Shahadah (Islamic Testimony of Faith): The First Pillar of Islam
There is no god worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His Prophet.
The testimony of faith is saying with conviction, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah.” This saying means “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1 and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” The first part, “There is no true god but God,” means that none has the right to be worshipped but God alone, and that God has neither partner nor son. This testimony of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which should be said with conviction in order to convert to Islam (as explained previously on this page). The testimony of faith is the most important pillar of Islam.
These are the words that a person says to enter the fold of Islam. The Shahadah, or declaration of faith, is a covenant that the person makes with Allah: that he/she will continue to obey Allah, and walk in the footsteps of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). It is the first step to complete obedience to the Lord of all.
When we say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, it means that we disdain obedience and servitude to anyone or anything except Allah. It means that we fear no one and nothing except Allah: that our greatest feeling of love and gratitude are kept for Allah, because we know that He is the real Provider of all we have. It means that we do not seek the pleasure or acceptance of anyone or anything except Allah. This means that the Muslim becomes strong and independent.
When we say that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, we acknowledge his right to be respected, obeyed and revered. We follow in his footsteps, knowing that he was the best of creation and hope to achieve Paradise and be close to him and the other prophets (God Willing).
Truly the Shahadah is not an empty phrase, it is not just a few words spoken but is coupled with sincerity of intention and determination to struggle, strive and sacrifice along the straight path.
Next: the Second Pillar of Islam