Posted In Islam Pillars - By islampillars On Monday, January 9th, 2012 With 1 Comment

Means “to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed”/testification; it is the name of the Islamiccreed. The shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and acceptance ofMuhammad(saas) as God’s prophet. The declaration reads:

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله (lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh, Muḥammad(saas) rasūlu-llāh) (in Arabic)
There is no god but God, and Muhammad(saas) is the messenger of God. (in English)

The word Shahādah is a noun stemming from the verb shahida meaning to observe, witness, or testify; when used in legal terms, shahādah is a testimony to the occurrence of events such as debt, adultery, or divorce.The shahādah can also be expressed in the dual form shahādatān (= “two testifyings”), which refers to dual act of observing or seeing and then the declaration of the observation. The two acts in Islam are observing or perceiving that there is no god but God and testifying or witnessing that Muhammad(saas) is the messenger of God. In a third meaning, shahādah can mean martyrdom, the shahid (martyr) demonstrating the ultimate expression of faith.

A single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim. This declaration, or statement of faith, is called the Kalima, literally “word”. Recitation of theShahadah, the “oath” or “testimony”, is the most important of the Five Pillars of Islam for Muslims. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam do so by a public recitation of this creed. Technically the Shi’a do not consider the Shahadah to be a separate pillar, but connect it to the Aqidah. The complete Shahadah cannot be found in the Quran, but comes from hadiths.

Arabic text: أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله.
Romanization: ʾašhadu ʾan lā ʾilāha ʾilla (A)llāh, wa ʾašhadu ʾanna Muḥammada(n) rasūlu (A)llāh

A single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to convert to Islam according to most traditional schools (madhab).

In usage the two occurrences of ašhadu ʾanna (or similar) = “I testify that” or “I bear witness that…” are very often omitted.


Muslims believe that the shahadah is without value unless it is earnest. Islamic scholars have therefore developed, based on the data of the Quran and hadith, essential criteria for an expression of the shahadah to be earnest. These criteria are generally divided into seven or eight or nine individual criteria; the varying numbers and orderings are not due to disagreements about what the criteria actually are, but rather different ways of dividing them.[8]

One such list of seven critical conditions of the shahadah, without which it is considered to be meaningless, are as follows:[citation needed].

  • Al-`Ilm (العلم): Knowledge of the meaning of the Shahadah, its negation and affirmation.
  • Al-Yaqeen (اليقين): Certainty – perfect knowledge of it that counteracts suspicion and doubt.
  • Al-Ikhlaas (الإخلاص): Sincerity which negates shirk.
  • Al-Sidq (الصدق): Truthfulness that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy.
  • Al-Mahabbah (المحبة): Love of the Shahadah and its meaning, and being happy with it.
  • Al-Inqiad (الانقياد): Submission to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to God (alone) seeking His pleasure.
  • Al-Qubool (القبول): Acceptance that contradicts rejection.

The second part of the Shahada carries several conditions as well:

  • To believe in the Prophet and in whatever he said and conveyed in his message as the seal of the prophets.
  • To obey him in whatever he commanded.
  • To stay away from or avoid whatever he commanded Muslims not to do.
  • To follow or emulate him in our ʿibādah (عبادة; worship), ʾaḫlāq (أخلاق; manners), and way of life.
  • To love him more than you love yourself, your family and anything else in this world.
  • To understand, practice, and promote his sunnah (habits) in the best way possible, without creating any chaos, enmity or harm.

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