Islam, therefore, consists, firstly, of knowledge and, secondly, of putting that
knowledge into practice. A man can be white and have no knowledge; because he is
born white he will remain so. Similarly, an Englishman will remain an Englishman
though he may have no knowledge, because he has been born an Englishman. But no
man becomes truly a Muslim without knowing the meaning of Islam, because he
becomes a Muslim not through birth but through knowledge. Unless you come to know
the basic and necessary teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be
on him, how can you believe in him, have faith in him, and how can you act according
to what he taught? And if you do not have faith in him knowingly and consciously, as
fully as you can, how can you become true Muslims?
Clearly it is impossible to become a Muslim and remain a Muslim in a state of
ignorance. Being born in Muslim homes, bearing Muslim names, dressing like Muslims
and calling yourselves Muslims is not enough to make you Muslims; true Muslims
know what Islam stands for and believe in it with full consciousness.