The Faith


لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله [lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh]

Translated in English

There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
Click here to help you pronouncing it in Arabic.

1. The first condition is knowledge or al-ilm

One must have the necessary basic understanding of what is meant by the shahaadah. One must understand what the shahaadah is affirming and what the shahaadah is denying. Allah says in the Quran,

"So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women."

2. The second condition is certainty or al-yaqeen

This is the opposite of doubt and uncertainty. In Islam, in fact, any kind of doubt concerning anything confirmed in the Quran or the sunnah is equivalent to kufr or disbelief. One must, in his heart, be absolutely certain of the truth of the shahaadah. One’s heart must not be wavering in any way when one testifies to the truth of, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah.” Allah describes the true believers as those who have belief in Allah and then their hearts waver not. Allah says,

"The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are the truthful."

3. The third condition is acceptance or al-qabool

If a person has the knowledge of and certainty in the shahaadah, this must be followed by acceptance, with the tongue and heart, of whatever that shahaadah implies. Whoever refuses to accept the shahaadah and its implications, even if he knows that it is true and is certain about its truth, is a disbeliever. This refusal to accept is sometimes due to pride, envy or other reasons. In any case, the shahaadah is not a true shahaadah without its unconditional acceptance. Allah says, 

"So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do."

Allah also says in Quran,

"It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error."

4.The fourth condition is submission and compliance or al-inqiyad

This implies the actual physical enactment by deeds of one’s shahaadah. This is one of the main meaning s of the word Islam itself, “the submission to the will and commands of Allah.” Allah commands this in Quran,

"And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped."

Allah has praised those who sbubmit to His command by their actions. Allah says,

"And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend."

Allah has made it a condition of faith that one submits to the command of Allah and His messenger. Allah says,

"But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission."


This does not mean that the true believer never falls into sin. Indeed, true believers do commit sins. But as long as they recognize that what they did is not correct and it is inconsistent with their obligation of submitting to Allah, then they have not violated the soundness of their testimony or shahaadah.

5. The fifth condition is truthfulness or al-sidq

It is opposed to hypocrisy and dishonesty. This means that when one says the shahaadah, he is saying it honestly, actually meaning it. He is not lying when it comes to his testimony of faith or simply trying to deceive or fool anyone. The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"No one bears testimony to there being no one worthy of worship save Allah, sincerely from his heart, except that Allah makes the Hell-fire forbidden for him."

Most people have heard of those who say the testimony of faith yet they are not saying it honestly. They do not believe in it. They are simply saying it in order to protect themselves or to get some gain from doing so. These are the hypocrites. Allah has described them in the opening of the Quran with the following words,

"And of the people are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," but they are not believers. They [think to] deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not. In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie."


The shahaadah of those who become Muslims only to benefit from being Muslim and not because they believe in Islam will be rejected by Allah in the Hereafter. They will face a painful punishment due to their lying.

6. The sixth condition is a pure sincerity or al-ikhlaas

When one declares the shahaadah, one must do that solely for the sake of Allah. One must not do it for any other reason or anyone else’s sake. In this manner, the meaning of purity is the opposite of shirk or ascribing partners with Allah. One becomes and remains Muslim solely to serve Allah, to avoid His anger and punishment and to gain His mercy and reward. Allah says in the Quran,

"Indeed, We have sent down to you the Book, [O Muhammad], in truth. So worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion."

Allah also says in the Quran,

"And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion."

The Prophet (pbuh) also said,

"Allah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says, 'There is no one worthy of worship except Allah,' and says so desiring the face [and pleasure] of Allah."


This is something that all Muslims should think about, but especially those who grew up in Muslim families and were born Muslim. Everyone should be clear to himself that he is Muslim only for the sake of Allah. A Muslim cannot be a Muslim for the sake of his parents, friends, family, community or worldly goal. It must be clear in the mind that one is a Muslim for the sake of Allah first, last and only.

7. The seventh condition is love or al-mahabbah

That is, the believer loves this shahaadah, he loves in accordance with the shahaadah, he loves the implications and requirements of the shahaadah and he loves those who act and strive based on this shahaadah. This is a necessary condition of the shahaadah. If a person makes the shahaadah but does not love the shahaadah and what it stands for, then, in fact, his faith is not complete. It is not the faith of a true believer. If he has no love for this shahaadah or if he actually feels hatred for it, he has negated his shahaadah. The true believer puts no one as an equal to Allah in his love. Allah says in the Quran,

"And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah . But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah ..."

Elsewhere Allah says,

"Say, [O Muhammad], "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people."

The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith. [The first of these] is that he loves Allah and His Messenger more than he loves anyone else ..."

Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim Tweet

8. An eighth condition is that you must deny every other object of worship

Although that is clear in the words of the testimony of faith, it does not seem clear to everyone who makes that testimony. Therefore, it needs to be mentioned explicitly. In surah al-Baqara, Allah reminds Muslims of this important aspect of the shahaadah. The shahaadah is not merely an affirmation but it is both an affirmation and a negation. Allah states,

"...So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it..."

The Prophet (pbuh) emphasized this point when said,

"Whoever says there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and denies whatever is worshiped besides Allah, then his wealth and blood are protected and his accounting will be with Allah."


Although this condition should be obvious to everyone who says the words of the shahaadah, one can still find Muslims who say the shahaadah and then make acts of worship for beings or things other than Allah. One can find them going to the graveyards and worshiping those in the graves. They will perform acts of worship, not for the sake of Allah, but for the sake of the dead “saints” (auliya) in the grave.

9. The ninth condition is that the Muslim adheres to the shahaadah until he dies

This is a must if the shahaadah is to mean anything in the Hereafter. One cannot rest on his laurels of what he may have done in the past. No, indeed, the shahaadah must be his banner until his death. Allah says in the Quran,

"O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]."

The second part of shahaada: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

When one testifies that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, he is stating his belief that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was chosen by Allah to be His Messenger and to convey His Message. Allah says in the Quran,

"And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses…"

Allah creates and has power to do all things. Allah specifically chose the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to be His Messenger. In another verse, Allah says,

"…Allah is most knowing of where He places His message…"

If anyone claims that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not actually convey the entire message or that he distorted it in any way, he is actually saying that Allah did not know who was the correct or best person to be a messenger. This is obvious disbelief.

Second, when one makes the shahaadah, he is also testifying that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been sent for all of mankind until the Day of Judgment. Allah says in the Quran,

"Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all…"

Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

"I have been given five aspects that were not given to any prophet before me ... [One of which is] every prophet was sent only to his people while I have been sent to all of mankind."

Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim Tweet

It is obligatory upon everyone from the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) until the Day of Judgment to believe in and follow the Prophet (peace be upon him). If the message of Islam clearly reaches a person and he still refuses to believe in and follow the Prophet (peace be upon him), he is a disbeliever and will be in the Hell-fire forever- unless he repents and embraces Islam.

However, this also implies that the Prophet’s teachings and his Sunnah are valid and obligatory upon all of mankind until the Day of Judgment. That is, his example and teaching was not simply for the people of Arabia at his time. Instead, it is just as valid and just as important for each and every Muslim today, whether he be in New York or Malaysia. Some people seem to try to resist the idea that they have to follow the Prophet (peace be upon him). When they do so, they must realize that they are going against what they have testified to. They have testified that the Prophet’s message, which includes both the Quran and his inspired Sunnah, is for all of mankind- including each and every one alive today.

The Prophet (pbuh) has said,

"I swear by Allah that I am the most fearful of Allah and most conscious of Him than all of you. But I also [as part of my Sunnah] fast and break my fast, pray and sleep [at night] and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me [that is, is not one of my true followers]."

In this hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained that he is the most fearful of Allah and God-conscious. Therefore, there is no excuse for anyone not to follow his example and guidance. But he also stated that the one who turns away from his practice and example is not from him. One cannot truthfully claim to believe in and accept the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and, at the same time, refuse to accept his life as the example that one must strive to emulate.