155 Al-An’aam]
The Day of Resurrection (Qiyama)
Belief in the resurrection (Al-Ba’th). Reconstruction of the body and return of the soul to it. People will come forth out of their graves like locusts. Faces bent down. Rushing to the Caller. [See 53/76 Al-Qamar; 70/43 Al-Ma’arij; 17/49 Al-Israa; 36/78 Yasin; 20/108 Taha]
The resurrection is of the body and the soul, not some metaphysical resurrection of the latter.
“The sun will come down toward the people on the day of Qiyama until it is only about a mile up. The people will be in their own perspiration according to their acts: some of them will be in it up to their ankles, some up to their groin and others up to their chins, and he pointed to his mouth.” [Hadith – Narrated by Muslim]
A disbeliever once came to the Prophet (saws) with an old bone, crumbled it with his hand and said: “O Muhammad, will Allah bring this back to life after it has rotted?! The Prophet said: “Yes, Allah will resurrect this and he will cause you to die, bring you back to life, and put you into the fire of Jahannam!”
Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments and Decree i.e. whatever Allah, subhana watala, has ordained must come to pass).
A Muslim believes in Allah’s predestination of all things and events (Qadhaa), His decree (Qadar), His wisdom in His actions, and His will. Nothing in the universe can occur, even the voluntary actions of His slaves, except after Allah’s knowledge, and His decree of that event. A Muslim further believes that Allah is Just in His predestination and His decree, Wise in all of His actions. His wisdom follows His will: Whatever He wills is, and whatever He does not will is not. There is no power nor any movement except by Allah. This is substantiated by the textual and logical proofs which follow:
Allah (glory and praise to Allah) informed us of this in the Qur’an:
Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation, as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz). [Qur’an 54/49]
And there is not a thing, but with Us are the stores thereof. And We send it not down except in a known measure. [Qur’an 15/21]
No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah. [Qur’an 57/22]
No calamity befalls, but with the Leave [i.e. decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainments)] of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart [to the true Faith with certainty, i.e. what has befallen him was already written for him by Allah from the Qadar (Divine Preordainments)], and Allah is the All-Knower of everything. [Qur’an 64/11]
And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record. [Qur’an 6/59]
Evidence also in: Qur’an 9/51, 7/43, 21/101, 18/39, 81/27-29
The Prophet (saws) has informed us about the reality of Allah’s predestination and decree in many Hadith:
“Verily, each one of you is formed in his mother’s womb forty days as a drop, then he is something suspended for a similar period, then he is a piece of flesh like a chewed piece of meat for another period of forty days, then the angel is sent to insert the soul. This angel is ordered to record four things: the sustenance which he will receive during his lifetime, the length of his life, all actions that he will do, and whether he will end up miserable (in hell) or joyous (in paradise). I swear by the One other than whom there is no deity, one of you may do the works of the people of paradise right up until there is only an arm’s length between him and paradise, but his destiny overtakes him, so he does the actions of the people of the fire and enters it. And, verily, one of you may do the works of the people of hell until there is nothing between them and hell except for one arm’s length, but his destiny overtakes him, and so he does the works of the people of paradise, and enters it.” [Muslim]
“Young man, I will teach you some words: Preserve (your obligations toward) Allah and He will preserve you. Guard (your obligations toward) Allah, and you will find Him on your side. When you ask, ask Allah. When you seek aid and succour, seek it from Allah. And know, that if the entire nation got together to benefit you in some way, they could never benefit you at all except for that which Allah had already decreed for you. And, if they all got together to harm you in some way, they could do you no harm except for that which Allah had already decreed for you. The pens have been lifted, and the tablets have dried.” [At-Tirmidhi, and he rated it Sahih]
“The first thing which Allah created was the pen. Then, He said to it: Write. It asked: My Lord, what should I write? He said: Write the proportions of all things up until the Hour.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, and it is hassan]
“Adam disputed with Musa. Musa said to Adam: “O, Adam, you are the father of the human race, Allah created you with His hand, and blew into you of His spirit, and made His angels prostrate to you, why did you expel yourself and us from the garden?” Adam said to him: “You are Musa whom Allah favored with His speech, and wrote for you the Taurah with His hand, so (tell me) by how many years before my creation did you find it written about me: [… then Adam disobeyed his Lord and got lost.] (Qur’an 20:121)? Musa said: “By forty years.” Then, Adam said: “So how do you blame me for something which Allah had decreed for me before my creation by forty years?” The Prophet said: “And so, Adam defeated Musa in the dispute.”
“Act, for each of you will find easy that for which he was created.” (Muslim)
“O, Abdullah ibn Qais, should I not teach you a word which is one of the treasures of paradise? (It is to say): There is no movement nor any power except from Allah.”
“Someone said: That which Allah wants and you want. To which the Prophet (saws) replied: That which Allah alone wants.” [An-Nasaa’i, and he rated it sahih]
EVIDENCE OF REASON
Reason does not reject the idea of predestination and decree and of Allah’s wisdom and His will. Just the opposite, reason demands that this is the case without doubt because of the clear evidences of it in the universe around us.
Belief in Allah and in his perfect might and power demands the belief in His predestination and His decree, His wisdom and His will.
If, after becoming a Muslim, all you know how to do is wudu (the ablution before salah), you do wudu 5 times a day and take the time out to study the prayer briefly or to do what part of it you DO know how to do. If you don’t know how to do wudu, then you do what you remember of it (starting with saying “bis mih Allah” [in the name of Allah] and washing your hands 3 times). You should also study how to do the entire salah regularly at a time separate than the time for salah, until you learn it.
So, regarding the 2 rakat of salah prayer that is done right after saying Shahada, just like all the salahs, you cannot do it if you do not know how, so you just do that which you know. Allah swt knows your intentions, and no-one expects you to know how to do a single rakat before you’re a Muslim nor to suddenly realize how once you JUST became a Muslim.
Learning these things and more, will come in time, insha’Allah; just make it a priority to learn how to do salah. If your intentions are sincere, the proof will be that you learn salah soon after becoming a Muslim. A Muslim who abandons his/her salah abandons his religion and is in a state of disbelief (kufr), i.e. is no longer a Muslim. So do not abandon learning the salah. But do not go to the other extreme and expect to learn everything overnight; exercise patience while you are trying to learn and do not be timid in humbly asking Muslims questions to achieve knowledge.
Expect to be corrected often by other Muslims, whether you’ve just become a Muslim or have been one for years. This is because of our love for one another and our obedience to Allah swt, that we correct one another. We should remain humble and accept correction such as by saying, “Allhumdulilah” (“All praise is due to Allah alone”) and/or “JazakAllah” (“May Allah reward you) to the Muslim correcting us. We should not correct others except when we are certain that our correction is right, and we should do so with kindness and using the speech of the Qur’an and Sunnah and not reformatted personal opinions. The Qur’an is complete for our lives, providing a lifetime of learning and growing as a person… growing in submission to our Lord.
Insha’Allah (Allah willing), you may be blessed to say your Shahada in the presence of another Muslim, who can lead you in your first salah. If not, do not worry… you’re only held accountable for that which you know and for seeking out that which you don’t know yet are able to seek. For instance, a “mentally challenged” person is not held accountable to Allah swt for that which they cannot comprehend! Likewise with a baby.
It is important not to delay to become a Muslim once you understand the Shahada and agree with it — because you ARE held accountable for that which you do know! Act upon what you understand and trust Allah swt to guide you, protect you, and aid you in embracing the most beautiful way of life, the way that leads to peace… Islam.
(www.whyislamtrue.com / 25.04.2011)