The Testimony of Faith (Al-Shahada)

By: Mike Blessing

Muslims have always maintained that the testimony of faith, the Shahada is dual and is the basis of the Muslim's faith. By dual they mean that it consists of two parts:

1- "Ash-hadu Ann Laa Ilaaha Ill-Allah" , (translated as: "I bear witness that there is no god but GOD") being the first part, or simply the first testimony and,

2- "Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadun "Abduhu wa Rassoulluhu", (translated as, "And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger") being the second part, or simply the second testimony.

Thus, they always refer to "ash-shahaadatayn" (the two testimonies of faith)! This, of course, is alien to the Islam revealed and sanctioned by God in the Quran.

We shall, God willing, demonstrate in this essay that this doctrine of "ash-shahaadatayn" is in clear violation to the teachings of the Quran.

This research is based on the fact that the Quran is complete (6:115) and fully detailed (6:114). Nothing is left out of the book (6:38).

Contrary to popular belief, the Quran does give us the testimony of faith, the Shahada:

God bears witness that there is no god except Him, and so do the angels and those who possess knowledge, upholding justice. There is no god except Him, the Dignified, the Wise. 3:18

This testimony of faith is the only one found in the Quran and God Himself bears witness to it. Since the Quran is complete and fully detailed, there is no need for a second testimony of faith; God has perfected our religion for us and has approved it as it is. There is no mention at all of the "second" of the two testimonies. Where then did it come from? Did God forget to tell us about it? Absolutely not! God does not forget.

The Shahada, is a statement of fact. No one can deny it and still be a believer. Denying the fact that Muhammad was indeed a prophet would put one squarely outside the definition of the believer given us by God:

The messenger has believed in what was brought down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They all believed in God, His Angels, His Scriptures and His Messengers: "We do not distinguish between any of His messengers", and they said, "We hear and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destination." 2:285

This second testimony of faith is always uttered by the overwhelming majority of Muslims any time the first one is said. This constitutes discrimination on their part in favour of Muhammad, for people never say, upon hearing the first testimony, " Wa ash-hadu anna Moses (or Jesus, or Jacob) "Abduhu wa Rassoulluhu", only "Muhammad".

Those who utter this testimony deny that this is discrimination in favour of Muhammad and argue that there is nothing wrong with that, since it is a fact that he is the messenger of God and that he brought us the Quran; he is our special messenger. They add, God Himself favours him over all His messengers and the proof is that He addresses him alone as "Yaa ay-yuhan-nabiy", translated literally as, "O you, the one who is the prophet", or simply "O prophet". This form of address, they assert, is most respectful and enhances Muhammad's stature to the most favoured of God's prophets (if not all His creations), especially as it was used in the Quran to address only him. They also argue that God knows our intentions and thus even if we err by including the prophet in the testimony of faith, God will forgive us for He knows that our intentions are sincere.

Not surprisingly, these are the very same people who see nothing wrong with referring to Muhammad as "ashraf-ul-mursaleen" (the most honourable of the messengers)", or as "say-yid-ul khalq" (master of all creation), an expression implying superiority over the entirety of all creation!. Despite these labels they deny boldly that this constitutes discrimination in his favour. In fact this is, regardless of their intellectually dishonest claims, manifest discrimination! No distinction means just that, no distinction!

Moreover, when the name of Muhammad is consistently coupled with God's name, this constitutes a clear distinction between Muhammad and other messengers by excluding them. Yes, indeed Muhammad did bring us the Quran, but it is not a boon from him. The Quran is enlightenment and mercy from Our Lord to us; Muhammad was honoured with being made the conduit, the messenger, the delivery man, God entrusted with delivering it to us. God chooses only the best among His servants as messengers, those who would be up to the heavy task, those possessed of moral excellence, intelligence, determination and steadfastness.

The Muslims back up their claims, not from the Quran, but from the hadith; the Quran is devoid of such contradictory nonsense. The hadith is replete with these self-serving, self-aggrandising statements falsely attributed to the prophet.

I do not quite see the logic in claiming that when God addresses Muhammad by "Yaa ay-yuhan-nabiy", that this elevates him to the status of the most favored of His messengers; this is a non sequitur. God addresses Moses by his name, and it is impossible to conclude that that form of address does not enhance his stature given the unprecedented and unique terms of endearment that God applies to Moses. And of all the messengers God spoke only to Moses. This fact alone could arguably make Moses the most favored, but in these matters, it is best not to presume and to leave them up to God. We also read that Jesus was the only prophet told to be supported by the Holy Spirit (2:87), and the only messenger of God to be described in the Quran as totally "pure" (19:19). Would this not entitle us to argue that Jesus was given higher status in the Quran than Muhammad?

It should also be remembered that God, in using the phrase "O prophet", is addressing the recipient of the Quran, prophet Muhammad, directly and in his lifetime. When the word 'prophet' speaks of Muhammad in the Quran, it is always used to address or refer to Muhammad during his lifetime. Additionally this phrase could not have been used with the other messengers since they are not being addressed directly in the Quran - only Muhammad is - for they were all dead. God may well have used that same form of address with other messengers in their Scriptures.

Nowhere does the Quran say that God prefers Muhammad to all his other messengers. There are verses in the Quran that tell us that God granted favour to some messengers over others. In 2:253, God speaks of some of the messengers He has favoured over others. He refers to Moses by inference but mentions Jesus by name and says that He granted him the clear signs and that He supported him with the Holy Spirit. The other verse dealing with God's preferring or favouring prophets to others is 17:55. Here God states that He favours some prophets over others and that He granted David - mentioning him by name - the Psalms. There is no mention of Muhammad anywhere near the preference verses. Does this mean that God favours Jesus or David to all others? Whatever the answer may be, it is safest to leave this matter up to God; we simply do not have enough information or wisdom to know the answer! Rather, we must stick to the clear instructions given to us from our Lord for not discriminating among His messengers (2:285).

From a different angle, Muhammad's name is mentioned in the Quran only four times while Moses's name is mentioned more than one hundred and thirty times and Abraham's more than forty times. God spoke to Moses, and took Abraham as His friend, very special distinctions and great honours indeed. Does this not provide grounds to argue that God preferred Abraham and Moses to Muhammad? We do not know, but what we do know is that there is no evidence in the Quran to indicate that God preferred Muhammad to all other messengers. These false claims come from the hadith and also from the deliberate misinterpretations of the Quran. It is the worst blasphemy to invent lies upon lies and attribute them to God and the messenger of God!

The essence of this matter is that God is free to prefer whomever He wills of His servants, but we are given clear instructions in 2:285, that we are not to make distinction among the messengers.

The title given to Muhammad of "Say-yidul-khalq" (the master of all creation) has no basis in the Quran whatsoever yet sadly the majority of the Muslims accept this myth without looking carefully into its implications.

They also attribute to him, inter alia, infallibility and knowledge of the future (ghayb) in spite of the fact that such claims fly in the face of many verses in the Quran, including those verses where God reproaches Muhammad for major misjudgments. The words in 33:37, 66:1 and 80:1-10 are 3 of the 6 Quranic cases.

Such non Quranic allegations devised to place Muhammad on top of the pile are firmly exposed in the Quran in the following Quranic words:

Say (O Muhammad), "I am not a novelty among the messengers, nor do I know what will happen to me or to you. I follow nothing other than what is revealed to me. I am no more than a clear warner." 46:9

This second testimony of faith has become so deeply entrenched in the so-called Five Pillars of Islam that it has become a sine qua non; a Muslim who does not utter it is considered to have apostatised. This borders on idol worship, "shirk". The following Quranic words state:

Or do they have 'shuraka' who legislate for them of the religion what God did not authorise? 42:21

These words dictate that accepting any rules or claims to be part of the religion, when God has not specifically sanctioned it in the Quran, is idol worship pure and simple, because such matter is authorised not by God but by the partner. The "partner" is any idol they claim to be God's partner in His Dominion. He is ultimately Iblees (Satan), for he is the one who leads them astray.

We have demonstrated that the purveyors of the second testimony do discriminate. From this we safely conclude that they are squarely in the camp of the non-believers. The words in 2:285 tells us that the believers do not discriminate among the messengers. In fact, the believers affirm that they do not discriminate; how then are we to describe those who do discriminate? Logically then, they are simply not believers! Those who say that there is no harm in the second testimony of faith should take these words very seriously and should carefully and honestly examine their views.

A second conclusion is that the purveyors of the second testimony hold prophet Muhammad in higher esteem than that conferred upon him by God. What they are saying, in effect, is, "God, we are not quite satisfied with the honour You have bestowed upon Your servant Muhammad, we will go one better!"

A third conclusion is that they so consistently connect Muhammad's name with God's Name that the two have become more or less an indivisible partnership. Indeed Muhammad seems to have become "The Second of Two!"

All of this comes from a misguided love for Muhammad. Can the Muslims love Muhammad more than the Christians love Jesus? It may well be! In fact, according to the "hadith" they are required to, as we shall soon see, with the same sad result!

The Christians claim that Jesus is the "son of God", "God the son", "God incarnate", or simply; the second "person" in the Holy Trinity. This necessarily reduces God "the Father" to being one third of the Trinity, as the Quran states in 5:73. In truth, nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus make such claims for himself nor, for that matter, is there any mention of the Trinity. In fact, Jesus always spoke of himself as the "son of man" and the servant of God.

Where do these claims come from? A misguided love for Christ! And we all know who is the instigator behind this misguided love! Yes, it is Satan again who is adamant in his attempt to divert the human being from the love of God, and so he invites them to love others as they should love only God. He is also the instigator of all the well known Christian seemingly innocent calls to "Love Jesus" and "Let Jesus into your life". However, the Gospels teach that we are to love God with all our heart and all our might.

"You shall love and worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Luke 4:8)

The Muslims should take this piece of advice to heart. Our love should be directed solely to Our Lord who created us and to whom we owe everything, including the Light that He sent down upon Muhammad!

This call for the love of God above all other love is strongly emphasised in the Quran:

Among the people are those who take other than God as equals, loving them as the love of God. However, those who believe have much greater love for God. 2:165

In contrast, we find a flagrant hadith in the Bukhari collection inviting believers to love prophet Muhammad in a love that differs little from actually worshipping him!

Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, hadith 15

The Prophet (ï·º) said "None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his son and all mankind."

The reader is invited to compare the content of this hadith to the content and message of 2:165, quoted above.

This hadith is of the self-serving kind we spoke of earlier, and it violates a whole slew of verses in the Quran. I shall address these violations, God willing, in another essay. But the point we wish to make here is that you cannot love a person more than your father, your son and the whole of humanity without actually worshipping or at least idolising him! It goes against the many verses, where Muhammad is told that his livelihood, sustenance and reward are up to God, he himself must not demand a wage for what he does. It also violates the following Quranic words:

It is not for any human being to whom God gave the Scripture, the law, and the prophethood to then say to the people, "Be worshippers of me rather than God," but instead, "Be devoted to the Lord in accordance to the Scripture you have been teaching and in accordance to what you have been studying." 3:79

The presumption that God will excuse us our errors because our intentions are pure, is not a valid one, at least not in this context. God indeed knows our intentions, and will act upon them in certain instances. This is true in cases of unfulfilled good intentions or honest mistakes that are not deliberately committed. However, when the Quran is clear on a certain matter, and yet some still reject it and follow other teachings, this cannot be a case of a forgivable honest error not deliberately committed. For this is a clear case of rejecting the Quran and following other teachings instead. This is clearly an act of idol worship even though it is sincerely believed to be a righteous testimony by those who utter it. One cannot expect God to forgive on the basis of that intention.

In fact, an act of idol worship, let alone one deliberately persisted in, is simply not forgivable; God tells us unequivocally so in the Quran:

God does not forgive the association of anything with Him, and He forgives other than that for whom He wills. 4:48

Since God did not qualify His statements, the question of intent becomes irrelevant.

It must therefore be stressed that good intentions, where idol worship is maintained even after the Quranic truth is shown, are useless and will not save the perpetrator on the Day of Reckoning. On that Day, the idol worshippers will deny in vain that they ever committed idol worship, the words of the Quran testify to this truth and how God calls them liars:

And on the Day when We summon them all, We will ask those who committed shirk, "Where are your partners, those whom you used to claim?"
Then in their desperation, they will say nothing other than, "By God our Lord, we were not mushrikeen."
See how they lied about themselves! That which they used to fabricate has deserted them. 6:22-24

It is perfectly plausible that, in his day, prophet Muhammad might have insisted (like any genuine messenger) that he be recognised as the messenger of God. But, by the same token, the messenger of God would never alter, amend, add to or delete from the testimony of faith that is given in the Quran in favour of himself.

The prophet knew fully well that the Quran is fully detailed and complete; he would not dare add to or delete from it, for such would be contrary to what he was commanded in the Quran - in response to those who want him to bring another Quran or amend this one - to say, in part:

When Our clear revelations are recited to them, those who do not long for the meeting with Us say, "Bring a Quran other than this, or replace it!" Say, "It is not for me to replace it of my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a great Day." 10:15

The purveyors of the second testimony invariably become incensed when it is not uttered as a complement to the first testimony. It has happened to me several times! Upon hearing the first testimony I uttered the words, "Alone - No partner has He!" My interlocutor immediately took umbrage and accused me of apostasy no less! He, of course, expected me to utter the second testimony, but was taken aback by my response. This man's reaction brought to mind the following glorious Quranic words:

When God alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion, but when others are mentioned besides Him, they rejoice. 39:45

This verse fit my interlocutor from head to toe. In my retort to the first testimony, I mentioned God alone. He was offended and accused me of apostasy. Had I uttered the second testimony, thereby making mention of others besides God, he would have considered me a good man and not accused me of apostasy and rejoiced at my answer. How blind can one be?

In conclusion, we feel that we have, with the help of Almighty God, presented sufficient evidence to convince any fair minded, unbiased person, beyond reasonable doubt, of the truth of this matter. The second testimony of Faith is nothing but unsubstantiated claims openly discriminating in favour of prophet Muhammad and that uttering it, as a testimony of faith, is contrary to the teachings of the Quran. Our arguments all come from within the Quran; we have not resorted to any external source for evidence.

God Alone is indeed sufficient for these, His humble servants.

Related Subject:

- The Shahada