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The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background. Becoming a Muslim is a simple and easy process that requires no pre-requisites. One may convert alone in privacy, or he/she may do so in the presence of others.

If anyone has a real desire to be a Muslim and has full conviction and strong belief that Islam is the true religion of God, then, all one needs to do is pronounce the “Shahada”, the testimony of faith, without further delay. The “Shahada” is the first and most important of the five pillars of Islam.

With the pronunciation of this testimony, or “Shahada”, with sincere belief and conviction, one enters the fold of Islam.

Upon entering the fold of Islam purely for the Pleasure of God, all of one’s previous sins are forgiven, and one starts a new life of piety and righteousness. The Prophet said to a person who had placed the condition upon the Prophet in accepting Islam that God would forgive his sins:

“Do you not know that accepting Islam destroys all sins which come before it?” (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh))

day 19 | luke 1-3

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According to the gospel of Luke, John the baptist and Jesus were destined to be great men before they were a twinkle in anyone's eye. Angels, prophets, and complete strangers constantly remind their parents that they have a mission from God. In one scene, a prophet named Simeon addresses Mary specifically.

"Listen carefully. The child [Jesus] is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul as well!"

A lot of commentary suggests that Simeon was warning Mary that Jesus' rejection would be painful to bear as he lives out his cause for the Most High. But I think there's something else going on. When Simeon says that a sword will pierce her soul as well, it immediately follows the phrase about the thoughts of many hearts being revealed.

The word "sword" is better described as a javelin - a throwing spear - when we take a closer look at the Greek. And the etymology of the word "pierce" suggests a long path or journey. Have you noticed throughout these chapters that Mary keeps pondering things in her heart? Perhaps Simeon is saying that all the things Mary wondered about her son would eventually be revealed as he came into his own, and that Jesus' anointing was also her journey.

What do you think?

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