REFLECTIONS ON LA ILAHA ILLAHLAH
“That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the creator of all things: Then worship you Him : and He has power to dispose of all affairs.” (Qur’an 6:102)
Although all practicing Muslims repeat the shahadah many times every day, only few understand its profound meaning, and appreciate its implications. For example, how many Muslims understand why the shahadah uses the negative form – La Ilaha ha Ila Allah (There is no Ilah except Allah), instead of the affirmative form – Allah is one; and why did the Qur’anic revelations stress this concept for the thirteen years which the Prophet (saws) spent in Mecca before migrating to Medina? To help us in understanding the answer to these questions, and in better appreciating the implications of La Ilaha Illa Allah, the Qur’an provides us with the following two facts:
a.. All the prophets and messengers of Allah were principally teaching the same thing: La Ilaha lila Allah: “O my people! worship Allah! you have no other god but Him” (Qur ‘an 7:59) This is precisely what Noah said; Hud declared (Qur’an 7:65); and Salih affirmed (Qur’an 7:73). Shuaib gave the same message (Qur’an 7:85). The same doctrine was repeated and confirmed by Prophets Moussa, Issa, and Mohammad (saws) ”Say; Truly I am a warner: no god is there but Allah, the One, Supreme, and Irresistible.” (Qur’an 38:65) “Say: Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah, and follow with sincere devotion his deen.” (Qur ‘an 39:11)
b.. Many of the unbelievers who opposed the prophets did not deny the existence of Allah, nor that He was the sole creator of heavens and earth; and of human beings. If you were to question them, “Who created the heavens and earth?” they would be sure to reply, “they were created by (Him), the exalted in power, full of knowledge “. (Qur ‘an 43:9) “If you ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah: how then are they deluded away from the truth)?” (Qur ‘an 43:87)
The Muslim scholar Abul A’la Maududi explains La ilaha illa Allah by using four basic terms from the Qur’an: Ilah, Rabb, Ibadah, and deen (see the table below). The four words, and their derivatives, are repeated many times in the Qur’an; the word Ilah (147 times), Rabb (975 times), Ibadah (275 times), and deen (94 times). Note that the word deen is an all encompassing concept dealing with life as an integrated whole. It is not restricted to the so called “religious” observances, practices, and rituals.
In the light of these four basic terms, La ilaha illa Allah means: Allah is our Rabb and our Ilah; there is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him alone we make Ibadah; and only His deen we adopt and sincerely follow.
In the light of this definition, it is clear that the whole dispute between the unbelievers and the Prophets centered around the uncompromising demand of the prophets that the unbelievers should recognize the very being whom they acknowledged as their creator, as their Rabb and Ilah (as defined in the table) , and should assign this position to none else.
There are many important consequences for appreciating the full meaning and implications of La ilaha illa Allah, including the following three:
a.. Absolute freedom of the human conscience from servitude to, or subjection by, anyone or anything; and realization that one’s life, livelihood, and sustenance are all in the hands of Allah and Allah alone.
b.. The natural urge for making ibadah to an ilah will be directed towards the true Ilah (Allah), rather than towards one or more false ilahs (false gods), whether they be humans, or material things.
c.. Following the true deen of Allah gives a sense of direction, and a meaning to one’s life in the present world, and leads to success in the Hereafter.
We pray to Almighty Allah to help us in appreciating the meaning and implications of La ilaha lIla Allah, and in translating its meaning in our daily lives. Ameen.
Four terms Needed to Understand La Ilaha Illa Allah Ilah Rabb Ibadah Deen
1.. Deity, God
2.. One to be worshipped
3.. One who has power to satisfy your needs and answer your prayer
4.. One who is in control of your affairs
5.. One who can comfort you; provide protection and support for you
a.. Lord, Master and owner
b.. Sustainer, provider and guardian
c.. Sovereign, ruler and administrator
d.. Worship and devotion
e.. Submission and obedience
f.. Subjection and servitude
h.. Government and constitution
i.. Complete system (way of life)
Allah is the Rabb and the Ilah. There is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him Alone we make Ibadah. Only His Deen we adopt and sincerely follow.
THE SHAHADA AND ITS IMPORTANCE
By Shaykh Saleh al-Fouzan
Summarized from a treatise done by Dr. Saleh Al-Fouzan
Adopted from HUDAA Magazine, published by Masjid Al-Istiqaamah
Definitely there could be no greater and more important a statement than ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah’ (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah). It is the statement of declaration of belief in the Tawheed of Allah which is the dividing line between Imaan and kufr. It was the call of all of the previous Messengers and Prophets. Allah (T) Himself attested to the importance of this statement in the Quraan: “…and know that Laa ilaaha ill Allah (that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah)…” [49:19, 20:8, 3:18, 59:22-3]
As long as this statement is an obligation for an unbeliever to declare in order for him to become a Muslim, and also, since a person who pronounces it faithfully his property and life are safeguarded in this world, it becomes an obligation upon any Muslim who wants to understand the Deen of Islaam to realize its meaning, merits, principles, conditions and its place in life.
Remembering Allah (Dhikr Allah) is one of the most important commandments of Allah. This He Himself commanded in many verses of the Quraan, especially after the performance of important religious obligations:
“…Then when you leave Arafat, remember Allah (by glorfying and praising Him) at the Mash`ar il-Haraam. And remember Allah (by invokingAllah for all good) as He has guided you…” [2:198]
“Then when you have accomplished your ‘Manasik’ (all the rights of Hajj); remember Allah as you remember your father with a strong remembrance…” [2:200]
He (T) also said: “…and establish prayers for My remembrance.” [20:14]
The best way to remember Allah is described to us in the Hadeeth of the Messenger (saws), he said: “…and the best (supplication) I and the other prophets who were sent who were sent before me proclaimed was: There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, He is Alone and has no partner. To Him belongs the Ownership (of everything), and to Him belongs all Praise, and He has total power over all things.” [Laa ilaaha ill Allah, wah.dahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul h.amdu wa huwa `alaa kulli shay’in Qadeer.] At-Tirmidhi
The Messenger of Allah (saws) also said: “The best remembrance of Allah is to say ‘laa ilaaha ill Allah’ (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah).”
All of the above points highlight the importance of this ‘kalima’ which we will try to explain in some more detail so that a clearer understanding of it can be achieved.
THE PLACE OF LAA ILAAHA ILL ALLAH IN THE LIFE OF A MUSLIM
It is pronounced daily by him in:
(a) The call to prayer.
(b) At the beginning of their prayers
(c) During Tashahud.
(d) During times of ‘Dhikr’, which is before and after prayers, in the late evening and also in the early mornings.
(e) With this ‘Kalima’ did Allah send all His Messengers.
(f) About it and its obligations will people be questioned
(g) To establish it when the swords of Muslims are drawn for Jihaad.
(h) The first question in the grave will be about this ‘Kalima’.
(i) It is the key to Al-Jannah.
(j) It is what the Muslims are commanded to invite to as is estbalished in the Hadeeth of Muadh when he was sent to Yemen to call the people to Islaam. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “You are going to encounter with a people of the Book, so let the first thing you call them to is the proclamation of ‘laa ilaaha ill Allah’ (there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah)…” [Bukhari]
THE MERITS OF THE ‘KALIMAH’ (LAA ILAAHA ILL ALLAH)
Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Moses (AS) said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. He (T) said: Say ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah’, O Musaa. He (Musaa) said: All of your servants say this. He (T) said: If the seven Heavens and those who dwell in them other than Me and the seven Earths are put into one pan (of the scale) and ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allaah’ is put into the other; ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah’ would be heavier.” [Ibn Hibbaan and Haakim]
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “The best Dhikr (remembrance) is ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah’ (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah)…”
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “A person from my Ummah will be summoned in the presence of all creatures on the Day of Judgement. Ninety-nine records (of his deeds) would be unfolded, each extending as far as the range of the vision can stretch, then he would be asked: ‘Do you deny any of these deeds?’ He will reply: ‘No, My Lord.’ He will be asked: ‘Do you have any excuse or any good deed?’ The man who will be scared will say: ‘No’ It will be said to him: ‘Yes you have some good deeds. No iniquity will befall you.’
A card will then be shown to him, on it will be written: ‘Laa ilaaha ill Allah, Muhammad Rasool Allah.’ He will say: ‘O Allah! What cards and records are these.’ It will be said to him: ‘No injustice shall befall you.’ The (ninety-nine) records will then be placed in one pan of the scale and the card on the other. The card will then outweigh the records.” [At-Tirmidhi and Al-Haakim]
All of These Merits of the ‘Kalimah’ Are Summarized by Ibn Rajab As Follows:
– Al-Jannah is its reward.
– Uttering it before death will cause one to be admitted to the Jannah. –
It is a refuge from the Fire of Hell.
– It is a cause for a Muslim to be forgiven.
– It is the best of good deeds.
– It wipes out sins.
– It traverses all bariers in order to be accepted by Allah, the Almighty
– It is a statement whose pronouncer will be accepted by Allah.
– It is the best proclamation ever uttered by the Prophets.
– It is the best celebration of His praises.
– It is the best of deeds and it multiplies into many good deeds.
– It is a protection against Satan.
– It is a safety from the darkness and the punishment of the graves and from the Day of Resurrection.
– The eight doors of Paradise will be accessible to its pronuncer.
– People who pronounce it will certain come out of the Fire of Hell, even after they have been cast into it for falling short of observing its obligations.
CERTAINTY: CONDITION OF LA ILAHA ILLALLAH
By Shaykh `Obaid bin `Abdullah bin Sulaiman al-Jabiri
Taken from Facilitation by Allah in Explaining the Evidences of the Conditions of “La ilaha ill Allah”
© 1995 Jam`iat Ihyaa Minhaaj al-Sunnah, UK
In explaining the testimony of faith, Muslim scholars have listed seven conditions of the shahadah, which a Muslim must fulfill so that s/he may be acknowledging the unity of Allah in open and in secret.
These seven are:
1. Al-`Ilm (Knowledge of the meaning of the shahadah, its negation and affirmation)
2. Al-Yaqeen (Certainty – perfect knowledge of it that counter-acts suspicion and doubt)
3. Al-Ikhlaas (Sincerity which negates shirk)
4. Al-Sidq (Truthfulness that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy)
5. Al-Mahabbah (Love of the shahadah and its meaning, and being happy with it)
6. Al-Inqiad (Submission to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to Allah (alone) seeking His pleasure)
7. Al-Qubool (Acceptance that contradicts rejection).
Below is an explanation of the second condition. For other conditions, please refer to the book itself. Islaam.com Ed.]
The Second Condition: Certainty (al-Yaqeen)
Certainty – it is perfect knowledge of it that counter-acts suspicion and doubt. The evidence of certainty is His, the Exalted, saying: 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. [Surah al-Hujurat (49):15]
Allah 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 (the Munafiqun).
It is narrated from Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “The servant meeting Allah having testified that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, not doubting them shall enter the Jannah (paradise).” [Muslim – the Book of Iman]
In another narration: “… meeting Allah having testified … is not excluded from Al-Jannah (paradise).” [Muslim – Book of Iman]
It is also narrated from Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) in a long hadith ending with, that the Messenger of Allah said: “…whomever you meet behind this wall, testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, his heart certain of it, give him the glad tidings of Al-Jannah (paradise).”
His saying: “Only those are the believers who have believed in Allaah 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 oly 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.”
From the evidence of the verse (ayah): “…And afterward doubt not…” In this ayah is something that the compiler did not conclude, that the deed is derived from Iman (belief). This ayah is evidence that to strive in the cause of Allah is a “deed” which is an attribute of Iman (faith).
This is confirmed in the Sunnah by a hadith narrated by Abu Jumrah radhiallahu `anhu who said I was with Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu interpreting for him to the people, when a woman approached him and asked him about wine. He said: a deputation of `Abdul-Qais came to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam asked: “Who are the deputation?” (or: Who are the people?) They replied: “Rabiah”. He sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: Welcome to the people (or welcome to the deputation) neither dishonoured nor regretful. He (meaning Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: They said: “O Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, we came from a long distance and between us and you is the habitation of the unbelievers (kuffar) of Mudhar. We can only come to you during the prohibited month (i.e. when fighting is not allowed). Order us with a decisive order that we may convey to those we left behind, and (if we follow it) enter Al-Jannah (paradise)”, He (Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: “He [the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam] ordered them (to do) four (things) and forbade them four (things). He (Ibn Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: “He ordered them to believe in Allah alone and said: “Do you know what belief in Allah entails?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “To testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhamad is the Messenger of Allah and to perform regular prayers, to practice charity, to fast the month of Ramadhan and to give one fifth of your spoils (of war)…” etc. [Al-Bukhari, Book of Prayer Times]
The evidence, from the Sunnah, is that the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam explained belief (Iman) by the visible Islamic deeds and practices.
It is in the Sahih Muslim and it has a story that Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu said: “We were with the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam on a journey until all the food the people had with them was exhausted. So some slaughtered some of their mounts. `Omar radhiallahu anhu said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) why not collect all that remains of the food of the people and invoke Allah.” He did. Those who had wheat brought their wheat, those who had dates brought their dates. Mujahid (radhiallahu `anhu) said: “…and those who had date stones brought their date stones.” I (Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu) said: “and what did they do with the stones?” He said: “They sucked them and drank water afterwards.” He said: “He invoked Allah until all the people had plenty of food (and he mentioned it).” [Muslim – the Book of Iman]
Regarding his sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam saying: “I bear witness that there is no deity 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 that the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam is the Messenger of Allah.
His saying: “The servant meeting Allah having testified…” This is the evidence from the hadith as in the other narration stating: “The servant meeting Allah having testified… is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise).”
To clarify his sallallahu `alaih wa sallam saying: “… he is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise)”, we must explain two things:
First, to exclude from Al-Jannah (Paradise) is of two kinds:
1. Permanent exclusion – in the case of unbelievers. This does not apply to those who meet Allah on Tawhid. Temporary exclusion – this may happen to some believers for major sins they committed as proven in the authentic traditions (Ahadith Mutawaterah) of intercession (Al-Shafa`a).
2. Second, to say that permanent exclusion does not apply to those who meet Allah on Tawhid is strictly speaking conditional and the criteria applied is demanding. It begins with knowledge of the meaning of La ilaha ill Allah and acting upon it. Other conditions will be presented when the tradition narrated by `Otban on the condition of sincerity, is discussed.
It is narrated by Abu Hurairah that: “We were sitting around the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). Abu Bakr (radhiallahu `anhu) and `Omar (radhiallahu `anhu) were with us. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) got up and departed. He was long in coming back and we were worried that he may be attacked, so we arose and I was the first to rise and go out seeking the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). Eventually, I came to a wall belonging to the Ansar (helpers) of Bani an-Najjar. I went all around it to find a door but found none. I saw a small river going through an opening in the wall from a wall outside it. I drew myself together like a fox and entered on the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). He exclaimed: “Abu Hurairah?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “What is the matter with you?” I said: “You were wit us, arose and were late coming back. We were worried that you may be attacked and we became alarmed. I was the first to follow you, and came upon this wall. I drew myself together like a fox and these people are behind me.” He said: “O Abu Hurairah,” then gave him his sandals and said: “Take my sandals. Whomever you meet behind this wall and who witnesses that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, his heart certain in its belief, give him the glad tidings of Al-Jannah (Paradise).”
He mentioned the tradition and in it `Omar radhiallahu anhu asked: “O Messenger of Allah, may parents be sacrificed for you, did you send your sandals with Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) to give glad tidings of Al-Jannah to whomever he met witnessing with certainty that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah?” He said: “Yes.” He said (meaning `Omar radhiallahu `anhu): “Then do not. I fear that people may depend upon it (meaning they will become lax). Let them do (good deeds). The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: “Let them.”
His saying: “Give him glad tidings.” [If a man is given glad tidings his face becomes relaxed. That is because if a person is happy, the blood will rush to his face like water in plants]. The meaning is that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam knew that every Muslim that Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) was going to meet will enter Al-Jannah (Paradise).
His saying: “…his heart is certain…” The condition of certainty requires the negation of suspicion and doubt and this is the main point of narration.
These traditions tell us:
First: The belief in the Hereafter, judgment and recompense is necessary.
Second: The excellence of Tawhid and that whoever dies upon it, certain in its belief will enter Al-Jannah (Paradise).
Third: The (decision) of al-Shurah (consultation) is acceptable provided it is correct even if it were from one person. The idea is not to collect votes.
Fourth: To prevent corruption/mischief is given preference over bringing benefits. This is in accordance with the Shari`ah not with human judgment. Evidences of that are to be found in the numerous texts which we are unable to recount here.