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1his article was originally taken írom Al-Basheer magazine, January-lebruary, 1994.
Adapted írom the Islamic Network - 1his book is not copyrighted. Any or all
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Date: 9,1,1425
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1he Conditions

Laa Ilaaha ill-
Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo
L·ery Muslim knows that the key to Paradise is the statement,
1here is none worthy oí worship except Allah.` \et too many
Muslims simply rely upon this statement and belie·e that as long
as they ha·e made this statement, nothing will harm them. 1hey
think will be granted Paradise because oí this mere ·erbal state-
ment oí the Shahaadah.
1here is no question that the mere saying oí, I bear witness that
there is none worthy oí worship except Allah and I bear witness
that Muhammad is lis ser·ant and messenger,` is not suííicient
íor sal·ation. In íact, the hypocrites used to make this statement
quite oíten yet Allah describes them as liars and says that they
shall abide in the lowest abyss oí the lell-íire.
As many scholars state, though, this statement or testimony is the
key to Paradise. 1he íamous 1aabi'i
\ahb ibn Munabbih was
once asked,
Isn't the statement oí laa ilaaha ill-Allah the key to Paradise·` le
answered, \es, but e·ery key has ridges. Ií you come with the
key that has the right ridges, the door will open íor you. \et ií
you do not ha·e the right ridges the door will not open íor you.`
1hat is, it is saying |while meeting| certain conditions. 1hese con-
ditions are what will diííerentiate the person who will beneíit
írom his making oí that statement írom the one who will not
beneíit írom that statement, no matter how many times a day he
may ha·e made that statements.
Beíore discussing the conditions oí the Shahaadah, there is one
more point that I íeel compelled to make. 1hat is, some people
ha·e a tendency to take one hadeeth or one ·erse and then based
1aabi'I, pl. 1aabi'oon: Literally, íollower. 1he generation who succeeded
the Sahaabah, or Companions oí the Prophet ,,.
on that one text, they will make some conclusion that, íor exam-
ple, whoe·er simply says, 1here is no God except Allah,` will
enter Paradise. But, actually, we should all realize that all oí the
Qur'aan and ladeeth complement each other and explain one
another. 1o íind the correct position on any one question, one
must bring together all oí the related ·erses and hadeeth and see
what the true Islamic position is oí that question. 1he same is
true íor the conditions oí the shahaadah.
Ií we study the ·erses oí the Qur'aan and the ladeeth oí the
Prophet ,,, we will íind that the conditions oí the shahaadah are
se·en, eight or nine in number, depending on how we look at
them. It is important that all oí us make sure that we are meeting
these conditions in our own li·es and in our own testimony oí
íaith. \e must do our best to satisíy these conditions beíore it is
too late and our testimony will be no a·ail whatsoe·er. It is not
simply íor the sake oí teaching these conditions. Indeed, there is
no beneíit to that. But it is, instead, íor all oí us to look to our-
sel·es and to make sure that we are actually meeting these condi-
tions so that, by Allah's mercy, the doors to Paradise will be open
íor us by our key oí laa ilaaha ill-Allah.
1he Iirst Condition: Knowledge
1he first of these conditions is knowledge. 1hat is, one must
ha·e the basic and general knowledge oí what is meant by the
shahaadah. One must understand what the shahaadah is aííirming
and what the shahaadah is denying. Allah says in the Qur'aan,
´So know that there is no God save Allah, and ask for-
giveness for your sin.¨
|Surah Muhammad ,4¯,:19|
Similarly, the Prophet ,peace be upon him, said,
´Whoever dies knowing that there is no one worthy of
worship except Allah shall enter Paradise.¨ ,Recorded by
In íact, the shahaadah itselí is a testimony. \hen one testiíies to
something, one must know what it is that he is testiíying concern-
ing. Ob·iously, a testimony about something that one does not
ha·e any knowledge about is absolutely unacceptable. Allah says
in the Qur'aan,
´Save him who bears witness unto the truth knowingly.¨
|Surah az-Zukhruí ,43,:86|
Now this condition probably sounds ob·ious. Ií someone said to
you, 1here is no God except Allah,` and then said that what he
meant by Allah was Jesus, you would immediately tell him that
this shahaadah is nonsense. \et can you imagine that there is a
Muslim country in the world that until recently used to ha·e a
yearly week-long celebration to the Gods oí the Sea`! All along
they call themsel·es Muslims and they make shahaadah numerous
times a day. 1his clearly shows that they ha·e no idea what the
meaning oí their shahaadah is. Do you think that this kind oí
shahaadah will open the doors to Paradise íor them·
1oday, there are many Muslims who wonder why we should not
accept secularism. 1hey think that there is nothing wrong with
secularism! Many oí these Muslims pray íi·e times a day and utter
the shahaadah repeatedly. \et they see nothing wrong with ac-
cepting a Lawgi·er other than Allah· \hat kind oí shahaadah are
these people making·
All oí us do our best to learn at least the basics oí Islamic belieís.
1he basics oí what shahaadah means. In this way, Allah willing,
we will be making the correct shahaadah. \e will be witnessing
to the truth as we are supposed to be witnesses to it.
1he Second Condition: Certainty
1he second condition of the shahaadah is certainty (or al-
yaqeen). 1his is the opposite oí doubt and uncertainty. In Islam,
in íact, any kind oí doubt is equi·alent to Kuír or disbelieí. \e
must, in our hearts, be absolutely certain oí the truth oí the sha-
haadah. Our hearts must not be wa·ering in any way when we
testiíy to the truth oí, 1here is none worthy oí worship except
Allah describes the belie·ers in the Qur'aan as those who ha·e
belieí in Allah and then their hearts wa·er not. Allah says,
´1he (true) 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.¨
|Surah al-lujurat ,49,:15|
Similarly, the Messenger oí Allah ,, said,
´No one meets Allah with the testimony that there is
none worthy of worship but Allah and I am the Messen-
ger of Allah, and he has no doubt about hat statement,
except that he will enter Paradise.¨ ,Recorded by Muslim,
Indeed, Allah describes the hypocrites as those people whose
hearts are wa·ering. lor example, Allah says,
´1hey alone seek leave of thee (not to participate in ji-
) who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and
whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver.¨
|Surah at-1awbah ,9,:45|
Many scholars ha·e stated that the diseases oí the heart, or the
doubt and suspicions that one allows into one's heart, are more
dangerous íor a person's íaith than lusts and desires. 1his is be-
cause lusts and desires may be satisíied at some time yet the per-
son still knows them to be wrong and he may control himselí and
repent and gi·e up that e·il deed. On the other hand, the doubts
and suspicions may linger in the heart, with no cure, until the per-
son íinally lea·es Islam entirely or continues to practice Islam
while, in íact, in his heart he does not ha·e the true íaith.
1he greatest cure íor these doubts is seeking knowledge. It is
through sound knowledge oí the Qur'aan and the Sunnah that
most oí these doubts will be remo·ed. By study and understand-
ing, one will attain certainty. And as one studies and learns more,
his certainty will be made íirmer and íirmer.
I will gi·e you just one example on this point. 1his is related to all
oí the doubts, suspicions and misconceptions that are circulating
about the authenticity oí the hadeeth literature. lor example,
some Muslims e·en claim that hadeeth were not recorded until at
least 200 years aíter the death oí the Prophet ,,. Indeed, there
Jihaad: lighting the disbelie·ers to raise the \ord oí Allaah.
are Muslims who seem to ha·e a great deal oí doubt about
hadeeth and are ·ery quick to reject hadeeth on that basis. But, in
íact, ií one actually takes the time to study the history and preser-
·ation oí hadeeth, one will immediately recognize that all those
claims and charges against the hadeeth are not based on anything
scientiíic whatsoe·er. 1hey are nothing but íalse claims that come
írom Satan and which Muslims with poor understanding and
knowledge ha·e allowed to creep into their hearts.
Let me make one last point about this condition oí certainty. As I
alluded to earlier, doubts and misconceptions are ·ery dangerous
íor a person's íaith. Doubt and wa·ering are tantamount to apos-
tasy in Islam, as I mentioned earlier. lence, e·ery Muslim should
do best to saíeguard himselí írom such doubts and remain away
írom the sources oí doubts- especially ií they are not well
grounded in the Islamic sciences and do not ha·e the knowledge
to reíute such doubts and misconceptions. lence ií a person has
an associate or íriend, e·en ií he be a Muslim íriend, who is al-
ways making him doubt Allah or the religion, then he should re-
main away írom that person in order to saíeguard his own relig-
ion. Many Muslims nowadays study courses on Islam taught by
Orientalists, and because oí their weak background in Islamic
studies, they are iníluenced by the nonsense that some oí these
Orientalists are teaching in the name oí science`.
Similarly, many brothers and sisters nowadays are spending hours
at a time with the computer news groups and bulletin boards. A
lot oí nonsense and íalsehood are posted on those news groups
and bulletin boards. Again, the one who is not ·ery knowledge-
able oí his religion may easily be iníluenced and aííected by the
misconceptions and íalse arguments that he reads in those bulle-
tin boards. le should remain away írom those things and get a
deeper knowledge oí Islam through the authentic sources oí the
Again, the greatest counteríorce that can deíeat doubts and mis-
conceptions, aíter the bounty and guidance oí Allah, is sound
knowledge and understanding oí the religion. \hen a person has
that, he will not be aííected by the weak arguments put out by the
enemies oí Islam and he will be, Allah willing, írom among those
described in the Qur'aan,
´It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves
that fear Allah.¨
|Surah al-laatir ,35,:28|
1he 1hird Condition: Acceptance
1he third condition of the shahaadah is acceptance (or al-
qabool). Ií a person has the knowledge oí and certainty in the
shahaadah, this must be íollowed by acceptance, with the tongue
and heart, oí whate·er that shahaadah implies. \hoe·er reíuses
to accept the shahaadah and its implications, e·en ií he knows
that it is true and certain about its truth, is a disbelie·er. 1his re-
íusal to accept is sometimes due to pride, en·y or other reasons.
In any case, the shahaadah is not a true shahaadah without its un-
conditional acceptance.
1he scholars all talk about this condition as a general condition in
the way that I ha·e just stated. lowe·er, there is also a more de-
tailed aspect that we must all be aware oí. 1he belie·er accepts
whate·er the implications oí the shahaadah are. 1his also means
that he belie·es in whate·er is stated in the Qur'aan or stated by
the Prophet ,,, without any right to choose what he wants to
belie·e and what he wants to reject. Allah says in the Qur'aan,
´Do you believe in part of the book and reject part of it?
And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy
in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection
they will be consigned to the most grievous doom.¨
|Surah al-Baqarah ,2,:85|
1his is one aspect that the Muslims must be aware oí. Although it
is not the same as the complete reíusal to accept the truth, by re-
jecting part oí the truth that has come írom Allah, one also ne-
gates his testimony oí íaith.
Uníortunately, many Muslims are doing this nowadays in ·arious
ways. Although not all oí these íorms may necessarily be consid-
ered apostasy, they are still ·ery dangerous. lor example, ií they
do not like what is stated in a ·erse in the Qur'aan, they simply
reinterpret the ·erse according to their liking. Ií they do not like
what is stated in a hadeeth, they simply state that the hadeeth
must not be authentic although they are not scholars in that area.
1his kind oí beha·ior is the antithesis oí the beha·ior oí the true
Muslims. \hate·er comes írom Allah and lis Messenger ,,,
the true Muslim belie·es in as the truth. 1his goes hand in hand
with their testimony oí íaith.
1he Iourth Condition:
Submission and Compliance
1he fourth condition of shahaadah is submission and com-
pliance (or al-inqiyad). 1his implies the actual physical enact-
ment with our deeds oí our shahaadah. In íact, this is one oí the
main meanings oí the word Islam itselí, the submission to the
will and commands oí Allah.` 1his is what Allah commands in
the Qur'aan,
´1urn unto Him repentant, and surrender unto Him¨
|Surah az-Zumar ,39,:54|
Allah has praised those who submit to lis command by their ac-
tions. Allah says,
´Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his
purpose to Allah while doing good.¨
|Surah an-Nisaa' ,4,:125,
Actually, Allah has clearly made it a condition oí íaith that one
submits to the command oí Allah and lis Messenger. Allah says,
´But nay, by your Lord, they will not truly believe until
they make you ¡the Messenger of Allah¡ judge of what is
in dispute between them and find within themselves no
dislike of which you decide, and submit with full submis-
|Surah an-Nisaa ,4,:65|
Uníortunately, there are many claims that there is no relationship
between íaith and deeds. \ou can e·en hear one Muslim saying
about another, 1hat is the best Muslim I ha·e e·er met.` \et the
other person períorms scarcely any oí the deeds oí Islam whatso-
e·er. 1his incorrect understanding oí íaith has spread throughout
the Muslim world.
Indeed, our shahaadah or testimony oí íaith must be imple-
mented in our hearts, tongues and actions. In our hearts, we must
ha·e lo·e íor Allah, íear Allah and hope in lim. \ith our
tongues we must testiíy to the shahaadah. And with our actions,
we must implement what the testimony oí íaith requires írom us.
Anyone who claims to be a Muslim and yet does no deeds, either
does not understand Islam whatsoe·er or is bearing testimony
against himselí that his testimony oí íaith is not a true and correct
testimony oí íaith.
1his does not mean that the true belie·er ne·er commits a sin.
Indeed, true belie·ers do commit sins. But as long as they recog-
nize that what they did is not correct and it is inconsistent with
their obligation oí submitting to Allah, then they |ha·e not de-
stroyed| their testimony or shahaadah. But, do not íorget, they
are still sinners.
And what is the minimum oí submission that is required írom a
person beyond which there can be no claim to íaith· lor those
scholars who say that the abandonment oí prayers is kuír ,iníidel-
ity,, it is the íi·e daily prayers. \hoe·er does not períorm, at
least, the íi·e daily prayers has gone beyond the limit that is ac-
ceptable íor lack oí deeds. Allah knows best.
1he Iifth Condition: 1ruthfulness
1he fifth condition is truthfulness, as opposed to hypocrisy
and dishonesty. 1his means that when we say the shahaadah, we
are saying it honestly. \e actually mean it. \e are not lying when
it comes to our testimony oí íaith.
1he Prophet ,, said,
´No one bears testimony to there being no one worth of
worship save Allah, sincerely from his heart, except that
Allah makes the Hell-fire forbidden for him.¨ ,Recorded
by al-Bukhari and Muslim,
\e are all íamiliar with those who say the testimony oí íaith yet
they are not saying it honestly. 1hey do not belie·e in it but they
are simply saying it in order to protect themsel·es or to get some
gain írom doing so. 1hese are the hypocrites. Allah has described
them in the opening oí the Qur'aan with the íollowing words,
´And of mankind are some who say, ·We believe in Allah
and the Last Day,' when they believe not. 1hey think to
beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile
none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their
hearts is a disease, and Allah increases their disease. A
painful doom is theirs because they lie.¨
|Surah al-Baqarah ,2,:8-10|
Ob·iously, the shahaadah oí those who become Muslim simply
to beneíit írom being Muslim and not because they belie·e in Is-
lam will be rejected by Allah in the lereaíter. 1hey will íace a
painíul punishment due to their lying.
1he Sixth Condition: Sincerity
1he sixth condition is sincerity (or ikhlaas). 1hat is, when we
make the shahaadah, we must do so solely íor the sake oí Allah.
\e must not do it íor any other reason. And we must not do it
íor anyone else's sake. In this manner, the meaning oí sincerity is
opposite oí Shirk or ascribing partners with Allah. \e become
and remain Muslims solely íor Allah's sake. Allah says in the
´Worship Allah, making religion pure for him.¨
|Surah az-Zumar ,39,:2|
And Allah also says,
´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. 1hat is
true religion.¨
|Surah al-Bayyinah ,98,:5|
And the Prophet ,, added,
Allah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says,
·1here is no one worthy of worship except Allah,' and say
so desiring the face ¡and pleasure¡ of Allah.¨ ,Recorded by
1his is something that we should |all| think about, but especially
those oí us who grew up in Muslim íamilies and were born Mus-
lim. \e should make it ·ery clear to oursel·es that we are Mus-
lims only íor the sake oí Allah. \e are not Muslims íor the sake
oí our parents, íriends, íamily or community. It must be clear in
our minds that we are Muslims íor the sake oí Allah íirst, last and
One oí the signs that we are Muslims íor the sake oí Allah is that
we do whate·er Allah asks oí us, regardless oí what anybody else
desires or wants írom us. 1hat is, in the same way that we are
Muslims solely íor the sake oí Allah, all oí our actions are done
íor the sake oí Allah.
lowe·er, sometimes one begins to wonder whether this condi-
tion is met by some people. Some people írom the Muslim world
practice Islam to the extent that it is pleasing to their íamilies. Ií
there is anything in Islam that their íamilies do not like- although
their íamilies are Muslim and thereíore they actually should like
all oí Islam- then they do not practice that aspect oí Islam. One
common example oí that nature is mixing between men and
women. Sometimes a brother, here in the U.S., will not mix with
women and his wiíe will remain separate írom the men. \et,
when they return to their homes, because this is not pleasing to
their íamilies who want to mix between men and women, they
easily, simply and happily compromise their religion íor the sake
oí their parents. 1hese people must sincerely ask themsel·es why
they are Muslims. Are they Muslims íor the sake oí their parents
and thereíore whate·er their parents like they will do and what-
e·er their parents do not like they won't do· Or are they Muslims
íor the sake oí Allah and thereíore whate·er Allah dislike they
will not do and whate·er Allah is pleased with they do·
1he Seventh Condition: Love
1he seventh condition is love. 1hat is, the belie·er lo·es this
shahaadah, he lo·es in accordance with the shahaadah, he lo·es
the implications and requirements oí the shahaadah and he lo·es
those who act and stri·e íor the sake oí this shahaadah. 1his is a
necessary condition oí the shahaadah. Ií a person makes the sha-
haadah but does not lo·e the shahaadah and what it stands íor,
then, in íact, his íaith is not complete. It is not the íaith oí a true
belie·er. And ií he lo·es something more than this shahaadah or
ií he lo·es something more than Allah, then he has negated his
shahaadah. 1he true belie·er, the one meeting the conditions oí
the shahaadah puts no one whatsoe·er as an equal to Allah in his
Allah says in the Qur'aan,
´Yet of mankind are some who take unto themselves (ob-
jects of worship which they set as) rivals to Allah, loving
them with a love like (that which is due to) Allah only.
However, those who believe are stauncher in their love of
|Surah al-Baqarah ,2,:165|
And elsewhere Allah says,
´Say: If your fathers, or your sons, or your brethren, or
your wives, or your tribe, or the wealth you have ac-
quired, or merchandise for which you fear that there will
be no sale, or dwellings you desire are dearer to you than
Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then
wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah guides
not wrongdoing folk.¨
|Surah at-1awbah ,9,:24|
1he Prophet ,, said,
´Whoever has three characteristics has tasted the sweet-
ness of faith. ¡1he first of these¡ is that he loves Allah and
His Messenger more than he loves anyone else...¨ ,Re-
corded by al-Bukhari and Muslim,
1his is one oí the most important aspects oí Islam yet, íor some
reason, it is missing írom the li·es oí many Muslims. 1hey act in
Islam as ií Islam were a chore instead oí doing things out oí the
lo·e oí Allah. \hen Allah orders us to do something, like bear
witness to the íaith, we should realize that that thing is pleasing to
Allah and, thereíore, out oí our lo·e íor Allah, we should be ·ery
pleased to do the acts that are pleasing to Allah. But, as I said,
this íeeling is missing írom many, many Muslims today.
1he Lighth Condition:
Denial of All Other Deities
1he eighth condition of the shahaadah is that the person
who makes the shahaadah must deny every other object of
worship. Although that is clear in the words oí the testimony oí
íaith, it does not seem clear to e·eryone who makes that testi-
mony. 1hereíore, I am mentioning it explicitly here.
In Surah al-Baqarah, Allah clearly reminds us oí this important
aspect oí the shahaadah, the shahaadah is not merely an aííirma-
tion but it is both and aííirmation and a negation. Allah states,
´And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah
has grasped a firm handhold which will never break.¨
|Surah al-Baqarah ,2,:256|
Perhaps the Prophet ,, made this point e·en clearer when he
´Whoever says there is no one worthy of worship except
Allah and denies whatever is worshipped besides Allah,
then his wealth and blood are protected and his account-
ing will be with Allah.¨ ,Recorded by Muslim,
Although this condition should be ob·ious to e·eryone who says
the words oí shahaadah, you can still íind Muslims who say the
shahaadah and then make acts oí worship íor beings or things
other than Allah. \ou will íind them going to the gra·eyards and
worshipping those in the gra·es. 1hey will períorm acts oí wor-
ship, not íor the sake oí Allah, but íor the sake oí the dead
saints` in the gra·e. \hat kind oí shahaadah ha·e these people
made· Do you really think that their shahaadah will mean any-
thing on the Day oí Judgment as long as they belie·e that acts oí
worship may be done íor other than Allah·
1he Ninth Condition:
Adherence to the Shahaadah until Death.
1he ninth condition of the shahaadah is that the Muslim
adheres to the shahaadah until he dies. 1his is must ií the
shahaadah is to mean anything íor you in the lereaíter. \ou can
not rest on your laurels oí what you may ha·e done in the past.
No, indeed, the shahaadah must be your banner until your death.
1he 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 the Hell-fire. And a man spends a long time
doing the deeds of the people of the Hell-fire and then he
ends his deeds with the deeds of the people of Paradise.¨
,Recorded by Muslim,
In another hadeeth, the Prophet ,, said,
´By the One whom there is no other God, one of you
does the actions of Paradise until there is just a handspan
between him and Paradise and then the book ¡preor-
dainment¡ overtakes him and he does the actions of the
people of Hell and he enters into it.¨ ,Recorded by al-
Bukhari and Muslim,
And Allah says in the Qur'aan,
´O believers, observe your duty to Allah with right obser-
vance, and die not save as Muslims ¡surrendering your-
selves to Allah¡¨
|Surah Aali-'Imran ,3,102 |
Dear brothers and sisters, these are the conditions oí the sha-
haadah. 1hese are the aspects oí the shahaadah that each and
e·ery one oí us should look to in oursel·es and ask oursel·es, Is
my shahaadah meeting those requirements· Am I saying it sin-
cerely, honestly and out oí lo·e íor Allah· Am I saying it based
on what it really means· Am I denying all other íalse objects oí
1hese questions we should ask oursel·es now beíore we meet
Allah. Allah willing, we shall ask oursel·es these questions now
and we shall íind that we ha·e all the right answers íor them. Or,
ií we íind we ha·e some deíiciency, we shall work to remo·e that
deíiciency. Such that, by Allah's mercy, in the lereaíter, our sha-
haadah will be the key to Paradise íor us and the gates oí Paradise
will swing wide open íor us and we will be able to li·e íore·er in
the bounties oí Paradise, with Allah being pleased with us.
Again, it is not simply a matter oí knowing these conditions. In-
deed, one can meet many Muslims who ha·e these conditions
memorized, yet when one looks to their deeds and beha·ior, one
can see that these conditions ha·e no eííect on them. 1his means,
in íact, no matter how well he knows and can rattle oíí these
conditions, he, in íact, is not íulíilling them. In the lereaíter, his
knowledge oí these conditions will be oí no a·ail to him. Indeed,
his knowledge will be a prooí against him as he clearly knows
what the conditions are that he must satisíy yet he has shown that
he is not willing to satisíy them in his liíe.

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