SHAHADA (Testimony Of Faith) - FIRST PILLAR OF ISLAM
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Dear brother/sister in humanity, after being convinced that Islam is true, you should take the first step in taking your shahada. This is first of the 5 pillars of Islam and is the testimony of faith that enters you into Islam. You utter the shahada using your tongue ideally with witnesses. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us on Facebook and one of the members would be more than happy to help you if you like and also any questions you may have.
اشهد ان لا اله الا الله و اشهد ان محمد رسول الله
Above is the arabic, below is the transliteration – using this you simply say the following words..
Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah wa ash hadu anna Muhammad rasulullah
I bear witness that there is no true deity (none truly worthy of worship) except Allah and i bear witness that Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of Allah.
Listen To The Shahada
In the Name Of Allah most gracious most merciful
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh – may peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
Dear brothers and sisters, this document is especially dedicated to seekers of truth eager to take the steps to embrace Islam. It is also beneficial for new Muslims and born muslims who seek to better understand the power, importance and conditions attached to the shahada. It is important to note that you are not expected to fulfill these conditions immediately as everyone is on their own unique journey, however it will shed light to its importance and significance.
Islam is built on 5 pillars as follows:
1. Shahada (testimony of faith)
2. Salah (5 prescribed daily prayers)
3. Zakah (prescribed charity for the Poor)
4. Saum (fasting during the month of Ramadan)
5. Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
In addition to the above one should have reasonable conviction in the following matters sometimes called the 6 pillars of eman (belief) –
- Belief in Allah (in His existence, lordship, divinity and his names and attributes)
- Belief in the Angels (created by Allah to worship him and assigned certain tasks e.g Gibraeel, Mikhaeel, Israfeel, Azraeel)
- Believe in the scriptures revealed by Allah to the prophets: such as The Suhuf (to Ibrahimﷺ), The Zaboor (to Dawood ﷺ), The Torah (to Musa ﷺ), The Injeel (to Isa ﷺ – Jesus) and The Quran to Muhammad ﷺ (May Allah’s peace be upon them all). Please note that all previous scriptures do not exist in its pure and unaltered form today except the Quran – the final and last of all revelations. The acceptance of previous revelations as it were revealed at the time – not today.
- Belief in the Prophets and Messengers sent by Allah, such as Adam ﷺ, Nuh ﷺ(Noah), Ibrahim ﷺ(Abraham), Lut ﷺ(Lot), Yunus ﷺ (Jonah), Yusuf ﷺ (Joseph), Musa ﷺ (Moses), Dawood ﷺ (David), Sulaiman ﷺ (Solomon), Yahya ﷺ (John), Isa ﷺ(Jesus), Muhammad ﷺ to name a few (may Allah’s peace and mercy be upon them all)
- Belief in the day of Resurrection, that all of creation will be brought back to life body and soul and mankind will be judged by The Judge of all judges.
- Belief in the Divine decree that all events occur by Allah’s Wisdom and His will. Allah is just in His predestination and His decree. There is no power nor any movement except by the will of Allah.
If one believes and accepts the above 6 pillars of Eman, then one is considered a Muslim and thus can utter the shahada. It is highly recommended to have a mentor to help guide you through your learning process so as not to delay and learn the second pillar of Islam which is the SALAH (5 prescribed prayers of the day). Your mentor shall teach you and provide materials to aid you.. We cannot emphasise the importance of Salah, without it your learning and experience will be hampered.
Merely uttering the testimony of faith does not automatically entitle you a free ticket for salvation. Although it is the KEY to paradise, it has conditions just as the famous follower Wahb Ibn Munnabih was asked, isn’t the statement Laa ilaha illa Allah (none has the right to be worshipped except Allah) the key to Paradise? He answered, ‘yes but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will open for you’. So these ridges are the conditions, these conditions are derived from the glorious Quran and the hadith.
Negates ignorance – the shahada consists of 2 parts both negation and affirmation.
Negation that none has the right to be worshipped such as humans, animals, the sun, the moon, planets, angels, jinns, spirits, grave worship, saint worship, soothsayers, fortune tellers, magicians, horoscopes, statues, pop stars, idols, priests, imams, prophets/messengers such as Moses, Abraham, Jesus or Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Negation can also encompass a hidden side where most of us may not realise. If your sole Focus and desire is for example, music, pursuit of power, money, fame or subjective ideas and thought over and above objective truths, then what you have here is association, making partners with Allah. Therefore whatever Allah has created that’s in the heavens and the Earth, whether seen or unseen, does not deserve your worship except the one who brought everything into existence – Allah. This is negation and powerful it is indeed. That’s the first part of the shahada…. None has the right to be worshipped….
Affirmation – is ‘except Allah’. In other words, submitting to his commands through the guidance revealed for mankind, the One who knows what’s best for you. Allah is the only One who deserves to be worshipped, the One who is unique far above his creation and the source of existence. Allah means the absolute One worthy of worship.
….and Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of Allah. so the final part of the affirmation is to accept and acknowledge that Muhammad ﷺ is the final prophet and messenger of Allah. Bearing in mind he was the chosen recipient of the guidance and the one to deliver and explain the guidance. Thus we have 2 sources of knowledge, The Quran and the prophetic sayings and actions (Hadith). Both these sources of information is what brings us the teaching of Islam.
Quran (chapter 47: verse 19) – ‘so know that there is no god except Allah…’
Quran (chapter 43: verse 86) – ‘and those whom they invoke instead of Him have no power of intercession except for those who bear witness on to the truth knowingly.’
Hadith (Sahih Muslim) – The Prophet ﷺ said ‘whoever dies knowing that there is no no one worthy of worship except Allah shall enter Paradise.’
The opposite of doubt. The heart must be absolutely certain in the truth of the shahada. True certainty will manifest in action. Iman is the belief in your heart, a statement of the tongue which should manifest in action. Allah describes the believers in the Quran:
(Quran 49:15) – ‘The believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterwards doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah, such are the sincere’.
Hadith (Sahih Muslim) – The messenger ﷺsaid: ‘no one meets Allah with the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and I am the messenger of Allah, and that he has no doubt about that statement except that he will enter Paradise.’
If you have knowledge of certainty in the shahada, this must be followed by acceptance with the tongue and heart. If you refuse it even if you know it’s the truth, then this is disbelief (i.e. you have rejected it). The cause of this refusal can be due to ego, pride, envy, arrogance or due to one’s own desires. Accepting the shahada means accepting and fulfilling the requirements Allah has commanded both in the Quran and that taught by the Messenger ﷺ. You cannot pick/reject as you like of His commandments as Allah says in the Quran:
(Quran 2:85) – ‘Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it? and what is the reward of those who do so except humiliation in the life of this world and on the day of Resurrection they will be sent to the most dreadful doom and Allah is not unaware of what they do.’
(Quran 37:35) – ‘Undoubtedly, when it was said to them (referring to the polytheist) none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, they then swelled with pride/arrogance.’
This is where knowledge and theory is put into practice. You act upon it, live it, breathe it. Everything you do is for the sake of Allah. Islam is a complete way of life. The glorious Quran is a book of guidance for those who believe and the final Messenger Muhammad ﷺ is our role model, he is the walking talking Quran. Islam means to surrender, to submit in obedience to Allah, to His oneness and compliance to His commands and shunning any kind of association or polytheism (association of partners with Allah). You acquire peace, tranquillity, contentment and success in this life and the next.
(Quran 39:53) ‘Turn on to Him repentent and surrender unto Him’
(Quran 4:125) ‘Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good.’
(Quran 4:65) ‘But nay, by your Lord they will not truly believe until they make you (messenger of Allah) a judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of which you decide and submit with full submission.
(Quran 12:40) ‘Verily legislation is for none but Allah’
The opposite is hypocrisy and dishonesty. The hypocrites will do all the prescribed Islamic rituals but inwardly they are not sincere. People do this for worldly gain such as societal recognition or to please others, approval for monetary gain in order to achieve a higher status or merely following one’s own desires. If one is insincere to themselves as to why they are traversing this course, then they are only fooling themselves.
(Quran 2:8-10) – ‘And off mankind are some who say, we believe in Allah and the last day, when they believe not. They think to deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive none but themselves but they perceive not. In Their Hearts is a disease and Allah increases their disease, a painful doom is theirs because they lie.’
(Quran 29: 2-3) – ‘Do people think that they will be left alone because they say ‘we believe’ and will not be tested? And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make it known those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.’
(Hadith – Bukhari and Muslim) – The prophet ﷺ said, ‘No one bears testimony to there being no one worthy of worship except Allah sincerely from the heart except that Allah makes Hellfire forbidden for him.’
The believer loves the shahada and so lives in accordance with what the shahada entails. So, to love everything that Allah loves and to hate what He dislikes such as having equals with Allah. If you love other than Allah and his Messenger ﷺ then you have missed the true meaning and essence in the purpose of life. In other words, any kind of love and obedience to other than Allah is setting up rivals or partners with Allah. After Allah comes the final messenger of Allah. How can you love someone more than Prophet Muhammad ﷺ sent as a mercy to mankind, jinn and all that exists, the one chosen to deliver the revelation and explain it to us?
(Quran 21:107) – ‘And we have sent you not but as a mercy for the Worlds’ (Allah addressing the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)
(Quran 58:22) – ‘You will never find a group of people who believe in Allah and the last day having love for those who oppose Allah and his Messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their Brethren or their Clan. As for such, He has written faith upon their hearts and has strengthened them with a spirit from Him, and he will enter them into gardens beneath which rivers flow wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, they are the party of Allah. Is it not the party of Allah who are successful?
(Quran 2: 65) – ‘Some people will take instead of Allah any equivalent. They love them like they love Allah but the believers love Allah most. If only those who do wrong could see the torment that all power belongs to Allah and Allah is severe in punishment.’
(Hadith – Bukhari and Muslim) – The Prophet ﷺ said whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith. The first of these is that he loves Allah and His messenger ﷺ more than anyone else. Second, he loves his Muslim brother only for the sake of Allah. Thirdly, he hates going back to disbelief just as he hates being thrown into the fire.
Pause for thought. – You might wonder how can you love Allah and his Messenger ﷺ more than your own mother? Well think about it, who created your mother? Who created your mother’s mother? Who created Adam? Are we not the children of Adam? Who gives you life, the air that you breathe or the eyes with which you can see? Is He not worthy of your thanks and gratitude? Does anyone or anything have the right to be worshipped? No of course not. None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, your creator! Your best guide is none other than the seal of the prophets Muhammad ﷺ, who was a warner and a bringer of glad tidings. He confirmed the previous prophets and messengers that came before him. His Status is the highest from amongst mankind and his nation is the last in creation and the first to be resurrected.
(Quran 9:33) – ‘It is He who has sent his Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to show that is it is above all ideologies, however much the idolaters may hate it.’
(Quran 51:56) – ‘I have not created mankind and the jinn except to worship me’
(Quran 2:256) – There is no compulsion in religion, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. so, whoever rejects false deities and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break and Allah is the All Hearing and All Knowing.
For the new Muslim these conditions may be fulfilled gradually as you gain knowledge and understanding. For the already Muslim who feel that the above conditions are not fully met should strive to understand and embrace it.
This is the power of the shahada, a gift from your Lord the most high. This is the same statement that all previous Prophets and Messengers conveyed to all the nations and tribes they were sent to by Allah. If you embrace it willingly with understanding and conviction, then you will certainly have the key with the correct ridges to enter Paradise, InshaAllah (God willing)
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Researched, compiled by Abu Ayesha