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Five Pillars of Islam - #1 Testimony of Faith (Shahada)

Shahada rainbow textThe Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "(The structure of) Islam is built on five (pillars): Testification of `La ilaha illallah' (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), that Muhammad (PBUH) is his slave and Messenger, Establishment of Salat (Prayer), Payment of Zakat (Obligatory charity), Pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Ka`bah), and Saum (Fasting) during the month of Ramadan.'' (Bukhari and Muslim)

1: Shahada (Testimony of Faith)

In order for one to be Muslim he or she must testify that, “THERE IS NO DEITY WORTHY OF WORSHIP BUT ALLAH, AND MUHAMMAD IS THE SLAVE AND MESSENGER OF ALLAH!” There are two clauses in this declaration of faith. The first one begins with a negation for worshiping any god, and ends with the only exception of affirming the Oneness of Allah. When someone adds the last sentence to this affirmation, one is making a covenant with Allah that he or she will obey His Messenger, as commanded previously:

“Allah commands the Muslims by saying, “O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger.” (Qur’an 4:59)

"God bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise" (Qur’an 3:18)  

The words (there is no god but God), which in Arabic are (La Ilaha Ila Allah), are the exact words which God Himself utters, also the angels and those who possess knowledge.

“When his Lord said to him, "Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!" He said, "I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)." (Qur’an 2:131)

Abu Mahdhura said that the Messenger of Allah pbuh taught him adhan like this: Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest; I testify that there is no god but Allah, I testify that there is no god but Allah; I testify that Muhammad Is the Messenger of Allah, I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and it should be again repeated: I testify that there is no god but Allah, I testify that there is no god but Allah; I testify that Muhammad Is the Messenger of Allah, I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Come to the prayer (twice). Come to success (twice). (Muslim 379)

Listen to the Shahada (Testimony of Faith) HERE

It consists of: I testify “La ilah il-lal-lah, Muhammad Rasoolul-lah.”  

Conditions of the Shahada

  • 1 Knowledge

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.

  • 2 Certainty

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.

  • 3 Acceptance

This means that one accepts with one’s heart and with one’s words that which is implied by this kalimah.

  • 4 Submission

This means submitting to what is implied by the Shahaadatayn, as opposed to ignoring or neglecting it.

  • 5 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.

  • 6 Sincerity

This means purity of action with a sound intention, free from any contamination of shirk.

  • 7 Love

This means love for the words 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.

  • 8 Some scholars added an eighth condition, which is the rejection of all things that are worshipped instead of Allaah (al-kufr bi’l-taaghoot or rejection of false gods).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah and rejects everything that is worshipped instead of Allaah, his property and his blood will be sacred [i.e., it is forbidden to seize his property or shed his blood] and his reckoning will be with Allaah.” (Narrated by Muslim). In order for his property and his blood to be protected, he must, in addition to saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, also reject whatever is worshipped instead of Allaah, no matter who or what it is.[i]

Past Sins are Forgiven Once a Person Accepts Islam

‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: When Allaah put Islam in my heart, I came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may swear allegiance to you.” He held out his hand and I withdrew my hand. He said, “What is the matter, O ‘Amr?” I said, “I want to stipulate a condition.” He said, “What do you want to stipulate?” I said, “That I will be forgiven.” He said, “Do you not know that Islam destroys that which came before it?” (Muslim 121)

“Islam destroys that which came before it” means that it erases it and wipes it out. Stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim.

“Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief), their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning)” Qur'an 8:38

Ready to Say Your Shahada?

You can contact a live agent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week , via the “live chat” service and they can help you to recite the testimony. After reciting it, if you provide them your email, they will send you a vast amount of resources to help you as a new Muslim, as well as offer you live support anytime, any day, for advice, questions, emotional support, and other inquiries you may have.


Recommended Reading

Five Pillars of Islam - #2 Prayer (Salah/Salat)

Five Pillars of Islam - #3 Charity (Zakat)

Five Pillars of Islam - #4 Fasting Ramadan (Sawm)

Five Pillars of Islam - #5 Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)

Zakat al-Fitr



[i] Islamqa

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