Conditions of Ash-Shahada

 

The Word of Taw’hid, La Ilah Ila-Llah, there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, is best and the most beneficial Word. This Word is the strong covenant and the word of Taqwa (piety). It is the most important pillar of the religion and the most vital part of Iman. It is the path through which one will acquire Paradise and will be saved from the Fire. For this word, Allah has started the creation and has sent down the Books and the Messengers. It is the word of the Shahadah (testimony) and the key to the residence of happiness and eternal joy, that is, Paradise. It is the origin of the religion and its most important and uppermost part. Allah said, what translated means,

Allah bears witness that La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilah illa Huwa, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. [3:18].

The Texts that emphasize the vital importance of the Word of Taw’hid are truly numerous in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam.

La Ilaha Illa-Llah will not be accepted from one, except after he or she fulfills its obligations and conditions that were stated in the Quran and Sunnah. There are seven conditions for La Ilaha Illa-Llah that every Muslim must learn and implement, not only memorize. It is a fact that there are many commoners who implement these conditions, yet if they were asked to list them, they would not be able to do so. And there are many people who memorize these conditions by heart, while often committing what invalidates them. Muslims are required to acquire knowledge in these conditions and then implement them, so that they will be among the people of Taw’hid, that is, Islamic Monotheism.

The righteous Salaf have emphasized the importance of the conditions of La Ilaha Illa-Llah and the necessity of adhering by them. Imam Al-’Hasan Al-Basri was once asked, “Some people say that whoever says, “La Ilaha Illa-Llah”, will enter Paradise.” He replied, “Whoever says, “La Ilaha Illa-Llah” and fulfills its rights and obligations, will enter Paradise.” Also, Al-’Hasan once said to Al-Farazdaqh, who was a well-known poet, when Al-Farazdaqh’s wife was being buried, “What have you prepared for such a day (meaning when you die)?” He said, “Testifying La Ilaha Illa-Llah for the past seventy years.” Al-’Hasan said, “What a good provision. But, La Ilaha Illa-Llah has several conditions, so avoid Qathf Al-Mu’hsanat,” meaning falsely accusing chaste, believing women, or saying bad poems about them. Further, Wahb ibn Munbih was once asked, “Is not La Ilaha Illa-Llah the key to Paradise?” He said, “Yes. But, every key has teeth, and if you have a key that has teeth, it will open for you. Otherwise, it will not open.” He meant by mentioning the teeth that La Ilaha Illa-Llah has several conditions that must be identified, learned and implemented.

The Conditions of Ash Shahadah

1. Acquiring knowledge in what it means, what it negates and what it affirms.

2. Having certain faith in it that will eradicate any doubt.

3. Having Ikhlas (sincerity) that eradicates Shirk and Riyaa’ (showing off).

4. Truthfulness that eradicates falsehood.

5. Having love that eradicates hatred and dislike.

6. Adhering by it in a firm manner that will prevent one from ever abandoning it.

7. Acceptance that eradicates rejection.

The Proofs to the Seven Conditions

Following are the proofs to each of these seven conditions, from the Quran and Sunnah:

1. Acquiring knowledge in what it means, what it negates and what it affirms

Knowing the meaning of the Word of Taw’hid and all what it entails of affirming and rejecting: rejecting directing any type of worship to other than Allah, and affirming directing all acts of worship to Allah alone. Allah said, what translated means,

You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).C [1:4],

meaning, “We only worship You, and none else, and depend on You, and none else.” Those who repeat La Ilaha Illa-Llah must acquire knowledge in its implications, as Allah said, what translated means,

So know (O Mohammad) that La Ilaha Illa-Llah. [47:19],

and,

…except those who bear witness to the truth (i.e. believed in the Oneness of Allah, and obeyed His Orders), and they know (the facts about the Oneness of Allah). [43:86].

The scholars of Tafsir (explaining the Quran) commented, “Meaning: except those who testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, having certain faith in what they are testifying, both in tongue and heart.” In addition, Uthman ibn ‘Affan narrated that the Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said, what translated means,

“Whoever dies knowing that there is no deity of worship except Allah, will enter Paradise.” [Muslim].

2. Having certain faith in it that will eradicate any doubt.

Having Yaqeen (certainty) in the Word of Taw’hid that eradicates all doubts and reservations. The Muslim must have firm certainty in La Ilaha Illa-Llah, without succumbing to any type of doubts or reservations. Allah described the believers, when He said, what translated means,

Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful.C [49:15].

“And afterward doubt not,” means, “They were certain without having any doubts.” Imam Muslim narrated that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said, what translated means, “I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah; no slave will meet Allah while believing in them (meaning these words) without any doubt, but will enter Paradise.” Also, Imam Muslim narrated that Abu Hurayrah related to the Prophet Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam that he said, “Whoever you meet behind this wall who testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, with his heart and having certainty in it, give him the good news of Paradise (meaning Paradise will be the reward for such faith).”

3. Having Ikhlas (sincerity) that eradicates Shirk and Riyaa’ (showing off).

Having Ikhlas (sincerity) that eradicates Shirk and Riyaa’ (showing off). This can be achieved through having sincerity in all the acts of worship that one performs and by eradicating all impurities of Shirk and Riyaa’ from the heart and the acts of worship. Allah said, what translated means,

Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. [39:3], and

And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him).C [98:5].

Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said, The ones who will be the happiest with my Shafa’ah (the Prophet’s intercession by Allah’s leave), are those who testify that there is no deity of worship except Allah with sincerity in their hearts. [Al-Bukhari].

4. Truthfulness that eradicates falsehood.

Truthfulness that eradicates Falsehood, by affirming the Word of Taw’hid by both tongue and heart. Allah said, what translated means,

When the hypocrites come to you (O Mohammad), 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.C [63:1]. These people attested that Mohammad Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam is the Messenger of Allah, but they were not truthful.

Also, Allah said, what translated means,

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). [29:1-4].

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Mu’ath related to the Prophet Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam that he said, what translated means, “No one will testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Mohammad Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam is His slave and Messenger, truly from his heart, but Allah will forbid the Fire on him.”

5. Having love that eradicates hatred and dislike.

Having love for the Word of Taw’hid, that which will eradicate all hatred and dislike. This condition entails loving Allah, His Messenger Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, Islam and practicing Muslims who adhere by Allah’s Law and avoid His prohibitions. It also involves hating what contradicts the Word of Taw’hid of Shirk and Kufr, along with those who practice Kufr and Shirk. This condition also involves disliking the Bid’ahs (innovations in the religion) and deviation from the religion. All this is combined in what the Prophet Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said, what translated means, “The firmest of Iman’s ties are having loyalty in the cause of Allah, disloyalty in Allah, love in Allah and hatred for Allah’s Sake.” [At-Tabarani, Abu Dawood & Al-’Hakim]. What further testifies to the fact that love in Allah is a condition of Iman, is,

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).C [2:165].

Further, Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that Anas ibn Malik related that the Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam said, what translated means, “Three (characteristics) whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of Iman: that Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than everyone else; to love someone only for the sake of Allah; and to hate to revert to Kufr after Allah has saved him from Kufr, just as he hates to be thrown in the Fire.”

6. Adhering by it in a firm manner that will prevent one from ever abandoning it.

Adhering by the Word of Taw’hid in an exalted and firm manner that will prevent one from ever abandoning it. Those who affirm that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, are obliged to adhere by Allah’s Law and to surrender to His decisions and destination. Allah said, what translated means,

And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him,C, [39:54],

and

And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism); and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer).C [4:125].

“Submit” indicates that such slaves have adhered by it and surrendered to it.

7. Acceptance that eradicates rejection.

Acceptance that eradicates the slightest defiance and rejection. The Word of Taw’hid must be truly accepted in heart and tongue. Allah has told us the stories of some of those who were saved because they said La Ilaha Illa-Llah, and His destroying those who did not accept the word of Taw’hid. Allah said, what translated means,

Then (in the end) We save Our Messengers and those who believe! Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers. [10:103],

and

Truly, when it was said to them, “La Ilaha Illa-Llah, they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it). And (they) said, “Are we going to abandon our Aliha (gods) for the sake of a mad poet? [37:35-36].

 

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