The Shahadah Testimony of Faith
The Shahadah Testimony of Faith
The Muslim Testimony of Faith: Shahadah and its Conditions (Islam 2.2)
Islam 2.2 The Shahadah
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Islam is built upon five: The declaration that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah…”(Bukhari and Muslim) The first pillar is the duty to declare the two great beliefs of Islam: these are to believe in the Oneness of Almighty God in worshipping Him alone and in the Prophethood of Muhammad as the final Prophet and best example to be followed. The Shahadah is to utter: Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu (I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone – and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger).These words, laa ilaaha illallaah specifically, are repeated throughout the life of the Muslim. Laa ilaaha illallaah is the heaviest of good deeds on the scales on the Day of Judgement (Hadeeth). It is best of what the Prophets and their followers uttered in ‘Arafah during Hajj (Hadeeth). It is the best utterance of remembrance (dhikr). The complete Shahadah is declared aloud during the Adhan (the call to Prayer). It is declared during every prayer in the “tashahhud” whilst seated by obligation. It is the best that can be said before one’s passing away, “Whoever’s last words are laa ilaaha illallaah(None has the right to be worshipped except Allāh) will enter Paradise.” (Hadeeth) The Shahadah is the key to Paradise, without its utterance a person cannot be a Muslim. The Shahadah is also written on the green Saudi flag.
Some Muslims display it on the walls of Mosques and homes – that is not supported by the Sunnah. The words themselves are not considered superstitious such that they should be written and hung up to ward off evil. Rather their power and strength is in their utterance and understanding what they mean and imply. By the utterance of the words by the sincere Muslims, Allah answers their needs and protects them. The first part of the Shahādah is called the “Kalimah”: laa ilaaha illallaah (None has the right to be worshipped except Allāh) and has eight conditions. Look at it this way:
The “key” to Paradise is laa ilaaha illallaah. Every key has unique “teeth” that allow it to unlock a door. The “teeth” of the key laa ilaaha illallaah are its seven well-known conditions. Every Muslim must know them, they are:
- Knowledge of what it means and entails – that none has the right of worship in truth, except Allah.
- Certainty that Allah alone is to be worshipped, which negates doubt.
- Sincerity in worshipping Allah alone and not hypocrisy.
- Truthfully believing in it. It is that the person is truthful when he makes the announcement of laa ilaaha illallaah – truly with his heart.
- Accepting what it means and implies and not refusing it.
- Submitting to what it necessitates and not rejecting.
- Loving it and what it means, in opposition to hate.
The Shahadah has a special place in Islam – it is the foundation of Islam. The rest of the four Pillars and the other aspects of the religion put into practice these two statements of faith.
There is a hadeeth that states that the Adhan should be made into the ear of the newborn. However, the hadeeth is not authentic as Shaikh Al-Albani has pointed out.
Shahādah in Practice:
- worship idols or other gods besides Allah – to do so is “shirk” (polytheism)
- follow the example of other people when it contradicts Islam
- treat anything in your life more important than serving and worshipping Allaāh
- follow the Quran which is the Word of Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
- follow the teachings and example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
- put Allāh first in everything you do
Muslims invite non-Muslims to the Shahādah and what it means, i.e. To worship only Allah and to follow the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). A non-Muslim learns Islam from knowledgeable Muslims who can quote proofs from the Quran and hadeeth and teach them whilst being patient and kind.