Every Muslim knows that the key to Paradise is the statement, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah.” Yet too many Muslims simply rely upon this statement and believe that as long as they have made this statement, nothing will harm them. They think they will be granted Paradise because of this mere verbal statement of the Shahadah.
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
“But nay, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you [the Messenger of Allah] judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of which you decide, and submit with full submission.” (Surah an-Nisa 4:65)
The greatest cure for these doubts is seeking knowledge. It is through sound knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah that most of these doubts will be removed. By studying and understanding, one will attain certainty. And as one studies and learns more, his certainty will be made firmer and firmer. The true believer, the one meeting the conditions of the shahadah puts no one whatsoever as an equal to Allah in his love.
وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ
“And they are ordained not else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion.” (Surah Al-Baiyinah 98:5)
Obviously, the shahadah of those who become Muslims simply to benefit from being Muslim and not because they believe in Islam will be rejected by Allah in the Hereafter. They will face a painful punishment due to their lying. One of the signs that we are Muslims for the sake of Allah is that we do whatever Allah asks of us, regardless of what anybody else desires or wants from us. That is, in the same way, that we are Muslims solely for the sake of Allah, all of our actions are done for the sake of Allah.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
- “Worship Allah, making religion pure for him.” (Quran 39:2)
- “Save him who bears witness unto the truth knowingly.” (Quran 43:86)
- “Turn unto Him repentant, and surrender unto Him.” (Quran 39:54)
- “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.” (Quran 35:28)
- “So know that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin.” (Quran 47:19)
- “Say: If your fathers, or your sons, or your brethren, or your wives, or your tribe, or the wealth you have acquired, or merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale or dwellings you desire are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and strive in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah guides not wrongdoing folk.” (Quran 9:24)
- “Yet of mankind are some who take unto themselves (objects of worship which they set as) rivals to Allah, loving them with a love like (that which is due to) Allah only. However, those who believe are stauncher in their love of Allah.” (Quran 2:165)
- “Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom.” (Quran 2:85)
- “And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break.” (Quran 2:256)
- “Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good.” (Quran 4:125)
This is one aspect that Muslims must be aware of. Although it is not the same as the complete refusal to accept the truth, by rejecting part of the truth that has come from Allah, one also negates his testimony of faith. Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and yet does no deeds, either does not understand Islam whatsoever or is bearing testimony against himself that his testimony of faith is not a true and correct testimony of faith.
Conditions of “Laa Ilaaha Illa-Allah”
There are seven conditions of “LA ILAAHA ILLA-ALLAH” or Tawheed that are described below:
- Knowledge (Ilm): One must have the basic knowledge of what is meant by the shahadah or Tawheed. One must understand what the “Laa Ilaaha Illa-Allah” is affirming and what the “Laa Ilaaha Illa-Allah” is denying. Allah Almighty describes the state of true believers in the Holy Quran: “And those they invoke besides Him do not possess [power of] intercession, but only those who testify to the truth [can benefit], and they know.” (Quran, 43: 86). Awareness of the true essence of LA ILAAHA ILLA-ALLAH is the key to admiring Allah Almighty in the most rightful spirit, which in turn is the foundation for achieving the blessed place of Jannah in the hereafter.
- Certainty (Yaqeen): The second condition is a certainty (Yaqeen) which negates doubt, such that the one who pronounces ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ does it with the certainty of what these words indicate, with a determined certainty. One must have complete trust in the Most Merciful is the key factor which makes believers stay firm on their belief and consider Allah Almighty as Enough in every matter without any hesitation in mind. Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran: “The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are truthful.” (Quran, 49: 15)
- Acceptance (Qabool): Acceptance is the third condition of ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’. Once a person has learned Tawheed and the meaning of ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ then he must next verbally acknowledge that he has accepted the Shahadah and never deny it for any reason. A combination of approval of Shahadah through tongue and actions should make one accept His entire commandments with great Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran: “……. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” (Quran, 2: 85)
- Submission to Allah Almighty: The fourth condition is the acceptance the instructions of Islam should be followed with complete obedience and submission to Allah Almighty, which includes the fulfilment of His whole orders and avoiding what He has forbidden. Allah Almighty says in the Noble Quran: “And whoever submits his face to Allah while he is a doer of good – then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah will be the outcome of [all] matters.” (Quran, 31: 22)
- Truthfulness (Sidq): Truthfulness is the fifth condition of ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’.Shahadah is to negate lying, falsehood and it is to say ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ truthfully from one’s heart and to make one’s speech in accordance with what is in one’s heart. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “And of mankind are some, who say, ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease and Allah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.” (Quran, 2:8-10)
- Sincerity: Sincerity (Ikhlas) is to make all forms of worship for Allah Alone, not for anyone else. The believers have been directed to purify their devotion to Almighty Allah, there should be no Riya (show off) in any matter concerning Allah`s Worship and Veneration, as it would lead to performing something according to someone else`s will and desire and not for attaining the sole happiness of Allah Almighty. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Worship Allah, making religion pure for him.” (Quran, 39:2)
- Love: The seventh condition is Love which is a necessary condition of the shahadah or Tawheed. If a person makes the shahadah or say ‘La Ilaha Illa Allah’ but does not love the shahadah and what it stands for, then, in fact, his faith is not complete. It is not the faith of a true believer if he loves something more than this If a person loves something more than Allah, then he has negated his shahadah. Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Quran: “…. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah ……” (Quran, 2:165). So, the true believers of Islam are those who have a tremendous love for Allah.
- Denial of All Other Deities: Although that is clear in the words of the testimony of faith, it does not seem clear to everyone who makes that testimony.
- Adherence until Death: This is a must if the shahadah is to mean anything for you in the Hereafter. You cannot rest on your laurels of what you may have done in the past. No, indeed, the shahadah must be your banner until your death.
All of us do our best to learn at least the basics of Islamic beliefs, the basics of what shahadah means. In this way, Allah willing, we will be making the correct shahadah. We will be witnessing to the truth as we are supposed to be witnesses to it.
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ
“In their hearts (is) a disease so has increased them Allah (in) disease, and for them (is) a punishment painful because they used to [they] lie.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:10)
If a person has knowledge of and certainty in the shahadah, this must be followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart, of whatever that shahadah implies. In conclusion, “LA ILAAHA ILLA ALLAH” is not just a phrase to utter, in fact, one must centre all its beliefs on the above seven described attributes of this testimony that would fulfil the criteria of Shahadah in the most equitable manner.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
“O believers, observe your duty to Allah with right observance, and die not to save as Muslims [surrendering yourselves to Allah].” (Sarah Al Imran 3:102)
Such that, by Allah’s mercy, in the Hereafter, our shahadah will be the key to Paradise for us and the gates of Paradise will swing wide open for us and we will be able to live forever in the bounties of Paradise, with Allah being pleased with us. Indeed, his knowledge will be proof against him as he clearly knows what the conditions are that he must satisfy yet he has shown that he is not willing to satisfy them in his life.