We recommend that you review the section Basics of Islam, before reading this section.
Acceptance of the Muslim faith or Islam, as stated above is completely voluntary. The first word of the Quran revealed to the prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) was Iqra, which in Arabic means Read. Reading & studying of concepts may lead one to the stage of analyzing & reflecting upon them, which, if He wills, may lead to the level of appropriate understanding.
If one has reached an appropriate understanding of the religion of Islam and decides to formally accept and adopt it, it can be done in a few general ways. It may be done in private between oneself and the Almighty God, as an understanding and commitment. It can also be done semi-privately, with or within one or more Muslims. Preferably though, it is done in public. Many people do it by going to a masjid and declaring it in front of a congregation.
There is no formal ceremony for acceptance and adoption of the religion of Islam except a private or public declaration or testification that there is nothing else or any other deity worthy of worship except Allah, the Arabic word for God. One also declares and testifies that all of His prophets were human beings and His messengers including the prophets Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus) (May peace and blessings of God be upon them).
One declares and testifies that the prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) was the last of His prophets. Though it is not mandatory, most people state and declare it in Arabic (La ilaha illallah, Muhammad-ur-rasool Allah). According to the Islamic teachings, the person declaring the faith in this manner may be like a newborn child with a clean slate of deeds and might be forgiven for the past sins. Muslims present in the gathering may show their happiness and brother or sisterhood by congratulations and embraces.