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Shahada: The Testimony of Faith in Islam

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Shahada is the testimony of faith and most important pillar in the religion of Islam. This Factoid explains the meaning and conditions of the shahada.

Shahada is the testimony of faith indicating belief in one god, Allah, who has no partners and belief that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his final prophet and messenger.

The shahada is the first and most important of the five pillars of Islam. Shahada means to witness, and sometimes the words “I witness” are part of the statement while other times they may be omitted.

The statement in Arabic is “Anna ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa anna ash-hadu an Mahammadan rasull’Allah”.

An English translation of shahada is “I witness there is no god but God, and I witness Mohammed is the messenger of God”

Some variations for the translation include “I testsify” in place of "I witness", and "messenger" may also be “slave” or “prophet”.

A person says shahada upon becoming a Muslim and utters the phrase during every prayer and other times throughout the day. It is part of the adhan (call to prayer), and it is repeated when making wudu (ablution before prayer).

While the statement is part of conversion to Islam, even born Muslims say these words over and over throughout their lives. When a Muslim is born the shahada is whispered in the baby’s ear. A Muslim will also profess the shahada in their last moments of life if they are able to speak.

When one says the shahada, seven conditions must be present for it to be accepted. These conditions are:

1. Knowledge: to completely understand what it means

2. Certainty: to have no doubt

3. Acceptance: to accept it by tongue and heart

4. Submission: to fulfill its obligations

5. Truthfulness: to mean it when its said

6. Sincerity: to do it only for the sake of Allah

7. Love: to love the shahada itself and its implications

Without these conditions saying the words is simply just saying them, and a person would not be considered a Muslim just for repeating the statement.

By saying the shahada, a person is saying that they believe in Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the Day of Judgment. They are bearing witness that Allah is the creator of all that is on the Earth and in the Heavens. A Muslim believes He has no partner or associates, and that He does not have any children.

Muslims believe in all of the prophets sent to mankind by Allah prior to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) including Jesus, Moses, and Abraham. However, Muslims do not believe Jesus is the son of God. Anyone who believes that Jesus is the son of God cannot truly be a Muslim as such a belief would negate the conditions of shahada.

A Muslim must also accept and love Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last prophet sent to mankind by Allah. A Muslim must follow the commands given by Prophet Muhammad, and avoid that which he prohibited. A proper Muslim emulates his way of life and practices the religion of Islam without creating chaos, hate, or harm.

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Amanda Antara

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