You are on page 1of 7

A VOW IN ONE “WORD”

A WAY OF LIFE AND DEATH

RABAB MAHER

‫ش َه ُد أ َ ْن ال ِإلهَ ِإال ّ هللا‬
ْ ‫♡أ‬

ُ ‫ش َه ُد أ َ َّن ُم َح َّمدا ً َر‬
♡ ‫سو ُل هللا‬ ْ ‫َوأ‬

I Bear Witness There is No God but

Allâh and I Bear Witness

Muhammad is the Messenger of

Allâh

Kalimat Ash-Shahâdah, ‘the word of testimony’, is easy to

utter with its pleasing flow of Arabic words, and easy to fall

in love with.

It’s a potently concise one-sentence declaration that’s

dulcet to hear and sweetens our tongues, enlightens our
minds, enfolds around our hearts permeating them with

warm love outshining any other, scents our body and

beautifies our soul with undivided surrender to Allâh ‫سبْحا َن ُه‬
ُ

‫َو َتعالَى‬ and Prophet Muhammad ‫ﷺ‬.

It’s declaring,

I bear witness therefore I submit, and I live

and die in complete submission to that

testament.

That’s the effect the shahâdah is supposed to have on us.

THE ROOT OF IT ALL

Shahâdah (‫)شَهادة‬, ‘witnessing’ or ‘testifying the truth’,

etymologically derives from the Arabic root word shahida

(َ‫)شَ ِه َد‬, ‘to witness’ or ‘to observe’.

Appreciating the root of the word, its emphasis in Islâm

becomes that much more significant, as follows.

Professing the shahâdah isn’t only a proclamation; it’s

accepting without demur that Allâh ‫سبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬
ُ is The One

and Only God and Prophet Muhammad ‫ ﷺ‬is His last

messenger.
Fundamentally, it’s avowing to follow the word of Allâh

ُ in its
‫سبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬ entirety and the teachings of The Prophet ‫ﷺ‬.

It’s a perfect and intricate word intrinsic in delineating

what Islâm is with a cornucopia of beautiful layers to its

meaning.

It’s the first article of Islâm and so much more.

The declaration of the shahâdah connotes and denotes

so many explicit and implicit profound messages.

A PUISSANT CONNEXION

Remarkably, and beautifully, shahâdah also means

martyrdom, a valuable correlation and an insightful

connexion that gets to the crux of what martyrdom in Islâm

truly signifies, clarifying the concept in its purest form.

You can’t have one without the other.

To explicate further, only after grasping what lies behind

the Arabic word lexically, logically and intellectually, can

we begin to understand what it means to be a

shahīd (‫)شَهيد‬, ‘martyr’.
The simple fact the way we must live our lives solely on the

premise of that testament, and that it should be our last

whisperings before we leave this world to the next, is

symptomatic of what it means to desire martyrdom.

It’s not for any worldly or heavenly gain; martyrdom is only

for one intention: the shahâdah.

It’s incumbent upon us not to lose the spirit of martyrdom

and glorify what’s sometimes an illusion. Even more than

that, we need to appreciate how one poignantly powerful

word binds and symbolises two essential elements for a

Muslim to live and die by.

BEHIND THE DECLARATION

Believing in the first pillar implies what we see, hear and

say, how we act and dress, is for the sake of The One and

Only God, and for our respect for the ways of His last

messenger ‫ﷺ‬.

It means absolute obedience to Allâh ‫ ُسبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬, with our all

– deeds, body, senses, mind, heart and soul – and to the

wisdoms of our Beloved Prophet ‫ﷺ‬.

It’s surrendering to Allâh ‫سبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬
ُ by complying with His

word,
ُ َّ ‫َّللا فَات َّ ِب ُعونِي ُي ْح ِب ْب ُك ُم‬
‫َّللا‬ َ َّ ‫♡ قُ ْل ِإن كُنت ُ ْم تُحِ بُّو َن‬

♡ ‫غفُ و ٌر َّرحِ ي ٌم‬
َ ‫َّللا‬
ُ َّ ‫َويَ ْغ ِف ْر لَ ُك ْم ذُنُ وبَ ُك ْم ۗ َو‬

{Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you

should love Allâh, then follow me,

and Allâh will love you and forgive

your sins for Allâh is Oft-Forgiving,

Most Merciful.’}

(03:31)

through His messenger, the complete man, the paragon

of character, whom Allâh ‫س ْبحا َن ُه َوتَعالَى‬
ُ chose to seal His

religion.

Truly attesting the shahâdah is making a promise to Allâh

‫س ْبحا َن ُه َو َتعالَى‬
ُ Islâm is the way of life, we live and die for Him, for

us to be under the shade with His Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬on the Day of

Judgement and in his company in paradise.

We’re saying, above our love for ourselves and before our

love for others, we love Allâh ‫ ُسبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬first,

♡ . . . ۗ ‫لِّل‬ َ َ ‫ َوالَّذِي َن آ َمنُوا أ‬. . . ♡
ِ َّ ِّ ‫ش ُّد ُحبًّا‬
{. . . And those who believe are stronger

in love for Allâh . . .}

(002:165)

And, Prophet Muhammad ‫ ﷺ‬second,

’Umar bin Al-Khattâb  addressed The

Prophet ‫ﷺ‬, ‘Messenger of Allâh, you are

dearer to me than everything except

myself.’ Thereupon The Prophet ‫ ﷺ‬said,

‘By the One in whose hand is my life, your

faith will not be complete until I become

dearer to you than your own self.’

Upon reflection and with the realisation his

life would not be complete in this world

and the next without The Prophet ‫ﷺ‬,

‘Umar  responded, ‘You are now dearer

to me than my own self.’ The Prophet ‫ﷺ‬

replied, ‘Now ‘Umar, your faith is

complete.’
The shahâdah is the essence and meaning of Islâm,

SUBMISSION, and what we aspire as Muslims to achieve in

this world by doing our utmost to please Allâh ‫ ُسبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬for

us to return to Him with Him content with us.

The shahâdah is more than a few words we murmur; it’s

our breathings, our way of life, and death.

It is Islâm.

  

In the Words of Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad ‫ ﷺ‬,

Three traits, whoever possesses them

shall experience the sweetness of imân

(faith): To love Allâh and His

Messenger more than anyone else; to

love a man only for the sake of Allâh;

and to hate to return to infidelity after

Allâh has delivered him from it as

much as he hates to be thrown into fire.

TUESDAY, 2ND JULY 2013