Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (pbuh) is His Messenger and His slave.
Islam is based on 5 pillars. The Prophet (pbuh) said,
عن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بني الإسلام على خمس شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله وإقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة والحج وصوم رمضان
Narrated Ibn Umar: Allah's Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity). 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan (Sahih Bukhari, Book #2 Iman, Hadees # 7)
Hence, the 5 pillars of Islam are:
- Testimony of faith “كلمه طيبه” and at-Tawheed “التوحيد”,
- As-Salat “الصلاة” – The compulsory prayers
- Az-Zakat “الزكواة” – Obligatory charity
- As-Sawm “الصوم” – Fast in month of Ramadan
- Al-Hajj “الحج” – The Pilgrimage to Mecca
The first two are compulsory on every sane adult Muslim, fasting is obligatory except excused for weak and sick, Zakat is obligatory if one has accumulated defined limit of wealth, hajj is obligatory only if one is physically fit and able to afford it financially.
We will be discussing Tawheed in greater detail in next part of this book. Tawheed and Testimony of faith is in essence same thing, however, for the purpose of this book we will explain them in their finer details. You can understand testimony of faith as an ‘oath’ for accepting the Tawheed. Similar to how people take ‘oath’ after accepting citizenship to a country, hence, admitting to abide by the law of that country.
The first pillar Tawheed is also the Core (أصل الدين) of the Islamic System1, while the other four pillars are branches (فروع الدين) that were specific to Shariah (شريعة) that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) brought. And even though that these were also part of Shariah of other Prophets, the methods of performing them may have been different. For instance, fasting was made obligatory on many previous Prophets and their followers, but they may have fasted differently. Quran mentions Zakariya (Zacharias, father of John and patron of Maryam – mother of Jesus) fasted by remaining quiet for three days2.
Title of Islam - كلمه طيبه
When somebody submits to Allah (swt) and admits to His Deen, he or she proclaims their submission by announcing:
This is the Title of Islam, proclamation to Tawheed and the entrance to citizenship to Deen Allah. This is often referred to as testimony of faith “كلمه طيبه”.
It consists of two parts:
- There is no إلـه Illah but Allah
- Muhammad is his Messenger.
The first part has two aspects – Negative and Positive:
- There is no God: Taking away any possibility of giving the capacity of God to any thing
- But Allah: Attributing it to Allah, and Only Allah
Capacity of God in following sense:
- As a creator and sustainer
- As the law-maker.
- As a judge to whom all creation is accountable.
REJECT ALL OTHER ILLAH FIRST:
Thus, a believer must first clean his heart from the belief of any other god or from the worship of any their deity or false power, only then can faith in the Oneness of Allah can be established. This has been stated in Quran in many verses such as: فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللّهِ – 2:256 “So whoever disbelieves in Taghoot and believes in Allah…”
Responsibilities after taking this Oath
- The declaration of faith means that you accepted to be citizenship of Deen (Islamic System) of Allah.
- And that you take oath that you will obey Allah’s Law and you will be obedient to Him alone. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ - 4:59 “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger ..”.
- And you accepted that Truth is only what’s revealed in Allah’s book ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللّهَ نَزَّلَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ - 2:176 “That is because Allah has sent down the Book in truth”.
- And you accepted that the only true guidance is Guidance of Mohammad His Messenger. مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللّهَ - 4:80 “He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah..”
- And that Allah (swt) sent down book of Truth and guidance with His Messenger that you agreed to follow and you agreed to obey it to resolve disputes. وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ – 2:213 “… sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed…”
Not just say it, act upon it (as Iman is "sayings" and "actions")4:
This can be illustrated by saying if one puts “Dr.” in front of his name doesn’t make him a doctor until he actually goes to university and certify and practice. Thus, by merely saying la illah illa Allah one doesn’t become Muslim until he educate and practice . Similarly, if one is thirsty, he can not fulfil his thirst by saying “water water”, except that he physically drinks water. Or if one is sick, he can not cure himself by repeating the word “Advil Advil”, except he physically eats that medicine. Thus, one can not finds paradise by merely declaring himself “Muslim Muslim”, until he fulfils commands of Allah by doing it in action.
This fact is emphasized when the Prophet (pbuh) said that Iman consists over seventy branches:
حدثنا زهير بن حرب حدثنا جرير عن سهيل عن عبد الله بن دينار عن أبي صالح عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الإيمان بضع وسبعون أو بضع وستون شعبة فأفضلها قول لا إله إلا الله وأدناها إماطة الأذى عن الطريق والحياء شعبة من الإيمان
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no god but Allah, and the humblest of which is the, removal of what is injurious from the path: and modesty is the branch of faith. – (Sahih Muslim, Book 1 Iman, #56)
Also, the Prophet (pbuh) expressed on various occasions to perform prayers, Zakat, fasting and other Islamic duties that are essential part of following the Hukm of Allah (swt).
حدثني محمد بن عبد الرحيم حدثنا عفان بن مسلم حدثنا وهيب عن يحيى بن سعيد بن حيان عن أبي زرعة عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن أعرابيا أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال دلني على عمل إذا عملته دخلت الجنة قال تعبد الله لا تشرك به شيئا وتقيم الصلاة المكتوبة وتؤدي الزكاة المفروضة وتصوم رمضان قال والذي نفسي بيده لا أزيد على هذا فلما ولى قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم من سره أن ينظر إلى رجل من أهل الجنة فلينظر إلى هذا
Narrated Abu Huraira: A Bedouin came to the Prophet and said, "Tell me of such a deed as will make me enter Paradise, if I do it." The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Worship Allah, and worship none along with Him, offer the (five) prescribed compulsory prayers perfectly, pay the compulsory Zakat, and fast the month of Ramadan." The Bedouin said, "By Him, in Whose Hands my life is, I will not do more than this." When he (the Bedouin) left, the Prophet said, "Whoever likes to see a man of Paradise, then he may look at this man." – Al-Bukhari (Kitab Al-Jana’iz, B23, #480)
و حدثني عبد الله بن أبي الأسود حدثنا الفضل بن العلاء حدثنا إسماعيل بن أمية عن يحيى بن محمد بن عبد الله بن صيفي أنه سمع أبا معبد مولى ابن عباس يقول سمعت ابن عباس يقوللما بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم معاذ بن جبل إلى نحو أهل اليمن قال له إنك تقدم على قوم من أهل الكتاب فليكن أول ما تدعوهم إلى أن يوحدوا الله تعالى فإذا عرفوا ذلك فأخبرهم أن الله قد فرض عليهم خمس صلوات في يومهم وليلتهم فإذا صلوا فأخبرهم أن الله افترض عليهم زكاة في أموالهم تؤخذ من غنيهم فترد على فقيرهم فإذا أقروا بذلك فخذ منهم وتوق كرائم أموال الناس
Narrated Ibn Abbas: “When the Prophet sent Muadh to Yemen, he said to him, "You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tawheed of Allah. If they learn that, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allah has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people."”– Al-Bukhari (Kitab at-Tawheed, v9, b93, #469)
The part of Tawheed is to accept that Muhammad is Messenger of Allah, and through Him Allah has sent His Law to govern our lives. Thus, we accept Muhammad word’s without asking him evidence, and follow His guidance comprehensively. And we obey Muhammad’s commands without hesitation and any resistance in heart. And we follow His guidance, and reject any thing else that’s contrary to it. أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا - “We hear and we obey”. The companions are the examples of this obedience. They obeyed the Prophet (pbuh) with out any hesitations.
حدثنا أبو اليمان قال أخبرنا شعيب عن الزهري قال أخبرني أبو إدريس عائذ الله بن عبد الله أن عبادة بن الصامت رضي الله عنه وكان شهد بدرا وهو أحد النقباء ليلة العقبة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال وحوله عصابة من أصحابه بايعوني على أن لا تشركوا بالله شيئا ولا تسرقوا ولا تزنوا ولا تقتلوا أولادكم ولا تأتوا ببهتان تفترونه بين أيديكم وأرجلكم ولا تعصوا في معروف فمن وفى منكم فأجره على الله ومن أصاب من ذلك شيئا فعوقب في الدنيا فهو كفارة له ومن أصاب من ذلك شيئا ثم ستره الله فهو إلى الله إن شاء عفا عنه وإن شاء عاقبه فبايعناه على ذلك
Narrated 'Ubada bin As-Samit: who took part in the battle of Badr and was a Naqib (a person heading a group of six persons), on the night of Al-'Aqaba pledge: Allah's Apostle said while a group of his companions were around him, "Swear allegiance to me for:
1. Not to join anything in worship along with Allah.
2. Not to steal.
3. Not to commit illegal sexual intercourse.
4. Not to kill your children.
5. Not to accuse an innocent person (to spread such an accusation among people).
6. Not to be disobedient (when ordered) to do good deed."
The Prophet added: "Whoever among you fulfills his pledge will be rewarded by Allah. And whoever indulges in any one of them (except the ascription of partners to Allah) and gets the punishment in this world, that punishment will be expiation for that sin. And if one indulges in any of them, and Allah conceals his sin, it is up to Him to forgive or punish him (in the Hereafter)." 'Ubada bin As-Samit added: "So we swore allegiance for these." (points to Allah's Apostle) – Al-Bukhari
All of these narrations are suggesting that saying La Illah illa Allah and submitting oneself to rule of Allah bring new responsibilities and duties. It is the duty of every Muslim to diligently perform his or her responsibilities.
Superiority of La Illah Illa Allah:
Hence, whoever accepted the Tawheed and submitted to Allah’s commands will earn his place in paradise and will be pardoned for their (minor) mistakes. This is the understanding of saying La Illah illa Allah…
Narrated Mu'adh bin Jabal: The Prophet said, "O Mu'adh! Do you know what Allah's Right upon His slaves is?" I said, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "To worship Him (Allah) Alone and to join none in worship with Him (Allah). Do you know what their right upon Him is?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know best." The Prophet said, "Not to punish them (if they do so)." – Al-Bukhari
Here it is worthwhile to mention that all the above narrations from Prophet (pbuh) that are giving assurance to paradise doesn’t not mean that mere utterance of words “la illah illa Allah” will ensure a place in paradise and all sins will be expiated.
This really means that a person who truly admitted to the Tawheed of Allah (as in La illah..) and did not committed a shirk , then Allah (swt) with His mercy may forgive him on day of judgment or, this person will first receive the punishment in hell, but later be forgiven due to his honest admittance of La Illah..
This is clearly explained in verse: إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء - 4:48 “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills..”
- Branches of Deen, The Deen - Branches of Deen
- Quran, [3:41] Al-Imran (The Family of Imran).
- Thaghoot include any phenomenon, person or thing that creates parallel authority to Allah swt. Be it a simple rule or whole governmental system.
A. A. Mawdudi explains: Literally, this word can apply to a person who commits any kind of transgression. In the sense in which it is used in the Qur'an it denotes a person who transgresses the limits prescribed by his status as a creation of God, who sets himself up as a god and makes the people treat him as such. There are three degrees of transgression or rebellion of a human being vis-a-vis God. The first is that, so far as the principle of the thing is concerned, a person believes in obedience to God to be the right course, but when it comes to deeds, he disobeys. This is known as fisq ... The second is that he should give up obedience to God as a matter of principle and either do as he pleases or obey someone else (in the sense in which one owes obedience to God). This is Kufr. The third is that not only does he rebel against God, denying Him and His right to lay down the law for man but also begins to make his own law prevail in the land. It is the person who reaches this third stage who is a Taghoot and no person can be a Mu'min of Allah in the real sense unless he repudiates Taghoot.
- Iman is "sayings" and "action" (قول و عمل), read Iman - Reality of Iman (1)
- Meaning after proclamation of “la illah ..” one must first learn the two proclamations i.e. i) لا إله إلا الله ii) محمدٍ رسول الله, and understand its meaning and effect, because learning them and their meaning is mandatory.
Secondly, the mukalif مكلف (an adult and mature person bound with sharia after his/her proclamation) must learn enough to clearly understand:
a) Islamic Beliefs (أعتقاد)
b) Actions (عمل) that are necessary to remain in fold of Islam
c) Restraining from actions (ترك العمل) those are necessary to remain in fold of Islm.
Hence, it is important that this person testify in such a way that no doubt remains about his total submission to Allah (swt) and His laws.
- Shirk is the worst crime against Allah (swt). إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ. And Allah (swt) will never forgive the person who makes Shirk. إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ. And Mushrik people will remain in Hellfire for ever. وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا. See chapter of Shirk later in this book.