The Shahada, also spelled shahadah, (Arabic: الشهادة aš-šahāda audio (help·info) from the verb šahida "to testify") is the Islamic creed. The Shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as his prophet. The declaration reads: Lā ilaha illa al-Lāh, Muhammadun rasūlu l-Lāh “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God" in English. This declaration is called the Kalima, which literally means "words." Recitation of the Shahadah is the most important of the Five Pillars of Islam for Muslims and is performed daily. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam do so by a public recitation of the creed. Technically the Shi'a do not consider the Shahadah to be a separate pillar, but connect it to the beliefs.
In usage the two occurrences of 'ašhadu 'an (or similar) = "I testify that" or "I bear witness that...", are very often omitted.
One of the earliest surviving translations of the Shahadah into a foreign language is in Greek, from the reign of al-Walid I (86–96 AH, 705–715 CE): Οὐκ ἔστι[ν θεὸς εἰ μὴ ὁ θεὸς μόνος·] Μααμὲ[τ ἀπόστολος θεοῦ] (Ouk esti[n theos ei mē ho theos monos;] Maame[t apostolos theou]). "There is no god except for God alone; Muhammad is God's apostle"; i.e. "Allah" is translated as ὁ θεὸς and Muhammad is transliterated as Μααμὲτ.
The Shahada is the first of the Six Kalimas. The Six Kalimas are recorded in various books of knowledge, and are recited and remembered by Muslims across the globe. The Kalimas were compiled for people to memorise and learn the basic fundamentals of Islam.
There are seven critical conditions of the shahadah, without which it is considered to be meaningless:
- Al-`Ilm: Knowledge of the meaning of the Shahadah, its negation and affirmation.
- Al-Yaqeen: Certainty – perfect knowledge of it that counteracts suspicion and doubt.
- Al-Ikhlaas: Sincerity which negates shirk.
- Al-Sidq: Truthfulness that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy.
- Al-Mahabbah: Love of the Shahadah and its meaning, and being happy with it.
- Al-Inqiad: Submission to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to God (alone) seeking His pleasure.
- Al-Qubool: Acceptance that contradicts rejection.
Several national flags display the Shahadah:
- The flag of Saudi Arabia, on a green background.
- The unrecognized state of Somaliland.
- From 1990 to 1992, the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
- From 1997 to 2001, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, under the rule of the Taliban.
- Per the 2004 draft constitution for Afghanistan, white script centered on a red background.
- The flag of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council of Somalia.
Several other flags display the shahadah, such as the flag of Hamas.
Turkish national anthem
The Shahadah is referenced in the eighth verse of the Turkish national anthem:
Oh glorious God, the sole wish of my pain-stricken heart is that,
No heathen's hand should ever touch the bosom of my sacred Temples.
These adhans, whose shahadahs are the foundations of my religion,
May their noble sound last loud and wide over my eternal homeland.
Muslims believe reference to previous prophets as Messengers (rasul), and a few groups (notably certain Sufi mystics) amend the declaration to mention prior prophets whose names are found in the Qur'an.
Sometimes اشهد ان 'ashhadu ‘an = "I witness that" is prefixed to each half of the Shahadah.
Sometimes و wa = "and" is prefixed to the first word of the second half of the Shahada.
Some Indonesian Muslims pray "Allah il Allah" when appealing for God's help. This is an altered form of the first part of the Shahadah.
- Farah (1994), p.135
- "If You Decide to Convert they put this their most important pilar". http://www.al-islam.org/reflectionsnewmuslim/8.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- What is Shahada?
- Six Kalimah in Arabic, English and Urdu
- Six Kalimas The Six Kalimas in Arabic, with English translation and transliteration.
- LivingHalal.com Islamic audio glossary
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