The Conditions Of Testimony
LA ILAHA ILA’LLAH
What does it mean to declare the Oneness of God? Simply saying, “There is no god but Allah” without understanding the meaning of these words, and without acting upon them is not enough. Yet sadly, this is the state of many Muslims today who do not observe what Allah has commanded and who do not avoid what He has prohibited. While they fail to perform the five daily prayers, fail to give alms, and fail to avoid bank interest, they assure themselves that by simply saying “There is no God but Allah” they will be saved.
The Prophet’s own people, the Quraish, knew that to say these words meant that they would shoulder an obligation to live and act according to them, and for this reason many of them refused to pronounce them. Indeed, if this were merely a matter of saying a few words they would have said them and saved themselves from the hardship of confrontation that their refusal brought them. But what are these obligations?
• Knowledge, We must seek to know the rights of this Declaration of Faith and what it requires. Allah said, “Know then, that there is no god but Allah,” and the Prophet said “Whoever dies while knowing that there is no god but Allah, shall surely enter Paradise.” And he said, “Whose last words are ‘There is no god but Allah’ shall surely enter Paradise.” (Ahmad in his musnad 1:65 & Abu Dawood 3116). Here also we should be aware that it is Allah who strengthens whom He will in uttering that word of truth (La Ilaha Illallah) since He knows best who deserve it to be his last word, for He has said, “Allah strengthens those who believe with the firm word(42),in the present life and in the world to come; and Allah leads astray the evildoers; and
Allah does what He will.” (14:27)
He whose deeds are contradictory to the conditions of his testimony will not be helped by saying it before his death, neither in this life nor in the grave when he will be questioned therein.(43)
•Certainty and sureness of the truthfulness of, La Ilaha Illallah (There is no god but Allah) without doubt. The Prophet said, “Whoever says There is no god but Allah, with sincerity of heart, with honesty and conviction of both heart and tongue , shall surely enter Paradise.”
•Acceptance. That is to accept all its conditions, for the rejection of some of Allah’s law is equal of rejecting all.
• Sincerity. This is to pronounce the word La Ilaha Illallah (There is no god but Allah) with complete sincerity, that is to be sincere in worshipping Allah, dedicating all acts of worship to Him alone. For whoever says it sincerely from his heart, Allah will guide him to sincere worship. The Prophet has said, “The best one among people with the most right to my intercession on the Day of Resurrection is he who said ‘There is no god but Allah’ sincerely from his heart.”44
• Submission.This is to comply to the conditions of La Ilaha Illallah (There is no god but Allah) by the tongue, and to believe it in the heart, and to fulfill its conditions by deeds. As for the hypocrites, they say in their tongues what is different in their hearts.
One should ask of what value is it believe in Allah without submitting to Him! Whoever professes that there is no god but Allah must then do what Allah has commanded the believers to do and refrain from what He has prohibited. They must obey Allah and not defy His will, and they must put obedience to Allah before obedience to all others; there can be no compliance to disobedience to Allah. As the Prophet said, “There is no obedience to any creature that which is disobedient to the Creator.”(45) The Prophet also said, “Whoever seeks Allah’s pleasure despite the indignation of people will earn the pleasure of Allah and the pleasure of the people; and whoever seeks the pleasure of people at the indignation of Allah will earn the displeasure of Allah and the loathing of the people.”(46) Good works are the fruit of faith and follow naturally from it. Thus Allah always mentions faith and good works together, “those who believe and do good works.”
(41) The Arabic original reads taghut, which has a much wider meaning than it is possible to give with one word in English. taghut is any false object of worship, such as idols, images, or other things that lead to tyranny and to exceeding the limits of decency. Whatever is worshipped beside or alongside Allah is taghut, and whoever calls or commands people to worship others beside or alongside Allah is also taghut”.
(42) The firm word is the testimony that there is no deity except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. When one utters it as his last word before death and to give it as an answer to the angels in the grave, this would be a good sign of his salvation.
(43) See annotation.
(44) Bukhari (6570).
(45) Imam Ahmad (4:432), Sahih according to al-Albani, Silsilla p. 179)
(46) al-Qida`i, Musnad al-Shihab cf. al-Albani, Sharh al-Tahawiyyah,p. 299.