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1he (onditions

Laa Ilaaha ill-
Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo
L·erv Muslim knows that the kev to Paradise is the statement.
1here is none worthv oí worship except Allah.` \et too manv
Muslims simplv relv upon this statement and belie·e that as long
as thev ha·e made this statement. nothing will harm them. 1hev
think will be granted Paradise because oí this mere ·erbal state-
ment oí the Shahaadah.
1here is no question that the mere saving oí. I bear witness that
there is none worthv 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 hvpocrites used to make this statement
quite oíten vet Allah describes them as liars and savs that thev
shall abide in the lowest abvss oí the lell-íire.
As manv scholars state. though. this statement or testimonv is the
kev to Paradise. 1he íamous 1aabi'i
\ahb ibn Munabbih was
once asked.
Isn't the statement oí laa ilaaha ill-Allah the kev to Paradise·` le
answered. \es. but e·erv kev has ridges. Ií vou come with the
kev that has the right ridges. the door will open íor vou. \et ií
vou do not ha·e the right ridges the door will not open íor vou.`
1hat is. it is saving |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 manv times a dav he
mav 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 tendencv to take one hadeeth or one ·erse and then based
1aabi'I. pl. 1aabi'oon: Literallv. íollower. 1he generation who succeeded
the Sahaabah. or (ompanions oí the Prophet ,.
on that one text. thev will make some conclusion that. íor exam-
ple. whoe·er simplv savs. 1here is no God except Allah.` will
enter Paradise. But. actuallv. we should all realize that all oí the
Our'aan and ladeeth complement each other and explain one
another. 1o íind the correct position on anv 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 studv the ·erses oí the Our'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 testimonv oí
íaith. \e must do our best to satisív these conditions beíore it is
too late and our testimonv will be no a·ail whatsoe·er. It is not
simplv 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 actuallv meeting these condi-
tions so that. bv Allah's mercv. the doors to Paradise will be open
íor us bv our kev 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 bv the
shahaadah. One must understand what the shahaadah is aííirming
and what the shahaadah is denving. Allah savs in the Our'aan.
´So know that there is no God save Allah, and ask for-
giveness for your sin.¨
|Surah Muhammad 4¯,:19|
Similarlv. the Prophet peace be upon him, said.
´Whoever dies knowing that there is no one worthy of
worship except Allah shall enter Paradise.¨ Recorded bv
In íact. the shahaadah itselí is a testimonv. \hen one testiíies to
something. one must know what it is that he is testiíving concern-
ing. Ob·iouslv. a testimonv about something that one does not
ha·e anv knowledge about is absolutelv unacceptable. Allah savs
in the Our'aan.
´Save him who bears witness unto the truth knowingly.¨
|Surah az-Zukhruí 43,:86|
Now this condition probablv sounds ob·ious. Ií someone said to
vou. 1here is no God except Allah.` and then said that what he
meant bv Allah was Jesus. vou would immediatelv tell him that
this shahaadah is nonsense. \et can vou imagine that there is a
Muslim countrv in the world that until recentlv used to ha·e a
vearlv week-long celebration to the Gods oí the Sea`! All along
thev call themsel·es Muslims and thev make shahaadah numerous
times a dav. 1his clearlv shows that thev ha·e no idea what the
meaning oí their shahaadah is. Do vou think that this kind oí
shahaadah will open the doors to Paradise íor them·
1odav. there are manv Muslims who wonder whv we should not
accept secularism. 1hev think that there is nothing wrong with
secularism! Manv oí these Muslims prav íi·e times a dav and utter
the shahaadah repeatedlv. \et thev 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 wav. 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 uncertaintv. In Islam.
in íact. anv kind oí doubt is equi·alent to Kuír or disbelieí. \e
must. in our hearts. be absolutelv certain oí the truth oí the sha-
haadah. Our hearts must not be wa·ering in anv wav when we
testiív to the truth oí. 1here is none worthv oí worship except
Allah describes the belie·ers in the Our'aan as those who ha·e
belieí in Allah and then their hearts wa·er not. Allah savs.
´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|
Similarlv. 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 bv Muslim,
Indeed. Allah describes the hvpocrites as those people whose
hearts are wa·ering. lor example. Allah savs.
´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|
Manv 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 mav be satisíied at some time vet the per-
son still knows them to be wrong and he mav control himselí and
repent and gi·e up that e·il deed. On the other hand. the doubts
and suspicions mav linger in the heart. with no cure. until the per-
son íinallv lea·es Islam entirelv 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 Our'aan and the Sunnah that
most oí these doubts will be remo·ed. Bv studv and understand-
ing. one will attain certaintv. And as one studies and learns more.
his certaintv will be made íirmer and íirmer.
I will gi·e vou just one example on this point. 1his is related to all
oí the doubts. suspicions and misconceptions that are circulating
about the authenticitv oí the hadeeth literature. lor example.
some Muslims e·en claim that hadeeth were not recorded until at
least 200 vears 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 ·erv quick to reject hadeeth on that basis. But. in
íact. ií one actuallv takes the time to studv the historv and preser-
·ation oí hadeeth. one will immediatelv recognize that all those
claims and charges against the hadeeth are not based on anvthing
scientiíic whatsoe·er. 1hev 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 certaintv. As I
alluded to earlier. doubts and misconceptions are ·erv dangerous
íor a person's íaith. Doubt and wa·ering are tantamount to apos-
tasv in Islam. as I mentioned earlier. lence. e·erv Muslim should
do best to saíeguard himselí írom such doubts and remain awav
írom the sources oí doubts- especiallv ií thev 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-
wavs making him doubt Allah or the religion. then he should re-
main awav írom that person in order to saíeguard his own relig-
ion. Manv Muslims nowadavs studv courses on Islam taught bv
Orientalists. and because oí their weak background in Islamic
studies. thev are iníluenced bv the nonsense that some oí these
Orientalists are teaching in the name oí science`.
Similarlv. manv brothers and sisters nowadavs 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 ·erv knowledge-
able oí his religion mav easilv be iníluenced and aííected bv the
misconceptions and íalse arguments that he reads in those bulle-
tin boards. le should remain awav 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 bountv and guidance oí Allah. is sound
knowledge and understanding oí the religion. \hen a person has
that. he will not be aííected bv the weak arguments put out bv the
enemies oí Islam and he will be. Allah willing. írom among those
described in the Our'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 certaintv in the
shahaadah. this must be íollowed bv 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·v or other reasons.
In anv 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 wav 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 Our'aan or stated bv
the Prophet ,. without anv right to choose what he wants to
belie·e and what he wants to reject. Allah savs in the Our'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. bv re-
jecting part oí the truth that has come írom Allah. one also ne-
gates his testimonv oí íaith.
Uníortunatelv. manv Muslims are doing this nowadavs in ·arious
wavs. Although not all oí these íorms mav necessarilv be consid-
ered apostasv. thev are still ·erv dangerous. lor example. ií thev
do not like what is stated in a ·erse in the Our'aan. thev simplv
reinterpret the ·erse according to their liking. Ií thev do not like
what is stated in a hadeeth. thev simplv state that the hadeeth
must not be authentic although thev 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 testimonv 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 phvsical 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 Our'aan.
´1urn unto Him repentant, and surrender unto Him¨
|Surah az-Zumar 39,:54|
Allah has praised those who submit to lis command bv their ac-
tions. Allah savs.
´Who is better in religion than he who surrenders his
purpose to Allah while doing good.¨
|Surah an-Nisaa' 4,:125,
Actuallv. Allah has clearlv made it a condition oí íaith that one
submits to the command oí Allah and lis Messenger. Allah savs.
´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|
Uníortunatelv. there are manv claims that there is no relationship
between íaith and deeds. \ou can e·en hear one Muslim saving
about another. 1hat is the best Muslim I ha·e e·er met.` \et the
other person períorms scarcelv anv oí the deeds oí Islam whatso-
e·er. 1his incorrect understanding oí íaith has spread throughout
the Muslim world.
Indeed. our shahaadah or testimonv 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 testiív to the shahaadah. And with our actions.
we must implement what the testimonv oí íaith requires írom us.
Anvone who claims to be a Muslim and vet does no deeds. either
does not understand Islam whatsoe·er or is bearing testimonv
against himselí that his testimonv oí íaith is not a true and correct
testimonv 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 thev recog-
nize that what thev did is not correct and it is inconsistent with
their obligation oí submitting to Allah. then thev |ha·e not de-
stroved| their testimonv or shahaadah. But. do not íorget. thev
are still sinners.
And what is the minimum oí submission that is required írom a
person bevond which there can be no claim to íaith· lor those
scholars who sav that the abandonment oí pravers is kuír iníidel-
itv,. it is the íi·e dailv pravers. \hoe·er does not períorm. at
least. the íi·e dailv pravers has gone bevond 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 sav the shahaadah. we
are saving it honestlv. \e actuallv mean it. \e are not lving when
it comes to our testimonv 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
bv al-Bukhari and Muslim,
\e are all íamiliar with those who sav the testimonv oí íaith vet
thev are not saving it honestlv. 1hev do not belie·e in it but thev
are simplv saving it in order to protect themsel·es or to get some
gain írom doing so. 1hese are the hvpocrites. Allah has described
them in the opening oí the Our'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·iouslv. the shahaadah oí those who become Muslim simplv
to beneíit írom being Muslim and not because thev belie·e in Is-
lam will be rejected bv Allah in the lereaíter. 1hev will íace a
painíul punishment due to their lving.
1he Sixth Condition: Sincerity
1he sixth condition is sincerity (or ikhlaas). 1hat is. when we
make the shahaadah. we must do so solelv íor the sake oí Allah.
\e must not do it íor anv other reason. And we must not do it
íor anvone else's sake. In this manner. the meaning oí sinceritv is
opposite oí Shirk or ascribing partners with Allah. \e become
and remain Muslims solelv íor Allah's sake. Allah savs in the
´Worship Allah, making religion pure for him.¨
|Surah az-Zumar 39,:2|
And Allah also savs.
´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-Bavvinah 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 bv
1his is something that we should |all| think about. but especiallv
those oí us who grew up in Muslim íamilies and were born Mus-
lim. \e should make it ·erv clear to oursel·es that we are Mus-
lims onlv íor the sake oí Allah. \e are not Muslims íor the sake
oí our parents. íriends. íamilv or communitv. 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 anvbodv else
desires or wants írom us. 1hat is. in the same wav that we are
Muslims solelv 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 bv some people. Some people írom the Muslim world
practice Islam to the extent that it is pleasing to their íamilies. Ií
there is anvthing in Islam that their íamilies do not like- although
their íamilies are Muslim and thereíore thev actuallv should like
all oí Islam- then thev 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 thev return to their homes. because this is not pleasing to
their íamilies who want to mix between men and women. thev
easilv. simplv and happilv compromise their religion íor the sake
oí their parents. 1hese people must sincerelv ask themsel·es whv
thev are Muslims. Are thev Muslims íor the sake oí their parents
and thereíore whate·er their parents like thev will do and what-
e·er their parents do not like thev won't do· Or are thev Muslims
íor the sake oí Allah and thereíore whate·er Allah dislike thev
will not do and whate·er Allah is pleased with thev 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
necessarv 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 savs in the Our'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 savs.
´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 bv al-Bukhari and Muslim,
1his is one oí the most important aspects oí Islam vet. íor some
reason. it is missing írom the li·es oí manv Muslims. 1hev 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 ·erv
pleased to do the acts that are pleasing to Allah. But. as I said.
this íeeling is missing írom manv. manv Muslims todav.
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 testimonv oí
íaith. it does not seem clear to e·ervone who makes that testi-
monv. 1hereíore. I am mentioning it explicitlv here.
In Surah al-Baqarah. Allah clearlv reminds us oí this important
aspect oí the shahaadah. the shahaadah is not merelv 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 bv Muslim,
Although this condition should be ob·ious to e·ervone who savs
the words oí shahaadah. vou can still íind Muslims who sav the
shahaadah and then make acts oí worship íor beings or things
other than Allah. \ou will íind them going to the gra·evards and
worshipping those in the gra·es. 1hev 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 vou reallv think that their shahaadah will mean anv-
thing on the Dav oí Judgment as long as thev belie·e that acts oí
worship mav 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 anvthing íor vou in the lereaíter. \ou can
not rest on vour laurels oí what vou mav ha·e done in the past.
No. indeed. the shahaadah must be vour banner until vour 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 bv 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 bv al-
Bukhari and Muslim,
And Allah savs in the Our'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·erv one oí us should look to in oursel·es and ask oursel·es. Is
mv shahaadah meeting those requirements· Am I saving it sin-
cerelv. honestlv and out oí lo·e íor Allah· Am I saving it based
on what it reallv means· Am I denving 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 deíiciencv. we shall work to remo·e that
deíiciencv. Such that. bv Allah's mercv. in the lereaíter. our sha-
haadah will be the kev 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 simplv a matter oí knowing these conditions. In-
deed. one can meet manv Muslims who ha·e these conditions
memorized. vet 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 clearlv knows
what the conditions are that he must satisív vet he has shown that
he is not willing to satisív them in his liíe.