The Shahada: Part 1- La ilaaha illa Lah
Bismilah, Al-Rahman Al-Raheem. Alhamdulilahi Rab Al-‘Alameen wa salla Allahu ‘ala Muhammedan wa ‘ala aalahi wasahbihi wassalam.
In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. I testify there is no true God worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammed is Allah’s true Slave and Messenger. May Allah’s salah and Salam be upon the Prophet, his pure family and his noble companions and those that follow on their path until the day of resurrection. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us from them. Wal-hamdulilah Rab Al-‘Alameen
This is the first principle in the belief in the Oneness of Allah. Allah is One in His Lordship, one in His Divine Godship and One in His Actions and Names and Attributes. Nothing is like Allah and He is qualified with the most noble and most perfect attributes. When someone accepts Allah as the only true God worthy of worship, he must negate all worship directed to other than Allah. This is the meaning of La illaha illah Lah. It is composed of negation and affirmation phrases. The phrase: “there is no true god” negates all false deities, while the phrase “except Allah” confirms Allah is the only true God worthy of worship. Allah is All-Just and All-Wise; He created us and intends no confusion for us in the purpose of our creation. He wants us to know of Him and thus submit to Him in the proper worship. He does not leave us without guidance; this is part of His Mercy. He sent the messengers and Prophets to convey the single message of worshipping Allah alone, and this constitutes the essence of Islam. It is the same message conveyed by Ibrahim, Adam Moses, Jesus, Muhammed and all of the Prophets may Allah’s blessings and mercy be upon all of them.
The messengers were not divine but human. In the final revelation to mankind, man is called to testify la illaha illah lah, Muhammedan Rasool Allah. This testimony is the key to Paradise but there is no key except that it has ridges, if the person comes with the right ridges on this key, the door will open for him. Otherwise it will not open. In order to achieve Paradise, one must fulfill certain conditions that constitute the right ridges for this key statement. These conditions are as follows
1) Al-’Ilm- knowledge of Allah and about the nature, concept and methodology of worship for the practice as well as the understanding of it. The highest form of knowledge is the one that leads away from shirk. Allah Ta’ala says:
Muhammed (47)-19: So know (O Muhammad ) that Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women. And Allâh knows well your moving about, and your place of rest (in your homes).
The Prophet Sallah lahu alayhi wassalam asserted that he who dies knowing fully well that there is no true god worthy of worship except Allah will enter paradise (this hadith is narrated by Muslim).
So the knowledge of what this testimony entails is really a vast knowledge that encompasses the whole dean and explains man’s purpose on earth.
2) To fulfill the declaration of la ilaaha illah lah Muhammedan Rasool Allah with certainty Al-Yaqeen. The testimony must be made without doubt. Allah says:
Al-Hujjurut 49-15: Only those are the believers who have believed in Allâh and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allâh. Those! They are the truthful.
The Prohet salla Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam said: ashadu an laa ilaaha illah lah wa anni Rasool Allah, the slave of Allah who would meet him without harboring any doubt a bout this (the testimony) would enter Al-Jannah.
3) Al-Ikhlass-purity and sincerity: The intention of accepting Islam and performing all acts of worship must be purely devoted for Allah. Allah Ta’ala says:
Qu’ran Az-Zumar (39)-11: Say (O Muhammad ): “Verily, I am commanded to worship Allâh (Alone) by obeying Him and doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only and not to show off, and not to set up rivals with Him in worship;
So one testifies to this should be doing his religious acts solely for Allah and none else. Purity and sincerity is opposite of shirk which is associating with others that which is due to Allah alone. So the one who proclaims this shahada for any worldly gain has failed to meet this condition of la illaha illah and has failed to meet the command of Allah to fulfill it. Say all the worship is purely for Allah. Allah Ta’ala says:
Qur’an 39-14: Say (O Muhammad ) “Allâh Alone I worship by doing religious deeds sincerely for His sake only and not to show-off, and not to set up rivals with Him in worship.”
The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam said: Allah has forbidden the fire upon the one who says la illaaha illah lah seeking by this the face of Allah.
4) As-Sidq, Truthfulness: truthfulness paves the way for a meaningful understanding of the declaration. It strengthens the drive of man toward achieving knowledge of Allah and we know the hypocrites utter the testimony but they concealed rejection in their heart. Allah says:
Qur’an 48-11: Those of the Bedouins who lagged behind will say to you: “Our possessions and our families occupied us, so ask forgiveness for us.” They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say: “Who then has any power at all (to intervene) on your behalf with Allâh, if He intends you hurt or intends you benefit? Nay, but Allâh is Ever All-Aware of what you do.
The heart is like the king and the limbs are its soldiers.
The Prophet sallah lahu ‘alayhi wassalam said reported by the sahihayn, truly there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes good, the whole body becomes good but if it becomes spoiled, the whole body becomes spoiled and that is the heart.
When the love of Allah fills the heart truthfulness and honesty fill in too but when desire gets to the heart the way for corruption and hypocrisy becomes open and man will utter what is not in his heart. The whole and sound heart is the one free from associating anyone or anything in worship with Allah. This is the clean and sound heart , free from shirk from false pride and arrogance, free from envy, and free from being miserly, free from strong love and attachment for this life free from love for leadership and domination, free from lust and free from bid’ah. This is the kind of heart that leads the person to be honest with the declaration the testimony of the shahada. This is known in Qur’an al qalb as-Saleem, the clean sound and safe whole heart and it’s the thing that counts on the day of resurrection. Allah Ta’ala says:
Al-Furqan (26): 88-89: The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, 89. Except him who brings to Allâh a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifâq (hypocrisy)].
- The love of the shahadatain to love Allah and the messenger more than all else.
- To love what allah and his Prophet love
- To hate or dislike what allah or his messenger hate or dislike in all matters related to religion
This is the meaning of love in Islam, allegiance to Islam and dislike for everything that opposes to Allah’s message in particular the message of Tawheed
The Prophet sallah Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam said: Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith:
1) The one to whom allah and his messenger become dearer than anything else
2) He loves a person for the sake of allah alone, purely seeking the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala
3) He hates to return to the state of kuffir after Allah has rescued him from it as he hates to be thrown in hell.
The love of Allah and his Messenger salla Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam must be translated into: following the order of Allah and his Messenger salla Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam. Otherwise it will be the superficial false love of the Christians. This negates the following of any innovator also who introduces concepts and/or ways which are contrary to Islamic teachings. The love of Allah and his message to Islam is related to the knowledge of Allah and his names and attributes.
The more the person knows Allah the more love he will have for Allah. This makes the believer eager to meet Allah, eager to see Him, and to listen to His words in the Hereafter. This is the goal and all the worldly attachment gets weaker and weaker, the spirit gets lifted up it aims high toward its creator it will not trap itself to any road that will lead it to shirk in any way. The person becomes motivated to comply with Allah’s commands to the best of his ability; this produces the true happiness in this life and in the hereafter.
This is the meaning of true love in Islam and this is the 5th condition related to the testimony.
6) The compliance (al-Imqiyaad) meaning that submission to Allah which eliminates rejection. The testimony of Tawheed is fulfilled by the obedience to Allah and his messenger and safeguarding from what Allah forbids. Allah says:
Luqmaan (31)-22: And whosoever submits his face (himself) to Allâh [i.e.(follows Allâh’s Religion of Islâmic Monotheism), worships Allâh (Alone) with sincere Faith in the (1) Oneness of His Lordship,(2) Oneness of His worship, and (3) Oneness of His Names and Qualities], while he is a Muhsin (gooddoer i.e. performs good deeds totally for Allâh’s sake without any show-off or to gain praise or fame etc. and does them in accordance with the Sunnah of Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad ), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold [Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh)]. And to Allâh return all matters for decision.
The compliance with the declaration of the shahada must not have any feeling of unease or choice but full submission. This is well illustrated by Allah’s saying:
Al-Ahzab (33)-36: It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.
The decrees of Allah and his messenger are not subject to human evaluation. The message is the revelation, what it contains is for the benefit of man; therefore man’s submission to Islam is for his own good.
7) Acceptance (al-Qubool): it is not enough to recognize the greatness of islam and that it is the truth, but this recognition must be followed by the humble acceptance. The adherence to the meaning of this declaration safeguards the believer from false pride, arrogance and disdainfulness. Allah says:
Truly when it was said to them: La illaha illah lah, they puffed themselves up with pride (denying it).
The Muslim must realize therefore this declaration stands against blind imitation and calls for the acceptance of Islam according to the understanding of those whom Allah is pleased with. The sahaba, the companions and those who followed their path from the righteous predecessors, As-Salaf As-Saleh.
The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam gave amazing parables for those who accept and those who reject the guidance and teachings of Islam.
The Prophet sallah Allahu ‘alayhi wassalam said: The example of guidance and knowledge of which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed the rain water and brought fourth vegetation and grass in abundance. And another portion of it was hard and held rain water and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drinking from it and for irrigation and cultivation of the land. And the portion of it was a barren land which could neither hold water nor bring forth vegetation. The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allâh’s religion and gets benefit from knowledge which allah has revealed though me the Prophet and learns and teaches others. The latter example is of the person who does not care for it and does not take Allah’s guidance revealed through me; he is like that of the barren land. Reported by Bukhari
These 7 conditions constitute the proper understanding of La ilaaha illah Lah of this key to paradise.
We ask Allah to make us from those who comprehend these conditions and act accordingly.