MEANING OF THE DUAL TESTIMONY OF FAITH (SHAHAADATAIN)
to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and
blessing of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam),
his household members and all of his Companions.
times have you heard or even said the following words? Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illallah wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasoolullah. (I bear witness that there is no deity
except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). Yes
indeed, it is the two-part testimony or declaration of faith by which the one
who utters it enters into the fold of Islam. More importantly however, is
whether you as a listener or as the one who has made this declaration have
really considered the meaning of this great declaration and its implications
for the one who utters it?
of Understanding The Testimony
testimony of faith is the foundation upon which Islam is based. The concept of
life, the universe and man is diffused from it, and upon it is based the
message of all Messengers (alaihimus salaam) beginning with Noah (alayhi
salaam) and ending with Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), peace be upon
FIRST HALF OF THE TESTIMONY constitutes what is also known as al-kalimah, which literally means
‘the word’ Laa ilaaha illallah.
Exalted says: We did not send a Messenger before you without revealing to
him: 'There is no God worthy of being worshiped except I, therefore worship
Testimony Comprises Two Pillars: Denial And Affirmation.
first half of this first part Laa ilaaha - There is no Ilaah (deity) -
denies everyone and everything other than Allah, the Exalted, the attribute of
divinity. This is known as NAFY (negation) in Arabic.
second half of this declaration illallah (except Allah) affirms and
restricts divinity to Allah alone. That is, the slave must believe that Allah
is the only true God, and therefore must not dedicate any act of worship to
other than Allah. This is known in Arabic as ITHBAAT (affirmation).
Of The First Half Of The Declaration
the testimony of faith must be coupled with fulfilling its seven conditions.
Every door has a key that unlocks it. These conditions may be analogised with
the teeth of that key in order that it function properly. Though one may have
indeed entered Islam upon uttering the words it can also be said that complete
faith cannot be attained unless he fully understands the implications of his
which negates Ignorance. Allah says: So know that La ilaaha Illa-Allah. (There is no God
but Allah). [47:19]. The more a believer knows about Allah and His Deen
the less likely is he to fall prey to the traps of Satan and more likely to
benefit himself and others.
which negates Doubt. Only those are the believers who have believed
in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their
wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allah. They are the truthful.
[49:15]. The declaration should be made with the fullest conviction and
confidence that Allah is One and Alone and Islam is indeed the true religion.
and purity of intent which negates Shirk. Is it not to Allah that
sincere devotion is due? [39:3]. No deed will be accepted if it
is not done with pure intent and aim to please Allah.
which negates Hypocrisy. 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 known those who are
true and will certainly make known those who are liars. [29:2,3].
It is very simple for one to feign belief but it is Allah who indeed knows the
inner truthfulness of all who claim to believe in Him.
and devotion which negates disdain of Allah’s religion. And to
mankind are some who take some (associates for worship) besides Allah as
rivals; they love them as they love Allah. But those who believe love Allah
more (than anything else). [2:165]. Loving Allah necessitates
that the believer put full trust in him and loves all that he learns of what
Allah has commanded and forbidden. Therefore the true believer loves each and
every aspect of Islam and he loves those others who likewise do so.
which negates Disobedience. And turn in repentance to your Lord and
submit to Him in Islam before the Punishment comes on you. [39:54].
To wilfully disobey when Allah’s commands have been made clear is to belie the
declaration of faith.
which negates Rejection or Denial. Truly when it was said to them:
‘There is no God except Allah’, they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e.
denied it). And (they) said: ‘Are we going to abandon our gods for the sake of
a mad poet? [37:35-36]. There can be nothing but full acceptance
of the truth of the declaration. Partial acceptance is like no acceptance at
SECOND HALF OF THE TESTIMONY:
the declaration that "Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is the
Messenger of Allah". This second part of the testimony of faith is no
less important than the first. In fact, it is impossible for one to be a true
believer in the first part without also believing in the second. It
necessitates belief in the following:
1 . Total
submission to our Beloved Prophet in whatever he ordered. Allah states: But
no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all
disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your
decisions and accept them with full submission. [4:65] and He
who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah [4:80]
2 . Avoiding
what the Prophet forbade. And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take
it and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). [59:7].
in all those matters of faith and deeds he informed us about. The
Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him form his Lord and so do the
the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Prophet has said about
himself: None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his
parents, his children and all of mankind. [Al-Bukhari]
says: O Prophet! We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of glad
tidings and a Warner. And as one who invites to Allah (i.e, to worship Him
Alone) by His Leave and as a Lamp spreading Light (through your instructions).
In an age
when there is actually controversy over whether or not a Muslim must actually
obey the Prophet and adhere to his way, no true Muslim should remain ignorant
of the great meanings contained within the two-part testimony by which one
joins this great Deen of Islam. Our beloved Prophet is the one who brought us
Islam in its final form and exemplified it in his speech and character. Though him (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) Allah has spread His light all over this earth and surely in such a
dark place as the world can at times be, there is nothing more needed than a
beacon to show us the right way.
I request your humble du'aas.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN