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The Meaning of The Testimony of Faith

Written by: by Hamoud Al-Lahim :: (View All Articles by: Hamoud Al-Lahim)

Introduction

The meaning of the testimony of faith

The requirements of the testimony of faith

The Conditions  of the testimony of faith

 

Introduction:

The testimony of faith is the decisive criterion by which man is judged to be a Muslim or Kafir. This testimony is the foundation upon which Islam is based. The concept of life, the universe and man is diffused from it, and upon it is based the message of all Messengers beginning with Noah and ending with Muhammad, may Allah exalt their mention, Allah, the Exalted says:

" We did not send a Messenger before you without revealing to him: There is no god worthy of being worshipped except I, therefore worship Me." (V.21:25)

Allah has created men and jinn and the rest of creation on account of the testimony of faith, there is no god worthy of being worshipped except Allah. Consequently everything in this universe submits in worship to Allah, to whom belongs the creation and the authority. He is aware of all things.

 

The Meaning of the testimony of faith:

The testimony comprises of two concepts: denial and affirmation.

First: The Testimony of Faith denies everyone and everything other then Allah, the Exalted, the attribute of divinity. All those other than Allah, such as the angels, the Prophets, and the rest of Mankind,  are not gods nor do they deserve to be worshipped. Nor do  the idols and the political regimes in the world deserve to be worshipped.  Thus denial in this respect is not denial of the existence of the alleged gods, rather the denial of divinity which is attributed to them.

Second: The testimony of faith affirms and restricts divinity to Allah alone. That is, the slave must believe Allah is the only true God, and dedicate accordingly no act of worship to other than Allah.

Since Worship with all its legitimate acts and rites must be dedicated only to the God who deserves it, therefore, the true God to whom worship must be dedicated is the One who enjoys certain attributes, some of which are:

1- Divinity, the Oneness, of Allah who is singled out as the only true God having no partner to share His divine attributes, nor His domain. He is the One, As-Samad.

2- Self-sufficiency, Allah stands in need of no one; He needs neither a helper nor a spouse or a son.

3- The capability of doing everything. There is nothing which frustrates His capability. He does anything He wishes without exhaustion or support. If he wills to do a thing, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.

4- The absolute life which is unaffected by perishment. Allah is ever-lasting, and He is Al-Qayyoom.

5- Alertness: Allah never sleeps nor is He heedless, He is neither seized by slumber or sleep.

6- Inclusive proprietorship: All existing things belong to Allah alone.

7- Knowledge: Allah's knowledge encompasses the whole universe, even an atoms weight does not escape His knowledge. He is well aware of the hidden , the apparent, the past, the present, and the future.  He knows the inner thoughts of man.

8- Pride and grandeur: There is nothing greater than Allah, neither in His essence or in His grandeur, nor in His supremacy.

9- Merciful and beneficence: Allah does not wrong a thing or punish unjustly rather He loves His devotees, and forgives the sins of those who repents to Him.

Hence, the One Who possesses such attributes deserves to be worshipped. Allah, the Exalted, after all, is the only One who possesses such attributes. He is the King, the Powerful, the Wise, the One who knows the seen and the unseen, the Merciful, the Beneficent.

Only the One to Whom the divine attributes belong is the true God who is worthy of being worshipped and to Whose greatness all creation submit. It is for this reason the testimony of faith constitutes denial of divinity to all other than Allah and confirming it to Allah alone, for He is the only true God.

Allah, who is far removed from every imperfection, exclusively enjoys the attributes of divinity. This divinity entails:

The right of legislating laws. Allah is the one who legislates laws for His creatures, therefore no one may legislate laws for himself or for others that do not conform with those of Allah, or those related by His Messengers.  No one may  design a mode of worship or a transactional regulation for individuals or groups. Neither is it the right of anyone to deem things lawful or unlawful on his own accord. Nor is it the right of anyone to legislate a penal law on his own accord, for such rights are exclusively Allah's. Whoever gives himself such rights presumptuously sets up himself as god. Whoever obeys him takes him for a god in place  of Allah.

Allah, the Exalted, has mentioned that Christians have taken their scholars and monks as lords other than Allah only by obeying their lords who prohibited Allah's lawful things, and legalized his prohibited things without divine sanctions. They did so after knowing that Allah is the true God to whom worship must be dedicated and after knowing that Allah accepts only those acts of worship legislated by Him, and by His Messenger.

Therefore, we must know the acts of worship so that we dedicate them to Allah alone. Once we know this, we know that He has created the creatures only to worship Him. Man as part of His creatures, must dedicate all his life worshipping Allah, he must be aware of Allah's rulings respecting everything he does, thus every lawful thing he does intending it to be a means of bringing him closer to Allah, turns to be an act of worship. Worship is an inclusive term comprising every utterance and deed, apparent or hidden that Allah loves.

Having read this brief message about the meaning of the testimony of faith and its requirements, you are probably anxious to profess it and apply its requirements. Now, what are the requirements of this testimony that are incumbent upon the person who confesses it ?

These requirements are:         

1- The belief that Allah is the true god to whom worship must be dedicated.

He is the One who possesses all attributes of perfection, and Who is far removed from every imperfection such as taking a spouse or a son.

2- The belief that Allah is the Creator of all existing things, the sustainer, the giver of life and death, the proprietor of the universe, the only ruler and legislator.

3- The belief that Allah possesses the attributes of perfection, and is far removed from every imperfection as Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him , informed us in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The only two sources from which we know the attributes of Allah. Were Muhammad, peace be upon him , to forge lies against Allah, Allah would have definitely punished Him. On the contrary, Allah supported Him with miracles that have proven his veracity and trustworthiness in conveying the Message of His Lord. Allah says:

"And  if he (Muhammad PBUH) had forged a false saying concerning Us , We surely should have seized him by His right hand, (or with power and might), and then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta)." (V.69:44,45,46)

4- Taking the believers for friends, loving and supporting them. Allah says:

"Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).."

5- Disavowing the unbelievers and standing aloof from them.

Allah says:

" Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, - until you believe in Allah Alone, except the saying of Abraham to his father: Verily, I will ask for forgiveness (from Allah) for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah. Our Rubb! In You (alone) we put our trust and to You (alone) we turn in repentance, and to You (alone) is (our) final Return."(V.60:4).

The above are some of the requirements of the testimony of faith.  The testimony which is considered a prelude and access to Islam, rather its base. Whoever confesses it with sincerity, and applies it, would ultimately be admitted to the Jannah, the heavenly garden, by the will of Allah. If a person committed some sins and died before repenting, it is up to Allah, to forgive him or punish him with the Fire but would later take him out of the fire and admit Him to Jannah having been purified from his sins.

It is mentioned in the Prophetic traditions that Musa, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah exalt him, asked Allah to assign for him an act of worship and be particularly his to perform. Allah, the Exalted, commanded him: "O Musa, say "There is no god who deserves to be worshipped but Allah." Musa said: "My Rubb! All your slaves confess this testimony." To indicate the significance of the testimony of faith, Allah then said: "O Musa, were the seven heavens and the seven earths, and all what they contain put in one side of the scale, and was put on the other side of it would have overweighed them".

The Prophet, (Peace be upon him) said:

"He who concludes his life with uttering the testimony of faith, that is to be his last words before he dies, he will be admitted to  Jannah."

The  conditions of the testimony  of faith:

1- Knowledge, which consists of recognizing Allah as the only true God to Whom worship must be dedicated, and denouncing all gods worshipped beside Allah as false, and that they can neither extend benefit nor cause harm.

2- Certainty that the belief in Allah must be unblemished with any doubt.

3- Acceptance; that is to accept all its conditions.

4- Submission; that is to fulfill its conditions submissively and willingly being content with Allah as the Rubb, and Muhammad, Peace be upon him, as His Prophet and Messenger.

5- Truthfulness; that is to fulfill its requirements truthfully.

6- Sincerity; That is to be sincere in worshipping Allah, dedicating all acts of worship to Him Alone.

7- The love of Allah; the Exalted, and the love of His Messenger, Muhammad, Peace be upon him, and the love of Allah's devotees and the people who obey Him.

Finally, it should understood that Allah must be obeyed by following His commands and refraining from his prohibitions. Obedience to Allah must be associated with loving Him, fearing His punishment, hoping for his reward, seeking His forgiveness, and adhering to his Shari'ah, and the teachings of His Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him,  the last of Allah's Messengers.  The Shariah (the laws and religious rites) abrogate all the preceding laws and religious rites. His comprises of the best of every preceding Shari'ah.

The above is a brief explanation on the meaning of the testimony of faith, and its requirements. I pray to Allah that He may render it beneficial, and may He bless His slave, and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, his household and all of his Companions.                                

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