Testimony of Faith: Meaning and Requirements
Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan rasool-ullaah (I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)
Why the Statement “Laa ilaaha illallaah”?
- Because it is the first duty of a Muslim. Therefore, whoever intends to accept Islam must make such a declaration of faith and believe in it.
- Because whoever says it, sincerely believing in it and seeking thereby Allah’s pleasure, will be saved from Hellfire, as the prophet ﷺ said, “Allah has forbidden for the Hellfire anyone who says, ‘There is no one worthy of worship except Allah,’ seeking thereby Allah’s pleasure.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 415)
- Because whoever dies while believing in it will be admitted into Paradise, as the prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever dies knowing full well that there is no god but Allah will enter Paradise.” (Musnad Ahmad:464)
- Because knowledge of its meaning and dictates, is unquestionably the greatest and most important duty of a Muslim.
The Meaning of Laa ilaaha illallaah
This means no one is worthy of worship except Allah. In fact, this statement negates the existence of any other deity besides Allah ﷻ and confirms that Allah is the only True God worthy of being worshipped.
The Arabic word ilaah (god) refers to any being that is worshipped. Thus, whoever worships something has in fact taken it as a god besides or instead of Allah. All such deities are indeed false except for one God—Allah, the true Lord and Creator.
Therefore, Allah ﷻ alone deserves to be worshipped. It is He alone whom human hearts must worship with utmost love, glorification, humility and fear, and He alone should be relied upon and invoked. No one should be called upon, sought for help or relied upon except Allah. Prayers and sacrifices must be offered to Him alone, and He ought to be worshipped in all sincerity, as the Qur’an states, “They were only ordered to worship Allah, keeping religion pure for Him.” (Soorat Al-Bayyinah, 98:5)
Those who sincerely worship Allah, following the dictates of the testimony of faith, will certainly lead a happy life, for it is only by worshipping Allah alone that hearts find peace and real satisfaction, as the Qur’an states, “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer., We will most certainly make him live a happy life.” (Soorat An-Nahl, 16:97)
The Two main Parts of Laa ilaaha illallaah
This great statement comprises two parts which must be known in order to understand its meaning and requirements:
The First Part: Laa ilaaha (There is no god), negates the existence of any other deity besides Allah I, rejects association of partners with Allah in worship (shirk), and requires disbelief in any being or thing that is worshipped besides Allah, be it a human being, an animal, an idol, a star or anything else.
The Second Part: illallaah (except Allah), confirms that Allah is the only True God worthy of being worshipped and thus all acts of worship, such as the prayer, invocation and reliance, must be directed to Him alone.
All acts of worship must be directed to Allah alone; whoever directs any act of worship to other than Allah is, strictly speaking, an unbeliever.
The Qur’an states, “Whoever calls on another god together with Allah has no proof for doing so at all, and his reckoning is with his Lord. Truly the unbelievers have no success.” (Soorat Al-Mu’minoon, 23:117)
The significance of Laa ilaaha illallaah along with its two main parts are mentioned in the following verse: “Whoever rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped the Firmest Handhold, which will never give way.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:256)
The words “whoever rejects false gods” provides the meaning of the first part of the testimony of faith, namely, Laa ilaaha; while the words “and believes in Allah” provides the meaning of its second part, namely, illallaah.