Q: People who embrace Islam in Europe are given written certificates by the Islamic institutions to prove that they are Muslims. Such certificates had never been given to Muslims throughout the history of Islam. Is not the witnessing of two just Muslims and the testimony of the new Muslim himself sufficient? Is not this written certificate a Bid’ah (rejected innovation in religion)?
A: A Muslim does not need such a certificate to prove his faith before Allah; however, it may be required by people to settle some matters. Thus, a person is required to state their religion on their identity card, passport, family records, and birth certificate. They sometimes might not be able to prove that they are Muslims, as when one travels to a country where he knows no one, or if a person dies abroad. In this case, a person is identified by their passport, identity card, or these other certificates, as it is usually too difficult to prove [that a person is a Muslim] in such cases.
Thus, there is no harm in this certificate. Although it is an innovation, it is not a Bid’ah related to religion; the prohibited Bid’ah is only that related to religion, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, Whoever introduces a practice into this affair of ours that is not of it, it is to be rejected. He thus clarified that the rejected Bida’s are those innovated in matters of religion.
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!
Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’
Member Member Deputy Chairman Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Qa`ud `Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify `Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz
Source : alifta.com