By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
26 June 2018
explore the Kalima Shahada which the Muslims consider to be fundamental to the
religion of Islam, and forms part of their call to prayer and is recited in the
Attahiyat which forms a necessary portion of the Muslim ritual prayer. A person
is also accepted into the fold of Islam only when he recites the Kalima Shahada
which according to our theologians reads as follows:
Ash-Hadu An La Ilaha
Ill-Allah Wa Ash-Hadu Anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhu Wa Rasooluhu
I bear witness
(testify) that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness (testify) that
Muhammad is His slave and Messenger)
Was this testimony
of faith instituted by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) or was it instituted several
years later after his death?
Who Can Be Considered A Muslim?
to the Islamic requirement of ritual prayer and giving zakat is the proof Allah
demands of a person when he claims to be a Muslim, and this is the proof Allah
asks the Prophet to ensure. Allah does not ask for declaration of faith or
testimony of faith. In verse 9:5, Allah says that if a person “establishes regular prayers and practises
regular charity, then open the way for them (accept them in the fold of Islam)”.
This is the bare minimum requirement. There are several other levels that a
believer can attain which are described in the Quran, but the common
denominator is as described in 9:5.
(24:53) "Swear ye not; Obedience is
(more) reasonable; verily, Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do."
testimony of faith is swearing, and Allah forbids swearing and asks instead for
obedience and submission to the religion of Islam and performance of deeds
those who plight their fealty to thee do no less than plight their fealty to
Allah: the Hand of Allah is over their hands: then anyone who violates his
oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and any one who fulfils what he has
covenanted with Allah,- Allah will soon grant him a great Reward.
Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee,
that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with Allah,
that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication),
that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander,
intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any
just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to Allah for the forgiveness
(of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful
the verses, only obedience to the essential tenets of Islam is demanded and not
declaration of belief or the testimony of faith.
Proof that Allah does not
demand verbal assertion of faith but only obedience
came a time when Islam was in the ascendant and people were flocking to it in
large numbers without belief/faith entering their hearts. They were admitted by
the Prophet to the fold of Islam. Such people, when they said "Amanna”
(We believe), they were chided by Allah in verse 49:14 and told that faith had
not yet entered their hearts and therefore they should not say that they
believe but only say “we have submitted/accepted (Aslamna)”. They are also assured that
if they obey Allah and His messenger, Allah will not belittle any of their
deeds for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
is clear from this verse is that to be considered a Muslim what is required is
submission to the requirements of the faith or its tenets. Even a declaration
of belief is not required, let alone the testimony of faith! What is also clear
is that Allah does not expect us to utter any falsehood and remain truthful
always. If all that we have done is decide to submit to the religion of Islam, that
is all we should claim and not say “we believe” unless we sincerely believe.
Since prayer is an essential tenet of Islam required of every Muslim, the
desert Arabs were required to pray to be considered a Muslim. Can the prayer
then have words to the effect “I believe” let alone “I testify”? That would be
asking the desert Arabs described in verse 49:14 to utter falsehood making them
hypocrites and Allah does not like hypocritical lies from anyone. The prayer
being a requirement common to every Muslim starting from the neo Muslim who has
only submitted to the essential requirement of ritual prayer and zakat, cannot
therefore contain the words “I believe” let alone “I testify”. The Tashahhud
(testimony of faith) in our prayer and in the call for prayer and made
essential in our theology for every person who claims to be a Muslim to recite,
are therefore clearly latter-day innovations and could not have been a part of
the prayer and the call for prayer in the Prophet’s times or an essential
requirement of a person to recite as proof of his/her acceptance of Islam.
find many verses in which we are commanded to:
“believe in Allah and His messenger” (3:179, 4:136, 7:158,),
“believe in Allah His angels” (2:285),
“believe in Allah and the last day” (2:62, 2:126, 2:177,)
To believe “there is no Allah but Allah” (3:18, 37:35, 47:19,)
no verse are we commanded to testify to the existence or Oneness of God or to
Muhammad being His messenger. It is Allah who testifies, and we are asked to
believe in Allah’s testimony. Allah
knows what is in our hearts and does not require us to even say “I believe” let
alone testify. Allah demands obedience and submission to the tenets of Islam
and not cheap signalling of our faith through verbal assertions.
The Testimony of Faith from Our
Now let us consider the Tashahhud (testimony
bear witness (testify) that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness
(testify) that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger)
can testify in the manner of the testimony as above? Allah asks us to believe
in Him unseen based on His signs or ayats but has not revealed Himself to us
and has kept many things hidden from us. Allah only asks us to believe but
never to testify because such a testimony would be a testimony from a person
not fit to testify. Does the Quran ask the Muslims to testify? The clear answer
and testifying are two different things. We can believe in anything but to
testify, we must have certain knowledge.
Who can testify the existence of God and His Oneness? The answer is in
(3:18) There is no god but He: That is the
witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on
justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.
or the witnesses are not simply people who say “I bear witness” without
firm knowledge. They are people endued with knowledge, standing firm on
justice. While we are asked to believe, there is no demand to bear witness
because only those endued with knowledge standing firm on justice who can bear
such testimony. Standing firm on justice at all times as witness to Allah
without discrimination and without showing favour or hatred is the only proof
of a person fit to testify because only a person endued with knowledge and
fully cognizant of Allah and His attributes, can render such justice. For more
on the subject of justice and who are the Shuhada, please read:
The Importance of
Rendering Justice in Islam
Who Are The
Witnesses Or The Shuhada?
The Prayer of the Modest Muslim
(5:83) “Our Lord!
we believe; write us down among the witnesses (Shahideen).”
is no immodest claim of being a witness (shahid) but an entreaty to Allah to
count us among the witnesses. By the way, the Quran does not use the term
“Shahid” or “Shaheed” for those slain in the path of Allah. The meaning of
‘Shahid” in the Quran, is exclusively those who can/will/do testify.
(3:52) When Jesus
found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work
of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah´s helpers: We believe
in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.(53) "Our Lord! we
believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger; then write us
down among those who bear witness."
is only asked to bear witness that the helpers are Muslim (those who obey and
help in the work of Allah. Even a prophet cannot bear witness regarding their
faith but only to their deeds as Muslims. The helpers can only entreat Allah to
include them among the Shahideen or the witnesses but make no claim that they
(4:69) All who
obey Allah and the messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace
of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the
witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful
however assures us that all those who obey Allah and the messenger, are in the
company of the prophets, the Siddiqin, the Shuhada and the Saliheen
from which it is clear that not every person can be a prophet, or Siddiq
or Shuhada but can join their company in Heaven if they obey Allah and
His messengers. It is obedience and deeds alone that matter and not professions
of faith or verbal testimony of faith. The proof of a Muslim is only in his
meaning of the terms used in verse 4:69 are described in my article: The Role Models
in the Quran)
testimony of faith is tantamount to claiming to be among the Shuhada and this
is not the Sunnat of the good Muslims. It is however, the Sunnat of the
Who Is Quick To Testify And Utter Oaths? It Is
63:1 When the
Hypocrites come to you, they say, "We bear witness that thou art indeed
the Messenger of Allah." Yea, Allah knows that you are indeed His
Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars. (63:2)
They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct
(men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds.
(3:86) How shall
Allah Guide those who reject Faith after they accepted it and bore witness that
the Messenger was true and that Clear Signs had come unto them? but Allah
guides not a people unjust.
swore their strongest oaths by Allah that if a warner came to them, they would
follow his guidance better than any (other) of the Peoples: But when a warner
came to them, it has only increased their flight (from righteousness),-
(68:10) Heed not
the type of despicable men,- ready with oaths
(5:53) And those
who believe will say: "Are these the men who swore their strongest oaths
by Allah, that they were with you?" All that they do will be in vain, and
they will fall into (nothing but) ruin.
swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that if a (special) sign came to them, by
it they would believe. Say: "Certainly (all) signs are in the power of
Allah: but what will make you (Muslims) realise that (even) if (special) signs
came, they will not believe."?
Quran, we do not find a single example of the good Muslims swearing oaths or
testifying but only examples of the hypocrites doing so.
Possible Reasons for Our
Theology Prescribing the Kalima Shahida as an Essential Requirement
later years, there may have been political compulsions for formalizing the
process for accepting a non-Muslim into the fold of Islam as it entailed
exempting him from paying jiziya. The Quranic requirement for considering a
person a Muslim is anyone who performs the ritual prayers and pays zakat. The
article of faith is also Belief in Allah, the Angels, the Books of scriptures,
the Prophets and the Day of Judgment without mentioning any names of the
prophets. The Christians and the Jews may not have had any objection to comply
with such requirements and technically qualify as Muslims without abandoning
their faith. There appears to therefore have been a political compulsion to
exclude the Christians and the Jews from being considered as Muslims. Asking
them to testify that “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”, to the exclusion of
all other prophets, was clearly not acceptable to them and since recitation of
such a Kalima was mandated; it helped keeping them out of the fold of
Islam. The call for prayer also appears to have been modified by including the Kalima
Shahada to keep those who did not subscribe to it from responding to the
call by coming to the mosques and praying with the Muslims. Going by the Quran,
the call is invitation to faith, which it no longer is but has become an
invitation to prayer exclusively to those who subscribe to the Kalima Shahida
prescribed by our theologians. We find the following verse in the Quran in
which the call is an invitation to faith and the faithful respond to it by
going to the mosques and offering ritual prayer which even the Jews and
Christians would have done but for the changes made to exclude them.
Lord! we have heard the call of one calling (Us) to Faith, ´Believe ye in the
Lord,´ (Aminu bi Rabbikum) and we have believed. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins,
blot out from us our iniquities, and take us in death among the company of the
call to prayer is no longer an open call to faith and an invitation to prayer
addressed to all the people, but a call for prayer only to those who have
recited the Kalima Shahida.
Kalima Shahida by making us name only Muhammad violates the Quran as the Quran
instructs us not to make any distinction between the messengers. The political
compulsion was however to make a pointed distinction to keep the Christians and
the Jews from qualifying as Muslims without abandoning their faith.
political compulsions combined with the bigotry of the scholars appear to have
spawned the project of compilation of the Ahadith to help implement the
politicised/bigoted version of Islam. It may not therefore be a coincidence,
that all the compilers of the six books of Ahadith were contemporaries as all
the six books were published in the latter half of the ninth century. The great
stress on following the Ahadith to the neglect of the Quran was necessary to
bend Islam to the political compulsions and to what the
bigots subscribed to.
our theologians have reduced Islam to cheap signalling of their faith through
mere words and to adopting the Sunnat (practice) of the hypocrites and may
therefore have spawned a nation of liars and hypocrites. They have also made it
exclusive by shutting out the door to all those who do not explicitly testify
to Muhammad as messenger of Allah to the exclusion of all other messengers.
the status of Shahid is given by Allah only to a Muslim who through his deeds
provides proof of his being a perfect Muslim in all facets of his life and
especially in rendering perfect justice, our theologians, through the testimony
of faith, make us a shahid through self-certification! Moreover, they also tell
us that once we have uttered the Kalima Shahada, we transfer the
responsibility of our being admitted to Heaven to the Prophet (PBUH)! We have seen in verse 3:52 that a Prophet
cannot bear witness to anyone’s faith but only to his deeds. It is the deeds
alone that matter and not profession of faith. So much for our Ahadith which
have messed up with the religion of Islam even on the most basic and
fundamental requirement of what it takes to be a Muslim!
(45:6) Such are
the Signs of Allah, which We rehearse to thee in Truth; then in what exposition
(Hadith) will they believe after (rejecting) Allah and His Signs?
Muslims of all sects believe in the demonstrably false attributions made to the
Prophet (PBUH) and published as his Ahadith in preference to the clear message
of the Quran as the Mullah and the ruler appear to have conspired for their
different reasons to distort the religion of the Quran. The damage done has
been enormous and unless the present-day Muslims wake up to it and cleanse
their religion of the bigotry and distortions, it will become a religion of a
people on whom is the curse of Allah rather than on whom is His Grace and
Mercy. May Allah have mercy on us all and guide us to the truth of His
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering
graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having
served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over
three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism
I suggest that the only reason the oath
was drafted the way it is, for example on the Saudi flag etc.is to
monopolise and fix the “religion” in Arabia. The unoccupied
windowless dark hole kabah of Makkah named 'house of Allah' seals
How successful have been the “traders
of God's ayaat” and how
gullible the followers of the religion? Amazing!