Islamic Religion Essay, Research Paper
The Declaration of Faith
The Shahadah is the Muslim profession of faith. It is the first of the five Pillars of the Islamic faith (Encyclopedia Britannica Online). Muslims bear witness to the oneness of God by reciting the phrase “there is no diety but Allah and Muhammad is his servant and messenger.” This statement expresses a Muslim’s absolute commitment to,
and total acceptance of, the message of Islam. This statement of faith should be recited and declared publicly, and should be a genuine belief which includes all of the articles of faith. Reciting and accepting the Shahadah before two witnesses is all that is required of new members of the Islamic faith. The Shahadah is also included in the Adhan, or call to prayer, and is to be repeated during all everyday prayers. The Shahadah is generally always recited in Arabic, since Arabic is considered to be the “language of God.” The words in Arabic are: “Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammadun rasulu’Llah.” This can be interpreted as: “I bear witness that there is now god but Allah and Muhammad is His Apostle” (Shahadah, Declaration of Faith).
A famous follower of Islam, Whab ibn Munabbih, was once asked, ” Isn’t the statement of faith the key to Paradise?” He answered, “Yes, but every key has ridges. If you come with the key that has the right ridges, the door will open for you. Yet if you do not have the right ridges the door will not open for you.” Basically, Munabbih was saying that it is true, only if the person meets the certain conditions of the Shahadah. In fact, Allah describes the hypocrites that say the Shahadah quite often as liars and also states that they will abide in the lowest abyss of Hell, or the Hell-fire.
If one studies the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet, he or she will learn that there are nine conditions of the Shahadah (Zarabozo).
The first of the nine conditions is knowledge. One must have a general knowledge of what is meant by saying the Shahadah. They must completely understand what it is denying and affirming. As stated by Allah in the Quran, “So know that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin” (Qur’an, al-Zukhruf 86). Also, Allah states, “It is those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah” (Qur’an, Fatir 28). Having a good understanding of the Shahadah will help one to make a correct Shahadah (Zarabozo).
The second condition is certainty, or al-yaqeen. One must be absolutely certain of the truth of the Shahadah. Any kind of doubt is considered to be a disbelief.
In the Quran, Allah describes the believers to be those who have belief in Him and then their hearts waver not (Zarabozo). Allah states, “The believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere” (Qur’an, al-Hujurat 15). Allah then goes to tell that the hypocrites are the people whose hearts are wavering. As stated by Allah, “They alone seek leave of thee who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver” (Qur’an, al-Tauba 45).
The third condition is acceptance. Knowledge and certainty of the Shahadah must then be followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart, of what it implies. If anyone refuses to accept the Shahadah, even if they know that it is true, they are considered to be a disbeliever. One must also believe what is stated in the Quran, and has no right to chose what he wants to reject or believe (Zarabozo). As stated by Allah, “Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it? And what is the reward of those who do save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom” (Qur’an, al-Baqara 85). If one refuses to accept the truth, it goes against their testimony of faith (Zarabozo).
The fourth of these conditions are submission and compliance, or al-inqiyad.
This is the physical enactment with the deeds of the Shahadah. Allah praises those who submit to Him with their actions (Zarabozo). Allah states in the Quran, “Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good” (Qur’an, al-Nisa 125).
The fifth is truthfulness. When one says the Declaration of Faith, they must say it honestly. One who says the Shahadah, and is only saying it to protect themselves, or from personal gain, is a hypocrite (Zarabozo). In the beginning of the Quran Allah says, “And of mankind are some who say, ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none besave themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie” (Qur’an, al-Baqara 8-10).
Sixth is sincerity, or ikhlas. When one says the Shahadah, they must do it solely for Allah, and no other’s sake. One must make it clear that they are Muslims only to Allah first, last and only (Zarabozo). “And they are ordained nothing else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion” (Qur’an, al-Bayyainah 5).
The seventh is love. A true believer loves his Shahadah, the implications, requirements, and those who strive for the sake of this Shahadah. This is a necessary condition of the Shahadah. One’s faith is not complete without love (Zarabozo).
The eight of these conditions is to deny every other object of worship. The Shahadah is not merely and affirmation, but it is both affirmation and ngation (Zarabozo). “And he who rejects false dieties and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break” (Qur’an, al-Baqara 256).
The ninth, and last of these conditions isthat a Muslim must adhere to his Shahadah untill he dies. If the Shahadah is going to mean anything to you in the hereafter this is a must. It must be a banner unto you untill your death (Zarabozo). The Prophet said, “A man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of Paradise and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Hell-fire. And a man spends a long time doing the deeds of the people of Hell-fire and then he ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Paradise” (Recorded by Muslim).
One must satisfy all of the conditions in order to have the best Shahadah to Allah. Simply having only a knowledge of these nine conditions will be of no avail, unless one uses them in their everyday life and in all of the deeds they do (Zarabozo).
A Muslims faith is not complete unless it is built on these well grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty (Introducing Islam).
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