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Glossary of Islamic terms
The Shahada, also spelled shahadah, (Arabic: الشهادة aš-šahāda from the verb šahida literally "to witness," means to know and believe without suspicion, as if witnessed, is the Islamic creed. The Shahada is the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of Allahu ta'âlâ and acceptance of Muhammad as his prophet. The declaration reads: lâ ilâha illallâh, Muḥammadun rasûlullâh "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah" in English. This declaration, or statement of faith, is called the Kalima, which literally means "word". Recitation of the Shahadah is the most important of the Five Pillars of Islam for Muslims. 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 Aqidah.
Arabic text: أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله Romanization: ʾašhadu ʾan laa ilāha illa (A)llāh, wa ʾašhadu ʾanna Muḥammada(n) rasūlo (A)llāh
A single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools.
In usage the two occurrences of 'ašhadu 'anna (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 Allah alone; Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah."; i.e. "Allah" is translated as ὁ θεὸς and Muhammad is transliterated as Μααμὲτ.
Muslims believe that the shahadah is without value unless it is earnest. Islamic scholars have therefore developed, based on the data of the Quran and hadith, essential criteria for an expression of the shahadah to be earnest. These criteria are generally divided into seven or eight or nine individual criteria; the varying numbers and orderings are not due to disagreements about what the criteria actually are, but rather different ways of dividing them.
One such list of seven critical conditions of the shahadah, without which it is considered to be meaningless, are as follows:
- 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 Allah (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 stanza of the Turkish national anthem which can be translated as:
Oh my Lord, the sole wish of my soul from you is that:
Never should touch the bosom of my Temple an infidel's hand!
These adhans, whose shahadahs are the backbone of the religion,
Eternally, may they resound over my precious 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.
- Profession (religious)
- Basmala (or Bismillah)
- Six Kalimas
- List of Islamic terms in Arabic
- List of Christian terms in Arabic