"God bears witness that there is no god except He, and so do the angels and those who
possess knowledge. Truthfully and equitably, there is no god but He, the Almighty, Most Wise."
Indeed the core of the faith is the Shahada (Testimony of faith). This very first pillar of Islam was indeed revealed to the recipients of previous Scripture. The Testimony of faith in the Torah (Old Testament) reads:
"Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One." (Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
The Testimony of faith in the Quran (3:18) affirms the same truth.
We are told in the Quran that this testimony is uttered by God Himself also the angels and all those who possess knowledge.
This is the only Testimony decreed by God in the Quran. The Quran, on the other hand, speaks of another testimony. We are told that this other testimony is only spoken by the hypocrites:
"When the hypocrites come to you they say "We bear witness that you are the messenger of God" God knows that you are His messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are liars" 63:1
From this verse we deduce an extremely significant observation. This observation becomes clear when we examine three important verbs in the verse:
1- The hypocrites say "we bear witness" (nashhad) that you are the messenger of God"
2- "God knows (ya'lam) that you are His messenger"
3- "God bears witness (yashhad) that the hypocrites are liars"
We notice that the verse starts with the words "bear witness" and ends with the same words, so why does God use the word "knows" in the middle of the verse? Why did God not say (God bears witness that you are His messenger)? Since nothing in the Quran is a coincidence we must indeed be alerted to God's deliberate choice of the word "knows".
The only logical reason why God says that He "knows" rather than He bears witness, is that the testimony uttered by the hypocrites is not part of the Testimony of faith that is decreed by God. For surely if God had said "God bears witness that you are His messenger" then that would have been clear authorisation for the second testimony which is uttered by the hypocrites.
As a result we must accept that the only Testimony that is decreed by God in the Quran is the Testimony in 3:18. This Testimony which includes the name of God and no other name is the only Testimony for the believers.
If we contemplate the meaning of God's words:
"They can never fathom the greatness of God. The whole earth is within His fist on the day of Resurrection and the whole universe is folded with His right hand. Be He glorified, He is far too exalted to have anything or anybody associated with Him." 39:67
This verse, which speaks of the the greatness of God, provides sufficient justification for not associating any names alongside the name of God in the Testimony.
Furthermore, God commands us in the Quran not to make any distinction between His messengers (2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:152). To include the name of one of God's messengers in the Testimony and to consistently commemorate his name in preference to other messengers is to make distinction and is a blatant disregard for God's commands.
The fact that Muhammad is the messenger of God is beyond dispute, but this is an article of faith (Iman) rather than a part of the Shahada. In 2:285 the concept of faith (Iman) is defined as having faith in God, His angels, His Scripture and His messengers. Thus, to believe that Muhammad is the messenger of God is a component of faith, but the Testimony of faith is an act that must be dedicated to the name of God alone, just like our Salat (prayer) and other rituals (see 6:162).
The ones who utter the "second" Shahada say that they are only stating a fact i.e. that Muhammad is the messenger of God! ........ But in reply to that, so is Moses, Jacob, Job and all the others. The reader is well advised not to go into a mosque (masjid) and declare "there is no god but God and Moses is His messenger" ...... at the very least, you would not be allowed to leave in one piece, even though you would only be stating a true fact!
Some others say "we testify to Muhammad being the messenger of God because the Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad, so we declare our faith in God's messenger by these words".
The reply to that is also very simple. The Jews and the Christians also rejected the Quran as being the word of God, they accuse Muhammad of fabricating it. However, we never hear any Muslim saying "I bear witness that there is no god but God and that the Quran is the word of God" !!! Surely, and if they are sincere, they should care to ascertain their belief in God's word (Quran) which is rejected by the Jews and Christians, and not only their belief in Muhammad!
All this, exposes the real motives of the ones who utter the "second" testimony. They have idolised Muhammad (against his wishes), and gave him preferential treatment among all the messengers despite the fact that God prohibited this act (2:285). They have placed his name alongside the name of God in every masjid!
Despite God's command in 2:285 not to make any distinction among His messengers, and God's words that confirm to us that Muhammad is not any different from other messengers (46:9), yet in flagrant defiance to God's commands, Muslims call Muhammad "Sayed Al-Khalq" (the master of all mankind) ...... "Ashraf Al-Mursaleen" (the most honourable of the messengers) .... and "Habib Allah" (God"s sweetheart)! ..... if all these are not preferential titles that place Muhammad above all other messengers, then what is?
It must be made clear here that Muhammad the prophet of God never invited his people to idolise him or make a god-like figure of him. We are told in the Quran that any messenger of God would never do that, but will only advocate the whole hearted worship of God alone:
"Never would a human being whom God blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, "Idolize me besides God." Instead, (he would say), "Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone, according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn."
Nor would he command you to idolize the angels and the prophets as lords. Would he exhort you to disbelieve after becoming submitters?" 3:79-80