Conditions of the Shahadah
There are many conditions to the testimony of faith ‘Shahadah’ (also known as the first pillar of Islam): “Ashhadu Allah ilaha illallah Wa Ashhadu ana Muhammad ar RasoolAllah.” Seven main conditions are as follows:
1st Condition - Knowledge (I’lm)
Knowledge of its meaning in terms of negation and affirmation. Also knowledge about whom we are worshipping. The evidence for this is the saying of Allah (عز و جل) in the Holy Qur'an;
“So know, that ‘La ilaha illallah’ (there is no ilah worthy of worship except Allah)”. [Muhammad 47:19]
In a confirmed Hadith, narrated by Uthman (رضي الله عنه) the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “He who dies knowing that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah shall enter Al-Jannah (Paradise)”. [Sahih Muslim]
Allah (عز و جل) says: “And We did not send a Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illallah Ana (there is no ilah worthy of worship except I (Allah), so worship Me”. [Al-Anbiya 21:25]
Prophets like Nuh, Hud and Salih (as) each said: “...O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other ilah but Him”. [Al-A’raf 7:59, Hud 11:50, Hud 11:61]
And The Exalted also tells us that the da’wah of all the Prophets and Messengers was one and the same: “And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (nation) a Messenger (Proclaiming): Worship Allah (Alone), and keep away from Taghoot (false deities).” [Al-Nahl 16:36] And He also tells us about the friend (Al-Khalil) - peace and blessings be upon him: “And (remember) when Ibrahim said to his father and his people: “Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, Except Him (Allah) Who did create me; and verily, He will guide me.” And he made it (La ilaha illallah) a Word lasting among his offspring, that they may turn back (i.e. in repentance to Allah).” [Az-Zukhruf 43:26-28]
Allah the Exalted, ordained His Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to convey to his Ummah:“...And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him....” [Al-Isra 17:23]
“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship...” [An-Nisa 4:36]
These above ayat and others in the Quran, similar in meaning, give a clear indication that all the Prophets and Messengers were sent to their nations and entire mankind to prove ‘La iIlaha illallah’ - there is no deity (worthy of worship) except Allah.
2nd Condition - Certainty (Al-Yaqeen)
Once a person has become firm in the knowledge of “La ilaha illallah”, then all doubts and suspicions should be replaced with certainty. The declaration has to be made without any suspicion regarding its meaning. The evidence of certainty is Allah (عز و جل)’s saying:“Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and never since doubted but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful.” [Al-Hujurat 49:15]
Allah (عز و جل) made certainty, without doubt (or suspicions), a condition of true belief (in Allah and His Messenger), since the doubter is from the ranks of the hypocrites (Al-Munafiqoon).
It is narrated from Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The worshipper meeting Allah having testified that there is no ilah worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, not doubting them, shall enter Al-Jannah.” [Sahih Muslim]
His saying: “Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger...” “Only...”-confirms that those mentioned are included and all others are excluded. This means that the people of true belief (Iman), both apparent and hidden, are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger. They believe without doubt or suspicion, by their word of mouth and deeds, and they strive in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives.
He, the Exalted, therefore says: “... Those! They are the truthful.” Regarding the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)’s saying: “I bear witness that there is no ilah worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah”. To witness is to inform and testify. Man is obliged to testify that only Allah is worthy of worship and that He is One and that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is the Messenger (of Allah). His saying: “The worshipper meeting Allah having testified...” This is the evidence from the hadith as is the other narration stating: “The worshipper meeting Allah having testified... is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise).
To clarify his (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saying: “... he is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise) “, we must explain two things:
Exclusion from Al-Jannah (paradise) is of two kinds:
3rd Condition - Sincerity (Al-Ikhlas)
The intention behind accepting Islam and performing all acts of worship must be purely devoted to Allah (عز و جل). The evidence of sincerity which negates shirk, is Allah (عز و جل)’s saying:
“Surely, the religion is for Allah only...” [Az-Zumar 39:3]
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat: and that is the right religion.” [Al-Baiyinah 98:5]
It is narrated from Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The happiest person who will have my intercession will be the one who said sincerely (from the bottom of his heart): None is worthy of worship except Allah.” [Al-Bukhari]
Also narrated by Otban bin Malik (رضي الله عنه) that Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Allah has forbidden hell for those who say: (there in no ilah worthy of worship except Allah) for the sake of Allah only.” [Al-Bukhari]
Referring to the hadith quoted earlier “The happiest person...” this hadith is reported by Imam Al-Bukhari in his Sahih and others. It is also narrated by Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: “It was said: “O Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم); who is the happiest of mankind with your intercession on the Day of Judgement? The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: I thought, O Abu Hurairah that no one would ask me about this hadith before you because of what I have witnessed of your eagerness for hadith. The happiest of mankind with my intercession on the Day of Judgement is the one who saidsincerely (from the bottom of his heart) none is worthy of worship except Allah.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
4th Condition - Truthfulness (Sidq)
The truth that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy. The evidence of the truth is Allah (عز و جل)’s saying: “Alif Lam Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We Believe”, and will not be tested. And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” [Al-Ankabut 29:1-3]
“And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not. They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive it not! In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease, A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.” [Al-Baqarah 2:8-10]
It was narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal (رضي الله عنه) that Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:“There is none who testifies truthfully from his heart that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is His abd(His worshipper) and Messenger, except that Allah will save him from Hell-Fire.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
Regarding His saying: “And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day.” Allah (عز و جل) informs us about what the hypocrites used to do i.e. to show their Iman (faith) by (merely) pronouncing it (with their tongues) whilst their hearts concealed Al-Kufr (Disbelief). They thought that they could deceive Allah (عز و جل), and deceive the believers into being misled by them and inclined towards them. The opposite was the result for this deceit. They were in fact deceiving themselves but did not know because of their utter ignorance and their evil conscience. What drove them to this deceit and lying was suspicion. As for their penalty in the Hereafter, it is in His, the Exalted’s, saying: “...A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.”
Referring to the hadith quoted earlier narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“There is none who testifies...” It was reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim that Anas (رضي الله عنه) narrated from Mu'adh (رضي الله عنه), the text of which states in Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), when Mu'adh (رضي الله عنه) was alongside him as a companion rider, said: “O Mu'adh ibn Jabal, “Mu'adh replied: “Labbaik, O Messenger of Allah and Sa’daik.” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: O Mu'adh! he replied: ‘Labbaik, O Messenger of Allah and Sa’daik’, three times. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)said: “There is none who testifies truthfully from his heart, that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, except that Allah will save him from the Hell-Fire”. (Mu'adh) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, should I not inform the people about it so that they may have glad tidings?” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied: “When the people hear about it they will solely depend upon it.” Mu'adh (رضي الله عنه) narrated this Hadith just before his death- fearing that he may be committing a sin by withholding knowledge from the people.
This confirms that the Hadith agrees with the Ayat (verses) which I quoted earlier that the testimony will not be accepted unless oral testification (by word of mouth) is joined and accompanied by firm belief of the heart. Allah has falsified the hypocrites and did not accept their testimony although they announced to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that he is the Messenger of Allah. That is because they merely said it by word of mouth and were not truthful. Regarding this Allah(عز و جل) said: When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad), they say “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah. “Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed.” [Al-Munafiqun 63:1]
5th Condition - Love (Mahabbah)
Love for this statement “La ilaha illallah” means:
The evidence for love is the saying of Allah (عز و جل): “And of mankind are some who take others (for worship) besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe love Allah more.” [Al-Baqarah 2:165]
And:“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him;
humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers...” [Al-Maidah 5:54] It is narrated from Anas (رضي الله عنه) that: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم)said: “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will attain the sweetness of faith:
As for the meaning of His(الله عز و جل)’s, saying: “But those who believe love Allah more (than anything else)...” There is evidence in this ayah as to the forbiddance of one type of major shirk (association). That is the shirk of apportioning love equally between Allah(عز و جل) and those they consider as Hisequals, as practised by the disbelievers.
The meaning of the sweetness of faith (Iman), is to take delight in the acts of obedience to Allah, to bear the hardships in seeking the pleasure of Allah (the Majestic, the Exalted) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and to prefer that to the materialistic goods of this world. It is also out of the love the worshipper has for His Lord (Praise and Glory be to Him) and love for the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that leads him to be obedient to Him and stops him from being disobedient to Him.
When the love of Allah (عز و جل) enters the heart, one hates the opposite. By the light of this love, the beauty of Islam and the evils of ignorance and infidelity are uncovered. And this is the one who will be with those he loved as reported in the Sahih hadith that Anas (رضي الله عنه) narrated that a man asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم):“When will the Hour be? “He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) asked: “What have you prepared for it?” The man replied: “I have not prepared a lot for it by way of prayers, fasting or charity but I love Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم). The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “You will be with those you love”.
6th Condition - Submission (Al-Inqiad)
Submission is fulfilled by obedience to Allah (عز و جل) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to Allah (عز و جل) Alone, seeking His pleasure. The evidence for submission from the Quran is in what Allah (عز و جل), the Exalted, says: “And turn to your Lord (in repentance) and submit to His (Will) before the torment comes upon you then you will not be helped.” [Az-Zumar 39:54]
And: “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah and he is a Muhsin (good doer). And follows the Millah(religion/Society) of Ibrahim hanifa. And Allah did take Ibrahim as a khalil (an intimate friend).” [An-Nisa 4:125] And:“And whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah and is a Muhsin (performs good deeds), then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold (i.e. La ilaha illallah)...” [Luqman 31:22]
Also: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission...” [An-Nisa 4:65] The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:“None of you shall believe until his desires follow what I have come with”. [Reported by Al-Baghavi]
7th Condition - Acceptance (Al-Qubool)
Acceptance that contradicts rejection and the evidence for acceptance from the Quran is Allah (عز و جل)’s saying: “And similarly, We sent not a warner before you (O Muhammad) to any town (people) but that the luxurious ones amongst them said: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion and we will indeed follow their footsteps.” (The warner) said: “Even if I bring you better guidance than that which you found your fathers following?” They said: “Verily we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.” So we took revenge on them, then see what was the end of those who denied(Islam)”. [Al-Zukhruf 43:23-25]
Also:“Truly when it was said to them: “La ilaha illallah (there is no ilah but Allah)”, they puffed themselves up with pride. And they said: “Are we going to abandon our Aaliha for the sake of a mad poet?” [As-Saffat 37:35-36]
Also from the Sunnah, Abu Musa (رضي الله عنه) reported that Nabi (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The similitude of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed the water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. Another portion of it was hard and held the rainwater and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilised it for drinking, making their animals drink from it and irrigated their land for cultivation. And a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation. The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefit (from that knowledge) which Allah, the Exalted, has revealed through me and learns then teaches others. The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not take Allah’s guidance revealed through me.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
His saying: “And similarly, We sent not a warner before You (O Muhammad) to any town (people) but that the luxurious ones amongst them said...”
Allah (عز و جل), the Exalted, informs us that the reaction of the people of Quraish (residents of Makkah) to Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was similar to that of previous Prophets and their nations.
The Ayat mentioned above indicates:
First: To make firm the heart of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and console him that what his people are saying is nothing new and nor are they a unique species of liars.
Second: Warning against disobedience to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
Third: The danger of imitation and that it is one of the greatest things that dissuade people from accepting the truth and guidance. The evidence for this is to be found in what has been reported in the two Sahihs [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] that Sa’id bin Al-Mussayyab (رضي الله عنه) said that his father said: “When Abu Talib was on his death-bed, the Nabi (صلى الله عليه و سلم) visited him and found Abu Jahl and Abdullah ibn Abi Umayyah ibn Al-Mughirah
already there. He said: “O my uncle say; “La ilaha illallah", a word with which I can defend you in the presence of Allah”. Abu Jahl and Abdullah ibn Abi Umayyah said: “Do you want to turn away from the religion of ‘Abdul-Muttalib?” The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) kept repeating his proposition and the two men kept repeating what they were saying. He (Sa’id bin Al- Mussayyab) said: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “By Allah, I shall seek forgiveness for you unless I am prohibited (by Allah).” Allah then sent down the following revelation: “It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s forgiveness for the Mushrikeen (pagans)...” [At-Tauba 9:113] And in the case of Abu Talib, Allah (عز و جل) also sent down the following revelation: “Verily you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He knows those who are guided.” [Al-Qasas 28:56]
It shows us how Abu Talib preferred the religion of his fathers and grandfathers and refused to bear witness to the Truth.