The Shahada, “the testimony” is an Islamic oath and creed, and one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. Shahada is a central belief in Islam and is considered the first of the Five Pillars of Islam.
In this article, we will be looking at the meaning of shahada in English, transliteration, how to write it in Arabic and the correct pronunciation.
Shahada In English
The English translation of the shahadah is: “I bear witness that there is no deity (none worthy of worship) but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Shahada In Arabic
Here is Arabic text of shahada:
أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ
The transliteration of Shahadah is as follows: “Ash-hadu alla ilaha illa-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasul-Allah”.
The basic principle regarding how the testimony of Tahweed (the shahaadah) is to be pronounced is that the words should be pronounced all in one go, because its meaning will be completed when one pauses at the end, not in the middle at the word illa (except).
So one should say “Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allah wa anna Muhammadan Rasoolullah (I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), in one breath.
Or one may say “Ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allah,” then pause, then say, “Wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasoolullah.”
Here is the correct pronunciation of shahada.
What Does Shahadah Mean in Islam?
Shahada means to testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.
You testify with your tongue by speech, and your heart by affirming that: There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah; i.e., no god deserves worship except Allah – free is He from all imperfections and Exalted is He.
Singling out Allah with worship (Uloohiyyah) stems from singling Him out for creation, control and sustenance of creation (Ruboobiyyah) because whoever directs worship to Allah has affirmed His Ruboobiyyah since the deity to whom worship is directed must be creator, sustainer and controller of the entire creation.
Hence, there is none among the creatures deserving of worship; not a close angel nor a sent messenger or sun or moon or tree or stone or land or sea or a saint or truthful person or martyr:
None has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone. This is the expression Allah sent all the Messengers with.
Allah the Exalted said:
‘And We did not send any Messenger before you but We inspired him [to say] ‘None has the right to be worshipped except I, so worship Me (Alone).”Surah Al-Anbiyaa: 25
He the Exalted also said:
“And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger [saying] ‘Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid Taghoot…’An- Nahl: 36
Meaning, stay away from joining partners with Allah.
If an individual truly understands and acts upon this expression; saying it from his heart and sticking to its implications in the matters of Faith and good deeds; he will enter the Paradise.
The Prophet SAW said, “Whoever has his last statement in this world as: Laa ilaaha illa Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah) will enter the Paradise.”
May Allah make us and you among them.
The second part of shahada: Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger”: i.e., you should testify that Muhammad, the son of Abdullah of the Hashim tribe of Quraysh, an Arab is Allah’s Messenger.
The entire message of the Messenger abrogates every other religion preceding it.
So, all religions are null and void with the advent of the Messenger (SAW). Hence, the religion of the Jews is null; likewise the religion of the Christians is null and unacceptable in the sight of Allah according to Allah’s saying:
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never he accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.”Surah Al-Imran: 85
The shahada comes along with his saying, “and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger” because whoever believes that: there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah will give worship to Alone; and whoever affirms that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah will follow Allah’s Messenger and not his own desires.
Hence, they are both considered as a single pillar among the pillars of Islam since they both return to a single thing: Making worship pure.
Worship cannot be made pure except through the meanings of the two statements of testimony:
Testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah by which sincerity is attained, and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger by which following is achieved.
Conditions Of The Acceptance Of The Shahada
There are a number of conditions attached to the Shahaadatayn, which are as follows:
This means knowing the meaning of the Shahaadah, both the negation (There is no god) and the affirmation (except Allaah), knowledge as opposed to ignorance of this.
It is reported in al-Saheeh that ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever dies knowing that there is no god except Allaah will enter Paradise.”
This is certainty as opposed to doubt, whereby the person who says this [the Shahaadah] is absolutely certain about the meaning of these words, because faith does not count unless it is based on certain knowledge, not on knowledge based on speculation, let alone doubt.
A condition of their being truthful in their belief in Allaah and His Messenger is that they should not doubt. The one who doubts is a hypocrite – Allaah forbid.
This means that one accepts with one’s heart and with one’s words that which is implied by this kalimah. Allah says:
“Whoever brings a good deed (i.e. belief in the Oneness of Allaah along with every deed of righteousness), will have better than its worth; and they will be safe from the terror on that Day”Surah al-Naml :89
This means submitting to what is implied by the Shahaadatayn, as opposed to ignoring or neglecting it.
“And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him (in Islam)”Surah al-Zumar 54
Truthfulness, true belief
This means, meaning what you say, as opposed to lying. This means saying it from the heart, where the heart agrees with the words being uttered.
In al-Saheehayn it was narrated from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no one who bears witness that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, truly from his heart, but Allaah will protect him from the Fire.”
This means purity of action with a sound intention, free from any contamination of shirk. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allaah only”Surah al-Zumar 3
This means love for this word and for what it implies, and its people, those who act upon it and adhere to its conditions; and hatred of whatever goes against it.
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as rivals (to Allaah). They love them as they love Allaah. But those who believe, love Allaah more (than anything else).”Surah al-Baqarah 2:165
Some scholars added an eighth condition, which is the rejection of all things that are worshipped instead of Allaah.
We ask Allah the Exalted to make us and you among those who truly implement them in our creed, utterances and deeds.