The Two Testimonies of Faith {Its Meaning, Virtues and Conditions} Part 1

The Two Testimonies of Faith {Its Meaning, Virtues and Conditions} Part 1

Ash-Shahadah

Linguistic meaning: Open affirmation

Technical meaning: To affirm with the heart, the tongue and to have firm faith that there is none worthy of worship in truth except Allah, and that Mohammed (ﷺ) is the slave and Messenger of Allah.

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ

 The Meaning of ‘La ilaha illAllah’ – There is no deity worthy of worship, in truth, except Allah

We shall first begin by explaining the true meaning of the testimony ‘La ilaha illAllah’, which is to believe and affirm There is no deity worthy of worship, in truth, except Allah, holding on to it and acting in accordance with it. ‘La ilaha’ is negating that anybody has the right to be worshiped except Allah, whoever it might be. ‘illAllah’ is affirming the Right of Allah Alone to be worshiped.

La ilaha illAllah has two pillars:

  • The First Pillar: Negation– ‘La ilaha’ negates all forms of Shirk and its’ types, and necessitates disbelieving in everything that is worshiped other than Allah.
  • The Second Pillar: Affirmation– ‘illAllah’ affirms that none is worthy of worship, in truth, except Allah and requires one to act upon everything it encompasses.

The meaning of these two pillars has been mentioned in many verses, like the Saying of Allah:

فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى لا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“…Whosoever declares kufr on (rejects) Taghoot then believes in Allaah, he has grasped the most trustworthy knot of Islam…”[1]
His Saying, ‘Whoever disbelieves in Taghoot’ is the meaning of the first pillar, i.e., La ilaha. His Saying, ‘believes in Allah’ is the meaning of the second pillar, i.e., illAllah.

Proof from the Qur’an: 

Allah says:

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّ مَا يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ هُوَ الْبَاطِلُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ

“That is because Allah is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand.”[2]

فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ

So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women.[3]

Proof from the Hadith:

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ بُنِيَ الإِسْلاَمُ عَلَى خَمْسَةٍ عَلَى أَنْ يُوَحَّدَ اللَّهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلاَةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَصِيَامِ رَمَضَانَ وَالْحَجِّ ‏”

It is narrated on the authority of (‘Abdullah) son of Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: (The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), i. e. the oneness of Allah, the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat, the, fast of Ramadan, Pilgrimage (to Mecca).[4]

Statements from the Scholars of Islam

Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah said: The Salaf and the Imams unanimously agree that the first thing the slave is commanded with is to proclaim the two declarations of faith.[5]

Imam Ibn Qayyim said: This testimony includes an indication of Allah’s which opposes polytheism and no one truly fulfils this declaration in a correct manner amongst all of the groups except Ahl As-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. As for the groups of innovation, they do not truly shoulder this declaration.[6]

References:

[1] Qur’an: Surah al-Baqarah: 256

[2] Qur’an: Surah Hajj: 62

[3] Qur’an: Surah Muhammed: 19

[4] Sahih: Recorded in Sahih Muslim (no. 16a)

[5] Reference: At-Ta’afud 8/11 of Imam ibn Taymiyyah.

[6] Reference: Madaarij as-Salikeen 3/460 of Imam ibn Qayyim.

Compiled by Mohammed Ibrahim Hussain

(Research Center for Hadith)

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