Shahadah- The First Pillar of Islam
‘Shahadah’, the testimony of faith, is among the five main pillars of Islam. It is this very declaration of faith that distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim – without this testimony, a Muslim’s identity essentially becomes null and void. The Shahadah is as follows:
“La ilaha illa Allah Muhammadur rasoolu Allah”
Translation: There is no true God (diety) but Allah (SWT); Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (SWT)
The first requirement of being a Muslim is to believe in the meaning of the Shahadah and act according to this belief. This testimony of faith sums up the basic essence of what it means to be a believing servant of Allah (SWT).
The Shahadah is also known as “the twin testimony of faith” because it can be divided into two parts:
1. There is no God except Allah (SWT)
This part of the testimony is a reaffirmation in the Oneness of Allah (SWT) and it is only Allah (SWT) who is worthy of being worshipped. No partners can be associated with Him in worship, nor can be attributed to have offspring – Allah (SWT) is One and will always remain One. Anyone who recites the Shahadah becomes a Muslim whilst testifying to Allah’s (SWT) Divine right to be worshipped exclusively. This belief makes up the crux of the Islamic belief system, which has been carried through the extensive line of Prophets and Messengers sent on earth by Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) alone is the Lord, Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign and Provider. He alone has power over all things residing in this universe and the Hereafter.
Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is alike to none and none can be like Him.
“He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything. Such is Allah, your Lord! Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him (Alone), and He is the Wakeel (Trustee, Disposer of affairs or Guardian) over all things” (Surah Anam:101-102)
2. Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of Allah (SWT)
The second part of the Shahadah testifies to the fact that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a Messenger of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) chose Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to convey His message amongst mankind and spread His religion throughout humanity, not restricted to any tribe or people. To be a Muslim is to not only love Allah (SWT) but also His Messenger and to follow in his footsteps.
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah Aal i Imran: 31)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was bestowed with the final revelation. He is the seal of the prophets: the last Prophet of Allah (SWT) and the most beloved to Him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) poses as a perfect role model for each and every Muslim and it is our duty to learn from his Sunnah and ahadith and aim to become better Muslims.
However, just merely reciting the Shahadah is not enough to become a ‘complete’ Muslim. For that, apart from believing, the individual must internalize and practice the teachings laid down by Allah (SWT) and His Messenger – only then can one become a true Muslim!