Shahada Meaning

Introduction
Shahada as the first pillar of Islam is the declaration of faith which is:

  • In English :None has the right to be (deified and) worshiped except Allah; and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
  • Transliteration:La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah
  • Arabic:لآ اِلَـهَ اِلاَّ لله محمد رسول ال

Although the wording falls lightly off the tongue the deep implications and meaning of this testimony are very heavy, especially the difference between “There is no God but God” (which is a common understanding) and the true meaning “None has the right to be (deified and) worshiped except God”. As many people recognised the complete sovereignty and lordship of Allah and that he is the sole creator, yet where considered Unbelievers by Allah, as they Deified other than Allah(thus commiting Shirk), even though they recognised Allah as the sole creator and soveriegn.
Linguistic Meaning of Shahada

  • laa means No (a particle of absolute negation)
  • illah is the corrosponding noun that carries with it an implicit term. The term being haqq (right).i.e “the right (or deserves) to be an ilaah
  • illah the noun means “that which is deified with worship. It is that which hearts love, adore and deify, hopeing in it for the attainment of benefit or for protection against harm”
  • ilAllah means except Allah

Thus the shahada means that none has the right to be (deified and) worshiped except Allah

Virtues of the Shahada

at-Tirmidhee reports and declares to be sound – as well as an-Nasaa’ee, and al-Haakim who said that it is authentic according to the criterion of Muslim – from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, from the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam, who said
A person from my ummah will be summoned in front of everyone on the Day of Resurrection. Ninety-nine scrolls will be unfurled for him, each scroll extending as far as the eye can see. Then it will be said: Do you deny any of this [i.e. your bad deeds]? So the man will reply: No, 0 Lord. Then it will be said: Do you have any excuse or any good deed? The man, in a state of terror, will answer: No. It will then be said: Rather, you do have some good deeds and no injustice will befall you this Day. So a parchment will be taken out for him, upon which there will be the testification of laa ilaaha illallaah and the testification that Muhammad is the Slave and Messenger of Allaah. The man will say: 0 Lord, what is this parchment in comparison to those scrolls! It will be said to him: No injustice shall befall you. The scrolls will then be placed in one of the scales and the parchment in the other; the scrolls will be light in weight, whereas the parchment will be heavy.

Those who believed in Allahs Lordship but where not Muslims

The belief that the shahada means There is no god but god is all the disbelievers mentioned in the Quran recognised Allah’s sovereignty and lordship and that he was the sole creator and that everything happened through his will. Yet they disbelieved because that did not recognise that ‘none has the right to be deified and worshiped except Allah’ which is the correct meaning of the Shahada

  • Iblis acknowledged that Lordship (Ruboobiyyah) belongs to Allah alone and he took an oath by Allah’s might “By your Might, I will surely mislead them all” SAD 38:82 . He also said O my Lord, because you left me astray AL-HIJR 15:39 Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab and other leaders of unbelief also acknowledged and believed in Allahs lordship. Allah said about such believers

And if you ask them who created them, they would surely say: Allah. How then are they turned away AZ-ZUKHRUF 43:87 Say: Who is the lord of the seven heavens and the lord of the great throne, they will say Allah AL-MUMENOON 23:86 Say in Whose hand is the sovereignty of everything, Who protects all, whilst against whome there is no protector, if you do know? They will say: It belongs to Allah AL-MUMENOON 23:89-90 Say:Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? Or to Whom belongs hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And Who is the Disposer of affairs? They will say: AllahYUNUS

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