The Shahādah and Its Importance
By Dr. Shaikh Salleh Al-Fawzan
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-`ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger.
Definitely there could be no greater and more important a statement than Lā ilāha ill Allāh (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allāh). It is the statement of declaration of belief in the Tawhid of Allāh which is the dividing line between Imān and kufur - It was the call of all the previous Messengers and Prophets.
Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala Himself attested to the importance of this statement in the Qur'an:
"...And Know That Lā ilāha ill Allāh (Know That There Is No Deity Worthy Of Worship But Allāh)..." [Muhammad, 47:19, Ta-Ha, 20:8, Ali-‘Imran, 3:18, Al-Hasyar, 59:22-3]
As this statement is became an obligation for an unbeliever to declare in order for him to become a Muslim, and also, since a person who pronounces it faithfully is safeguarded in this world. It becomes an obligation upon any Muslim who wants to understand the Deen of Islam to realize its meaning, merits, principles, conditions and its place in life.
Remembering Allāh (Dzikirullāh) is one of the most important commandments of Allāh. Allāh Himself commanded in many verses of the Qur`an, especially after the performance of important religious obligations:
• "...Then when you leave Arafat, remember Allāh (by glorifying and praising Him) at the Mash ‘ar il-Haram. And remember Allāh (by invoking Allāh for all good) as He has guided you..." [Al-Baqarah, 2:198]
• "Then when you have accomplished your 'Manasik' (all the rights of Hajj); remember Allāh as you remember your father with a strong remembrance..." [Al-Baqarah,2:200]
Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala also said:
• "...and establish prayers for My remembrance." [Ta-Ha,20:14]
The Best Supplication to Remember Allāh
It is described to us in the Hadith of the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), he said:
• "...and the best (supplication) I and the other prophets who were sent who were sent before me proclaimed was: “Lā ilāha ill Allāh, Wahdahu Lasyarikalah, Lahul mulku wallahul hamdu Yuhyi wa Yumit, Wa huwa `ala kulli shay iñ Qadīr."-- "There is no deity worthy of worship but Allāh, He is Alone and has no partner. To Him belongs the Ownership (of everything), and to Him belongs all Praise, and He has total power over all things." [Recorded by At-Tirmidzi]
• "The best remembrance of Allāh is to say ' Lā ilāha ill Allāh --There is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh."
All the above points that highlight the importance of this 'kalimah’ could be explain in a more detail and ways of achieving it.
The place of the Lā Ilāha ill Allāh lies in the life of a Muslim.
It is pronounced daily in:
• The call to prayer.
• At the beginning of their prayers
• During Tashahhud.
• During times of 'Dzikir': before and after prayers, in the late evening and also in the early mornings.
• This 'Kalimah' that Allāh send all His Messengers.
• About it and its obligations will people be questioned?
• To establish it when the swords of Muslims are drawn for Jihad.
• The first question in the grave will be about this 'Kalimah’.
• It is the key to Al-Jannah.
• It is what the Muslims are commanded to invite to Islam - as it was established in the Hadith of Muadz bin Jabal (radiyallahu`anhu) when he was sent to Yemen to call the people to Islam.
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: "You are going to encounter with a people of the Book, so let the first thing you call them with the proclamation of 'Lā- ilāha- ill- Allāh' (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allāh)..." [Recorded by Al-Bukhari].
The Merits of the 'Kalimah' of Lā Ilāha Ill Allāh
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (radiyallahu`anhu) said, that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:
"Moses (`alaihis salam) said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala said: Say 'Lā- Ilāha–Ill-Allāh', O Musa. He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala said: If the seven Heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven Earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and 'Lā- ilāha- ill- Allāh' is put into the other; 'Lā- Ilāha-Ill-Allāh' would be heavier." [Recorded by Ibn Hibban and Hakim]
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:
"The best Dzikir (remembrance) is 'Lā-ilāha-ill-Allāh' (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allāh)..."
The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:
"A person from my Ummah will be summoned in the presence of all creatures on the Day of Judgement. Ninety-nine records (of his deeds) would be unfolded, each extending as far as the range of the vision can stretch, then he would be asked: 'Do you deny any of these deeds?' He will reply: 'No, My Lord.' He will be asked: 'Do you have any excuse or any good deed?' The man who will be scared will say: 'No' It will be said to him: 'Yes you have some good deeds. No injustice will befall you.'
A card will then be shown to him, on it will be written: Lā ilāha ill Allāh, Muhammad ar-Rasū-lul-lāh.' He will say: 'O Allāh! What cards and records are these?' It will be said to him: 'No injustice shall befall you.' The (ninety-nine) records will then be placed in one pan of the scale and the card on the other. The card will then outweigh the records." [Recorded by At-Tirmidzi and Al-Hākim]
All of these Merits of the 'Kalimah' are summarized by Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) As Follows:
• Al-Jannah is its reward.
• Uttering it before death will cause one to be admitted to the Jannah.
• It is a refuge from the Fire of Hell.
• It is a cause for a Muslim to be forgiven.
• It is the best of good deeds.
• It wipes out sins.
• It traverses all barriers in order to be accepted by Allāh, the Almighty
• It is a statement whose pronouncer will be accepted by Allāh.
• It is the best proclamation ever uttered by the Prophets.
• It is the best celebration of His praises.
• It is the best of deeds and it multiplies into many good deeds.
• It is a protection against Satan.
• It is a safety from the darkness and the punishment of the graves and from the Day of Resurrection.
• The eight doors of Paradise will be accessible to its pronouncer.
• People who pronounce it will certain come out of the Fire of Hell, even after they have been cast into it for falling short of observing its obligation
[Via in Islaam.com]
The question is whether if a person uttered firmly Shahadatayn, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is his Messenger” that this will be sufficient for the person to be admitted to Paradise?
It should be noted Islam is not just the uttering of Shahadatayn; rather it is essential to fulfill the conditions of this twin declaration of faith so that the one who utters them will truly be a Muslim. The pillars of Islam believe, uttering and acting.
It was narrated that Ubadah Ibn Al-Samit (radiyallahu`anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone [with no partner or associate] and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and that ‘Isa is the slave of Allah, the son of His maidservant, a Word which He bestowed upon Maryam and a Spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true and that Hell is true, Allah will admit him through whichever of the eight gates of Paradise he wants.”
[Narrated by Al-Bukhari (3252) and Muslim (28)]
Shaikh ‘Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Hasan Ibn Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd Al-Wahhab (rahimahullah) said:
The words “Whoever says ‘I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone” means the one who says these words, knowing what they mean and acting upon them inwardly and outwardly, because with regard to the Shahadatayn it is essential that one know and be certain and act upon them as Allah says, “So know (O Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that La ilaha illallah (None Has the Right to Be Worshipped But Allah)” [Surah Muhammad 47:19]
And Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta`ala also says: “Except for those who bear witness to the truth knowingly (i.e. believed in the Oneness of Allah, and obeyed His Orders), and they know (the facts about the Oneness of Allah)” [Al-Zukhruf 43:86].
As for uttering the words without knowing the meaning or believing with certainty or acting upon them by disavowing shirik and being sincere in word and deed, and saying in one's heart and on one's lips and acting in one’s heart and with one's outward faculties, that is of no benefit, according to scholarly consensus.
In the Al-Mufhim ‘Ala Sahih Muslim Al-Qurtubi (rahimahullah) said: "It is not sufficient merely to speak the Shahadatayn, rather it is essential to believe it with certainty in one’s heart. This draws attention to the flawed argument of the extreme Murji’ah who say that merely uttering the Shahadatayn is sufficient to make one a believer. The hadith on this subject indicate that this is wrong; rather it is a view that is well known to be wrong according to syari’ah, because it implies a justification of hypocrisy, and judging hypocrites as true believers, which is completely false.”
The above hadith also indicates that the words “whoever I bears witness” can only be valid if it is based on knowledge, certainty, sincerity and honesty. [Fathul-Bari (p. 36)].
There are seven conditions of bearing witness that there is no god but Allah, and it does not benefit the one who says it unless he fulfils all of them. They are, in brief:
1. Knowledge as opposed to ignorance
2. Certainty as opposed to doubt
3. Acceptance as opposed to rejection
4. Obedience as opposed to disobedience
5. Sincerity as opposed to syirik
6. Honesty as opposed to lying
7. Love as opposed to its opposite, which is hate.
The conditions of bearing witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah are the same as the conditions of bearing witness that there is no god but Allah.
Allah the Exalted knows best.
[Excerpted from Islam Q&A]
See: Conditions of the Shahādah; See: The Nine Conditions of Shahādah;See: The Condition of Certainty of Shahādah; See: The Shahādah and Its Importance