The pillars of La Illaha Illa Allah (There is no God to be worshipped but Allah)

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The pillars of La Illaha Illa Allah (There is no God to be worshipped but Allah)

There are two pillars for the Shahada [testimony of faith]:


  • Negation (La Illaha).
  • Affirmation (Illa Allah).  



(La Illaha) none in this world can be 'Illah' [Lord].

(Illa Allah) affirms and attributes Lordship to 'Allah' with no partners.

This style is known in Arabic grammar as "Qasr" [restriction]. This style is well-known and very influential since it helps in clarifying and asserting the meaning. This style consists of two phrases; one is in the negative and the other in the affirmative. This is clear in the first part of the phrase La Illaha [there is no God] which is in the negative; then, the second part Illa Allah [but Allah] which is in the affirmative.  

Evidence from the Qur'an

The Shahada (La Illaha Illa Allah) has the connotation the same as the following Qur'anic verses in regards to asserting the Oneness and Lordship of Allah. Allah Almighty says:

"You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help". [Qur'an 1:5]

"Say: "He is the Most Beneficent (Allâh), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust". [Qur'an 67:29]

In these two verses, Allah asserts His Lordship by forwarding the object [in the first verse] and the preposition in [in the second].


Conditions of La Illaha Illa Allah[1]

The meaning of Shahada, as previously illustrated, is that there is nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah and all our worship must be dedicated to none but Him. Therefore, uttering the Shahada requires the following in order to be a true Muslim:

  • knowing its meaning and essence,
  • Asserting the Oneness of Allah,
  • Having the firm conviction in it.  

On the contrary, whoever acts upon it without a true conviction, he is considered a hypocrite. And whoever disbelieves and renounces it, is considered a disbeliever even if he utters it.   


[1]See Tayseer al-Aziz al-Hameed pages 74-80.

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