November 13, 2020

The Significance of Kalima (Shahada)

Dr. Bilal A. Bhat & Intizar Ahmad

Tawheed is the belief in the unification or oneness of God. It holds that Allah is One (Al-Ahad) and Single (Al-Wahid). Every Prophet alayhi salam of Allah (S.W.T) has said Kalima Tayyib in a sense that every Prophet alayhi salam preached the same message that is, “There is only one God” second thing every Prophet has given the glad tiding of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWLLALLAHU ‘ALAYHI WA SALLAM). The belief in the words of “Lá iláha illallah” cause one to enter Islam, to negate all gods and acknowledge Allah as the only God and Lord of the Universe and what it contains. Nobody can be a Muslim without accepting and sticking to the fundamentals of Lá iláha illallah. Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the divine lordship of Allah (referred to as “ruboobiyyah”), meaning believing that Allah is the only one power who creates, gives life and death, and maintains the affairs of all that’s in this universe. Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the divine nature (referred to as “uloohiyyah”), meaning believing that Allah is the only one to whom people should devote their words and actions of worship. None therefore should be worshipped but Him. Lá iláha illallah is the belief in the names and attributes of Allah (referred to as “al-asma’ wa’l-sifaat”), which means affirming what Allah has affirmed for Himself of names and attributes, and denying any attributes that Allah has said are not His, without denying any of His attributes or likening any of His attributes to the attributes of any of His creation. Quran say, Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise (Quran, Al-Hashr, 59:22-24). Someone, who simply repeats the Kalimah, is in the same position as a student admitted to a prestigious University. They have both overcome a great hurdle and are to be commended. However, unless they understand the significance of the action they have undertaken, apply themselves, and work earnestly toward realizing their goal, they will both fail: one in this life and the other in the hereafter. A true Muslim is someone, who is completely aware of the meaning of this phrase, proclaims it with sincerity and devotion, and acts and lives in accordance to its requirements. Muslims are not allowed to take partners or intercessors (prophets, saints, righteous people, idols) with Allah (SWT); they are to worship, obey, and rely solely on Allah (SWT) and His revelations; they must accept Allah’s SWT) laws (religious and social) and orders (permissible and forbidden); and they should not put anyone or anything ahead of their obligations toward Allah (SWT). A Muslim is always cognizant of the fact that the mere rejection of one of a single Word of Allah (SWT) — revealed in the Holy Quran or taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SWT) — is equivalent to denouncing faith. This means that a Muslim will not declare human laws, man-made doctrines, or superstitious ideas superior to Allah’s(SWT) teachings. Indeed, every Muslim must realize that Allah’s (SWT) laws are a reflection of His perfection and have been revealed for all ages and all societies. When Muslims fall short in the practice of their religion, they are to return to Allah (SWT), the most Merciful, with sincere repentance and ask for forgiveness.
The believers should not be affected with the incorrect notion that the belief in God is enough to attain salvation. We should remember that even the pagan Arabs, living at the time of the Prophet SWT), believed in and worshipped Allah (SWT)! They faulted in having taken idols and intercessors to bring them closer to Allah (SWT). According to Quran, If thou ask them, who it is that created the heavens and the earth. They will certainly say, “Allah”. Say: “Praise be to Allah!” But most of them understand not (Quran, Quran, Luqman, 31:25). On the Night Journey, Holy Prophet (S.A.W) lead the prayer and all the Prophets (a.s) prayed behind him. And we all know when we perform salaah and during salaah when we sit and raise the finger of Shahada we say “Ash-hadu an-la-Ilaha ill-Allah Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluh” means “I testify that there is no god save Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah” and Kalima Tayyibah is” “lā ilāha illa’llāh, muhammadun rasūlu’llāh” means “There is no god but Allah, [and] Muhammad [peace be upon him] is the messenger of Allah” The excerpts of the sermon that follows later in this article on the topic of Lá iláha illallah and was delivered by the Muslim leader Umar bin Abdul Aziz who sometimes is considered as the fifth caliph in Islam. He was from the Umayyad dynasty and ruled the Muslims from 717 to 720 CE. He was the great-grandson of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Umar bin Al-Khattab. Within Islamic history, he was known to be extremely pious and disdainful of worldly luxuries. He preferred simplicity to the extravagance that had become a hallmark of the Umayyad lifestyle, depositing all assets meant for the caliph into the public treasury. He abandoned the caliphate palace and instead preferred to live in modest dwellings. Umar bin Abdul Aziz delivered the sermon (excerpts follow) on assuming the leadership of the Muslims and highlights the importance of living by the tenets of Láiláha illallah. All praise is due to Alláh, Who opened the doors of knowledge to those who strived in His worship by granting them the key that is Lá iláha illallah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Alláh). He resurrected the hearts of the knowledgeable worshippers and filled the cups of those who always remember Him from the fountain of Lá iláha illallah. He perfected the creation, brought them into existence and sealed this perfection with Lá iláha illallah. He Who created the fetus from a worthless fluid (semen) so that mankind may worship Him with Lá iláha illalláh. He sent the Messengers to deliver the good news of this Word Lá iláha illalláh and to warn against whatever contradicts it and to understand its implications. Lá iláha illalláh is the pillar of the religion and the Thick Rope of Alláh; those who adhere to Lá iláha illalláh will never earn failure. Verily, the minds of the ignorant ones were led astray and the hearts of the stubborn infidels have earned misguidance on account of their taking two gods, even after the full moon of Lá iláha illallah has risen. “So know (O Muhammad SAW) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and believing women.” Quran (47:19) Muhammad (peace be upon him) embraced this word and declared it. So! Fear Alláh the Exalted and renew your faith by night and by day by contemplating the meanings of Lá iláha illalláh. O you who have wisdom! Seek your means of (eternal) success granted only to the people of Lá iláha illalláh. Surely, Lá iláha illalláh is the Word of Islam and the key to the Dwelling of Peace (Paradise). Verily, the heavens and earth would never have remained, nor would anyone acquire safety on the Day of Gathering except by Lá iláha illalláh. The humankind divided into two parts and went two separate ways: a group of them adhered to Lá iláha illalláh and the other group strayed away from it. They refused it because they knew that the religion of their ancestors would be annulled if they embraced Lá iláha illalláh. All praise is due to He Who made His slaves different from each other with His Wisdom and Will. Indeed, this is one of the proofs to Lá iláha illalláh. Tuba (a tree in Paradise) is for those who know the meaning of this testimonial, agree with it and practice its implication inwardly and outwardly. By doing so, they would be realizing and tasting the true essence of Lá iláha illalláh. Verily, woe to those who were driven by the devil to fall into polytheism! They became filled to the top with associating others with Alláh in worship and consequently refused with arrogance to submit to Lá iláha illalláh. Have you not heard Alláh’s Statement: “And those whom they invoke instead of Him have no power of intercession; 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).” Quran (43:86) The true essence of Lá iláha illalláh entails directing all acts of worship, intentions and thoughts to Alláh Alone rather than any other object. All other objects of worship are annulled and refuted by Lá iláha illalláh. This is what is meant by disbelieving in Taghut and believing in Alláh Alone, and this is how the heart is purified of anything that is not for Alláh Alone, and cleansed from the intention to commit whatever Alláh has prohibited or dislike for whatever He has commanded. This is the true essence of Lá iláha illalláh, contrary to the practice of those who utter this testimonial with their words, but contradict it with their actions. These people, do not benefit from saying La iláha illallah.Directing any act of worship to other than Alláh and associating any among the creation with Him in worship are acts of disbelief, even if one pronounced La iláha illalláh a thousand times with his tongue. It was once said to Al Hasan Al-Basri: “Some people say that those who proclaim La iláha illalláh shall enter Paradise.” He said, “Yes. For those who proclaim this word and fulfill its implications and requirements, then saying La iláha illalláh shall enter them into Paradise.” In addition, Wahb bin Munbih asked: “Is not La iláha illalláh the key to Paradise?” He said, “Yes. However, every key has teeth; if you use a key that has teeth it will open for you, otherwise it will not open.” Therefore, these types of people will not benefit from proclaiming La iláha illalláh because they do not say it from their hearts. We advise you, O Muslims, to never think that Shirk (Polytheism, which contradicts La iláha illalláh is far away from you, because there are tremendous hindrances and lures that seek to corrupt the sincerity of your uttering La iláha illalláh. Where are those who associate none with Alláh in regards to their love, fear, hope and worship? Where are those who direct their humbleness, submissiveness, reverence, intention and reliance to Alláh Alone, all the while trusting in Him for each and every thing? All these qualities are parts of the meaning of La iláha illalláh. O slaves of Alláh, rush to the forgiveness of your Lord and a paradise as wide as the heavens and earth prepared for the Muttaqin (the pious). They are those who fulfill the duties and responsibilities of La iláha illalláh. They are those, who have not placed any other iláh (god) along with Alláh. Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him. Hold on to the pillars of La iláha illalláh. Surely, those who reject what La iláha illalláh rejects, assert what it asserts…, then this word will elevate them to the highest grades the grades of La iláha illalláh. May Alláh direct us all to the blessings of the Noble Qurán and benefit us in whatever is in it of the Áyát and Wise Dhikr. I say this and ask Alláh the Great, and the Most Honored for forgiveness for me, you and all Muslims for every sin. Seek His forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. Consider this hadith on the value that Allah the Exalted placed on La iláha illalláh Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri said, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Moses (Alayhi salam) said: O Lord! Teach me something that I can remember You with and I can supplicate You with. Allah said: “Say ‘La ilaha ill Allah’, O Musa.” He (Musa) said: All of your servants say this. He (Allah) 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 ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ is put into the other; ‘La ilaha ill Allah’ would be heavier.” [Ibn Hibbaan and Haakim] The Messenger of Allah (Sall’Allahu alayhi wa salam) said (narrated by Jabir bin `Abdullah): “The best Dhikr (remembering Allah) is La ilaha illallah and the best supplication is Al-Hamdu Lillah.” [At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah] Let’s ensure that we never forget to make the letters La ilaha illallah a constant part of our living moments and to live by what those letters stand for. Remember, our success in this life and the hereafter is all tied to La ilaha illallah. First thing in Islam for Muslims is to believe on Lá iláha illalláh. And then read and understand the Holy Quran because Quran is the only way to spend life according to the Islam. We ask Allah (SWT) to bestow his mercy upon the sincere seekers of salvation; to guide them to the true path of Islam; to clarify for them the meaning of the Shahada; and to protect them from the whispers of the accursed Satan. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (The Holy Quran, Al-Baqara, 2:128) … Ameen!
(The author’s write regularly on Islamic topics for “Kashmir Horizon” exclusively. Views are author’s own) [email protected]

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