1st Pillar: Shahadah
by A. Asim
What is shahadah?
Shahadah in Arabic means to ‘testify’, a declaration of faith in the oneness of Allah (SWT) and the prophet Muhammad (PBU) being the last of the prophets to bring revelation. The testimony of faith is stating ‘There is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger’. Without this testimony one cannot be Muslim, equally when one becomes a Muslim and converts to Islam one takes the Shahadah by testifying to Allah SWT in their prayers and supplications. However one must understand that these are not just words, the person reciting this must understand the concept and foundation of Islam in order to be pure as faith comes from the heart not just through the tongue.
Importance of Shahadah
There are two parts to a Shahadah. Firstly, Shahadah in the one and only Allah (SWT). It is important to have Tawheed which means attributing oneness to Allah (SWT) and describing him as being one and unique, with no partner or peers in his essence and characteristics. Tawheed has 3 categories; knowing /believing that Allah (SWT) is alone worthy of worship understanding his lordship which is called Tawheed Al Ruboobiyah, names and attributes of Allah (SWT) called Tawheed al-asmat was sifat and finally worshipping Allah (SWT) alone called Tawheed al-Ebaadah. Knowing that there is no one like him, there is no God/human besides him and there is no power except him. He has created everything, no one has created him, he takes care of everyone and everything, and no one takes care of Allah (SWT). We need Allah (SWT) to live whereas Allah (SWT) does not need anyone to live as he is eternal. Allah (SWT) has no partners, mothers, fathers and children. People who add partners with him or propose he has a family are called ‘Shirk’. Shirk is the greatest sin in Islam. Allah (SWT) is the creator and Lord of everything. Some people disbelieve in Allah (SWT); such concept is called ‘Kufr’ which is also a great sin in Islam. All of these ideas are very wrong, Muslims know that there is no God except Allah (SWT), he has created us, supports us and to him we shall return.
Secondly, Shahadah in the messenger prophet Muhammad (SAW). Allah (SWT) has sent many prophets and messengers to people all around the word to spread the word of Islam. Allah (SWT) sent them his Wahi (revelation), the message to all of mankind. Allah (SWT) sent Muhammad (SAW) as a last prophet and a messenger to mankind, he is Allah’s last ‘nabi’, last messenger of mankind. Muhammad (SAW). Muhammad (SAW) was a human being and a servant of Allah (SWT), he sent him his final book the Quran. When we hear or say Prophet Muhammad’s name we must say ‘Salla Allahu Alai hi wa Sallam’, which means ‘May Allahs blessings and peace be upon him’.
The history of declaring a religion/belief was very common even in the pre-Islamic era, some people professed polytheism and others affirmed monotheism as the true way of life and way of life. This statement “I witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”, is one of faith regarding a person’s belief in Allah (SWT) and his messenger Muhammad (SAW), the confession is a compulsory and fixed method.
There are conditions of Shahadah (testimony), it’s vital for every Muslim to have Al-Ilm (knowledge) on the wordings/meaning, Al-yaqeen (certainty) by having no doubt, hypocrisy or ambiguity in the belief of Allah and his messenger. Moreover, to have Al-Qabool (acceptance) with the tongue and heart of whatever the Shahadah infers, Al-Inqiyad (Submission/obedience) to will and commands of Allah (SWT), by having a strong relationship between faith and deeds. Also to have As-Sidq (Truthfulness) which means having no hypocrisy and deceitfulness in their actions/faith, we should not be lying when giving the testimony of faith as it is there to simply benefit from in this world and the hereafter, Al-Ikhlaas (Sincerity) solely for the sake of Allah (SWT) and no other reason, Al-Mahabbah (Love) in agreement with the implications and requirements of the Shahadah, devoted to the act and determined for the sake of their Shahadah by making a stand for their statement and belief. Finally, by denying any other object/forms of worship as it is clearly worded in the testimony of faith that there is no God but one Allah (SWT) and the Messenger is Muhammad (SAW), also adhering to the Shahadah until death is very important for the Muslim follower in order for them to have a peaceful hereafter.
Muhammad is not the father of any one of you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the final seal of the prophets (Al-Ahzab 33:40)
"I have submitted my wholeself to God and so have those who follow me..." [3:20]
Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, but He forgives anything other than this to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin. (4.48)
We sent no Messenger before you without revealing to him, "There is no god but Me, so worship Me (alone)" (Al-Anbiya 21:25).
We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people, and he said, "O my people! Serve Allah. You have no god besides Him. I fear for you the retribution of an awful Day (Al-A 'raf 7:59).
And to (the tribe of) 'Ad (We sent) their brother, Hud. He said, "O my people! Worship Allah alone! You have no god besides Him. Will you not then be conscious of Allah?" (Al-A 'raf 7 :65).
And to (the tribe of) Thamud (We sent) their brother Salih. He said, "O my people! Worship Allah alone! You have no god besides Him. A clear evidence has now come to you from your Lord" (Al-A'raf7:73).
And to Midian (We sent) their brother Shu'ayb. He said, "O my people! Worship only Allah! You have no god besides Him. Clear proof has now come to you from your Sustainer" (Al-A'raf 7:85).
And has the story of Moses ever reached you? He saw a fire, and he said to his family, "Wait here! I see a fire (far away). Perhaps I shall bring you a brand from it or may find guidance at the fire." But when he came close to it, a voice called out to him: "O Moses! I am your Lord! Take off your shoes, for you are in the hallowed valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you (to be My apostle), so listen to what is revealed (to you). Verily, I, and I alone, am Allah! There is no god but Me! So serve Me and be constant in prayer in order to keep Me in your remembrance" (Ta Ha 20:9-14).
And when Allah said, "O Jesus son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah? he said, "Glory be to you! It is not possible for me to say what I have no right to. Had I said this, You would have known it. You know what is in my mind, and I do not know what is in Your mind, for indeed, You are the Knower of the Unseen. I only told them what you commanded me, 'Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord.' And I was a witness over them as long as I dwelt among them, but when You took me to Yourself, you were yourself Watcher over them, for You are witness to everything. If You punish them, they are Your servants. If You forgive them, You are the All- Mighty, the All-Wise" (Al-Ma'idah 5:116-118).
"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of God and the Seal of the Prophets. And God has full knowledge of all things." [Qur'an: Surah al-Ahzab 33:40].