Your First Steps in Islam: The Shahadatayn

The Shahadatayn: The Two Testimonies of Faith

Your First Steps in Islam: The Shahadatayn (Part 1)

No one has the right to be worshipped
but Allah.

These are the testimonies that no one has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. This is a verbal pillar of Islam, but one must also follow it with belief and action. This is the key to enter Islam.

The Meaning of the First Testimony of Faith

This is the phrase of tawheed (The concept of the Oneness of Allah). For this concept, Allah brought the creation into being, and for this concept He created Paradise and Hellfire.

Allah says:

“And I have created neither the Jinn nor mankind except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

This is the belief to which all Prophets and Messengers called their peoples, may Allah praise them and keep them safe from all evil.

Allah says:

“And we have not sent before you any messenger except that We have revealed to him that there is no god that is worshipped in truth except Me, so worship and obey Me.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:25)

The first testimony of faith, that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, includes the following meanings:

1- Allah is the Creator of all that exists. Allah says:

“Such is Allah, your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but Him, the Creator of all things. So worship and obey Him Alone, and He is the Guardian over all things.” (Al-An`am 6:102)

2- Allah is the Proprietor of all that exists, and the Disposer of all

Affairs. Allah says:

“Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of all that exists!” (Al-A`raf 7:54)

Points one and two are known as Tawheed ar-Rububiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah’s

Lordship. This is the belief that there is no Creator, Provider, Sustainer, and Owner except for Allah.

3- Allah is the One who deserves to be worshipped. Allah says:

“Unquestionably, to Allah belongs whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth. And those who invoke other than Allah do not actually follow His alleged partners. They follow not except assumption, and they only invent lies.” (Yunus 10:66)

This is the concept known as Tawheed al Uluhiyyah, or the Oneness of Allah in His worship.

4- To Him belong the beautiful names and perfect attributes. Far removed is He from every imperfection. Allah says:

“And all the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.” (Al-A`raf 7:180)

This concept is known as Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifat, that Allah has the Best Names and Attributes, and that there are none equal or comparable to them.

The Conditions of the Testimony of Faith

It is not enough to merely say this testimony for it to be accepted by Allah. It is a key to the gates of Paradise, but in order for the key to work, it needs to have the right ridges. This Testimony must meet the following conditions for it to be accepted by Allah:

1- Knowledge

This comprises knowing that all things worshipped besides Allah are false. There is no god worshipped in truth except Allah, even if it be a prophet, a messenger or an angel. Allah is the only One Who deserves all types of worship, such as prayer, supplication, hope, sacrifice, fasting, etc.

Whoever assigns any act of worship to other than Allah while that person intends to worship or aggrandize the one who he assigned it to, has committed an act of disbelief, even if he uttered the two testimonies.

2- Certainty

The heart must be firmly certain of the meaning of the two testimonies. Certainty is the opposite of doubt, so there is no room for a person to doubt or hesitate in his belief.

Allah says:

“The believers are only those who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not, and strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those are the truthful.”  (Al-Hujurat 49:15)

3- Acceptance

One should accept the testimony fully, and not reject it. Allah says:

“Truly, when it was said to them, ‘There is no true deity worshipped except Allah,’ they puff themselves up with pride in denial.” (As-Saffat 37:35)

It is not sufficient that a person knows what the Shahadah means and believes it with certainty. Rather he must accept it by pronouncing it, and accepts to become a Muslim.

4- Submission

One should obey and act upon all what the testimonies necessitate. A person must do what Allah ordered and abstain from what He prohibited.

Allah says:

“And whosoever submits his face to Allah, while he is a Muhsin then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold. And to Allah return all matters for decision.” (Luqman 31:22)

5- Truthfulness

One must be truthful in professing the testimonies. Allah says:

“They say with their tongues what is not within their hearts.” (Al-Fath 48:11)

6- Sincerity of Worship

One must sincerely dedicate all acts of worship to Allah alone. Allah says:

“And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, following the religion purely and sincerely for Him, turning away from other religions.” (Al-Bayyinah 98:5)

7- Love

One must love the testimonies and all that they necessitate. He must love Allah, His Messenger, and His righteous servants. He must show enmity towards all who show enmity to Allah and His Messenger. He must prefer what Allah and His Messenger love, even if it differs from his desires.

Allah says:

“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (At-Tawbah 9:24)

These testimonies also necessitate that Allah is the only One Who has the right to legislate, whether it be in matters concerning worship or those concerning human relations, in both individual and public matters.

The act of making something prohibited or lawful is for Allah alone. His Messenger merely explained and clarified Allah’s commandments.

Allah says:

“And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, refrain from it.” (Al-Hashr 59:7)

When one fulfills the conditions of the Shahadah, he would free himself from worshipping man and devote all acts of worship to the Creator of man. This would lead one to being independent.

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Source: This article is based on Abdur-Rahman Al-Sheha’ My First Step in Islam published by Osoul International Center.

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