Meaning of Shahadah


I bear witness that there is no true God except Allah. He is alone and has no partners. And I
bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His slave and Messenger. May Allah
favour him, his family and his companions with an abundance of Salaam.
Bearing witness means to explain a thing by having a knowledge of it and having a belief regarding its
being correct and evident. A witness is reliable only when he has the qualification of affirmation and
conviction, and his heart supports the tongue. Since the hypocrites bore witness with the tongue, Allah
decreed them as liars.
Laa ilaha illa Allah (There is no God to be worshipped except Allah) is that sentence of Tauhid
(Oneness of Allah) about which all Messengers of Allah are unanimous. This is the sum and substance
of their mission and Messengership. Every Messenger began his mission with this sentence. The
Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“I am commanded to fight with those people who do not say La ilaha illa Allah.” If they say La ilaha
illa Allah, their life and property will be safe and then their affairs will lie with Allah.” (Al-Bukhari,
3/262).
This sentence negates Divinity of other than Allah in the beginning and affirms the Godhood of Allah
Alone in the last part. The sentence means that there is no real being deserving of worship and this
sense is reinforced by the phrase that He is One and has no partners. The phrase La ilaha illa Allah
provides the basis for it. By bearing witness in support of the Prophet (peace be upon him) along with bearing witness for
Allah, it has been indicated that it is necessary to bear witness for both. One remains pointless without
the other. That is the reason why both have been mentioned together in the Adhan (call to prayer) and
the Tashahhud (a state of Salat). Some Ulama have stated in the explanation of the Quranic verse Wa
rafa ‘na laka dhikrak (And We exalted your fame…) that Allah says:
“(O Muhammad) whenever I am mentioned, you too are mentioned”. (Abu Y’la, 2/522)
The Kalimah established both the Attributes of Messengership and servitude of the Prophet (peace be
upon him) for these two are the most important Attributes of a worshipper of Allah. Worship is the
rationale and aim behind the creation of jinns and mankind, and the perfection of creation lies in
realizing this aim in practice. When the worshipper goes up higher in servitude, his status is exalted.
By establishing the attribute of servitude for the Prophet (peace be upon him) those extremists stand
contradicted who raise the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the position of Godhood; such as the
practice of the misguided Sufi. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has repeatedly warned:
“You should not deify me in the way as the Christians deified the son of Mary. I am only a slave of
Allah and His Messenger”. (Al-Bukhari 12/144)
In bearing witness to this, the worshipper admits that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is perfect in
servitude and perfect in the Messengership of Allah. This also states that he occupies the highest
position in terms of the perfection of Attributes in the entire mankind. This testimony will be
completed only when a slave testifies to the ideas transmitted by the Prophet (peace be upon him)
when he obeys his commands, and keeps himself dissociated from those things which he has
forbidden.
The literal meaning of Salat is prayer. The meaning of ‘Salat on the Prophet (peace be upon him)’ is
explained by the narrative of Abul-‘Alia which has been reported by Imam Bukhari as:
“Salat on the Prophet (peace be upon him) means Allah praises him before the angels.”
The meaning of Salat pronounced by the angels is that they pray for pardon for the Messenger of
Allah; and the meaning of Salat performed by a man is that it is an imploration and invocation.
The word Aal-e-Rasool means those kinsmen of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who are interdicted
from accepting Zakat (obligatory charity), i.e., people belonging to Banu Hashim and Banu
AlMuttalib. Likewise, the word Aal may also mean the followers of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Ashaab means all those people who saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the state of having
become believers in the Faith and died in the state of believing in the Faith.
Salaam means asking for security from the evil things. This is one of the Names of Allah and means
that He is free from all kinds of defects and drawbacks and is safe and secure, or, that He will give
security to His faithful slaves in the Hereafter.

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