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I Testify – Understanding the Testimony of Faith

When you go to court to give your version of events, you are not merely giving information, but confessing to a truth that falsehood may override, and thwarting a lie from prevailing and spreading.

Testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah is the first of the Islamic pillars.

The Testimony of Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah) announced in the open is no ordinary testimony.

It is a testimony that establishes the truth and abolishes falsehood.

It is a testimony that indicates your decision to live your life according to a plan that opposes any partners or associates with Allah in His Divinity or worship and acknowledges Him as your sole Lord.

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Importance of the Shahadah

Through this testimony you are voicing your opinion on many daily dilemmas people contend with. They, in reality, subject themselves to various gods of their own making. Some bow and prostrate to idols of money, fame, power, or authority. Some see themselves as their own god. And some misunderstand the reality of Allah, and some have completely denied Him.

Amidst that atmosphere of incertitude and chaos of beliefs emerges the importance of the Shahadah (Testimony of Faith): “There is no god but Allah.” You are pushing away their falsehood with your statement, exposing their error with your truth, and declaring that you are clinging to this truth. You are not hiding it within you but testifying to it openly for it to be heard, known, and admitted to.

Uttering it is not only a sign of faith but a declared attitude and a new character imbued into a soul that has known its Lord and decided to walk every path of life in His Name.

The second half of the Shahadah is inseparable from the first. Belief in Allah also necessitates belief in all His Prophets, each one of them.

Anyone who believes in one of the prophets and disbelieves in another has disbelieved in them all and in Allah Who sent each and made them affirm one another.

{Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make a distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers), saying, We believe in some but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between are in truth disbelievers.} (4:150-151)

Muhammad: God’s Final Messenger

Therefore, testifying that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah is a testimony to the truthfulness of all messengers over different eras, and the obligation to follow them.

Muhammad came in confirmation of all previous prophets. He revived their teachings, cleared them of extremist and deviant followers, and exalted their mention in the last as it was in the first generations.

“I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” means I pledge to take him as my good example, hold fast to his Sunnah (acts, words, or approvals of the Prophet), and place myself under the banner under which he strived.

The secret of greatness in his life was his being a perfect human who reached the zenith of human elevation through correct worship of Allah.

He never claimed that Allah dwelt in him or a kinship with Him lifted him beyond other humans. He was one of the people whom providence chose to convey the Message of Allah and lead the rows of those who repent and return to their Lord.

{Say (O Muhammad): “I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your god is One God (Allah).”} (18:110)

He was a husband, a father, a merchant, and a struggler and went through times of richness and poverty, victory and defeat, grief and happiness, anger and contentment.

In spite of this humanity, which he shared with the rest of mankind, he lived his private and public life on a straight, upright path with full sincerity, diligence, and devotion for the Sake of Allah.

{My prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.} (6:162)

From there comes the good example for people. From a human like us who achieved human perfection in spite of difficult circumstances and a tough environment, people can learn and receive admonition.


Reference: From the book “The Emotional Side of Islam” by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali. Translated and adapted by Haya Muhammad Eid and edited by Emily Katharine Richardson.

(From Discovering Islam archive)