The Meaning of the Testimony that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger
This means to believe his statements, do the acts he commanded, avoid the acts he prohibited and worship Allah according to the manner he prescribed and taught us.
What Does Belief that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger Entail?
- To believe all the statements he made about everything. This includes the following:
- Matters relating to the unseen world, such as the Last Day, the eternal bliss in Paradise and the everlasting punishment in Hellfire
- The events that will take place on the Day of Judgement, the signs of this day and the major incidents preceding the end of the world
- Stories of past nations and what happened between the prophets and their people
- To do the acts he enjoined and avoid the acts he prohibited. This includes the following:
- To comply with his orders, fully convinced that he did not speak of his own desire and that what he came with was nothing but a revelation revealed to him, as the Qur’an states, “Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:80)
- To avoid the acts he prohibited, such as erroneous practices and bad manners, fully convinced that he only prohibited us from doing so due to some divine wisdom and for our own benefit even if we may not be sometimes aware of such benefit
- To be certain beyond any doubt that doing the acts he enjoined and avoiding the acts he prohibited will benefit us tremendously and bring us happiness in this life and in the hereafter, as the Qur’an states, “Obey Allah and the Messenger, that you may find mercy.” (Soorat Aal ‛Imraan, 3:132)
- To firmly believe that those who disobey Allah’s Messenger r will suffer a grievous punishment, as the Qur’an states, “Those who oppose his command should beware of a testing trial coming to them or a painful punishment striking them.” (Soorat An-Noor, 24:63)
- To worship Allah ﷻ in accordance with the Prophet’s instructions. This implies the following:
- To follow his example: We ought to follow the Prophet’s Sunnah, or practice, including his words, deeds and tacit approval, in all aspects of our lives. Indeed, the more one follows the Prophet’s example, the more one gets closer to Allah ﷻ and the higher the grades of honour one will have with one’s Lord, as the Qur’an states, “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’” (Soorat Aal ‛Imraan, 3:31)
- Islam is complete: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ conveyed Islam and all its laws in full; thus, no one is allowed to introduce any practice in Islam which the prophet ﷺ did not approve.
- Islam is relevant to all times and places: Islamic rulings mentioned in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah are relevant to all times and places, for no one knows for certain what is best for people except Allah who created them in the first place.
- To follow the Prophet’s Sunnah: For one’s goods deeds and devotional acts to be accepted by Allah I, they have to be done in accordance with the manner prescribed by the prophet ﷺ, as the Qur’an states, “So let him who hopes to meet his Lord do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.” (Soorat Al-Kahf, 18:110) The phrase ‘righteous work’ here denotes good deeds which are done in accordance with the Prophet’s Sunnah.
- Innovations in religious matters are strictly forbidden: Those who introduce an innovation in religion (an act of worship which contradicts the Prophet’s Sunnah), such as offering a prayer not sanctioned by the Prophet S, blatantly go against his command and will have the innovation they have introduced rejected, as the Qur’an states, “Those who oppose his command should beware of a testing trial coming to them or a painful punishment striking them.” (Soorat An-Noor, 24:63) The Prophet ﷺ also said in this connection, “He who innovates something in this religion of ours that is not of it will have it rejected.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 2550; Saheeh Muslim: 1718)
By strictly forbidding innovations in religion and adding or changing acts of worship, Islam intends to protect divine law against distortion and alterations and safeguard it against being subjected to people’s whims and desires. Apart from this, Islam does, however, encourage the human mind to engage in innovative thinking and to explore the secrets of the universe in all aspects of life with a view to serving humanity and helping develop its present and future status.