Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I believe in Islam but haven’t taken the shahada. I still want to pray, so if I make wudu and pray with the correct intention, will my prayer be valid as a non-Muslim?
Thank you for your question. Ma sha Allah, I am very pleased to see your determination, and I commend you for believing in the true, final religion.
Belief in the testimony of faith means that you are already a believer, and uttering it is recommended and not a condition.
Please see those details here:
Have I Converted to Islam?
Conversion to Islam and How to Remove Major Ritual Impurity
Convert Muslim: Is My Prayer Valid?
Your prayer as a non-Muslim would be invalid, but I believe in your case, you are Muslim. The prayer contains the testimony of faith anyway, so you have proclaimed your faith and should continue praying.
The only thing remaining is that you pronounce your faith so that others know that you are Muslim and you can be treated as such, in the case of marriage, death, inheritance, and so on.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.