Declaration of Faith: Shahadah
What is it
Profession of faith, is the first pillar of Islam. Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting the creed "there is no diety but God and Muhammad is His servant and messenger." This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim's complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam.
This statement of faith should be declared publicly. It should be a genuine belief which includes all the articles of faith. The witnessing of the Oneness of Allah is the rejection of any form of deity other than Allah, and the witnessing that Muhammad is His Messenger is the acceptance of him being chosen by Allah to convey His message of Islam to all humanity and to deliver it from the darkness of ignorance into the light of belief in, and knowledge of, the Creator.
What is it's Significance
Islam is one of the three monotheistic religions to arise in the Middle East; along with the other two - Judaism and Christianity- it stresses the oneness and uniqueness of God. The word 'Allah' means 'The God.'
The second phrase of the Shahada declares that Muhammad is God's messenger to humankind. Accepting the Judaeo-Christian Biblical tradition in large part, Muslims believe that God had sent prophets and messengers to other nations in the past with the same revealed message Muhammad was to recite to the Arabs. Muhammad's mission brought the final positing of divine Truth, and thus Muhammad is regarded as the "Seal of the Prophets."
Reciting and accepting the Shahadah, before two witnesses is all the formality required from new embracers of Islam. It is also included in the call to prayer (adhan) and repeated during all prayers. And yet it is more than a verbal formality, for when you take God as your God it means that you take Him as the shaper and guider of your life, undistracted by other influences be they people, things or moods and desires. And as you profess that Mohammad is His messenger it means a pledge to abide by the instructions and teachings given by Mohammad and to acknowledge their divine source. In Islamic jurisprudence and literature over the ages lengthy works have be written on the far reaching implications of 'No god but God and Mohammad is His messenger.'
How is it recited and what do the words
Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammadun rasulu'Llah
Which can be interpretation as:
- I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Apostle"
- I bear witness that there is no diety but Allah (and) Muhammad is His servant and messenger"
- "Allah" is infact a conjunction of two words (i.e. Al-Ilah):
"Al" which means "The"
- "Illah" which means "God"
- Ilaha (god/diety)
Refer to anything which we may be tempted to put in place of God wealth,
Illa'Llah:' except God, the source of all Creation.
- Muhammadun rasulu'Llah: 'Muhammad is the messenger of God'.
- A message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.
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