Certainty: Condition of “La ilaha ill Allah”
Facilitation by Allah in Explaining the Evidences of the Conditions of “La ilaha ill Allah”
© 1995 Jam`iat Ihyaa Minhaaj al-Sunnah, UK
In explaining the testimony of faith, Muslim scholars have listed seven conditions of the shahadah, which a Muslim must fulfill so that s/he may be acknowledging the unity of Allah in open and in secret.
These seven are:
- Al-`Ilm (Knowledge of the meaning of the shahadah, its negation and affirmation)
- Al-Yaqeen (Certainty – perfect knowledge of it that counter-acts suspicion and doubt)
- Al-Ikhlaas (Sincerity which negates shirk)
- Al-Sidq (Truthfulness that permits neither falsehood nor hypocrisy)
- Al-Mahabbah (Love of the shahadah and its meaning, and being happy with it)
- Al-Inqiad (Submission to its rightful requirements, which are the duties that must be performed with sincerity to Allah (alone) seeking His pleasure)
- Al-Qubool (Acceptance that contradicts rejection).
Below is an explanation of the second condition. For other conditions, please refer to the book itself.]
The Second Condition
Certainty – it is perfect knowledge of it that counter-acts suspicion and doubt.
The evidence of certainty is His, the Exalted, saying:
Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful. [Surah al-Hujurat (49):15]
Allah made certainty, without doubt (or suspicions), a condition of true belief (in Allah and His Messenger), since the doubter is from the ranks of the hypocrites (the Munafiqun).
It is narrated from Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “The servant meeting Allah having testified that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, not doubting them shall enter the Jannah (paradise).” [Muslim – the Book of Iman]
In another narration: “… meeting Allah having testified … is not excluded from Al-Jannah (paradise).” [Muslim – Book of Iman]
It is also narrated from Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) in a long hadith ending with, that the Messenger of Allah said: “…whomever you meet behind this wall, testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, his heart certain of it, give him the glad tidings of Al-Jannah (paradise).”
His saying: “Only those are the believers who have believed in Allaah and His Messenger…”
“Only…” – confirms that those mentioned are included and all others are excluded.
This means that the people of true belief (Iman), both apparent and hidden, are oly those who believe in Allah and His Messenger. They believe without doubt or suspicion, by their word of mouth and deeds, and they strive in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives.
He, the Exalted, therefore says: “…Those! They are the truthful.”
From the evidence of the verse (ayah): “…And afterward doubt not…” In this ayah is something that the compiler did not conclude, that the deed is derived from Iman (belief). This ayah is evidence that to strive in the cause of Allah is a “deed” which is an attribute of Iman (faith).
This is confirmed in the Sunnah by a hadith narrated by Abu Jumrah radhiallahu `anhu who said I was with Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu interpreting for him to the people, when a woman approached him and asked him about wine. He said: a deputation of `Abdul-Qais came to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam asked: “Who are the deputation?” (or: Who are the people?) They replied: “Rabiah”. He sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: Welcome to the people (or welcome to the deputation) neither dishonoured nor regretful. He (meaning Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: They said: “O Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, we came from a long distance and between us and you is the habitation of the unbelievers (kuffar) of Mudhar. We can only come to you during the prohibited month (i.e. when fighting is not allowed). Order us with a decisive order that we may convey to those we left behind, and (if we follow it) enter Al-Jannah (paradise)”, He (Ibn `Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: “He [the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam] ordered them (to do) four (things) and forbade them four (things). He (Ibn Abbas radhiallahu `anhu) said: “He ordered them to believe in Allah alone and said: “Do you know what belief in Allah entails?” They said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “To testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhamad is the Messenger of Allah and to perform regular prayers, to practice charity, to fast the month of Ramadhan and to give one fifth of your spoils (of war)…” etc. [Al-Bukhari, Book of Prayer Times]
The evidence, from the Sunnah, is that the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam explained belief (Iman) by the visible Islamic deeds and practices.
It is in the Sahih Muslim and it has a story that Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu said: “We were with the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam on a journey until all the food the people had with them was exhausted. So some slaughtered some of their mounts. `Omar radhiallahu anhu said: “O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) why not collect all that remains of the food of the people and invoke Allah.” He did. Those who had wheat brought their wheat, those who had dates brought their dates. Mujahid (radhiallahu `anhu) said: “…and those who had date stones brought their date stones.” I (Abu Hurairah radhiallahu `anhu) said: “and what did they do with the stones?” He said: “They sucked them and drank water afterwards.” He said: “He invoked Allah until all the people had plenty of food (and he mentioned it).” [Muslim – the Book of Iman]
Regarding his sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam saying: “I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah.” To witness is to inform and testify. Man is obliged to testify that only Allah is worthy of worship and that He is one that the Prophet sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam is the Messenger of Allah.
His saying: “The servant meeting Allah having testified…” This is the evidence from the hadith as in the other narration stating: “The servant meeting Allah having testified… is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise).”
To clarify his sallallahu `alaih wa sallam saying: “… he is not excluded from Al-Jannah (Paradise)”, we must explain two things:
To exclude from Al-Jannah (Paradise) is of two kinds:
- Permanent exclusion – in the case of unbelievers. This does not apply to those who meet Allah on Tawhid.
- Temporary exclusion – this may happen to some believers for major sins they committed as proven in the authentic traditions (Ahadith Mutawaterah) of intercession (Al-Shafa`a).
To say that permanent exclusion does not apply to those who meet Allah on Tawhid is strictly speaking conditional and the criteria applied is demanding. It begins with knowledge of the meaning of La ilaha ill Allah and acting upon it. Other conditions will be presented when the tradition narrated by `Otban on the condition of sincerity, is discussed.
It is narrated by Abu Hurairah that: “We were sitting around the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). Abu Bakr (radhiallahu `anhu) and `Omar (radhiallahu `anhu) were with us. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) got up and departed. He was long in coming back and we were worried that he may be attacked, so we arose and I was the first to rise and go out seeking the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). Eventually, I came to a wall belonging to the Ansar (helpers) of Bani an-Najjar. I went all around it to find a door but found none. I saw a small river going through an opening in the wall from a wall outside it. I drew myself together like a fox and entered on the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam). He exclaimed: “Abu Hurairah?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “What is the matter with you?” I said: “You were wit us, arose and were late coming back. We were worried that you may be attacked and we became alarmed. I was the first to follow you, and came upon this wall. I drew myself together like a fox and these people are behind me.” He said: “O Abu Hurairah,” then gave him his sandals and said: “Take my sandals. Whomever you meet behind this wall and who witnesses that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, his heart certain in its belief, give him the glad tidings of Al-Jannah (Paradise).”
He mentioned the tradition and in it `Omar radhiallahu anhu asked: “O Messenger of Allah, may parents be sacrificed for you, did you send your sandals with Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) to give glad tidings of Al-Jannah to whomever he met witnessing with certainty that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah?” He said: “Yes.” He said (meaning `Omar radhiallahu `anhu): “Then do not. I fear that people may depend upon it (meaning they will become lax). Let them do (good deeds). The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam said: “Let them.”
His saying: “Give him glad tidings.” [If a man is given glad tidings his face becomes relaxed. That is because if a person is happy, the blood will rush to his face like water in plants]. The meaning is that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam knew that every Muslim that Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu `anhu) was going to meet will enter Al-Jannah (Paradise).
His saying: “…his heart is certain…” The condition of certainty requires the negation of suspicion and doubt and this is the main point of narration.
These traditions tell us:
The belief in the Hereafter, judgment and recompense is necessary.
The excellence of Tawhid and that whoever dies upon it, certain in its belief will enter Al-Jannah (Paradise).
The (decision) of al-Shurah (consultation) is acceptable provided it is correct even if it were from one person. The idea is not to collect votes.
To prevent corruption/mischief is given preference over bringing benefits. This is in accordance with the Shari`ah not with human judgment. Evidences of that are to be found in the numerous texts which we are unable to recount here.