The Holy Kalimah
لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
There is none worthy of worship but Allaah, Muhammad
is the messenger of Allaah
Brothers! This confession is the gateway to Islam, the arch-stone of the faith. By affirming it and reciting it with sincerity and conviction even a life-long heathen or a polytheist can become a Muslim, a man of faith, and earn his title to salvation. The condition, however, is that he should have accepted conscientiously and with a full understanding of the declaration of the Oneness of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and the Apostleship of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) contained in it. Thus, anyone who repeats the confession mechanically, without understanding it and without knowing what the concepts of Divine Unity and Apostleship and Prophethood means, will not gain recognition in the sight of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) as a Muslim. It is, therefore, necessary, to study its meaning and implications carefully.
The First Part
The confession consists of two parts. The first part contains لا إله إلا الله the affirmation of the Oneness of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa). It means that no one except Allah Almighty is worthy of worship and obedience. Worship and obedience should be offered to Him alone because He and no one else is our Lord and Creator, Nourisher and Sustainer and the Dispenser of life and death, sickness and health, poverty and riches, in short, all manner of good and evil, gain or loss, lies solely in His control. Apart from Him, whatever living things exist on the earth, or in the heavens, be they men or angels, are all His creatures and slaves. He is partnered by no one, no one has a share in His Divinity nor can anyone amend or alter His Will, or interfere with His affairs. Hence, He and He alone is worthy of devotion and worship. He alone is the Supreme Being, the Almighty, to whom all our prayers and supplications should be addressed. He alone is the real Owner of the heavens and the earth, the Monarch of all monarchs, the Lord Sovereign. It is, therefore, necessary that all His commands and injunctions are strictly obeyed and faithfully carried out. As against His commands, the commands of no one should be heeded to no matter whether they are of our parents or rulers or of the head of the community or a dear friend, or the biddings of our own heart. In a nutshell, when once we have realized and confessed the truth that Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) alone, and no one besides Him, is worthy of worship and obedience our conduct should also be in conformity with it, so much so that anyone who sees us should know by our behavior that we are the devoted servants of the Lord who carry out His commands dutifully and live and die for His sake alone.
Brothers’ This لا إله إلا الله is the keystone of Islam and the first and foremost item in the teachings of all the Prophets. It occupies the highest and the most important place in the religious scheme of teachings A famous Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) reads:
“There are more than seventy departments of the faith and among them, the most superior and exalted is the belief in the Kalimah of “. لا إله إلا الله
For this reason among the Zikr (specific phrase for Remembrance of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) also it is the best.
States the Prophet:
“Of all the Zikr the best and most excellent is that of “. لا إله إلا الله
In another Tradition, it is related that once Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) gave this reply to a question put to Him by Prophet Moses (Alaihis Salaam):
“O, Moses! If the seven heavens and the seven earths and all that is contained in them, are placed on one side of the balance and لا إله إلا الله on the other, the side on which لا إله إلا الله is placed will turn out to be heavier.”
Brothers! This unique virtue and excellence are due solely to the fact that it contains the solemn affirmation of Divine Unity, the assertion, the pledge and the declaration that we shall worship Him alone and, offer our homage and obeisance to no one apart from Him, and shall make Him the sole pivot of our existence. It, indeed, is the life-breath of Islam.
That is why the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) has advised Muslims to refresh and to reinvigorate their faith by repeating the Kalimah frequently.
It is narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) once said, “O men! Keep on refreshing your faith”. Upon this the Companion enquired, “O Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa)! How are we to do so?” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallarn) replied, “By reciting the Kalimah frequently.”
The Kalimah of لا إله إلا الله holds the power to restore and revitalize the faith for the simple reason that it embodies the affirmation of Divine Unity and the covenant to worship Him alone, to do allegiance to none beside Him and to hold Him dearer and nearer to the heart than anything or anybody else in the world. As we have said earlier, it is the essence, the sustaining principle of Islam. So, the more we will utter it attentively, concentrating duly on what it stands for, the more will our faith gain in vitality and our covenant in strength and our whole life will, Insha-Allah, get cast in the mould of لا إله إلا الله.
The Second Part
The second part of the Kalimah consists of محمد رسول الله. In it, the affirmation is made of the Divine Apostleship of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam). Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) is the Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) means that he was raised up by the Almighty for the guidance of the world and whatever he taught, preached, or revealed like the Divinity of the origin of the Holy Quraan, the existence of angels, the certainty of the Last Day the Resurrection, the Judgment, the award of heaven and hell according to one’s deeds on the earth was hundred percent true and authentic. Indeed the Apostleship of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) denotes nothing more and nothing less than this that all the things he taught to the world, all the truths he revealed to mankind, were based on Divine inspiration, that they were based on special and authoritative knowledge vouchsafe to him by Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) and so they were absolutely correct and beyond doubt. There is not the least excuse or the slightest reason, for doubting or questioning his word. The guidance he gave to men, the laws he laid down, were Divine guidance and Divine laws which had been inspired to him by the Almighty. You would have realized that the acceptance of anyone as a Divine Apostle automatically implies that each and every precept and command of him should be whole-heartedly believed in and obeyed, for Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) raised up His Apostles in the world solely to convey through them to mankind the commands and precepts He wants to be followed. Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) says in the Holy Quraan.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ
We sent not an Apostle, but to be obeyed in accordance with the will of Allah (Subhahnahu Wata’aalaa) [AN-NISA:64]
To believe in anyone as an Apostle and to accept him as such, thus, means simply to hold every word of his as true, to regard his teachings and guidance to be the teachings and guidance of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa), and to decide once for all, to lead one’s life according to the precepts he taught. So, if a person recites the Kalimah but does not, as a logical consequence of it, resolve firmly to hold all the teachings of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) to be wholly true and all that may run counter to them to be wholly false, and to abide by his Shariah (holy law) and his commands faithfully, he, of course, is not a man of faith and a Muslim. He, probably, has not even understood what it means to be a Muslim.
It is obvious that once we have recited the Kalimah and accepted the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) as the true Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) it becomes obligatory for us to believe in his guidance, to adhere to his, commands and to observe faithfully the Shariah he brought.
From the meaning and interpretation of the Holy Kalimah given above, you will have realized that it is a covenant. It embodies the pledge and the vow that we believe in Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) as the One and Only Lord, Sovereign, Master, and Creator, and regard everything that exists in this world and the Hereafter to be exclusively in His control, and that, since we do so, we will worship Him alone and carry out His commands the way a servant and a slave carries out the commands of his master, and love Him and adore Him above all else, and further, that we accept Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) as the true Apostle of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa), and will abide by his guidance as a loyal follower, and fashion our lives according to the holy law laid down by him. In fact, faith denotes nothing except this pledge and covenant and this is precisely what the affirmation of Divine Unity and Apostleship means.
A Muslim should, therefore, hold himself bound by this covenant and try his level best to shape his conduct in its light so that he may earn recognition in the eyes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) as a genuine man of faith and attain his salvation and place in the paradise.
Those who are blessed enough to bear faith honestly in both the parts of the holy Kalimah and to give proof of it by word as well as by deed are the recipients of countless glad tidings like the one reproduced below:
It is related by Hadhrat Anas that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) once said to Hadhrat Mo’aaz, “Allah (Subhaanahu Wata’aalaa) has declared as forbidden the fire of the hell for him who affirms the Kalimah of لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله with a true heart.”
Brothers! Affirm لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله with a true heart and with full knowledge and awareness of its implications and importance and resolve now and forever to lead your lives according to it in order that your attestation may not turn out to be false. This very attestation depends on your faith and your salvation.